Pitchfork at Workers Gallery

From April to July 2023, I have two artworks featuring in Pitchfork, an exhibition at the Workers Gallery in Ynyshir.

The exhibition features artefacts of resistance and appropriated objects of defiance by exploiting the familiarity of everyday or mundane objects as symbols of rebelliousness.

My two pieces, ‘Buy to Let’ and ‘No Photo’, are found alongside works by ten other artists including Maria Lalic, Rosie Scribblah, Melanie Honebone, Francesca Kay, Gayle Rogers and Chris Williams.

The exhibition is open from April 7 to July 8 on Fridays and Saturdays from 10.30am to 4.30pm, and by appointment at other times.

As a writer, I work with pens and pencils, paper and keyboard. The words are flat on the page or screen, limited to the style of my handwriting or a selection of fonts.

But when I combine words with objects, it creates a kind of performance. Like an actor delivering a line of dialogue, the objects begin to speak out what’s written or printed upon them. The same words can have a
markedly different impact depending on how, where and when they are presented – think about the difference between writing your loved one’s name in a birthday card and getting it tattooed on your body.

Digital media has transformed the way we communicate and made it possible for everyone to publish their words. But it requires that we all use the same fonts and the same filters, and it’s all transmitted through the same medium – a smooth flat screen that we swipe, tap or click.

The different textures, sizes, shapes and colours of objects transform the process of writing and the experience of reading. As the writer, you have to consider what will fit and what will stick. You become involved with the properties of that object and directed by what message it can best carry. And if you change your mind, you probably can’t delete it and start again.

For the reader, it’s an invitation to consider what this otherwise ordinary object is asking you to ponder. Your agreement is not required, nor is your disagreement refused. It’s an opportunity to look at life from an
unusual angle, to notice what usually gets missed.

To be creative is to be seriously playful and playfully serious. Writing is about finding a way to say what matters to you, to get out what you feel or know or sense inside. Ordinary objects can become your collaborators. Try drawing letters in the sand with your finger, or writing on a banana with a biro, or spelling out a word using petals or pebbles or twigs. Tease out what these objects may want to say and let your own words come alive in a different way.

Image: Buy to Let, Claire Boot