I wonder if the snow falling quietly outside has contributed to the residents feeling more inclined to reach out to the wider world. Or perhaps the long evenings pull us like moths to the computer screens.
Two blogs have been started by the current residents.
Inga Clough (06.03.2013 - 27.03.2013) and Min Kim (01.02.2013 - 27.04.2013) have used the blog format as a visual diary of their practice, their observations as an as a vehicle for their writings. Here are the links:
I started the residency with a planned project that I wanted to complete. This involved splitting a 20mm by 10m cotton rope into individual strands, rolling these into balls, each one numbered, timed and dated. I found the intensely repetitive and time consuming nature of this process worked well in the context of the residency as it allowed me to focus uninterrupted on the task at hand. However I still took occasional breaks from my work – the surrounding area providing a scenic respite.
Week 1 - String (120 balls), went to Nyon Castle and museums in Nyon
Week 2 - String (150 balls), started collaborative drawing with Melanie Ward
Week 3 - String (180 balls), went to see sunrise at Nyon and visited museums in Geneva
Week 4 - String (210 balls), visited Art Brut museum in Lausanne
Week 5 - String (194 balls) finished, took video of string process
Week 6 - Mini-show with Nina Rodin, gave presentation at coffee morning, two days of collaborative work with Luke Ottridge; explored the woodlands around the studio, went to Geneva and Cern
Week 7 - Went to Geneva, Chamonix and Lyon
After completing the string work I wanted to make something site specific in the studio space at Trelex. I spent one week drawing a continuous pencil line in a repeated pattern on a moveable wall in the space (17.5cm x 401cm x 203cm). During this time I also worked on writing for a show I am organising in Japan in 2013.
Week 8 - Writing proposal, started drawing on the movable wall in the studio
Week 9 - Finished wall drawing ‘Serious Doodling’, made small objects using Sculpey clay and took video for collaborative project with Luke Ottridge
From the end of November it started to snow in Trelex. I took this opportunity to make some work outside – casting the snow into bricks (12 x 8 x 4 cm) I built a chimney like structure with my hands.
Following this I worked on two pieces of work using black PVC tape, inspired by four small pieces of tape left on the studio floor. I cut a roll of 2.5 cm wide tape into 3.5 cm long pieces, piling them on the floor, and a 2 cm wide tape cut into 3 cm long pieces, stacked vertically on the wall. I spent one day on each.
Week 10 - Built ‘Snow Chimney’ (48 x 40 x 100 cm) in two days, made small objects with Sculpey for Christmas
Week 11- Stacking pieces of PVC tape, application/writing for residency
For the final few days I worked on writing applications. I also erased my wall drawing, which took longer than anticipated, taking about six hours to rub out everything and paint two coats of white emulsion to return the wall to its original state.
The Trelex Residency was my first ever residency. Not only did it give me the time and space to focus on my practice, I also spent some wonderful time with the two residents whom I overlapped with, Melanie Ward and Nicholas John Jones. I’d also like to thank Nina and her family for their hospitality.
I was resident at The Trelex Residency from the 10th of November 2012 until the 13th of December 2012.
Upon my arrival there was a deluge which verged on the biblical. Once this subsided there were a couple of beautifully crisp, clear days before a most incredibly thick fog, far thicker than I’m used to in England – something to do with all those mountains sticking up everywhere. It was highly atmospheric and I enjoyed it. One or two clear days, followed this time by the snow: crisp clear and beautiful, though obviously quite cold, perhaps even pretty cold. Had I stayed a little longer I could have gone skiing, but it’s probably good I didn’t as I’d only have hurt myself.
Now that I have been a good British person and got the weather out of the way, I’ll mention the location. Trelex is a quiet place about 20mins outside of Geneva, it has a bakery and a small village store (somewhat sparsely stocked, but I was very impressed by it’s keepers electric blue sweater and big orange hair, held together most satisfyingly by the thick frames of her thick lensed glasses). The locality offers scenic surroundings with quiet wooded walks close at hand.
About 5km away, Nyon sits on Lake Geneva and is easily accessed by a short train journey from Trelex, though I found little reason to visit often. It is however worth a wander round if only for the stunning view across the lake. It has the usual shops and supermarket expected of a small town. There is a small art supplies shop predominantly stocking painting supplies, though these are pricey in Switzerland and worth bringing with you.
I was rather conservative in my movements, preferring to stay in the studio, so the only other trips I made were up to La Givrine in the mountains behind Trelex, and to Montreux to head up to Rochers De Naye. Nina has lots of information about different things to do and places to go if you are feeling more adventurous than me.
Having looked in the face of adventure (or at least a very tidy Swiss version of it), only to then wrap up warm and stay home, what The Trelex Residency primarily offered me was quiet time and space in which to work. The studio spaces and two resident’s bedrooms are at the top of Nina Rodin’s three story home, but feel very separate from the goings on below. There are lots of options regarding places to work, both in doors and out, but as my practice is primarily studio based that’s where I stayed. The studio space that I had was light and more than ample in size. Nina is very flexible (you may join her at yoga every Monday night if you wish) and generous in accommodating resident’s needs, which in my case meant making sure I was happy with the work space, bringing out a collapsible (but sturdy) table, letting me use her photo printer and offering to help me find the things I needed, not to mention putting up with my general grumpy old man demeanour.
Nina, an artist herself, has a wide range of interests and is very engaged in thinking and talking about current approaches to art. I got a lot from the conversations that built up over the course of the month as it really allowed us to get into the topics. While I was there, YoonJung Kim was my fellow resident and for me (and I hope her) this worked out wonderfully – and not just because Yoon is a good cook. Yoon’s practice is based in sculpture and I enjoyed learning about it, her influences and perspectives, as well as our chit-chats over a glass of wine.
Nina organises a coffee morning every other week to which people in the local area who are interested in art are invited. I was asked to give a small presentation about my works and influences for one such morning. Though informal, this was very good for me as it had been a while since I’d stopped and thought about my influences in this simple and direct fashion, and so became a good point around which to centre myself.
Towards the end of my time at the Residency I cleared out the studio and put together a studio installation which allowed me to play with the presentation of my work and consider what I had produced without any of the pressure that might come with a formal exhibition.
Overall the facilities, setting and dialogue, tied with separation from my normal situation allowed me to play with what I am doing and the finished works in ways that I would not have done otherwise and this has opened up new avenues of exploration for me. At the time of writing, shortly after the end of the residency, I feel this may have prompted a significant development in my practice, by making me think clearly about what I am doing and what I aim for.