1 - 25 March 2019
I arrived at the `Angelot’ Trelex residency with fellow artist Kate Pickin in early March 2019, having driven there from Yorkshire in a car full of equipment and clothes for every eventuality !! Angelot is a few kilometers away from the main Trelex residency, it is remote, quiet, peaceful and perfect, snuggled in at the base of the Jura mountains. The house sits at the edge of a meadow used by herds of wandering deer from time to time, enclosed by woodland, there are no roads just the sounds of wildlife and the stream at the side of the house, something that Kate and I really appreciated. We both needed a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, some serenity to think about and make art with no other distractions, a time for us both to do nothing but eat, drink and sleep art with permission.
I had arrived with thoughts of a particular work in mind, but things rarely pan out as you imagine. Unexpected things, better things, happen when you have the space in which to think, so my work developed beyond my expectations, some is now to be a part of a group exhibition in Lisbon during August and September, other works have been left dangling in the trees around the farmhouse, both because I needed to try them there, and also as a gift for Pascale (the house owner), to find at her leisure.
A part of my work there was to consider Loss and Lucidity, I found that Grief insistently inserted itself into those considerations and in the end it became about trying to find some lucidity when grief as a result of loss is unendurable. I wrote phrases over and over again on sheets of tissue paper, delicate paper so friable that it hardly exists itself. After the first few lines of repetition the words began to lose their meaning, I questioned the spellings, the words didn’t look right. By the time I reached the bottom of the page the writing was gobbledeygook, it made no sense, the meaning was lost. In the effort to reinforce a message or a connection, that very effort destroyed it all. I covered each page with PVA glue which gave a translucency, and stuck two pages together so that you could see the writing on both sheets, one behind the other. Even the attempt to mend or recover things and glue them back together only resulted in a further clouding of vision. I have recently developed an interest in Palimpsests and this work also fits in with that interest, in what memory is left behind when something is scraped clean and re-used.
We met Nina and the artists from the main residency several times and as usual we had some amazing discussions and shared insights. I value these meetings more than I can say, the broader outlooks from artists working in ways that are far from my own practice, their enthusiasms, their opinions, their knowledge and their friendship inspire me. I feel lucky to know them, and actually managed to persuade those I met this year to make a piece of work which was then included in my exhibition in May this year. I know that I will continue to connect with them. Thank you Nina and Trelex for making that possible.
The PracticalitiesNina and Pascale have put together a very useful manual for Angelot, it explains everything you need to know.
Although the farmhouse is isolated Pascale left her car to be used if necessary and there is also an electric bicycle for the fitter ones amongst us. There are no shops in the immediate vicinity so some transport is needed. There are supermarkets near the main residence in Trelex but we tended to shop just over the border in france as it was much cheaper, and you can combine it with a sunday morning market and oyster festival if you get the dates right (win win !!).
Although there was snow on the ground when we arrived, the house was cosy with two log burners to keep us warm and a log pile which would have lasted us until summer. Take warm slippers for indoors as there is a no outdoor shoes indoors policy. The kitchen is brand new and very well equipped, and the views from the kitchen windows of the Alps and Mont Blanc turning pink in the evenings are sublime, the sight of them made my heart sing. In the lounge there is a very comfortable sofa, sometimes shared with Ghandi the cat (who will sit next to you and purr but doesn’t like to be stroked, if you’re tempted - wear oven gloves). There is a new and pristine oak floor in the lounge which doubles as studio space, so we took plastic sheeting to put down under the tables that we used as work desks so we felt less nervous about making a mess.The bedrooms were very spacious, and we only needed to put the bedroom heaters on once during our time there despite it being winter. Warm bedding and towels (and hot water bottles) were provided, you just wash them and leave them clean for the next residents. There was always plenty of hot water.
There is no TV, which was no problem for us as we just talked and read. There is wi-fi, it’s good for emails but very slow if you need to stream or do heavy browsing, so if you need visual entertainment pre-download your device before you get there.
We found it easy living and soon got into a daily rhythm, the acid test is would I go back? and the answer is Yes, in a heartbeat.
Thank you Pascale for your generosity of spirit, it is beyond measure and value. Your home nurtured us and gave us a peaceful space. It is almost impossible to express just how important Angelot has been to us and how much we appreciate it and you.