From Nicholas John Jones

10.11.2012 - 13.12.2012


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. 

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