In the Christmas and Easter holidays we were joined by a group of year 12 students from across the South of England; our 2016/17 Reading Scholars. The scholars work with us over one year, participating in workshops, university life taster days, and one-to-one sessions on career pathways and applying to university; designed to enable and inspire access to Higher Education.
Inspired by the Richard Serra’s Verb List, ArtLab and our Student Mentors (Reading BA and MA students) led a workshop with the scholars which explored the potential of using verbs, and their implied actions to rethink the way we use, manipulate, and combine everyday materials. Serra made Verb List as a note to self; a vocabulary of actions to consider when working with material, to stretch and challenge how he dealt with this matter. Rebecca Griffith’s book 107 ways of Making and Doing explores how Serra’s list can be used to make anti-monumental work with low cost materials to question the notions of sculptural material, value, scale and time. In this artists’ book, as with Serra’s Hand catching lead, the sculptures are caught in a photograph or film and it is this we took as our departure point.
Working quickly on a series of 10 minute sculptures and stopping work at the first possible moment when the object suggested an action, we began to amass a hall of sculptures. The sculptural objects often had an oblique relationship to the initial verbs, their materials distorted from their first forms through interlocking, some softened by repeated use, or transformed through the constant reprocessing of images. We found that digital cameras and video enabled us to constantly review, edit and return to our objects, capturing the actions of hands that triggered, supported and stilled them. Within this loop the films took on performative qualities as making and reviewing were often simultaneous; the artists watching their own movements directly and through the digital display and responding immediately.
Videos coming soon!