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Alessandro Farrattini’s short documentary film about the ‘Combines’ exhibition can be seen on YouTube

Each exhibitor is showing three pieces together with a photograph. Here’s the text that I have written to accompany the exhibition, followed by images of my three exhibited pieces and my photo (‘At the Studio’s Threshold’) with its accompanying text.




“What a performance! Yes, we’re performers… of a sort…

What do we actually do? Well, er… er… we assemble things, assemble semblances. In practice we’re recombiners. We gather things up from all over the place, loosely initially, then we put them very much closer – usually – together. We try to goad them, appealing to their better and worse natures, by coaxing, nudging, and guiding – recombining we call it – ‘em into position, effectively their last resting place. ‘Just for once stick together will you for our sakes’ we say to them. We cross our fingers and hope for the best.

They have to be silent, very still and all surface. Just to be seen first of all, seen only and alone, entirely on their own as recombinant one-off surfacings. They make no appeal to any desires for the excitements of distracting movements and sounds. No subservience either to other people’s power, no electronic power or codings required to either incorporate or crack! All we, they, and any potential audience need is just enough light to attend to each recombinant’s idiosyncratic surfacing.

Like many others (Bobby Rushmount – the Mount Rushmore of recombination – was an early bird with his combine constructions of bits and pieces filched from Amsterdam’s high-and-low ways) we’ve come to recognise the ways that ‘medium’ and ‘media’ have fallen into unrescuable disrepair and, with their petty-fogging rules, are no longer ‘fit for purpose’. ‘We’ll stick with the eyes’, we said, ‘but we’ll need to abandon medium’s restricting authoritative edges by mixing things up mightily. We’ll expand and contract according to each recombinant’s shifting demands. In so doing we’ll enter rooms, spaces, times, on quite different terms. Naturally we’ll keep on drawing, painting, and object-shaping as they are absolutely intrinsic to the drive of our assembling, but, no more privileging of materials and tools!’. We’re no sloganisers of course, but maybe something like ‘Genetic Equality for all Surface Candidates!’ would fit the (our) bill.

When all’s said and done how can the in-hemming work of ‘medium’ and its plural cope with, let alone embrace, the diverse stretching and bending spatio-temporal demands and imaginative leaps engendered by art-making’s technology-stimulated multiple – installation-performance-happening-photo-film-digi-composition-textual-corporeality? To recombine on Art’s behalf is to turn the things of the world back on, into, through, and, with luck, out of that world in the hope of showing Art’s unspeakable difference to that very same world in which it finds itself perennially condemned to  drift.”

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    bank of england                           flight plight                     hobbled Hermes virtually grounded

‘At the Studio’s Threshold’

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Aaaaah, yes, there it is, suspended over the studio threshold itself, the abandoned still unanswered question of Art’s troubling Body! Of course, as the outside of all representation, the Body’s nowhere to be seen… but, were we to spot it over there in the far distance, way beyond culture’s deadening walls, then it would, almost certainly (perhaps), appear tremulously palindromic, self-condemned to turn back and forth without end through its un-self – a drifting swarm of disturbingly delightful congealing-collapsing fragments searching for its own life-support machine – trauma embodied (well, almost)…