DOLPH to me is about everything. Not just art. Everything that I see somehow seeps into my subconscious and comes out in my work.
I had numerous ideas.
I’m an artist and an editor. Inspirations are scrambled up in my head. I like bins. I have a tendency to pick up rubbish I find in the street. I take photos of architecture. I like Brutalism, Rauschenburg, Tuttle, Rodchenko and Lanyon. The B-side of Abbey Road. Words and fonts (but not Comic Sans). I see beauty in the mundane, everyday grime. I like Soho; all of London. 'Me and Bobby Magee' by Janis Joplin. Concrete. All of the Southbank (I want my ashes scattered there). History. Archaeology.
And gaffer tape holds everything together. It’s an instant black line.
So we made a hoarding. An inspiration that also acts as a dividing line. It had to be blue because that was How it All Started.
I collated my photos of bins. I’ve been obsessed for a while. And it would be wrong not to include them here.
I made my own Combined Painting as a sort of homage to Rauschenberg.
And concrete. Concrete is London. London is my city and the main source of my inspiration. So I played at being a builder, mixing my own concrete. I had mixed results. Don’t ask me to do your kitchen.
I wrestled with this, maybe because I had a hand in setting this project up. Maybe because I know it too well. It was hard. But I hope I’ve given good DOLPH.
I was asked at the beginning of the DOLPH project “how would you answer the brief”. I had no idea. I hadn’t thought that far ahead. Now, a year later, Tash and myself are putting ourselves on the spot, and breaking one of our own rules… sharing the space. But that’s been the interesting thing for me. Tash bringing the hoarding out from her paintings provided the catalyst for my response. I recalled Tal R’s recent corridor structure, ‘Blinds’ (2015), with the closed pull-blind motif repeated again and again in different media. Passing through someone else’s claustrophobic mania appealed to me, so my response for DOLPH is an attempt at navigating people through my own creative process. To show the things that interest me, how I gather stuff, make connections and riff on an idea, following my nose down sidetracks and detours till stories emerge like distant versions of an initial desire.
I’m a messy worker, which suits me fine, and it makes sense for the messing around to be hidden away behind a screen, as it is in the studio. And like the studio, things are pinned to the wall, others scattered around, often on the floor; ideas waiting to be seized upon at any given time. And that’s how my paintings develop, both conceptually and materially – in the moment, utilising options within an arms reach such as drawings or dirty paint rags, lumps of plasticine or torn passages from magazines.
If I’d had to do this alone it would have looked quite different. Sharing the exhibition and combining an influence that has dictated the concept has been a really useful exercise, and I think it helped us both… this may be an interesting development to be explored again.
Natasha Kahn & Paul Cole 2015