I started thinking about this project quite puzzled by how I was going to respond to the size limitation of 50mm in any direction. I began by thinking of the action of laying down the items in the street and my thoughts turned to the idea of just leaning a stick up against a wall what might be thought of as a ‘story stick’. On the stick would be images that would be prompts or catalysts or mnemonics to telling a story. Thinking about what those images might be my thoughts turned to my postcard collections. Postcards are already nostalgic in that people don’t send them in the way that they used to and also in that these cards document a moment in my life. Not in imitation of or inspired by but in a similar vein to Andy Warhol I have boxes of items that I sealed and never looked at again. Included in these boxes are my postcards, some bought some received through the post. Looking at the cards at random I seemed to hit a seam of travels in Italy undertaken by me and correspondents and a fistful from the National Portrait Gallery. So maybe the box was more organised than I thought. These portraits represent memorials of a sort to their subjects. While often beautiful paintings they seem lost, forgotten and this chimed for me with the statue memorials that have dominated headlines and high streets over the last year. And they seem like such empty hosts for our national narrative and pride.
I attached the tiny squares of postcard to the sticks remembering the people who had sent them and when and where I had purchased them. I remembered the circle of friends and family in this process. In this roundabout way the ‘story sticks’ become a memorial to my 28 year old self, still growing and finding my way. These works are both memorials and images of memorials strung together so those images can converse with each other and the viewer.
I am an artist and the curator for grove and groving. This blog is groving online, and records the artworks placed on the streets of Bury St Edmunds along with responses to the work by commissioned writers.