Shifting around and light bulb moments…by Sonia Boué

Originally posted here

01 refugee stack with typewriter
Refugee Stack with Typewriter

Today my task in the studio was to adapt my working space. Yet again the objects that surround me were in flux. How many times have I arranged and rearranged, destroying one order and function to create another? The studio had become an installation for a weekend of Open Studios and while this is one of the most satisfying and productive functions my tiny space fulfils I have to break whatever spell it casts so that I can create new work.

The process takes some courage – I have to DESTROY what I have spent many hours working on after all. Yet the bind is that if it remains as it is I am stuck. The process has to continue or I may as well pack up and leave the installation to go the way of Miss Haversham.

By now I’m familiar with the bewildered feeling I rub up against when beginning to undo what I’ve so carefully done. It’s more than taking down a show and leaving the space as it was, it’s shifting around my familiar and beloved items (a growing collection), storing some but placing others in new corners, stacking, ordering, grouping.

My recent paintings slide around the walls coming into contact with objects and deciding if they like the view. It all has to fit, look how I want it, make sense and provide a space for new work. I don’t ask for much do I!

The funny thing is that as I worked today a beautiful new juxtaposition suddenly came into being. I couldn’t have planned it if I had been thinking things through, that doesn’t work for me at all. No, I had to slide and push and lift and place the objects that make up my working collection – so this is my thinking I suddenly saw, and this is my process, and that means that this is my work! Each time I go though this ritual I come up with new pieces, this is how I make my assemblage.

The light bulb moment presented itself there and then. I determined in that moment to learn to take better photographs and document the life of my studio because this is the work.

For me this is testimony to the power of these objects I have acquired. In my universe they do have a life of their own and require sensitive and harmonious placement in any space they inhabit. Their juxtapositions conjure and animate, creating new and richer meanings, amplifying, speaking and yes, even singing.

When I have it right, my space becomes a finely tuned generator and my objects seem to will me on in my work. I guess this could be called an optimum environment or my inspiration but I like to think the objects around me place me somewhere – a zone in which my imagination is supported and I am free to step over the threshold of invention.

Sonia Boué