Ceramic Goblin Head is a drawing by Gus Ableman, aged 9; it features the outlines of a head, a creature (though in its dedication, warmly recognisable and candid); black paint blends with a stormy-sea blue, and these eyes are green and yellow and there’s a warm gaze, an otherwodliness to the drawing, a morphing spirit.
Ceramic Goblin Head is an invitation, I think. It perches between several worlds, and carries with it a powerful energy.
We’re here to hear of artists, heathens and city witches, of ways of moving forward, of energies and ways of being, and the image echoes in my mind, as we’re equally thinking about totems (I still see the image of the horse etched onto the National Theatre terrace with bones and hair) and symbols.
Yet this is not about language, I think.
This is about listening and being, about learning to know how to listen and how to be.
We hear of patterns and journeys
Of controlling manifestations
Of mind and body.
I think about our relationship to symbols, of the energies as/and narrative, of dissolving and demarcating, of vocabularies of change and transition.
Someone says, what do you want to create with your life
Someone speaks of their childhood and control and nomadism
Someone speaks of air, water, fire, earth
Someone asks of spirituality,
And we hear of rituals
We hear of the dark night of the soul
We hear of London and its temperatures
Or facilitation and care.
I think of bodies and artefacts, of sensing, as I hear of astrology and tarot, of archetypes and ways to unpack energies and narratives. I hear these echo in the urban landscape, with its trajectories and multiple paths and conflicting narratives.
I think of neoliberalism and its endless pursuit to control affect, of the resistance of dropping the ego, of duration, of being in-between and knowing when to listen.
Of the artist as medium, of layers of isolation, of care and invitations.