A Tension Span
Ffotogallery, 29 Castle Street, Cardiff,
Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
University of South Wales graduate exhibition, Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London, 5 to 7 October 2018.
Interview with veiwer Hwyel Davies:
Reflective practice. Jody Powell.
Reflective Practice models. (Reflective Practice is assessing an action and evaluating whether it can be improved in order to progress in the next action). This is reflective of the cognitive behavioural therapy model. They overlap and aid each other to better understanding of the self and of a persons practice.
As an artist showing ‘trigger warning’ to the public for the first time, I am intrigued as to what impact it has on a viewer that has never met me?
I found the piece extremely challenging. My first impression was that it was intensely personal and it made me slightly uncomfortable but intriguing at the same time. I wanted to start looking more closely and opening the books and objects and this in turn made me ask myself why I wanted to do it and was it right to do so. Because everything was so meticulously detailed and ordered there seemed to be an implied request to study the material and I also found the presence of the chair both intriguing and inviting. I wanted to sit down but wasn’t sure if I should. Again, my overall impression was: “I have a story to tell you…” and the chair was the gateway in.
Does it connect without human connection?
Yes, definitely. I think human connection sometimes prevents us from a true connection or a deeper connection. That said, having spent time with the piece it made we want to meet with the person/artist more, in terms of wanting to find out more about the story. For me, the power of art is the challenge, and the conversation it generates. I enjoy the aesthetic but I also want it to trigger reflection about myself and the world.
I went to see a Gavin Turk exhibition with my son last year which we both loved because it generated so much conversation and it’s an afternoon I’ll always remember as we spoke so much, about all sorts.
Similarly, with your piece it really made me think about myself and my relationships. It said to me: “This is my life…don’t be afraid…and, look at yours…. “
I have used the above methods of reflective practice to produce my work and it was a lengthy process. I use this for my work and also my personal thoughts and behaviour. What you saw was a collection of all these techniques.
Have you heard of reflective practice?
Yes, I work in sports coaching/mentoring and so am aware of the necessity for reflection/review in being able to create a developmental process.
The installation served as a reflective piece. The chair which is mine as with the desk and the T.V. The chair is a place of contemplation and mindfulness.
Did this aid you to view the work mindfully?
100% - the chair was integral. On the way home I thought about it a lot and asked myself- would it have made a difference if the chair was not “face on”. I struggled with this?! What it also said to me was: “It’s cool, sit down, look at my life…I’ve made sense of it…” and invited the viewer to do the same with theirs. I think the fact it was so ordered, and the combination of audio and visual was really powerful along with the mattress/tomb installation to the left.
The video was made of 5 seconds of viewing for each photo. This was to take in the narrative and build a body of work with a short period to contemplate the image. To invite you in or tap an image into the unconscious.
Did it play as a narrative to you or did some photos stand out more than others?
I recall the images with the shadowy image of a person as being really powerful.
The audio was 7 sessions of therapy recorded and overlaid as to convey the racing thoughts and how much work and time I have put into reflective practice and how to maintain wellness.
Was this beneficial alongside the video?
Yes, it was provoking and challenging and created a sense of confusion and loneliness. It reminded me of hospital visits and made me feel uncomfortable yet wanting to listen more and as I listened it drew me in. I hadn’t wanted to use the chair but when I listened to the voices and their echo (like hospital wards/corridors) I really wanted to sit down and open the photo album. In fact when I went home it made me get out some old photos from when my son was only about 10 and reminisce. The title of the exhibition itself “Hiraeth” also made me reflect even more as I came up to London 30 years ago and it’s only now that I seem to be really thinking about home and family a lot. I visited my Dad at a Care Home in Swansea the other day and coming to terms with everything that’s happened…good and bad.., takes some doing!
The remainder of the exhibition were installation pieces I have creating as pieces of the puzzle. These items have been living with me in my home and taking them somewhere else was like a part of my physical space.
Did they make you feel as if I was inviting you into my space? Or was it overwhelming?
Yes, very much so. The chair was key and the fact that the mattress was on the wall again provoking and promoted it as being dark and hollow.
Initially the audio was overwhelming but then I recognised it’s significance. I really liked the small objects- I think there was a small/stylish box of matches or similar. This again made me think of how a small ornament or object can carry huge sentimental value and I remembered a chain I had given my mother before I left to come to London years ago and how much she loved it.
I looked at that box for ages and really wanted to examine it further as I thought it must be significant and had a picture on it I believe.
For example the bedframe is the skeleton of a bed I have been paralysed in for many years will crippling mental health.
The whole project was positive and uplifting to me. Gave me understanding of my life and help me recover. Some of the images could be seen as negative….What is your view on this?
I don’t think so – for me, I found it uplifting. There were the images of self- mutilation but these were set amongst order and tidiness; the desk emphasised this. It was as if you were saying “This is the desk at which I have learned who I am, and I want you to study and recognise this..” and “the bed is on the wall…it is no longer my prison”.
I left the exhibition in good spirits, went next door and bought a piece of art, placed it on the wall when I got home and sent my son a message about my day.
I’d really like to see more of your work!