Narratives in the Frame. Blood & Ink

I was curious to see how Fabrica would pull off hosting an exhibition that potentially epitomises the inaccessible, exclusive face of the art establishment, without damaging its own reputation for placing the arts firmly and intelligently within everyone’s grasp.

When I heard that they were throwing Ovid, Murasaki Shikibu and a whole host of other classical sources into the mix, I had to remind myself that if anyone could avoid either bludgeoning its audience with academic authority, or dumbing down in disneyesque proportions, it would be Fabrica.

The respected literary elders have been invoked for a series of associated events called ‘Blood & Ink’ that have been organised by Jane Fordham the painter and Jackie Wills the poet.

Blood & Ink was initially conceived as a development on the working process of Anish Kapoor, in an attempt to understand his ‘fictions’ and how they work, to explore some of his explicit references and to broaden the field. Blood & Ink events are an opportunity to put yourself in the artists place, taking possession of a range of classic myth narratives and exploring them as your own personal source.

Each event is an informal reading with a subliminal trace of performance. They are not all exactly what you would call participatory, but somehow they seem to involve you personally in the interpretation of the narratives. These are far from dry retellings of old stories – each event so far has had a very particular atmosphere, a vitality stemming from the dynamic of the story, reader and listeners combined, they leave you energised and inspired.

Having been to several of these events I get the feeling that they will be responsible for quite a lot of new work from those who have attended.

Last Saturday, watching Ovid being read, coming alive once again after all these centuries, with the power to stop passers-by and quieten small children, to huddle together and be delighted by your own mental imagery, I realised what Fabrica does that is special, and what sets it apart from the majority of galleries.

Fabrica is artist led, it recognises that the arts are fundamentally participatory. The majority of Fabrica’s work is aimed at the artist in you. At Fabrica an exhibition such as AK’s Blood Relations is the focus for a host of process related activities such as ‘Blood & Ink’, that are arguably where the real creativity occurs. Such an approach makes contemporary art extremely personal, you have a stake in it, it is what happens when you engage, right now in the instant, your own individuality with your culture.

When Contemporary Art is approached as a spectator sport, a catalogue of what the great are doing, we all become little more than train-spotters in our own culture, confined to the platform looking for the bookshop.

Strangely enough Ovid is there too.

Blood & Ink details

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