1 February 2015

Elizabeth Price Talk at Zabludowicz

Elizabeth Price User Group Disco 2009

I don't remember ever being at an artist's talk before which focussed so much on practice - often I find they stray onto this exhibition, and then I did that exhibition, and so on, but Price shared the core concerns of her work and her processes. She talks as intensely and intelligently as her works, and is an example of why artists must go through years of education - all those thoughts and ideas are fully articulated in her thinking and her films. The videos are complex, and it's wonderful to hear an artist so articulately dissect abstract ideas.

The audience was clearly mostly artists and art students, including probably a lot of video makers, and so it was a privilege that Price shared a few screen shots of her desktop working process. Every artist and video artist must necessarily deal with mountainous waves of material, and organise them in a way that makes sense and is workable. Probably everyone has to invent their own methodology and it reveals something about the process of thinking and computation, in Price's case keeping in all the unused layers in the film files.

Price's career was a slow burner - years of admin work supporting not really getting there in art. The true inspiration is that she kept at it and latterly started to make the work she really wanted to no matter what. Surely that's got to be every artist's real goal, to make art like you mean it. Often it strays into an intellectual exercise or a groove carved out by the Zeitgeist. The balance between art and career is never really perfect - an artist may strive for years to get work shown properly, only to achieve some success and have different pressures which make it seem that the career is riding the artist. How attractive other people's problems seem!

Issues familiar to contemporary digital artists are rites and copyright - very thorny and grey.

I overheard a few of the audience later discussing the talk, and how Price had been banging on about The Woolworths Choir of 1979 2012 for the last few years, which seems like very paradoxical criticism considering that piece is her best known, won her the Turner prize, and is a seminal example to dissect in explaining her methods of working. Clearly you can't please all the artists all the time.

Elizabeth Price 
Master Class
Zabludowicz Collection
30th January 2015


Elizabeth Price


1st February 2015

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