For the next Pearls of Wisdom Social Club at Kettle’s Yard, Manor Care Home and new visitor to the club Dom Mulvey explored the cross-over between writing and art, looking at Idris Khan’s ‘Letters’ (2018), in Actions. the image of the world can be different (part 1) as a starting point. The piece is one of 9 pieces by different artists, was created especially for the reopening of Kettle’s Yard. It features stamped extracts from Gabo’s 1944 letter which inspired the title of the show, and Herbert Read’s reply.
The mix between art and writing is fascinating. Roland Barthe, as many students of English Literature may well know – one of Idris Khan’s influences, deconstructs the way words are signs, made up of both image and meaning. I talked through some of the ways I’ve used text as a writer, in art installations and mixed media pieces, plus exhibiting interviews with artists such as Yoko Ono, plus inspirational women in the community as ‘visual writing’.
It’s easy to make your own mixed media works using magazines or newspapers – go for colours or images that catch your eye, or pull out key phrases or words that make you think. Let yourself be guided by a sense of surprise, critique, newness and beauty. We looked at using magazines, glitter, glue, text and images to create mixed media ‘pearls’, to join our interactive art pearl that we used during our last Pearls of Wisdom Postcards project.
Dom loved his mixed media piece, which raises all sorts of questions about what what it means to be a man. ‘I loved the whole club, it was really interesting’, he said, afterwards.
Cambridge Manor had a great time making mixed media pearls, too, layering their own ‘pearls of wisdom’ with mixed media, text, images and words.
Words: Ruthie Collins, Images: Karen Thomas