As the world distances us, we’re attempting to connect and encourage creativity. Since 2015, the same core group of creators have worked on Kiloran, making for a community of peer to peer appreciation and support. Working our way through the lockdown, we’ve launched an art trade scheme, encouraging creators to give each other a prompt and sharing the output. Up first, Holly Parkinson and Lucy Harbron.
Holly Chose: Venus and Adonis by Cy Twombly (1978)
On her choice:
Cy Twombly- once described as ‘king of the scribbles’- is one of my favourite artists. I find his work expresses a lot of emotion through colours and obvious brushstrokes and marks that give insight into the creative process, even though many of his paintings do not depict any obvious, recognisable objects or scenes. I chose this piece because it has explicit word prompts as well as abstract visuals; Venus and Adonis have their established tale, and a Shakespeare poem, but I wanted to give an opportunity for their story to be explored from a different perspective, and potentially retold.
After Venus and Adonis
Tongue tastes like pearl
like nothing but everything
but the breath of life
as you breathe through your nose
tracing silk with your other senses
all else occupied with pink
mess, slash, painting
but more than painting,
acrylic scent, chemical
by nature, designed by
for you, blue
to peach, swirl
till grey, the colour you see behind your eyes
or if you zone out just enough
exactly the shade of Venus’ skin
and the shell, and the clouds
that your throat begs to rain.
On her piece:
I’d never seen this piece before, but the first thing that struck me what the big pink tongue-like shape. It’s immediately sexual, reminiscent of the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers tongue but with a sense of immediacy and rush. Everything about the piece feels explicit from the connotations of the god of love and desire, to the flesh palette, to the phallic symbols, but I like that there’s a softness to it with the use of pencil. To honour it, I wrote quickly and tried to not stop. I wanted it to be as visceral and sense driven as possible, thinking about colours and attempting to translate some texture into the piece. I like that in the art work you can still see the traces of past drafts and bits that were rubbed out, so I left my piece unedited. Scrappy and sensual, I sat back feeling pretty happy with it.
Lucy Chose: Blue Monochrome by Yves Klein (1961)
On her choice:
Giving someone Yves Klein’s Blue as a writing prompt is a dick move and I’m aware of it. It’s nothing, in some way I may have been better off handing over a blank piece of paper as a prompt, or a rock or something. But I’ve always found that to be the fascinating thing about it. Yves Klein was famous for artistic nothingness with his exhibition Le Vide becoming a famous case of ‘I could do that’ modern art as he displayed absolutely nothing. I love that idea of effort in nothingness, artistic intention injected into nothing but air or a simple primary colour, and that being good enough to qualify. It’s a comforting thought for the artist; anything you say is work, is work. Of his own work, Klein said ‘”What is blue? Blue is the invisible becoming visible. Blue has no dimensions; it is beyond the dimensions of which other colours partake.’ I thought those ideas of visibility in nothingness were really interesting and could make for the type of rich, visual poems that Holly is so great at.
After Klein’s Blue
How many times did you walk past?
Something your mate’s mum could do / your acquaintance’s professor couldn’t beat
distant like Patroclus and present like Adam,
in leather shorts and a white satin shirt
The sign read
“home haircut number 5
fallen marble arches
rose of the night sky”
Over two hundred of them, each marked
‘Female Nude, known as whatever’.
On her piece:
The painting was just blue: I could’ve written about anything, explored the colour itself and its meanings, discussed the thought process of the artist. I chose to write about art galleries themselves- I’m from a household of sceptics, of equating ‘good art’ with looking like a photograph, where ‘anyone could paint that!’ is thrown at anything abstract. But I’m from a university filled with aspiring art dealers and dandies, where art and aesthetics are romanticised. I think the first stanza of my poem alludes to the battle between those two schools. It’s about identity as well: how would one be presented in a gallery? What would the label be on the piece? And how much of my identity as a woman would be absorbed into the other women, nude, painted by men?