Filmed Saturday 5 September 2020 at Messums Wiltshire
Eight dancers took to the stage at for a new performance ‘Geometry of Fear’ choreographed by our Performance Associate Anthony Matsena.’Geometry of Fear’ is a term coined by the critic Herbert Read in 1952 to describe the work of a group of young British sculptors characterised by tortured, battered or blasted looking human. Although not initially Elisabeth Frink came to be a part of this dynamic.
The work Anthony produced was made in response to the repercussions of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the creative energy of Elisabeth Frink’s output and her recreated Woolland Studio, during it’s installation at Messums Wiltshire.
In July 2020 Gommie joined us in the historic Elisabeth Frink Studio in a day residency where he worked on his spoken poetry and visual artworks. Here he recites ‘Elisabeth Frink’ a poem inspired by her legacy.
In one of the first artistic responses to the current global climate we have seen, these new works are a seismograph to the silent rumblings of our connected thoughts and feelings, transcribed into a visual tapestry of poetic form. Known for roaming from place to place on foot Gommie’s practice is centred around using the poem as a vehicle for weaving together individual and national notions picked up on these journeys.
When Elisabeth Frink’s studio was reconstructed Messums made the decision to open it up to established artists and emerging talents, inviting artists into what was her space and making it their own. The first person to enter the studio was Gommie. His new works are a seismograph to the silent rumblings of our connected thoughts and feelings, transcribed into a visual tapestry of poetic form.
The aim of the studio’s creative legacy is not to replicate Frink’s legacy but to create a living studio for our artists to use, where new voices are added to the conversation.
For this reason, Gommie was an excellent artist to be the first to use the studio. Although Gommie and Frink both explore the darker side of humanity, Gommie does this in a more playful and theatrical manner. In a time of not only a national upheaval but also global. Gommie’s work attests to humanity. He says, ‘I’m riding the waves of the present moment and it feels right.’ During his time in the studio, he created a poetic artwork called ‘Increase’ which mentioned Elisabeth Frink and explored the notion of bettering oneself.
He is the voice of so many in the millennial generation and is a prime example of how the studio should promote the new rather than recreate the past. Messums hopes to continue on this same trajectory even after the studio has found a permanent home beyond the tithe barn at Messums Wiltshire.
“I see all my work as simply marking time. Be it with words or colour. That can be a political calamity, any person I meet saying something funny or moving, or me simply being lost (which is often). I try not to think about the broader meanings too much. I just try and be present with every map. If it moves me – it goes on the map.”
Taking government sanctioned daily walks Gommie began mapping out the shape of our new way of life. Noting fragments of language coming to the fore and engaging more with life online. “I had some beautiful and hilarious conversations with people from all over the world about their experiences of lockdown. I realised how romantic so many of us are. How funny and silly and poetic we all have the ability to remain during abrupt change.”
In a global moment of disruption and adaption Gommie’s work attests to our humanity. He says, ‘I’m riding the waves of the present moment and it feels right.’