What is is

Stayed the night at Ovada. Found the space, or lack of space, initially hard to look at – visual territories feeding back in the creative secretion – enmasse – of structures, surfaces, shapes, spaces, materials, colour, questions and problems.


I had brought: a large rug; 86 plaster bricks – photo etched with texts; an obsession with labyrinths; and, a desire to lay out the foundations of one.

The plaster cast bricks with blind suggestions play with boundaries of sense and nonsense, and refer obliquely to Schwitters’ work with language, word and sound. Replace the ‘l’ in ‘la la la la la la’ with a ‘d’ and you get ‘da da!’ (said with intonation of presenting an award). This blurring of meaning and intention seems to echo a thought on the collaborative edges being explored and enquired of in What Is Done Cannot Be Undone.IMG_9836

In my state of sensory overload I was slightly relieved that the only available floor space for my intended architectonic structure was in a far-reaching corner of the constructed space so far. I noticed a contrast between the shifting vagueness of the text and the solidity of the building material used to construct a labyrinth that obeyed laws of harmony, symmetry, balance, and the hidden principle of the centre.



Labyrinth symbolism seemed increasingly relevant. I like the references to journeys into the underworld and out again. These cyclic journeys of death and rebirth could describe aspects of the artistic and collaborative processes being played out at Ovada.



I am amused now by realising that my desire for order and aesthetic balance prompted me to construct something with clear pathways that ironically lead straight to a Minotaur? I’ll leave the moon bull symbolism for now, along with some of the psychological analysis that this show has raised, and provide a possible subtitle for What Is Done Cannot be Undone.

Pauline Smith

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