My Thirdbase Residency was a chance to develop an ongoing dialogue with a city in which I had never been to before. I arrived blank, immersed myself, walked, photographed, digested, and responded through endless engagement and interpretation. That which continuously manifested was the fragmentation of repetition, trace, wear, edge, and detachment. A city with age and slowness, changing and forgetting itself quickly: deconstructing, reconstructing. I limited myself to intensity of thought, encounter, and reflection – becoming fascinated in nothing ever being the same and everything forever holding more.
The distillation of this began in the construction of four apparently identical canvases with repeated proportion, material, and tone: a series of tiles each painted in the colour of Lisbon’s Calçada Portuguesa limestone cobbles. I decided to make four paintings to match the residency requirement of leaving four works for four rooms. We never saw the rooms, so I chose to give each the seeming same. Through endless discrepancies in constitutional fragments such as structure, tension, and deformation, these however were always their own. Before stretching, the canvases were worked over existing surfaces to pick up an unpredictable yet curated collection of suggestions from my immediate environment. Beyond the surface everything is disparate, even if formed from the same cast. As I repeated my routes, the surrounding sets would forever flux: their context, pace, noise, luminosity – a limitless list. I chose four distinctive colours which drape the city fabric and controlled my use of each to one canvas: blue, green, pink, and yellow. Every day I would begin again by discarding my paints and recreating the next: an intentional move to explore inconsistency in replication. Lisbon has its rough edges, and although attempting to cover up, does so in a patchwork way that remains visible. I wanted this shameless lack of preciousness to come through in my approach by forging tonal collections with their own roughness of decision and chance.
The challenges that I initially experienced from not having the big-city-access of my normal practice transpired into a positive early on by adapting and becoming part of the production itself. The work I present is an abstracted family formed through conversation and separated: an interpreted set of languages from the varied patination and characteristics of Lisbon. They each have a direct relationship to the city and offer fragments of tradition to preserve a hidden tale.