October 2013, Gaffa Gallery, Sydney, was the opening night of my debut solo show, “Without Memory, Without Desire”, a partial collection of 365 portraits that I self-modelled for as a daily practice from April 2012- April 2013.
Here is a write-up of what this collection of portraits is all about.:
In the Tendai sect of Buddhism, Japanese monks engage in a daily spiritual practice that involves running a punishing distance of more than 50 miles every morning for a number of years. Clad in white, and carrying only a rope and a short sword, the monk vows to kill himself if he cannot finish his daily circuit for any reason.
Moved by the concept of such a radical path to enlightenment, I made a vow to create one self-portrait per day for a year. Being at the mercy of the fates when it came to time, availability of art materials, and the volatile states of personhood, the only rule I abided by is that the portraits had the right to come into existence. The only way to fail was not to produce one.
Where the creative process is often depicted as being ruled by the fleeting forces of passion and inspiration, I wanted to explore the role of repetition. Where art is often relegated to the realm of the great and mysterious, I wanted to take it down to the routine and mundane in the hope of discovering what rushes in to fill the void when passion and inspiration are not present.
British psychoanalyst, Wilfred Bion, believed that the best way to listen to a patient was “without memory, desire, or understanding’- all of which set the stage for the formation of misleading preconceptions. So, too, was my goal in these 365 repetitions: to train the mind to be free from the influence of memory, and the desire for a specific outcome.