Beggars Teeth

Thank you to all who came along to view the Exhibition, and participated in the Performance Discussions. Here is some documentation from the events at The Project Glasgow Room.

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The Project Room…


Artists Talk in the Gallery 2pm Wednesday 3rd May -Fiona Robertson will give an informal talk about her painting Exhibition and the Project.

Performances and Panel Discussion – Thursday 4th of May

Carrie Skinner – Performance throughout gallery opening hours

Steven Anderson – Performance will be at 6.15pm

A Panel Discussion with the three Artists and Panel Discussion will be from 7.00pm-8.00 pm chaired by Professor Carl Lavery

‘Beggars Teeth’ is a project The Glasgow Project Room during the week 29th April – 6th May 2017. The event will culminate in a panel discussion on Thursday night, preceded by two performances and an exhibition of paintings during the week. This site will document the conversations of the three Artists involved – Steven Anderson, Carrie Skinner, and Fiona Robertson, in the lead up to the Exhibition, Performance and Discussion.

Expressionistic, neo-expressionist and surrealist themes and figures have been consistently influential in Glasgow art over the past 40 years; this influence has, however, been overshadowed by the emergence of a post-modern critique of Expressionism and related movements. In the 1980s and 1990s there was a significant, international trend away from expressive and romantic art and towards neo conceptualism, relational aesthetics, abstraction, decoration and process based painting. In recent years, with metaphysical questions about originality, subjectivity and spiritual transcendence reemerging in an increasingly digital culture, a number of artists have begun to re-engage with the expressionistic and neo-expressionistic lexicon. It is within this revivified debate and engagement with expressionism and related movements, in Glasgow and internationally, that ‘Beggar’s Teeth’ aims to situate itself.

The writings and work of Antonin Artaud are heavily influential within this discourse, and constitute the most significant theoretical source for the project. The title ‘Beggars Teeth’ is a quotation of his, referring to the limits of spoken word. Looming large in Artaud’s life was the distinction between art as what he terms “the esthetic simulation of reality” and art as “…the scrapings of the soul” These distinctions and relations between artifice and art, the representation and the expression of reality – the nature of and limits of expression – are themes key to the project.


10.10.2017, Berlin

Remembering a meeting 2 weeks ago;

Something about hands, disembodied.

Something about film, and its time.

Something about paintings, and their durational display.

Something about duration, and layering of time.

Something about the invigilator, and their vigil.

Something about amateurism, and its economy of means.

Something about cheap tricks.

Something about space, the enclosed strange space of a painting.

Something about space, the enclosed strange space of a performance.

References and Links;

Cadavre exquis

Realist Magic, Timothy Morton

The entire text is interesting, p24. jumps out after another skim read following the meeting:

Paintings have always been made of more things than humans. They have

been made of paint, which is powdered crystals in some medium such as egg

white or oil. Now when you put the painting on the wall, it also relates to the

wall. A fly lands on it. Dust settles on it. Slowly the pigment changes despite

your artistic intentions. We could think of all these nonhuman interventions

as themselves a kind of art or design. Then we realize that nonhumans

are also doing art all the time, it’s just that we call it causality. But when

calcium crystals coat a Paleolithic cave painting, they are also designing, also

painting. Quite simply then, the aesthetic dimension is the causal dimension,

which in turn means that it is also the vast nonlocal mesh that floats “in

front of” objects (ontologically, not physically “in front of”).


Themes that emerged from our initial conversation were absence and presence and trace and time, the documentation of time passing. There is hermetic aspect of the painting, that it exists always in the past, that it is “dead” its meaning sealed. Yet on the other hand it is infinitely indexical in its history that relates to photography image screen, the bodily fluid, performance of making.

In collaboration I am hoping to test the limitations of this. How does Carries sending footage of the original renaissance painting being viewed, reinvigorate the relationship to painting? This notion of the painting existing as an entity has come to the fore and is something that I was playing with in my most recent work Ventilator, where the painting is animated and has a voodoo power over the girl.

Dead Christ Supported by Mary and Saint John Evangelista

An inspiration for my film work is the Italian experimental  theatre collective Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio (SRS).The Theatre of Societas Raffaella Sanzio is a collection of production notes and interviews and notes reflections on process and is an inspiration to using this blog toward a publication rather than more conventional commentary.


The Theatre of Societas Raffaello Sanzio Paperback – 6 Nov 2007by Joe Kelleher (Author), Nicholas Ridout (Author), Claudia Castellucci (Author), Chiara Guidi (Author), Romeo Castellucci

Examples of their sets…


 A photograph from On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God with renaissance portrait Antonello da Messina


Stills from VENTILATOR,there is an animation sequence in film I made a painting for this was the inspiration for ‘beggarsteeth’


Ventilator 6min 35 secs – Synopsis

Ventilator is set in two locations in Scotland; a derelict ventilation system on a rooftop in the city of Glasgow and a beach on the Ayrshire coast. This short experimental video comprises of a mixture of animation and filmed work, with the two protagonists- a woman and a masked, distorted man, encountering and being encountered by a variety of objects, mundane and foreign, many with motive-force of their own. The film is edited to be fragmentary and non-linear, with scenes dissolving and elements collapsing and bleeding into one another. Land art, totemic heads, and the repeated emergence and disintegration of masks throughout the piece represents not a cryptography for the audience to decipher, but an invitation to engage within the ‘logic of sensation’.

This is a link to view Green Head the spoken  text is from Artaud’s 50 Drawings to Murder Magic.greenhead

 Studio meeting   05.03.17

studio 2small.jpg

We talked about a  sense of ‘presence’ in the paintings. In a Steven’s work the performance will literally make a live experiment-a living painting . He will implicate the viewer in the paintings,  positioning  the audience ‘inside’  the painting by using their own clothes to replicate the predicament of the painted figures shrouded in paint.This reminded me of how De Kooning talked about no- environments for the woman paintings, he asked are they spaces for the sculptures to inhabit. The figures as swaddled in the space, I see them as trapped. This sense of metaphysical and existential space is really core, trapped by the gesture, brush stroke or squidgy, fragmented bodies un able to move. link to DeKooning article talks about no-environment .

Where is the woman sitting; what is behind her; what are the names of her appurtenances?

At first Woman was sitting indoors in a chair. Then a window-shape at the upper right established a wall and distance—but she could have been outside a house as well as inside, or in an inside-outside porch space. This state of anonymous simultaneity (not no-specific-place but several no-specific-places) is seen more clearly in the few “objects” which appeared, then disappeared around the seated figure. De Kooning claims that the modern scene is “no-environment” and presents it as such. To make his point, he opened a tabloid newspaper and leafed through its illustrations. There was a politician standing next to an arched doorway and rusticated wall, but remove the return of the arch—the wall might be a pile of shoe boxes in a department store, or “nothing.” The outdoor crowd scene with orators on the roof of a sound truck could be the interior of Madison Square Garden during a prize-fight. The modern image is without distinct character probably because of the tremendous proliferation of visual sensations which causes duplicates to appear among unlikes. The Renaissance man saw and visualized, let us say n things. Today, fed by still, cinema and television cameras, we experience n to the 100th power, and, of course, the ns become similar because our brains become numb to their differences. Distinctions weaken. Finally the environment of the modern artist—the objects which he names in his pictures—appertains to the pictures only. The decision is neither one of purification or narcissism—it is, in its way, social comment.

But note that the reasoned lack of identity of objects adds another major ambiguity to the painting—each object is purposefully shown as liable to many interpretations.

‘The Renaissance man saw and visualized, let us say n things. Today, fed by still, cinema and television cameras, we experience n to the 100th power, and, of course, the ns become similar because our brains become numb to their differences. Distinctions weaken. Finally, the environment of the modern artist—the objects which he names in his pictures—appertains to the pictures only. The decision is neither one of purification or narcissism—it is, in its way, social comment.’

We discussed how thought of paintings as sound. What sound would the yellow one make?

A couple of articles related to Artaud’s sound work and ideas…

The first focuses on his late radio play. To Have done with the judgement of God


Artaud’s last work was an audio piece called To Have Done With The Judgment Of God (Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu), and it proved to be equally unpopular, at least with some very important people. Commissioned by Ferdinand Pouey, head of the dramatic and literary broadcasts for French Radio in 1947, the work was written by Artaud after he spent the better part of WWII interned in an asylum where he endured the worst of his treatment. The piece is as raw and emotionally naked as you might expect –an anguished rant against society. A raving screed filled with scatological imagery, screams, nonsense words, anti-American invectives and anti-Catholic pronouncements.

The piece (above) was slated to air on January 2, 1948 but station director Vladimir Porché yanked it at the last moment. Apparently, he wasn’t terribly fond of the copious references to poop and semen nor the anti-American vitriol. Porché’s rejection caused a cause célèbre among Parisian intellectuals. René Clair, Jean Cocteau and Paul Éluard among others loudly protested the decision, and Pouey even resigned from his job in protest, but to no avail. It never aired. Artaud, who reportedly took the rejection very personally, died a month later. You can listen to the broadcast above. And, in case your French isn’t up to snuff, you can still appreciate its theatrical elements, maybe while reading an English translation of the radio play script here.

The second PDF a_cruel_sound_part_1_antonin_artauds_son A Cruel Sound: Part 1, Antonin Artaud’s sonic iconography by Kristian Derek Ball doesn’t really start discussing sound till the 3rd page.

Thinking about the painting as both live and dead.

Talked about the activity of painyting as performance ,painting as trace.

The limitations of the frame as pictorial space, beginning end exist in the same place.

Representation and presentation, performing, concealing, illusion the limitation of surface

Paintings are dead?  The live action captured dies.

I am interested in Artaud’s duality and applying this to the paintings, all happen simultaneously.

Concealing and Revealing

Dry brush and high gloss

Fast and Slow

Gesture and control

Near and far

Close and far

Body, whole and fragmented

Alive and dead

The problems of representation of history we talked about It lead me back to thinking of some  familiar problems with painting, it’s seductive nature and the inevitable entanglement in its histories. Forced into game of representing and illusions.

The language of these histories from Renaissance restaging of reality in staged portraits and religious scenes.

Revisiting Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio .

A bit about control, schism balance of control and letting go improvisation links in painting and music

We talked about the audience experiencing the painting in a new way through the performance, as if they are in the painting.

10.03.2017, Gemäldegalerie Berlin

the walking, the rhythm,the glossy parquet, the a-tonal hum, the bench, the pause.

they loop, they relay, they cough, they pass time.

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password: beggarsteeth


The painting and all videos reminded me of two books I enjoyed Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and How to be Both by Ali Smith; in both books the narrative evolves around painting. How to be Both is split into interchangeable halves – I was most reminded of the half that begins with a disembodied spirit being wrenched up through the earth to find itself, invisible and inaudible, in a museum gallery, staring at the back of a boy looking at a painting. The painting is the work of the spirit itself, made back when it was Francesco del Cossa, an artist in 15th-century Ferrara. The “boy”, reappears about 150 pages later, and is intact a girl named George living in present-day Cambridge.

In the painting the head is cut, inducing the sensation of being watched from within the painting.The surface of the painting is heavily varnished. It makes the painting appear somewhat 3 dimensional, with the more organic visceral paint encapsulated in a solid glossy block; this further emphasized my feeling of a non-corporeal spectatorship.This idea/sensation is carried through in the first two videos that follow.

There is a strong sense of framing and flattening /distortion of space achieved through in the compositions. An awareness of time passing is heightened by the almost still images.

The overall affect is that the viewer is a disembodied figure hovering in the gallery space. This sensation conveyed in the videos is reminiscent of flying in a dream or treading water. In the first video. Confronted by head on, there is a sense that the painting – and in some ways, the viewer themselves – is a live, fluid matter, enclosed and restricted by the multiple frames.

The paintings have a powerful presence in the videos, there is a sense of slow and fast time and of the paintings as “alive” within and between these contexts. The material of the painting seems in contrast to the architecture of the space. Even the people, depicted as generic body parts, look flat and digital in the film, with the paintings themselves seeming more alive. The videos foreground the idea of the gallery audience as being choreographed by the positioning of the paintings, the sparse gallery setting and furniture. In the video and photo, it appears that the paintings are watching the spectators as much as the audience are viewing the paintings. The audience behaviour seems controlled or restricted; almost as if the audience is performing to the artwork, rather than vice-versa.


I see the long time of the artist’s intensely looking to make an illusion of intensely looking that is uncanny and disturbing and challenges me to see. A portrait bust held in an architecture of shapes from the dark triangle pointing down to the top of the dark angled cylinder is such a precise geometric composition. And it is framed and framed and framed.

I see echoes of body position and white collars modelled by, painting one, invigilator, painting two. What do the white collars and the white painted woodwork stand for beyond a compositional device. While the collar and the skirting is fresh, it is visual evidence that the flesh is not decomposing; the bodily material is optimum and will remain for as long as we value it.

I see patterns of behaviour, an action repeated to make a balanced geometry with a purposeful finish. Angles of moving bodies at a pace tentatively steadier than the rate of doing anything, but faster than passive or waiting to receive something. The movement is dictated by prescribed behaviour and I wonder if the static bodies in the paintings ask us to be like them or with them in a delusion of immortality.

07.04.2017 – VIVISECTION, Berlin

the long time of the artist’s intensely looking

I remembered it takes time. Intensely looking for the thing to surface.

an action repeated

I remembered I’ve been here before. In this space. Had I forgotten? I performed here. What was there? There was a box, there was a magician, there was a glass of water, there was another magician, there was another glass of water. And there was a disco track. It was a trick. So now an iteration? What are the differences? “how different differences get made, what gets excluded, and how those exclusions matter.” (Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway)

the movement is dictated by prescribed behaviour

I remembered to look for the fixed circumstances. You forgot it is only ever reaches something you might call successful when it comes out of what you perceive to be the specifities of the situation. (of course now you’re reading Karan Barad on Niels Bohr is improving and complicating an understanding that the entanglements of agencies and empiricism of the objects of investigation, in this case-) What are the specificities of the situation?

Temporal conditions of the painting/temporal conditions of a performance.
Duration cannot become about endurance (that is not my road). “no singular point marks the beginning and the end” (Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway)

A place where I’ve done something before.
I’m already a ghost.

a disembodied spirit being wrenched up through the earth to find itself, invisible and inaudible

I had not forgotten about ghosts. What if I get in the box? What if I perform to an audience I don’t know are there? What if I perform to an audience that don’t know I’m there. An absent presence. Enclosing and burying myself. (being watched from within the painting)



“I waken out of this forgetfulness very quickly. In great haste, I reconstitute a memory, a confusion. A (classic) word comes from the body, which expresses the emotion of absence: to sigh: “to sigh for the bodily presence”: the two halves of the androgyne sigh for each other, as if each breath. being incomplete, sought to mingle with the other: the image of the embrace, in that it melts the two images into a single one: in amorous absence, I am, sadly, an unglued image that dries, yellows, shrivels.”

(on the absent object and the active practice of absence, from Roland Barthes, ‘A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments’ p13-17)

I see layers of atmospheres

drama of bound absorption

architectural structures precariously built and superseded

skins holding just

toxic gases and gases of disintegrated skins

thick air

agent acid yellow

liquid become reluctant solid as illusion of distance on a surface

archeology of moving to make a release

material components resisting and submitting to painting

people unformed not actualised and fading

the negative of a refracted light from sun moon lighthouse

the belly of the land mother of a goddess cult

The painting being multilayered brings embedded evidence of people bound by internal conflict as a result of external conflict, emotionally withdrawn and atmospheric, consumed by human construction.
The possibility of expression within this multiple layered binding is uncertain.
Where do we go from here with the people whose physical emotional trace is gathered together and held by the world created by the artist.
Do we go with them, as implicated to acknowledge them with empathy, but as with the two figures who try to kiss or who hold a dramatic almost mouth connection for the cinematographer’s eyes.
If it wasn’t for the material skins and airs of the paint we could take the compositional perspective of the camera person but instead our own dermal layer and inner surface of the lungs see it clearer.

Link for video of agent orange

Link to Margaret Curtis archeologist and expert on Callanish

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An imagined performance score based on the yellow painting with three faces.

reduction of performance score using yellow painting as topography

reduction of performance score using yellow painting as topography

Translation from Demofilo (excerpt)

Translation from Demofilo (excerpt)

In the translation, the author of the poem, regarding a flamenco dancer, recounts a series of overlapping, contradictory impressions; love, death, unity, separation, and the defining lines between artist and audience. The classic symbolism in the piece – with the author regarding himself alternately as a bull, or a vessel- is juxtaposed with the introduction of oddly modern themes; as the poem goes on, the author seems to question not only his own emotions, but the nature of performance, and even personhood itself.

This is of evident relevance to the project, and raises interesting questions about the historicity of our subject matter; whilst existing as concrete movements and practices, expressionism and surrealism arguable existed long before the 20th century, insofar as the themes and issues they confront are questions for the whole process of art itself. The contradictions of, and within, mimesis is in the poem laid bare through a bucolic, almost idyllic scene – traditional dance, trees, tea, a lover regarding his beloved. But the movement of the piece trends towards conclusions posed by some of the most harshly ‘modern’ of artists – is expression ever possible? Is the most we can hope for in approaching expressionistic art, like the author of Flamenco, a successful transference of our own expression onto the art we view? Is art truly a process through which individuals are united, or is that unity simply a shallow reflection of the internal dynamics at work in the mind of the viewer?

Another aspect of this is the role of the translator him/herself. This quote from Walter Benjamin’s The Task of the Translator seems apt in considering both the translation of the text and also the performance that could be perceived as a type of translation.

‘so that just as language and revelation are joined without tension in the original, the translation must write literalness with freedom in the shape of an interlinear version’

Even if all these – challenging- questions are true, however, does it alter the significance or importance of expression – a force we can still feel eight centuries on from the genesis of the piece in question.

Notes on seeing paintings – statements of meaning

the ‘figures’ exist trapped between the painted space

the paint in thin layers without oil making a surface of dry atmospheres

paintings of copies of photos of films of people start in representing impulse to present a platform for improvisation

to create an atmosphere kin to the environment painted

to put the person in the place of an actor or

to control

Anyway, a painting is a score from a particular perspective, left to right or bottom to top for potential sound to surround in dry thin layers and scratches

An idea – Dry obscured air as visual obstruction – a well of sound, layered in yellow with blue scratches and red


Post 3



agent orange





nauman playing note on violin






nauman square

13.04.-20.03.2017, SITUATIONS, Berlin


One chair, not quite in the middle of the room

Portable hi-fi (playing –?)

Carrie, dancing (a specific routine? Something more like marking out or blocking steps)

Costume, two piece dinner suit and bow tie (tap shoes?)

Lighting, disco light (–? constantly on)

Music playing (1 song, looped)

Carrie is dancing around the room

Someone enters

The music stops (Carrie holds remote control discreetly)

Carrie runs to the chair, sits and remains there

They look at the exhibition

They exit

The music starts

Carrie stands and continues to dance

What do you do when they look at you and wait for you to do something?
Eyes on the door? Eyes on the music? Make eye contact? Tempting to ‘do’ something when seated, like speak a text etc. but the thing’s clarity is its action/no action and must be kept distinguished.

What do you do if/when someone else enters the room?
Stay in the chair and fix the ‘rule’ to the person that came in first, so if the second person is still in the room when the first person exits they will see dancing. Resetting the ‘rule’ so the music stops when the third person comes in and so on.

OR never dance when anyone in the room, this could mean a lot of sitting later in the day when it is busier. But the disco light, the costume and the visibility of the Portable hi-fi should hold the scene in suspense/retain energy?

OR find another audience related trigger not entrance/exit but still about thresholds/transitions, eg. When someone stands in front of a specific painting…?

What do you do if they turn around and come back in?
Start/stop, this will be a lot of fun.

What if it is a cardboard box and not a chair?
The chair is still linked to the gallery space (the invigilator) but the box is…concealment/revelation/transformation? Would you close over the lid of the box? Would you put out a hand and wave when they leave? Would you open and get out of the box with a ‘show’ something like a party popper, that leaves a mark and will build up and layer.

What if you don’t wear a ‘costume’ or wear another costume?
Why have you chosen a dinner suit? Something from another situation of transition? No costume but one item/accessory? The ghost again?

What if there is no music?
Just the action/trigger between performer and audience.

OR replacing the music with something else – tap dancing rhythm/telephone ringing/field recording (from preview?)

OR still music but inverted – dancing to silence, sitting to music

OR not a whole song but a looped section of a song

OR lots of songs (more fun for me)

OR a field recording playing constantly through another source, and the music starts/stops over this, adding to the scene in suspense with disco light and costume.

OR a song from another genre, getting away from disco.

SONGS (about waiting/time/something is going to happen/transform)

Pointer Sisters, I’m So Excited

Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive (could be amazing but TOO much about doors?)

Gloria Gaynor, Never Can Say Goodbye

Bee Gees, Night Fever

Donna Summer, Hot Stuff


Cardboard box, almost middle but slightly closer to the door

Carrie in the box, lid closed

Someone enters the room

Carrie’s hand comes through top of box, waves


Cardboard box, almost middle but slightly closer to the door

Carrie in the box, lid closed with hi-fi, light machine and party poppers

Someone enters the room

Carrie’s hand comes through top of box, set off party popper

Music and lights start and continues until end or until someone new comes in (– stop music, set off popper, start music)


Cardboard box, almost middle but slightly closer to the door

Carrie in the box, lid closed with hi-fi, light machine and balloons/helium canister

Someone enters the room

Music and lights start

White balloon on a string and Carrie’s hand comes through top of box

Music continues until end then letting go of balloon or until someone new comes in (– stop music, let go of balloon, start music)