I have finally finished my degree in Visual Art which has been a full on blast and generated a huge amount of ideas. One idea I had which I haven’t developed (yet), occurred last year during a project on identity. It started as a joke really, when one of my tutors was trying to remember the name of an artist-Jessica Stockholder. He recited a litany of names, not unlike the names Mrs. Doyle reels out when she is trying to Identify Father Unctious in that episode of Father Ted. Jenny Stockingholder took root in my mind and I began to imagine her career. I created a biography for her and included it in an end of semester show, an installation which looked like the aftermath of a whirlwind or explosion (hence the scorch marks). Inspiration included Warhols’ Factory, the Saatchi Gallery, Performance art, Claes Oldenburg…and lots more. Next I will have to create an exhibition for her. Watch this space…
Full text is below if that in the image is too tiny…
Stockingholder first came to prominence with her first major installation at the Lars & Lars Saatchelsen Gallery in Stockholm, years before anyone even knew what an installation was. Tower of Meat, which was, in ironic, postmodern terms, an actual tower of meat, acted as a commentary on the futility of life, the mundanity of desire and our inability to accept our fate and of the mortal bodies ascendancy over the, finally, tethered soul. Around the tower buzzed thousands of flies which had been pierced by tiny harpoons and attached to the pile of rotting offal by Stockingholder’s elderly mother, an expert archer and seamstress. When the Tower of Meat collapsed killing 23, the Saatchelsens’ were charged but fled the country before they could be incarcerated and their whereabouts remains unknown. Stockingholder escaped with a warning. She declared the show a triumph.
Tragedy hounded Stockingholder. Her beloved brother, who shared her studio and with whom she maintained a close relationship, died in a mountaineering accident on the Matterhorn. Stockingholder transmuted her grief into performance. Dressed only in a helmet and crampons and painted yellow she rolled around a meadow until all the flowers were crushed by her by now obese body, displaying her contempt of nature and her belief that man would, in end, triumph over the planet and then ascended the Matterhorn backwards while composing a poem about cement. Stockingholder pronounced the performance a triumph.
A Japanese artist, Daisuke Akiyama, in re-enacting this performance as a tribute, fell to his death some years later as he had mistakenly translated crampons as tampons. Stockingholder hailed the performance as a triumph and welcomed the additional commentary on the difficulties of being a woman in the war against nature.
Latterly Stockingholder has operated out of a space called The Bedsit in a down at heel suburb of Stockholm assisted by a gang colourfully nicknamed Criminals & Scumbags.
One of her more recent pieces involved her occupying a government office for a seven month period, staring down all those who would approach. While some commentators mused that she was waiting for her social welfare cheque Stockingholder hailed the performance as a triumph and indeed it has influenced other artists to attempt similar performances.