Thoughts on the Studio

TEXT AND IMAGE BY 圖文提供 x Sarah Pettitt 莎拉·佩蒂特

TRANSLATED BY 翻譯 x Yu Chang 于暢

My father has always had many sheds but in particular was a great source of shame. It was constructed entirely out of mismatched planks of wood and built specifically to store other planks of wood. Then one day he bought a boat and I vividly remember its arrival, as plank after plank was carried into the ND7_7070garden and the loving process of its reconstruction began. He has always refers to his boats as his ‘shed on the mud’ and as much as anything he uses it as place to think. I often consider that haphazard shed, which of course I now love, in relation to the studio. My studio is a small unit in a larger building of artists’ studios but if I have to imagine my studio’s outside when I am inside, perhaps it is made of planks of wood. Like the building blocks of my thinking, the order can be changed around but it is the substance of the material that remains vital.


Many artists have built their dream studio and lots have been preserved, from Lord Leighton’s glamorous studio-house complete with its reconstructed Turkish bath and elegant gardens designed to impress to Francis Bacon’s studio which, including the dust was transplanted from its London setting to Dublin. Making the pilgrimage to such studios is always rewarding. The reconstruction of Brancusi’s studio in Paris records how, for the last years of his life, he sought to find the ideal spatial arrangement for his work and how he would replace sold works with plaster casts to prevent the balance from changing. In Cézanne’s studio in Provence near his beloved Mont Sainte-Victoire, his coat still hangs on the wall as if waiting for his return and his objects litter the space – the raw material of so many iconic paintings both inside the studio and in the surrounding landscape. These spaces return to my studio with me and I work with the knowledge of the past seeping into the present.

許多藝術家已經建造出了他們夢想的工作室,很多工作室甚至也被保存至今,其中包括雷頓男爵(Lord Leighton)那所奢華的住宅式工作室,不管是土耳其浴室還是園林都被一一復原,那景致美得讓人歎為觀止;而弗朗西斯·培根(Francis Bacon)的工作室重建更是連工作室裡的塵土都原封不動地從倫敦挪到都柏林。前往這樣的工作室朝聖往往是有益的。康斯坦丁·布朗庫西(Constantin Brancusi)的巴黎工作室重建記錄了他晚年時如何為自己的作品進行最好的陳列,他甚至用石膏模型來填補那些已經出售的作品的空缺來避免打破空間的平衡。塞尚(Cézanne)在普羅旺斯的工作室坐落於他鐘愛的聖維克多山附近,工作室墻上仍舊掛著他的大衣,他的其他物品也散落在工作室各處,仿佛在等待主人的歸來。其用於製作大量代表作的原材料遍布工作室內外。這些藝術家和工作室都深深影響著我。

The local studios I visit are those of my friends, to discuss our work and to support one another in our creative endeavors, for as well as a precious sanctuary, the studio can be home to failure and guilt – like an albatross around the neck. Having a studio is the utmost luxury but also the site of worry and frustration. Similarly I welcome anyone who wants to come and take a look – others’ reaction to my work is always rewarding and fuels new ideas, thoughts and conversation. Recently my friend Robert Rivers has joined me in my studio and so now the atmosphere changes depending on whether we are both there or not. It’s a great help to occasionally have another pair of eyes or particularly another pair of hands and at lunch time we discuss our work.

除了大師的工作室,我也愛拜訪朋友的工作空間,一來可以討論作品,二來也能互相鼓勵,進行各種大膽的嘗試。工作室不僅僅是藝術家的避風港,其實也是接納失敗的地方。擁有自己的工作室其實是奢侈的,但同時也是充滿憂慮和挫敗的地方。我歡迎所有想來參觀的人,因為他人對我作品的反饋往往能激發我新的想法。最近我的朋友羅伯特·理弗斯(Robert Rivers)也加入到我的工作室來,因此工作室氛圍取決於我們兩人是否都在。有別人在場一起工作總是很不一樣的,多雙手幫忙也總是很好的,午餐的時候還能一起討論作品。

I try to keep the studio tidy and to designate certain sections to processes, for example I work with a hot plate and wax in one area, I do woodwork in another and I have a separate section for drawing and sewing which is supposed to remain clean. When I say tidy, I try to keep things ship-shape but usually I get carried away and have everything out, I find it is the best way to continually surprise myself is jumping from one process to another – generally causing havoc. I usually know where everything is at any one time with the exception of the hammer, so I now have three. Part of the reason it can get so cluttered is also because I like to surround myself with my work, like a living sketchbook of ideas, pieces of texture, surface and colour in the form of unfinished smaller works pile up in boxes and trays around me on flat surfaces. I only put things away once I have finished thinking with them but more often than not they get swallowed into new works.


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