Since my last post, I have been immersed in a kind of summer langueur, taking photographs, avoiding writing and feeling guilty about it. When paper deadlines loom, the internet is, of course, the best distraction. “Oh! I am going to see what Mark Lewis is up to…” Occasionally, one of those screen thoughts will bring about something useful, something thought provoking, something that will activate the will to SAY SOMETHING in writing. My latest discovery was sent to me by Neil Scott, companion of distractions, and provides further evidence of the link between art, shoes and fucking. I say fucking rather than sex, because that is the literal word used in all the examples I have gathered. I suspect that the specific connotations of the word (with all its meanings, even its contradictions) have to be taken into account.
See what I mean? This show, which happened in 2006, involved various artists decorating wedge shoes for charity. The results, at least what I can gather from the website, is not seductive in itself, but I was quite attracted to the subliminal messages of the titles. Perhaps that is just creative energy in full flow, as the artists had very little latitude with the form of the shoe (almost colouring exercise?) but full opportunities with the language accompanying it.
Of course, this initiative further adds to the discussion Mike Press and I were having around disciplinary boundaries, in this case providing an example of crosses between art and design. The tension is evident, and more successfully negotiated in some examples than others. I like Peter Blake’s literal approach, but would only buy and wear Richard Evans’ clever play on popular culture. They would go very well with a dress I have… Sarah Lucas’s, for example, would not work in Glasgow, unless suitably varnished for its perpetual autumn (and that would defeat the purpose of the artist, like the encased Beuys one finds at the Guggenheim). Unless, of course, these shoes were NOT meant for walking but just to satisfy a scopophilic drive. Or a status one (I own a pair of Allen Jones’ boots etc). In the end, I suppose, it is all a matter of context.