Laura Gonzalez

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August dream — 20 Aug 2009

I have a hip injury which nibbles at my walking and does not let me carry handbags that are bigger than clutches. I have tried everything from painkillers to rest. I have put the memory foam mattress on and off without much change. I still think it is either psycho-somatic (Neil’s bet) or a problem with alignment (my haunch). As a desperate measure, I bought a new pillow, a squarish uncomfortable looking, orthopedic thing that works best if one sleeps on one’s back – which I am not keen on, but perhaps should, for the sake or straight walking. It must have reminded me of my psychoanalyst’s couch for, the first night I slept on it I had the following dream:

I was walking in a street in the centre of Bilbao (although it could have been Madrid) when I noticed, inside a shop, that my analyst was giggling. The shop was a kind of psychology enterprise but looked suspiciously like a clothes repair shop, with a counter up front and people working behind it. In the dream, I am shocked at the discovery and can’t believe my eyes. I walk back and front in front of the shop, trying for the analyst not to see me but wanting to know more about the scene. He does not see me. Meanwhile, in the street, there is a fight going on outside a car. It is a very violent fight, involving a man and a woman. By far, the woman is the most aggressive.

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Indautxu, Bilbao

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Managing Creativity: Exploring the Paradox — 19 Aug 2009

We are in the last throws of preparing the texts for the forthcoming ‘Managing Creativity: Exploring the Paradox’, a book edited by Barbara Townley and Nic Beech, published by Cambridge University Press. I contributed a chapter on my favourite lemon squeezer. After writing a code of practice for work, various course reports, three chapters of my PhD thesis and a number of articles for a Spanish tendencies webzine, tackling a specialist, yet broad audience was a breath of fresh air.

I liked participating in something that is beyond my PhD, something that the degree will hopefully enable me to do more of, and more often. I like writing. I like writing books, even. I will go as far as to say that I like the publishing process despite editors, going over words time and time again and working with writing done over two years ago. Publishing is not for the faint hearted, or the impatient. Neither is writing, I am finding out. I am going to contradict myself: I hate writing, but I like to have written and seeing the cover of the book, with the title of my chapter and my name next to it (its accent in the right place) brought me that proud feeling, that well-being.

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All the more because, as I mention in my chapter, I am coming into this as an outsider. I am a fine artist, writing about a design piece for a book on management. Of course I wasn’t sure about it but I followed my friend Glyn’s advice: when you are starting, never say no. To anything. I was lucky that the team that edited the book have been very supportive and have done an excellent job. They were very kind to strangers. And from that position, one I know very well (because I constantly seek it), I have been able to produce something I am quite happy with, as it gives an outlet to a bit of research that, sadly, did not have any place in the 40,000 words of my PhD. Still, readers will find my usual obsessive self in my words; there is also seduction, psychoanalysis and admiration of a creative piece of design that I am very happy to own.

With thanks to Charlotte who bought Juicy Salif for me when I left my last job and told me about her shopping experience, which partly inspired the chapter.

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Perfect Lovers Glasgow — 13 Aug 2009

My favourite work of art, the one I would save in the event of a world catastrophe, is on show at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art until 1 November. I did not know about this, I found it by chance, and mistake, while I was going to the public Library (which is just in its basement). I couldn’t believe it was there. It is an uncanny work, one I recognise as familiar (clocks are everywhere) yet strange (two clocks, together, going at the same time?). It is displayed in precise surroundings to provoke exactly this but I found, this time round, an added layer of humanity.

When I saw the work at the Serpentine, I could not tear my eyes off it. The clocks were completely synchronous, to the very second, and anything like that –synchronised swimming, for example– captures my attention, puts me in a trance. When I thought about saving the work from natural disaster, the idea of reproducing it in my kitchen came about. I scoured the internet, found reasonable enough clocks, bought them, displayed them. I did not think much of it until they started telling the time apart. I thought it was due to the cheap make but GoMA’s installation made me realise that eternal synchronicity, in art, life and specially love, is impossible. The clocks were a few seconds apart. No doubt, they will join hands again in the future but each is an entity. The perfection lies, partly, in the imperfection. Phew.

The explanation for what happened at the Serpentine can be found in Felix González-Torres’ other works. It is well known that viewers can eat his candy installations, and that these have an ideal weight (usually his and his lover’s put together). The sweets are replenished over night and I suspect the clocks are synched too. Perfection in love is an illusion, a spell cast over viewers. I felt much closer to Glasgow’s Perfect Lovers and I will rescue my kitchen clocks from their unfair exile and let them tell me the time they want.

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An artist reflects on an artist’s Biennale — 10 Aug 2009

Wonderful! Arttra have published my thoughts on the 53rd Venice Biennale here.

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RIP John Hughes — 7 Aug 2009

Yes, another RIP. I skipped Merce Cunningham’s because I thought I would get a reputation. You see, self consciousness has been on a high, lately, due to my creative writing (this endless chapter 3) and the fact that, this week, two people greeted me with ‘hey, I was showing your blog to my wife…’ I have emo tendencies, but this does not mean that I need to drive my 4 new readers (friends + wives) away. So I am keeping my RIPs to a minimum but, boy, this story about John Hughes made me want to say something. He was not my favourite director. I grew up in the 80s, yes, but not in the UK, which meant that I never saw the Breakfast Club. More importantly, John Hughes made my husband’s favourite film (’Planes, Trains and Automobiles’), which he shared with me, which we learned by heart together and through which I fell in love with him. We have this running joke that he is the Neal Page of our relationship and I proudly fit Del Griffith’s shoes (’Well, you think what you want about me; I’m not changing. I like… I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. ‘Cause I’m the real article. What you see is what you get.’)

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It was sad to read in the post I linked to above, how John Hughes thought Hollywood killed John Candy (who reminds me of my funny uncle a lot, and I like them both). It is probably true and I applaud Hughes’ decision to abandon his film career in the name of principles, for the future of his kids. There should be more people around who take these difficult decisions because life, as he now knows, is only one, and it goes away pretty quickly. There should also be more people around who write letters and maintain a private correspondence, people who read, listen, consider and reply, like John Berger did to Belen. Off to find my Basildon Bond. I know it is still procrastination from that damned chapter 3, but at least it is more worthwhile than playing Solitaire. Anyone up for bringing letter writing back into fashion?

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.