We interview artists Simon Linington and William Mackrell about their current exhibition at MOCA London; a must see before it closes next week.
Simon Linington and William Mackrell often work collaboratively, experimenting with activities that test their physical ability and measure their limitations.
For their latest exhibition, Linington and Mackrell have hand drawn the markings of the MOCA London gallery floor on to paper – tracing the history of the gallery, and the people who have passed through it. This full scale work now hangs from the gallery ceiling.
What first sparked the idea of FLOOR?
S: Earlier in the year we exhibited a number of relics from our performances alongside video documentation at the Arts Gallery, London. We were talking about what kind of show it might have been, had we not presented any of the video documentation. This got us on to thinking about how we might present something that reveals our way of working, without the process having been seen by the viewer.
W: Yes, it was the residue of our actions we decided to focus on. We started talking about the activities that had taken place in our studio and the traces they had left behind. On the floor there were beer stains, paint drops and scrapes; we decided to record this as a full-scale part drawing, part rubbing.
In August I showed, ‘Our Studio Floor’ along with other new collaborative work to Angela. She immediately focused on to this particular work with real excitement and from there we started to discuss the show for MOCA London.
The praticle side of this must have been very difficult - not only time-consuming but also negotiating the style of the mark-making. How did you go about it?
S: In the beginning we spent a day or so trying out a number of different graded pencils and paper. We wrongly assumed that a softer pencil would pick out more detail and eventually settled on a 2H, or was it an H?
These early test pieces were quite rough, and very noticeably Will’s or mine. We didn’t think it was necessary to make them indistinguishable from one another, but then we decided they should look more similar.
W: First we looked at drawing in one direction across a page, but we quickly found that to tease out the relief of the floor we needed to change the pencil direction all the time. So we agreed on maneuvering the pencil around the various marks and bumps in quite a free and irregular motion. I think our styles are still apparently different, the nature of our individual handling of the pencil and the pressure we apply to each stroke, but seeing the work as a whole, the differences are lost completely.
The show was curated by Angela de la Cruz - what was it like working with her?
W: Angela’s directness and acute instinct for space was an important influence in developing the work to be site specific. She is supportive of our practice as a whole and it’s been great working with her on this project.
Do you intend to show the work be shown beyond the MOCA London space, or do you see it as too specific to this show and space?
S: Maybe in another space, we could make another drawing, but I think it would have to be presented differently.
W: The idea can travel but the form would have to change, making it a different work rather than a series. Different limitations need to be considered and the history of the space. Ultimately it could be presented in a number of different forms, both performance and archival.
FLOOR is on until 8th December 2012
Open Thursday to Saturday, 2-6pm
113 Bellenden Road
London SE15 4OY