I is Another (Exhibition Wall Text)
Artists throughout history have learnt by mimicking those they admire, and then through a process of iteration – copying, combining and transforming – found new forms. I is Another pays tribute to this process, and in doing so, it calls into question the notion of pure originality: the idea that ideas form in a vacuum, in one individual alone, rather than broadening our understanding of creativity as something gathered – all we’ve read, heard, felt and seen. Here, we acknowledge the fact that ideas bloom from a lifetime’s collection of other people’s ideas.
This exhibition forms a small portion of a larger project exploring the process and possibilities of copying. To create the drawings currently on show, participants were given a drawing and instructions to copy only what was immediately before them, without sight or knowledge of any of the drawings that preceded it.
Despite attempts to copy precisely, through this process, natural shifts in lines and form occur. Viewing the drawings collectively, we see the adaption of forms, mirroring the history of art itself. Or, in the words of Grayson Perry, ‘Art History is just one big game of Chinese Whispers.’ As something inevitably changes through misunderstanding, interpretation or translation, it becomes something new.
In line with wider principles in Patrick’s work, the project shows art-making as a collaborative project, not only between an artist and his or her personal history of influences; but also between that artist and the extraordinary range of collaborators who bring a work of art to life.
Over the past two months, Patrick has worked with students of Sichuan Fine Art Institute, local artists, artisans and community members in Chongqing, who, through this process of mimicry, have collectively made something new.
Thank you to 501 Art Space, Yin Shiyan, Xi Guanlei, Chen Yuxuan,Yan Yan, as well as all those who put their hand to the work but have chosen to remain anonymous.