The ‘Devil You Know’ is about self–knowledge: its cultural context, consequent ’limitations’ and hopeful inventions.
Invited to participate in ‘Mapping the Island’, for ‘Ten Days on the Island’, the biennial Tasmanian international festival of the arts, I was offered a section of map. Prior to this, and largely still, I have had little experience of its environment and culture. Never having actually travelled there, and only having met a handful of its human inhabitants abroad, I could only recall popular myths and cultural assumptions – the Tasmanian Devil being one. Of course there was the option of broadening this second-hand experience through research on the net etc. and/or responding to the nature of maps - as concept, reference and aesthetic.
I started by downloading a satellite picture of that part of the island I had been assigned, and then, both a similar perspective and proportional map reference of my adopted home city of Bristol, England. Required to make the piece 29 cm square, I divided it up into two equal halves, using the aerial views and overlaid map references of both locations - initiating a dialogue with a kind of symbolic equilibrium of cultures and intent. From there I reversed the Euro-centric view of ‘down under’ by placing Tasmania on top!!
Keeping with the lighter side of ‘being a devil’ (challenging playfully) I Photoshopped myself in as joker and ‘The Creator’ - appearing through the clouds in the grand Renaissance tradition. Next, I added my own version of the Tasmanian Devil – the body, which I drew, and the head, which I appropriated from pop culture. Finally, I thought, as a cultural ‘key’ and guest from the closet, it would also be nice to bring in the old arch stirrer himself, Duchamp, and borrowed his urinal. This I printed twice, once onto a scrap of corrugated paper, the last piece of the ‘puzzle’. It was because of an instillation I built from corrugated paper, in the Netherlands, that I was invited to participate in this event.
There are at least six other variations I have produced so far, four of which I quite like, and a series now underway - the devil I have yet to discover.