Art, Life, and acting in the gap (or not)
“Humour is a serious thing“ (1)
Taking his cue from Jasper Johns’ reference to “things we see but never look at”, Terry Bond has since 1981 trained his questioning eye on the paradoxically hidden realm of the commonplace – seeking out revelation within areas of experience where it is traditionally regarded as being least likely to be located, but has it’s greatest potential. Often parodying the rhetoric of high art, his humorous works -“humour is like a definition of creativity”(2) – display a ‘down to earthness’ rooted in daily rituals and routines, and attempt to transform our complacent relationship to them. He is a believer in the maxim ‘you couldn’t make it up’ and that good artists don’t – they observe and re-present. He fondly recalls Peter Kardia, his former tutor at the Royal College of Art, announcing in an ever so slightly pompous manner: “OBSERVATION… INCUBATION… EXECUTION!” (3) – “Sometimes observations seem to present themselves as almost fully formed works, but one is always thinking within the language of a medium (picturing a work as a photograph, for example).” (4).
Bond has exhibited on numerous occasions at the Lisson Gallery, London. He received Arts Council funding for a show of his work in 2014, which was reviewed in Art Monthly. He has work in international private and museum collections including the late Sol LeWitt, the Saatchi Collection, Arts Council UK , and the Jugg Art Foundation.
In 2015 he joined his local Labour party and made this recollection of the first meeting he attended: “Towards the end, the winner of the previous months fundraising prize draw was announced: “Unfortunately, she died” said the Chairperson. Someone in the audience laughed, seeing the irony. Someone else turned around and angrily said, “that’s not funny, why are you laughing at that?” and everyone fell silent, feeling chastised. Sometime later, I imagined myself making a Woody Allen like ‘interjection’, saying “comedy = tragedy + time” and proposing a motion that we laugh about it at the next meeting.”(5). ‘He who hesitates’… often has a good story to tell.
David Batchelor, 2017.
1. James Thurber, 2. Terry Bond, 1984. 3,4,5. Ibid, in conversation with the author, 2017.