Michael Cassidy’s work tends to exist somewhere in the hinterland between painting, sculpture and performance:
“In this sense, I think of the paintings and objects that I make to be like performers on my behalf. Figure, ground and space are reduced to a movement of the hand that took place some time in the past. I want the participant to experience a kind of time travel. It’s important to me, when I look at paintings, not to separate the doing that took place from the looking at the result. This is what, for me, makes painting so important, so self-indulgent and so daft.
For a long time now, I’ve been fascinated by the feeling of looking out of my own head, at the world that I’m part of. I’ve been wondering where that image of the world actually exists. Locked away somewhere inside me, constantly dissolving and being remade. I’ve been thinking about it as a surface, like a painting or a photograph. But it’s not.
My painting installation works are rather like a kind of reverse still life in which the painted marks are committed to the surface and then the scene is built to match the marks.
What I’m trying to do with Dub Steps is to make an image that uses three different surfaces at once; a painted surface, a photograph and an ‘object’ placed into the world that you, the viewer will look out at, from inside your head (or at least will be made aware of the potential that you might). It is momentarily cast into the changing surface through which we see the world. That’s the surface I’m really interested in, simply because I can’t access it. I find it exciting to consider the idea that, as Island Universes we can never truly know someone else’s perception.
I’m drawn to impossibilities like this (the truly impossible I mean, not the colloquial kind of impossible used to describe ‘A’ level maths or Olympic World Records) because there’s a special kind of absurdity in even attempting to do these things, in endeavouring to do something that can only ever fail. What I’m searching for is a specific kind of failure, one that’s important because it celebrates what we can never do and never know like time travel, the inside of someone’s head or what happens when we die. The answerless questions that make us human.”
2010. Narcissi exhibition catalogue. BAdept,Manchester Road, Blackpool.
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All work framed by Project Arts.