‘They didn’t know where it was anymore. Basically.’ 

Obscure Secure – Review bursary blog/second post

a-n Re:View bursary meeting Valerie Sinason

Last month we met with psychoanalyst, poet and writer Valerie Sinason to reflect on our project Obscure Secure as part of our a-n Re:view bursary.

It was exactly two years ago (2013) that we met Valerie for the first time, at the beginning of our project. The second time we met her she was in conversation with Frances Spalding as part of our Obscure Secure programme of talks at Christchurch Mansion in November 2014.This means we have met her at key stages of our collaborative project’s development and our individual development as artists (three meetings in total).

101_8497 - Copy

Image: From Helen Kiddall’s archive box, research Ipswich Borough Stores, June 2014

I have felt extremely privileged to involve Valerie in our project. I first discovered her whilst studying art therapy and was deeply moved by her writing in a book of clinical case studies. She has been so generous with us – giving us time and valuable insights through her amazing ability to consider and reflect – her clarity and openness are rich ground for challenging our ideas. Hayley Field, August 2015

In the mid 90’s I used to live in Golders Green and was a student at the Royal Academy Schools. I am German and if I had known that Valerie lived just round the corner, I might have been her client and what we would have talked about I can only imagine. Visiting her 20 years later as part of our Obscure Secure enquiry in July this year was an amazing experience for me. Valerie was very welcoming to the three of us, sharing and developing themes and questions centring on the human condition. Claudia Boese, August 2015

I wasn’t familiar with Valeries work until Claudia and Hayley introduced it to me – and if I am honest I couldn’t quite see how meeting with Valerie at the beginning stages of our project back in 2013 would be of benefit. I was wrong – after our first meeting I understood fully why. Valerie’s lovely warm, welcoming and holistic way of connecting to our very tentative beginnings of ideas / thoughts around our project interwoven with her questions and generous observations were invaluable. It felt fitting to be visiting her two years after that first meeting. Jacqueline Utley, 2015

A brief summary of our a-n Review bursary meeting with Valerie Sinason in July 2015

Our meeting  with Valerie Sinason took place last month, we used it to reflect on what we had achieved with Obscure Secure. We explored the complexities we had experienced  working with a collection and archives. Valerie reflected on our thoughts from a psychoanalytical viewpoint alongside contributing her own creative thinking as a writer and poet.

We were particularly interested as artists in ideas around collections, archives and research and how they are able to resurrect women artists lives and works momentarily rather than demonstrating a kind of ancestral worship. Our conversation regularly touched on concepts such as ‘permission, responsibility, gender, power structures and collaborations’. We reflected with Valerie on how artists from collections may also  play a role as catalysts for our own projections and new paintings/work.

The meeting investigated thinking processes; how our project had developed organically and the learning that had taken place as we proceeded. Valerie highlighted that we have gained knowledge as well as authority and ownership from our project Obscure Secure. There was no formal methodology while researching for Obscure Secure – while we are keen to continue to be open to uncertainty and chance to develop our new project we have gained experience and expect a new methodology and structure to evolve whilst further clarifying our focus during the course of our Re:view bursary meetings and critiques.

Our meeting with Valerie lasted two hours and we recorded this discussion. We are so pleased to have a record of this conversation as it has proved to be a vital resource for now and later.

Our next Re:view critique and meeting is in September with Martha Flemming , artist and Director of University of Reading’s Collections Based Research Programme.

This blog post is written collaboratively by Claudia Boese, Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley and posted by Claudia Boese on a-n blogs.