I’m in Edinburgh here at the Fruitmarket Gallery, trying to install this exhibition. Well actually, a lot of it’s already installed by the people here already. So have to decide where exactly to put everything. They were selected by me and Fiona, Fiona Bradley, the director of the Fruitmarket Gallery.
A lot of my works have steps in them, or increments, or things kind of growing up or down. Our ideal is to make a show with that as the kind of theme. That’s something I’ve never really… in fact, I don’t really like shows with themes, you know! I mean, I think of an art gallery as a theatre. You know, it’s a theatre for the presentation of things to look at; and I think of a show as a really long, live presentation that might last for six weeks, but in which the audience freely come and go as they please.
I do do shows where other people install the works, but when I’m involved, I can’t help but get involved. This work on the staircase – in a way, that’s like a solution to a problem of composition, that is how to decide what notes to play, and the composition is made by the people walking on it. So if you think about musical notes, like where are they – you know, they are just like in the air – but in this case the musical note has, like, a location, a physical location in space. I wanted the sound to come from close to where you step.
The black drawings, like, I just went and tried to buy every type of black pen that I could find in London. If you really get down to looking at black pens, a lot of them are actually dark blue, or they seem brown or blue, or you know. This one… I think it’s only by a reliable, repeated thing that you can see the difference between things; so if you have all the different blacks, that lets you see that they are all different, you know, whereas on their own, they would all seem the same. I think for me the point of repetition is that I find that kind of comforting, something like that. To me, like the world’s just like a big crazy place. It’s really difficult, where everything’s going like, ‘blaah’. You know, I have funny feelings and I have to… you know, and it’s all a big mess, so if I can make something that has some kind of regularity in it, that helps me to… it’s like a framework within which all the craziness can take place.
Installing a show is quite different from making the works in the first place. It’s more a matter of trying to make the best of what I’ve got. These were all bought in Rome, actually, when I had a show in Rome. That’s actually from Ikea in Rome!
I want to install things so that they look good, or so that each thing can be rejoined. We are moving the table. The big table is up here. They were downstairs in the small room. That’s what I was saying about trying to put the big stuff in the small room. But we’re just trying them up here to see if they work.
For me, the fact that people can come here and look for one minute or one hour, you know, it’s up to them. But I think that freedom is a really nice thing about art galleries. But I suppose I think that that’s all I can really say; that I’ve tried to do something, and that is what I’ve done. I don’t know what it is I’ve done, but it did involve work, you know!