Retrospective - Edinburgh Summer '08
Started conversation Aug 31, 2008
I just saw it. Wow.
Some of the notes in the Entry are contradicted by the reality. She's hardly circumspect about her early life, for example. The teenage rape (barely - she was just 13) isn't conjecture: it's an explicit aspect of several pieces. The 'emotional suicide' was a systematic exercise, and the painting-free period was longer than I previously realised at around six years.
Nearly everything in the exhibition has impact. There are just a few incongrous pieces - like a tin bath full of sticks - that don't have a clear personal meaning, at least to me. Most of the work is very direct and raw. Actually liking it (more than the quilts perhaps) is out of the question, but you're drawn in and challenged, and you'll be thinking about it all for a long time afterwards.
Like I'm left wondering whether her fame has exorcised her past, or whether it's trapped her in it. And I wonder where she wants to be now. Not where she was for the first twenty-five years of her life, surely?