These are from May this year when London Drawing asked me to rip my clothes off in the style of a suffragette losing her mind.
Making new friends is a treat to be savoured, or else ravenously devoured because when you hit it off, nothing can stop you.
Getting to know people properly with whom you have been acquainted for years may take a similar turn, if only that some of the leg work has already been accomplished.
When new faces are foisted upon us situationally, it may be wise to hold back. Otherwise we risk the forcing of friendship, the over-burdening of our companion; the unhappy match of divergent dreams. It is like casually undressing for a near stranger while you are still in the street, and asking them to inspect the folds of your belly button. You can expect to be left naked and ridiculed, if not generating hysteria.
Image created by a student at Candid Arts, as I took the pose of each character in Poussin’s ‘Dance before a herm of Pan’.
A caged female stares at an audience arriving
Fresh flowers are treated to a trim, stalks first, heads last, all across the boards
Barricaded in, furniture encloses me
Petals scattered, scissor blades are turned to my prim attire
Blouse pierced I hack at sleeves and torso
Flesh revealed, I freeze in crazed stupor
My thighs are thick with an effervescing femininity as I perform Emmeline Pankhurst
Stripping in stages to discordant Schoenberg; a feminist raging release from her clothes
In the early 20th Century Suffragettes gathered at what is now the Battersea Arts Centre for radical meetings. Now this theme is recaptured with theatrical intent. A director instructs me to move subtly as I take the scissors to my garments. But it’s all in the moment, and I just can’t help myself.
There is something extremely potent about tearing one’s clothes off with total abandon, so I just go with it like a wild woman. Yet each impulsive thrust is followed by my contemplative stillness; I hold back for a unique build up of my own sexual tension, not directed to this audience, if only to the one in my mind.
Every performance has a new costume for me to destroy. The artists cut me up too, collages created, and a violent, sexy undressing given shape.
It’s Wednesday evening and I’m busting some moves in the basement at Torrens Street’s Candid. I reminisce briefly of old times larging it on the dance floor next door; I wasn’t naked then, but getting there.
There’s a buzzy vibe tonight with total beginners and long time regulars packing it in, sketching on the floor, sitting on garden seats or braving it at the easel. I storm in exhausted and ready to take them on. It’s been a zigzag marathon today starting in Baker Street, afternoon Blackheath way, ending up in the Angel. But something feels rocking; at the girls school I was reminded of the first rule of life modeling: ‘When the going gets shit, strike it hotter baby!’ There’s no hiding your feelings – everything’s out for all to see so just grab their eyes with every curve you’ve got, lure their gaze with unfolding angles. You’ll reap the rewards; to see their complementary images I am reminded that it’s not so bad. And while I hold their attention, I feel their warmth. I imagine each of them wondering who I am, but really I know they’re just trying to measure me.
I’m intense, climactic; I may finally attempt a long lost goal of singledom with a capital S. Or is it C for celibacy? I have no idea how this is going to go… and a terrible track record when breaking up with boyfriends. 2 – 3 months is a record since age 16. At 33 it’s high time.
It’s just a trick of the mind surely, and then one can progress, but with so much more chi! So much more anticipation oozing, coaxing and channeling into friends, work, art.