Thursday, 11 December 2008

martin ramirez and friends

a couple of weeks ago i came across martin ramirez' intricate work. i find the terms 'art brut' and 'outsider art' a little strange; we are all brutes and outsiders.

ramirez' work did remind me of some of the beautiful work made by the adults with learning disabilities i lived and worked with in scotland for a some time in 2003-2005. of course they replaced the abilities they may have lacked with ones that we lack.
it was a strangely normal kind of job, where you help people to look after themselves. you care for and take care of people, and in return they take care of you without you even realizing it.
at the same time it makes you aware exactly how replace-able you are. whenever i return some of the people remember who i am and greet me warmly, but just as many people -if not more-, who i felt i developed a bond with will not recognize me, ignore me or just be indifferent to my presence. none of us are special, all of us replace-able. what a relief.

when i started work i found it difficult to connect to one of the people i worked with. she knitted and in a, successful, attempt to improve my relationship with her i took up knitting too. she would knit until her knitting had so complicated itself that she needed someone to find some order in its chaos. while she waited impatiently i would un- and re-ravel bits until she could continue. her ability to randomly decrease and increase stitches was second to none. hers is the embroidery above, which she made me as a leaving present.

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