Current Book: James Fenton – Leonardo’s Nephew
So – Just a couple of days to go until the show opens and my performance anxiety is running high – things seem more last minute than usual, and always at this point I find myself fixating on one piece and fretting about it. This time I’m engaged in making the largest drawing I’ve made in twenty years – appx. 10′ by 15′ and I’m making it in the gallery while we’re installing the rest of the show, since I don’t really have the studio space to do it. While I do that I’m also Looking at the rest of the gallery which is fucking huge and wondering if I’m actually going to be able to pull this off, or if this is the time I’m revealed as the fraud I know I am.
Strong, self pitying words, I know, but it seems more important to acknowledge that the sentiment is there than to dismiss it. That fear is paralyzing to some extent, and yet I can tell that the paralysis has become part of my working method. I factor it in to the amount of time I need to make a show. I can’t say that the emotion has lessened with my professional success. It remains and with it the feeling that each show is merely dodging a bullet, that next time the truth will out. Making work is a particular species of being present and vulnerable and while the trappings of a gallery mitigate that by investing it with a kind of authority, I actually try to be as present emotionally in the work as possible. Generally if I get excited about seeing it, and feel a little nauseous about anyone else seeing it then I’m probably doing ok by my standards. But I’m not sure I wanted to be this nauseous.
And all the time the blank page on the wall looks back, facing me down.