Silence (for Michael Harrison)

HD Video / Stereo
Duration: 00:04:33:00

On 24 April 2013, I visited Kettle’s Yard (where I was one of four associate artists) in order to film and photograph the building’s extension, which had recently been emptied in advance of some building work. Having spent so much time, so recently, within the gallery-house, it was strange, now, to see it devoid of the objects — whether artworks, or pebbles — which made it so familiar. Unheimlich.

The newly-revealed clarity of the architectural spaces reminded me of the works of Ben Nicholson, and Barbara Hepworth, which I had seen so often there, and it was these forms, often found left behind a now-absent frame, or bookshelf, upon which I turned my camera. Kettle’s Yard seemed to be a memory of itself, and I, too, was reminded of my many times there, and of the people with whom I had worked, not least the former director, Michael Harrison, whom I knew was then gravely ill.

The following day I learned that Michael had died during the night.

I decided to make a memorial to Michael, using the the material I had gathered during that previous, final day. We had worked together on an exhibition of works by John Cage, and it was to Cage that I turned to now, sharing not only an attitude, but also a title; the final length of the video, 4’ 33”, is an acknowledgement of Cage's most famous work, and an invitation that we, too, might attend closely to that which surrounds us, even when it seems that there might be nothing at all. Such generosity, and sensitivity, seemed perhaps the most appropriate memorial to Michael of all.