Friday 24 April 2020

Probably Something About Hemingway

In the last month or so I've been cataloging a lot of my own work and I noticed that in the last few years the titles for my work have become very minimal, often no more than a single word. Many of them have also become untitled, some of them having had titles in the past. In these cases a description would take away from them, confusing what they are with a suggestion of something they might not be.

This is a fairly stark contrast with my practice when I was a student. I had somewhat of a reputation of being a wordsmith at the academy and looking back on it now I wonder why this was the case. Most titles were simple quotations of other people who did know how to write and I remember telling others that to find a good title for a work one simply has to open a favorite book on a arbitrary page and copy a phrase or sentence.
At the same time I abhorred the quotations of song lyrics in the titles of others and neither did I like the esoteric titles for some works of artists I admired at the time. Titles such as Conditions that will reshape you (Because you bequeath yourself redundant to conditions that will reshape you)Paradox of Praxis 5: Sometimes we dream as we live & sometimes we live as we dream;  Relics Whose Silence, However, Conspires to Limit Access to the Past or  Best.Nr.: 68011, Best.Nr.: 28856, Best.Nr.: 28856 Devoid of any creative airs and graces, well-proportioned and of recognisable quality. The basic material – cold forged aluminum with high material thickness – is not only one of the best heat conductors, but also extremely light and therefore easy to handle. With a constant thickness, the pots’bases ensure even heat distribution and perfect thermal absorption. Reaching cooking temperature the pan fully stabilizes and adjusts itself perfectly to the stove. The resilient stainless-steel tube-shaped handles reduce heat transmission. Low maintenance and ruggedness are increased by the ceramic-enhanced non-stick coating of the internal surfaces. Still, we recommend considerate handling by using proper tools. Not suitable for induction hobs. All lids are interchangeable in equivalent sizes. Material: brushed aluminum – dishwasher safe Sauce Pan, with handle: Dimensions: Ø 20 x 8 cm / Capacity: 2.3 L /Weight: 710gStew Pot: Dimensions: Ø 28 × 16.5 cm / Capacity: 9.2 L / Weight: 1.6kgStudio Rhein Verlag, Düsseldorf January 26, 2017.
While I admire the works they represent, their titles always seemed unnecessarily long-winded to me. To dress in words, not uncommonly those of others, that which you are unable to state by other means. Although perhaps I'm projecting there.

Ultimately I believe in some way that the title of a work is an answer to the following question: 'Could you explain to the folks at home where it is you get your ideas from?' Perhaps even more so than a description of the object at hand. At least for my own work I don't find it particularly interesting to answer this question in any other way than with the work itself. The titles therefore became simple descriptions of a part of the work or its creation.