‘In To Land’, Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury
Showcasing a collection of works by artists exploring our relationship with cultural and physical landscapes through contemporary practice
‘The 1947 V-12 Lincoln’
Limited Edition Artists Book and Installation
I take a flight from Bristol, England to Grenoble, France to stay with a close friend, Marie Helene. The previous couple of months had been difficult, my stepmother had died, my father was in hospital, a long-term relationship ended and I was unemployed. My Dad was later to move into a residential care home.
I sent dad a postcard while I was away.
Dad told me he often wonders who is in the mirror. Sometimes I know he is lost to the havoc of age – not raging but sleeping into occasional cruel dreams of agility and firm ardour. We have points of reference that we both understand but are closed to others; he asked me if I remembered Monica Rose from a 1960s game show: Hughie Green’s cheeky cockney assistant. I said of course, and mentioned she had become a born-again Christian. Dad went quiet for a while puffing his cigar, then said ‘You went to America with me, I took you to America when you were a boy’. I know he did. I remember Dad and I on a guided tour bus going through China Town, December 1968. A lady took a photo of us with a tiny spy camera. I remember the snow in New York City. My Uncle Brian had a Buick with big clunking doors. My Auntie Edna had a white toy poodle called Charlie. I thought it was un-American.
Grenoble, near the village my friend lives, has something of the Portmeirion about it. I liked riding the egg-shaped cable cars that go to and from La Bastille. I was at peace suspended above the river, going up and down with no responsibility. I welcomed this gentle distraction.
I remember the French February days as cold and bright. Cold enough to encourage me to go to the local Emmaus and buy a violet and purple nylon ski suit. My friend Marie Helene later took photographs of me in this outfit posing by her blue Peugeot with the Vercors massif providing a magnificent backdrop. Between the tasks of the everyday we would walk Mr. Haruki it was on one these walks after calling at Muumuu’s that Marie Helene introduced me the Lincoln.
I would spend hours looking at the Lincoln taking photographs and salvaging small items. The history of the car slowly unfolded through Marie Helene’s acquaintances and friends in the small community.