In Conversation with Tim Fishlock...
Hang-Up: The launch of your second solo show at Hang-Up, INTROVERSION IMMERSION, is quickly approaching. Can you tell us what to expect without giving too much away?
Tim Fishlock: I’ve mainly been experimenting with paint enemas and scatological self-portraiture.
'Repeat After Me' - Tim Fishlock's first and sell-out solo show at Hang-Up. The artist with Hang-Up Gallery's Ben and Carla.
HU: Your first site-specific installation will take over the entire Hang-Up bunker in the form of an enclosed ‘room’ of 72 light boxes, ranged floor to ceiling. Journalist for The New European, Adrian Burnham, has aptly described it as, “beautiful, but a head-fuck”. What would you like the audience to take away from this experience?
TF: I’m inviting people into my head, into the temple of ME! It can be rich and beautiful in there but much of the time it can be overwhelming. I’m hoping it’ll be a visceral experience. I’m hoping it’ll be entertaining. I’m hoping it will be disorientating. I’m hoping they’ll ‘gram the fuck out of it.
HU: You are vocal about the damaging effects social media has on society, which is evident in your popular ATTN SPN series. How do you manage being a father of two girls who use social media? What would your advice be to the younger generation with regards to social media?
TF: I have no advice for the younger generation with regards to social media! They’re expert in it. I don’t use it. A friend maintains my Instagram feed. Obviously, I have a shit tonne of advice for my own kids. More than they could possibly want. The amount of time I’ve spent nasally droning on about screen time to my daughters runs into weeks, maybe whole years.
As far as I’m aware, the current scientific thinking is that time spent on screens isn’t in itself detrimental to a child’s development. What is harmful is the way their peers and big business can utilise social media to hammer them into conforming to their agenda. As a parent, all you can do is make your child aware of the mechanics of what’s actually going on. That the platforms they’re often engaging with use the same techniques as gambling firms to create a psychological dependency. They love it when you start talking about that. They set aside their devices, sit cross-legged, pushing their fists up under their chins and gazing at you in awe as you deliver another devastating critique of unfettered capitalism in the digital age.
HU: Reflecting on the upcoming show you say, “I began to wonder whether it’s people like me, the introverted, who are truly the most self-absorbed and self-centred.” Do you think your ego takes over your essence during the creative process?
TF: My ego informs all of my creative choices. Whereas the act of creating is an absolute distraction from myself and thus an escape from my ego.
Antother sneak peak of new work for INTROVERSION IMMERSION
HU: Would it be too farfetched to call the show a self-portrait?
Tim Fishlock's NOPE 001 - Original, which was selected by Grayson Perry for and exhibited at the Royal Academy's prestigious Summer Exhibition of 2018
HU: Your work is, and always has been, very labour intensive. Do you think that’s a subconscious retaliation to our short attention-spanned society?
TF: Hmm, not really. It’s more a case that I’ve always been a maker. I’m passionate about craft. I know there are some very notable exceptions – particularly in music – but I’ve always believed that great work should take a long time to produce. I want people to recognise and appreciate the craft in what I do.
HU: As a self-proclaimed introvert, how do you cope with being a full-time artist and putting your work out there?
TF: That’s a dichotomy as old as time. The whole, ‘look at me/don’t look at me’ thing. So many artists in all mediums are introverted. Music is full of them. Introversion is a double-edged sword. With it comes sensitivity and reflection but it’s also a handicap in that it can hold you back and make you doubt yourself to a ridiculous degree.ME 018 (Original)
HU: You’ll be creating a new version of your interactive sculpture piece ‘The FutureLeaks Out (TFLO)’, which was a huge success following its official release at our ten-year anniversary show last year. One of the TFLO works was sent to a Psychotherapist in the US who specialises in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. To what extent do you think playing with words and language is therapeutic?
TF: Well, I’m no dialectical behaviour therapist! But I love words and I believe in the power of words to help us interpret and understand the world. I find them - the shape of them, the often multiple meaning of them – endlessly fascinating.
HU: The creation of TFLO was inspired by the Surrealist ‘cut-up’ technique, the process of deconstructing a text by cutting up and rearranging words and phrases that then creates new meanings based on intuition and free creative flow. Do you sometimes shock yourself with what’s revealed through this process?
TF: Not shocked but pleasantly surprised maybe. It’s an incredibly liberating way to work. I read recently that the sales of poetry books have been soaring, especially amongst millennials. I think that may be partly because people’s attention spans are shortening and they’re looking for speedier ways to get enlightened. The point is people will always seek out words to escape the humdrum and to offer a different way of looking at the world.
Creating TFLO has given me a real appetite for poetry. I quickly realised that that was what I was making by moving the blocks around.
HU: What has been your proudest moment in your art career so far?
TF: Selling those TFLO’s. They’re a labour of love to produce and the fact that it chimed enough with collectors that they would spend a considerable amount of money to own one has been incredibly gratifying and validating.
HU: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us Tim, we couldn't be more excited to see it all come together!
And thank you all for reading this week's blog, we hope you enjoyed it. INTROVERSION IMMERSION will be on show at Hang-Up Gallery from 31 May to 13 July. For more information on the upcoming show be sure to check out last week's blog or the exhibition page. Be sure to check our social media for special announcements, competitions, studio visits, take-overs and even a chance to ask Tim your own questions! We have a lot planned. If you have any questions regarding the show please don't hesitate to get in touch through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hang-Up Team xx
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