How are you?
We have been separated for quite some time but I loved you very much in your infancy and cared for you when you had a name, a home in London (moving from an arch on Brick Road to a studio complex in crane infested Dalston that was gearing up for the Olympics) but you were still growing up and deciding what you wanted to become. It was a playful phase, full of experiments and people and it entailed quite a bit of travelling too.
I feel a bit like the estranged aunt or the stepmother and yes I painfully left you, but I still think about when you learnt to read with It’s not for reading, it’s for making. Or when you tested your listening skills and abilities with friends from all over with Have a Look! Have a Look! Or when we used to play hide and seek at Tate Modern or binge watched artists videos on hantarex monitors with headphones and sat on Ikea stalls in a derelict warehouse that hosted special projects for one year’s Zoo art fair. There was a horse running outside our door for a project staged by Patrizio Di Massimo; remember when Adam Avikainen wedded his paintings and forced himself on our family album? Or when we helped Andrea Büttner paint the walls of a museum in Turin brown?
So many memories and places and people.
I have been away but I have thought of you lots of times, wondering where you were and what you were doing, sometimes I received e-mails but you seemed to be always in different places and the information was a bit scattered. I came to your birthday the other day, in Vienna, it was cozy, I knew some people, but others not and I decided to bring a pal along.
There was some ambivalence in the room, also considering the topic of discussion was your future. Everyone had different ideas about what that might look like especially because people joined at different steps of the way and might have different desires in store for you.
I feel very attached to your past and your old home but I wonder if there is any space for me in your future. Maybe I should respect the saying “ If you love somebody set them free”.
I don’t want to romanticise what has been but I think it is important not to forget what you have already experienced and perhaps learnt along the way.
I guess you have some figuring out to do: what is your agency? Where is your home? Do you need one? I always treasured independence but I think more and more, it is important to feed it with some structure and by that I mean some way of sustaining both practically and conceptually what you will set out to do and to say. Make sure to have a lot of artists around. Be blunt. Be brave. Be true.
Caterina Riva, 2016