I have always used my personal life as a jumping off point for my artwork. I think all artists do to some extent. But, never before have I begun a project that was so difficult for me to do. The challenge has been to not make the work about my personal life, but to instead make the focus on what I believe is a much larger issue. I think this has been the reason that this project has come to somewhat of a standstill as of late. Moving through it has resulted in my moving on in my life in such a profound way that it has taken me some time to wrap my head around it.
I have found that living ones life as an artist opens you up to life’s great mysteries and life’s great sorrows in ways that are sometimes very difficult. Perhaps this is why art in the late 20th century, and art today, has moved itself to a more intellectual place. However, I cannot help but be reminded when I am in a museum that since the beginning of time we have used the making of art objects as a way of coming to terms with our existence and circumstances in this world.
So, as I proceed with this project confronting both the personal and the artistic challenges that it presents, I have come to terms with the chance, and albeit highly likely possibility, that more of my personal feelings may bleed into this work than my intellectual self will be comfortable with. Perhaps the truly important part of this project is the struggle between ones emotions and ones intellect, for after all, very few of us get married because we look at the situation entirely with our minds and even fewer of us get divorced because the partnership no longer makes intellectual sense.
The genesis of this project was to channel my feelings of confusion into a disruptive work that would challenge the preconceived notions of marriage and divorce. It hit me so profoundly during my divorce proceedings how much my marriage was being treated like a business partnership and it made me realize that signing my marriage license in the backroom that day, after the religious ceremony was making a contract. It seemed no more entangled than a promissory note, but it took 21 pages to break that piece of paper in half.
So the thesis of this project is as follows: This project is about contracts.
This project interrogates the marriage contract through the divorce agreement. In order to investigate this, I entered a contract with 16 artists. Then I gave them a copy of my dissolution agreement, with the names and figures deleted, and asked them to make a work based on this agreement. We signed a contract giving each other rights to this product. I then took their work and created my own work based on their work.
I will venture to keep this as my focus of my project.