Cullinan Richards

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Shandyism And Its Effects

Art for us exists in complex ways – in terms of associations. There is nothing clear about our work – in fact it is clogged with materiality.

I mean for us there is no escape from matter – no escape from the physical and no escape from the mind. So that we might say that our work is like an artistic disaster. It’s going from one disaster to another. I mean there is no explosion or big noise – no sound that might suggest noisy behaviour. The disaster thing – it’s quiet – a quiet catastrophe of mind and matter. Then there are also the in-capabilities mentioned later that sort of drive the work – that sort of prompt all the other disasters that follow.


Entropy doesn’t really come into our situation or only to an extent. I mean we DO recognise it, but as a measure of the disorder that exists in a system, it doesn’t really feature that much for us  - as there is no particular system for us to identify with in the first place. Entropy for us deals with things breaking down and falling apart but in a limited way. The breakdown somehow determined by us. The mental wreckage invariably organised by us. A system for us might be an interest in anything that is going on in the world or a part of it,  that we want to suspend in some way that is not important but that we have chosen to materially construct.


…………’s just that art that resolves itself on formalistic terms alone, is purely decorative based on the fact that it is so well understood and that is where our art comes in with it’s clogged materiality, so that we can barely judge the work ourselves.


For us any adopted philosophy will turn itself against itself almost immediately, you know we will always refute it.  We want to avoid being crushed or overthrown by an object or a received system of production.

We would say that in that way we are like criminals who don’t commit any crimes. We don’t see any systems of production – we have somehow relieved ourselves of them.

We don’t think of art as being something particularly rational. Art for us is sort of an absurd process that starts from a somewhat rational idea. We think that the kind of formal way of making art has been and gone – and that’s where painters who are painting are painting that sort of thing, because that kind of thing can go hand in hand - the sort of rational decisions that are system or mechanistic or maybe involved in some kind of illusionistic process that belong to the idea of the special object.


…………..we think at the moment, the classiest works are those in which irony takes effect only on the third level: Irony takes on irony – and the ‘Go Go’ dancers series of paintings and ‘paintings table sculptures’ made originally for ‘Girl Rider’ were made because we wanted to see how it would feel to make paintings that disappeared or reappeared in sculptures. We were at that point caught unawares as we wound up alternating between fits of tears and hysterical laughter unable to suppress ourselves.


……….‘’Shandyism,’’ and formalism in it’s new form – which we basically take to mean practising formalism in the full knowledge that it isn’t going to work out but sticking with it all the same.

We are blessed with a rotten attitude. Our response to statements of this nature is ‘fuck you, no-one tells us what to do’

……….. All of our output could be termed de-different ional - which means you can’t, or it is very hard to differentiate anything within it. In other words, one discrete thing is always more or less ending up in another discrete thing. Two things are always in some kind of correspondence to each other, but not in any kind of rational way.

……….Theoretically we are involved with the wall but we never limit ourselves to the wall alone.

The minute something is named it sort of takes away the reality of it for us – it destroys it – it’s like we are dealing with a very big idea like TREACHERY for instance. We are always running against the limits while at the same time owning certain limits that we have chosen for ourselves. It would be wrong to say that our art does not deal with limits of some kind.


…………the goal for us is the actual showing of the work in the way we want to show it and in that way it’s always going to be about being there for the audience and firsthand encounter. It is always precise enough to define itself entirely within its original manifestation. This means that although parts of the work might travel to other venues, the new situation for it is entirely different and almost completely re-defined or re- designed. ………or maybe perhaps that certain types of work can’t be communicated in exhibition form at all and it doesn’t appeal to us to hand it over in another way that is more about a self promotional style. Negotiating how works are handed over or communicated is very complex considering the variables within our work.

For instance, there is inevitably a huge problem for us to communicate our work by photographic evidence alone. I mean the photographs we take are touristist in nature - of travel and our artworks. In many ways when we make these photographs we feel that we are just trying to fill in some gaps……………….


…………………Lets roll onto something new.

There would be some occasions when our work would provoke a rather uptight response, which is definitely something we have learnt to deal with over time and concluded that within our work there’s no real answer there – just another question……………


…………….our work is meant as structural as opposed to what is sociological.  


…………whether or not we merely ever thought we were political or ARE political is a different question. There is a way of thinking about these things that makes it easy to consider something good taste when one wants to see things differently. When all is said and done we find the idea of liking solely this idea of an artwork or that idea a bit suspect.

…………it’s not that we haven’t got potential.

…………….our work was never meant as a thing which one focused on for a final experience. It is meant as an intermediary experience, the idea, of course, being that the rest of the world is always there anyway, and that the work is meant to be an equivalent object in the world rather than a SPECIAL object in the world.

………the ongoing nature of our work is important to us – the re-use of it in the way we choose to re-use it and the very particular ideas behind it.

For instance if you were to consider the role of women, in say, any number of caveman films and in all of the movies made by Russ Meyer, you would find that although some of the roles for women are dumb or maybe have no profound scripts to them, you could single them out as being, historically speaking, the very best.

In ‘Girl Rider’ we considered this aspect and made some work from looking at the first minute of Russ Meyer’s 1965 film Faster Pussy Cat Kill! Kill!

………….it was important for us to kind of claim or stake out a position for ourselves within this museum scale show. We also kind of wanted people to see where the world was at and also where THEY are at within it.


………………..obviously these concerns come from gestalt – where something is in relation to us, in relation to the rest of the world and in our work over a period of time these concerns became more real and understandable to us because of the amount of places we are travelling to, to make our work. We would say this situation itself began informing our work to a large extent. We would also say that we were using the country, say the entire entity of Switzerland as an art material itself  - as much as a piece of wood.


………………………we have always been rather interested in where we could be in one place in relation to another place, so that for our show entitled ‘Strippers’ in Vancouver this summer we kind of strip the situation in ‘Girl Rider’ back or away, so that it is more or less an abstract or phallic version of the original ‘Girl Rider’ show, without any real proof of that within the show. We are not interested in proof.

………… ‘Strippers’ is a show that has a very specific set of controls involving a certain positioning for the paintings and objects within it.

So, for ‘STRIPPERS’ we are flipping the paintings so that they become the concrete reality that might persuade the viewing of them in some either figurative or abstract way.


……….as a matter of fact, for‘Girl Rider’ and ‘Strippers’ we set up a system of viewing as well as a system of display in order to deal with what we think of as the reality of the artwork. Even if we don’t know exactly what we mean while we’re doing it we are always making choices that deal with the original object.

……….so we are saying that we are making a kind of structure or system for ourselves that suspends anything and everything within it that we have chosen.


……………….other people coming in right now with more objective ways of seeing and talking about these things is important to us. Opening up a dialogue with the very bright ones has become urgent to us so we can expand where we’re at right now.

When we say ‘Do you see’ we are also saying ‘do you see’.


………………..We aren’t interested in proof of any kind. For us referencing doesn’t come into it – or only to an extent. This is really something that we have recently tried to explore  - we haven’t really got there yet –


……………I will tell you about a couple of works which maybe might make this point clearer.

We made a lot of pistol ranges – each of these whole pieces made in different locations –– we call them ‘Trip Pieces’.

In the end they were all about the location and loading the pistols. The work was about sort of dipping into things that are going on, pulling back just enough, standing securely leaning on the back foot, and aiming and firing – not really trying to change anything or alter anything or trying to tell the world anything or taking anything away or giving it anything but pretty much leaving everything as it is. These works were about not imposing any style on something – trying not to intrude – trying not to do something and trying to do something at the same time. Offering a real experience in real time – we would put it that way.


…………….. Leaving people with the notion that they can have an experience which is just that experience. We were perfectly happy to do it that way and also must say that it probably didn’t have to necessarily be that way either. I mean we haven’t figured any of this out yet.

……………….As a matter of fact the question is maybe what is the work about. Perhaps it is about experiences that we can have where we shift from those normal expectations or limits. This might be where the incompetence thing fits in. That there was and is no proof before the work is made and only a small slice of proof afterwards – say in the case of the ‘Trip Pieces’ - one small oil painting - ‘Russian Girl Shooter’.

Ronnie Simpson said at that time that was perfectly all right with him.


Our ideas are based on the kinds of views that we pick up on the way, as well as how we see our work operating – so that these can change and we can choose each time whether to change the choices – mostly as long as we avoid the heroic gesture we are happy. And we say to ourselves everything will be all right although we never get any proof of that – ever……..



...........In general we sort of wander on with a non- discernable order for pleasure.


…….. and sooner or later the point of art for us has  become to make more art …….

and that is how we have chosen to spend our time – obviously whatever reputation we have or don’t have has to do with our ability to make the art we do - a decision to do this and not that. For us it’s about the importance of the artist being able to control their work. We never intended to cause a scene or make trouble in any way……………….


………………………..If there is any confusion to how a work should look or be then it always comes down to what we, as the artists, want it to be at the time.

I think that’s enough right now.


Endlessly interesting madcap blender non discernable order for pleasure

Foul practice

No narrative arc

Established some while back there is something wrong with us

Something that comes to mind




[extracts from a script 1969- 2008]

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