NORA FLEMING'S RECONSTRUCTION OF DESIREE DE KIKK AND HER NOTES
The Fair Isle Exhibition - some notes from Desirée de Kikk, reconstructed by Nora Fleming.
I apologise for my dear friend Desirée de Kikk, who has gone away on a short trip (AWOL as she would say). In my capacity as Dr Regularis’ personal assistant, I checked in his diary (as you know he is in Portugal) and noted that she had offered to write a paragraph or two on the Fair Isle exhibition. In fact, she has made a few notes - a surprise in itself. Brief as they are, I will try to make some sense of them to send you something intelligible that genuinely reflects the manner of her extraordinary insights (fortunately I did see the show and was very favorably impressed by many of the artworks).
Desirée is not easily impressed. On rare occasions she has been heard to say, “I wish I had thought of that.” Such a note appeared more than once in her notes for Fair Isle.
At the top of her list she wrote after coming upon Margaret Roberts’ black rectangles, “What the f.... is going on here?” In her inimitable way, she prowled around these dark objects waiting for the sense of them to come to her. (Dr Regularis often calls her, affectionately, “Wittgenstein’s predator.”) During this “tour of duty” she took in commentaries made by other viewers who were actually wearing some of the pieces, which were at those times transformed from the inanimate into living shields or “... exoskeletons for the paranoid” as her notes tell us. (I’m sure this is a thinly veiled barb for the oversensitive Noel Farina - another artist in the “stable” of Dr Regularis). At times they were like slabs of gigantic, impossible jewelry - dark baubles of an iniquitous nature. Then they popped up all over the place. No longer hard board slabs - sometimes outlines and even “... a nasty looking fur thing.” And “what was that tiny one doing hassling a stray domino square? Surely, all the domino tile wanted to do was strike up a conversation with the large gridded wall pieces” by Barbara Halnan.
Another “What the f....?” appeared in her notes. I have noted in the past, that grids of all kinds are particularly irritating for Desirée. “I like to construct my own systems of constraint. Yes, my own rules of engagement.” However, after discussing Barbara’s Sodoku walls - a puzzle and a solution, I could see the flickering light of recognition in her eyes. She was struck by “the sheer perfection of the endlessness of mathematical possiblility.” Aha! What sweet little intruders, the domino square and its tiny Artschwager friend!
Now, I could tell (from the urgency suggested by her untidy writing) that Desirée had understood the conceptual sense of the Fair Isle exhibition. “I wanted to hunt down some more intruders.” I believe by that she means, other works that interact with their neighbours. Margaret Robert’s dark slabs could physically move among other artworks. John von Sturmer’s domino tile had silently slipped into place pitching a small missile at its Goliath.
At this point in her notes, the paper is heavily stained by a large slosh of red wine, her remarks are particularly barbed. A few weeks ago I over heard an argument between Desirée and Vicky (Versa). Desirée was giving her young colleague a tongue lashing about the levity of the humour in the texts etched onto each mirror piece. Now however, after her Fair Isle experience, Desirée could see the connection between humour and the possibility of an “accident” popping up in unexpected places. Her notes conclude with this comment: “Just the same, I would have done it quite differently!”