Airmail Letter Blue Grid Test @ Hollybush Gardens © photo Alexander Christie

Airmail Letter Blue Grid Test

A new work which imagines Blue Grid Test (2020)
both before and after it has been made.

64 bars, 4/4. four beats in a bar, approximately three minutes, the perfect length for a pop song.

The sound and painted installation, first shown at WIELS, Brussels and later at Tate Modern, London, is a conversation between the artist Magda Stawarska-Beavan and Lubaina Himid about language, memory, codes, colours and patterns.

This new silkscreen print on paper, sixteen metres long, echoes and reiterates, anticipates and recalls, the music, voice and tempo of the exchanges the two artists continue to have about what is seen, what is heard, what is remembered, and what is imagined.

Airmail Letter Blue Grid Test @ Hollybush Gardens © photo Alexander Christie

Sixteen pieces of paper with an equal division of lines representing 256 beats, with irregularly placed text in shades of blue and woven through with a narrow strip of patterned paper holding it to a song.

A song which lets you hear the blue and feel it through your body.

How to visualise and then offer the freedom to invent patterns? Present an open grid upon which anything can be transcribed.

A voice in different shades of tonality/softness says the word blue, blauw, bleu or the name of the shade, from indigo to baby blue. Those soft visual Notes on a Blue Grid lest, corresponaing to where the musical notes for the piano would ordinarily appear.

How to express the depth of the intense and complex calculations about what colour can invoke? Overlay intricate lines of azure onto precise strips of cerulean. Place thin, hard, straight bands of indigo on top of small, short, blocks of cobalt. Blue upon blue upon blue.

When we hear the name of a colour, do we see the colour or the object or the place representing that shade?

The azure of the Mediterranean Sea or a well worn indigo fabric.

Auditory and visual memory meets.

Airmail Letter Blue Grid Test @ Hollybush Gardens © photo Alexander Christie

How to listen anew to the voices as they build, lifting and crossing? Allow the text to dance and swim, jump and fly across the paper, weaving in and out of the bars and notes, crossing the borders between sound and image.

A rigid structure with a floating memory.

Wrapping and surrounding, mirroring the manner in which sound enters the body; through every pore as noise but also as vibration.

How many songs are attached to memory of place and moment?

Be both the musician and the singer, hear the song as it is played, threading back-and-forth amongst the hours of animated conversation before the music even begins and long after it ends.

Airmail Letter Blue Grid Test @ Hollybush Gardens © photo Alexander Christie
Airmail Letter Blue Grid Test @ Hollybush Gardens © photo Alexander Christie
Airmail Letter Blue Grid Test @ Hollybush Gardens © photo Alexander Christie
Airmail Letter Blue Grid Test @ Hollybush Gardens © photo Alexander Christie
Airmail Letter Blue Grid Test @ Hollybush Gardens © photo Alexander Christie

Exhibited

Hollybush Gardens, London 2022