STATEMENT 1987: Open Studios at Space Studios Deptford

NICK MARTIN (born 1956, still alive 1987). 

The visual language of zoological museums and natural history books can be utilised for philosophical and aesthetic purposes.  It has a rich strangeness which often passes unnoticed because it is masked by the information being communicated.  But when the message is absent, the medium becomes more visible.

If people find my work funny, they have some understanding of it.  I hope that the humour and the presence of words help people who are not used to looking at art to become interested.

The world is senseless and therefore beautiful.  Concentration on appearances causes everyday meanings to fade away, revealing the blank mystery of material things.

Information can be perceived as being true or factual partly because of the manner of its presentation.  For example, the language of science has more authority than the language of advertising.

Images of animals have always interested me.  As a child I was fascinated by natural history seen in illustrations, diagrams and glass cases.

The content of my work has determined the form.  When I realised I could make use of an existing language from outside art the burden of art history disappeared.  The problems of what to make and how to work disappeared with it.

The visible world can be seen as an indecipherable secret language of arbitrary shapes and colours.  Everything then becomes a mute symbol.

What I really want to say is not said in the above statements, but in the works I make.  The two are not equivalent.

26th November 1987.