Paul Nash gave a sense of ‘aliveness’ to everything, even inanimate matter. More than 80 years later Jane Bennet also described in her book Vibrant Matter the basic argument is that everything is alive, interconnected, and in process: not only plants and humans but rocks and air. The idea that there’s no such thing as ‘objects’ or ‘subjects’ from a certain perspective. Both humans and inanimate ‘things’ are never entirely passive or stable; they’re crystallizations of processes, and everything is in process, constantly undergoing transformation, constantly undergoing modification. This is important for art, politics life and the cultures in which we exist.
Last week I traveled along the coast from Cornwall through Dorset, Somerset and towards the Kent Coast, visiting Hastings and completing my journey at Dungeness. Over the recent past, I’ve found myself drawn to the work of Paul Nash. In particular, his writings and visualisations of inanimate objects and his depiction of wrecked materials such as Totes Meer (Dead Sea) 1940–1. The suggestion of a ghostly presence in the material depicted in this scene resonates with my own practice and exploration of wrecked and lost matter.