‘SLIPPERY WHEN WET’
2021. Published text with accompanying aquatint etchings (perfect bound, 14.8 x 20cm).
On its surface, this artist’s book details a first-person trip to an abandoned swimming pool – full of water but empty of life. The reader is led through the experience of swimming, submerged in an inventive combination of poetry and autofiction to the point of complete immersion. What begins as toe-dipping uncertainty is quickly lost to the depths of authentic, heartfelt reflection.
Accompanied by images of aquatint etchings and grotesquely visceral sculptures, ‘Slippery When Wet’ presents itself as a relic from obliquity. In its consumption, it intends to demonstrate Psychosomatic Swimtrospection: the oxymoronic combination of internal and external, emotional and physical vulnerability that occurs when swimming in a public pool. This theory forms the basis from which the piece is written, confronting my own experiences of disability, eating disorders, gender dysphoria and mental illness within an exposure-centric setting.
The strength of ‘Slippery When Wet’ lies in its total conceptual and technical commitment to immersion. While its site-specificity may seem to suggest restriction, the work instead creates an environment for boundless reflection, demonstrated in its writing and given to the reader. It is not contained by facts, expectations or disciplines – it is only contained by the thoughts it may float to the surface.
EXTRACT FROM CHAPTER ONE