The Field

Gary O'Connor


Book, 19.7 x 13.1 cm, 25 p, language: English, publisher: Transition Editions, ISBN: 978-0-9548954-5-7.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2025/994).

Literary synopsis

The vast, flat featureless Fens landscape is the backdrop for the disquieting story of a man whose decision to take singing lessons brings him to question his perception of reality.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

O'Connor's installation at Transition Gallery accompanied the novella, extending the text with visual, olfactory and auditory elements. “In the olden days you could either be a visual artist or a writer, the two areas of practice operated in their own fields apparently independent of each other. But recently the lines between the two are increasingly blurring. O’Conner took an MA in Writing the Visual at Norwich School of Art and Design, a unique and relatively new course which allows artists the ‘opportunity to explore the dialogue between the practices of literature and the practices of the visual arts.’ (…) One way of understanding The Field is as series of metanarratives. First there is the novella itself, the unfolding story which is revealed through your own reading and turning of the pages. Then there is the installation, the mise-en-scene representation of that turning. And finally there is the metaphorical field itself, which becomes the unknowable zone linking the two, it is the place to which the artist returns ‘spinning and falling’ questioning whether it is happening at all. As if describing the creative process it is the place where he is not sure where he is going but where he trusts his instincts. (…) The exhibition that you have just seen or are about to see is first and foremost made up in your own head. You have seen the installation now read the book.”

- Alex Michon, essay for O’Connor’s exhibition at Transition Gallery

Novel's website

Authorship: Artist Author.

Creative Strategy: Artwork-Novel Parallel Lives.

Genre: Plain Fiction.

Publishing: Art-Gallery.

Theme: Music, Subjective Experience.

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