Is This Enough?

detail of ‘Untitled (Landscape)’, 2008

Blue Oyster Art Project Space
Dunedin, New Zealand
15 July – 8 August 2009

With Is this Enough? Justine Walker presents a series of video and wall works which investigate and document the pressure to perform. Following research into process, series and repetition in the everyday, her work shifts readings of abstraction and starts to question what it means to be a female artist today. Walker references the often mundane activities that many in our society continue to do day after day with particular interest in the futility of them; when is the performance successful? when do we stop performing?

List of Works

Untitled, 2008, multiple A4 inkjet photocopies, varying size
Untitled (Headstand), 2009, video, 4 minutes
Untitled (Countdown), 2008, video, 1 minute 40 seconds
Untitled (Shuffle), 2008, video, 19 minutes
Untitled (Landscape), 2008, video, 2 minutes 30 seconds
Untitled (Drawing), 2008, video, 12 minutes
Untitled (Performance) 1 – 4, 2008, paper, pencil, stickers, 420 x 594 mm
Untitled (APPLAUSE), 2008, Multimedia, 740 x 180 x 120 mm

Installation Images

Installation view of, from left to right, ‘Untitled (Headstand’), ‘Untitled’ and ‘Untitled (APPLAUSE)’
Installation view of, from left to right, ‘Untitled (Drawing)’, ‘Untitled (Landscape)’, ‘Untitled (Shuffle)’, and ‘Untitled (Countdown)’
Installation view of, from left to right, ‘Untitled (Drawing)’, ‘Untitled (Landscape)’, ‘Untitled (Shuffle)’, ‘Untitled (Countdown)’, and ‘Untitled’
Installation view of ‘Untitled (Performance) #1 – 4’

Proposal Text

I’ve decided to include the text from the proposal I put forward to Blue Oyster. At the time of it’s writing I had no idea of the rabbit hole we were yet go down attempting to have children. 

Working Title: “Longing: Am I enough?”

“If this is all there is, am I enough?” We all live in fear of this question. We occupy our time striving for something better, something that is missing, something to fill the void.

I watch friends and family attempt to have children, I can see the desperation in their eyes. Do they dare to be excited at the prospect, by the decision to move on to the next chapter of their lives, children, a family? Everything else is in place, the large family home with wedding photos proudly displayed, career well established, but what if the children never arrive? The children are not arriving. Do I dare to join them in this pursuit?

Everyone longs for something more in their life or in some cases a whole new life altogether. Some move into larger houses, buy second homes, move countries, others look for love on the internet. Have you seen what you can buy on the internet these days? Groceries, houses, clothes, pets, even children if you know where to look. I see a twitch in those desperate eyes.

If you don’t have children, a family, the rest of your life comes into sharp focus. When you reach a certain age and realise that time is running out, the tick tock of your biological clock is slowing if not stopped, you wonder “what now?” You convince yourself that the benefits of not being tied down mean greater opportunities, travel, career, a social life, more money, this is going to be great, a whole new world of possibilities. So why do I find myself staring at the wall wondering what I’m giving up, and why is it ‘giving up’ and not simply making a choice? Because we all feel a longing, a desire for something we don’t have, children are just the item of choice when you reach your mid thirties.

There will always be something that we long for, something that creeps into our thoughts when we have a moment between activities. We are all striving for something, it’s why we get up in the morning and go to work, why we continue to do the same things and expect a different result.

I fill my life with activity for fear of wasting time, even when relaxing watching television I’m always doing something, knitting or sewing. Where did this concept of ‘wasting time’ come from, when did we all become so busy that relaxing became an activity? I feel the fear and doubt resulting from longing for something unattainable. I recognize the futility of attempting the unachievable. The unachievable being the fulfillment of the longing, obtaining the something desired to fill the void, to no longer feel like something is missing, to not fear time.

My research follows an interest in the activities we undertake to achieve a better life, to attain the unattainable and the activities we use to avoid the failure of the attempt. The fear and doubt generated by the longing for that which is missing. “What if I am not enough?”

‘I don’t want to read. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to do anything but be here. Doing something will take me away from here. I want to make being here enough. Maybe it’s already enough.

I won’t have to invent enough. I’ll be here and I won’t do anything and this place will be here, but I won’t do anything to it. I’ll just let it be here. And maybe because I’m here and because the me in what’s here makes what’s here different, maybe that will be enough, maybe that will be what I’m after. But I’m not sure. I’m not sure I’ll be able to perceive that difference. How will I perceive it? I need to find a way to make myself absolutely not here but still be able to be here to know the difference. I need to experience the difference between being here and not changing here, and being here and changing here.’

Roni Horn, from Roni Horn : Inner Geography

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