“Tadeusz stands behind the diagram. He is brandishing a pair of safety scissors borrowed from an office down the hall. Disassembling or destroying the pattern ought to liberate Gregory. But using this barely effectual cutting implement to mechanically sever from each other the linear connections that infest the sheet of paper will be a clumsy affair, and it occurs to Tadeusz that obliterating the diagram could irreversibly damage Gregory’s eyes. Thus Tadeusz stalls momentarily, and then he steps out of the room. He returns swiftly with a proper set of scissors. He holds them open over the top edge of the eerily suspended chart. He pauses again, and looks at his colleague’s lifeless face. No, even with these sharper scissors, the process of cutting up the diagram will be too excruciatingly slow and deliberate for Tadeusz to follow through with. He feels squeamish and afraid. If Tadeusz is going to blind Gregory in the rescue attempt, Tadeusz will need to do so in a hasty and forceful manner from which there can be no turning back. He suddenly raises his right knee until it almost touches his chest, and then aims his foot at the seat of Gregory’s chair.”
2011. Ink on paper. 8.25 x 8.5 in.
Paul Antony Carr writes: I am very much interested in certain relationships between image and text. This interest is not only concerned with final forms, or products, but also with the processes “drawing” and “writing” through which the results are arrived at. I see parallels between grammatical structure and delineated form, especially within the sort of mental and physical groping exercised when working toward their refinement. The pictorial and verbal connections I attempt to handle in my practice are often nebulous at best, yet apparent enough for me to negotiate conceptually. However, once momentum has died down and all that remains is the final draft – the residue of process – it is the specifics of fiction, with its requisite plot and character(s), which tie together disparate visual and textual elements. Formally disconnected images band into a unified series through a titling system which reads like excerpts from an overarching narrative. At the same time, uncertain illustrational relationships between text and a visually cohesive set of images can be reinforced through the repetitive application of narrative continuity.
Tadeusz & Gregory are most certainly fictional, and possess potential for fluid identity. The idea of Tadeusz & Gregory is an intentionally vague set of relationships which can be played with in a variety of ways. Regardless of what is written about them, Tadeusz & Gregory may or may not be alike Mason and Dixon, Mason & Dixon, Harrison and Wood (but neither Harrison nor Wood), Reeves & Mortimer, Mark and Jeremy, or any of countless other (and not necessarily British) duos. However, Tadeusz & Gregory are definitely self-serious intellectuals whose research, of no fixed academic discipline, is likely insignificant to both their peers and the population at large. Yet the pair carry on while maintaining an impeccable work ethic. In turn, they celebrate their achievements and bemoan their failures.
Tadeusz & Gregory’s pairing as a duo carries with it the expectation of an act or routine. The nature of this enacted relationship is informed by what is committed in writing about the two colleagues, but is also influenced by expectations carried over from popular culture. The implied missing, or extra, identifying narrative information that is inherently present in excerption as a format lends itself to the malleability of the two characters’ association. This facilitates the conceit of the Excerpts series: that the titles are written as though excerpted from a greater completed story. However, there is largely no premeditated continuity in Excerpts. Thus flexibility in both the identity and interactive tendencies of the characters is useful for allowing the introduction or de-emphasis of landmarks and trajectories within the expanding fiction. And because the drawing and writing are so structurally and procedurally interwoven, enabling verbal improvisation encourages similar leeway in the realm of the pictorial.
VerySmallKitchen writes: Paul Antony Carr’s Excerpts is an ongoing project which VerySmallKitchen first encountered on his website, where it is regularly updated, usually on Fridays. The EXCERPTS project as a whole can be read in various ways, and Carr’s own website organises the archive either chronologically or into four sections: Tadeusz & Gregory, The boy changes his name again, The Winding Cave, and Untitled.
It is this first strand that forms the basis of Paul’s VSK Project, which presents a new text-image combination above, and a glimpse into the archive, below. How projects shift between contexts is an ongoing interest of VerySmallKitchen, and perhaps the archive here acquires a new narrative quality in condensing together sequential blog posts and removing them from their original temporality. I wondered, too, whether to keep those page and material dimensions for each image, those references beyond the screen to a (prior) paper life and scale.
Paul will also be in residence at VerySmallKitchen over the next three months, and a new section of the EXCERPTS project will appear here between now and October.
“Tadeusz kicks the seat of the chair. The chair rolls away from him on its casters, carrying with it Gregory and the diagram (despite the latter having no physical connection to anything at all). It doesn’t take long for the chair to slow down, but momentum keeps Gregory’s inflexible body moving and he begins to fall sideways from the seat to the floor. Of course, the chart precisely matches Gregory’s movement and descends perpendicularly towards the linoleum with a force that, Tadeusz hopes, will shatter the cursed sheet of paper to smithereens.”
2011. Ink on paper. 8.25 x 5 in.
“Tadeusz cautiously rolls the chair, with Gregory on it, a few feet back from the drafting table. Sure enough, the diagram follows Gregory to maintain the distance between itself and the seated scientist, while defying the laws of gravity at the same time. Fearful of looking directly at its pattern lest he fall victim to whatever has afflicted Gregory, Tadeusz walks around to the back side of the hovering diagram and examines its surface. The paper is thin and fragile, but also rigid. It is as solid as a brick wall to the touch. Tadeusz smiles to himself. The diagram will also be as brittle as a sheet of ice. Tadeusz knows what to do.”
2011. Ink on paper. 8.25 x 5 in.
“Tadeusz, while deep in thought, unbuttons his cuffs and begins to roll up his sleeves. A series of interrelated solutions has presented itself to him. Tadeusz could physically remove the diagram from the vision of his unmoving colleague, and this might be accomplished by simply rolling up the chart, folding it closed, or picking it up off the drafting table and placing it elsewhere away from Gregory’s relentlessly focused eyes. But Tadeusz is reluctant to attempt any of these methods, for he knows the inadequacies of his own athleticism – if the deadlock between the diagram and Gregory’s retinae cannot be so easily broken, any attempt to move the chart would require shifting Gregory’s body at the same time along a parallel vector. Such would be an unwieldy undertaking, both heavy and unbalanced. Indeed, if the assumption holds true that the distance between, and relative positions of, Gregory and the surface of the diagram are fixed, it would require far less effort to instead directly move Gregory and allow the sheet of paper to follow suit (especially considering that Gregory is seated on a chair with casters). Although, this alone would not be a successful way to rescue Gregory from the clutches of the chart’s petrifying visage.”
2011. Ink on paper. 10.75 x 7.5 in.
“It is just a few minutes past 7.00am when Tadeusz unlocks the office door and steps in. He flicks the lights on, rests his briefcase against a bookshelf, strolls past Gregory, and sits down on the worn Le Corbusier-inspired sofa. Tadeusz examines his colleague. Unsurprisingly by now, Gregory sits motionless at the drafting table with eyes fixed on the complex geometric chart laid out before him. Gregory does not move, blink, breath, eat, drink, defecate, or urinate – though he sometimes sweats, his hair and beard do not grow. Gregory should be dead, but three weeks have passed since Tadeusz discovered him frozen in the office, and still Gregory shows no signs of decomposition. So, despite all commonsensical objections, Tadeusz surmises that Gregory must yet be alive. Tadeusz would almost allow himself to be overjoyed by this conclusion if he could but determine a method to successfully reclaim his friend from the visually-induced stasis.”
2011. Ink on paper. 10.75 x 7.5 in.
“Gregory rolls the chart flat onto the angled drafting table. The plot laid out on the surface of the paper is a complex pattern that occupies the entirety of the sizeable sheet. He begins to study it intently. But fear sets in before long. Although his intellect tells him the graphic pattern physically ends at the perimeter of the chart, with his vision focused at its centre, the repetitious uniformity of the diagram begins to encroach upon his peripheral vision. What normally serves as a visual buffer at the edge of his sight is effectively abolished, and he finds his eyes locked into place in relation to the ubiquitous diagrammatic matrix presented before him. Furthermore, panic ensues when he realizes his predicament extends beyond the ocular, and that he is rendered incapable of wresting his body from it’s current position less than two feet away from the chart. ‘I can’t move,’ is what he’d like to say, but not even his lips are able to escape the solid grip of delineation.”
2011. Ink on paper. 8.25 x 5.25 in.
“Their next project – it’s more like a frivolous challenge really, but somebody is actually funding the research – is to devise a system by which a pontoon plane can stay airborne without recourse to aerodynamics. The requested solution is to have the plane counterintuitively stay ‘afloat’ in midair upon downward falling rain.”
2011. Ink on paper. 8 x 5 in.
“Tadeusz stops writing mid-word, not to sharpen his pencil – though it could do with sharpening – but rather because he just now realises he might finally understand the eagle-thing analogy Gregory incoherently expounded the other evening.”
2011. Watercolour on paper. 9.5 x 7 in.