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Andrew Kötting
'All of us, all of us, all of us trying to save our immortal souls, some ways seemingly more round- about and mysterious than others.' Raymond Carver, from In Switzerland

In all Kötting's work, there is a more or less active reclamation of deep strains of popular experience and folk memory for the digital age. His project, vitally, operates against the hollow ordering of reality and existence. He is closer to the Native American Coyote, to the trickster, harlequin and knave in his operation than to the career 'administrator' artist. Formal funding is sought, and desirable if gained, but not a pre-requisite to creativity. Other ways or media will be found to get the message out. He is most adept at 'making do', at mining the creative possibilities of material or structural limitation to invigorating effect.

Similarly, he surrounds himself with a 'family' of collaborators, and his own blood family (David Burnand, Eden Kötting, Andrew Lindsay, Sean Lock, Mark Lythgoe, Leila McMillan, Gary Parker, Nick Gordon Smith, Mark Wheatley, Ben Woolford) in a community of shared intent. The work is as much a chronicle, a diary of relationships in metaphorical and imagistic form as it is an accretion of themes.

This corpus develops organically in an England a long way from the Blairite. Kötting's island of the spirit is Albion the older, wilder outcrop; and his tone is often 'Anglican Gothic'. There is an ironic celebration of things English that allows for absurd affections to dance a pier-end afternoon waltz with occasional vehemence towards insular narrow-mindedness, but more likely amused observance of island ways and folk. The nation comes across as a sometime blasted entity pursuing arcane business, frequently with strange and often indecipherable totems.

Here, we can see Kötting's Anvil Head as the Holy Fool of the apocalyptic suburbs - a Jubilee style King Ludd, but unanchored from history and drifting in a timeless zone of trinket concessions, flock wallpaper and dysfunctions large and small. England might have made us, but which England, and which stratum offers our true path?

Still from Anvil Head by Andrew Kötting, 1986
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