Absent / Presence detail sculpture installation art piece Russell Hand © ®

Article Part IV: My Art, Travels, Antiquities pass and corroborations of who I am…

Well I know I have had many people lie about me through life and still do… For varied reasons and motivations… One of the main ones is because so many time people have thought me brilliant, to have a wonderful personality, make amazing art and to be extremely intelligent. One might ask if people thought me wonderful in various ways, why would they lie about me or say terrible things about me, well to be good at things is within reason is alright, but to be brilliant is not as far as many people are concerned, and to be brilliant and not famous is maybe the most hated thing… Some think or seem to want to imply I am mad or crazy or psychologically unbalanced, well for a couple of reasons I have had psychological / mental health evaluations in the last few years, and passed with flying colours… Very sane, extremely intelligent and articulate, as I have always been, also not any problems with substance abuse or alcohol, though I do enjoy a bourbon & coke with 3 slices of lime squeezed in…

This is a fascinating article on genes that correlate with intelligence… and a quote from the article… “According to the team, the genes that make for smartness also look to confer a protective effect to overall cognitive health, with the analysis finding a negative correlation with Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depressive symptoms, and schizophrenia.” I would assume they will find they also tend to be the most honest and not needing facades, less egotistical and narcissistic etc… for if one is incredibly intelligent why would one need too… and ego and narcissism tends to get in the way of intelligence, creativity etc… I should point out that ‘self love’ is not narcissism, and if you cannot love yourself to at least some degree, how can you love someone else… I was brought up and do think in a very egalitarian way, but that does not mean I think people have the same intelligence levels as that would be a fallacy, misinformation / a lie… Science does not think that, nor does experience… Though everyone can be much more than what they currently are…

https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-discovered-almost-1-000-new-genes-associated-with-intelligence

2 Stories from my past, which made me hate lies, manipulation, injustice and love the truth…

When I was very young, lets say 4 years old my older sister use to pull my hair, pinch and kick me… a lot, and if I retaliated in anyway say pulled her hair after she had punched, kicked pinched and pulled my, she would scream for my mother and tell her I had pulled her hair… I would try to tell my mother that she had been pulling my hair pinching me and kicking me etc… but my sister would scream and shout and accuse me of lying… Which I was not… I stolidly told the truth… So grew to resent lies in general… So from a very early age I have always told the truth, hate lies, manipulation and injustice… I have several stories all true about being asked things and always telling the truth, things I thought would get me into trouble and in some ways should have done when I was a child but because of my honesty and being prepared to take the consequences of my actions I rarely if ever did… I have always found telling the truth the best policy… Which is also what my mother grew to learn about me and why she always trusted me… well I suspect she even did about my sister when I was 4, as she only ever told me not to do it… pull her hair, even if it was in retaliation… 😉 Yes I know children will be children… and what I would call a funny story from my youth…

Actually I will tell you another example…

When I was 5 or 6 I use to play with a neighbour 2 doors down sometimes… His parents had a small boat in their garage and hanging from a tree 2 boat floats, one round and one pear shaped… Now his idea of a game was we each ‘sat’ on a float, wait and see who could last longest… Guess who got the nice round float that was like a seat and who got the pear shaped float and had to support most of their weight with their hands on the rope they hung from… Being his parents floats he always got the round one he could just sit on… I had to cling on and always lost the ‘lets see who can last the longest’, as the pear shaped float was very narrow at the top and angled out narrowly straight each side. We only played it a few times as I turned round and said to him I am not playing anymore as it is unfair and you are a brat. His response was to try to punch me… A mistake as I avoided his blow and punched him back… He ended up with a black eye and I went home… a few hours later his mother and father came round to my parents house, spoke to them and then asked for me… My father asked me when I arrived at the front door whether it was true I had punched the neighbour, to which, though worried I relied ‘Yes’… Then his parents both turned round and thanked me… They said that they did not know what to do with him, as they knew he was an only child, their child and a brat… Then to have his best friend… I never considered him my best friend… to be honest… But anyway his mothers words… To have his best friend tell him he was a brat and give him a black eye has taught him a lesson… So they thanked me and left… My father though telling me I should not punch people even if they are brats, told me he was pleased with me for being so honest as I knew it would get me in trouble but was anyway… Honest that is… As I always am… even in adverse circumstances… And did not get punished in anyway by my parents… not that was my usual behaviour giving someone a black eye…

But if you understand, the stories were things that actually happened, you will understand also the negative reinforcement with lying, manipulation and injustice (bad), the positive reinforcement for telling the truth (good)… Then before I was 4 I told the truth… Then through school there are several others stories where I could have been punished or even expelled, generally more comic antics, which were still ‘breaking the rules’ but when asked told the truth and admitted what I had done, fully aware of the consequences, but was neither punished, suspended or expelled, well punished a couple of times, the threat of expulsion which happened twice for a couple of comic antics with friends I was not even punished for… ‘Honesty is the best policy’… Then ethics and philosophy is a search for the truth in many ways and self responsibility for ones actions… not lies…

Then a number of women I have been in relationships with have told me my greatest charm is my honesty and my greatest fault is my honesty. Though they also thought apart from being incredibly intelligent I was charismatic and charming… They also thought my artistic talents were considerable as well as my creativity and imagination… But also thought the were also my faults… A paradox not really, they loved and hated me for the same things, which so many seem too…

Maybe my pass I received from the head of the police in Cairo Egypt, the one that could not only get me into any museum or archaeological site in Egypt, but also get any opened that I wanted. I had a conversation with the person in charge of the Valley of the Kings site in Egypt that first time I backpacked around the Mediterranean, as my friend I was travelling with wanted me to open a tomb that had not been opened for 50 years… One of the Rameses tombs, as the person in charge told me at the time if I insisted he would have to open it, but it would take days to pump out the poisonous air and pump in good air and exposing it to a change of atmosphere would damage the wall paintings and the tomb… Of course I did not… But I had been told by the senior police officer if anyone found to comply with any request, ask for money or anything else to phone him or get any official refusing to so he could talk to him…

A rather funny photograph of me on the pass, one of the few I had with me… and what remains of the pass, that could not only get me into any monument for free but have them opened or allow me access to any part including ones not open to the public… I wonder if they still issue these to anyone… One of the many tales from my travels that first time backpacking…

Me Golan Heights Israel / occupied territories… The first time I backpacked around the Mediterranean with my friend Pete… Think this is near the wire border with Syria… Taken by Pete on my camera…

Pete getting off the ferry across the Nile Egypt, when we were on our way to The Valley of the Kings… The clothes were our work clothes off the Kibbutz and Moshav we worked on in Israel… as were my boots in the photograph of me…

Then my artists book in the Tate special archive of artists books… and the entry in The Tate library catalogue;

I should explain, my artists book was made / produced and printed by myself, I then had it professionally bound. 

It is a plan for an art installation, a very large one. A maze with my art / art installations / writing / poetry / photography in.

It is a notebook / sketch book of ideas for more work.

I did show it to an art critic / theorist, a world renowned one that I have known since I was at art school who at that time, thought even when I was a student, that I was a greater artist than any of the already world famous YBA’s, Stuart Morgan another art critic that is now dead thought the same; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Morgan_(art_critic)  https://www.theguardian.com/news/2002/aug/30/guardianobituaries.booksobituaries In fact I only realised Stuart Morgan was dead when I went into the Tate Morgan and saw a blue plaque on the wall there for him. The other art critic who had the same kind of standing as Stuart Morgan who I met up with towards the end of 2017 and looked at another edition of my artist book, identical to the one The Tate have in their archive, and they said to me; “It is not just an artists book, it is a piece of art in its own right.”

Link http://library.tate.org.uk/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/57/5/3?searchdata1=311329{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER   then is no record or mention of myself or my artists book on the public Tate website anywhere that I can see www.tate.org.uk should there not be ? That link has now expired and I cannot access the record anymore ? Given an updated link… But still many questions and problems it seems…

I also wondered since you, my artists book is in The Tate special archive of artists books, should it not also be in the document archive of The Tate with Barbara Hepworth’s sketch books etc… As my book is not produced by someone else or a commercially produced book printed and published by a publishing company, nor a book for sale, but a book of ideas by an artist. A book produced by an artist of examples of their work, ideas for further art pieces, a book of critical thought and engagement with the world, existence and being… It talks about the ‘fractures’ ‘fault lines’ in the world and people among other things…

I also wondered since you, my artists book is in The Tate special archive of artists books, should it not also be in the document archive of The Tate with Barbara Hepworth’s sketch books etc… As my book is not produced by someone else or a commercially produced book printed and published by a publishing company but a book of ideas by an artist. A book produced by an artist of examples of their work, ideas for further art pieces, a book of critical thought and engagement with the world, existence and being… It talks about the the ‘fractures’ ‘fault lines’ in the world and people among other things…

I originally gave my artists book to The Tate to be looked at by the director and / or the curators at the Tate, an assistant to the curators emailed me that the curators had viewed my book at a meeting and then since I was not in the country at the time, gave my artist book to the library, where they decided to put it in your archive. To be honest I was and still am surprised that the curators are not talking to me, as apart from my artists book I also have another book by myself which I called ‘100 Art Installations’, which I started while I was working on ideas while I was putting together the ideas for ‘Smiths Empire’, as I was generating so many other ideas for art pieces / art installations and have added to since… Which I have been told several times while a student by various art people that saw a few of the pages from the book is a work of genius, and they were not joking. I have been drawing and painting since I could hold a crayon, pencil or brush, I have been reading history since I was 5, outside school, loved dinosaurs, ancient Greek and Egyptian history and myths, science since I was 8, philosophy and ethics since I was 12 or so, also out of my own interest outside of the school curriculum, being fascinated and curious about all and more, been reading psychology since I was 17 etc… Maybe I should explain some more, after leaving my last art school like everyone I had debts, I also like travelling, backpacking. I originally started putting my artists book together in 2002, the one The Tate now have in their archive, when I had a studio in an old disused victorian school in Hoxton, went travelling, returned towards the end of 2003, beginning of 2004 put up my art website, which within a few weeks was listed on a academic website for higher education and research; Intute run by several universities including Oxford university. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intute There were 10,000’s of artists listed on it, but I was placed in a few categories including YBA, as in Young British Artists, with 2 other artists, Damien Hirst and The Chapman brothers, counting the Chapman brothers as one as much of their work is collaborative. None of the other artists on the Intute site were listed in the YBA category…Now when I was listed on the Intute site, I had hardly ever shown / exhibited, so they went on my art not reputation or knowing me, and whether you like Damien Hirst or the Chapman brothers art, they were then and still are some of the most famous artists in the world. So I was put in a rare category with world famous artists, contextualised with them, just on the work / art / writing I produce… and the ideas I work with… My art website https://russellhand.com I have kept the same, how I originally designed it, very minimal layout etc… and content, with the addition of a few more examples of more recent work, a few more paintings, fashion photography, poems, writing etc… since as I said it originally went up in early 2004 and was originally all in Apple quicktime… Now accessible by all as had to redo, recode it… See image attached…  See image attached… 

Though as it says they shut down in 2011 due to losing funding for the project…

Just after I put up my art website https://russellhand.com found out my mother had a brain tumour, which was operated on, she survived and recovered, my father had died many years before, and though my eldest brother was her main carer, I spent from 2004 till 2014 when she died, looking after them both, long story. I did exhibit with Damien Hirst, Sam Taylor-Wood, Peter Blake and a number of other artists in 2006, shot some fashion, as was less time consuming in 2006 / 2007. As Isabella Blow had put the idea in my head in 2002, asking me if I wanted to shoot fashion, at the time I said no, as I never really thought of myself as a photographer, though she knew I was some kind of artist, she did say but you are taking photographs, another long story, as I was standing on a street corner taking some photographs at the time and have been taking photographs since I was about 6. An old friend and collaborator of Helmut Newton’s on seeing some of my fashion photography in 2007 told me, he had seen everything before until he saw some of my fashion photography, which some of which is in my artists book. Wrote poetry, worked on more art installation ideas / ideas for art pieces, painted and wrote theory / philosophy, as well as taking more photographs… and working from time to time on my book, though most of my time was taken up making sure my mother and brother were alright and happy. I did promise my mother just before she died I would finish my artists book and return to my career as an artist, which is why The Tate have my artists book in their archive.In 2009 I was contacted and asked if I wanted to be featured as a photographer / fashion photographer, and as I was not sure, they explained they were MySpace and had been featuring world renowned American photographers and wanted to start featuring British photographers, and wanted to start it with me as they loved my photography. I was surprised as I had not been on MySpace actively since 2007, also as there were a vast number of British photographers and artists, including world famous ones, artists and photographers, including most of the world famous fashion photographers, including the ones you know shooting for i-D, British Vogue, Italian Vogue, all the Vogues around the world, W magazine etc… Purple, Self Service, Another Magazine, Exit, etc… British, British based etc… all had profiles on MySpace and like me left them there… interestingly they asked me to kick it off. I take it on the quality artistic creativity of my photography rather than reputations… Well they did say they loved my photography when they were talking me into being featured… See attached image, as I eventually agreed.

So apart from art critics thinking I was a world class artist when I was a student, in fact better than any of the YBA’s at the time or since, mid 1990’s, 9 years later academics just seeing my art website, put me in a ‘rare’ category, YBA with 2 other artists, there were about 29 entires in this category, most being for the Turner Prize. Then several years later the ‘popular culture’ sector, MySpace, put ask me to lead off the British photographers they wanted to feature, I at that time had shoot about 7 or 8 fashion shoots, and stopped mostly because I had to concentrate on helping my mother and brother. I know this is rather long, but thought I would explain a few things, obviously there is much more and lots more feedback. Though people for some reason have thought I was brilliant, amazingly creative, extremely intelligent, which has happened throughout my life, since before I first went to art school at the Chelsea School of Art, now known as The Chelsea College of the Arts UAL…

I do realise I am a white heterosexual male, which is not the most popular category of artist at the moment, though I am post-modern, more 22 century in thought and practice… and irrespective of that it should go on the art produced / ideas / concepts… Stuart Morgan was gay, and the other art critic / cultural theorist who said my artists book was not just an artists book but a work of art in its own right is a woman… neither of who found it a problem, who I had and do not a problem with their gender or sexual orientation, in fact because my theoretical framework / philosophical psychological structure was so brilliant as they thought my art, writing and thought processes were, they would not blink about just how good I am. or suppose to be… Well some still seem to think I am, and anyone one with a thought, any kind of deductive reasoning or intelligence of any kind, if they have heard anything negative about me, would not only realise it is a lie or lies… but totally absurd and ridiculous…

This article Part IV might sound arrogant but is merely stating facts and being honest… Brilliance or genius one finds in all races, genders and sexual orientation… Not that it should matter the work / ideas / art / science / writing should… Michelangelo was gay, Hypatia, Marie Curie, Louise Bourgeois, Susan Sontag were women… Louise Bourgeois being one of my favourite artists and I think one of the most influential artists of the late 20th Century…

Then among the many things I think should be taught is deductive reasoning / deductive logic… Elementary my dear Watson… Well as I have said before, critical thought, thought, mindfulness, deductive reasoning, ethics and a whole host of other things so people have a solid foundation to build knowledge on, and their develop their ability to apply it…

“In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

“The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault…..

….Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself.” Oscar Wilde

“SOCRATES: THE TEST OF THREE

In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

 One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said,“Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”

“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”

“Test of Three?”

“That’s correct,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really…”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more…”

Then maybe another famous quote, this time from Socrates…

“SOCRATES: THE TEST OF THREE

In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

 One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said,“Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”

“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”

“Test of Three?”

“That’s correct,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really…”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more…”

“A true friend stabs you in the front.” Oscar Wilde

“Those who fail to re-read are obliged to read the same story everywhere.” Roland Barthes

The idea that was suggested was to break it down into shorter pieces so they could be read at different times… A very good one… Apologies if there are the same bits twice and or mistakes, I am having a lot of internet trouble and LinkedIn errors when saving as I write… Another reason to make more smaller articles from the long one, as adding links and more text was getting difficult…

The other parts should be read first…

Part I: 

Part II: 

Part III: 

There is more on my art website https://russellhand.com and on my blogs… https://artist.russellhand.com https://russellhand.life

Russell Hand © ® all rights reserved except the links to the video talks and organisations their respective copyright ©