Anna Paskhin

Walking With and Without Purpose

“A line is a dot that went for a walk” —Paul Klee

I have focused on the idea of walking as a practice, creating a narrative by walking. My work usually takes the form of installation which shows a series of different walks I have mapped out, using simple black lines. They have all been motivated by different things; for example, one of my walks was determined by heads or tails on a coin – tails for left and heads for right. Each drawing is accompanied by a title, as the narrative of the lines is essential to show what the lines represent. Thus, the story of the walk becomes essential to the walk itself.

My practice has evolved into walking as performance; looking at walking with, and without purpose and also subverting that. That as soon as the walk is given a title it becomes intentional, even if it was a walk with no purpose. However, a walk with no purpose is still a walk with a purpose. This complicates the idea of walking, something that everyone naturally does without thinking about it, but what happens when it is thought about? Previously my practice was predominantly concerned with a relationship between art and landscape. This still is evident in my walks, and I am continuing to map some of the routes I take, making lines as I walk. However, I have moved from the outside environment, to inside the gallery, and started to look at how these spaces differ and what changes due to location.

I have been interested by Bruce Nauman, particularly by his film ‘Walking in an exaggerated manner around the perimeter of a square’ (1968). I was inspired by how something so simple, and something so natural (like walking) can open up so many questions. It lead me to think about restrictions, and how the studio space could be used, that even though we do walking all the time, when we do it in the studio it’s different - then it is art. This enabled me to think about my walking as art and from this I produced a series of performance pieces in which I would give myself an instruction, for example walking in a square, or in a straight line. I felt this was an interesting experiment as it lead me to question the mundanity of walking and how when you give the walk a purpose, it can become something else – a piece of art, an instillation, a performance, especially when it is in the studio space.