We adore Hilary Lloyd’s work, and if we were a betting anthropoid we’d put our money on her for the Turner Prize, which is announced in two weeks. And a huge portion of our respect goes to her ability, sustained over approximately 20 years, to never say anything about her work at all. What, is this woman an Israeli diplomat avoiding the nuclear question? Do not confirm, do not deny, do…not…say….anything.
Her work is about, in many ways, the conditions of seeing (okay, not talking) and her images, which toy with the erotics of hardware (by which we mean machinery, ye of dirty minds, machinery!), are not terribly opaque, with aforementioned erotics and power on show, so it’s all to the good to let them speak for themselves. But from a purely linguistic point of view, we thrill to her obfuscatory camouflage and think that should be nominated for its own prize, the Taciturner Prize perhaps.
To wit, take a look at this video of her speaking about her work that the Guardian has posted:
“I’m not a filmmaker. But I do use video-film. I use it in a very straightforward way, in the way that you might use a pencil or a pair of scissors. The works I make are like a singular situation and they’re not edited afterwards [pause], so what is filmed [pause] is what [pause] you see.”
Ah, well, that’s mildly helpful. What is it we see?
“It’s about making what I’m trying to do work at that particular moment – and that [pause] stuff [pause], those videos [pause], are then [pause] it.”
We’re hanging on every pause here, Lloyd! It’s like waiting for a drawling Alabaman gentlemen finish his thoughts and then to find out he’s just saying he’s leaving.
At one point she slips into a discussion of the power of the new M74 motorway, which she filmed in Glasgow for Motorway (you did not seriously think she would be one for florid titles, did you?), but she finishes by creeping back up along her thought and erasing every suggestion, even the meaning of meaning in art.
“When I was making Motorway, I definitely felt this huge solid steel structure, and I felt its thrust and power and energy and huge ambition to cross the North/South railway [pause — here the backtrack starts] and I don’t really know if that translates into what you actually see. And I’m really not trying to necessarily say that [erase, erase]. There’s this idea with art that you should understand it, you should appreciate it, you should get it, and I don’t think it’s like that at all [scrub, scrub]. I don’t know. I don’t think I know at all what the works are saying [wholesale delete]. Can you answer that and I’ll see if I think I agree?”
Ah, Hilary Lloyd. A woman who wants to let her work speak for itself! Well, go see it then; it’s up at BALTIC in Newcastle, which has stolen the Turner Prize from Tate this year, and at Sadie Coles gallery off Regent Street, in a solo exhibition titled (wait for it) “Hilary Lloyd 2011”.