My mother is staying with the me at the moment. She arrived a few days ago to help get my studio organised. Its mess is not as bad as Francis Bacon's but in another month or two, it might have given Bacon's a run for its money. Every shelf is over-burdened and I've been stacking paper, books, and everything else on the floor. Even the tops of my filing cabinets are piled high with folders, waiting to be sorted. I lose immeasurable amounts of time, every day, rifling through the mess to find old drawings, image discs, correspondence, and even misplaced cheques from collectors.The effect of my mother's presence has been rather like a whirlwind's. She drove my van across town to Ikea several times to buy new shelves, a work table, storage boxes, a mirror for drawing/video work, lamps and countless smaller item. My personal assistant helped her to load and unload the van, clear space, move boxes, and transfer delicate stacks of paper and art materials to my bedroom so they wouldn't be damaged.Right now, it's after midnight and my mother is still in the storeroom, which she has emptied out. She's assembling shelves that reach to the ceiling and line the longest wall. Framed artworks will be lean against stacks of heavy boxes of books. After that, boxes piled in other rooms will be sorted, repacked and shelved. Then my mother will drive to my storage facility and transfer boxes of archives, materials for installations, and my own collection of artworks from there back to the studio. After unloading and organising those, she'll sort through rolls of negatives, stacks of photographs and artwork then wrap them in glassine paper and archive them.As one area is tidied, the chaos of another becomes more obvious. Photocopied scraps of reference images, collages and business paperwork still need to be reviewed and filed. I thought it'd take a couple of days to sort through but it will be probably be more than a week.
My work has to go on regardless. After all, there are the rent, salaries and a stack of bills to pay. When I surface for lunch, seeing each newly re-organised space makes my mind feel less cluttered, my spirit less overwhelmed. I'm 30 years old. It's chastening to think that, sometimes, even a big girl really needs her mum.