Little Interview

Every month we ask the same set of questions to someone collaborating with us. Over the last two years, we have interviewed diverse members of the Glucksman community - artists, academics, staff members, guests, audiences and workshop participants. The responses are funny, inspiring, revealing and always a great read.

This month, we feature artist Richard Proffitt, who is currently working on May The Moon Rise And The Sun Set a site-specific project with the Glucksman as part of Cork Midsummer Festival.

What are you reading?  I’m currently reading Roberto Bolano’s short stories collection ‘Last Evenings On Earth’. Alongside that I’ve been reading the essays that accompany the Michael Buthe monograph ‘Retrospective’ and the Kai Althoff catalogue to his MOMA retrospective ‘and then leave me to the common swifts’. 

Favourite museum? The Ethnological Museum of Berlin, which has an astounding collection of indigenous art, objects, clothing and habitats. I saw wonderful works from the Polynesian, Melanesian and Australian collection and the magical ‘Vodou: Art and Cult from Haiti’ on one visit there.

Best performance? There are tonnes of gigs that stand out but those that have particularly stayed with me are seeing one of my biggest heroes Patti Smith perform at Kilmainham on a rainy June weekend in 2015 which was a transcendent and joyous experience. I also was happy to see an all time favourite band Faust appearing as uncompromising as I always believed they would be when I saw them play in Manchester in 2010.

Most treasured possession? My sanity.

Work(s) of art that inspire you? There are countless things that spring to mind but things I’ve seen in person that have had lasting influence are Mike Kelley’s exhibition ‘The Uncanny’ at Tate Liverpool in 2004, Pipilotti Rist’s 2008 show ‘Gravity Be My Friend’ at FACT, Liverpool, Mike Nelson’s labyrinthine installation ‘The Coral Reef’ which I was fortunate to see in its 2010 re-make at Tate Britain, Andre Breton’s ‘The Wall’, a collection of objects, artefacts and surrealist artworks which is on permanent display at Centre Pompidou, Paris. More recent artworks include Mark Leckey’s video work ‘Dream English Kid 1964-1999AD’ at Liverpool Biennial 2016 and I spent a lot of time with the Betye Saar room in Tate Modern’s ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power’ exhibition in 2017.

Lightbulb moment? When I was idly playing around with a varnished blob of blu-tack embedded with sawdust, a single strand of my hair and a coffee stirrer and thought that “that’s how it’s done”.

Guilty pleasure? I don’t believe in them.

What would you like to be doing right now? I’d love to be on holiday with my wife, exploring somewhere new.