Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire (1999 – ongoing)
Ink, spray paint and lithograph on acid-free paper
420 x 594 mm
Chodzko began the series Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire , in 1999 and continues to draw to new iterations of this work. Imagining the poster as something that would be seen hanging on a noticeboard for a community or church hall, or municipal space, it attempts to create a distinct but strange group from a wider public.
“The Meetings posters, a series of drawings, are very contradictory. They announce the particularity of the meeting (“people with stammers to describe a fire”) and yet also state that “everyone” is “welcome”. Taken together these two groups must coincide; everyone must be stammering! There’s clearly no ‘point’ to such a meeting, but the work suggests that stammering might be the perfect poetic description of a complex movement of flames, which is a beautiful idea. The work also presents itself as a mass-produced poster but this is an illusion since it is hand drawn. My activity in drawing each poster could be seen as a kind of stammering, and so I myself could be included as a stammerer in the ‘meeting’ that initially appeared so restricted. As this work shows, there is always a power struggle within the relations between groups of people, but the balance can be shifting, playful and provocative rather than one-sided and inert.”
( From Describing A Fire: A Conversation between Adam Chodzko and Mark Godfrey, in Adam Chodzko, MAMBO 2007: p84)
The Meetings… series shows, from poster to poster, the flames developing their own form as a response to the present moment in which they are drawn. Chodzko has spoken (eg: lecture at Central Saint Martins, London, 2017) about his repetitive process of drawing the flames as a meditative process of weaving a structure of flows that not only describes but is the internal movement inherent in, and between, all his artworks; of fluidity, of meaning folding, unfolding and becoming. His heterogenous body of work, as a body, is stammering, vibrating, equivocating, convulsing and constantly evolving, decaying and growing. There is an urgency; a fire raging out there in the world, that art needs to address, by first understanding this fire for what it is, by describing it. The fire is also a campfire, or fire in a hearth, that we sit around, sharing its warmth and its glowing light together. Can we describe this experience of community and collectivity? Perhaps only through an utterance that stammers.
Meetings… also emerged from Chodzko’s own direct experience of stammering within his own speech.