I came to meet Irenie in her home on a sunny May afternoon, she showed us through the rooms of the home she shares with her family and I listened to her speak about her practice and the pleasures she derives from her work and creative process. Together in her kitchen she showed me all the masses of photographs she had made, collected and curated and the glass vitrines that held all the treasures of her life.
I felt a natural affinity with Irenie’s way of working, as I’m sure many of her collaborators do, she spoke about inspiration, intuition and instinct as part of her creative practice, and I was drawn into her orbit, drawn to her self awareness and the control of her work that she possesses.
What I understood about Irenie (and indeed all people, to a degree), and the way she lives and works, is that the objects which populate our lives can have a palpable impact on the way we live and the trajectory of our lives. The story that history tells us, of Cleopatra rolled in a carpet and smuggled into a palace to meet Julius Caesar, was called to my mind while we walked through the house, as Irenie pointed out the perfectly pink splodge on her rug, which was the inspiration for all the things in the room and was the link that meant they created a coherent whole.
The rug in the story played an ineffable role in the lives of two of the most famous people in all of history and its impact, while slightly absurd is also beautiful, and a good example of the significance ‘things’ can have in the right context. Irenie’s rug, with its one perfect pink spot and the impact it has had on the lives she and her family experience in their home, was worthy of my time and attention, I thought.
The piece I wrote is a meditation on the connotations, associations and history of ‘pink’ and is indicative of my own creative process. I often compile lists of names of things as part of my research, and even more often, lists of words as an exercise to stretch and play with my vocabulary. These lists and the process of making them is an aspect of my process I cherish, I feel a sense of order and structure as I compile them, but what I really enjoy is the abstraction, strangeness and beauty of the words or names all together. Like a precious gem, I wanted to preserve and protect Irenie’s pink, so as I worked on this commission I collected all the names of pinks so that in their addition to her website, they could be presented and displayed, the site itself transformed into a jewel box, glinting and adorned by a perfectly perfect pink.