Friday, 20 April 2012

The Reasonable Flatmates – Make Art, not War by Lynda Waterhouse

Many years from now archaeologists working in South London will uncover a concrete slab inscribed with a heart with two initials, MG and LW. There is a slogan above the heart that says Reasonable Forever. What does it mean?

Twenty years ago Matthew Groves and I lived in a damp dilapidated short life housing co-op in the then unfashionable Elephant and Castle. We filled the empty house with his kiln, my Amstrad computer and an eclectic collection of furniture including a green baize card table from a gentleman’s club and a Bakerlite rocking chair all liberated from skips. We covered the drafty windows with clingfilm and entered into the role of being flat mates.

We navigated the storm and petty squalls of house sharing. We did each others washing up, tolerated guests, paid bills on time, kept our distance, never left each other complaining notes and always whistled the theme tune of the X Files as we sat down to watch it. We called ourselves The Reasonable Flatmates and it was in this creative environment that I began to develop my writing skills. Matthew left for the U.S to follow his heart and his art.

Here is Matthew’s current work entitled Harvest and created in response to the events of 9/11. If you live in Chicago you can see it at Gallery UNO until 30th April.

The curator Barbara Goebels-Cattaneo says ‘For his exhibition, “Harvest”, Matthew Groves created two pieces of ceramics work dealing with these complex and often conflicting matters. “Oranges and Lemons”, two huge tapered vessels, remind us of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, with their characteristic vertical stripes. Also reminiscent of cinerary urns, filled with ashes and memories, Matthew Groves decided to mount them so that they can be rung like bells, bells of mourning, bells of freedom, division bells, “The Bells of Rhymney”, a poem dealing with the conditions of coalmining in Wales during the 1920ies, to which Matthew Groves refers. The vessels without bases are permanently unenclosed, open to new thoughts which echo inside, ready to call for a peaceful revolution. ‘

Matthew was also inspired by the documentary ‘The Cats of Mirikitani’ about the artist Jimmy Mirikitani. Jimmy claims ‘Make art, not war.’

Here’s hoping that those creative thoughts are echoing and resonating inside you and that you make art, not war today.

Reasonable Flatmates Forever!


Jane Housham said...

I like this post very much -- I'm a great believer in reasonableness. And that short film is so intriguing -- is it part of a longer documentary, I wonder?

Lynda Waterhouse said...

Hi Jane, Good to hear from you. Check out for details about the documentary film.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Wonderful thought. Wish it were universally practiced.

Penny Dolan said...

This feels such a positive and hopeful post about making and art, especially in dark times. Such an intriguing short film - will certainly follow up. Thank you, Reasonable Lynda.

adele said...

That's lovely, Lynda! You're a brilliant flatmate. There should be some kind of award.

terry said...

Great post, reasonable ? oh yer. I'll be back. be well

Anonymous said...

There is a river that runs under Brook Drive and it's mysterious currents could be felt in Elliots Row and Hayles St. those years ago when we lived so reasonably together. I can still feel the ripples even here across the ocean. It's good to know that it flows on still, keeping people awake at night and entering into their dreams.
Reasonable flatmates make for reasonable neighbors, communities, world etc.

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