Clea van der Grijn

green is pink is a collaborative exploration and conversation on the nature of loss between artists Cléa van der Grijn and Paul Roy.

We don't really know each other as such, we had mutual friends in the past, moved in overlapping social circles, at the beginning of our art careers, Dublin in the 1980s, before Temple Bar's initial resurrection, no mobile phones or search engines, writing letters, phoning from a kiosk at the corner of the street, paths often crossed by chance more so than design, people left school, left college, disappeared into the aether and the circles easily dissipated.

Then in 2012, having made contact through social media, we started to communicate, initially commenting on and discussing our practices, gradually examining ideas, and seeking out common threads. Images and ideas were viewed, were admired and sometimes dissected. We were slowly sharing opinions, ideas, offering and proffering, and gradually this commonality began to evolve.

At this time a three way, online discussion had arisen about the history of the artists as individuals, as we chatted with writer/communicator/performer Maurice O Connell about the path artists take in their development, crossing back and forward, intersecting, that the individual paths can somehow arrive at a common destination. From our common backgrounds we had all existed in the framework of expressing creativity, but each in a fundamentally individual way. As the conversation developed, from this initial thread the first spark of collaborative thinking developed. Cléa happened to express the idea of being convinced that Green could be Pink, and from this we discovered a shared interest in the concept that individual perceptions of similar events can greatly differ. People can see the same thing, but as they see it through the lens of their own life experience, the thing (be it imagined or real) has entirely separate interpretations.
Thus, on the 8th January 2013, without having met in over 20 years, green is pink, a collaborative exploration and conversation between artists Cléa van der Grijn and Paul Roy began.

As we communicated, initially solely over social media, we started to home in on themes and ideas, slowly developing the possibility of collaboration, of joint work, on direct themes, on experiences, which, we somehow had in common, yet had experienced in our own unique way, we had, the crux, the kernel, that one of us would see a green and the other a pink, yet we would experience the same, but through our own individual lens.

Through this dialogue we, as artists, began to examine the parallel yet disparate life experiences which lead an artist to create. We knew little of each other's experiences, we were simply communicating, weeding out, investigating. Yet, in this communication, we found how great the similarities of these experiences are, how we had both shared, however indirectly, moments of profound loss and change.

And as the conversation polarised, it was agreed, that these moments would become the ultimate theme. We explored and discussed both the universality and individuality of loss, a shared yet often purely insular experience. How each of us had experienced the loss of a sibling, unbeknownst to each other, sharing the senses of mistimed absence, the inappropriateness and gravity of untimely grief.

Our brief then became that we would create images on our chosen theme using only hand cut sheets of 20 x 15 cm 210grm paper. These images were posted fortnightly for over five months to the other artist who, in return would respond visually to the work whilst adding their own experiences. The synchronised posting becoming a defined ritual of the process. Both of us posted their work concurrently so as to ensure a purity to the reactions and interpretations.

The envelopes and packages, squeezed through the letter box would fall heavily in the hall, much anticipated, the contents unknown and/or unfamiliar, eight, ten, twelve images, tied together into little booklets by strands of ribbon. They would be loosened and separated, spread out, on tables, studio floors, desks, and the process of examination and reaction began. Each of us, in our own particular art realm, pulling out ideas, images, tiny fragments of recognition, slowly condensing the intention, and the reaction. Alone with these images the individual was free to examine them in a personal way, to react without any external influence or direction. The reactions returned to the same envelopes, now thick with tape and new addresses, returned on predetermined dates through the post, the process of communication cycling, continuing, the ideas and reactions collecting. Until one day, standing in Cléas studio, being in the same space for maybe the 3rd or 4th time, we looked at the collected images and knew that the first common theme was being expressed as we had both desired and hoped in the chosen images which looked back at us from the rectangular collection pinned to the wall.

green is pink is the beginning of the artists conversation on the nature of loss, viewed from difference perspectives.