Walter Battiss and Norman Catherine Fooking Around
11 May – 8 June 2013
Please join us for the opening on Saturday 11 May at 14:00
The inception of Fook Island is commonly believed to have occurred in November 1971 when the idea of a ‘fake island’ purportedly came to Walter Battiss while walking back from yet another exhibition of conceptual art in London: “So I decided while walking up Alymer Road that I’ll make up a concept of an island. The concept will become real. It won’t just be a selfish thing that an artist makes up and pins onto the wall, but something that everyone can participate in. That will make this island become real...[although] it is a fake island. I then rushed upstairs and looked under ‘F’ in the London directory and found the name ‘Fook’ ”, Battiss related to Barry Davidow in 1979.
Norman Catherine joined Fook Island after being invited by Battiss in 1973 and he populated the island with many Fookians and Fook animals. Norman Catherine and Janet Walker-Catherine still live in the famous Fook Manor, designed by architect Stanley Saitowitz at Hartbeespoortdam.
Objects abounded on Fook Island, alluding to many practices and rituals performed during its lifespan: Fook banners and flags, ceremonial Fook scepters, Fook currency in the form of notes and minted coins, Fook postage stamps, first day covers, postcards and Balloon Mail sticks, Fook passports and drivers’ licenses, Fook newspapers and books, Fook cutlery (Fish Knife and Fork), Fook waste paper bags, Fook clothes such as Fook jerseys and socks and Fookball T-shirts, and so on. Many of these artworks and objects will be on display at GALLERY AOP.