The Why?s Man
"My art is place specific and people specific." George Wyllie
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LIFE STORY, SO FAR... (WRITTEN in 1991)
GEORGE WYLLIE born on Hogmanay, Glasgow, 1921; Went to school there;
Strangely influenced by green-horned wind-up gramophone;
Wore a red blazer - thought all the world a holiday camp; Sometimes wore a kilt; Reminded me I was Scottish;
Disadvantaged by happy childhood;
Played ukulele at 10; Double bass at 18; First tune -Tiger Rag-; First gig Old Govan Town Hall;
Good but elusive education;
Office boy in docks; Saw ships;
Dejected engineer in Post Office; A safe job;
Love affair second-hand cars;
Engineering at last; Unknowingly saved from impracticability by Royal Navy; Electrical Artificer 4th Class; Trained to engineer everything; To war 1942; World cruise HMS Argonaut early 1944; Return from Med for victuals late 1944:
Met Daphne out of school; Married Daphne; Joy:
At sea again 1944-1945; V-E Day in Philippines: British Matelots strike matches to celebrate: U.S. Navy fire rockets; Visit Hiroshima;
Hurry home after war; Cosy;
Become customs officer 1948; Instant surrealism; Protect revenue in Glasgow then Prestwick; Escape to Ireland; Play cowboys and Indians with smugglers on and boundary for four years; Performance art; Learn to sail, Carlingford Lough; Kinetic art,
Back in Scotland assist Daphne with issue of two daughters; Louise 1950; Elaine 1954; Protect revenue in Greenock 1959; Settle in blue gold crystal Gourock where I live to this day; 14 ft. sailing boat up and down Clyde for 10 years; Avoid nuclear subs; Ashore only for meals; Cuddle daughters; Double bass; 'Clubmen with Pauline' Saturdays Bay Hotel; candlelight; Daphne; The revenue; Dogged again by happiness.
Decided time for art 1965; Everything suffers; Sold boat: Daughters difficult; Sneaked things into exhibitions; Founded Scul?ture movement; One-man shows; Resigned 'Clubmen with Pauline'; Accepted by Glasgow School of Art Jazz Band; Closest I got to training;
Leave customs 1979; Install veranda and patio doors; Intend paint house soon; Look after Louise's dog for four years; Visit Aunt Mol in Largs then 95; Travel abroad Thompson Hols; British Council, Scottish Art Council and Demarco spiral; Name-drop fairly well now; Kind George Rickey and Edie invite me to Hand Hollow, N.Y.; Great art release; Why couldn't this happen in Perthshire?; Rediscover ukulele; Begin to invent the Spire; Discover Scotland.
Commence pursuit of Question-mark; Catch sight of it in 1980; Now all art questionable; Agree with Beuys sadly deceased "art has not begun"; Keep beginning: Signs of involvement many monuments exhibitions home and overseas; Play A Day Down a Goldmine; Motion picture The Whys Man; Everything real and or unreal; Examples the Berlin Burd, The Straw Locomotive and the voyage of the Paper Boat; (Latter engined by a powerful question-mark); Naturally and constantly involved in random unscripted performances passing as daily life; Confrontation of absurdity by absurdity; Pataphysical pursuits; Absurd to explain.
Energy flows between the polarities of celebration and criticism; I erect many and varied Spires; Everywhere; All compromise to nature; Visible invisible; They celebrate the place on which we all stand...
George Wyllie, 1991
Scul?ture Jubilee, 1966-1991 (Third Eye)
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