Article by Corinna Lotz, author, archivist

Emotional Ties: Psychotherapist and author Susie Orbach

on Romanian rugs, cut-off clocks and books as friends, by Fiona Mccarthy

From a article published in The Daily Mail, 21 January 2018
Psychotherapist and author Susie Orbach writes:
The film producer-turned-sculptor Caroline Pick gave me this sculpture – one of her first pieces – as a present. We met in the early 80s, while working on a Forty Minutes documentary. It keeps me intrigued because I can never quite work out what its form is.

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Penny Woolcock, film and opera director, writer

I have watched Caroline Pick segueing from carving hard stone into beautiful sculptures to playing with piles of unstable, flexible, skin-like latex.

Despite the radically different properties of the materials, there is a connection between the formalism of her early practice and the reckless playfulness of her recent work. There’s an Escher like quality to her new work, Interim MA Show, Old Ground… Fresh Ground (2014) and to her stone sculptures, they spiral restlessly, inverting inside and out, bending space until it turns in on itself. (Green spiral (2010) and Interim MA Show, Old Ground… Fresh Ground).

But there is also a fascinating before and after, from the fixed and solid to the fluid and dynamic.
The clue to the metamorphosis lies in thirty cans of 8mm and 16mm home movie footage shot by Caroline’s father, cans that lay unseen inside a cupboard like an unexploded bomb for fifty years. When she eventually dared to open them it was problematic and painful, not because of the actual footage – it showed a series of superficially untroubled scenes of upper middle class family life, smiling and posing for the camera on birthdays and family holidays. It was the ghostly presence that hid in between the cracks and outside the frame that could no longer be avoided or contained. Her Home Movie (2013) is a wonderful film that shapes this idealised footage into a narrative that reveals what it conceals.

Confronting the past has released a new wave of creativity. Caroline Pick has become bolder, nothing needs to be reined in or controlled, things can lose their shape and become marvelous. In the Interim MA Show, Old Ground… Fresh Ground (2014) she cast a floor in latex and peeled it back like skin, scooped up and piled another in a corner and leaked a third under and between two walls. I heard people gasping audibly when they entered the room.

She’s casting radiators and stairs and hanging them off hooks like skinned animals and plans to cast the tidal shifting mud on the riverbank outside her window. I have no idea how, but she’ll find a way. The terror and excitement of entering a liminal space where nothing can be relied on, is palpable in her work and makes us all want to be braver.

Anne Karpf, writer and journalist

Caroline Pick’s development as an artist is intriguing. She started out as a fine carver: with work that brought to mind Brancusi, she could elicit lightness and movement from hard materials, as in her alabaster Bone dancer (2004). She continued, in more complex installations, to explore the differences between materials and genres. Her work is also concerned with traces, asking searching questions about permanence and impermanence, as in Case history (2008), and the permeability of boundaries Interim MA Show, Old Ground…Fresh Ground (2014).

All these preoccupations have come together in her powerful new film, Home Movie, which problematises the seemingly innocent pre-war and post-war holiday and domestic footage shot by her father. This haunting work probes the unsaid and unsayable – the trans-generational traces of trauma, repressed but leaking out. Caroline Pick’s work is compelling in its mixture of frankness and subtlety. It will be fascinating to see how these themes will continue to be expressed and developed in her thoughtful, intelligent and original hands.