I admit to a wry chuckle as I see the double-takes from my fellow passengers on the Easyjet flight from Malaga to Gatwick. My reading material for the 2 ½ hour flight is Lucky Kunst: The Rise & Fall of Young British Art by Gregor Muir. I’m still researching for my second novel, Connectedness. I’ve come to Malaga to tread in the footsteps of my character, artist Justine Tree, as she treads in the footsteps of Picasso.‘Freeze’, the 1988 art exhibition held by 16 Goldsmiths art students in a London Docklands warehouse and organised by Damien Hirst, first launched the yBa’s into the fusty art world. It wasn’t until 1992 thought that Charles Saatchi introduced the phrase ‘Young British Art’ with his exhibition. From then on, the 1990s were the time of Cool Britannia when artists and pop singers were invited to 10 Downing Street. This is Justine’s time too.I made Justine older than Hirst, Emin, Whiteread, Lucas etc. She graduates from art college in London in 1984 and is noticed by Charles Saatchi in 1993 when he anonymously buys three collages from her collection ‘Blues I, II & III’. In 1997 he exhibits two pieces from Justine’s next collection, ‘The Sea The Sea,’ at the Sensation exhibition and for the first time she makes serious money from her art. In 2000, Tate Modern opens and two of Justine’s piece are selected. Connectedness is the story of the divergence of Justine’s two lives: her art, and the legacy of her one year at art school in Malaga. And how love and a baby pitch her life and art into the unknown.
I know Malaga well, so I jumped at the chance to take Justine there. I know the streets she walks in the Old Town, I know the view from the Alcazaba high over the city, I hope I notice the things she as an artist would notice.