Part 1

Research

James Sant (1820-1916)

'Adelina Patti', 1886

I don't really know why I was drawn to this traditional 19th century portrait, but there are certain features of it that I think are particularly effective.

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Celebrated soprano; the daughter of two Italian singers, she first sang at a concert in 1850, and made her operatic debut as Lucia, 1859. Thereafter she became an international opera star and enjoyed unparalleled popularity in a wide variety of roles, being admired both for her resonant singing voice and her dramatic talent. A particular favourite in Britain, she retired to a house in Wales.

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/adelina-patti-157866

 

My ow thoughts on his work

The colours and composition are typical of the 19th Century style, with the texture of the soft surrounding furnishings and the dress having been beautiful portrayed whilst not taking away from the focus of the piece, Patti's face and expression.

 

 

I would really like to use this traditional style, composition and tone wise, but perhaps apply it to a current individual that's integral to the 21st Century , much like Walton did in his 'The New Religion'.

I think this would be interesting, because this traditional style isn't really produced anymore, and yet, there are certainly individuals worth of this sort of piece. 

 

(National Portrait Gallery, Friday 21st September 2018)

Phoebe Dickinson (b1884)

'The Cholmondeley Children'

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Phoebe’s painting of the Cholmondeley children, Alexander, Oliver and Iris Cholmondeley, at Houghton Hall was commissioned by their mother, Rose, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Phoebe told us ‘The commission at Houghton was particularly exciting for me because I was given no brief... once I had spent some time with the boys it became obvious that the house should become a part of the painting because not only is Houghton so beautiful, but it also plays a part in who the boys are and the way they live their lives’.

Dickinson’s painting was inspired by William Nicholson’s work, Hewell Grange. ‘I loved the unusual scale and how he told a story with his placement of the figures within the interior.’

https://www.tatler.com/article/phoebe-dickinson-houghton-hall-bp-portrait-award-2018

My own thoughts on her work

I really loved the grand atmosphere created by Dickinson's decision to include the settings on the piece. I like the way that the interior structure of the room hasn't taken away from the children in the image.

The way that grandeur and scale of the room enhances the innocence and delicacy of the three children portrayed because it effectively conveys how small they are.

 

(National Portrait Gallery, Friday 21st September 2018)

Conor Walton (b1970)

'The New Religion', 2017

During my visit to the National Portrait Gallery, this was the first piece that  particularly caught my eye. 

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Conor Walton says that the inspiration for this artwork was his love of Renaissance painting and his affinity for the works of Giovanni Bellini in particular. Walton appreciated the solemn tranquility and understated grandeur of Bellinni's great altarpieces. Yet he didn't feel that he good in good faith create an altarpiece in the dogma of Roman Catholicism. He felt that to do such a thing would be inauthentic and exploitative. Instead, Walton appropriates the sacra conversazione to incorporate a more scientific epistemology and still invite a metaphysical subtext to be derived from the narrative. 

The painting is quite plausibly a respectable homage to the religious aesthetic tradition and even to a spirituality of a more secular sort. The artist systematically replaced the Christian iconographic components with those of the biological sciences. Walton's saints' are the founders of modern biology: Charles Darwin, the founder of modern evolutionary theory, Gregor Mendel, whose experiments with peas laid the foundations of genetics, and James Lovelock, the father of earth-systems science or 'Gaia' theory. 

The imagery and narrative are undeniably provocative but are not intended as an assault so much as a negotiation. The apotheosis of Darwin almost begs credulity and its irony is not lost on the artist. But the invocation of Darwin is done with a sincerity rather than glib humor. Darwin had reconnected man and Nature thus reintegrating humanity into an ecological context. This was perceived as an affront to the metaphysics of humanity but could also be viewed as an extension of the metaphysical franchise to all of existence. The blue drapery indicating the sanctity of the chimpanzee Madonna is rendered with a reverence that befits the significance of shared ancestry. It is to invert the Scopes Trial meme and embrace its implications. One cannot help but speculate if the presence of the giraffe is an oblique reference to Darwin's evolutionary predecessor Jean-Baptiste Lamarck? 

The inclusion of Gregor Mendel is an olive branch to the more traditionally faithful and a reminder that science and faith are not mutually exclusive. Mendelian genetics would enable a more systematic approach to fecundity that would have far reaching implications. A scientific epistemology has an appropriate domain even within the context of spirituality. 

James Lovelock holds the Venus of Willendorf and this too is a dove of sorts as Lovelock's Gaia Theory would provide a more expansive paradigm for conceiving of the Earth as a living fecund entity and this too would have metaphysical implications. That Lovelock is shown proffering the Venus to a Neanderthal philosopher is a tongue in cheek reference to personifications of fertility. The Neanderthal looks back as if in discourse with Lovelock in an effort to explain his own fate. 

Walton's saints are seekers of greater truths but his martyrs are the victims of ecocide and extinction. The dodo is a not so subtle reference to ecological oblivion. The rhino bleeds from the mortal wound it has suffered, ironically because of a superstitious belief that its horn will provide human vitality. The highland gorilla hangs its head as if in mourning with awareness that its species teeters on the precipice. This ongoing mass extinction is catastrophic on a cosmological scale. The angels are the artist's own children whose beautiful music may one day be silenced as a result of a lack of sustainability. For the artist, the gravity of the situation is dire and the stakes are evidently high in terms of their ecological, ethical and metaphysical consequences. 

While the painting reflects a pathos befitting tragedy, like all devotionals, it provides a blessing of hope. The chimpanzee Madonna and her progeny imply an overcoming optimism that life itself will prevail

https://www.poetsandartists.com/magazine/2017/12/7/the-new-religion-by-conor-walton-reviewed-by-joseph-bravo

my own thoughts on his work

 

The piece was obviously biblical in reference, and yet what I loved was that Walton had modernised a traditional style making it relevant to the 21st Century. Not only this, but the inclusion of the individuals so groundbreaking in their scientific discoveries, not only links the past to the present and reminds us of how far out knowledge has came, but additionally, it conveys how religion and science are present in the world together.

 I love this idea of taking tradition and modernising it in order to reflect today's issues.

 

(National Portrait Gallery, Friday 21st September 2018)

Roland Barthes

' The Language Of Fashion', 1967

Roland Barthes, widely regarded as one of the most subtle and perceptive critics of the 20th Century, was particularly fascinated by fashion and clothing. The Language of Fashion brings together all Barthes' untranslated writings on fashion. The Language of Fashion presents a set of remarkable essays, revealing the breadth and insight of Barthes' long engagement with the history of clothes.

The essays range from closely argued essays laying down the foundations for a structural and semiological analysis of clothing to a critical analysis of the significance of gemstones and jewellery, from an exploration of how the contrasting styles of Courrges and Chanel replayed the clash between ancient and modern to a discussion of the meaning of hippy style in Morocco, and from the nature of desire to the role of the dandy and colour in fashion. Constantly questioning, always changing, Barthes' ideas about clothes and fashion remain to provoke another generation of readers seeking to understand not only the culture of fashion but the fashion of culture.

https://www.vam.ac.uk/shop/the-language-of-fashion-85192.html

 

My own thoughts on his work

Whilst my collection project presentation will not directly link to Barthe's ideologies and beliefs regarding clothing, my piece reflects the idea of different styles conveying what sort of person you are. Therefore, the main concepts behind my collection project ideas link significantly to this connection between the clothes you wear and the person you are.

Carolina Meyer

'C*** Quilts', 2017

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Send her your old drawers, and Coralina Meyer will sew them into one of her “Cunt Quilts".

As a racist, misogynist, possibly treasonous, and definitely unqualified non-politician approaches his inauguration as president of the United States, artists are scrambling for political leverage by any means available. According to artist Coralina Meyer, to find material for political action, women need look no farther than our own drawers.

Under the moniker Lambastic — the name she uses when working collaboratively, in a satirical style — Meyer has issued a call on Facebook and via word of mouth, seeking contributions of used women’s underwear. This is the Old Glory Underwear Audit: the artist and her collaborators will sew all the submissions into a series of “Cunt Quilts,” which she plans to continue assembling on a quarterly basis for at least four years, or until a woman is elected to the country’s highest office. The first of these works will be flown on the National Mall at the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday, January 21; it will be part of a mass-scale protest against a President-elect who is openly dismissive of and hostile towards women (among many other members of the citizenry).

“My artwork is a ménage a trois between public trauma, intimate memory, and consumer history,” Meyer told Hyperallergic. “Our generation is uniquely positioned as consumers whose political exhaustion from tactical trauma can be transgressed with matrilineal armor. As an artist, it is my job to make hidden histories accessible. The project has multiple phases: the Underwear Audit accounts for our bodies, the Stitch ‘n’ Bitch airs our grievances, and the Cunt Quilt is an association formed.”

https://hyperallergic.com/351908/an-artist-seeks-womens-used-underwear-for-sewing-into-quilts/

 

My own thoughts on her work

Whilst's Meyer's concepts using underwear is more politically focussed as opposed to my idea being based solely on sexism and the judgement women receive for different styles, it's interesting to find another artist using a collection of pants to convey a belief or idea.

Whilst I wouldn't want to touch other people's used underwear, I think Meyer's 'C*** quilts' is an imaginative and almost lighthearted approach to a very serious issue, which is similar to what I wanted to achieve with my ideas.

 

Tim Hawkinson (b1960)

'Bird', 1997

Tim Hawkinson, 46, who has become renowned over the last decade for works that push the ideas of personal industry and invention to fantastic and often absurd conclusions: a crude machine that endlessly signs his signature; a bird skeleton made from his fingernail clippings; a contraption that simulates Siberian throat-singing by using plastic soda bottles.

https://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/05/arts/design/05hawk.html

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My own thoughts on his work

When I first viewed an image of this piece, I really liked it. I had no idea of scale and I didn't initially consider the materials used to create it.

However, once I learned that this minute sculpture was made out of fingernails I didn't like it so much, regardless of the intricacy of work needed to go into it's formation.

Despite my somewhat queasy thoughts surrounding the piece, I find it quite interesting that by viewing Hawkinson's piece in a photograph, the experience becomes comical when you realise what the bird has been made out of. If I were to have viewed this piece first in person, whilst the impressive formation of the sculpture would have come across instantly, the experience of the viewing would be completely different and less shocking.

I like the way in which this piece took me by surprise, due to the seemingly incongruous link between fingernails and birds. However, once you consider the idea of your nails being made out of the same materials as bones, Hawkinson's model becomes all the more interesting. 

Hans Eijkelboom (b1949)

'The Street and Modern Life', 2015

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The process is simply that I walk to the centre of the city where many people are. Then I walk around for 10 to 15 minutes. When something in the crowd intrigues me or touches me, I decide that will be the theme of the day. Then I start photographing …

Hans Eijkelboom

For his Multistory commission, The Street and Modern Life, Hans Eijkelboom turned his lens to the area surrounding the Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham, between July 2013 and September 2014.

Hans’ photographic work explores the construction of identity through clothing and personal appearance and, in turn, the relationship between individual and social identities in an increasingly globalised culture.

https://multistory.org.uk/project/the-street-modern-life/

 

My on thoughts on his work

By collecting multiple images of people wearing similar clothing, Eijkelboom is exposing an irony within society and the way in which we believe we can express ourselves as individuals through our clothing.

The final images are humorous to the viewer, but there is no avoiding the truth that everything we wear, unless we make it ourselves, is mass produced and bought by hundreds, thousands of people around us everyday.

Whilst I don't particularly like the style and finish of the photographs as an art to look at, I love the way that this artist is exposing such  a comical irony within everyone's everyday lives.

 

Via Celmins (b1938)

'To Fix the Image in Memory', 1977-82

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The inexplicable thereness of a Vija Celmins–rendered image or object is difficult to parse. Be it via a drawing of rippling waters or a scrupulously crafted replica of a stone, she has the preternatural ability to turn the most common of vistas and subjects into moments of divine strangeness.

https://www.artforum.com/print/previews/201807/vija-celmins-to-fix-the-image-in-memory-76454

Artist, Vija Celmins: I had gone to New Mexico, where I often went and walked around picking up stuff, and I picked up a series of stones that were quite beautiful, most of them from around the Rio Grande near Taos, where the river had thrown them up over many, many probably centuries.

So I brought them back, and I was seeing how fantastic they were and how much detail they had, and I had this desire to make them over. So I thought, well, maybe I'll put them in an art context. I'll make them in bronze, and then, I'm going to paint them. And usually I talk about it as re-describing them, which is a term that really tells you what is going on. It's like a record of concentrated looking or maybe a record of a long relationship that I had with this piece of nature that was found. Each part of the surface has been observed and noted with a brush.

I decided as I was working on it that I would leave the found piece with the re-described piece, so that a viewer can have a sense of discovery and hopefully a little sense of delight when you see that one is found and quite natural, and another one has been seen, and made. Over the long run, it made me feel kind of happy. It woke me up to painting and to using color, which I had not been doing.

The work does have a sort of hiding of skill and craft, a kind of a closed off quality. Sometimes I thought of it like a work that's over-imagined on my part, (Laughs) because it's so thorough. I was going to put the rocks back in the desert. But then the piece went on so long that idea (Laughs) faded. So I did the next thing: I arrange the work every time differently. It's basically a piece about looking and making and a meditation on that.

https://www.moma.org/audio/playlist/17/90

 

My own thoughts on her work

I'm not certain why I love this piece as much as I do, but it's definitely got something to do with the way in which Clemins has taken very ordinary objects and made them beautiful. Not only are Celmins' replica's of the stone's almost identical to the original, but within the two objects which you cannot identify as the real and the produced, one is simply rock, and the other is made of bronze.

I think it's really interesting that the artist decided to use bronze which would be painted over, there's an element of mystery there. Additionally, I think it's amazing to consider that two identical rocks can not only be composed of very contrasting materials, but also that they were formed in completely different processes in different centuries altogether. In a way, Celmins is linking the past to the present in a  very subtle, yet beautiful way.

I would love to see this piece in person, and observe how close the detail is within the individual rocks because I don't think an image of the piece does it justice. I also love the artists other works of the natural environment in which she, again, takes a very ordinary scene and makes it mesmerising and beautiful. 

 

Idris Khan

'Homage to Bernd Becher', 2007 (overlayering)

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Khan has repeatedly turned to the work of 20th-century photographers who have themselves explored the notion of the archive, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, a husband-and-wife team known for their decades-long project of documenting various industrial structures, such as water towers and blast furnaces. Khan’s condensation of whole bodies of the Bechers’ work into single images underscores its obsessive, serial nature. The resulting ghostly palimpsests also suggest a melancholy reminder of the passage of time—one which is especially suitable in this context, given that most of the industrial-era structures the Bechers catalogued were on the brink of extinction. This particular work was made shortly after Bernd Becher’s death in 2007.

https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/21637

Each art form has its own advantages and limitations. Words and music unfold successively, through time. Photography is about an instant. By analogy it can ask the impossible: in this case, what if you could hear every note of Beethoven's sonatas in an instant? What would that look like? And when we think of a piece of music that we know well, don't we sometimes remember it, not phrase by phrase, but in its amorphous entirety?

It is often said that photographers freeze time, but Khan does the opposite.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2006/sep/02/art

 

My own thoughts on his work

I am intrigued by the effect of Khan's overlayered collection of all of the Bechers' 'gastanks' photographs. Thanks to the original artists' precise arrangement of the tanks in the photographs, the result of Khan's piece is atmospheric, eery and expressive/ abstract, something which photographs rarely are.

By making the decades long collection a single experience, Khan is almost impossibly capturing a huge period of time within one photo and experience.

The sketch-like final effect could, in my opinion, only ever be seen as a huge success and achievement in art despite the original photographs not being by Khan himself. I cannot decide whether the image is like something of the past with connotations of the darkness yet structural focus of the industrial revolution, or something very futuristic. It would not look out of place in a 'sci-fi' scene. 

Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher

'Gastanks' (Stanadardization)

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Hilla Becher was a German artist born in 1931 in Siegen, Germany. She was one half of a photography duo with her husband Bernd Becher. For forty years, they photographed disappearing industrial architecture around Europe and North America.

The photographed Industrial structures including water towers, coal bunkers, gas tanks and factories. Their work had a documentary style as their images were always taken in black and white. Their photographs never included people.

They exhibited their work in sets or typologies, grouping of several photographs of the same type of structure. The are well known for presenting their images in grid formations. 

Their first photobook Anonymous Sculptures was published in 1970 and is their most well-known body of work. The title is a nod to Marcel Duchamp’s readymades and indicates that the Becher’s referred to industrial buildings as found objects.

The book consisted of an encyclopaedic inventory of industrial structures including kilns, blast furnaces and gas-holders categorised into sections (the pot, the oven, the chimney, the winch, the pump, and the laboratory.)

Gas Tanks 1965−2009 comprises nine gelatin silver print photographs taken by Bernd and Hilla Becher over a period of more than thirty years and printed in 2013 under the supervision of Hilla Becher. The prints are arranged in three rows of three. Although they exist in an edition of five, the grouping and sequencing of the images in this particular work is unique, determined by Hilla Becher. Typical of the Bechers’ work, the photographs show different examples of a specific type of industrial architecture, in this case gas tanks.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/bernd-becher-and-hilla-becher-718/who-are-bechers

My own thoughts on their work

When I first saw an image of this piece, and before I knew anything about it I found it quite uninspiring to look at. However, the time and dedication put into this work needs to be acknowledged, as this information makes the viewer interpret the piece in a completely new way.

Each of the photographs of the same gas tank is the same size and ratio within the image, as well as being taken on the same sort of day; a grey and dreary one. By documenting the photos in black and white, as well as in this standardised presentation, it highlights the differences within the images which is a clever way of focussing the viewer's attention onto the tanks themselves.

After considering these differences, the nature of the structure becomes more apparent as a harsh, polluting and quite environmentally scarring which is evoked in the atmosphere created by the presentation of the images. 

I really like the effect of the artists' simplistic presentation of these images which were clearly vital in order to achieve the final piece in such a successful way. This standardised format also manages to capture and freeze time, as the drastic changes in the structured have occurred over several decades.

 

Francis Alys (b1959)

'Fabiola Project' 1990 ongoing

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Francis Alÿs: The Fabiola Project consists of more than 450 reproductions of a lost 1885 painting of 4th-century Roman Saint Fabiola by French artist Jean-Jacques Henner. The project was initiated by Belgian artist Francis Alÿs in the early 1990s, shortly after he moved to Mexico City, his current home. Fascinated by the artisanal culture of the city and short on funds, he decided to build an art collection for himself by combing the city’s flea markets and antique and junk shops. He expected to find copies of masterpieces by painters like Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Jean-François Millet. Instead, he found and bought versions of Henner’s Fabiola, depicted in left-facing profile wearing a red headscarf. Gradually, Alÿs’s casual collecting project gathered steam as he and his friends discovered new images of the saint during their travels around the world.

Today, The Fabiola Project consists primarily of paintings, but also includes bas-relief wood carvings and images in needlepoint, painted ceramics, jewelry, and in one case a mosaic made of rice and beans. On view in the Menil’s Byzantine Fresco Chapel, where slower and deeper reflection is encouraged, the exhibition is curated by Toby Kamps, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

https://www.menil.org/exhibitions/242-francis-alys-the-fabiola-project

 

Which is to say that the Alÿs show at the Hispanic Society, while not permanent, does feel something like a pilgrimage, but to a mahogany-paneled space that has a dark and slightly sepulchral atmosphere. All this is intensified by the religious subject: St. Fabiola, a fourth-century Roman aristocrat from the Fabia family who is supposed to have been an early Mother Teresa.

Her story became popular in the late 19th century, and an 1885 portrait of her by a French academician, Jean-Jacques Henner, that is now lost, has since been endlessly copied around the world. Appearing on postcards, posters and religious trinkets, Fabiola has been a beloved subject for countless painters, most of them amateurs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/05/arts/design/05alys.html

My own thoughts on his work

Whilst I'm not sure that Alys should be taking so much credit for his collection 'Fabiola', I love the idea of bringing together so many almost identical examples of the same painting from a variety of areas across the world. Not only does this artist, again, make the viewer search for the differences between the individual paintings, but it's an amazing thought to imagine all of the individuals that have attempted this piece.  It's almost comical. 

There is an irony in this collection of paintings of the somewhat iconic Fabiola character. Despite all of the paintings being the 'same', Alys' presentation of the collection reminds us of the individuality that's gone into the pieces. I think this is very clever.

 

Peter Dreher (b1932)

'Day by Day, Good Day'

The painter himself states, “for me, the deliberate restriction to the same motif is not a sacrifice, neither is it based on the idea of creating a particularly crazy concept to increase my recognisability or to distinguish myself from my colleagues. I chose what is deemed to be a restriction in order to focus all my energy on what is really important and crucial for me: painting.”

 Consequently, painting for him is not a means to an end, aimed at reproducing reality or an interpretation of reality or reacting to it in a kind of relation between artist and world. Painting is the purpose itself. Our visible reality is the cause for painting, or the catalyst, with the subject being of minor importance. Despite its minor significance, the decision for the empty glass was not a random one. Peter Dreher was so fascinated by the matter of the object that he was tempted to paint something that, strictly speaking, was not visible, but still an object – to be seen only by the reflection of light.

 Peter Dreher’s work demonstrates what Aristotle described as praxis – performing an activity for its own sake. The ancient Greek philosopher distinguished praxis from so-called poiesis or poetic activity that, as opposed to praxis, serves a purpose and is aimed at a goal. As this goal can be achieved, the activity can be considered complete. Peter Dreher’s painting is praxis in the sense that his goal is performing the activity itself. His series is not aimed at a certain number. He plans to continue painting the glass as long as he enjoys doing it. His opus is the process leading to an indefinite goal. In this process, forty years have materialized.

https://www.mayorgallery.com/exhibitions/517/overview/

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Measuring 10 inches by 8 inches, the glass paintings all are similar, but each is singular. Moving from one to another, you notice differences of light, shadow, reflection, transparency and painterly touch. In most cases, Mr. Dreher inscribed into the paint near the picture’s upper edge its number in the series.

At Koenig & Clinton, the paintings are grouped according to whether they were made in the day or at night. In the daytime ones, you see in the lower third of the glass a gridded trapezoid: the reflection of a studio window. In some of these you can see that the window frames a bit of blue sky and some white clouds. You see a piece of the greater world in microcosmic miniature.

Morandi comes to mind, but Mr. Dreher is more attentive to the visual facts; he’s closer to Chardin. He’s not just a realist, though. He’s like a Zen monk trying to see the same thing over and over each time, as if he’d never seen it before. That he evidently succeeded in that effort makes his deceptively modest paintings spiritually inspiring.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/25/arts/design/peter-dreher-day-by-day-good-day.html

 

My own thoughts on his work

I really like this collection idea from Dreher. By isolating the object to the same one each day, it has allowed the artist to focus purely on his painting skills. I like the idea of, by controlling the collection object, you can experiment with different aspects of how you are going to present the work. 

Not only this, but Dreher is controlling the viewers of his art in a way. By painting exactly the same object every day, it forces the observer to look for the variation within all the paintings. This is an idea I would like to carry into my collection project. 

Lisa Milroy (b1959)

'Greek Vases' 1989

In all her object paintings, Milroy presents things in their most characteristic profile, side on or from above, depending on the objects concerned. They are alienated from any context, set against a neutral, most frequently white ground. This absorbs the shadows and contrasts with the objects' three-dimensionality, allowing an ambiguity in the viewer's relation to the object. They can be seen equally as placed on the floor or hung vertically on a wall. Our perception of them as objects diminishes as our appreciation of their abstract qualities and their serial ordering increases.

Gallery label, September 2004

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/milroy-shoes-t06532

 

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We are surrounded with painterly, bold images of objects. Light bulbs, all shapes, sizes, and colors, broken shards of Greek pottery, tires that seem to speed toward us through the endless white spaces of a large canvas, shoes, door handles, postage stamps, sailor's caps, melons, and a host of other things, always painted on a white ground.

She paints objects. Or more accurately, she paints paintings of objects. The way she paints them - bold, accurate but not too specific, not minutely detailed - uses the objects for the paintings' own ends. These are, a little surprisingly, ``abstract'' paintings, as well as pictures of objects. ``I think the division between `abstract' and `figurative' is probably not quite as clear as we thought,'' she tells me.

https://www.csmonitor.com/1989/0322/lmil.html

 

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My own thoughts on her work

I really like the way that Milroy's isolation of the everyday objects she paints onto a plain white canvas allows the viewer a new perspective on the object and almost reinvents it. 

The graphic style and boldness of her paintings evokes  simplicity which is hugely effective. I think for the collection project, retaining a simplicity with a focus on the collection object itself is the most important thing.

I really like Milroy's paintings because they are very pleasing to the eye, probably because of the crisp background combined with the gaps between the objects. This makes the objects stand out  and whilst all of the images contain a 'collection', I feel as though each piece of the painting can also be viewed as in individual in it's own beauty.

Pierre Hughe and Phillipe Parreno

'I Am Dreaming About A Reality' 2002

Film production.

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(my own photos)

Before I read about this film I was the most puzzled I'd been throughout our whole visit to the Tate. I had absolutely no clue what the film was about, just that I was quite certain the focus was on a  single animated character. Therefore, I couldn't really relate the work to the title.

 

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I Am Dreaming About A Reality' 2002

Video, single channel, colour and sound

Running time: 4min, 7sec

Ghanaian was one of several artists invited by Phillipe Parreno and Pierre Hughe to make a short film featuring Annlee, a manga character whose copyright they purchased in 1999. Ghanaian's film opens in a command-line interface in which a game is generated combining this figure, theme music by composer Jan Varou and a narrative titled 'Representation'. In the resulting game, Annlee is split into two characters by a change if electricity. The first chases the other as it dances and morphs between 2D and 3D planes before being restored to a single body.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/ohanian-i-am-dreaming-about-a-reality-t14144

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After reading about the film, I was still quite confused about the point of the piece and whether it was used as advertising for the manga character. 

The idea of Annlee being split into two could reflect the internal conflicts within people with regard to decisions that we all have to make everyday. Whilst the title of the video still doesn't make complete sense to me, the word 'dreaming' conveys that the character is yearning for a change in her life, perhaps for the conflict to end?

 

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(my own photo)

 

The artists' collection consisted of various pieces in a range of different media surrounding this single character. I think this makes her a representative character for people to watch and see. However, my understanding of this collection remained very weak and I found it difficult to reflect on.

 

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

Marina Abramovic

'Rhythm 0' 1974

Abramovic has collected a huge variety of objects as well as footage in order to arrange the installation and produce a film documenting the basis of the artwork. 

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(my own photo)

 

Before reading the information given or paying attention to the film being played above the table, the objects seemed very random and varied and I couldn't distinguish a theme running through them all. 

 Additionally, at this point I couldn't make a clear connection between the title and the work itself. 

 

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Rhythm 0 by the Serbian artist Marina Abramovic comprises seventy-two objects set out on a long table covered with a white tablecloth, as well as sixty-nine slides. The slides are projected onto the gallery wall above the table from a projector which sits on a stand. Among the objects on the table is a framed description of a performance piece of the same name that took place at Studio Morra in Naples in 1974. The slides document this performance and the objects replicate the original props used. Many are perishable items, such as foodstuffs and flowers, which need to be replaced each time the work is displayed. The work was remade for exhibition purposes in 2009 as part of the Abramovic’s retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It exists in an edition of three plus two artist’s proofs, and Tate’s copy is number one in the edition.

Abramovic’s original intention for the piece is explained by her written instructions which accompanied the work:

 

Instructions.
There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me as desired.

 

Performance
I am the object.
During this period I take full responsibility.

 

1974
Duration: 6 hours (8pm–2am.)
Studio Morra, Naples
(Reproduced in Biesenbach 2009, p.74.)

Thus, for a period of six hours, visitors were invited to use any of the objects on the table on the artist, who subjected herself to their treatment. The artist has stated, ‘the experience I drew from this work was that in your own performances you can go very far, but if you leave decisions to the public, you can be killed’ (quoted in Ward 2009, p.132). It is important to note that for the purpose of museum display, the gun has been deactivated and, together with other dangerous items, secured to the table. It is not the artist’s intention that the performance should be repeated. Instead, while many performance works rely on photographic or video documentation only, this work physically incorporates the ‘instruments’ used as props in the performance (or their replicas), so that the mechanics of threat and seduction played out in the original work are palpable to the viewer, especially when seen in combination with the slides documenting the event.

As with many of Abramovic’s works, themes surrounding the physicality of the body, endurance, pain and the staging of authentic live actions are dealt with in an experimental way, incurring a degree of personal risk and suffering. The objects that could be ‘used on her’ were chosen to represent both pain and pleasure. Through the risk to her own person in this work, and her acceptance of that risk, Abramovic also explored collective action and responsibility.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/abramovic-rhythm-0-t14875

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After reading the information about the installation I had great respect for Abramovic's dedication of a six-hour long exposure to other people's decisions. She put herself at risk for her art. 

I think this collection is very interesting, as participants' choice of object could reveal a lot about them without it being expressed in words.

The artist has exposed herself to the possibility of physical pain, and in a way, must put her faith in strangers which is something very few people can say they have done. 

The title could perhaps be referencing the repetition as a large number of people all took turns during the six hour performance, or the ability of the body to endure pain and unease over and over again.

 

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

Ana Lupas

'The Solemn Process' 1964-2008

Lupas has collected various materials such as metals and wheat, as well as images all through photography and sculpture.

Before reading about Lupas' exhibition I was confused and had no idea about hat the sculptures were about. I didn't know what the link was between the sculptures and the photographs as the materials were so contrasting.

However, the sculptures were a variety of shapes and sizes and I had no idea about what this represented. 

IMG_5340.JPG

(my own photo)

 

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The Solemn Process 1964–2008 is a large-scale installation comprising twenty-one unique metal sculptures of varying dimensions and forms, as well as two large wall vinyls, each displaying a grid of forty sepia-toned images. It was created over a period of five decades by Romanian artist Ana Lupas. The photographs feature a series of straw objects in rural, agricultural settlements. Some of the images are also populated by people who interact or pose with them. The objects in the photographs are the same shape as the metal sculptures, suggesting that there is a direct relationship between them despite the different materials and their presence in the gallery. Indeed, the two vinyl panels and the sculptural objects can be seen as discrete elements that directly relate to the three phases in which the work was made: the first between 1964 and 1974 and into 1976, the second between 1980 and 1985 and the third between 1985 and 2008. These three phases relate to the changing social and political situation in Romania.

For the first phase Lupas collaborated with villagers in rural Transylvania to produce cylindrical and circular shaped wreaths. The wreaths were made using traditional rural techniques and materials such as straw and clay, usually employed for the construction of houses and fencing. The objects were created without any practical function, with the tall cylindrical columns varying in height from just under one-and-a-half metres to over eight metres high and the largest circular form measuring over two metres. Local participants were invited to display the structures in the environment, installing and arranging them both in the landscape and in their homes. The arrangements were then documented photographically. The work was supposed to develop over time, involving more participants who would make more objects, expanding the artwork as a collective.

By the early to mid-1970s the restrictive political climate and worsening economic situation in communist Romania made it difficult for rural participants to continue engaging in the process and the production of new sculptures ceased. Lupas also realised that objects left in situ were gradually decaying. As such during the second phase, from 1980 to 1985, she attempted to restore the original wreaths. The artist commented that: ‘This period could be considered as a distressing and dramatic one, but it enriched a failed concept and led to finding new ways to get back to the original concept’ (Lupas in email correspondence with Tate curator Juliet Bingham, 19 January 2015). Finding the restoration process unsatisfactory in relation to the original concept of the ‘infinite dimension of the installation’ (Lupas to Bingham, 19 January 2015), Lupas sought an alternative method of extending the life of the work. In the third and final phase, from 1985 to 2008, the ephemeral objects were ‘preserved’ by encasing them in metal forms. Hungarian craftsmen were commissioned to fabricate the metal containers using traditional metalwork techniques, mirroring the individual shapes of each original wreath. For the artist this transformation, or ‘re-making’, was a deliberate process of re-evaluating the work.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/lupas-the-solemn-process-t14526

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After realising that this installation was about preservation it made much more sense to me. I loved the idea that memories from decades ago were trapped within the sculptures around the room, and it makes you think about all of the lives, not just Lupas', that were involved in this collection. 

I think that's one aspect of collection artwork that is beautiful; whatever it is that you collect, the objects, words, ideas have been touched by so many people and there is an element of mystery and wonder in that which is incomparable.

I think perhaps the title refers to the sadness of decay and the inevitability of it.

Lupas has cleverly managed to bridge ancestral and cultural pasts with the future/ modern day, which is incredible.  

 

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

Jenny Holzer

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(my own photo)

 

Holzer has collected hundreds of statements and quotes and presented them in a very intense and quite disorientating room. 

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(my own photo)

 

Before I'd read about Holzer's exhibition I found the interactive experience quite interesting. I like the way that you can't really read all of the information on the walls because the quantity is so large. Therefore, in a similar way to Meirelles radio installation, every time you enter the room/ every person who enters it has a completely different experience depending on which statements you read. 

 

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American artist Jenny Holzer presents statements that can provoke strong responses. Whether encountered on city streets or in art galleries, Holzer's work asks us to consider the words and messages that surround us. Her art takes many forms, including stone benches, projections, signs, posters, paintings, plaques and textiles. Words are central to her work, whether pasted on a wall, flickering from an electronic sign, carved in granite or stitched in wool.

Her texts can be forceful and apparently simple, but may contradict one another. They are not necessarily straightforward expressions of the artist’s views. Truisms, Holzer’s first text series, is a survey of belief.

Holzer has described her aims:

I wanted a lot simultaneously: to leave art outside for the public, to be a painter of mysterious yet ordered works, to be explicit but not didactic, to find the right subjects, to transform spaces, to disorient and transfix people, to offer up beauty, to be funny and never lie.

Early in her career, Holzer delivered messages on posters and T-shirts so they would be seen in everyday places rather than in museums and galleries. Her work addresses the information overload and multiple perspectives we read daily. Eye-catching or quiet and lyrical, Holzer's art invites us to read and interpret for ourselves.

 

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I like the way that Holzer's work makes you think about the world. All of the statements can be interpreted in a different way by different individuals, making the exhibition relevant for everyone.

The possibilities for an exhibition like this is endless, as the statements could be sourced from anywhere and presented in any way.

 

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)  

Martin Parr

'Common Sense' series, 1995-9

 

Parr has collected a series of images through photography for this exhibition in the Tate.

IMG_5332.JPG

(my own photo)

 

Before I'd read about Parr's collection of photographs, whilst I thought the images were very striking and enjoyable to study, I had absolutely no clue about what the focus/ subject of the series was.

I love how colourful the images are, and despite their varying subject matter they all seemed to work well together on the wall. However, I couldn't see a link between the photographs.

 

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The British photographer has spent the past four decades exploring themes of class, leisure and consumer culture at home and abroad. Parr’s work illustrates his ongoing curiosity about our cultural peculiarities and the choices we make: what we buy, wear and eat, and where we go on holiday. ‘I’m a nosy person,’ Parr states, and ‘there’s no better way of finding out about something than going to photograph it.’

Parr is a collector as well as a photographer. His interests range from photobooks to souvenirs and memorabilia. For Parr ‘taking photographs is a form of collecting’. Each of his photographic series is a collection of faces, places and objects that reveals different aspects of his chosen subject.

In 2017 Tate acquired more than 12,000 of Parr’s photobooks. Collected over 35 years, these publications from around the world cover a broad range of subjects and types of photographic practice. This significant acquisition provides Tate with the opportunity to tell new stories about photography and its role in recording the culture and politics of its time.

https://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/display/media-networks/martin-parr

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After reading the information given, I realised I wasn't really meant to be trying to find a link between the images, because the series explores a huge variety of societal factors. The title, I think, reflects the regularity of the subject of the photographs which is almost juxtaposed by the striking colours within them.

I find it very interesting how a collection such as this can convey life so effortlessly. I think Par's collection of photos effectively captures familiar life but in a very exciting and refreshing way, which is why they are so enjoyable to observe.

 

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

 

 

 

 

Barbara Kruger

Who Owns What?' 2012

Kruger has collected screens and quotes from various artists to create her installation. 

 

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(my own photo)

 

Before I read about Kruger's piece I determined that the arrangement of screens with quotes appearing on them was representing the issue/ idea of the development of technology and the effect that this has on art today.

I found the arrangement of the screens, as well as the different timings of the quotes appearing very disorientating to look at, which perhaps deliberately conveys how confusing the rapid development of new technology can be on people. 

 

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Kruger combines a dynamic visual style with texts that are often ironic, accusatory or confrontational. Direct addressing the viewer, her works challenge us to think about society inequality, gender  politics and the false promises of capitalism. The question that she poses here is only three words long, but can be interpreted and answered in many ways. As statistics reveal that wealth is concentrated in ever fewer hands, Kruger's work remains powerfully relevant.

 

The projection brings together quotations from artists and other thinkers about the impact of the mass media and digital technology on the way we make and look at art.

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 The title of the piece explores the idea of who art is owned by. Is it the artist that created the piece? Or the people that interpret it? I personally think it is a significant combination of the two, and it is important that everyone who views a piece will 'own' it in a different way because of their interpretation of it.

Kruger's installation challenges the viewer's thoughts and what I find particularly amazing about this piece, is that it will always be relevant because technology is always continuing to develop. There are very few pieces that could do the same.

 

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

 

 

 

 

Cildo Meireles

'Babel' 2001

Babel has collected radios ranging from the large old-fashioned models to the much smaller modern ones today and created a huge, tall tower-like sculpture with every individual radio playing a different station.

 

IMG_5327.jpg

(my own photo)

 

Before I read the information on Meireles' piece I found the sculpture almost comical, yet fascinating.

Every radio was playing a different station which meant that I couldn't hear any individual words, just a constant noise of different voices. I thought that this could reflect society. This is in the way that every society or community is made up of a large number of individuals, who are all unique and yet, together, they act as one being. 

The lighting in the room was very dark with blue hues. This meant that the lights on the radio's seemed brighter, all though I wasn't sure if/ what this was meant to reflect tor represent. 

 

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Babel 2001 is a large-scale sculptural installation that takes the form of a circular tower made from hundreds of second-hand analogue radios that the artist has stacked in layers. The radios are tuned to a multitude of different stations and are adjusted to the minimum volume at which they are audible. Nevertheless, they compete with each other and create a cacophony of low, continuous sound, resulting in inaccessible information, voices or music.

In describing this work, Meireles refers to a ‘tower of incomprehension’ (quoted in Tate Modern 2008, p.168). The installation manifests, quite literally, a Tower of Babel, relating it to the biblical story of a tower tall enough to reach the heavens, which, offending God, caused him to make the builders speak in different tongues. Their inability to communicate with one another caused them to become divided and scatter across the earth and, moreover, became the source of all of mankind’s conflicts. The room in which the tower is installed is bathed in an indigo blue light that, together with the sound, gives the whole structure an eerie effect and adds to the sense of phenomenological and perceptual confusion. The radios are all of different dates, the lower layers nearest the floor being composed of older radios, larger in scale and closer in kind to pieces of furniture, while the upper layers are assembled from more recent, mass-produced and smaller radios. This arrangement emphasises the sense of perspectival foreshortening and thus the impression of the tower’s height, which, like its biblical counterpart, might continue into the heavens.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/meireles-babel-t14041

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After reading the information on Meireles' piece the tower of 'incomprehension' became all the more meaningful. I'd never heard the biblical story before which was informative and interesting. I found the artists' idea, of every individual witness of his piece being completely unique, very fascinating.  I think there's something very special about that. 

 

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

 

 

Gordon Bennett

'Possession Island' 1991

Whilst Bennett's piece is not relevant to the 'collection' project brief, it was a piece that I was taken with in the Tate.

 

IMG_5319.JPG

(my own photo)

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The painting shows British explorer Captain James Cook claiming the eastern coast of Australia for the British Crown in 1770. Bennett painted it following Australia's bicentennial celebrations in 1988, which for many Aboriginal Australians was a time to mourn and remember the devastating consequences of the colonisation. The painting is based on the nineteenth-century engraving which includes an Aboriginal servant holding a drinks tray. Here the figure is concealed under blocks of colour, the black, red and yellow of the Aboriginal flag. Bennett explained that he wanted to make people 're-read the image and the mythology' of Australian colonial history.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/bennett-possession-island-abstraction-t14898

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I found this canvas very striking, especially the striking contrast created between the old-fashioned figures and scene with the bold Aboriginal colours blocking out the figure in the middle. I would like to experiment with this style in the future. Perhaps I could recreate a similar piece with other historically significant scenes and events.

Additionally to this, the title of the piece is very significant. 'Possession' refers to the objectification of the native Australians once they became the property of the English crown. 

I think this piece effectively links history to modern day in a way that is unique and I have not seen before. 

 

 

(The visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

 

 

 

Mark Ruwedel

Ruwedel has used photography to capture a collection of images in black and white of the North American landscape.

 

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(my own photos)

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Before reading about Ruwedel's collection of photographs of the landscapes, I thought they were beautiful and striking and somehow conveyed a delicacy of what is actually a very harsh landscape. I thought that presenting the photographs in black and white somehow created an atmospheric and eery tone in the work.

As for the subject pattern in all of the photos, I guessed that the images had something to do with capturing the development of civilisation within the abandoned landscape but was overall, quite unsure. 

I also noticed a juxtaposition (whether this was intentional or not) between the beauty of the landscape in the image of the location named 'hell gate'. How could such beautiful location be named after the most awful place?

 

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Mark Ruwedel's work shows how geological, historical and political events have left their mark on the landscape.

Ruwedel has spent many years photographing the North American landscape. The world in this display span 1995-2012 and includes images of abandoned railways, nuclear testing sites and empty desert homes.

Each series explores how past events have been inscribed onto the earth's surface, reflecting the artist's belief that 'at this point in history, pure nature is no longer a viable subject'. He explains: 'I have come to think of the land as being an enormous historical archive. I am interested in revealing the narratives contained within the landscape, especially those places where the land reveals itself as being both an agent of change and a field of human endeavour'.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/mark-ruwedel-13509

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After reading the information on Ruwedel's collection of photographs I became all the more intrigued by the images, and the artist's thoughts made me think very differently about the earth  that we live on. The eeriness of the images now made sense to me and by surrounding the entire room with similar images this feeling was heightened. 

There was a great sense of desolation within the many images which acts as a way of conveying the vastness of the landscapes Ruwedel captures. 

 

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

 

 

 

Theaster Gates

'Civil Tapestry 4' 2011

 

 

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(My own photo)

 

Gates has collected decommissioned firehoses to create this tapestry.

Before I read the information given on Gates' piece I found it quite difficult to predict what the tapestry was about and made from. Despite this, the large scale piece was very intriguing . After a close inspection all i could come up with for a guess was that the writing on the material looked much like old wartime text often found on WW2 supplies and weaponry. Additionally, the material looked very think and sturdy so i assumed the piece had something to do with the war.

Although Gates' tapestry is quite plain, it evoked a curiosity in me and no doubt everyone else, which in itself is a successful trait for any artwork.

 

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Civil Tapestry 4 2011 is a large wall-based work by the American artist Theaster Gates. It is made from strips of decommissioned fire hoses that Gates sourced in Chicago, his home town, and fixed to a wooden support. The hoses vary in tone between white, beige and brown, with three prominent red strips. Some have printed lettering (giving details of the manufacturer) but most are blank. Civil Tapestry 4 is one of a number of works that Gates made using fire hoses, and at almost two metres high and five metres wide, it is one of the largest.

The work’s title points to its political and social content. In May 1963 a group of black children and students in Birmingham, Alabama, embarked on a peaceful march as part of the struggle for equal rights for black people in America. The Birmingham Commissioner for Public Safety, Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor, ordered the police to use fire hoses to spray the crowd with water in order to break up the march and force the demonstrators into submission. The force of the blasts of water was immense, and many of the children and students were injured. Gates has written, ‘For days, fire hoses and canons were used to intimidate America’s wrongly served.’ (Theaster Gates, press release for An Epitaph for Civil Rights and Other Domesticated Structures, Kavi Gupta, Chicago 2011) The police brutality was widely condemned, and with President Kennedy criticising the Birmingham police, these events were seen as a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement. Gates commented, ‘The event led to immediate shifts in the American South and created opportunity for Black people to integrate.’ (Gates 2011, accessed August 2012.)

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gates-civil-tapestry-4-l03666

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After reading about Gates' work I realised I'd misinterpreted the piece., with the title referring to the civil rights era that the event being represented was encompassed in.

Made of decommissioned fire hoses reflecting on the civil rights movement. It is interesting to think that a simple object such as  a hose can play such an integral role in events that altered history. It is sad to think that something so ironically soft, was used as a tool for harmful power and pain. 

Gates' piece also helps us to realise how much society has developed and changed since the event occurred.

 

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

 

 

 

Text

Carrie Mae Weems

 

'From Here I Saw What Happened And I Cried' 1995-6

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(my own image)

 

 

Weems has collected images and texts, using photography, photo editing and text-work to present her piece.

Before I read any information on Weems' presentation I was instantly impressed with the work and, despite the solemn nature of the images, I thought the work was beautiful.

It became apparent that this series of images was capturing historic issues of racism and slavery through photography and text. As I followed the order of the photographs around the room, I realised that the text over the photographs was quite difficult to read. I don't know whether this was deliberate of the artist or not, but perhaps this difficulty leads to the viewer subconsciously focussing on the writing of the piece instead of the face behind it and thus, perhaps belittling the individuals? Just as people have done throughout the past.

Additionally to this, All of the images with the exception of the first and last, were edited to be a bright red colour. I questioned whether this was to convey an anger and hatred felt by the artist towards the way black people were labelled, treated and abused. Furthermore, the red could also have represented the bloodshed of these people. 

I thought that the photographs/ portraits of the individuals around the room made the series all the more moving, as it allows us to relate the harsh labelling and words, to specific faces. I wondered whether the repetition of 'Ha' coveys the mocking of the victims. 

Perhaps the circular framing of the photos, as well as the circular act of the viewer to move the complete way around the edge of the room conveys a lack of hope in a never ending cycle?

 

The images were chosen by the artist from a number of archives, including daguerrotypes of slaves taken in the 1850s, and extending to the 1950s and the Civil Rights era. The sequence begins and ends with an image of the wife of a Mangbetu chief, taken in the 1920s in the Belgian Congo, creating the impression that she is bearing witness to this tragic history.

Weems rephotographed and enlarged the images, overlaying them with a red tint and mounting them behind glass. A series of texts were etched onto the glass to form a powerful, poetic commentary. Text and image show African Americans being forced into servile roles, such as cooks, maidservants or sexual objects. They are presented as evidence to prove dubious scientific theories, and as stereotypical characters in novels.

With the image of a man’s brutally whipped back, Weems does not shy away from the violence underlying slavery. She is also willing to confront the complexity of this history, showing that some Black women were forced to give birth to their masters’ children, while another is accused of being an ‘accomplice’. Above all, by addressing the subjects of the photographs as ‘you’, the text encourages the viewer to recognise each face as an individual rather than as an ethnographic or historical type.

https://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/display/artist-and-society/carrie-mae-weems

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After reading the information given on Weems' series, I was even more moved by the exhibition. I also got the sense that these people who are no longer around, have been recognised as victims of one of the greatest injustices and tragedies of modern history, as well as given significance thanks to Weems' powerful work. 

It also makes the viewer feel the urge to recognise that this history was made up of individuals, thanks to the photographs, and therefore magnifies the tragedy of slavery. 

I think every person who views Weems' piece experiences a range of emotions, and that, to me, makes this series of photographs powerful, and hugely successful.

This was my favourite piece that I viewed at the Tate today.

 

(Tate visit, Friday 14th September 2018)

 

Andy Warhol (b1928-1987)

In 1983, Andy Warhol created his Love series, which includes a portfolio of three screenprints on Rives BFK paper. Each screen print depicts a nude couple embracing one another in a different position. The sequence of images seemingly implies a narrative, as if each image represents a different movement leading up to sexual intercourse. While the images are characterized by passion, lust and sexuality, they are not as much pornographic as they are romantic. There are explicit sexual acts depicted nor is an emphasis of naked sexual parts, as there is in Warhol’s 1978 Sex Parts series, which includes prints focalizing on sexual acts and male sex organs. His naming of this collection of prints as his Love series and his depiction of the couple’s full bodies rather than their body parts, also imply deeper meaning beyond sexual intercourse.

More than twenty years after his death, Andy Warhol remains one of the most influential figures in contemporary art and culture. Warhol’s life and work inspires creative thinkers worldwide thanks to his enduring imagery, his artfully cultivated celebrity, and the ongoing research of dedicated scholars. His impact as an artist is far deeper and greater than his one prescient observation that “everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” His omnivorous curiosity resulted in an enormous body of work that spanned every available medium and most importantly contributed to the collapse of boundaries between high and low culture.

 

 

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https://guyhepner.com/artist/andy-warhol-art-prints-paintings/love-by-andy-warhol/

 

My own thoughts on his work

I researched Warhol's love series whilst developing my installation presentation. Whilst his work did not have a significant effect on this project I really like the simplicity of the lines and colours merging together to give a clear yet powerful final image.

The luminosity of the colours Warhol uses gives an electric vibe to the pieces which reflects the excitement and emotions of that occurs in the scene being depicted. I think this would be interesting to explore myself, linking the colours of a piece to the image being depicted and how this alters the overall effect of final work. 

 

 

 

Georgia O'Keeffe (b1887-1986)

But a new Tate Modern retrospective of Georgia O’Keeffe, a giant of American 20th-century modernism, is to challenge the “conservative male” – and widely accepted – assumptions that her famous flowers paintings are depictions of female genitalia.

She is best known for her large-scale studies of flowers, painted as if looking at them through a magnifying glass. However, since the early 1920s the vast oil works have been dogged by erotic interpretations and, despite O’Keeffe’s six decades of vigorous denial that her paintings were in any way sexual, it remains a commonly held assumption to this day

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https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/mar/01/georgia-okeeffe-show-at-tate-modern-to-challenge-outdated-views-of-artist

 

 

My own thoughts on her work

I really like the way O'Keeffe's view of the insides of the flowers allow her to symbolise different objects and concepts within her paintings. It would be interesting to explore how different perspectives of an object could effect the overall look of the piece and what it could represent.

O'Keeffe's work really helped me with the ideas factory project presentation, as the colours and shapes within her paintings linked to the feminism and sensualism that I wanted to reflect on the inside of the installation.

 

Albert Hadley (b1920-2012)

“Decorating is not about lace curtains and carpets from Paris!” Hadley told Architectural Digest last year in his smoky drawl. No amount of aesthetic folderol, he observed, could make a poorly architected room palatable. “I start with the hammer and the saw—moving doors to line up with windows, straightening out the floor plan, that kind of thing. Once the dust has settled, then you can start thinking about fabrics and paint.”

 Refining imperfect envelopes was one of the signature skills that Hadley, a onetime instructor at Parsons School of Design, brought to the decorating firm founded by society figure Parish when he joined in 1962, following a stint at its rival McMillen. “Mrs. Parish couldn’t draw or do a floor plan, but she had a knack for finding the right pieces of furniture to create a look. Albert always thought rooms out intellectually,” recalls designer Bunny Williams, a Parish-Hadley alumna. “And his incredible working drawings were pretty close to how the projects were carried out.” The disparate pair’s respectful if periodically trying partnership—which lasted until Parish’s death in 1994—proved to be surprisingly influential, a collaboration that Hadley biographer Adam Lewis compares to “two flints striking against each other and starting a fire.”

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/albert-hadley-interior-designer-tribute-article

 

 

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My own thoughts on his work

Hadley's architectural and interior design drawings are a style that I would like to experiment with further. I partly incorporated this type of drawing into my ideas project presentation and I enjoyed the satisfaction of more precise drawing techniques alongside development of colours and texture.

 

Ellen Gallagher (b1965)

Ellen Gallagher is one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists to have emerged from North America since the mid-1990s. Her gorgeously intricate and highly imaginative works are realised with a wealth of virtuoso detail and wit. 

Gallagher brings together imagery from myth, nature, art and social history to create complex works in a wide variety of media including painting, drawing, relief, collage, print, sculpture, film and animation.

https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/ellen-gallagher-axme

 

EG.jpg

 

From the outset of her career, Ellen Gallagher has brought together non-representational formal concerns and charged figuration in paintings, drawings, collages, and films that reveal themselves slowly, first as intricate abstractions, then later as unnerving stories. The tension sustained between minimalist abstraction and image-based narratives deriving from her use of found materials gives rise to a dynamic that posits the historical constructions of the “New Negro”—a central development of the Harlem Renaissance—with concurrent developments in modernist abstraction. In doing so, she points to the artificiality of the perceived schism between figuration and abstraction in art. Selecting from a wealth of popular ephemera—lined penmanship paper, magazine pages, journals, and advertising—as support for her paintings and drawings, Gallagher subjects the original elements and motifs to intense and laborious processes of transformation: accumulation, erasure, interruption, and interference. Like forensic evidence, only traces of their original state remain, veiled by inky saturation, smudges, staining, perforations, punctures, spills, abrasions, printed lettering and marking—all potent evocations and emanations of time and its materiality. This attained state of “un–knowing” fascinates Gallagher and is one of the primary themes in her work. 

https://gagosian.com/artists/ellen-gallagher/

 

Harlem Renaissance 

The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York, spanning the 1920s. During the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke. The Movement also included the new African-American cultural expressions across the urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest United States affected by the African-American Great Migration, of which Harlem was the largest. The Harlem Renaissance was considered to be a rebirth of African-American arts. 

 

My thoughts on her work

I love the contrast of colours and textures within Gallagher's pieces and her ability to convey cultural, social and political issues  and movements within her work whilst simultaneuously producing clean and aesthetically pleasing images to view.

I would love to experiment with Gallagher's style in the future as her work is the one I have enjoyed the most so far, both to view and read about. I could perhaps explore new and varying societal issues within my own experimentations inspired by Gallagher.  

I would like to combine drawings, collage, painting and ink work to try and reflect the style of Gallagher but conveying my own researched societal issues and movements within the pieces. 

 

Sol LeWitt (b1928-2007)

Most of us only see Sol LeWitt‘s precise, light wall drawings once they’ve already made their mark on the walls, but for the artist, the process of execution was just as, if not more, important. Indeed, each of LeWitt’s drawings comes with a meticulous set of instructions, which can be carried out by anyone.

“Looking again at LeWitt’s wittily concise instructions, I realized they read, without modification, as movement directives,” says Levine, who has been interpreting modern and postmodern visual artworks as scores in her series Re-stagings

https://hyperallergic.com/391967/a-performance-of-sol-lewitts-drawing-instructions/

LeWitt's refined vocabulary of visual art consisted of lines, basic colors and simplified shapes. He applied them according to formulae of his own invention, which hinted at mathematical equations and architectural specifications, but were neither predictable nor necessarily logical. For LeWitt, the directions for producing a work of art became the work itself.

https://www.theartstory.org/artist-lewitt-sol.htm

 

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My own thoughts on his work

LeWitt's instructional pieces have helped me with the development of my installation piece for the ideas factory project. I wanted my installation to be interactive but was specific about the way in which the participants should be acting. Therefore, on my A1 presentation sheet I included a set of instructions much like LeWitt's pieces. Similarly to LeWitt's line works, the actions of the participants are integral to my installation. 

 

 

Tacita Dean (b1965)

The series of blackboard immediately appear as familiar objects to us, as a surface upon which information is recorded and displayed. Dean uses them, however, to create an atmospheric and fluid surface. She has worked with blackboards before, an unusual choice of materials by an artist. Teamed with traditional drawing methods, that of mark making and tonal relationships to build volume and forms in space, the results are unique. The images are transient and fragile. This is heightened by the qualities of the materials, especially when we remember that the drawings can be wiped over at any moment and forgotten. White chalk marks are set against the deep negative space of the blackboard, creating dramatic effects.

https://www.tate.org.uk/download/file/fid/6559

 

 

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My own thoughts on her work

I am really interested in the atmospheric sense that is captured in Dean's landscapes in particular. By inverting the light and dark in these images, Dean manages to invoke a delicacy and subtlety to the pieces creating an imposing atmosphere whilst still retaining the photographic-like image of the scene. 

Dean's work has inspired me to experiment with light and dark in my drawings. I think it would be interesting to play with the light and dark in the same image to evaluate the effects that this has on the style and atmosphere of the piece. I think this should be done with chalks or pencils to retain the simplicity needed for the light effects.

 

 

Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Both born 1935. Jeanne-Claude died 2009.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude's interventions in the natural world and the built environment altered both the physical form and the visual experience of the sites, thereby allowing viewers to perceive and understand the locations with a new appreciation of their formal, energetic, and volumetric qualities.

The artists' choice to remain intermittently inside and outside the frameworks of legality lends much of their work a built-in aspect of dissent and resistance. It also expands upon and emboldens a long legacy of quasi-legality in art, where art exists in a realm somewhere between the "real" world and fantasy, and affords the art world with distinct privileges as well as restrictions.

https://www.theartstory.org/artist-christo.htm

 

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https://theartstack.com/artist/christo-and-jeanne-claude/gates-project-for-cent

 

Although their work is visually impressive and often controversial as a result of its scale, the artists have repeatedly denied that their projects contain any deeper meaning than their immediate aesthetic impact. The purpose of their art, they contend, is simply to create works of art for joy and beauty and to create new ways of seeing familiar landscapes. Art critic David Bourdon has described Christo's wrappings as a "revelation through concealment." To his critics Christo replies, "I am an artist, and I have to have courage ... Do you know that I don't have any artworks that exist? They all go away when they're finished. Only the preparatory drawings, and collages are left, giving my works an almost legendary character. I think it takes much greater courage to create things to be gone than to create things that will remain."

https://theartstack.com/artist/christo-and-jeanne-claude/gates-project-for-cent

My own thoughts on their work

Despite the artists' own denial that their work has deeper meaning, their drawings are so aesthetically pleasing to me. The combination of pencil work and bright, bold colours links to the idea of their work representing a place between the real world and the fantasy. I love the way that addition of the bright orange structures acts as the focus of the piece, bringing more energy and life to the simple black and white background. Additionally, this contrast is achieved by the juxtaposition between the curves and soft style of the added structures against the rigid and straight buildings behind. 

I was really taken with these drawings because I am definitely interested in exploring design-like work further, not only combining it with colour to add another dimension and focal point, such as Christo, but additionally this style could be recreated with mixed media or collage which would be enjoyable to experiment with.

 

 

Zaha Hadid (b1950-2016)

To say she divides opinion is to put it mildly. To some, including several fellow architects that I spoke to, she is a tyrant; her work is "unbelievably arrogant" and "oppressive; I don't believe she cares what it's like actually to be in one of her buildings". To others she's a genius, and a hero, the only ground common to all these views being a remark once made by her mentor, Rem Koolhaas, that she is "a planet in her own inimitable orbit". The truth is that she is all these things, and more. She tests everyone – her staff, her clients, the users of her buildings, and herself – and offers an unspoken deal. If you survive all this, I will make something fantastic, and you could be part of it, is roughly how it goes, and people's view of her will depend on which part of the deal they experience most.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/sep/08/zaha-hadid-serpentine-sackler-profile

 

 

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https://www.themodernhouse.com/journal/what-were-seeing-zaha-hadid-early-paintings-and-drawings/

My own thoughts on her work

What I love about Hadid's work is her apparent ability to combine seemingly juxtaposing styles. She accomplished the combination of precise and accurate architectural drawings with bold colour, shapes and ideas. This all merges to form somewhat futuristic looking drawings, which are plausible and possible today. Surely that's as innovative as it can get?