I found that displaying my work on the walls of the studio helped me to understand how my pieces ‘exposure’ and ‘white tiles’ could work in an exhibition environment. I had struggled to visualise how my work would sit in space and context when creating this tiled piece as when creating the work it was merely squares which id stacked up, unable to see them all in conjunction with eath-other. Luckily the space I’ve been working in has allowed me to use floor space in front of the wall to display and lay out my work.
Currently the desk is placed off the wall but in-front of the space, so as i’m working, reflecting and researching I have been able t visually reference the work I’ve displayed on the wall and subconsciously been analysing it. I found this particularly helpful when I was looking at how my work can be influenced by the changing light of the location.
The studio space I have currently gets direct sunlight onto the walls in the morning, which I found could play a direct part in my work when looking at the minimalist movement through ‘White White White‘. The light was able to inform the reading of the ‘painting in white’- looking more holistically at the piece in relation to the body and environment.
I have found that my work is situated between that of two painters. The work I am currently creating is very white and pure aesthetically therefore I sometimes become paranoid about the cleanliness of my situation and tend to tidy away all of my work to make sure it doesn’t become damaged. This isn’t an ideal way for me to be working in the space as I find having my work around me and out already encourages me to get started, where as the constant preparation which is involved in working in the space can sometimes be off putting.
‘The iconography of an artwork is the imagery within it’ – Tate
After my Unit 3 Recorded Tutorial, It was suggest to me to research into the iconography of artwork. I quickly discovered that this is the semiotic reading of symbols within an images, most of which are religious or mythological. These meanings are completely dependant on their context so where a dove is representative of the holy spirit within the Christian faith, it is representative of a goddess in mythology.
‘An iconography is a particular range or system of types of image used by an artist or artists to convey particular meanings’
When reading an article of Russian Artists displaying their work in a Church Cathedral setting was particularly fascinated by how this manipulates the reading of symbols in their work. It reminded me of visiting Peter Liversidge’s work in the abandoned cathedral exhibition space. The location completely manipulated how I understood his LED work, viewing it more as a shrine than a piece of contemporary art. The Exhibition ‘Soul Seekers’ was curated by both journalist and artist. Darren Jones (artist) commented on the exhibition saying, ‘“We thought: let’s expand the notion of what an icon is and how iconography relates to secular culture generally. An icon today can be anything; a sports brand, fast food restaurant; body is an icon for many people. The most interesting part is, how people attach themselves to such ‘icons.’”
I think this is interesting to consider within the context of my work. when searching for the iconographic meaning of windows I was confronted with information on stained glass windows religious paintings which didn’t answer the question I intended. However, I found a blog review of ‘a Room with a view’ which discusses some of the symbolic meaning of windows:
“What is a window metaphorically? A window is a spiritual entrance through which your soul can travel. If you choose to let it go, your soul can break the glass boundaries created by the window and travel into the greater world; soaking in the sounds, the smells, the sights. A window is a portal; allowing your thoughts to roam around freely. However, a window creates boundaries, as your soul can only travel as far as your eyes can see. You cannot move right, or left; you move in an unwavering straight line. As you gaze out the window, you watch life go by, failing to contribute any involvement. Windows aren’t for proactive people; they are for those who watch rather than do. Those who sit outside of a window usually have a narrow point of view, and aren’t open to anything new or different.”
I think its interesting to view a window as a boundary which contains how far your soul can travel. When considering this within the context of a prison or dente ion camp when the windows are small and contained, deliberately restricting views, it makes us consider the spiritual impact of this as well as the emotional.
When explaining to a peer about my plans for looking into the manual shredding of images to be representational of forced labour in dente ion camps, we started to discuss how travellers can also end up in these forced working conditions.
I was told about how two girls who my peer had met on holiday in Thailand had been put on a working contract which claimed they would be working in an animal sanctuary which looked after animals who otherwise would be killed and exploited. However, when the girls arrived, contract signed, their sleeping conditions hosted a number of infected animals and they were unable to go out after working hours to socialise, shop or use their free time. The animals they were supposedly looking after were kept in awful conditions and the girls weren’t allowed to leave their jobs because of the contracts they’d signed.
I think its interesting to head through conversation the idea of forced labour being even closer to home than we might think or experience. Even though these situations might not be as extreme as those of labour camps, I think it could be interesting to research these experiences more.
I might include this information in the format of printed documents and imagery within my own shredded information for my final display.
I started to further explore my earlier investigation of overlaying materials onto photography to conceal information. By working on a larger scale I was more able to emphasis the labour insensitivity which I want to make known in my own work. I think this is increasingly becoming something I want to make evident. I started by completing a large overlay of wooded stripes over my photographs. The process of measuring and cutting each strip of wood, then gluing them onto the paper was very laborious. I want to push this into a tryptic series, standing along side a piece were fluff is added to the photographs surface- each small piece being individually played and repeating this with the application of small polystyrene balls which I will create and lay over its surface.
This work will then not only function as a means of concealing a photograph, but also be able to emphasis the energy taken to make the image hidden. This concept could also hold a lot of significance and it comments on the lengths people take to make sure the information they want to conceal is secure from public understanding. This could nod to governments concealing information which they deem unimportant for the public to know. I think it will be important for me to record the process that i take to create the work and the time which I spend – docking in time sessions so I can make known (either by supplementary commentary or directly within the work ) the labour which went into the concealment of the image.
An impromptu converstation I had with a peer about my work from Crit day started me questioning why I have been holding onto the representational.
It was suggested to me that my exposure images were blocking the viewers thoughts. I feel that I defiantly wanted to hold onto a representative form which might suggest to the viewer that i was dealing with subjects of confinement but including a barred window as a symbolic theme.
It was agreed that the images reminder her of gates, therefore the work was associated with some form of protection from danger which to me encapsulated some of the issues surrounding refugees rights for protection. When living in liminal states they are vulnerable to exploitation
It has been suggested that the further destruction of images might carry the work beyond what we can easily process to a more challenging level. I think I want to start looking at covering the surfaces of images either by direct destruction e.g. sanding or by applying materials onto their surface.
I started to look at the constraints of human decision which can sometimes prevent us from breaking through artists barriers which we from through rituals.
Donald Judd starts to explore how we can create methods of breaking these habits of human nature by using mathematical algorithms or rule to change our making process- inviting an external dictatorship. ‘Untitled 1985’ shows a series of objects made in different variations. His work is a reaction against individualism, where all decision making is down to the artist- such as Clifford Stills work. The work is traditionally completely under the artist control. Therefore the artist self is the core source of the making of an article. The artist is the creative one. Much of the control held by the artist was celebrated in the romantic period as an opportunity for self discovery, which was seen as a liberation. In 1960’s artists consider what an artist does when they produce art and start to challenge that the focus on the ‘self’ might actually be a limitation. Therefore some forms of art could go beyond the idea of self.
Italo Calvino discusses the need to break outside of self and starts to think about that need to create other rules to break from own decisions: “Think what it would be to have a work conceived from outside the self, a work that would let us escape the perspective of the individual ego, not only to enter into selves like our own but to give speech to that which has no language… ”
(Italo Calvino ’Multiplicity’ in Six Memos for the Next Millenium 1988)
The idea of allowing another force to come into the work might give a new intensity to the piece. Dieter Roth ‘Flat waste’ collection of all of Roth’s waste over a 17 year period makes you consider what a human beings life is by looking at the gathering detail of remains of a human life. There is a decision made at beginning which carries an intensity as Roth chose to continue to meticulously collect his waste. Tehching Hsieh One Year Performance becomes an obsessive project which he keeps. The work discusses the human capacity to submit as he take a photo every hour of his life for a year.
These external rules start to question the artists role as not making a compete work but as something which starts a process. I’m interested in how I could apply this repetitive nature to my work. I think when discussing detention camps I could enforce a time period of working following a rule. As I have meticulously have been chopping up images I could set time limits on the work, or systems to be followed and produce a body of work who’s scale is emotive, commenting on child exploitation in these locations. This could become laborious work which reflects that which might be forcibly set on detainees as work during their time in a detention camp.
‘A formation of short and long lines seems to be repeated through all the work which seems to make me think the work is being exploratory with shape’
‘The grid formation seems to unite the work’
‘I get the impression the work is in a liminal state- its neither GROWING nor DECOMPOSING but is in-between.’ This is an interesting comment for me as I could see liminality being reflective of the state a detainee is held in.
‘The work seems very logical and thought through with a huge attention to detail being shown in the work’
‘The two pieces on the walls have very strong links were as the mesh and glass force me to question if they’re part of the work. We are unsure to include them or not.’
‘The white tiles could be representational of the passage of time/day. The engravings become like sun dials with their shadows being a references.’ I find the relationship between time and being detained is very strong, so to have this interpreted in the work is an unintentional surprise for me. I think the marks could be viewed as engravings marking each day which passes- as seen on the walls of prisoners.
‘THE PASSAGE OF TIME AS MANIFEST BY THE SHADOWS’. When your in captivity your very aware of the time passing as your confronted with self and contained within the same 4 walls of a cell or communal space in a detention camp.
‘The photographical exploration with exposure seems to draw away from the other pieces. This technique of photography I’ve seen in the past so I feel the white work and mesh with glass is far stronger and more subtle. We are more challenged to find a conceptual meaning behind the work so its holds my attention more’. I think in many ways I held onto the security of presenting my work along side a photographical reference of a window so that the minimal lines could be interpreted. However, I think that I have prevented the viewer for being able to draw their own understanding of the work.
‘The photographs are being used as a key to understand the rest of the work and make connections with the broken lines we see repeated in the instillation.’I think I need to make more carful decisions about what to show a viewer in on space, as all the work informs how we read each individual piece.
‘As an artist by including the mesh and glass in the instillation of the work, I am telling the viewer its important and worth looking at even though they can see it in an everyday situation. Therefore I need to question why its important, when I haven’t obviously manipulate and changed the objects.’ I think this bring into question and interesting argument for what can be art. Does the artist need to have an intent or have manipulated an object to call it work and say its worthy to be looked at and pondered over? I think the issue with this paritucal work might stem from the disconnection between the labour of the wall based pieces vs the lack of work involved in the set up of the glass and mesh.
When displaying my work for my Crit, I had planned to put up these 2 wall based pieces. I had started my exploration into photographic manipulation – removing information initially by playing with the exposure. This then moved towards the white tiled work which I felt was more subtle. I decided to hang both in conjunction, initially to compare them and then later decided the aesthetic worked well. I also wanted to create a reference to the original image which had sparked my use of a repeated window symbol throughout my work. I felt that if I were to have put my white tiled work up in isolation the weight of the engraved symbol could have been completely overlooked.
However, I decided to bring in my ‘black lines’ work into the studio to photograph it. As I placed it it situ I started to visually embed the piece within the context of the wall based pieces. They started to relate to each other, playing with the same shapes and a monochromatic theme ran through the three piece. The materials I had surrounded myself with in the studio I started to draw into the space, lining a glass panel next to my black line barred painting. This action was very spontaneous but the work seemed somewhat incomplete and almost sat as an ‘add on’. Adding some mesh I had found in the skip as a layer over the glass referenced the ‘barred’ experience of being detained.
The work started to reference a very different way of working which was spontaneous and took very little time. This was a wildly different approach to working which conflicted with my intended aim for the crit presentation. I had aimed for my wall based work to be emphasis the time which I had taken to produce it, the labour being a conceptual core to the piece’s success. However, by introducing these two found elements which had very little/ no alteration, I had somewhat thrown off the cohesive reading of what is now an instillation piece.
I felt these spontaneous additions to my display relate loosely to the Arte Povera Movement which explored everyday materials, and presented these in the context of a gallery to challenge the traditional understanding of art materials.
‘The Artist as Artist as Curator as Collaborator’ – Clare Goodwin (curating around practise/collaborative projects).
What lies behind offering the gift? Is The gift more about cultural or capital status?
The ideal of the ‘individual’ was born in renaissance. It was a workshop so you would have an assistant who would mix your paint for you. But this isn’t a collaboration because you have servants, whoever signs the painting is the master so they get the credit. This happens nowadays because Damien Hurts, Phia De Barlo ask someone to do things you can but still have the authorship of the work which changes the dynamic of collaborative work. Collaboration – Marinia Abramovic is another good example of this exploitation, although she worked with Ulay he is unrecognised in her performance pieces. Although without his presence the work would function, she is accredited.
As an individual artist there is an argument that you can only access a limited resource, confound by your own mind and condition. Working in collaboration could be suggested to unlock new ways of visualising and pushing boundaries. This brings to question at what point are you collaborating officially? Many ideas circulate around the art work, and beyond this in adverting, film, music and conversations which are drawn upon in influencing artist. Meret Oppenheim’s ‘object’ on a fur tea cup and saucer was the product on a conversation with Picasso in which he suggested anything could be covered in fur, sparking the idea for the piece. Oppenheim took all the credit for the piece, however, this could arguably been unjust considering Picasso’s role.
Interestingly at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchesteran Exhibition on ‘South Asian Modernists’ has been curated in celebration to the Partition between India and Pakistan. This act is celebrated despite it being orchestrated by the British Colonial Army, causing huge devision and murder across the land. The work doesn’t actually discuss what’s happened but seemingly celebrates independence. Here’s an example of when historical facts have been concealed so that the art work in the exhibition can be ‘enjoyed’ on an aesthetic level, without confronting the responsibilities of our colonial past. This covering/ concealing of history is something which really fascinates me in my own practise. I defiantly want to investigate historical events in my work.
Some artists we discussed:
Sophie Call – lived as a house maid in a hotel. She compiles info through notes e.t.c she registered how her relationships were between herself and her interaction with those visiting the hotel by recording what they left behind. She is a surrealist and dada artist who’s work becomes auto-enthnographic (almost obsessively about herself). This talks about the notion that we are present not just in our body but also in the objects which surround us.
Clair Goodwin’s curation of ‘Museum of the Unwanted’ Zug 2015 featured artists who uses the unwanted either directly or conceptually. It was a readymade space so had to be careful about where to place work. ‘Unwanted’ questions if these pieces are important but they were all pieces which were on loan from artists. They couldn’t buy any of the work as it belonged to different galleries. http://www.huberhuber.com/exhibition/-the-museum-of-the-unwanted/