Richard Wilson

When researching into the work of Gordon Matta-Clarke, I became particularly interested in Wilsons work when I first looked at his piece ‘Turning the place over’, which featured a circular segment of a wall rotating and detaching itself from the building. The work is obviously very structurally challenging to achieve but I think there is a playfulness which we don’t encounter in our everyday situations which I really enjoy about the work. Theres coming very humorous about cutting sections from buildings, when It seems so natural to cut sculpture and paper and canvas, when their subject is architecture and they treat it in the same way as something more malleable, we have to deconstruct our understanding of a building as a functioning space when viewing the work.

‘Turning the place over’
By Richard Wilson

I later realised I had seen his work in situ when around Holborn. His piece ‘Square the block’ I had discussed with my friend, unaware at the time weather it was art or an accident. We looked at the structure and experienced the piece as interaction with art in an unexpected format and location. Taking this from a context where we expect to see interventions into the everyday was really interesting to me. The forced destruction of the building wasn’t as impressive as I feel the photo displays. They joinery showed that the ‘falling’ bricks were mounted onto the surface of the wall rather than a part of the construction which I felt was a shame as it made it more obvious that this was Art and not a structure which at any moment could fall down.

‘Square the block’
Richard Wilson

Wilson’s work always referenced the existing architectural context and said: “Whenever I start a piece of work I start the process by trying to understand the particular nature of the site and the reason for making the work. For me that’s the springboard that starts me towards an idea.”

I also have become interested in his work collaboratively with the RA ‘Hang on a minute lads… I’ve got a great idea’. The work, based on ‘the Italian Job’ movie, consider of a replicated bus canter-levering over one of Hong Kong’s most iconic Grade 1 Listed Facades to a Hotel. This work really brings into question were the sculpture ends and architecture starts, blurring the lines between the two. Although this has moved away from my initial interest in his work for the destructive construction of buildings as sculpture – which I aimed to translate into photographical manipulation- I have found that his work creates an interesting conversation between boundaries of art. Encountering his work in the everyday forces us to consider its creation but question its origin.

‘Hang on a minute lads… I’ve got an idea’
2015
Richard Wilson

Bibliography:

Please see: Gorden Matta-Clarke

Gorden Matta-Clarke

I started to research into the work of Gordon Matta-Clarke as my practise has become more destructive in nature. His exhibition ‘Anarchitect’ at the Bronx museum Looks at the manipulation of urban architecture through the means of physically meticulous removal of shapes and sections, sculpting the building. He has been known to cut out wholes through buildings which are soon to be demolished.

‘Splitting’
1974
Gordon Matta-Clarke

Having lived in New York, Paris and Chilli as well as studying Architecture, Matta-Clarke became a voice in rejecting the commodification of art, with his sculptures coming in the form of ‘large scale interventions into exciting architecture’. These temporary works which consider of sections of buildings being completely removed were documented through film and photography.

Matta-Clarke also ended up displaying the corners of the house roof which he saw away form the house in New Jersey which he saw in two. These roof corners where then displayed in John Gibson Gallery in New York, which to be is an interesting relationship between the rumour of the work becoming the piece and its memory, vs the sculptural element. The reclaimed corners which now sit in a gallery are a bridge to the event which occurred but also sit as objects in their own right.

‘Splitting: Four Corners’, 1974
Gorden Matta-Clarke

Matta-Clarke echoed his enjoyment of manipulation through cutting photographical work. He made a point to destruct the negatives of his films before development. This reflects the practise I’ve developed of photographic manipulation and the concealment of information in a two dimensional form rather than sculpturally as done in the Anarchitect works.

For the Biennale de Paris 1975 Matta-Clarke created ‘Conical Intersect’ by cutting a large cone-shaped hole through two seventeenth-century townhouses due for demolition. This created a shift in the controversy of the time as the Centre Georges Pompidou was being propositioned for the site so he decided to create a completely different event which had its own public interest rather than participating in the running commentary on the Pompidou centre. I think its an interesting approach to art, moving towards the way in which Francis Alÿs works, where the piece revolves around the participation through conversation of the public. It shifts the focus form the action to the reception.

‘Conical Intersect’, 1975
By Gordon Matta Clarke

Bibliography:

Please see: Unit 1 Recorded Tutorial Feedback

 

Playing with situation

I had previously researched about minimalist artists and their focus on the momentary conideicnes being a part of their art work. When I was in the studio, the light started to pass across my large white painting. The shadow which was cast started to act like a barrier in an of itself. This has started my thinking on how situation and the LOCATION of my work should seriously be considered.

‘Bars in Situ’
Experimental photography
2017
By Ruth Linnell
‘Bars in Situ’
Experimental photography
2017
By Ruth Linnell

The work really reminded me of Kishio Suga’s work ‘Situated Underlying Existence’ which laid plastic sheets on the ground and allowed the light of the gallery space to be a part of the work. As I was researching into this artist I found out he was a part of the Mono-ha movement which grew in Japan.

‘Situated Underlying Existence’ 2014 by Kishio Suga

Mono-ha was concerned with ‘not making’, as it was argued by Lee Ufan (founder) that the need for an ARTIST to make things had been made void by the introduction of technology.  In his own practise he ‘rejected traditional ideas of representation in favour of revealing the world as it is by engaging with materials and exploring their properties’. I recently saw Ufan’s work at the  ‘Everything at Once’ Exhibition at the Strand. He displayed both ‘Dialogue – silence’,2013 and ‘Dialouge’, 2017. I was particularly interested with the presentation of a blank canvas in one of his pieces. When studying minimalism both Greenberg and Fried argue that the object itself cannot be the work. They suggest that the object has to become something new, however, here we see Ufan breaking these rules.

‘Dialogue’ 2017 by Lee Ufan
Photography of ‘Everything at Once’ Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell
‘Dialogue-silence’ 2013 by Lee Ufan
Photography of ‘Everything at Once’ Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell

‘The name mono-ha was coined slightly derogatorily by a journalist in response to the lack of polish and perceived lack of skill displayed in the making of the work. As the movement gained international recognition, and through its association with arte povera, mono-ha came to be widely respected as a movement that was critically engaged.’ – Tate

I have started to consider how this concept of appropriating objects could work in presenting the viewer with ‘barriers’. I recently found some sheets of mesh which I have take from the skip. Im unsure exactly how I want to see them used but they also present an emotive reaction by themselves (Much like ‘Curtain (for William and Peter)’ 1969 by Melvin Edwards.)

‘Found Mesh’
Process photography
By Ruth Linnell
‘Found Mesh’
Process photography
By Ruth Linnell

Bibliography:

Please see: White White White

Dali//Duchamp

“This is the first major exhibition in the UK to explore the artistic, philosophical and personal links between two fo the twentieth century’s greatest artists: Salvador Dalí and Marcel Duchamp”

The exhibition was structured into 4 sections: Identity, The body and the object, Experimenting with reality and playing games. Looking at the body, I found that I was particularly drawn to Duchamp’s ‘The King and Queen surrounded by swift nudes’ 1912, and was interested in the deconstruction of figures. I would be interested in replicating a technique which cuts in my photography (as I have been discussing destruction in my own practise). Similarly Dali’s ‘Cubist self portrait’ 1923 plays with fracturing his images to abstract shapes whilst keeping a string of representation.

‘the King and queen surrounded by swift nudes’, 1912 By Marcel Duchamp
‘Cubist Self-Portrait’ 1923 by Salvador Dalí

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duchamp’s readymade was secret for ages and his pieces were only seen by other artists in his studio. However, during the rise of surrealist movement “in 1930 the surrealist followed Duchamp radical reverent, using found objects in a kind of concrete poetry that produced provocative conjunction such as Dali’s lobster telephone as a surrealist object functioning symbolically’

‘Lobster Telephone’ 1936 by Salvador Dalí

“Surrealist objects are in no mans land between art and life. They confused the animate with inanimate”- RA

When in the room which was studying the erotic, I found the curation of the space to be very successfully linked. The room had been painted a dark purple, with gold mirrors around the space, capturing the light and self in a very luxurious way. The room had central cabinet which fetishises these objects collected and presented as art by Duchamp. I noticed people start to stare in a deepened way which they wouldn’t do if they had seen the object outside of a gallery setting. Its interesting to see the fascination with the work, now that the readymade has become an accepted form of art work, however, I started to question how many people understood its history. I  assumed most were just there to observe because they know its important superficially, maybe they felt a social pressure to appreciate the artwork. The mirrors significantly heighten the richness of the environment in which the art is viewed and people start to view the work as relics from a master in the art world.

Inside this room, there was one of the smallest photographs being completely overlooked by the many.  “Photograph of shadows cast by readymade” shows the shadows cast on wall from Duchamp’s readymade objects when hung in space. This adds projected a negative space onto a wall, fabricating a piece which might be more widely understood as art. We can understand form and something being ‘created’/processed, which for many, defines what art is.  Yet in this exhibition, the public are celebrating the object and ignoring the photograph. Is this representational that we now accept the readymade as art or are we merely following others in their understanding?

‘Shadows cast by Readymades’ by Marcel Duchamp
‘Fountain’ 1917 by Marcel Duchamp

Sarah Lea writes for the RA, commenting on the importance of Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ 1917 – “Thinking of Duchamp’s affinity with Dada, we can perhaps understand Fountain not simply as a joke on the audience, but as the provocation of a genuine and important question: what is art? Does the act of simply placing something in a gallery make it art?”

Marcel Duchamp’s ‘the bride stripped bare by her bachelors’ 1915 is a large glass panel which records a ‘metaphorical account of the encounter between bride and her bachelors’. The work is made of oil, lead, dust and varnish on glass in a metal frame. Much of the work was left unfinished when Duchamp went to New York. Duchamp didn’t want to use canvas and therefore limited himself to working on large glass for 8 years. Both Dali and Duchamp felt modern art had become detached from its earlier functions of being religious, philosophical and moral. Therefore they started to compensated by creating personal iconographies. His work is ‘enigmatic’- hard to explain/ interpret, however, I am fascinated by the interruption of paint on the surface of the glass (what should be a transparent window to whatever surrounds it). The scale of the piece is similar to an altarpiece with the work being defined as neither painting or sculpture – its almost a monument.

‘Bride stripped bare by her bachelors’ by Marcel Duchamp

The use of broken glass is something which is interesting to be in my practise. Glass is by its nature a medium which is meant to simply continue a reality- it shouldn’t fracture or alter whats behind it. So much of photography is held behind glass, I think it is an interesting medium to play with, especially as I am considering how to distress my own images. I could consider smashing glass and re-glueing it back together to see how this alters the reading of a photograph which is underneath its surface.

‘Something Resembling Truth’

Jasper Johns recently exhibited at the RA. He looks at targets, states and flags and aims to challenge the viewer by making the familiar unfamiliar. He uses repeated and reformed shapes and symbols which are disguised to force the viewer to look more closely at things the mind already knows.

I was particularly interested in Johns earlier work and personally think he was most innovative when he retracted his subject matter to just dealing with numbers or the American flag, creating different variations. Johns interest in Magritte, Cornell and Duchamp led to inform his early work and Johns started to explore the idea of PAINTING AS SCULPTURE. In Johns ‘White Flag’ I was interested in how he has focused on the remnant being all thats left. We become forced to deconstruct the flag and view it not as a patriarchal symbol but as a series of shapes and lines. I think that the limited tones and monochromatic palette of this piece is particularly successful at achieving this.

‘White Flag’ by Jasper Johns

“Johns’ early flat, target, number and letter works, some of which appeared in this first exhibition, established a new vocabulary in painting. His appropriation of objects and symbols – ingrained in consciousness since childhood- sought to make the family unfamiliar. One of the ways he achieved this was through the complexity of textures that he created on the painted surface.” – Edith Devaney (RA Guild for Friends).

‘Numbers’ 2007-8 by Jasper Johns
‘0 through 9’ by Jasper Johns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johns became interested in exploring language by appropriating familiar words out of context into his work. Their inclusion started a discussion into mis-interpretation. ‘False start’ 1959 Johns uses language to jiggling the complexity of seeing and thinking, naming and perceiving. He places ‘yellow, blue,red’ over blocks of alternating colour so as we view the work we challenge our perception of colour. This seemingly is a theme which runs through his work in his sculptures ‘Painting Bronze’ (1960). These are two hyperrealistic reproductions of domestic items which force the viewer to question what is true or false.  Only the knowledge that it is a reproduction lets us know, otherwise we might assume this was a readymade.

‘False start’ 1959 by Jasper Johns

Johns plays with the balance between art and functionality. When looking at maps he make a point to retain their ability to perform as global representations. In ‘Two maps’ 1989 Johns uses a carborundum wash to conceal the image, forcing the viewer to look with intensity. Similarly in ‘Map’ 1962-63 we struggle to view the border of countries because of its stylistic application of paint however the piece remains both a painting and an object that preserves its fictional value although boundaries blurred it still retains each borders unique shape.

‘Two maps’ 1989 by Jasper Johns

I was particularly drawn to John’s ‘Regret series’ which is based on a photograph taken by John Deakin of 2 mirrored tracings of Freud on his bed with irregular edges and damaged surfaces. Japser Johns has taken this photographic image and reproduced it in huge variation, forcing the viewer to read something different in the work from each piece. I found that the curation of this work, using a ceiling hight wall to mount this series of work was very wise in dramatising how manipulation can completely alter your perception of an image.  This is something I would be interesting in exploring in my own work by looking at printing an image and destroying or manipulating it in a variety of ways, presenting them all to the viewer to be digested simultaneously.

‘Regret series’ (2013-14) by Jasper Johns

Bibliography:

 

Matisse @ RA

Notes on Matisse at the Royal Academy:

‘A composition of objects that do not touch- but nonetheless participate in the same intimacy” – Matisse

In one room of the exhibition, ‘Object is an Actor’, Matisse uses the same object but completely changes how we read it by contextualising in new way and describing its form in new lines/ techniques etc oil painting vs black minimalists line (‘soup tureen and handle of a chocolate pot’ 1900 ink on paper vs ‘still life with a chocolate pot’ 1900 oil on canvas).

‘Still life with a choloate pot’
1900
by Matisse
(oil on canvas)
‘soup tureen and handle of a chocolate pot’
1900
by Matisse
(ink on paper)

Matisse looked at ethnographic journals and explored Africans sculpture as alternative to western art but this form of art is just to be speculated, not explored anthropologically. Most people in room at RA are white middle class observing for aesthetic reasons. The gallery said matisse learnt about African abstraction and used in own work therefore we can conclude he was only drawing upon it from a visual aesthetic rather than deeper cultural understanding of why they express art in this stylistic way? Surely Matisse is separating ‘the other’, in anthropological terms, to cause distance so his work can be visually enjoyed.

“African masks made a particularly strong impact on his hortatory, both stylistically and conceptually. As he strove to convey the personal impact of his subject, the abstract simplification and forceful geometric designs of African art helped Matisse to go beyond straightforward resemblance towards portraits that, as he explained, suggest the deep gravity that persists in evert human being”– RA Guild for Friends

Matisse uses sculpture to evoke feelings of ‘likeness’ when depicting people. Masks have stylistically influenced his own practise. The gallery SAYS the masks also conceptually influenced him but I would challenge how much he researched into reason why African artists used more simplified forms, and therefore what concepts his work were actually bedded into.

‘Large face (mask)’
1952
by Matisse
‘Large Mask’
1948
by Matisse

‘The briefest possible indication of the character of a thing. A Sign’- Matisse has only preserved a sign which he says suffices when looking at form. Could I do the same in my work using a simplified window as a symbol? I think that looking into the power of symbols is something which could influence my work and discussing artist such as Richard Wentworth’s photography of everyday symbols on the streets. How are these socially charged?

Please see: Artist and Anthropologist

John Hilliard

I wanted to research into the work of Hilliard as he has directed the power of photography and the artists role in communicating a message to the viewer, therefore challenging the perception that photography can only be a recording or documentary device.

Camera Recording its Own Condition (7 Apertures, 10 Speeds, 2 Mirrors) 1971 John Hilliard born 1945 Presented by Colin St John Wilson 1980 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T03116

The 1970’s conceptual art movement influences his work as Hilliard stated to look at rules and systems of art when trying to communicate through photography. His piece ‘Camera recording its own position’ has cleverly adopted the camera as devise but also subject. The piece records 7 aperture, 10 speeds and 2 Mirrors by which he fundamentally looks at the mechanics of photography. His later work shifts to explore the common devises of:

  • Cropping
  • Focusing
  • Capturing

These systems directly effect the reading and interpretation of photographic images which starts to delineated photographic documentation from Fine art practise. In 1972 Hilliard starts looking at imagery in the world and explores the cameras power to depict a site specific social narrative. These pre planned scenarios have been cropped into different sections, each telling a different story. Hilliard is interested with how photography can be used to deceive an show only part of the story, therefore defying there ‘reliable’ statues as evidence. In his piece ‘Cause of Death’, we are confronted with 4 different situations:

  1. Death by being CRUSHED
  2. Death by DROWNING
  3. Death by FALLING
  4. Death by BURNING

 

‘Cause of Death’ 1974

I am interested in exploring a similar theme of cropping and using focus to manipulate the ability we have to view a piece of work. I think that its important for the viewer to not just accept what is in-front of them as truth but to question its reliability. I think it could be interesting to experiment with presenting a series of images which have been directed in different ways, allowing the viewer to exercise discernment.

 

Bibliography:

 

Curtain (for William and Peter) 1969

The ‘Soul of a Nation’ exhibition at Tate Modern is a celebration of the work of Black Artists thpouhgt the 1960-80’s in America. I found the exhibition incredibly moving, as it tells the a story which has been put on mute for decades. The visual experience of traveling through room after room is very REAL and RAW as the imagery tells the true experience of so many Black artists and individuals.  I was so thankful to have been exposed to such truth and also seeing how the visual arts were used to communicate political opinion and the reality of everyday persecution during the 1960-80’s.

William T. Williams work ‘Nu Nile’ 1973, for me broke into an abstracted emotional form of representation in a new way to other works. Diagonally oriented blocks of a single metallic colour had been used to created a multilayered tonal work. These diamonds pushed against the borders of the canvas which to Williams reflected the resistant to the constrains that Black Americans were experiencing in everyday life.

‘Nu Nile’ 1973 by William T Williams

“You should be able to look at me and see my work. You should be able to to look at my work and see me.” -Roy DeCarava

Another work which was extremely profound was Roy DeCArava’s photography. He was one of the first Black photographers who worked as an artist rather than a photojournalist. His work captured daily life in Harlem and developed his photography himself. His work is very dark and requires the viewer to come close and look in detail at his photography. His use of light evokes an emotional connection to the individuals which he photographs. Interestingly he ability to handle dark tonal ranges has created a Black aesthetic in photography which was reflective of his subject interest. I found an inescapable connection by looking into the lives of those he’d photographed. I am interested in how by limiting the tonal range of a piece, you can draw the viewer into an intimate field with the work which leads to a deepens interation with its content.

I was particularly drawn to Melvin Edwards’ work ‘Curtain (for William and Peter) 1969. The piece starts to explore how material can be enough to communicate an idea or reality. The hung wall of barbed wire and chains is able to discuss with the audience the physical restraint on Black individuals lives at that time. Edwards said he used barbed wire for ‘formal reasons as it was a linear material with kings. However he was also transforming the language of minimalist sculpture by using material the tallied to the history of Slavery and incarceration'(Tate Modern).  His work is dedicated to specific people in his life, in this case William and Peter were both Black artists he shared a studio with. I found that when researching into the ‘Veil’ in my won work, the material and its connotations became the piece itself.

‘Curtain (for William and Peter)’ 1969 by Melvin Edwards

The curation of the exhibition was really successful in bringing the public into the present day. In the final two rooms ‘Artists looked back to the history of oppression whilst celebrating present day community and looking forward to a brighter future’ – Tate. It displayed works of Edwards and Joe Overstreet who’s work strung canvas’s up a wall as a reference to lynching but used bold colours to be defiant with optimism. Similarly Alma Thomas’ paintings exploit the use of colour. This by no means was used to wash over the reality of the past with a colourful glow, but did bring the public to a place of action. We are able to construct the society we live in, we all have the ability to ensure the part doesn’t repeat itself, pay homage to what happened and be radical in enforcing a cultural change.

Photography into Sculpture

‘Photography into sculpture’
MOMA Exhibition
1970

I discovered an Exhibition which was held at MOMA in New York, April 8th- July 5th 1970.  The Aim of the exhibition was to discuss the continuity between photography and sculpture. The exhibition is described as a ‘comprehensive survey of photographically formed images used in a sculptural or fully dimensional manner’. This give me insight that the work being displayed could merely be presenting a series of work where the display of a photographical piece is 3D and therefore this doesn’t directly challenge my question of weather the definition of sculpture actually matters when categorising work.

Google describes a sculpture as:

sculpture –noun –the art of making two- or three-dimensional representative or abstract forms, especially by carving stone or wood or by casting metal or plaster.

“the boundary between painting and sculpture is displaced”

– verb –make or represent (a form) by carving, casting, or other shaping techniques.

“the choir stalls were each carefully sculptured”

For the 1970’s, this exhibition was still discussing a very important issue in the art world. There was many restrictions to what art could be and what was widely recognised as being FINE ART. There was a struggle to connect with photography being anything other that documentary. Photojournalism and other representational forms of photography were common but acceptance of an artist using photography to communicate and idea or vision with intent was low. During the 1960’s Dr S D Jouhar formed the Photographic Fine Art Association yet stated:

At the moment photography is not generally recognized as anything more than a craft. In the USA photography has been openly accepted as Fine Art in certain official quarters. It is shown in galleries and exhibitions as an Art. There is not corresponding recognition in this country. The London Salon shows pictorial photography, but it is not generally understood as an art. Whether a work shows aesthetic qualities or not it is designated ‘Pictorial Photography’ which is a very ambiguous term. The photographer himself must have confidence in his work and in its dignity and aesthetic value, to force recognition as an Art rather than a Craft”

Therefore we can understand the setting of MOMA’s ‘Photography into sculpture’ was very controversial. Peter C. Bunnell, who directed the exhibition and curated the show, makes many points in his description of the exhibition. He says that ‘photography into sculpture embraces concerns behond those of the traditional print, or what may be termed ‘flat’ work and in so doing seeks to engender a heightened realization that art in photography has to do with interpretation and craftsmanship rather than mere record making’. This has touched on many of the issues surrounding popular opinion, In his opening lines, Bunnell is trying to give eyes for an appreciation of the medium as an art form. He also talks about how the ‘imaginary qualities of the photograph, particularly spatial complexity, have been transformed into actually space and dimension, thereby shifting photography into sculpture’. This concept interests me, where the artist here have physically manipulated their photographs to be printed upon different surfaces/materials, my own practise has started to explore how the photograph in its purist printed sense can become a sculpture.

  

I’m interested by the theoretical parallels between minimalism conceiving space and photography being sculptural. Bunnell touches on a movement from internal meaning an iconography to a visual duality in which materials become content and are used to conceive volume/space. A key concept for minimalism was that the work gave way to a consideration of the viewer’s body in relational to the space. The Context for this exhibition surrounded the rise of the minimalist movement, therefore maybe some influence of their concepts had been drawn upon.

I am particularly interested in the work of Jack Dale’s which is described to be a construction of negative and positive images on glass. This is a medium I am interested in exploring so therefore think it would be beneficial to look into his work.

‘Cubed Woman 3’ by Jack Dale