One piece from the ‘Inside’ Exhibition has capture some of my personal discussion around the topic of views being contained/restricted. Windows act as barriers as well as havens. This specific piece shows the view that a detainee has from his cell. I found this work very evocative. The use of a monochromatic palette was not merely to record the surroundings but also shows us the emotional impact this view was having on the artist.
I found that the way the piece was displayed (in a frame with a white boarder surrounding the painting) emphasised this contained perspective. It started my thinking on how we might restrict our own perspectives on things. Here, the use of a physical border surrounding the image as affected what we see of it. I would like to explore this concept more in my own work. How can the artist manipulate what you see/ how you read the ‘topic’ of their work?
When exploring the theme of detention camps and how prisons used windows as a strategic object in controlling the experience of a prisoner, making it as uncomfortable as possible, I heard about an Exhibition at the South Bank Centre which had been curated by Antony Gormley. This work was a collection of art form offenders, secure patients and detainees from the 2017 Koestler Awards.
“Over 3,500 people entered the 2017 annual Koestler Awards for Artwork produced in the Uk’s Prisons, screed hospitals and immigration removal centres and by ex-offenders in the community. Each of these 7,105 artworks is testament to a desire for change.”- Koestler Trust.
The aim of the exhibition was to display was an opening into the minds and experiences of detainees. I found the whole experience very moving, sometimes really uncomfortable. I felt helpless when witnessing the emotions of those who are in prisons across the country. Looking at their work didn’t change anything aside from my understanding and insight. At the time I was walking around the exhibition, a jazz band was practising in another room nearby. This completely dictated how I read the work. The music was quite interrupted and added a dramatic layer to the work. A desperation – as if time was running out.
I found that the curation of the exhibition worked well, allowing the work to speak for itself. To me it mimicked the monotonous routine of the lives lead by detainees when in prisons. The 2D works ran along the walls, forcing the viewer to move from one to another in what seemed to bee a helpless, endless flow of human emotion. I didn’t actually get to view all of the art work as each had such a weight behind it and after 40 mins of walking around, I had to leave. I needed to escape the uncomfortable but also found that walking back from Southbank, getting on a bus and returning to my everyday life seemed wrong. I couldn’t ignore the different of experience between the lives of a prisoner and the life I lead.
There two pieces which impacted me the most:
The piece comprised of selection of meticulously stacked line drawings of different scenes. The extensive time commitment for this work couldn’t be fully appreciated and many just walked straight past this towering stack of paper. I found that there was something very powerful in the realisation of sometime taking the time to draw hundreds of everyday senes. I started to think maybe these were scenes drawn from memory, which focused on monotonous acts but had somehow become sacred moments held as relic memories.
‘the voices’r telling me- kill the guy next door!’
The second piece read as a diary with personal thoughts, lines of consciousness, poetry and drawings which expressed the trials of getting through the day in a prison. It opened up a new depth of understand into the battle within the mind of this detainee. The work opened up a discussion around the mental health support for the detainees.
I recently visited Katharina Grosse’s Exhibition at the South London Gallery.
I was engulfed by her work ‘This Drove my Mother Up the Wall’. The work completely breaks down the barriers which painting traditionally has been confined to. She has allowed the space to become her canvas and totally removed any boarders from her work.
Having broken outside of the corners of a rectangular framework, Grosse has enabled her use of colour and line to dictate how we view the space and architecture of the gallery. I am particularly interested in how Grosse has cut up the lines of her paintwork to create a fragmented presentation of the actions she would have taken to produce her piece. By using Stencils to mask the floor, harsh delineations between the white floor and gestural colour force your eye to travel around the space, considering both the paint and the white space as a part of the work itself.
I am very interested in the removal of visual information within my own practise so am interested by the use of stencil as a way doing this. I am interested to think about how the space might read if Grosse hadn’t removed any stencils. What would these areas of paintwork look like?
Despite my practise being wildly different from Grosse, I am inspired by the playfulness of her work. It is impossible to read the paint without considering its impulsive nature, which is reflected in childlike behaviour. The title of this work is also very humorous, it completely dictates how I read the work. As a child I draw on my bedroom walls with crayon and then wait for my parents reaction. I feel that Grosse’s work acted as a time-machine, bringing be back to being a child and waiting anxiously for my parents to discover my new addition to the wall paper. Her use of scale , the work engulfing a whole room (a room in which the doors are abnormally large) reminded me of a time when I was a lot smaller. The Evening Standard optimise my experience of the work by saying ‘you can stand at the centre, and take in the balance between her energetic colour gestures, the architecture and that glorious light. Rather than looking at Grosse’s painting, you inhabit it’
Whiteread’s work ‘Untitled (One Hundred Spaces)’ really touched on some common themes I have had running though my work in the previous year. I found that focusing on this piece, I read the work as a memorial to the lives of One hundred people.
It is written in the display that ‘each piece is a cast of the underside of a found chair, made in coloured resin…the process of casting retains the imperfections of the wear and tear of the original objects’. Knowing that these are found objects makes me consider who owned them before they were reclaimed? How has this changed their value/ weight. I started to see each object as the very identity of a randomly selected individual. Each chair had a different ‘personality’. The marks and battering to each chair says something about the owner and therefore tells a story.
I found that by walking around the space, it was as though I was passing through a grave yard. There was an eeriness around the space which caused you to observe silence. I found that the blocks of cast resin sat in the space as grave stones, each with its own ‘weight’ of a story/ life around it.
I found this conceptually linked to the work I had made on foundation which placed the accusation of a life onto an object- in my case, a block of ice. This has brought me to question the associations we place on objects/ how objects have value. How could I respectfully use everyday materials/ objects to represent a life. Artist such as Peter Eisenman have touched on creating conceptually based sculptures to communicate a remeberance of life, such as in his piece ‘The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’. However this is based loosely around a similar physical from to a coffin. Could this concept of an object being a memorial for a life be communicated successfully if objects weren’t placed in rows or resembling the rectangular shape of a gravestone?
Visiting Rachel Whiteread’s Exhibition at the Tate Britian, looking at a collective of her work, I was able to analyse her method of working, thinking and communicating in a new way. Whiteread’s playfulness with form forces the viewer to reassess not only the constructions of the world around them but also how things are made. Her sculptures play on the mind of the spectator as we enter into an alternative world.
The display was very fluid throughout the space which allowed for each piece to be seen as a member of the collective. I think this altered how I viewed the work- seeing the similarities between pieces. I also found that I became more interested in her use of different materials when casting specific items, questioning her choice and if it was of any significance to her intended communication.
Whilst the materials she engages with seem very permanent as she has created forms which are physical and sturdy, something about the work makes me feel the sculptures are ephemeral. Because the act of casting can often be a ‘means to an end’ or a mid stage, to have made these the final product has made me want to consider how the process of someone making a piece of art, could be the art itself. I want to explore how ‘off cuts’/ left over materials can stand alone as pieces in their own right. This touches on how recycling materials can be referencing something which ‘was’ but has since been transformed.
I was particularly drawn to Whiteread’s drawings and how she is able to be technically accurate whilst having a playful fluidity to her lines. It becomes clear that her mind works in a 3D way, her work study for ‘sloping bed’ 1991 was able to provide a sense of dimensionality by tracing paper being pulled and rippled. This simple act of manipulating a surface was able to provide a weight to the form of a bed.
Her work ‘Book Corridors’ made me question the conceptual irony of removing all the information which is traditionally held in books to a minimalist state. It made me question which books where there? what where they about? what colours were they? There was an eeriness in the remainder, Whiteread had created something which was accessible in its entirety by withholding/ removing information. The form itself seems very uniform, with visual lines seemly perfectly repetitive, however each book/impressions for the ink makes the sculptures a completely individual print of a moment in time which recorded certain texts in a specific position. Whilst it could be argued this could never be replicated, the nature of a library and the categorisation systems which they use, mean that this display of books and shelves will probably be paired together in the exact same format for the duration of their existence within a certain library. This somewhat changed my perspective on this being a ‘frozen moment in time’ and of viewing casting as a means of preserving.
Untitled ‘Stairs’ 2001 brought questions of how logically consistent this sculptural form actually was! After a lengthy period of walking around the sculpture, trying to draw it in space, or position in a house, I concluded that it now was redundant as a functioning staircase. The casting process had completely changed its use form practical to sculptural. The work reminded me of Escher’s Illogical staircase which touches on the parallels between sculpture and drawing. Both of these artists are communicating similar scenarios but in different dimensions.
Throughout the Exhibition I found myself TRUSTING the description of materials. ‘Room 101’ was said to include plaster, metal and wood but with my eyes I could only see one of those materials- the large block of white plaster. This has made me start to question how the artist has a role in stating what their work is, what it consists of and how that should effect how the viewer reads the work. If an artist were to state their work made of a completely different material that it was in reality made of, would this be acceptable? Could this be the piece in an of itself? This opens up the discussion on what can be classified as art and is this solely down to a persons claim/personal opinion or is there something more?
Whilst at the Private View for the BA Fine Art Exhibition at Chelsea, I was inspired by the work of other students.
This artists combination of both 2D and 3D images has made me question how we classify objects. Should we categories this work as sculpture and image? In my own work I am creating photographical depictions of physical entities, but who’s to say these photographs cannot be sculptural forms in their own right. I have been challenged to redefine the perimeters of how my work can be viewed. I would like to explore how images can become sculptural by possibly manipulating the paper/representation of some of my photography.
The photographical work of Wolfgangs Tillmans, especially ‘ paper drop (star)’, starts to discuss how despite being printed and represented in the 2D, an image still has a physical quality as soon as its been printed.
My own exhibited work started to play with the idea of ‘paper in space’ by lifting the acetate image off from the walls surface- which created a drawing in space.
Having found work with a similar aesthetic quality to my own, I was very interested in look at this second artists subject matter. The photographical images seems to discuss the fundamentals of the word which surround us such as earth, death, the natural and forced. I felt particularly drawn to the earthy palette of the work and how the photos force a new perspective on our surroundings, which is something I aim to achieve in my work. Precariously balanced sculls seem to juxtapose a ‘natural’ state of the subject. This work bizarrely reminds me of a similar playfulness between materials which was saw recently in Dali’s ‘Lobster Phone’, at Tate Modern.