Monday, 13 December 2010
Thursday, 9 December 2010
I have walked past this large mural in Liverpool on numerous occasions, but it has never held my attention. It wasn't until I was shown it formally as part of a group that I even attempted to decipher what it was meant to illustrate. At a glance this piece looks like a simple line drawing, an almost abstract pattern of contrasting black and yellow on a white building. On closer inspection it is apparent that the piece constitutes of two rows of men on their backs with their legs in the air painted in a bold cartoon style illustration, framing a yellow substance, potentially urine. I was quite surprised by this revelation, and although the piece isn't particularly offensive, I was increasingly aware that I was in the public realm, and began to question how this piece would appear through the eyes of a child. The biennial website (www.biennial.com/index) states -
' Men, in particular, are her recurrent subjects...parties, personal grooming sessions and other occasions for male bonding spiral down into bizarre scenarios in which men ritually abuse, humiliate and degrade one another.'
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
- Context alteration- against a backdrop that itself changes (clouds, road, night sky?) and utilised time-lapse photography?
- Or, against a background that, at the right distance, contains something that would fit into that top-right corner space. Bringing the backdrop forward and making it the subject.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Anyway, I suppose with art, narratives are used to illustrate specific ideas, stories, concepts etc. A memorable piece which had a significant narrative was
Tehching Hsieh 'One Year Performance (1980-1981)-(Time Clock Piece) at Fact.
This piece was pretty overwhelming. The concept was that Hsieh punched a time clock, every hour on the hour, twenty-four hours a day, for an entire year resulting in more than 8,000 photographs . An observer verified each day's time card. The time process was further illustrated by the artist shaving his head before the piece began, then allowing it to grow naturally for the duration. Every time he punched the clock, a movie camera shot a single frame. The resulting film compresses each day into a second, and the whole year into about six minutes. This compression of time was particularly interesting, as was the physical representation of time through the photographs. To 'see' a year was a little un-nerving for me. I developed an awareness that as I was standing in this room, time was ticking away for me too.
If I'm honest, I was a bit suspicious of this piece and questioned whether the artist sometimes got all his photos for the day in one go, saving a lot of time. It would be very hard to tell, the clock could have been altered etc. I just couldn't imagine someone having the patience or this level of dedication to their art. It made me question how far I would take something in the name of art. Or, perhaps, he's somewhat insane. His facial expression throughout the photographs is one of seriousness, with a tinge of sadness, which induces a sense of empathy for this focussed, if not a little mental, human being.
Shaviro, Steven, who wrote 'Performing Life: The Work of Tehchinh Hsieh' has explained that his pieces 'are not feats of stamina nor motivated by a desire to suffer (though they have been described as ordeals), but rather are explorations of time and of struggle.' Hsieh himself states his work is about "wasting time and freethinking"
Out of curiosity I have read up on Hseih's other works, which follow a similar theme of endurance/wasting time, such as 'Cage Piece 1978-1979' in which he lived in a wooden cage for a year, and was not allowed to talk, to read, to write, or to listen to radio and TV. There was also 'Outdoor Piece 1981-1982' in which he spent one year outside, not entering buildings or shelter of any sort. The piece I found most impressive/ridiculous was 'Rope Piece 1983-1984'. In this performance, Hsieh and Linda Montano spent one year tied to each other with an 8-foot-long rope. They had to stay in a same room and were not allowed to touch each other until the end of the one year period. I think there's a fine line between genius and insanity, and this is teetering along the edge. It reminds me of David Blaine and the controversy his art/magic can generate.
Performance art has always been a realm I have been dubious to enter. It doesn't relate directly to my current work, but I'd never rule it out as a medium of working. It has a different impact than more two dimensional static work, and can be a powerful tool to illustrate themes and concepts through physical action, which Hseish has proven.
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Saturday, 20 November 2010
Friday, 19 November 2010
I have discoverd a junk shop in Liverpool, which sells bits and bobs that are perfect for my box asemlages. The objects I bought had an air of nostalagia, and I felt as though I was buying other peoples memories. I bought a series of slides, radomly picking them from a box relying on luck to provide me with interesting photos.
I decided to incorporate them with my personal photos of my grandma which you can see here <-.
Thursday, 18 November 2010
'In Cut Papers Abe invites the audience to experience an intimate space in which the constant snipping of scissor blades is the only measure of time passing. At A Foundation Liverpool Abe will perform for the duration of the Biennial but be warned Abe says. “My work is neither beautiful nor meditational.” Rather it is an aesthetic paradox that locates the artist at the center of a field of reciprocal subjectivity, she is an object of the gaze that returns the subject to themselves by activating a feedback loop. Cut Papers is a series of works that create a surplus of meaning within an apparently simple aesthetic economy. It is this scenic space of perception and production that is the focus of the work.'
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Monday, 15 November 2010
Leggate Theatre Artist
Andy Houlden- 'Three Short Walks in Time'
This piece really stood out for me as it was unlike anything I have experienced before. It is set in a small theatre environment, in which the audience are seated in a horse-shoe formation, looking down towards the artist and an accompanying orchestra. The music that this small orchestra played was soothing, and quite beautiful, and was, to begin with, accompanied by a series of photographs.
Next the artist did a performance piece which involved a toy which marbles would be dropped into repetitively, which created a clunking sound. I got the impression that the artist wanted the marbles to drop in time with the music, but I didn't think it was quite to the beat. This really frustrated me and I found myself willing the marbles to drop on time, focusing on the rhythm intently, becoming increasing agitated. After watching this performance, I discussed my frustration with my friends, who didn't seem to have noticed that it wasn't quite in time. Maybe I was being overly picky but this slight clash of rhythm made the beautiful music irritating...
This same thing happened whilst the artist repeated the statement 'we sat together, the mountain and I, till only the mountain remained'. I focused on the artist concentrating on the conductor, waiting for his queue, on occasion he would miss the queue, and I felt uncomfortable watching him try to find the rhythm again. The statement itself was really quite profound. During the rendition, when not consumed by keeping a rhythm in my head, I could imagine a snowy mountain, with a man sitting huddled at the top, waiting to die. The phrase 'till only the mountain remained' suggests that the mountain will last eternally, but mortality will take hold of all of us human beings and links to themes of existentialism and time.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Joseph Cornell, the reason I didn't completely give up on art. After a disappointing assessment I began to question whether I really understood fine art. I'd spent so long faffing about trying numerous things that never quite worked until I had a go at making my own Joseph Cornell style piece. I used objects and images that I'd collected throughout my life and created assemblages within boxes. Some of the pieces I made contained objects which related to each other, or told some form of story, and others were simply a collection of intriguing things. I thought there was something interesting about leaving the viewer to work out the connections between the items in the boxes and creating their own narrative. I found the process of displaying my personal belongings in these boxes quite nostalgic and satisfying, as if keeping hold of this crap (for lack of a better word) finally paid off. The following photos are Cornells pieces, and below them you can see my attempts....
<--A few photos of my stuff, its a lot more cluttered than Cornells work. I was advised to try and break out from the constraints of the box, and perhaps see the box as a window or a frame. This was easier said than done. I did however find some little photo slide things (not sure what they're called) which allowed light to shine through which worked pretty well.
This box had an anti-romance theme to it. It stemmed from my hatred of 'love- hearts' sweets. I just find them revolting on many levels. The taste, the sickly sweet messages, the texture...I'm not bitter or anything. The up-turned Eiffel tower, clocks, keys, chains etc all relate to this theme of love and romance on some level.
Coffin shaped gift boxes- does changing the shape of a box change its connotations? I think its safe to say is does.
lady's face : ).