IDEA FACTORY //
10 / 09 / 2015
By combining everyone's artistic experience we collected a diverse range of ideas for a possible outcome which united Bruce Nauman with glass and distortion. We devised an installation which consists of three levels. At the centre of the piece is a large sheet of glass which has been shattered to create an empty void in the middle from which cracks run spontaneously to the edges where the spectators would stand. This effectively emphasises the fragility of glass. Shards of fragmented glass would hang from the centre suspended and frozen in space, this would successfully distort a sense of reality. A blanket of broken glass would cover the bottom floor which would be illuminated by a strong artificial light source. Being able to view the piece from different levels and different angles will enable the spectators to experience different thoughts and emotions regarding the art work. The beauty and tranquility of the peice would juxtapose the danger of the material and also the calamity of the shattering motion which would have happened seconds before.
what was challenging?
The brief stated that the final piece was only theoretical so the factors which may normally limit a piece such as finance and practicality were not problematic. In many ways this made conjuring up ideas a lot easier however also challenging becuase the possible outcomes were infinite. Consequently it was difficult to know where to stop. Similarly, working in a group meant that we had to communicate our ideas to each other and repeatedly compromise to ensure that the final piece was a product of all of our thinking.
how will I overcome this?
Initially our group found it challenging to perceive the reality of using glass as a material as we did not have much collective experience of using it. To over come this problem we researched the properties of glass and discovered ways in which artists had previously incorporated the material into their work.
what is the value of research / reflection?
Research is a pivotal stage in the process of creating a piece of art work, it is necessary for many reasons such as seeking inspiration, discovering what work already exists and ensuring that you are developing the idea so that it reaches its full potetntial. Reflection is equally important to look back and evaluate your progress, reflection allows the artist to challenge their materials, process, and decision making. It is important to ask questions such as what worked well? what didnt? what would you change?
what have I learned?
I have learnt that working in a group provides challenges which would not be experienced if working individually, such as communicating and compromising ideas. However I have also discovered that it can also be very rewarding creating a piece that each member has contributed to and feels proud of. Working with a number of people also means that you have access to a wider range of talents and experience and therefore it is important to identify strengths and weaknesses so that the best possible outcome is created.
how has the experience matched my expectations?
I am pleased with our outcome because it is very different to my normal artistic practice. The experience has therefore exceeded my expectations as I did not apprehend designing something so new to me. Looking at different materials and processes forced us to design a piece that is unusual and out of our comfort zone. It has also provided us with a new method of brainstorming and developing ideas.
what will I do differently?
In the future, if we did intend on eventually 'bringing the idea to life' we would have to evaluate the practicalities of the piece, for example perhaps using a different material such as concrete would be more feasible and safe.
This simple sketch communicates our initial idea. We planned to install a vast sheet of shattered glass in a gallery space. The glass, broken from the middle, has a central focus and the cracks which run to the very edge of the piece draw the spectators eye in. The installation sparks emotions of fear through the fragile and dangerous nature of broken glass. Like a broken glass on the floor, the viewer must walk around the edge of the piece, this further enhances the hazardous feel of the piece. Furthermore, the glass could resemble ice. The ability to see the work from different levels emphasises this perspective and creates a notion of being trapped and suffocated beneath it.
In the sketch we have conveyed the three stages of glass breaking, the hole and the shattering of the surface; the fragmented shards falling and the individual pieces collecting on the ground. The glass would also be heavily lit to intensify the sense of drama.
14 / 09 / 2015
The library induction equipped us with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate ourselves around the famous Central Saint Martins Library. We sourced countless books regarding Bruce Nauman which granted us with more of an insight into his diverse oeuvre. Books on the topic of glass and distortion were also useful for developing our ideas, we found that gathering information from books was more rewarding as we knew that it was more legitimate and reliable than internet sources. Overall I found the task gratifying and cathartic, I look forward to continue using the library at Central Saint Martins for future projects.
After planning and visualising our installation I started to question the context of the work, what would be the most suitable location for it to be displayed and appreciated? I looked at artists such as Henry Moore and Richard Wilson who had enhanced the aesthetic and message of their work by exhibiting it within an unusual space. Moore, who creates organic, earthy human forms desired for his sculptures to be exhibited amongst a natural landscape so that his work could be complimented by the natural and organic shapes within its surroundings.
Richard Wilson, famous for his installation 20:20, a pool of oil with a reflective surface which incorporates the surrounding gallery architecture by turning the space into a giant optical illusion.
Development of ideas:
Sketching my ideas enabled me to visualise the installation within a significant architectural context. For example, here I have drawn a platform of broken of smashed glass which rests under the dome of a cathedral. The hole, at the centre of the glass, sits directly under the occulus, this emphasises and compliments the architecture but is also successful as a feature of the art work itself.
Displaying the piece in a cathedral would also add a political and religious message which would not be present if it were in a gallery context. The structure of the dome also allows spectators to view the work from bellow and above.
15 / 09 / 2015
The purpose of today was to widen our horizons and let go of old habits. Studying art A level has trained us to tick certain criteria boxes which are no longer necessary as they don't exist in the professional art world. We were told to think of it like learning to ride a unicycle, its like riding a bicycle but you have to be brave enough to let go of the handle bars.
The five ideas in five minutes was a challenging task, it required us to think outside the box, the added time pressure often produced more impulsive and creative ideas in a moment of chaos and passion.
A new creative process which we were introduced to involved selecting a material, practice and practitioner from an unusual and unconventional list. I selected Marlene Dumas, hair and embroider. Being forced to conjure up ideas using hair immediately made my work refreshing and unparalleled to ideas in the past.
For my second research task I selected Marlene Dumas as a practitioner, hair as a material and embroider as a process. In my initial brainstorm I looked at ways in which the three could be linked.
Marlene Dumas, famous for her large ink/ oil portraits. These often encompass themes including race and sexuality, guilt and innocence, violence and tenderness. I admire the strong political messages present in her work and wish to incorporate this aspect into my piece.
'Rather than representing an actual person, they represent an emotion or a state of mind'
I found the way that hair can represent and indicate a persons religious beliefs of social position, age and gender fascinating. Additionally, sporting a particular style of hair can lead to associations with certain groups of people, which is very tribal.
Another intriguing aspect about hair is how personal it is. It can be used as an artistic material yet it originated on the human body. Hair is also a protein which means that it contains DNA.
Embroidery is a process most commonly used with textiles and is traditionally a feminine process.
Gender equality is a central theme to my idea. It acknowledges the importance of recognising women throughout history who have been forgotten as a result of their sex. My idea is to gather the current leaders of the world at an important location such as the UN headquarters in New York city. The leaders would be dressed in their suits but they are embroidered with floral patterns made up of female hair. The hair would also originate from women of the country which that leader represents. The hair will vary in colour and may not be very visible from afar, however up close it would be a subtle and beautiful detailing. This aspect highlights the way that, in the past and still today many women go unnoticed and are deprived of basic human rights.
17 / 09 / 15
As our idea factory project is coming to a close we had to condense our ideas down to one final piece. My final idea was based around they idea of celebrating forgotten and unacknowledged women throughout history. This idea was stimulated by Marlene Dumas's piece 'Great Men'.
After scratching the surface of this very current topic i have discovered that it is very prevalent within the art world. Statistics brought to my attention by Guerilla Girls post cards at the Tate Modern are shocking.
We presented our ideas in an exhibition format which enabled us to gain skills in curating. It was interesting to see for the first time everybody's individual work. Not surprisingly each piece was extremely different from the next. We were able to leave anonymous messages on their work, commenting on what we thought worked well and what they could improve on, additionally we were able to ask questions which were then answered at the end of the session. Some critiques were particularly thought provoking which lead to interesting discussions regarding topics such as can we ever totally remove the function of something and render it useless if art work in its own right is functional. Artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Eva Hess and Mona Hatoum were used as examples to illustrate this.
HUMAN BEING : BEING HUMAN //
21 / 09 / 2015
Today we were introduced to the new project titled 'Human Being : Being Human' . This theme is loosely based on Ryan Gander's Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, in which anthropologists from outer space set out on a mission to understand life n earth through an investigation into contemporary artefacts. We are challenged to objectively and subjectively analyse what makes us human. By thinking from these two perspectives we consider humans as a subject of study but it also enables us to express our own experiences of being human.
We were informed that we were to be visited by Martians and that it was our job to explain to these extra-terrestrial creatures what it meant to be human through objects. Of course Martians are not actually going to be attending our group crit because, as far as we are aware, they don't exist, however this prospect forced us to consider communication, language and symbols, it also created a sense of perspective.
We discussed how as artists we would successfully be able to illustrate to the Martians what life on earth was truly like and despite being such diverse, sophisticated and complicated beings as artists we are open -minded and therefore would be able to convey an accurate and unbiased impression. Similarly, from the point of view of a Martian to view art work in its own right will be quite telling of the human race, as art technically has no practical function, it is aesthetic and more often than not the process is more of a focal point than the final outcome. "It is argued that art is an exclusively human activity and as such the primary mechanism by which we affirm our existence and state'I am a human being'" Additionally, art is unique as it is financially independent. Money is an incredibly important part of being human and arguably our lives our centred around it 'money makes the world go round'. Typically humans value an item by how much it is worth in credit, for example materials such as gold, platinum and diamonds are highly valued because they are worth a lot of money, but how do you measure the value of art when the materials the work is constructed from are worth so little? The artist Piero Manzoni humorously highlighted the alternative economy within the art world by producing a piece called'Artist's Shit' which, as hinted by the title, consists of a sealed can of his own shit. He produced 90 of these cans each labelled 001 to 090. Manzoni sold one to Alberto Lùcia for 30 grams of 18-carat gold. "Manzoni's decision to value his excrement on a par with the price of gold made clear reference to the tradition of the artist as alchemist already forged by Marcel Duchamp and Yves Klein among others."
Tools, Objects and Artefacts:
We were asked to bring in a small hand held tool, I selected eye lash curlers. We were asked to draw these tools which enabled us to focus on the physical appearance, the shape, size and form. After drawing the objects we discussed them in more detail, exploring the materials used, the manufacturing process and their purpose. I was able to appreciate the intricacy and the complexity of the design of a tool which performs such a mundane and simple task, curling eyelashes. I also thought it would be interesting to explore narcissistic nature of humans. We then investigated the artistic process, subversion.
Looking to subvert the eyelash curlers I experimented with changing different aspects of the tool. First I explored changing the material to something more precious such as platinum, this was inspired by artist Susan Collis who produced what looks like a wooden step ladder splattered with white paint when in fact it is embedded with mother and pearl. I also tried changing the material of the handles to be made of foam so that they would not be able to open and close the device when force was applied. This would be very disconcerting as it is not what we would expect. Next I altered the scale to remove the functionality, when enlarged it appeared industrial and medieval. Finally I subverted the purpose of the tool by replacing the cushioned pads with blades so that the curlers would cut of the eyelashes, thus de-familiarising the object and creating a sinister sensation. This compares to Mona Hatoum's Wheelchair which replaces the handles of a wheelchair, a conferring comfort and support, with knives, potential torture. I also illustrated eyelash curlers filled with tar, this thick and sticky solution would be very unnerving as you would no longer desire to put the object near the eyes. This reminded me of Meret Oppenheim's Fur Breakfast, a tea cup covered in exotic fur. Despite fur being delightful to touch it is repellent to the tongue.
Kinship & Descent //
In this task we were instructed to form tribes/clans and to develop a series of beliefs, societal rules, practices and rituals which illustrated our devotion to one cause. My group identified that we are all women, and we decided to create a dystopia which took materialism and consumerism to the extreme. Our clan was named after the Greek God of excess, Dionysus who famously created wine and spread the art of viticulture. As a tribe we worshipped Madonna, but not the virgin, the singer, songwriter responsible for the 80's hit 'Material Girl'. Our emblem and totem pole was based around magpie imagery as magpies are known for collecting shiny objects.
We created a human representation of our totem pole and adorned her with dollar signs, designer brands, technology, and money. We even constructed a crown made out of debit cards. We discussed practices that our tribe might adopt such as auctioning off the diseased's possessions (this was in reference to the Egyptians who were buried with the most valuable possessions).
22 / 09 /2015
Magic // Belief // Ritual
Today we were requested to bring in five objects that could be transformed into artworks surrounding the themes magic, belief and ritual and as a result the finished works should bestow good fortune, influence future events or be connected to a revered person.
"Magic is a transformative practice designed to to influence the course of future events"
"Magic can be considered a form of elementary technology (tool) that employs symbols & sequences of actions and words arranged accordingly to a set formula to control and govern technology"
As a group we discussed the importance of societal value, credibility and celebrity status. In the 21st century, thanks to technological advancements, it is now even easier for us to follow the lives of the rich and famous. I think as a society we are dependant on these people to provide us with a form of escapism but also because man kind always aspires for more. Thus as a race we constantly create idols to worship. This is perhaps why religion plays such a huge part in our lives, but also because humans are hungry for the supernatural world. We are not satisfied by the everyday and the mundane so we seek something greater, something magic. Humans can also be susceptible to believing something which is implausible because the end result is fantastical, this is called suspension of disbelief which can be viewed as naive but also optimistic and faithful. To implement this faith we pass down traditions throughout generations, traditions can persist and evolve over thousands of years without being challenged or questions. Traditions can also exist on a smaller scale, however they are generally referred to as habits such as biting nails, stammers or pacing. Usually habits are harmless but they are not practical or profitable in anyway. However these are the imperfections which make humans human and differentiate us from machines.
Using the found objects I brought in I created three pieces which focus on the naivety of human beings:
Jar: an unlidded jar labelled 'Justin Beiber's breath'. This work plays with the idea of celebrity obsession and value. Everyday objects are continuously sold on-line for obscene amounts of money, recently a tissue used by Scarlet Johansen was auctioned off for $5,300. The fact that the jar is unlidded highlights the absurdity of this practice, because of course the jar cannot possibly contain Beiber's breath. I'm sure to a Martian this concept would be very difficult to translate and perhaps it is specific to our hierarchical society cultivated by human beings.
Rubber Glove: 'Original glove worn by Cinderella' once again mocks the naivety of humans because Cinderella is a fictional character but also challenges our obsession with celebrities, many of whom adopt a fake persona for the cameras and so to a certain extent their characters are fictional.
Calculator: the broken calculator sold on ebay as 'brand new' once again depicts naivety and comments on our consumer society. I think aesthetically this is the least successful of the three. Perhaps the damage should have been more subtle, so that the message would only have been clear upon closer inspection.
24 / 09 / 2015
Focusing on the theme of rituals Billie and I created a collaborative piece based on Billie's ritual/ habit, pacing around her room. The piece was conveyed through the media of video, it showed us synchronised, pacing the perimeter of a square. We found whilst filming it that, due to the repetitive nature, it felt as though we were performing the action for much longer than we were in reality, for example two minutes of footage felt as though we had been walking for ten minutes. However after a period of time the action became second nature, instinctive and so it was quite cathartic and therapeutic.
The piece demonstrated to the Martians that being human means not being perfect and it is our imperfections which differentiate us from machines. However after discussing this matter, I came to realise that although in comparison to humans machines are perfect but because they are designed and made by humans they must be flawed. This reminded me of the Channel 4 series titled Humans which is centred around this idea. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/humans/on-demand
During the group crit the 'Martians', as expected raised some interesting questions. For example, regarding piece about sexuality the Martians asked why we have hair in certain places on our body and not others, particularly females. This encouraged us to talk about the evolution of humans, the difference between male and female hormones and fashion patterns.
ALTERED SPACES //
28 / 09 / 2015
In this project we are focusing on the title 'Altered Spaces' I think that I will find this project particularly interesting as interior spaces often influence my work. I am intrigued by spacial awareness and how composition can dramatically alter the meaning of an image. I also like to involve geometric shapes in my work and I imagine that this will be something which I can further explore.
Although the project was painting based, we weren't restricted to the traditional painting method and instead it were possible to totally abandon the use of a paint brush and palette. We discussed that painting can be communicated through photography, collage, sculpture and video.
We were given collage as a starting point. Collage is a technique which unites several images to create one composition with a whole new image. A collage may sometimes include magazine and newspaper clippings, ribbons, paint, portions of other artwork or texts, photographs and other found objects. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century. The term collage was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.
Using collage as a planning method for painting is successful as it is very quick and therefore a great way to experiment with composition. I sourced, from a charity, a book titled 'cafe royale' from which I selected three images, two of which depicted lavish and opulent interiors and the third consisted of a simple and stark architectural structure, the images effectively complimented and contrasted each other. I also enhanced the sickly and 'over the top' baroque style by distorting it using the photocopier. The waves created, mimicked and exaggerated the curves seen in elements of the room, such as the gilded cornice. To juxtapose this I assembled the images using sharp edged, geometric shapes.
Another collage I created layered a tile pattern, from Elle decoration, on top of an image of two women laughing from a photography magazine. When the two images were combined it was interesting to discover that the overall mood was shifted dramatically. The image which originally illustrated a positive scene now seemed sinister and dramatic. I was fascinated by the transformation of the facial expression, an emotion which originally read as joy now could be perceived as fear. I heightened this aspect by sticking the legs of the figure to make them appear as if they could be hanging from a body. I decided that this composition was most successful as a collage rather than a painting.
29 / 09 / 2015
To create my final piece i used image transfer to layer the composition on to found board. I like that found board was used instead of canvas because it continues the found narrative created using the collage. The wood illustrates a past life, the natural marks come through in certain aspects of the image and creates unexpected organic beauty, this contrasts the opulent interiors which are man made and intended to be impractical and decorative. Inspired by artist David Cooke, who constantly paints over areas of his paintings to experiment with new ideas and colours and compositions, i used a wash of white and grey paint to disguise parts of the architectural structure. I then, using fine liner drew back into the structure to highlight certain aspects, this quick layering process is similar to the collage process. I often like the way that a process can be identified in a painting, such as guidelines, layers of materials and rough edges. In my mind this makes a painting organic and honest, i also think it adds depth. In light of this, i intentionally left some of the paper which remained from the image transfer process which involves rubbing away the back of an image with water. I emphasised this aspect by adding white paint. To juxtapose the clinical clean lines i used complimentary colours blue and yellow to accentuate the manipulated waves. I thought this aspect was particularly successful and reminded me of elements of Van Gogh's Starry Night.
I made a second piece which features a famous Renaissance portrait. I bought a set of 30 Renaissance post cards from a charity shop and adopted the same distortion technique using the photocopier. Again i was playing with manipulation of opulence as Renaissance paintings typically depict an age of extravagance and wealth. I experimented with layering paint on top employing the same technique used in the first piece, tight brush strokes of the same colour varying in tone to create animated waves of hue. However i decided that the distorted details in the face and body were successful on their own and found that adding paint would distract from this. Consequently I transferred the portraits on to two small pieces of board using image transfer and then added a layer of varnish to heighten the sense of opulence. I believe that the two pieces are successful in their own right and can be appreciated as individual works however they are also complimentary so could be displayed together.
1 / 10 / 2015
Group Crit //
I displayed the two works on a shelf so that they could be appreciated both separately and together. However, interestingly comments were mostly made regarding my first piece. The fact that only one of the two pieces was critiqued, i believe, says a lot about the other piece. Perhaps it should have been exhibited separately as it was overshadowed by the second piece, perhaps it simply wasn't successful as a concept, perhaps the idea didn't translate as clearly. Alternatively the time allocated to discuss each piece is limited and if there were more time then maybe the discussion would have covered both works.
Points raised were as expected, the contrast between the minimal and the extravagent and the honesty of materials. Some added that the composition was 'dream like' i think that this is a result of the waves as we often associate dream worlds or hallucinations with distorted vision (shapes), waves and ripples and unexpected and unearhtly colours.
Inspired by the project 'altered spaces' I decided to explore this theme further during reading week. Using the collage process I created compositions of found imagery. The result consisted of a triptych which examines the dimensions of an image. I layered monochrome imagery on top of planes of colour which immediately flattened the composition as a whole and subsequently eliminated perspective. I also de constructed figures by removing certain aspects of the body. This figurative manipulation created negative space, it also provokes themes regarding identity. The striking, sharp edged, shapes successfully juxtapose the natural and organic shapes created by the figures.
work in progress:
5 / 10 / 2015
ReEdit: Against Passive Reception
Starting the video art project i was excited to be exposed to a totally new medium. Video art is a highly sophisticated platform which can successfully depict expressive content and stimulating messages in ways which cannot be accomplished through painting and sculpture. It is also an extremely relevant medium, since screens play such an essential role in our everyday lives (you are looking at one now). Thus, you can always watch video art 'in the flesh' unlike painting and sculpture which are less accessible.
The title ReEdit suggests found footage, which in many ways proposes 'video collage'. To take something that already exists and recreate so that it is rich with meaning. We were introduced to Prelinger Archives as our primary source for footage although we were also encouraged to use youtube. Prelinger Archives stores thousands of vintage clips from advertisements, documentaries and films which immediately stimulated a wealth of ideas. We were also advised to use free sound.org to access audio to combine with visuals. The programme we were introduced was called Adobe PremierPro and it is one of the most powerful editing programs available. It is extremely complex; if you can think it, you can create it. We were given a short but insightful tutorial which provided us with the basic knowledge needed to start editing. Despite simply scratching the surface of this programmes potential, after short while we were able to use a multitude of effects and editing techniques.
6 / 10 / 2015
Inspired by the vintage advertisements i decided to create a piece centred around advertising methods, in particular the concept 'sex sells'. I was amused by the innocence of the old fashioned commercials, largely consisting of images of the products and an over voice articulating the details. However, subtle sexual references were still present and female models were commonly used. I wanted to take this understated aspect and emphasise it to comment on the transition of advertisements and how far they have come. Today advertisements are extremely erotic, and the advertising industry is not shy about it, sex is used to sell perfume, cars, insurance and yoghurt (the list is endless and ludicrous) i wanted to create a video which illustrated how comical it has become.
I took the vintage adverts and sexualised them by adding effects and combining them with sensual imagery (porn, fire, lions etc.) I also added a dramatic sound track which was taken from an extremely erotic lingerie advert which was given an 18+ certificate. By using editing techniques such as transitions i was able to mimic the sensual nature of the video by making it slick.
8 / 10 / 2015
Considering how little time we were given to learn how to use the software and produce a final outcome I was amazed to see how professional everyones work was. Of course having access to all the found footage on the internet meant that everyones videos were extremely diverse and many different messages were conveyed.
The feedback on my work was positive, and the theme 'sex sells' was identified and understood. Other messages which were interpreted consisted of consumerism and the objectification of women, which certainly tie in with my original theme.
11 / 10 / 15
The Big Draw //
I was involved in the Big Draw Project, a scheme which aimed to spark creativity and enhance a sense of community through artistic practice. The project also pushed the boundaries of drawing by challenging the traditional methods. As fine art students we decide to represent the conceptual process behind drawing. whilst being filmed from above we walked continuously within a square wearing coloured hats and created various movement patterns and pictures.
Commenting on the event Sue Grayson Ford, Big Draw President, said:
‘The Big Draw is a charity that changes lives around the world by helping people to express themselves through the universal language of drawing. Drawing the World is an epic celebration of creativity, and it promises to be a highlight of the October 2015 Big Draw Festival, which will see thousands of people take part in hundreds of drawing events across the globe.’
Explosive Field //
13 / 10 / 2015
Unfortunately I was ill on the first day of the Explosive Field Project so I felt as though I had been very much thrown in at the deep end when I joined on the second day. Hinted by the title, 'explosive field', this project explores pushing the boundaries of sculpture. We looked into the creative processes behind the final outcome and learned of Richard Serra's verb list.
We worked in groups for the first half of the day. We were given a piece of paper with artists on as a source of inspiration, these artists consisted of Ai Weiwei and Katherina Fritsch, their worked shared the theme repitition so we looked to include multiples in our work. Pressured for time, we decided to make the most of the facilities made available to us at the Archway Site. Using the plaster workshop we made a series of plastic bags filled with plaster. Acting as a mould, when the bags were suspended gravity allowed the weight of the plaster to sink to the bottom and caused the bag to sag. Consequently delicate lines created by the folds in the plastic were visible once the plaster had set. Although, inevitably, each cast was different due to the intricate and individual creases; unity was created through colour and material.
We experimented with adding string and scrim to add texture. We also applied force by squeezing the bags, this enhanced the individuality of the sculptures.
The final outcome was displayed on the floor which in a way made the piece interactive as it encouraged the spectator to kneel down and get closer to the piece in order to observe the detail. We decided to leave the bag attached to a couple of the plaster cast as it effectively illustrated the process, also the juxtaposition between the two materials.
Perhaps given more time we could have manufactured a shelf to bring the sculptures closer to eye level.
The next collection of sculptures given to us for inspiration were found objects. We were encouraged to explore the campus and source unusual objects that we could re-contextualise. Outside we found three wooden pallets which we took inside and constructed a simple shelter structure. Immediately, once removed from its original and typical location, and presented in an artist studio space the objects translated differently.
We united the three pieces using string. As we wove the string between the different panels, a web shape gradually formed. This enhanced the shelter imagery and contributed themes such as nesting and settlement.
Inspired by both Richard Serra's verb list and our plaster work I decided to combine the two. I was fascinated by the plaster process and how the change in state can be manipulated to produce a unique final outcome; wanting to explore this further I focused on the verb 'to flood'. I purchased a set of cups from the 99p store to use as a mould.I thought they would be the perfect mould as they would still be distinguishable as cups, through their recognisable size and indentations, thus the final cast would reveal the plaster process. Additionally, they are an appropriate size to make multiples.
Experimenting with materials I thought of different ways I could incorporate string into the sculpture, having used it before and it been very successful. I tried applying PVA glue to the inside of the plastic cup and layering the string on top, interlacing it and creating intricate organic patterns. I was told however that once the cup was filled with plaster that the bond of the glue to the string and cup would be stronger than the bond between the string and the plaster and I would not be able to remove it. Overridden by curiosity I decided to try it anyway even if the final outcome was not what i had imagined, which in a way was more exciting.
I was pleased that I followed through with this piece as the final outcome was very successful, this clearly demonstrates the importance of experimentation and researching with your hands.The use of string is very subtle and is only truly distinguishable upon closer inspection. I think the understated addition of string is affective as, like the first piece, encourages the spectator to take a closer look and so the sculpture is quite powerful as it possesses control.
This sculptures provides natural connotations as the overlapping string and shape of the overturned cup alludes to the roots of a plant. However the colour juxtaposes this and thus makes the piece seem quite sterile, ghostly and cold.
15 / 10 /15
On the final day of the explosive field project I decided to develop my ideas and discoveries further. I came up with this concept on the previous day when constructing my string sculptures and so given more time today I was able to carry out the experiment.
I had become intoxicated by the plaster process, like before i was intrigued by the change of state but now also by the way that plaster produces a negative.With this in mind I wanted to manipulate the way the plaster cast remains once the mould has been removed. I decided to create a space using balloons and cups which I could flood using the plaster and then once it has set, remove it so that only an underlying skeleton is left behind.
I blew up the balloons but only so that they contained a small volume of air so that i could fit a couple into each cup. I then poured in the plaster, however what i didn't take into consideration was that the balloons would float and rise to the top. As a result I applied a weight to the top so that they didn't jump out.
Once the plaster had set I was able to remove the weight, cut off the cup with a scalpel and pop the balloons to reveal the plaster negative.
To display my work I manufactured a shelf so that the sculpture would be visible at eye level and more details could be appreciated at this height. Themes regarding categorisation were discussed during the crit perhaps because the sculptures resembled fossils.
What have I learnt?
I have found this project extremely rewarding, it was particularly fast pace and very demanding. I have learnt that you can do lots in an hour and that sticking with your first idea can be limiting because you will never discover what idea is waiting around the corner. Thus it is always important to develop whatever it is you are working on to ensure that you produce the best possible final outcome.
2 / 11 / 2015
To introduce us to the new project titled 'Place' we were asked to sketch and reflect on a place from memory. I decided to think back to the time I spent at primary school. I thought that this would be an appropriate and interesting place to revisit since it is very local to me and I have grown up around it. As I have a very visual memory, I was surprised by how much I could remember once I started sketching. Certain colours and textures have stayed with me, and have remained as very vivid memories.
When I revisited the school I was shocked by how much it had changed. Over the years living in a suburban town outside of London has become more desirable and as a result the population has grown. Responding to the higher demand for school spaces, my primary school had almost doubled in size. Additionally, many parts of the school had been renewed and updated for health and safety reasons. Despite all of these drastic changes, certain aspects remained the same and triggered me to imagine the original classrooms, halls and corridors in my mind. Other sensual receptors including hearing and smell helped to recreate these visions. Interestingly, the areas of the school which had remained exactly the same were still different to how I remembered and I was shocked by how small everything was in reality.
We officially began our Place project with an interesting lecture which introduced us to a wide range of artists who discussed place in their work. I was particularly excited by the work of Do Ho Suh, whose piece 'Fallen Star' elegantly illustrates the collision of two worlds.
To get us to think about the different ways we can use place in our work and stimulate creativity we were challenged to transform a particular space within Central Saint Martins. Working as a group we explored the bike shed and brainstormed how we could manipulate a space. I am often drawn to any object or aesthetic which incorporates the contrast between soft and hard lines, so the bike racks immediately caught my eye. We lay across the dip in the structure to emphasise its shape and disassociate it from its original function. The organic, curvy nature of the figure and the soft, warm qualities of flesh juxtaposed the cold and hard properties of metal.
After spending time experimenting in the bike shed we felt as though we had exhausted all possible outcomes and no longer felt inspired by the space so sought after another location to transform. We discovered a table and two chairs and decided to experiment with changing a space through perspective and documented this using photography. Using manipulative angles we were able to make it seem as though the image was flipped, the sitters in reality we're lying on their sides on the floor however in the picture the spectator seems to be viewing the scene from above.
The outcome consisted of a series of unsettling images. They appear to depict a recognisable and mundane scene however there is something not quite right. This makes the images endearing and engaging for the viewer as they try to work out what it is that makes the scene so disconcerting.
3 / 11 / 2015
Today we visited Hans Haacke's Gift Horse on the fourth plinth. The Fourth Plinth is the Northwest plinth in Trafalgar Square in central London. It was originally intended to hold an equestrian statue of William IV, but remained bare due to insufficient funds. The Fourth Plinth Programme is the most talked about contemporary art prize in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London and supported by Arts Council England, the programme invites world class artists to make astonishing new works for the centre of the capital city. Gift Horse is a large skeletal horse, twice the size of a regular horse which echoes the several other equestrian sculptures in the square. However this horse has a electronic bow tied to its ankle that projects the live London stock exchange, it is being seen as a symbol of the ravages of the market. I thought that the piece was particularly powerful thanks to its extremely public location and it's historical context. Gift horse is a visual articulation of the dangerous promise of capitalist economics. Of course being titled 'Gift Horse' the artist is referencing the old expression “looking a gift horse in the mouth". By doing so I believe the artist is stating that a horse's value can't be assessed merely by checking its teeth like the value of something can't be determined by how much it is worth financially. This message however would not be so politically powerful without its location.
5 / 11 / 2015
Today we had a talk by a risk assessment officer who warned us of the dangers which we could implicate on ourselves and others when making and displaying our work. To help avoid harm, we learnt how to asses our own work and put together a professional risk assessment. The skills that we learnt are vital and they will remain so throughout our careers as practising artists. However, It is important to remember that we are not yet professional artists and as students it is our duty to represent Central Saint Martins and conform to their standards and expectations.
6 / 11 / 2015
Today I explored and developed my initial ideas. Intrigued by my research during reading week I want to further explore the theme of memory. I am fascinated by the way in which our memories of a certain place remain the same, but in our absence the place changes and evolves. As a result our memories are no longer a representation of reality and instead are a figurative representation of the past.
I brainstormed ways I could visually manipulate a space through perspective and scale, as I have discovered through experimenting with photography this can produce successful results. I thought of ways I could use a projector to display an image however the street in which we are exhibiting our work is extremely bright and so the image projected would not be that visible. It is important to take into consideration the exhibition space because it can drastically impact the way in which a piece is perceived.
With a concept and message in mind I decided to select a method. Because my idea so far is centred around a memory of a place, which is extremely personal, I decided to portray this through painting as it is an extremely emotive and intimate practice. To help us manage our time we were advised to create a basic action plan.
experiment with collage to create composition
decide on final composition
experiment with scale
draw out composition
using masking tape block off certain aspects of the painting
After discussing my idea with my tutors I was told to continue researching to ensure that I don't arrive at my final idea too quickly, they described it as planning a trip to Paris, I've booked hotel but I shouldn't go straight there and spend my entire trip there. Instead I should explore the city and get a feel for the place.
9 / 11 / 2015
Today I spent time creating various collages to put together potential compositions for my painting. I learnt that the collage process was a quick and effective way of planning a painting during the painting project so I intend to use this method again. I sourced images from Elle Decoration and began to put together pictures to slowly create various fictional spaces. I intentionally put together images that differed in colour and scale to illustrate to the viewer how a familiar place or settlement can evolve over time and our memories document the different stages of that place in a series non material snapshots to create a figurative and visual timeline.
The use of collage is also relevant to the theme of evolving memories due to the cut and paste process. Additionally, the use of found imagery relates to this theme as it alludes to history and a previous purpose.
I started creating fictional interior spaces but usually found myself drawn to one object and making that the focal point of the piece. I took multiple images of that object to construct a new one. I did so with stairs, curtains and fireplaces.
I was particularly captivated by the compilations of the fireplace because they so often are paired with a mirror. The mirrors, once cut out and pasted onto a plain white background, provide an insight into another world through their reflective surfaces. This, once again, illustrates the evolution of a place as a different room exists within each mirror.
The final composition is haunting and stark. The addition of a headless figure emphasises this and also depicts the fragility of memory. The sharp edged and angled images create an architectural composition.
10 / 11 / 2015
Today I started my painting. I purchased some painting paper from the college shop and arranged it on the wall in a fragmented manor to reflect the eclectic nature of memories. I also ensured that the layout complemented and echoed the composition of the painting. I decided to use acrylic as it is a water based paint. I intend to use water to make the paint translucent in certain parts to enhance the ghostly feel of the composition. To once again highlight this aspect I intend to use a loose and painterly style, this style of painting is also more expressive and personal.
11 / 11 / 2015
I have been involved with curating exhibitions in the past so I am aware of the difficult decisions which need to be made, such as equitable distribution of floor space so that each artist is satisfied but but also to ensure that each artwork is shown in the best possible way. However, this is the largest exhibition I have been involved in and so the installation process was quite challenging.
I learnt lots about hanging work and the various options available. We were told that which ever method we chose would impact the work by altering the way that it was perceived by the viewer, for example hanging work with masking tape would allude to themes of semi permanence or school and office environments. We were also told about the disadvantages to using blue tac and pins. Blue tac contains petroleum which over time stains work with a yellow tinge and pinning work devalues it because it pierces the work. We were told that bull dog clips were another popular way of hanging flat pieces to walls.
I decided to pin my work to the wall because I felt that it enhanced the theme of fragility and fragmentation already present in my work. I was advised to make sure that all pins were protruding from the wall at the same distance, a minute detail but one which added a professional touch. Health and safety was a paramount aspect to this project so I was cautious using the hammer and nails and made sure that they weren't left unattended to reduce the risk of harm.
During the group crit my peers discussed how I had manipulated a domestic space which, are typically thought of as comforting, to feel ghostly and hostile. They also spoke about how the domestic space translated as industrial through use of hue which I found interesting as I had not originally intended this.
Overall I am pleased with my final outcome however if I were to do it again, I think that I would have left the final piece as a collage and had it professionally printed on a large scale. I did not have enough time to paint the piece with enough detail as I had hoped and I believe that if I did it would have been more successful. I also think that the theme of the piece would still be evident as a collage and arguably many of the messages translated by the collage process were lost once transformed into a painting.
After the exhibition we had a group discussion about the project as a whole. I enjoyed talking about how we have changed as people having studied at Central Saint Martins for over two months. We are now processing all the time and we are more vigilant of our thoughts and surroundings. We also discussed how we should document this and that sketching and drawing can be a too formal method of capturing a brief thought or idea, thus it is better to refer to it as visual articulation. Another interesting topic of debate was processing of ideas and how a given time frame can effect this. Our tutor told us that being unsure of something is not necessarily a bad thing as it encourages us to explore something further, confusion is freedom. confusion is freedom.
‘The “uncanny” is that class of the terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar’
The vacant and ghostly painting ‘Places’ represents the fabrication of fragmented memories; it offers us an insight into a series of other worlds captured and conserved by the subconscious. Overtime, the physical appearance of one familiar place or settlement can change drastically. In spite of this, the mind weaves a figurative time line which stores and endures, in a series of nonmaterial snapshots and thoughts, the different stages of aesthetic evolution.
The delicacy of perception is heightened by the loose brush strokes and bleeding muted colours.