The process, material and practitioner we responded to as part of our first brief were flocking, paper and the Campana Brothers.
Flocking is the process of depositing many small fiber particles (called flock) onto a surface. It is often used as a decorative textural feature on wall paper and clothing, however entire objects can be coated in "flock" to achieve an all over velvety texture. We discovered that the practice of flocking was thousands of years old, it can be traced back to circa 1000 BC, when the Chinese used resin glue to bond natural fibers to fabrics.
We immediately associated flocking with the idea of a richly decorated luxurious interior- as a sense of being invited to touch a surface, to run your hand across a flocked wallpaper. The idea of small fibers making up a larger item linked to our exploration of paper- where with paper the fibers led to a feeling of curiosity yet disgust, the fibers in the sense of flocking provoked a sense of luxury and the temptation to touch.
The process of making paper involves pressing moist fibers of natural pulps derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets. Again, like flocking, the process of making paper can be traced back to China- the oldest known archaeological fragments of the immediate precursor to modern paper, date to the 2nd century BC in China.
Our initial research looked into the work of Greetje van tiem- who makes yarn out of old newspapers. Her work is transformative, she turns one material with particular properties into something else entirely. It also links with the idea of sustainability, she turns something used into something new.
We started thinking about paper and fibers, which prompted the idea about repulsion curiosity, we all agreed there is something slightly strange about tearing a sheet of paper and seeing the fibers poking out like tiny hairs, the same with tearing apart a piece of clay. However whilst there is an element of repulsion there is also a curiosity about seeing the components of something- taking it apart and discovering the sum of its parts.
Woodpulp paper on a microscopic level, Image found at http://paperproject.org/semgallery.html
THE CAMPANA BROTHERS
Campana brothers are a pair of Brazillian designers/ artists, whose work has both been sold in selfridges and exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. They were the first Brazillian artists to achieve this, and much of their work is inspired by the environment and natural landscape of Brazil. For example, the brothers decided to cover the facade of Firma Casa, a design shop, with plants used in African-Brazilian religious rituals.They arranged 9,000 seedlings in 3,500 origami-shaped aluminum vases (Origami linking strongly to our paper research). Sansevieria trifasciata (commonly known as snake plant) is believed to hold supernatural protective and healing powers. They have taken a plant deeply rooted in Brazillian Culture and Environment and created a "living wall"/ "vertical garden" effect. We became interested with the idea of fluidity between the "inside" and the "outside" and what this meant. This linked to our exploration of the possibilities of flocking in interiors.
Jason De Caires Taylor's beautiful underwater sculptures of people were deliberately created out of a porous material which allowed for and encouraged the growth of marine life. The idea of creating something, then leaving it so that another factor could completely transform it, was hugely inspirational to us.
Jason Decaires Taylor's underwater sculptures http://www.underwatersculpture.com/
Erno-Erik Raitanen's Bacteriograms were another work which inspired us- he grew bacteria taken from his body on the gelatinous surface of a film. The bacteria spread, painting bacterial landscapes. From the idea of the spreading of bacteria we drew the concept of decay, and the transformation that Decay causes.
Sam Taylor Wood's "A little Death" video is a prime example of an artist exploring the effect of decay through her work. The dead her decomposes before the viewer, we see every stage of its disintegration, and how the decay spreads and soils not just the hare itself but the wall behind it and the table and eventually, the peach.
I looked for information in the book Pina Bausch Dance Theatre, and tried to understand the key themes that her work explores and what drove her choreography. Here are some that I feel expressed her work the best:
“I'm not so interested in how people move as in what moves them.”
"has produced a body of work unique in its dark power and imaginative scale. The pieces are surreal and dreamlike, intensely detailed in construction" http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2008/feb/17/dance.modernism
Her performances are about human beings and how they relate with society, about the experiences- above all those of the body- accumulated since childhood.
"Love and happiness, desire and loss, memory, dream and reality"
NEW PROJECT!! HUMAN BEING/ BEING HUMAN
ARTISTS WHO SUBVERT
Susan Collis uses different types of trompe-l’oeil effects in order to investigate issues concerning identity, craft, value and labour. Everyday objects are presented etched, splattered and stained with marks of work, wear and tear. At first glace, the marks seem to be the accidental results of another activity that occurred elsewhere, and as such seem worthless and easily ignored. Collis is interested in the shift of perception that takes place upon discovery that they are, in fact, intentional and primary activities themselves. As such much of Collis’ work can go un-noticed, but therefore also rewards thorough investigation by the viewer, who may or may not discover the hidden labour and disguised value embedded within her objects." -http://www.drawingcenter.org/viewingprogram/share_portfolio.cfm?pf=4650
One of my favourite contemporary practicing artists, she transforms and subverts with her art, transforming the adverts and undermining their purpose.
With my "found objects" project in this fine art week I have been working with a newspapers, and I feel like the work of Ellen Gallagher is particularly relevant to my work, as she is editing what all ready exists to create her work with advertisements. I love her use of medium, creating alien masks out of plasticine on top of printed adverts. In terms of my own project I see that though she is only using one medium it is a versatile one, and it is very visually effective, contrasting clearly against the printed adverts.
FOUND OBJECT TRANSFORMATION RESEARCH
THE BOOK OF THE DEAD
"Book" is the closest term to describe the loose collection of texts consisting of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person's journey through the Duat, or underworld, and into the afterlife and written by many priests over a period of about 1000 years.
As a class we briefly examined the Mummy of Hornejitef, and it is said that passages from the book of the dead are inscribed on the coffin of the mummy. This is where my interest in the book started, and after my work in class, creating a book of spells out of a metro, I decided that for my project development I would create a similar piece,. however basing it on the book of the dead.
The Book of the Dead was part of a tradition of funerary texts which includes the earlier Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts, which were painted onto objects, not papyrus.
At present, some 192 spells are known, though no single manuscript contains them all. They served a range of purposes. Some are intended to give the deceased mystical knowledge in the afterlife, or perhaps to identify them with the gods: for instance, Spell 17, an obscure and lengthy description of the god Atum. Others are incantations to ensure the different elements of the dead person's being were preserved and reunited, and to give the deceased control over the world around him. Still others protect the deceased from various hostile forces, or guide him through the underworld past various obstacles. Famously, two spells also deal with the judgement of the deceased in the Weighing of the Heart ritual.
There was little distinction for the Ancient Egyptians between magical and religious practice
This quote from the book relates well to what I was earlier explaining, the "kinetic energy" which Coop Himmelb(l)au's designs posses
Yohji Yammamoto's papier-mache shirt in the Terry Jones curated book.
FINE ART SPECIALIZED RESEARCH
DULWHICH PICTURE GALLERY
GO TO HELL OR ATLANTA, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST
One of the exhibitions recommended on the list for the fine art project, "Altered Spaces", I chose to go and see "Go to Hell or Atlanta, Whichever comes first.", by artist Karla Walker. The above image is of one of the works which stood out to me most from this exhibition, a huge charcoal triptych entitles "40 Acres of Mules", which hung alone on one wall of the room. The image is full of violence and energy, distorted characters and explicit nudity. A confederate flag flies, a stylised, stereotyped figure of a nude African American Woman rides the figure of a white man on all fours, himself atop a black woman also on all fours. This level of complex metaphorical imagery runs through the whole, huge piece. In terms of the Altered spaces project, it is an example of an artist creating a space or scene which doesn't just represent one specific moment in history, but expresses so much more than that. In this piece Walker explores a period of time, it's effect on the present and future, the oppression and tragedy which has defined much of African American experience since the civil war and much more. It would be hugely interesting to find out where Karla sourced the inspiration for each of her figures in this piece whether she worked from images, historical reports, stories or her own mind.
Another piece from the exhibition, this was black cardboard/ paper cutouts on a white wall, reminiscent of fairy tale illustrations, however these silhouettes told a much darker tale.
Dalwood's work immediately stood out to me out of the artists we looked at for the altered spaces project, due to his strong use of colour and his painting style coupled with the titling and the concepts behind his paintings. The below painting is "Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse". The painting alludes to the title, having symbols relating to Kurt Cobain's life (and death)- the Seattle skyline and the guitar. The space itself is imagined- not literally being what Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse would have looked like but an imagined version. In terms of our work today with the Altered Spaces project it was hugely interesting to see an artist do this- through his creation of someone in the public eye's private space he comments on our obsession with Celebrity (others of his paintings have titles like "Jackie Onassis" and "Room 100, Chelsea Hotel"). He references this and subverts it. It opened up a whole way of thinking about painting which I was entirely unfamiliar with.
Another thing I picked up on about his work was his leaving in of the collage style edges in some of the shapes in "Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse". As I was working from a collage its something that I ended up deciding to experiment with, with one of the cacti in my piece retaining its "cut out" style edges.
click photo to go to wallpaper collector's blog
Firma Casa, the shop which the Campana Brothers designed the outer wall for, image found at https://www.yatzer.com/firma-casa-superLimao-campana
Stills from Sam Taylor Wood's a little death http://artpulsemagazine.com/breaking-the-medium-of-painting-down
Plasticine is a material I feel is relevant to the idea of the proces "squeeze". To me it brings to mind stop frame animations like Pingu and Wallace and Grommit. There's something playful and childish about the medium, it is both a way of creating stop frame animation but also often a toy/ craft used by children, among the first materials they use to independently make things. This idea of being able to mold, change and transform could be an interesting idea to play with when thinking about what direction I want to take this Ideas Factory project.
It also presents a huge contrast to my next material I have researched, Latex.
Below are some images I selected from the book "Latex Fashion photography". The material has strong sexual/ fetishistic connotations- its fascinating that a material can bring to mind such a strong idea/ subject. What particularly interests me about the material is not exploring it's connotations and why or how people use it, but how one material can evoke such a particular thing, and what people's reactions are to it in different contexts.
In order to find some more work and imagery to inspire my Ideas Factory piece, I typed the work latex into the library search system. One of the results which I decided to pursue was Issue 46 of the Visionaire Journal, compiled by Mario Testino. The hairy lettering on the front cover, and the "images of an extreme sexual nature" are perfect examples of the connotations of latex, the material I have chosen to work with for my sculptures. Though my work isn't aiming to be directly and shockingly explicit, like the images in this issue of Visionare, it is certainly important to see this publication, openly exploring a huge range of sexuality and imagery. With my work, I want to explore the reactions to a material with such connotations in areas where a sense of sexuality and sexual openness isn't obvious (however it certainly exists, but not in the open, celebratory way seen in Visionaire).
GRAPHICS & COMMUNICATION- POETIC CARDBOARD 28/09/15
His work was part of the presentation we were given this morning on fashion communication. I love his subversion of traditional fashion photography, he creates intricate stories with his photographs, not just drawing attention to the clothes themselves, but bringing them to life. He uses props, sets and spaces playfully and dramatically, - the use of space being what I was particularly inspired by in terms of today's project. We used a space- the bicycle shed beneath St Martins, to project our videos. Looking at Walker's work I can see how effective use of space can be given the right lighting and appropriate photography. I feel like our particular project would have worked better with more of the bike shed in shot, so that it was obvious to the viewer that it is a publicly used space, perhaps even involving people in our shots/ videos. Our idea to contrast the privacy of internal thoughts and personal fears with a projection in a public space would have been better represented if the public space was more obviously "public".
WEAR IT, Atelier XJC
Atelier XJC's 10th anniversary shoot worked with constructing accessories for the body out of paper. This project was featured in one of the presentations we were given today, and immediately it stood out as being particularly relevant to the project we had been given, in part due to their use of material. Though their pieces are hugely complex and structural, they are able to use paper to create them. This was inspiring, I felt less limited by the materials we had available to create our pieces, though their high level of finish was something I was unable to replicate. My "blinds hat", however, had a function, rather than being purely aesthetic, which is what over complicated my idea.
BUILD IT- COOP HIMMELB(L)AU
What drew me to the work of Coop Himmelb(l)au when thinking about what my group produced today in the architecture project is the sense of precariousness in their designs. Looking through “Build-On, Converted architecture and transformed buildings” the images of their work resonated with what we had created today. Throughout the building of our structure we all had the sense that it wouldn’t or shouldn’t work. It looked as though it could have toppled over without much force being applied; however, it remained upright and sturdy throughout the day. There was a definite sense of movement within ours, and it was very angular, all attributes I now see in Coop Himmelb(l)au’s work.
FASHION & TEXTILES- YOHJI YAMAMOTO
I feel that Yohji Yamamoto’s work is particularly relevant to this recent “every day shapes” project, as with much of his design there is a distinct sense of the importance of shapes. Often loose and baggy, yet carefully structured, his clothes aren’t typically feminine. This resounds with the feedback we had been given when it came to deciding what to do with our paper shapes. We weren’t supposed to be thinking about making beautifully fitted garments, but thinking about different ways these shapes worked on the body. The materials we worked with today also slightly reflected Yamamoto’s work. Looking through the Terry Jones curated book about him and his work, I found several examples of his use of paper, and often the structures of his clothing a similar appearing level of rigidity. For example this garment below with the two sections of fabric positioned on the back, corners folded out like two pieces of paper. There are clear shapes to this work- rectangles and triangles, yet they all sit beautifully on the body.
After today's illustration day, I selected a few of the artists on the brief whose work really stands out for me. Above, Bullocks illustrations are full of flowing lines and character. This particular drawing embodies one of the things our tutors were talking about today- choosing a part of the drawing and making that the focus of the image. Here, with Helen Bullock's illustration of Valentino Couture for A magazine, the eyes are drawn in particular to the detailing of the dress. Though it is a 2D piece there is a huge sense of the texture of the dress, you can really tell that the garment is richly decorated and textured from Bullock's mark making.
THE EXPLODED FIELD RESEARCH
USE OF A PLYNTH-
It was interesting to hear, in the PowerPoint lecture at the beginning of our sculpture classes this week, about the use of plinths and elevation in terms of sculpture, and how this can completely alter the reception and perception of a piece of work. Although it had been something I had thought about before when looking at sculpture work, to hear it being discussed really made me appreciate it as a decision made by an artist and examine the effect on the viewer. A plinth separates the work from the rest of the world, on the floor a sculpture feels a part of it. Such a small and simple action can completely change an artists work. In terms of my own sculpture, I feel as though it worked well with no elevation, however in order to allow the plaster element to try I chose to keep it on its base.
JIM LAMBIE'S Psychedelic soul stick was one of the sculptures than my work ended up relating to out of those we examined at the beginning of the class. His use of threads to wrap and obscure was definitely something that also ran through my piece. The object, his title and the description "plastic bags, button, bead from necklace, Marlboro light packet, bamboo, thread and wire" all drew me into his work- him turning these every day objects and using thread to transform them into his "psychedelic soul stick". There is an element of playfulness and humour in this work which I really enjoy- an in some ways childlike ability to take "everyday things" and turn them into a magical, extraordinary powerful "soul stick".
ALTERED SPACES RESEARCH
Caroline Walker was an artist today's tutor recommended I look at after seeing the beginnings of my painting for the altered spaces project. I had in mind that some areas of my painting would have an almost smudgy, dreamlike appearance, some sections being undefined blocks of colour, whilst others would be more detailed.
Much like the work of Dexter Dalwood, Caroline Walker describes her paintings as "Occupying a place between document and fiction".
I have included a few more quotes from her page on the Saatchi Gallery website, where she explains her work in a way which resonated with me, particularly after reading the essay on women in art and image in John Berger's Ways of Seeing.
"A combination of the existing contents of the house and additional props are used to subvert an idea of domestic order, while a lone female figure inhabits multiple characters from the cleaner, to the mistress, to the lady of the house"
24 HOUR PSYCHO