Sunday, 22 May 2011

MADM Library Intervention 10th - 31st March

What lies Beneath 2011
Mixed Media: Nylon mesh, felt, human hair, dust, wax and pewter.  

Creating and installing this piece was really useful in that it enabled me to test out some new ideas, materials and engineer interactions within the library environment. In some ways this is very difficult space to use. It is very noisy visually and the choice of location was crucial given that my piece quite small with lots of surface detail and subtle textural qualities.
placing it at the back of the library within the special collections encouraged exploration of areas that were unknown to some; negotiating a passage through tightly spaced book shelves gave the potential for disorientation and claustrophobia before emerging into the light and space next to the huge window. Integrated onto the far end of the radiator, the piece required crouching and kneeling positions for closer visual examination and tactile engagement.
Deliberately challenging in terms of form and materials, there were some extreme reactions; One viewer expressed disgust and was unable to touch the matted felt, hair and wax. Some, who were not too sure but curious, engaged and then recoiled, others fondled the work laughing.

Gut, Gusset, Vessel 2011
Mixed Media:  Nylon mesh, felt, polyester threads.

Wieki Somers, High Tea Pot 2003.

This work also fascinates me; again I discovered it whilst doing research for my written paper and it has become a key influence in my work. I originally saw it as part of the Telling Tales Exhibition in September 2009, but the V&A have now acquired one for their collection so I will be able to get closer to it for further scrutiny. A strange and emotive object, it's links with Oppenheims' 'Lunch in Fur' seem very direct to me.  The example that I  recently saw at the V&A really surprised me; it was enormous, the actual size of a pigs skull I assume. It's form, and the cultural associations linked to its materiality force a questioning of function; it is a thing out of place. However, the use of bone china, the insulating properties of the rat fur, the lid and the spout are all very practical! Tea and cake anyone?!

High Tea Pot 2003  Wieki Somers

Hella Jongerius

I came upon these works by Hella Jongerius while researching my written paper; I was interested in her approach to materials, the visibility of the making process in her work ('Soft Urn', 'Big White Pot and Red White Vase') and the fact that she originally trained within textiles. Her thinking is really radical. She combines materials in an unorthodox and inappropriate way that makes some of her pieces impractical; the embroidered ceramic plates for example (not pictured).
The surreal fusion of forms; industrial, zoomorphic and domestic in 'Office Pets' and 'Props' also appeals to me. Humorous, playful and uncanny, for me these objects seem to tread the fine line between the psychologically safe, and the threatening.

Soft Urn 1993 Hella Jongeris
Natural: PU rubber:  Pink: silicone rubber

Big White Pot and White Red Vase 1997.
 Material: Porcelain, Spray paint lacquer (Toyota red).


Office Pets 2007 Hella Jongeris
Leather, metal, polyester, embroidery

Props 2007 Hella Jongeris
Materials; Various

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Surreal House; Barbican Art Gallery

            Visited 8/9/2010.

All written quotes are referenced from the exhibition.
Curator: Jane Alison.

In the House of My Father; 1996-97. Donald Rodney (1961-1998)
Photograph on paper on Aluminium
Made from Rodney's own fragile skin taken from the artists body during the course of one of his many many operations, this delicate object measuring no more than a few centimeters in any direction and held together with a single pin, is a poignant example of the 'house as body'.

Diagnosed with Sickle-cell anemia at a young age, this work made from Rodney's hospital bed, has been interpreted by Eddie Chambers as symbolising 'the fragility and near futility of Donald having to live within a structure hopelessly unable to sustain itself.... and yet; concurrently, the house resonated with defiance, a curious strength, and comforting notion of 'home'.

My Mother, My Father, My Sister, My Brother; 1996-97  Donald Rodney
Human skin, pins, scotch tape.

A foam breast floats on a cloud of black velvet. This is fastened to a cardboard slip-cover of a catalogue, which was produced in an edition of 999 copies to accompany the Exposition Internationale du Surrealisme, held at Gallerie Maeght, Paris, in 1947. Conceived by Andre Breton and Marcel Duchamp, it contains twenty-four illustrations, including eighteen lithographs, five etchings and two woodcuts by artist's including Max Ernst, Hans Belmer and Yves Tangy. On the back cover a blue bordered label reads 'please touch' - an instruction typical of Duchamp's battle against 'the retinal' in favour of the more sensual involvement with art. Parodying conventional museum rules, Duchamp invites the reader to an erotic encounter with the work.

'Priere de toucher' 1947 Marcel Duchamp
Rubber foam, velvet, glass.

Femme Maison series; begun 1940 Louise Bourgeois

'Femme Maison; 1983 Louise Bourgeois
White Marble
The Woman, as Bourgeois says, shows herself at the moment that she thinks she is hiding!

I Think of Death; 2009 Rachel Kneebone
Errupting with a bacchanal of deformed and hybrid bodies, distorted limbs, horses hoofs and slumped phallic tendrils that emerge from delicately sculpted porcelain works, Rachel Kneebones work draws on a multitude of sources. These range from Ovids Metamorphosis, where human figures merge in a myriad of forms and shapes, to the perverse sexual fantasies of George Batailles, Histoire de Oeul.

Still from Jan Svankmajers 'Jabberwocky' 1971

Space runs through the work of Czech surrealist film-maker, artist and writer Jan Svankmajer like an obsession. In Jabberwocky, 1971, Lewis Carrol's miniature nonsense epic, recited at the beginning of the film then immediately abandoned in letter if not in spirit, as a wicked comedy of playtime unfolds. Toys and games misrule the world, in which the child's sensibility- never far from Svankmajers sympathy- triumphs over the adult realm of order and propriety. Dollies tea parties turn into cannibalistic feasts, malevolent objects have their fun and to the rhythm of spanked bottoms and the stifling family home becomes a nest of follies.

In the childs den, no architecture can survive long. Wooden cities are built and collapse in an instant, while a of jigsaw is repeatedly broken down by the films 'live' star, a black cat.

Still from Jan Svankmajers 'Jabberwocky' 1971

Still from Jan Svankmajers 'Jabberwockey' 1971

Les Oiseaux Vous Poursuivent 1929-1930
Paul Nouge 

Paul Nouges's Theory of 'disturbing objects', By taking an ordinary object and changing it's function and meaning, conventional knowledge and reality could be subverted, and a new reality generated. Here Nouge defamiliarises reality by absenting objects from their usual context- for example, the pen missing from the hand of the automatic writer. In the most famous image, 'The Birth of an Object', five people stare earnestly at a blank wall, suggesting a reality that is visible to the mind rather than the eye.

Birth of an Object Paul Nouge

Le Bras Revelateur  Paul Nouge 1929- 1930

A New Way of Juggling Paul Nouge

....and finally... something that always cheers me up!

Nervous System Reaction

Thanks to Caroline and Suzanne for this one... great minds think alike!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Ernesto Neto; The Edges of the World. Hayward Gallery

Visited 4/09/2010.

Stretchy, tactile fun....  I loved the colours, interactivity and translucence of Horizon of events III. Lots of tubes to push your arms down, some narrower for greater resistance, some twisted to prevent you from pushing through to the other side! Spent a long time just watching and listening to other people. One woman, who moved with the elegance and poise of a dancer was photographing herself as she moved through the spaces. Children tangled themselves hysterically in a sea of vertical stretchy tubes, others lay around in womb-like, ventricular tents. The environment seemed to remove a lot of adult inhibition and strangers laughed spontaneously together at the strange playfulness of it all. I went on the second to last day so it was fairly busy, lots of exclamations, chatter and movement everywhere.
The form and construction of the various the layers and chambers were cleverly engineered to create some very beautiful and atmospheric structures; the most intriguing for me were at intersections, and in places where a number of layers and elements were being brought together.
In addition to the less complex stitching used to connect most components, there were joins made with a more visible and complex decorative lacing. This created subtle shifts in scale and detail, and influenced the surface qualities/tension of the mesh. I found this piece fascinating technically, but I'm not completely sure what I think about the installation as a whole.
Going to write this up with reference to interactivity and haptic experience.
Just wanted to pop this on now and get the ball rolling. These photos could be useful as I don't think mine are going to come out very well. They give a really good account of how people were using the installation and of the general mood... and yes, I regressed too!

My photos...

Holes & Tubes!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Maison Martin Margiela; Somerset House

Visited 1/9/2010.

This is where it all comes from...truly, truly good stuff!
Seriously inspiring, innovative approaches to fashion with bucket loads of integrity. The perfect antidote to celebrity culture and all the nonsense that goes with it. This made me want to rush home, cut all my clothes up and do sew them back together again in unthinkable ways.    

Will write more on this but wanted to get it up on the blog sharpish!