1305 Prague 5

The beautiful city of Prague looks good in bright sunshine.

1305 Prague 4

With soaring gothic architecture

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glinting gold on dark passions

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sumptuous iconography

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secret doorways

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and intriguing botanical laboratories.

Visited the Dox Centre for Contemporary Art and saw the politically charged work of Krzysztof Wodiczko.

Krzysztof Wodiczko

Krzysztof Wodiczko

Wodiczko uses projection onto public buildings to give a voice to the inhabitants of the city who are little seen and heard.

We see the eyes and hear the voice of the migrant worker usually invisble speaking about his life in an alien environment.

Krzysztof Wodiczko Mouthpiece

Krzysztof Wodiczko Mouthpiece

He uses technology to aid cross cultural communication giving the use of media devices to those who have no access but the most need to be heard.

Krzysztof Wodiczko Out/Insiders

Krzysztof Wodiczko Out/Insiders

The dramatic new work made for this exhibition was inspired by events along the Czech German border where neo-fascists have been attacking the local Roma people one of the most marginalised communities.

The spoken testimonials and faces of the young victims are projected onto the statues of historical Czech figures. We couldn’t understand what was being said but the emotional impact was still strong as the dead stone was suddenly brought to life and completely transformed.

The tragedy of Orpheus’s descent into the underworld to reclaim his lost love was relayed via 1930’s Paris and the music of Django Reinhardt and Edith Piaf.

Little Bulb Theatre created a magical retelling of the myth at Battersea Arts Centre.

1305 Little Bulb

There was so much talent in this show, musicianship, amazing voices and inventive costumes – it was brilliance.

Little Bulb Theatre

More tales of love battling evil with a second visit to see Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty.

Sleeping Beauty

Wonderful staging of the forest as place of disorientation and dark spirits.

William A. Ewing the curator of Landmark:The Fields of Photography showing at Somerset House comments on the fact that we still turn to visions of pristine  ‘nature’ for solace.

The exhibition however covered many more visions of landscape than those of the pastoral or sublime.

Robert Adams

Robert Adams

Adams pioneered landscape photography which showed man’s impact on the environment.

He believed the whole picture should be shown and that it all has grace and a persistant beauty.

Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky

Burtynsky photographs industrial landscapes that although polluted and scarred have a sublime beauty.

Melanie Jackson’s The Urpflanze (Part 2) is showing at Flat Time House.

I saw the first installment of her exploration into Goethe’s imaginings of a primal plant at the Drawing Room in 2010.

1305 Melanie Jackson

Since then she has expanded her research and made some films which operate a bit like a scientific documentary.

I find her work fascinating, the references to crystals and fairy tales and this idea of going back to a point of origin are all things I am interested in.

1305 Melanie Jackson 2

She maintains ‘We are all still peasants dreaming of magic rewards’

1305 Melanie Jackson 3

One reward for going to the exhibition is to be given a glossy magazine set out like a science fiction comic book.

Full of startling and fantastical facts and notions, pages crammed with text and images struggling for space like a seed pod about to burst it has a big sense of hype, but of possibility too.

Back at the studio I have been experimenting screen printing acrylic over oils.

This is supposed to be a no no but in this case the oils from the collagraph were not thick and there is still quite a bit of paper exposed, also I used opaque textile inks which are thick and flexible so I thought it would be OK.

1305 acrylic over oil

The inks covered well. This opened up some new possibilities.

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Using very pale instead of very dark inks for the forest gave  the image a more cohesive ethereal image.

I dusted the wet ink of the trees with mica dust to give it a luminescent sheen but the powder clumped and wouldn’t sieve cleanly before the ink dried so I dusted it off with a brush giving the whole work a sheen which is OK but if I want to be more targeted then I need to sort out a proper shaker.

I have been cutting up and collaging the collagraphs of the gated garage.

1305 Collagraph collage

I have made two new backgrounds to work on.

1305 bonsai tree

I have also transferred the sublimation print on polyester of a bonsai tree onto a collagraph.

It was a fiddly task, first using bondaweb to fix it to thin black card, outlining the edge with a soldering iron then the patient process of carefully cutting out the shape in card.

I fixed 3M adhesive to the back of the card first so when cut out the backing could be pulled away and the shape placed on the collagraph before putting though the press.

1305 Shadowplay

I chose to use the image of a bonsai tree as it is cultivated as a perfect form – a fantasy tree, something from the imagination brought forth through careful nurturing.

The shadow of the tree does not conform to the idealization of nature. Despite our attempts at control it is never complete.

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