Archives for the month of: November, 2013

Artists experimenting in new mediums, or changing the speed of the record.

Lutz Bacher ‘Black Beauty’ at the ICA

Lutz Bacher

Lutz Bacher

A shattered mirror set on a slag heap. Or is it obsidian which is altogether more magical.

Lutz Bacher

Lutz Bacher

The space is sparsely populated, it is the crunching underfoot that is the joy. And no doormat.

Lutz Bacher

Lutz Bacher

Upstairs it is all glitz and showbiz, a strange game of chess to one side and the eerie mechanical rotations of a deserted fairground to the other.

Lutz Bacher

Lutz Bacher

All the while the slowed down lullaby of an Elvis Presley classic weevils soporifically into the brain.

Lutz Bacher

Lutz Bacher

It made me smile but there was something sinister about its clean cut image.

One of the spaces often used for performance at the ICA had been painted by the Shanghai artist Zhang Enil.

Zhang Enlli

Zhang Enlli

I wonder if the finished result ‘space painting’ fulfilled the artists expectations. I could appreciate the task undertaken here but think I would maybe like to see his other work that encompasses tangled wires and cardboard boxes. The room itself felt temporary with its flimsy walls and therefore any sense of transformation was lost.

Glasstress – White Light/ White Heat was a collateral event at the Venice Biennale.

Missed it first visit so on my second trip to Venice, this time with my RCA fellow students I wanted to have a look at this show with so many of the artists I admire in it.

The artists were invited to respond to the theme of light and heat using the medium of glass in some way. Being in Venice.

Some of these transgressions into an unfamiliar medium worked better than others.

1311 Glasstress Hew Locke (2)

Glasstress White Light/ White Heat

The setting once again was palatial.

Lucy and Jorge Orta

Lucy and Jorge Orta ‘Amazonia: Tree of Life’

Matt Collishaw 'East of Eden'

Matt Collishaw ‘East of Eden’

A very gothic and theatrical almost pantomime piece from Matt Collishaw. The mirror darkens and a swirling serpent appears. Impossible to photograph in the darkened setting, illusive like the snake.

Joana Vasconcelos

Joana Vasconcelos ‘Babylon’

Rather than go with the glass itself Joana Vasconcelos has used her signature crochet work to create the mother of all chandeliers.

Not the tampons this time.

Hew Locke

Hew Locke ‘Mummy’s Little Soldier’

There were stark contrasts  in Hew Locke’s work, high end opalescent glass with all the little brown rubber arms reaching out – the fragile and the malleable. The child at play, the child at war.

Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker ‘Decoy’

A tantalizing glass drum from Cornelia Parker.

Recycle Group

Recycle Group

The Recycle Group aka artists Andrey Blokhin and Georgiy Kuznetsov created a dramatic clash of the natural spliced with science fiction.

Ron Arad

Ron Arad ‘Last Train’

 “Last Train”  was inspired by a late night romantic episode experienced by Ron Arad as he witnessed a man with a large diamond ring graffiti on a train window. He was so mesmerized by watching the man draw onto the glass that he missed his last train. To recreate this experience he has invited artists such as Anthony Gormley and David Shrigley to use a specially created iPad programme to manipulate a virtual hand that scratches their drawings into a large piece of plate glass.

My own excursion into new mediums was to print a lithograph onto polyester.

1311 Lithograph on ployester 2

I wanted to layer images of Avondale and Rialto over the image of the Avondale Rialto caravan. Dreams of grand excursions. Places this caravan will never visit.

The zinc plate was hand drawn with waxy pencils and printed over the sublimation images.

I also tried to make the polyester more translucent by applying extender the lithography press. I did several coats each side of the fabric and then hung it to dry in the paper dryers. This was not very successful.

The fabric dried in the shape it was hanging and it wasn’t very translucent in the dark areas.

1311 Lithograph on polyester

The extender has given the fabric a strange quality though.

I have not quite given up on this image yet.

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I am a little behind, as always, with my blogs and the days are so full at the RCA I wonder if I can keep up. I do want to keep this record of my thoughts and visits going if I can manage it.

The fruits are ripened, the harvest begins. How can we possibly reap all that autumn has to offer in one week of abundance.
I have avoided Frieze since the daddy longlegs incident. But there is so much else on offer, all at the same time.
I do enjoy New Sensations and went again this year despite my feelings that Saatchi should be made a pariah of the art world.
No chance that’s going to happen though. Has anyone made a comment on his behaviour to Nigella?

New Sensations

New Sensations

Anyway I did enjoy quite a lot of the work on show.
My favourite piece was a film by Philippa Kuligowski – ‘Dido’s Aeneid & Penelope’s Odyssey.

Philippa Kugliowski still from 'Dido's Aeneid & Penelope's Odyssey'

Philippa Kugliowski still from ‘Dido’s Aeneid & Penelope’s Odyssey’

An epic journey, captivating and magical.

Philippa Kugliowski still from 'Dido's Aenid & Penelope's Odyssey'

Philippa Kugliowski still from ‘Dido’s Aeneid & Penelope’s Odyssey’

I love the theatrical.
Other work I liked was by Bryn Lloyd-Evans and Simon Martin.

Bryn Lloyd Evans 'Shuffle on Six O'Clock'

Bryn Lloyd Evans ‘Shuffle on Six O’Clock’

I wasn’t sure how to read this work, but I liked the components and the blocking off of nature to one square. I would have liked the chance to shuffle the pieces.

Simon Martin

Simon Martin

Constructed nature, something I relate my work to.

Simon Martin

Simon Martin

In the Future Can Wait section there were a lot of the familiar Charlie Smith artists. I always like Tom Ormond’s paintings.

Tom Ormond

Tom Ormond

I waited to see if Lee Holden’s construction came to life at all. It looked like it should.

Lee Holden

Lee Holden

Gasping. ‘Figures of Speech’ the extraordinary underwater photographs of Emma Critchley.

Emma Critchley

Emma Critchley

I was impressed by the heavy texture of Chris Jones work. I feel I am hovering above the earth.

Chris Jones

Chris Jones

The picture plane subverted. Could this be an example to help me understand the text for our seminar ‘The Flatbed Picture Plane’.

Chris Jones

Chris Jones

I was surprised that I also enjoyed a visit to Christies Mulitplied event. It’s not something I would have visited before.  I guess I have had bad experiences of visiting print shows on The Mall. Well, I went to one and the acres of framed glass was very off-putting. There was an interesting discussion at the first critical and historical studies lecture ‘Medium Post Medium’ about the taxonomies of the art world. The labels of painter, printmaker, photographer etc and how we each feel about these labels and the preconceptions they invoke. Whether the emphasis is on a craft/skill or the translation of an idea. Jack of all trades master of none. The craft/art/design sort of debate is supposed to be over. Barriers ought to have been crossed and in certain circles they have but mostly I still have to qualify any discussion about my work by saying it was fine art textiles or yes I’m studying printmaking – it’s in the fine art department. I am very clear, I am an artist not a printmaker (or a textile artist). I want my ideas to be paramount to the medium used.

 

‘The Rocket’ was my favourite film of the London Film Festival this year.

The Rocket

The Rocket

It is a tender story of a struggle to achieve your potential for a better life when all odds are against you. We see a family torn apart by superstition and helpless against state authority.
Displaced from their roots by the building of a damn whose vast brick edifice echoes the unfeeling power of the company men involved, the local people are treated like trees to be cleared from the forest, cut from their roots.

The Rocket

The Rocket

Promised paradise they are given infertile soil and poverty. Filmed in Laos with 20 government officials on set at any one time it is amazing that this film has been made.
The logistics and years of building trust and relationships have been worth the delicate negotiations involved. The director Kim Mordaunt and producer Sylvia Wilczynski needed to be sensitive to the politics and so were unable to be overtly critical and not allowed to film any scenes of conflict. Explosions (and there are many) often had to be filmed in Thailand and edited in later.
This is a film about the harsh beliefs of tradition versus the harsh reality of modernity.  It shows the failure of trying to transplant a community.
The incredible natural performances of the two lead children who were only 8 and 10 at the time make this film a treasure as well as a tribute to self belief despite constant undermining and disaster.

The Rocket

The Rocket

The beautiful landscape of Laos is still littered with unexploded bombs and grenades designed to look like fruit.

Another film at the festival where the protagonist breaks from mundane reality to follow his dreams was ‘Sniffer’.

Sniffer

Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa

Disillusioned by the squalid dealings of humanity he witnesses through of his work as sleuth he gradually enters a surreal world where love is pure and true.

Sniffer

Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa

As the director Buddhadeb Dasgupta explained  ‘Without magic, without dreams we do not live.’

There are dreams, there is the surreal and then there is The Chase. A highly improbable 1946 romp. Maybe pre Dallas the resurrection of a murdered heroine can be explained away as a medicated post traumatic stress induced dream. It was entertaining though, the baddies were bad, true love reigned and the dresses were fabulous.

The Chase

The Chase

‘Babelling’ a collaborative installation from Terrace Gallery, Birmingham at Sluice Art Fair created a dramatic reception point to the upper floor.

Terrace Gallery at Sluice Art Fair 'Babelling'

Terrace Gallery at Sluice Art Fair ‘Babelling’

The idea of babbling is of creating confusion and the story of the tower of Babel is one of a harsh god who creates discord amongst people who had come together in a common purpose.

For this work three artists (Ian Andrews, David Millar, Paul Newman) had come together with the different languages of their individual practises to forge links and find harmony in creating a work centred on ideas of dislocation and chaos. The result was a visual orgy of matter that demonstrated a thoughtful balance. I really enjoyed it.

Teerace Gallery at Sluice Art Fair 'Babelling'

Terrace Gallery at Sluice Art Fair ‘Babelling’

It looked like the scattered peoples of the earth had returned with all their stuff.

I liked Sluice, it was chaotic, friendly and rambling. It had a village fete quality which was manageable and approachable though maybe some artists hoping their work would be seen might be disappointed to find it lost in the visual noise. Canvas and Cream Gallery made their debut at Sluice looking quite orderly and showing work from Chris Hawtin amongst others.

Emily and Joanna Gore from C&C Gallery at Sluice

Emily and Joanna Gore from C&C Gallery at Sluice

The work I am thinking about at the moment is very much about the dream of a better place but maybe I am looking back too much with this idea. A lot of the reading I have been doing is about the nostalgia for when things were better, a time when we were still in harmony with nature but maybe I should try thinking about the future. The past is coloured by nostalgia, the future is uncertain. I feel I have three main threads that I am exploring. The intention to photograph places called Paradise. I’m not quite sure what I will do with these images yet, words like erase, space and misty come to mind. Then there is the work looking at everyday urban scenes, like roundabouts – with an added escape route, a tear, a break in time, a glimpse of paradise. Then there is the history, the layers to excavate to find the first human consciousness the time when the break with nature took place and the birth of civilisation began, humanity and it’s desires took shape.

Paradise Walk

Paradise Walk

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

New neighbours to the RCA, Dark Matter Studios is a workshop and gallery space opened by Zoe Dorelli and Dan Faine that both shows, edits and produces prints.

The opening show in this new space featured Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis (an alumni from RCA Printmaking) collaborating in ‘post industrial aesthetics’.

Concrete and discarded objects are given a wonderfully light touch in photographs which celebrate the surface textures, and architectural lines creating beautiful sculptures and narratives from things that might usually be overlooked.

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Left over printing inks are poured and allowed to spread across the image giving a glow of warmth and new life.

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

The large scale monochrome photographs shown were taken at Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation of the rough cast concrete surfaces employed in this modernist utopia.

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

There is a dramatic blood red line that runs horizontally through each monochromatic image.

( the colour for a reason and the line for a reason I have forgotten.)

A laser level was used to mark a line around the gallery walls once the work had been hung and then the line was hand painted on so that it slices through each photograph at precisely the same height.

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis

It’s looking close up at the materials that go into the structure that create the spectacle.

Twenty Feet From Stardom directed by Morgan Neville is a film with a similar principle. The backing singers that were the backbone of the Motown revolution have never been acknowledged for their talents until now.

The voices we thought we were hearing on the most famous popular songs were very often not the big stars but the unnamed session singer.

Finally their story (well a few of them) is told in this really moving film and it is astonishing how they were treated. Their soulful voices were used yet the soul of the person inside was ignored.

Twenty Feet From Stardom

Twenty Feet From Stardom

The good news is they are back on stage, there is going to be a soundtrack album released and next year possibly even a tour which would be amazing.

These ladies took their treatment on the chin but in another festival release the unsung hero took his revenge when he felt undervalued. The film 11.6 tells the true story of security van driver Tony Musulin who executed an 11.6 million euro heist to humiliate his boss. This story isn’t over yet.

11.6

These people working behind the scenes make me think about ownership and authenticity.

Ideas explored in the exhibition at the British Museum earlier this year ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’

‘… a memorial to all the anonymous craftsmen that over the centuries have fashioned the manmade wonders of the world… The craftsman’s anonymity I find especially resonant in an age of the celebrity artist.”  Grayson Perry