Archives for the month of: November, 2014

Thinking in shapes.

Across RCA is a great scheme where students get to do something completely different for a week.

I went to the Princes School of Traditional Arts and joined the current talented MA students for lessons in geometry and biomorphic patterns.

1411 geometry class 2

We made platonic solids from sticks and thin card.

1411 Geometry class

Geo = earth, metry = measure.

Having recently read Raymond Williams ‘People of the Black Mountains’ which tells stories of a burgeoning civilization spanning thousands of years it was interesting to connect the theories of the early measurers in his book with what I was learning, to think about this knowledge in terms of history.

The teaching was very much from a spiritual perspective, highlighting the balance and harmony in the universe present in mathematical relationships.

I found these ideas quite relevant to the ways I have been thinking about my work. I am thinking of introducing pattern into my work and I want the shapes to have meaning, to be from the very structures that the world is built from. If I am searching for paradise in the everyday then looking at the construction of the universe seems a good place to start.

Heaven and earth linked by consciousness.

1411 gallerie Nadine Feront (1)

This painting, done using a brush with just a single hair, makes me think of stone circles.

Writing this blog helps me pin my thoughts down. To pause and consider what I have recently seen or read or discovered feeds my practice.

Coming back to think about the history of clearing our space in the forest.

Building – burial – marriage – ancestors – (wild men)

The forest as dark, dangerous and profane as opposed to enchanted, sacred, shelter.

I haven’t made this work yet.

This year the RCA Printmaking study trip was to Belgium.

We visited Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven at her studio in Antwerp.

Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven

Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven

Her interests are in the intertwining of the female body, mysticism and technology.

Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven

Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven

She believes she could almost be a reincarnation of the mystic Marguerite Porete in that she shares so many mutual concerns.

Porete was executed for heresy as a result of her poetic mysticism in  Le Miroir des âmes simples anéanties (The Mirror of the Simple Souls Who Are Annihilated and Remain Only in Will and Desire of Love) which lists seven stages of annihilation of the soul necessary to become one with God which fell foul of current Christian thinking.

Again the mirror.

We visited Museum Plantin Moretus home of the oldest printing presses in the world.

1411 Museum Plantin Moretus (1)

The current exhibition was Dissected Anatomy

1411 Museum Plantin Moretus 3

The sphere is a symbol of unity and completeness

1411 Museum Plantin Moretus 2

I have asked my optician for the scan images of my eye to use in my work

1411 eye

Always searching.

We visited M HKA Museum of Modern Art Antwerp

There were beautiful evocative photographs taken in Moscow’s Museum of Natural History by Russian artist Olga Chernysheva. The illumination of the light boxes emphasized the illumination of the museum display cases within, making the images ethereal and other worldly.

Olga Chernysheva Cactus Seller 2009

Olga Chernysheva Cactus Seller 2009

Social realism. Hans Eijkelboom set himself very clear rules about what he would photograph each day.

Hans Eijkelboom Fotonotities  (1992 - 2007)

Hans Eijkelboom Fotonotities (1992 – 2007)

From the swarming figures on the streets he picks out the individual and then places them back in the group setting up taxonomies and cultural relationships

Hans Eijkelboom Fotonotities

Hans Eijkelboom Fotonotities

Faith and hope – the fulfilment of desire must never happen – it must always be in the future

Francis Alys When Faith Moves Mountains: Lima, Peru

Francis Alys When Faith Moves Mountains: Lima, Peru

We had a trip to La Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image Imprimee in Louviere. A soulless print archive in a soulless place.

Like a crematorium built for function on the outskirts of town, it seemed displaced from locality and devoid of the spirituality of the temple or shrine. An archive seems a sad place somehow.

The theory is, it’s only a resting place.

1411 first proof chapel

First proof of soft ground etching – Chapel of Rest

Wiels Contemporary Art Centre had a big retrospective of Mark Leckey with the wonderful title –  Lending Enchantment to Vulgar Materials

There was a new interpretation of the Universal Addressability of Dumb Things. This time the material icons had been 3D printed. The status of the object has been questioned throughout the various incarnations of this exhibition. Where does the aura lie?

Mark Leckey Lending Enchantment to Vulgar Materials

Mark Leckey

Ana Torfs ‘Echolalia’ exhibition also at Wiels Contemporary Art Centre was tantalising for me. It contained research and imagery that I am drawn to yet the presentation of so much factual text alongside turned it into something a bit dry.

Ana Torfs

Ana Torfs

The installation piece ‘The Parrot and the Nightingale, a Phantasmagoria’ worked well

and I liked the vignette images of islands like the view through a telescope but the text was intrusive

Ana Torfs

Ana Torfs

I can understand why you might want to include all your research, she talks about an archaeology of knowledge

Ana Torfs

Ana Torfs

I have a similar problem, I am grappling with how to make known my research and narrative in my own work

It’s hard to make it evident in the image but I don’t think it matters that everything should be disclosed, ideas should be sparked and then threads can be followed that may lead elsewhere even.

French artist Emmanuelle Laine at c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e gallery in Brussels had made a colourful intervention creating a sculpture on site that she then photographed and repeated around the gallery walls. She has found a way to include her research and incidental thoughts in her work, her tools both for process and inspiration are left scattered around the space in evidence

Emmanuelle Laine

Emmanuelle Laine

The traces of construction and thought processes are not discarded or hidden – the sculpture becomes an exploded view of the artists brain during the creative process

Emmanuelle Laine

Emmanuelle Laine

Great to see some more video work of Philippa Kuligowski at New Sensations.

She has a wonderful way of collaging imagery and media in original ways to create engaging magical narratives.

Philippa Kuligowski The Plover and the Crocodile

Philippa Kuligowski The Plover and the Crocodile

The Plover and the Crocodile link to film

Other work I liked also at New Sensations –

Vivien Zhang Porcupine Hair

Vivien Zhang Porcupine Hair

Nicholas Johnson Mildew Swoosh

Nicholas Johnson Mildew Swoosh

Felicity Hammond Restore to Factory Settings

Felicity Hammond Restore to Factory Settings

 

Ben Woodeson  That Bit From the Omen, Yes That Bit

Ben Woodeson That Bit From The Omen, Yes That Bit

I haven’t seen The Omen so I don’t know that bit.

I am looking at invisible planes made visible, the threat of collapse and the possibility of violence.

The new media animation by Charles Richardson was intriguing. It was not a hologram. The figure turned and writhed out of the screen in 3D but no glasses were  involved –  it was like a ghost had entered the room  – it was uncanny

Charles Richardson Rehearsal

Charles Richardson Rehearsal

In an inspiring lecture Esther Teichmann made suggestions of work to check out including Marie Darrieussecq ‘My Phantom Husband’, Claire Denis ‘Beau Travail’ and Janet Cardiff and George Bures Millar ‘Blue Hawaii Bar’ link here – Searching for the light in an evocative installation in a Victorian water reservoir.

All the time I thought I was looking at landscape but maybe I was looking for what was held within the landscape. The nooks and crannies where the myths hide.

 

 

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Beguile the Night exhibition at Dark Matter Studio had quite a spiritual ambience.

Gary Colclough Uprooted

Gary Colclough Uprooted

The quiet and solitude of after dark meanderings in creative processes came across in a collection of work imbued with mystery.

Patrick Jackson Companion of Odysseus, Fleeing the Blinded Polyphemus

Patrick Jackson Companion of Odysseus, Fleeing the Blinded Polyphemus

The intensity of a directed concentration was evident in an opening up of space to reflect and wonder.

Mary Yacoub Proposal for Modernist Teepee in Poured Concrete

Mary Yacoub Proposal for Modernist Teepee in Poured Concrete

Marianne Walker Grotta (Neo-Delphic)

Marianne Walker Grotta (Neo-Delphic)

Zoe Dorelli The Division of the Waters

Zoe Dorelli The Division of the Waters

The exhibition Stranger than Fiction at the Science Museum was billed as questioning the truth and reliability of photographs.

Fauna - Joan Fontcuberta

Fauna – Joan Fontcuberta

Joan Fontcuberta is supposedly setting up a fiction that, through documentation, the viewer is lulled into believing.

The fauna series is both visually striking and disappointing. Bad taxidermy and impossible juxtapositions create sad undignified rather then magical creatures.

In some of the black and white aged photographs there might be something fantastical to be grasped at

Joan Fontcuberta

Joan Fontcuberta

but placing the evidence of the constructed enigma next to the documentation means all illusion vanishes.

This may be the intention.

Joan Fontcuberta

Joan Fontcuberta

The Orogenesis and Constallations seires were more rewarding for me, using a more subtle intervention in photography resulted in dramatic landscapes that you could get lost in.

The annual Deptford X festival proved an opportunity to catch up with new friends met though the neo:print prize.

Kaori Homma presented an interactive performance in the square as part of her ongoing interest in the conventions of the east/west divide set by the meridian line at Greenwich.

Homma Meridian

Homma Meridian – Deptford X

Carol Wyss was showing her beautiful large etchings in a summer house in the green and tangled setting of Old Tidemill Wildlife garden.

Carol Wyss

Carol Wyss

Carol constructs her etchings from images of human bones, building up the form with multiples of shoulder blades or tibia.

Also in the wild garden was artist Anita Gwynn with her detailed mono prints installed inside a polytunnel.

Anita Gwynn

Anita Gwynn

In the crypt of the magnificent St. Pauls Church in Deptford were 2014 Art Action UK award winners Komori & Seo showing their moving new work derived from working among the victims of the 2011 Tsunami and nuclear fallout disaster in Japan ‘Moving the Mountain’

Seo and Kamori Moving the Mountain

Seo and Kamori Moving the Mountain

We watch a woman returning to where her childhood town once stood, where her parents were swept away along with her neighbours and all the buildings, but not her memories. She washes and folds her parents clothes over and over, trying to dislodge all the sand from the fibres knowing every tear and abrasion in the fabric represents a trauma to her parents bodies during their violent death.

Read more here Art Action.

The magnitude of the loss has the same incredulity as a myth, how can a whole community be swept away so suddenly and with such force. The machinations of the gods seen in the power of nature.

The stories that Xanthe Gresham-Knight tells also hold you in awe. In her stories people are searching too. Searching for truth, searching for paradise.

I have been introduced to the wonderful Treadwell’s Bookshop. A bit late for my dissertation research but for future interests it promises information on any aspect of Western pagan spirituality or the esoteric traditions of Europe.

1410 Treadwells

Downstairs with wine and snacks Xanthe gave an amazing physical performance of hypnotic singing, playing the accordion and morphing into a myriad of characaters.

She tells of Celtic poets who would make a boat from the flash of a teardrop and sail out to the Land of the Ever Young in search of a goddess.

Centuries later, a man, desperately googling for a Paradise Bride accidentally summons ‘Her’ again. …  ancient myths of Britain and Ireland collide with the modern world.

It couldn’t have been more apt, a collision of ancient and modern still searching for paradise.

More storytelling at Holborn Library with Jose Damasceno’s PLOT an Artangel commission.

Local authority libraries on the whole are not very inspiring environments. On the ground floor the architectural figures on the ceiling and decimated encyclopeadias did not manage to compete with the setting.

It wasn’t until we reached the fourth floor that we were suddenly transported into the drama of a possible plot.

1410 Jose Damasceno 2

A bizarre empty theatre space of panelled wood and reflections

Jose Damasceno

Jose Damasceno

lit with the pink fluoerescne escaping from the small high windows of a room where a neon sculpture is held and is only made visible via a monitor in the outside corridor.

Jose Damasceno

Jose Damasceno

Another world  where the laws of physics appear overturned is the digital space.

Digital Revolution at The Barbican

Digital Revolution at The Barbican

Our known perceptions of landscape are challenged here.

will.i.am debut artwork with Yuri Suzuki

will.i.am debut artwork with Yuri Suzuki

There was spectacle in immersive scale allowing you to physically enter the space

1410 Digital Revolution 2

and engage with common fantasies

communicating with other species

1410 Digital Revolution 1410 Digital Revolution 1

being plunged into a drama set in the place of your birth

even Kessingland

1410 Digital Revolution 7

or being transformed into a bird and flying

Chris Milk The Treachery of Sanctuary

Chris Milk The Treachery of Sanctuary

There was a reminder of research from my dissertation –

1410 Digital Revolution 0

the dystopian future of London in Kibwe Tavare’s short film, Robots of Brixton

Robots of Brixton

Robots of Brixton

I didn’t end up writing about the film but it made me want to see it and it kind of fitted with ideas of urban bad/rural good that abound through the ages.

The mythologizing of the rural began even before Virgil’s ‘Bucolics’ and continues today massaged by technological spectacle in mass entertainments such as ‘Avatar’.

Handing in the final document of my dissertation ‘Finding Paradise’ unleashed a new energy.

Back for my second year at the RCA its time to put all that thinking into my work.

1410 Chapel of Rest

After such a break from making over the summer spent at the computer screen I thought the best thing to do was to just get on with something.

I started a soft ground etching of the Chapel of Rest in Paradise Industrial Estate, Hemel Hempstead.

1410 softground peel

While working with my magnifying lens there was a moment of euphoria – a bit like finding that illusive paradise

1410 spectrum

I am excited by this new development