Archives for posts with tag: Christiane Baumgartner

I have put together a short video documentation of Scales of Intangibility an interactive installation set in a black velvet lined room made during my Studio4 residency at Chisenhale Art Place. Immersive projections of particle trails, filmed from my cloud chamber experiments, make visible the activity of cosmic rays and background radiation that pass through us continuously without our awareness.

1804 documentation scales 4.jpgThrough experiencing this usually unseen activity of particles that shower down on us when cosmic rays strike the edge of the earth’s atmosphere we can begin to think about other possibilities of what might be present in our universe that we are currently unable to interact with such as dark matter.

Excited to hear that in 2019 Science Gallery London will be exploring dark matter with a scientific and philosophical investigation into the fundamental nature of reality, taking  the theory of dark matter as a starting point for conceptual investigations and experimental forms of inquiry.

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Original dark matter detector Boulby Underground Laboratory

The text In the Dark by Alexander B. Fry will be one of the texts discussed during the upcoming Laboratory of Dark Matters event being hosted by Guest Projects as part of their 10 Year Anniversary celebration weekend.

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Short texts which have a relationship to the exploration of dark matter as a scientific or philosophical concept will be presented to stimulate questions and encourage shared knowledge across disciplines and perspectives. These will also include excerpts from Joyful Cruelty: Towards a Philosophy of the Real by Clément Rosset – translated by David F. Bell, 1993 and Edward Irving’s 1905 How To Know The Starry Heavens.

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The New Materialisms Reading Group I attend has been persevering with Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. It has had an influence on the work I am making for the upcoming exhibition at Ugly Duck Lumen: Cosmic PerspectivesThe exhibition aims to inspire a change of thinking through highlighting the precarious nature of life, and the extraordinary set of circumstances that allow us to exist, in an otherwise, possibly, lifeless universe.

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I have been out taking new photographs in local paradise locations to use for submīrārī (earthbound). Printed on organza, the ethereal images will float in water in earthclad bowls, landscapes fluctuating on the cusp of disappearance. Donna Haraway, drawing from Latour, proposes the ‘Earthbound’ as those humans who are ready to rethink and create new narratives with Gaia at the centre, who recognise the entanglement of society and nature and aim to pursue a ‘nonarrogant collaboration with all those in the muddle’. The shift in perspective embraced by the ‘Earthbound’ embodies a grief shared with other species at loss of habitat and disappearing landscapes. It is not a nostalgia for paradise lost but a reappraisal of what paradise could be. The scenes depicted in this work, sourced from prosaic locations named Paradise, aim towards deconstructing a romanticised ideology and bringing us down to earth.

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We must stay with the trouble. It is important to care. ‘We are all responsible to and for shaping conditions for multispecies flourishing…’.

So glad I got to see Marcus Coates exhibition at Workplace Gallery. He shares a similar sensibility to Haraway regarding response-ability and interconnection to other species. He engages in new ways of thinking through humour and pathos. In The Last of Its Kind  a video where he faces the ocean naked, desperately shouting a list of human achievements at an indifferent landscape he brings home the insignificance of the human in the history of Gaia while in Apology to the Great Auk the extinction of this once numerous flightless bird is placed firmly on our collective shoulders.

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Extinct Animals is a collection of Plaster of Paris casts of the artists hands taken whilst performing the extinct animal’s shadow. His work is absurd, painful and joyful.

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Lorna Simpson’s beautiful show Unanswerable at Hauser & Wirth London questions the archive, how we hold onto the past through artefact or memory, ultimately all of this will dissolve away despite out best efforts.1804 Lorna Simpson

Looking through the prism of media presentation of women and the African American experience as portrayed in magazines that reflect a different era.1804 Lorna Simpson 2

There is an appeal in the aesthetic of old magazines, a nostalgia could be evoked. Or it could just be a painful reminder of issues that are still to be fully resolved.

 

1804 1953 Cosmetic RaysThe Tate screening of Jean Painlevé’s documentary films Silver, Photons and Liquid Crystals was a rare chance to see his abstract films made between the early 1930s and the late 1970s on liquid crystals, photons, diatoms and silver nitrate. It was an odd mix of science and psychedelia. Painlevé used the microscope and modern optics to reveal the natural world in intricate detail. I particularly wanted to see the early films of photons and silver nitrate but it was quite hard to decipher and at times the bizarre commentary was distracting. The programme’s finale was rewarding with some stunning footage of liquid crystals.

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Jean Painlevé Phase Transition in Liquid Crystals

Micro to wide angle but with a shared curiosity to re-present the world beyond our natural senses. Andreas Gursky at Hayward. ‘Driven by an interest and insight into ‘the way that the world is constituted’, as well as what he describes as ‘the pure joy of seeing’, Gursky makes photographs that are not just depictions of places or situations, but reflections on the nature of image-making and the limits of human perception. Often taken from a high vantage point, these images make use of a ‘democratic’ perspective that gives equal importance to all elements of his highly detailed scenes.’

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I still have to finish editing the video filmed in the velvet chamber in collaboration with dance artist Paola Napolitano exploring theories from Laban and Plato. The process can be maddening and slow when you are new to the software. I am trying to get to grips with After Effects to clone out some unwanted light reflections but keep finding myself in a black hole and having to start again.

1804 video stillOn the horizon is new work for In Search of Darkness an exhibition curated by Lumen in Grizedale Forest to highlight the importance of preserving dark sky areas and raise awareness of the ecological problems caused by light pollution. My proposal is to create a suspended sculptural print that demonstrates, through the choice of materials, that adding light doesn’t always make things more visible. To relate the loss of knowledge of the night sky through urban light pollution to the unknown mysteries of the universe yet to be revealed.

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Blinded by the light. Great sun spangled woodland scene in an inspiring show from Christiane Baumgartner Liquid Light at Alan Cristea.

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Enjoyed a visit to see Sam Hodge in Surface Tension with Andy D’Cruz and Marcia Teusink at The Stone Space. The works explore the idea of surface tension as a force and a potency between objects and materials.

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Tense with anticipation. Totally enthralling story telling from mythologist Martin Shaw. A woman arises from a mare’s tale plant with red beads falling from her mouth as she speaks, and a king’s son tied to the top of the tallest pine tree, is slowly becoming a crow.

Down below the forest path splits into two. One path is that of the sable. The other path is that of the bear. One is good. One is very bad.

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A second visit to experience the powerful performance of Simon McBurney in The Encounter. Inspired by the book Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu he tells the extraordinary story of Loren McIntyre, a National Geographic photographer, who in 1969 found himself lost among the people of the remote Javari Valley in Brazil. It was an encounter that took him to the limits of human consciousness and questioned his idea of reality. The evening ended with Marcus de Soutey joining Simon McBurney for an open discussion on what consciousness might be, how it can be experienced collectively, how we determine reality, non-linear time and what happens when we die.

1804 The Encounter

The dead live on through our memories. Retrieving memories is a dynamic process – every time you recall a memory you have to repeat a pattern of signals – this is how memories change as the pattern changes or becomes incomplete. It’s interesting that there are alternate pathways in the brain to the same or a similar outcome.

1804 The Encounter complicite

National Geographic reporter Loren McIntyre had his world illuminated to other ways of thinking I wonder if Martin Pomerantz Trailing Cosmic Rays in Canada’s North in 1953 ever had a similar experience, maybe he encountered some women with interests other than cosmetics.

 

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The myth of the wild man stretches back to the ancient tablets inscribed with the tale of Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality. As a barometer of the mores of society the wild man’s characteristics reflect topical fears and aspirations. If society is perceived to be corrupt the wild man symbolises natural wisdom, if society embraces convention the wild man represents anarchy. His character can also be assessed from the landscape he purportedly inhabits, a pastoral setting reveals an ideal to be strived for whereas the dark forest conceals the untamed savage.

Forest of Eden

Susan Eyre Forest of Eden

I wanted to discover a female counterpart to the contemporary wild man (an internet meme) I had placed back in the ancient forest.

Rather than a female on the edge of society I wanted a female at the centre of society.

Wondering who a contemporary goddess might be I was introduced to Bernadette by a mutual friend.

I spent some time with Bernadette, listening to her stories.  She is very proactive person in the local community and has had an impact as a campaigner for the Green Fair, uplifting some dark neglected spaces with vibrant mosaics, and more recently setting up the choir Shakti Sings recognisable in red with flowers in their hair who honour the earth through song and have become a mainstay at Glastonbury encouraging the crowds to keep the site clean. She has also established the Beacon Temple as a place of worship to honour the many goddesses in her own home. She kindly agreed to my taking some photos of her at home which I have used as basis for work focusing on connections between ancient spiritual beliefs and contemporary society. Her spiritual life requires that she gives up stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine as well as any contact with money. One of her missions is to uncover and document the ancient sites of goddess worship that have become hidden within the palimpsest of the city. The goddess Isis cropped up a lot in our conversations and so for one piece I used imagery from the ancient temple to Isis at Philae in Egypt, placing Bernadette within the sphere of the ancients yet maintaining her contemporary domesticity with her carpet and slippers. I was inspired by the exhibition Mirror City at the Hayward Gallery which refers to Jean Cocteau’s Film Orphée and the significance of a mirror as a portal to another world.

Considering Bernadette’s positioning as a portal between this world and the spirit world I screenprinted onto mirrored acrylic.

I am a portal

Susan Eyre I am a portal

In a second piece of work I took inspiration from the storytelling of Xanthe Gresham-Knight who weaves tales of ancient mythology into contemporary scenarios.  I used images conjured from her goddess tales such as the song of the white snake and the ear of corn she gives out at the end of her performances combined with wall paintings from Bernadette’s home to weave together the ancient with the everyday in a rich multi layered screenprint worthy of a goddess.

Her

Susan Eyre Her

At the RCA I was extremely lucky to be selected to have a masterclass with Susan Hiller who coincidently featured in the Mirror City exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. I have appreciated her work for a long time and share many of her interests.  It was an exciting and nerve wracking proposition to present my work to her. I had prepared a 10 minute power point as requested but after attending her lecture the week before felt this wasn’t perhaps the approach she would approve of. She seemed to find both the Powerpoint presentation and her in conversation partner for the lecture irritating. With her depth and breadth of experience she was going to be a difficult woman to impress.

She began by telling me that she finds printmaking to be an unsatisfactory medium to convey ideas. As I stuttered though my presentation I could feel her impatience growing.

I had used a favourite quote from artist Sergio Vega

“the concrete texture of perspiration” [ ] “that intimate battle with humidity – the monumentality of spaces, the exuberance of vegetation with that smell of ripe fruits, the exotic flowers in the never-ending heat, those sunburned colours, and the buzzing of mosquitoes, which, like fat angels of a tropical rococo, rue without mercy in the sky of Eden.”

She stopped me there and asked how the work I have produced so far addressed this problem of conveying such an experience.

I admitted I had not so far resolved this issue but have been thinking about this since. Sergio Vega also struggles with the problem of conveying an atmosphere, for example an experience of the forest rather than a depiction of the forest. The thing about the Tropicalia exported in the rococo style was its cleanness, its reduction to aesthetic – the mosquitoes  were not exported too. In his work Vega aims to show the sweat, the grotesque dictatorships, the poverty. It may not be possible to show all this in one piece of work but in a body of work over time maybe some of these issues can be addressed, even in printmaking. This is my challenge.

It was wonderful to spend a morning with Susan Hiller, she has an amazing mind – acute and resourceful. She did see a glimmer of hope in my etching Paradise HP2 and also in the spectrum print that was a chance discovery along the way.

Susan Eyre

Susan Eyre

Stephanie Rosenthal the curator of Mirror City describes the mirror as an unreal space, a virtual space like the world behind the screen where we spend more and more time. There was a lot of information to take in at this extensive show so the magical simplicity of Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq’s imaginings of objects from other worlds was memorable and his intense geometric black hole did pull you in.

Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq Black Hole III

Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq Black Hole III

Susan Hiller’s audio-visual installation Resounding (Infrared) relayed earthly accounts of possible extra terrestrial sightings mingled with recordings of static still audible from the big bang while the screen quivered and pulsed with coloured light waves.

Susan Hiller Resounding (infrared)

Susan Hiller Resounding (infrared)

The theatrical setting for Tai Shani’s performance pieces was set behind glass creating a sort of time capsule effect.

Tai Shani Dark Continent

Tai Shani Dark Continent

A world we cannot enter only dream of. In Dark Continent she fantasizes a utopian city of women, different characters in history represented by the Neanderthal Hermaphrodite, The Medieval Mystic and The Woman on the Edge of Time, all bearing the same face.

Tai Shani Dark Continent

Tai Shani Dark Continent

A pink fantasy of a genderless society.

Inspired to learn more about medieval mystics I signed up for an RCA reading group with Tai Shani. The text we were looking at was a section from Amy Hollywood, ‘Mysticism, Trauma, and catastrophe in Angela of Foligno’s Book and Bataille’s Atheological Summa’. Bataille identifies with Angela and seeks to experience the ecstasy she purports  to achieve  from a concentrated identification with the suffering of Christ on the cross.

Excerpt from the text …

It is impossible for me to read – at least most books. I don’t have the desire. Too much work tires me. My nerves are shattered. I get drunk a lot. I feel faithful to life if I eat and drink what I want. Life is an enchantment, a feast, a festival: an oppressing, unintelligible dream, adorned nevertheless with a charm that I enjoy. The sentiment of chance demands that I look a difficult fate in the face. It would not be about chance if there were not an incontestable madness. I began to read, standing on a crowded train, Angela of Foligno’ s Book of Visions. I’m copying it out, not knowing how to say how fiercely I burn  – the veil is torn in two, I emerge from the fog in which my impotence flails. (OC V 245; G 11)

Bataille opens his exploration of ecstatic anguish at the moment when World War II begins and claims that the war itself necessitates his text. Bataille finds his own tormented desire the very anguish that compels him to write reflected in Angela’s pages. Angela, the most important of the Christian mystics for Bataille, surpasses him in the pursuit of abjection and ecstasy.  He wants to be like her in her desire for and proximity to death: “I suffer from not myself burning to the point of coming close to death, so close that I inhale it like the breath of a loved being” (Oe V 246; G 12).

The discussion revolves around the idea of the rapture and how this ultimate dissolution of self over to ecstasy might be achieved.

Anselm Keifer had a major exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. I find his work very inspiring, the scale and exuberance of his paintings carved from the substance of the earth with all the pain and trauma of geological and social evolution. The gallery guide tells us he seeks to understand our purpose here on earth, our relationship with the celestial, the spiritual, and the weight of human history. He also has a fascination with the civilization of Mesopotamia and the story of Osiris and Isis.

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Anselm Kiefer, Osiris and Isis, 1985-87

At the summit of the pyramid is an extruded old television circuit board emanating golden wires and shards of pottery over the ancient steps to heaven.

I was intrigued by his use of geometry and references to ancient beliefs and mythologies.

Anselm Kiefer, The Rhine (Melancholia) (Der Rhein (Melancholia)), 1982-2013. Collage of woodcut on canvas with acrylic and shellac

Anselm Kiefer, The Rhine (Melancholia) (Der Rhein (Melancholia)), 1982-2013.
Collage of woodcut on canvas with acrylic and shellac

The Rhine (Melancholia) references Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia, an engraving dated from 1514 which appears to lay before us clues to the puzzles of the universe.

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Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia

It was encouraging to hear Christiane Baumgartner talk about her work at Alan Cristea Gallery in such a down to earth manner, giving credence to intuition in her feel for colour and composition. She takes photographs of her TV screen and through diligence of process captures the flickering screen in a frozen moment. In her series Totentanz she witnesses the smoky death dance of a plane shot from the sky. Her work holds melancholia within it.

Christiane Baumgartner Totentanz 2013 series of 15 woodcuts on paper

Christiane Baumgartner Totentanz 2013 series of 15 woodcuts on paper

She seemed surprised herself to discover so much of her work references the war. Often her images may appear innocuous without their title which is what ultimately adds the layer of pathos removing it from sentimentality.

Chrisitane Baumgartner Wood near Colditz

Chrisitane Baumgartner Wood near Colditz

It is interesting how subtle shifts in the colour of paper and ink can change the atmosphere of an image. For the softground etching of the Chapel of Rest in Paradise Industrial Estate, Hemel Hempstead  I found a soft grey paper worked well with chine collé added over the windows. The grainy etching aged the building and using a lustre powder on the chine collé  reflecting opalescent when viewed at different angles gave the interior an other worldly aura that felt appropriate.

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Susan Eyre Paradise HP2

 

I aimed to take a piece of soulless architecture and give it some gravitas worthy of a resting place for souls.

 

 


Gaining knowledge is a thread woven through my current thinking for my dissertation. From the first knowledge of conscious thought – that we are separate from nature, the temptation of the tree of knowledge and its consequences, to self knowledge through the grand Romantic quest and the furthering of knowledge to pass on to future generations.

Kadar Attia – Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder at Whitechapel Gallery was interesting to me because of the focus given to the value of knowledge.

Books as receptacles of history.

Kader Attia _ The Light of Jacob's Ladder

Kader Attia   The Light of Jacob’s Ladder

The shelves which rise up to the gallery ceiling are full of books with evocative titles and inspiring covers from science, anthropology, politics and physics – they are mostly in French though so for me the knowledge they contain is frustratingly inaccessible. Attia talks about repair as a principle of evolution and development – that we plug holes and fill gaps – holding it all together with sticky tape. I enjoyed seeing the physical manifestation of knowledge. The internet holds so much and offers so much so quickly but the material sight of so many books is uplifting.

Kader Attia

Kader Attia

The installation at Whitechapel is about conveying knowledge from different ideologies, it refers to Michel Foucault – The Archeology of Knowledge and uses the symbolism from Christian, Islamic and Judaic traditions of a ladder of light – a link between the terrestrial nad the celestial. Within the installation the telescope and the microscope embody two alternative ways of looking at the world.

Revelation through scale.

Simmons and McCollum 'The Actual Photos'

Simmons and McCollum ‘The Actual Photos’

This collection of portraits by Laurie Simmons and Allan McCollum manipulate scale through photography – enlarging the tiny to life size.

These melting features are portraits of model railroad figures used to add human presence to the constructed landscapes of the hobbyist.

Simmons and McCollum 'The Actual Photos'

Simmons and McCollum ‘The Actual Photos’

A land of the disfigured is revealed. Disrupting the symmetry and expectations of the human face.

Hannah Hoch also uses this approach of disruption of the human form to pose questions about our inner humanity – it’s amazing to think when she was making this work – the early work, particularly in the 1920’s how different the world was and yet how the same. Like the ever on-going topicality of Shakespeare – we struggle with the same issues in every generation – money/power, image, gender. It still seems so fresh though I found the volume of works at her Whitechapel  retrospective a bit overwhelming.

Hannah Hoch

Hannah Hoch

I joined the RCA school trip to see The Negligent Eye exhibition at The Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool curated by our own RCA head of printmaking Jo Stockham

– she questions;  ‘scanning is riddled with an internal contradiction: is it a close reading or a glance?’

The artists in this show all use some form of scanning, experimenting with translations across digital media into various print processes

Maurice Carlin

Maurice Carlin

Endless Pageless is performance screen printing on a vast scale. The surface of the gallery floor is recorded though an analogue scan; the pressure of the screen over paper on the floor gradually building up the image in coded blocks.

Rebecca Gossling

Elizabeth Gossling

Gossling scans from a computer or tv screen with a hand held recording device which results in a distorted image that highlights the waves of transmission – like the image on the edge of tuning in to a channel, you are aware of the process.

A feeling reminiscent of having one of those little tellys with a bent wire ariel – not going to happen with a digital signal.

Christiane Baumgartner

Christiane Baumgartner

Also taken from the screen Baumgartner translates the media image from tiny pixels to giant woodcut

Juneau Projects

Juneau Projects

Hand held scanners traversing the lawn

Helen Chadwick

Helen Chadwick

viral attack

Bob Matthews

Bob Matthews

A reimagining of the landscape, Bob Matthews  explores architecture within the environment, painting by pixels

Jo Stockham

Jo Stockham

value, discarded and reborn

Jo Stockham

Jo Stockham

Some good thoughts on the show at
http://www.furtherfield.org/features/reviews/digital-autopsies-negligent-eye-bluecoat

The book ‘Keywords’ by Raymond Williams was recommended to me by my tutor Faisal Abdu’Allah when we were discussing the etymology of words and personal interpretations of paradise or utopia.

The guiding principle in the composition of Keywords was to look at historical changes in the meaning of 109 key words, in order to bring out the significance of the facts of these changes. As Williams put it in the book’s Introduction:

This is not a neutral review of meanings. It is an exploration of the vocabulary of a crucial area of social and cultural discussion, which has been inherited within precise historical and social conditions and which has to be made at once conscious and critical – subject to change as well as to continuity.

While in  Liverpool we visited the Keywords exhibition at the Tate. The idea offered really interesting possibilities, juxtaposing works from the Tate’s collection with keywords from the book.

Some good work but the strange display with blocks of carpet and the words in giant cursive script on the walls destroyed any magic the theme evoked.

Keywords Tate Liverpool

Keywords Tate Liverpool

Another school trip was to see the David Hockney prints at Dulwich Picture Gallery.

It wasn’t something I would have gone along to myself but I enjoyed the humour in his early etchings done while at the RCA and our technician Alan Smith was able to show off his knowledge of the etching process

David Hockney - A Rake's Progress

David Hockney – A Rake’s Progress

Some fragments of Rue de Paradis

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Paradise – prison

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or sanctuary

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discover

1406 Rue de Paradis 4

a place of false riches

1406 Rue de Paradis 5

a place to be wary who you trust

1406 Rue de Paradis 6

like reaching for a reflection

1406 Rue de Paradis 7

always unattainable

1406 Rue de Paradis 8

While in Paris also had a look at the Unedited History of Iran exhibition at The Musee D’art Moderne

1406 Unedited History

 

Behdjat Sadr

Behdjat Sadr

Was captivated by the surreal images in the video installation of Parviz Kimiavi – a mixture of Oz and world pollution, will the good fairy come to save us all from drowning in our own filth

Parviz Kimiavi

Parviz Kimiavi

Parviz Kimiavi

Parviz Kimiavi

Parviz Kimiavi

Parviz Kimiavi

does the yellow brick road end here

Parviz Kimiavi

Parviz Kimiavi

‘Office of Investigation into Diverted Trajectories’ – the dead birds

Narmine Sadeg

Narmine Sadeg

This was poetic

Narmine Sadeg

Narmine Sadeg

Also while in Paris visited the vast installation at the Grand Palais” by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov.

We came across the exhibition by chance but it turned out to explore many of the themes I am currently interested in.

Ilya’s background is questioning the totalitarian regime of his childhood in soviet society – in the end he believes every -ism ends in disaster so there is no point in trying to build Utopia in reality – better to keep it in the realm of the art-world.

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov  'Strange City'

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov
‘Strange City’

In exploring the maze of the city the viewer is exploring the dreams of individuals that are shared across all nations

'Stange City'

‘Strange City’

The installation is made up of many buildings. There is the empty museum reflecting a yearning towards the sacred as a shrine to our values.

There is the model mythical Tibetan city where the world is in duplicate – one celestial, one terrestrial but it is not known which is heaven and which is earth.

'Strange City'

‘Strange City’

There is the centre for cosmic energy built on an archaeological dig uncovering a time when contact was established with alien life.

'Strange City'

‘Strange City’

Instructions on how to meet an angel.

'Starnage City'

‘Strange City’

The artists are not religious but like many people still hope for miracles.

Axisweb ran a competition for curators to select work from their database for a theorectical exhibition.

It was a nice surprise to find Laura Dennis won the competition with one of my pieces included in her selection for her proposal ‘Synthetic Landscapes’

StrataGem(ii)

StrataGem(ii)

She writes: ‘In the screen print StrataGem(ii), Susan Eyre has created a mesmerising image of geological strata using items of plastic landfill. Shimmering, iridescent layers of waste packaging form the imagined rock structures and gemstones of a distant future. Despite its apparent beauty, the image is unsettling: it prompts us to contemplate the far-reaching impact of human activity upon the earth, and a legacy in which the man-made and natural worlds have become indistinguishable.’

My themes have shifted slightly since I made work with a more ecological slant. Still interested in the human connection to nature I have been looking at a more emotional relationship.

From my research into the stimulus for the first conscious thought, when man looked at nature and found it ‘other’ I have been thinking about basic instincts. The line between civilization and savagery.

I went back to an image I found on the internet a couple of years ago when I was making the installation ‘Syndrome’ of a guy in his room posing almost naked with guns and weapons strapped to his body.

I felt he might embody the contemporary wild man. I have gone back to the source of the image and found he has become a meme with many postings and comments.

This furthers the idea of identity and illusion. Someone on the edges of society.

Through a laborious process of drawing and soft-ground etching with aquatint I have placed him into the ancient forest of all our origins.

Forst drawing printed onto thin paper

Final drawing printed onto thin paper

I polished a steel plate and added the photo etching around which I would draw the forest.

Soft ground (a sort of wax) is rolled onto the plate and the paper drawing is placed on top.

The pressure of the pencil on the paper pushes into the wax beneath. I used coloured pencils to see where I had drawn.

Drawing into soft ground using coloured pencils

Drawing into soft ground using coloured pencils

After the dark areas are drawn over, the paper is peeled away, the wax sticks to the paper leaving the metal exposed for etching.

The plate is etched in acid, then placed back under the paper and drawing continues to add midtones.

Soft Ground Peel

Soft Ground Peel

The paper is peeled away and more drawing is done and etched until the range of tone is acheived

Peeling away paper from plate

Peeling away paper from plate

Between each drawing and etching the plate is printed to see how the tones are looking and which areas need more work.

A dusting of aquatint added a final depth of tone.

Test print

Test print

I wanted the forest to appear dark and primordial, the forest of Grimm brothers imaginination

Final print - Forest of Eden

Final print – Forest of Eden

Not the Garden of Eden but the land before, of after, the garden existed.