At the end of last year I was awarded the The Dulcie Mayne Stephens Travel bursary to go to Amsterdam in order to see works of art I would not have had the chance to see otherwise. In Amsterdam I visited the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and the Gunther Von Hagens Exhibition.
Marcel Wanders- Airborne Snotty Vases
These vases are inspired by organic forms and created to show a 3D frozen moment of the human impulse to sneeze. These vases are made by digitally recording a human sneeze with a three-dimensional scanner. I found these vases intriguing as at first glance they appeared to be like mutated bodily forms however on further inspection they are like bodies of ghost metamorphosing into some other organic form.
Edward Keinholz – The Beanery
This installation is a 3D collage and a recreation of a bar Edward Keinholz visited often. Upon entering the installation you are transported into back in time to this lively bar, however there is a surrealist element to the piece as all the people in the bar have clocks for heads. I believe this was to illustrate the way in which the perception of time is skewed within this bar, where time is wasted, spent, and ignored. I feel that this installation was powerful as it changed your perception within the gallery space and made me question the many different ways in which the gallery space can be altered to create a specific ambience and impact on the viewer.
Saburo Murakami- Six Holes
As one of the artist Gutai group this sculpture made out of paper and wood was a performance and what is left in the gallery is the residue of this piece. Upon looking on this piece looking through the holes the artist made with his body, you are asked to peer into the sculpture and the layers within it. Like torn pieces of flesh you can see the movement of people within the gallery in specific areas and others the gallery is concealed making you view the gallery space in a different light.
Yoyoi Kusama- Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show
This installation of a boat containing white phallus shaped growths covering the surface of the entire boat is haunting as you are given the sensation of being engulfed by these sexual organs. In reflection of the theories created by Freud the boat may be a metaphor of the unconscious thinking, floating above the unconscious mind. This piece really interested me as it made me feel swallowed whole by the male influences on society making me feel inferior and conscious about my existence as a woman.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn- self portrait with beret
Within this of artwork you are drawn to look into the eyes of the artist and in doing so you can forget it is a painting altogether.
This painting is in its self, more than a painting it is as if you are meeting Rembrandt himself it is a human being encoded into the fabric of this painting. In this piece the feeling is that he projects out into your space in the same way as living things project. We can consciously respond to him even though he is inanimate, it is a picture he created of himself, he has injected his character into it and in doing so, it gives us access to parts of his mind as it is embedded within the painting.
The Gunther Von Hagen Exhibition
In this exhibition I was challenged to look at dead bodies that have under gone plasticisation by the artist and doctor Gunther Von Hagens. When looking at these pieces of art you could feel the presence of the being, however they are somewhat more naked than the naked figure as they are exposed for the viewer to see their inside organs. For me the pieces of work that evoked an emotional response in me was the foetal development space. There was platinised foetuses in each stage of development within the womb, I couldn’t help think about how Von Hagens got these foetuses and most likely it was from donations of miscarriages given for scientific purposes. In looking around these foetuses thinking they didn’t even survive to have a life made me emotionally charged towards them. The helpless nature of them reminded me of what I wanted to achieve with my sculptures, this idea of the fragile body.