Travelling home from Wales to Northern Ireland to see my family for Easter something happened that I witnessed really captured the fragility of the human condition and made me face the reality of our existence as the human race.
My flight home was delayed for two hours because of high winds and also engine malfunctions, but finally getting on the plane late at night thinking I could read some of my books for my dissertation to pass the time. The cabin crew were coming around with their trolley for snacks and drinks and were getting closer to me the woman next to me in her mid fifties was asleep and so seemed like everyone else on the plane. This was when the turbulence started rocking the plane up and down, suddenly the seat-belt sign came on and at this same moment the lights went completely off in the plane. The cabin crew looked around and then the cart went flying spilling a cup of tea over me and smashing into the back of the plane. Everyone woke up and was in a panic. It was a thunderstorm outside and the woman beside me started jolting then she started having a panic attack as did many others. She asked me if she could hold my hand I said of course hoping it would calm her down. As the turbulence got worse I had to get her breathing deeply again but she was in a mental state which I couldn’t free her from. Seeing this woman who is a stranger to me need to hold my hand and help her through the idea that she thought she was going to die made me realise a lot how delicate we are as humans. She thought it was the end for her and was crying and loosing breath but needed comfort from anyone even a stranger like me. Seeing someone in that state mentally and how it impacted on the physical body, breathing and crying was really integrating reflecting back on it. Coming face to face to a person feeling like they were going to die in that moment was terrifying and enlightening. The way she looked and how she forced her energy of pure loss of control of her own existence into my hand I could feel her pain as if I was watching her being slaughtered from the inside out.
She eventually calmed down after I got her a glass of water and the turbulence stopped. She started explaining her panic attack in detail of how it felt for her. She said that she thought she was going to die and that she felt like it was the end for her, so her mental state caused her to go into this frenzy of almost giving herself a heart attack because she could feel her “life flashing before her eyes”. As an outsider trying to help her and seeing her condition made me see how it effected her from the visual outsider and also try and understand her experience from the way in which she described the situation within her mind. She couldn’t stop shaking even when we landed I started to talk to her about her family to try to calm her down and I think this distraction worked. The reminder of her family and better times she has had within her life as she explained things like her daughters graduation day and where she lives stabilised her. You could see that this was one of the worst experiences she has ever had and for me seeing this and reflecting back on this moment makes me see how fragile we really are and how we all are wounded from within as well and our outer body reflects on it. In some ways we try to release it physically by holding someones hand to make your self feel that your not alone and crying, how the body oozes water out of our eyes as a way of removing the negative energy from the body and freeing it.
I feel this experience on reflection has made me really come to terms with what I am talking about with my dissertation of how we are all very fragile forms that crumble and are weak. This and many other moments in my life will make me want to further my understanding of the human condition both mentally and physically through writings and essays from physiologists and psychologists and how artists encapsulated these ideas into their work.
An Installation: Any arrangement of objects and materials or images can be claimed as installation art
Is installation a distinct artist practice?
Any arrangement can be installation, no specific process is involved
Where did installation begin?
cave paintings in Lascaux?
Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo?
Marcel Duchamp, Fountain?
Where ever it was created it is nothing without the gallery, Conceptual installation needs the gallery space to be art.
Panoramas became popular across Europe and became a more elaborate way of working creating illusion.
Hendrick Mesdag, The Mesdag panorama 1880, increased illusion with environmental pieces e.g. sand and other materials which made the environment feel more real. This panorama is lit by daylight making the shadows change, illusionism is increased by the moving of natural light. Lack of spacial queue increases illusion as it includes more than a painting. Some of his panoramas contained sound to further the illusion
2. Mass spectacle
The illusion that you are inside of something. Engulfed within a space.
Gesamtkunstwerk- this is translated as a total work of art and is when the spectators’ senses are being attacked by all or many art forms e.g. music, poetry, painting, drama.
Richard Wagner- The Ring Cycle 1848-74 -This is artwork in many forms and is every way of representation overflowing of dramatic gesture.
Robert Wiene, film stills from the 1920 movie “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari”. The scenes are painted and dramatic lightening is painted encompassing the whole space.
4. Modernism– an attack on easel painting
El Lissitzky- Proun Room. This piece spreads around the whole environment creating a new world or environment.
There is not just paintings but posters and slogans on walls, the whole wall was used.
1st international Dada fair- This was a show of Dada artists work in Berlin in 1920. The mannequin on the ceiling is dressed in a German military uniform and has a pigs head on it. as this time was just a couple of years after WWI this was highly offensive.
Kurt Schwitters, “merzbau” was Schwitters equivalent for Dada. His studio was made into an abstract sculpture but there was hidden compartments with pieces of his life and pieces that were meaningful to him, making this piece of work sentimental and highly personal.
El Lissitzky- Soviet Pavillion, Dresden 1928
Propaganda for Russia was displayed on every part of the building. The use of three large belts was playing on the idea of motion and the piece can do more.than just wait quietly for the viewer to come.
Marcel Duchamp- Coal Sacks, This piece was 1200 coal sacks hanging down from the ceiling of which you walked under. The piece’s intention was to imaging the sacks full of coal, making them threatening and a danger. This piece was part of a larger exhibition.The International surrealistic exhibition in Paris in 1938. Beds for artists, the floor of the exhibition was gravel and earth with the place having an overwhelming smell of coffee. The sound in the place was the sound of someone laughing, shown in a dark environment, this overwhelmed the visitors, visitors were given bike lamps to see. The over all effect on the viewers made this an overwhelming environment.
Marcel Duchamp- One mile of string made in 1942. Duchamp took over a gallery covering it from corner to corner in taught string making it difficult for the audience to see the artworks on the wall. The string occupies all the available space and the artist brings kids into the space to distract the viewers.
Yves Klein- The void 1960. This piece was the audience was given a blue vivid colour cocktail when they arrived. the gallery they went into was entirely empty with nothing to look at other than white walls. The dye in the drink would later turn their urine blue. The work thus had a shared and a private dimension, waste product of the body leaving the gallery.
Claes Oldenberg- The store 1961. Making ordinary consumer goods; replicas made in mesh were messy, inadequate, oversized, the painting of the wall itself,the display cases reused to become a part of the installation as a whole.
Allen Kaprow-Words 1962. This piece was a dusty environment were visitors created the work themselves and used the words to make new poems and become creative actors within it. A number of record players in the space on which the visitors were invited to record onto and play into the space.
5. Modernism- The installation shot
Photographic reproduction became cheaper individually and collectively and more widely shot. What the work looks like inside the room and the relation of the object and the spaceit is not difficult to imagine them to create this installed space.
Joseph Beuys- The Pack. Collectivity is evident, the photography of this work makes the work look so good as it has been made to look good to reproduce.
Survey 1. Spectacle- The minimalist panorama
Richard Wilson- Oil black floor. The silence within this piece is consuming, disorientating the viewers, giving them a sense of vunerability. The flat reflective surface only has a thin layer of oil through it, however it appears to be deep. The reflective surface gives a sense of vertigo.
They create an imbalance between the viewer and the work. This imbalance may be experienced as:
The idea is to limit perceptual stigma on the one hand and on the other floods the viewers.
Olafur Eliasson- Weather Project. This artist very cleverly plated the ceiling with mirrors to massively increase the sense of space. Interestingly this lead to a change in behaviour among viewers. Many lay down on the floor to contemplate their reflection high above.
The change in behaviour makes this a relation work.
Both these works use reflection and contemplation to product a benign sense of the infinite.
Yayoi Kusama, Installation sense( or mirror room) 1992. This piece uses reflection in a more aggressive way. She is interested in how repetition and reflection can cause objects and individuals to disappear. She often photographs herself as an object being absorbed into her environment. However this is not a self portrait it is more that the artwork is containing her, engulfing her as it dangers and dominates her.
Mona Hatoum, Marbles carpet. This piece was an aggressive use of space as the marbles forced visitors to walk around the edge of the room. Her other work, Light Sentence is also quite disturbing as the moving light at the center of the installation creates threatening shadows which tend to keep visitors towards the edge of the room.
Cornelia Parker- Cold, Dark Matter. In this piece the use of light is in quite a different way from the previous artists. The material stays constant it is still the same shed and the same amount of light within it from beginning to end. However as the form changed after blowing up the shed the light coming from the center of a once functional shed shines around the shattered pieces of wood. The light tends to draw the visitors in as the objects are presented with life to them.
Cildo Meireles Missoes- how to build cathedrals. This piece contained 600000 coins, 800 communion wafers and 2000 animal bones being hung from bags above the audiences’ head illustrating the power of religion.
2. Narrative Installation
Ilya Kabakov- The Man who flew into space from his apartment. How do we know what the story is, the work shows a habitable but unusable space with doors, beds,tables e.t.c. Often the viewer is kept out of the space. The man who we imagine living in this room has dreamed of flying into space. The artist planned to take a whole disused apartment block and in each flat make an installation about a particular obsessive character.
Louise Bourgeois- Cell XXVI. Her work is more abstract than Kabakov’s apartments, but they present us with an enclosure and a sense of habitations, questioning what form of life is this? We feel empathy for the being in the cage fearful and full of anxiety as the body turns into shit. This piece is a self reflection of the artist’s mental state looking at self reflection of feeling trapped in a metaphorical cell, we dive into the human mental state. You are not allowed to go into the cell however your imagination lest you imagine going in and getting trapped inside your own head. You can look into the mesh and look at the being but you can never feel what the being can actually feel as we can’t get in.
Louise Bourgeois- Cell V. This piece contains heave dense balls behind lots of doors enclosing them into a small space. Is this home or are they trapped as there are ways in and out of the cell.
Louise Bourgeois- Hands and Mirrors. There are doors within doors in this piece and inside there are many mirrors. We question what are the hands doing? showing affection/aggression?
What is evident in all of these pieces is that the closure is dominating. Is this connected with a child’s curiosity and fear of the adult world? Louise Bourgeois uses the spider in her work to symbolise her mother. Seeing sewing as a livelihood and feeling of being a bad daughter, maintaining the mystery she hasn’t been able to get into order.
Mike Nelson- The coral reef. This piece makes the audience question what might have been going on in each installation. Difficulty to relate to the direction, disorientation is in someways threatening as the installation portrays forms of life being in neglected parts of the city. It is not symbolically unsettling, partly ridiculous, all rough, not a fine work, narrative/inhabitant in each and all of them disorients the viewer.
3. Relational Works
Relational aesthetics- Human relations. This type of installation makes the audience react differently than they usually do in a gallery space prompting the audience to work with each other. This type of art produces a model of sociability, deconstructing the rules of everyone looking the same way at several paintings on the wall, each viewer gets an individual experience. Is this form of art more or less democratic? Artists could equally spend their time creating an arena for social interaction.
Helio Oiticica- Tropicalia. In This environment you can explore, lie down, even having a cup of tea can be appropriate behaviour in this art form.
Ernesto Neto- Walking in Venus- Blue Cave. spices and flour are in the giant bean-bag like surface, they release a smell which is noticeable but not overwhelming. the artist wants people to play with the objects he makes, they are to interact with and the art form is not complete without interaction.
Humanoids- These pieces can only become art forms when people put them on. They are not designed to do anything but make people communicate and laugh with each-other over how foolish they look and feel in these forms. sharing foolishness with other people, have a bond with people doing the same thing.
Pipilotti Rist- Pour your body out. This is not just a piece of video art, it is also an installation with more than one screen, this piece encourages different while watching it as their is big pillows to lie and sit on. You could have a conversation with someone and it could actually compliment the video instead of fighting with it.
Pipilotti Rist- Lap Lamp. This piece is more about the individual than the audience as you are forced to watch the projection on your lap and as the audience enters the space they feel as if they are intruding on something personal as the projection makes the one watching the projection vulnerable.
rirkrit tiravanija- Untitled. This is an artist who creates the gallery into a space where people can come and get free food. He divides the room, making conventional gallery behaviour exposed to those eating in the space.
rirkrit tiravanija- Fear eats the soul. This piece is democratic as it opens people up to having a conversation.
All his work is temporary events, with traces of the event left on show referring to the activity that occurred. Does this become art or not art? The packing cage could be a plinth, rubbish takes on another aura of art form as it feeds art world insiders.
Thomas Hirschhorn- Bataille Monument. This piece was created in a rough housing estate and the only way to get there was by a cab that was designed to take people to and from the place. It usually was closed when they got there making people interact and communicate. This shed like hut had a bar and also brought money into the area.
Felix Gonzalez Torres- Untitled (placebo). This piece is a floor full of sweets, representing the wait of his lover, symbolic, relational quality within as he invites you to eat the sweets and drop the wrapper somewhere in the gallery.
Ai Weiwei- Sunflower seeds. This installation let the audience interact and walk over the individually painted ceramic sunflower seeds making the audience behave in a non-gallery way. Each seed is hand painted and there is 2 million seeds, representing the population of china and how there is a mass of people however each one is individual. This piece was then restricted to the public to interact with the seeds and there was barriers so people couldn’t touch the seeds making it a much more ordinary piece of art. The changing of interaction completely transforms the piece as you can’t make out the individual seeds, they have just become a mass.
Is all Installation art Theatrical?
Berlinde de Bruyckere- Cripplewood. This installation is made up of wax showing that the inorganic can suggest the organic, dark, wood, created into a grotesque being, suggests more than it shows. There is pillows and rags illustrating a insured being. There is nothing wrong with it being theatrical as it makes it more suggestive.
Modernist- During this period in art, artists were showing more painting with brushstrokes shown clearly and where honest about the paint. Paint was declared as paint on the canvas and the public was disgusted by this change. This was true to the paint but theatrically it was seen as impure as theatrical qualities were for decoration and suggested an over exaggeration.
Is it better to represent something or experience it ?
Casper David Friedrich- The sea of ice. This piece I believe is a greater representation than the experience as it shows the emotional coldness within it.
Anya Gallicco- Identities and surfaces. With this work you can feel a physical coldness within it.
What do you understand by co-existence criterion? How can our behaviour in relation to an artwork be used to judge its quality, social discipline, exercise of power, in the presence of the art work can judge the quality of the artwork.
Richard Serra- Slanted arc
Liam Gillick- Discussion Benches. Are they working? Social exclusion. Gillick is happy for people to ignore his work, he makes it to not hold visual interest. Instead he has posters and prompts for discussion. Cooperate conversation existing. His piece “Rescinded production” was the background to other activity.
Carsten Holler- Test Site. You as the audience become part of the artwork, an object for other people. people willing to queue can be the artwork in itself. Is it a democratic form? Visible yet private experience, it is a sketch of how a city could become. This became an advertisement, experimenting with concept, confrontation death, cannot change the order you just have to submit to it, a brush with mortality. Everyone is reduced to a child-like state.
Santiago Sierra- A 160cm line tattooed on 4 people. This piece really interested me, He got together prostitutes and drug addicts and paied them the equivalent of two blow jobs or a shot of heroin to get this line tattooed on their backs. When it was happening they were laughing and joking at them all having this line on their backs, however that line will be with them forever, mental scared, their bodies are not their own they are used and are not their own self.
Santiago Sierra- workers who cannot be paid, remunerated to remain inside cardboard boxes- This was a rather uncomfortable installation as people were paid to be in a box. As a form is this democratic? This is a political statement. The concept behind this piece was make the issues with benefits and guards that are paid to do nothing to be made aware of. They were paid to be in a box, this changes the way people react to the boxes as people are caged within them for up to 4 hours in a box. This piece made aware the repeating problems occurring in society, creating people into objects.
I found Constellation really interesting this year, as we got to see different lecturers talk about different aspects of Art and Design. It has been exciting to learn a different key element of Art and Design in lectures each week as none of them were the same. As a Fine artist I found a lot of the lectures relevant to my work as it helped me further my understanding on key artworks, and also on my perception of things. I really enjoyed Cath Davies lecture in particular as it talked about fashion and the meaning about the Doc. Martin boots in culture today and in history. She talked about branding and how it adds a statement to the boots giving them an added cultural meaning in visual and material culture. She went into detail into how Doc. Martin boots can give you an individual fashion and political statement which made them more meaningful as material things tell stories and when you buy them, you buy a piece of that object, a memory or buying the story objects have. I really enjoyed how she made a pair of shoes and their history interesting and deep within meaning, changing my perception of them.
For my essay options and Constellation groups I could pick, I was going to choose Cath Davies, however as amazing as her lecture was, It I felt had no relevance to those like me who paint so I decided to pick Dr. Martyn Woodward, he wasn’t in previous lectures in former terms, however his proposal for what we would be looking at was really interesting as it was on Embodiment and Unseen forces we do not see occurring. I really loved my weeks in Constellation when I picked Martyn Woodward as every week he opened our minds to new ideas and different ways in which to look at things and discover a deeper, more significant meaning within artworks. In the first week we looked at how the expression of line could portray a different emotion within an artwork and how it the thickness, speed and structure of how the line is produced could change the way in which we view artworks. I really enjoyed his lecture on week four as it really resonated with me. We looked at unseen forces within the world around us and the idea that we are connected to the world around us. We looked at work from Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s essay “Eye and Mind” and I did some further reading into the essays of Merleau-Ponty after this lecture. We looked at how the flesh of the body extends into the flesh of the world and how painting is a process of capturing forces we cannot see however we can feel happening. I learnt from this week that the task of painting is to render visible and this made me look into the work of Edvard Munch. Edvard Munch I felt within his words and artworks he describes similar forces to that of Merleau-Ponty’s portrayals of our connection to the world around us. I began to look at Hidden forces we cannot see occurring like gravity. I investigated gravity by dripping watercolours from the top of the page to the bottom. Drips on the surface moved down the page if I tilted it vertically this had already been investigated by others and in some ways didn’t interest me as much after I experimented with it, so I decided to look into more physiological forces instead of scientific forces. I questioned the force of eye contact and how it has a fix on your body when someone makes eye contact with you. Eye contact can say emotions feelings of someone in ways in which words can’t. I looked into the work of Edvard Munch, specifically his work he created with people making eye contact within them. In these pieces he described eye contact as “tiny threads” going from each of the figures eyes connecting them together. He paints these fine threads in his work, that idea of creating these forces seen in his art really intrigued me in how he changes our perception of how we, as an audience, react to these invisible forces.
I really enjoyed developing my essay and developing new ways of perceiving forces of human connections. It made me as an artist, more open to illustrating these forces in my artwork. Constellation has really helped me as an artist look into artworks from a more physiological point of view, and has made me open to new theories and ideas in which I can bring to my future artworks. Martyn Woodward’s lectures every week captured my imagination and made me perceive the world and embodiment in slightly different ways each week. I have learnt a lot within each week of constellation and with embodiment and the unseen, it made me as an artist want to explore deeper within these paths of perceiving art from this deeper much more meaningful view.
This week we looked at How we make and create things. We studied how materials are matter and they respond to our body movements. We looked at the matter and form within a piece creating it into an artefact. When we recognise that matter is “active” and “responsive” there is more to creativity problem of individualisation. Matter has energy forces and resistances as the material we use to create art has. Agency is the capacity of a person (or other entity) to act in the world, materials and matter also have a “agency”
For homework this week Martyn made us look at forces in everyday life and told us to be creative on the forces in which we look at so I looked at Gravity and them moved on to eye contact and how it is a force. I made this mind map looking at how I feel when i am forced into connecting with some one through eye contact or how I feel when eye contacts happens that is accidental. With this in mind I stated looking at how edvard munch portrays eye contact in his work.
“If a tree falls in the forest and no one can see it, does it really fall?”
This week was really interesting as it was to do with perception and how we perceive things. We looked at a film by Samuel Beckett (1968). He is being seen by something, he cannot escape from the camera and is responding to the environment, His movement run in counterpoint to the environment. Our bodies respond to an active environment.
“Can a forest paint itself?”
Andre Marchand “Forest” (1942)
Andre Marchand felt the forest became apart of him, The trees spoke to him and seen him. This Idea really interested me as it illustrated that as artists we are not separate from the world we are connected it and it is connected to us. In the essay by Merleau-Ponty “Eye in Mind” he writes about how we are connected to the world, He quotes Paul Klee “Not to render the visible, but to render visible” This quote symbolises how artists do not illustrate what we already know and see, they render or make the invisible connections we have in everyday life visible. The world, environment and body is all made up of the same matter.
An Ecology of Mind
This idea that the mental world and the worlds information processing is not limited by the skin.
This week we looked at Defamiliarization and making objects strange. With this we looked at the multiple possibilities of interpreting an object and making it strange or unfamiliar. As artists we change the perception of things elongating the process of perception, as we make make everyday objects people know and are familiar and change them to be strange or make the viewer perceive the object differently, and in some ways in more depth. In the beginning of this lecture we looked at how objects can be made into unfamiliar or strange by showing the viewer the object from a different point of view, making us see the ideology of conventional presentations of the world within our own practices.
The lecture moved on to Illusionism and how after we see an object several times we begin to recognise it. The object has now become familiar so we do not see it, so we cant say anything significant about it. With this lecture it made me look at how as artists we do not see the making process of our pieces of art, but only the final piece. We seem not to see the processes of how we produce it as these processes are familiar. Artists seem to make things unfamiliar or strange in order for us to appreciate objects in different perceptions and to further understand or appreciate the object they are showing us in a different way making the viewer see the familiar in an unfamiliar way.
This week we went into more depth into embodiment within art. We looked at perception and how it is used. We looked at how Perception is always indirect and The perception of everyday lines has on opportunity. We as humans remember images from personal experiences and react to them differently from other people as we have had different experiences, that make us perceive images differently due to our memories. When asked to depict something we have never seen before we will use available resources to create something we believe to be right prior to our experience and expectation.
What we expect to see and how were we trained not to see it. With missing context and features in an image we fill in the gaps of them e.g. bodies without facial features shall appear with an expression we create.
Conclusions of ambiguity that reveal the beholder’s share
Economy of line/brush work
Presentation of one form or another
This picture in my sketchbook illustrates how deformed and complex images make the relationship between artist and beholder more apparent. What does this begin to suggest about the process of design? We think we have full control over what we design? and is there really such a strict hierarchy between viewer/artist/designer? This week really made me think about these questions and looking at artworks that with a different perception as it made me think of it in a more physiological view.
In Constellation this week we looked how lines illustrate ways in which we express Emotion. Curvaceous lines illustrate a warm and gentle feeling. Straight pointed lines illustrate a rational and conservative feeling. A jagged line illustrates a savage and deadly feeling and a fractured line could illustrate a unstable feeling. In this lecture we looked at the ways in which we cannot view ourselves the ways others view us and the concepts of line making, whether it is in our head while we look at other peoples facial expressions or weather it be drawing. With drawing we looked at the speed, pressure, angle and flow of the line and how it affects the emotion shown within the line. In a way it makes us question can emotions be visible? I looked at a couple of ways of drawing faces and using different qualities of line to express a certain emotion.