~ Collection project ~
Tara Donovan, Styrofoam cups (1969)
MOLESWORTH, CHARLES. “The Sculptures of Tara Donovan: Fields and Figures.” Salmagundi, no. 164/165, 2009, pp. 51–58.
"[...] instead of the classic sculptural processes of casting or craving, she generaly works by gathering and amassing in ways that turn the small or apparently indistinguishable things of everyday habits into something not only large but quite altogether different."
"[Her pieces are] environments as well as objects".
--> Tara Donovan's work focus on one trivial and mass-product item, that she invests with a poetic dimension through accumulation and the way she displays them, creating massive organic shapes. This work played a key role in the direction I took, as it gave me the idea to display my objects using the ceiling. I also really wanted to follow this arrangement of organic shapes , creating a seemingly light object.
Erik Kessels, In almost every picture (2001-2015)
In Almost Every Picture comes in the form of several books of the same format. Each volume focus on a set of amateur photographies collected by Erik Kessels, and showing a recurrent element.
The project began with some photos found at the flea market, in Barcelona. According to Kessels, he was struck by the authenticity of some of the photos, which clearly differed from the type of image he was used to work with, as an artistic director and graphist1. A set of 400 photos catches his attention: every picture shows a woman posing for her husband, during a trip. He decided to publish them in the form of a photobook, in December 2001. After being exposed in Barcelone, he has continued his collect ; his agency published the 14th book of this series in 20152.
--> The content is amateur and vernacular photography, that Kessels collect via Internet or in flea market; he then organise them within a photobook with little context to situate the set of photo, drawing the attention on the comic and/or aesthetic value of some of these pictures. The photobooks in themselves constitute a collection of his own work of collecting images.
1KESSELS, Erik, On show, Think4, Howard Smith Paper, London, 2008, p.7 [https://issuu.com/kesselskramerpublishing/docs/on_show_book].
2JONES, Charlie, ‘In Almost Every Picture’, Dazed, 2009 [http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/article/4413/1/in-almost-every-picture : consulté le 14 Avril 19].
Hans-Peter Feldman, All the clothes of a woman (1970)
Ellen Gallagher, Deluxe (2004)
Ellen Gallagher collects advertisements or pages of magazines from the 30's to the 70's, that were adressed to African American consumers. They mainly picture women and concentrate around beauty products for hair or skin. In all of these pages, she works on the images by cutting the eyes of the models and use combination of papers to apply over the hair - in particular on the Afro. Her use of collage results in a double effect of ornamenting and emphasizing the hair, while at the same time they become invisible under the intervention of yellow paper, recalling blond. It could refer to the alienation caused by beauty injonctions that may rely on a form of racism1, especially when it comes to the products dedicated to bleaching the skin or stretching hair. She also uses exemple of the typically superlative discourse of advertisement, which gives her work a satyrical effect.
"Gallagher emphasises the complexities surrounding the construction of identity, specifically in relation to race and gender. The artist’s use of collage to unite different parts of a range of models’ pictures and the addition of extravagant new hairstyles onto female heads advertising wigs produces unsettling juxtapositions. These transformations parody the ‘improvements’ offered by the advertisements and underscore in particular the role of hair as a signifier of difference."
Sarah Sze, Seamless (1999)
MOSZYNSKA, Anna, Sculpture now, Thames & Hudson, 2013, p.172 :
"In formal terms, recent installations frequently involve accumulations of multiple small objects, as in the work of Sarah Sze [...]. Although their juxtaposition may appear random, the items are laid out with care in intricate patterns, forming webs of interconnections through space."
"The sculpture sweeps across the room in a way that appears seamless. Expanding into doorways, corners and even the space behind the walls, it draws attention to the architecture of the gallery."
=> Her piece appears as a vast circuit made out of carefully articulated objects. Small common items are used, but Sarah Sze also integrates the tools used during the process of installment, which participates in an effect of complex accumulation and annihilates the distinction between the status of these objects. The construction occupies the space of the exhibition room but also exceeds this framework, as small windows are pierced through the wall, allowing passages from the room space and somewhere behind.
~ Material News ~
Damiàn Ortega, Cosmic thing (2003)
In 2003, D. Ortega was revealed to the public through his work «Cosmic Thing», exhibited at the 50th Venice Biennale. This sculpture represents a dismantled Volkswagen Beetle suspended above the ground: each piece is isolated from the others but positioned as it must be assembled1.
==> The Beetle, emblematic object of the twentieth century, recalls Fordism, thus industrial work on the chain, the assembly of parts that will produce mass consumer goods. It is an object that was mainly produced in Mexico and Brazil in the 70’s2, so it probably recalls on a familiar and utilitarian object from D. Ortega’s point of view. The title, cosmic thing, can then take on an ironic meaning, since the deconstruction, the "dissection" of the object, which exposes each spring, refers to a process of analysis, knowledge and participates in its demystification. But from a formal perspective, the staging of the Beetle, as exposed in space, gives an effect of suspended time and weightlessness that cultivate an impression of supernatural and makes it a “cosmic object”. It’s deconstruction recalls on post-modernist theories, which are interested in the ontological question - what defines the being of an object ? -,here being applied on a tangible thing.
If we connect this to the story that I chose for the material news project, we can establish a similar reflexion with the question of the perception of an object/a phenomenon and it's existence in the observer’s mind, as an idea or a conception, which then modulates his/her notion of reality.
« One of my intentions is to stress the transitional zones between internal and external space. I look for the intermediate area or the threshold, where an object becomes an image as it crosses the eye, and then integrates the subjective mind’s space. It is both inside and outside, in the window and in the reflection of light towards the interior. These thresholds I am talking about are spaces where reality transforms gradually, until it turns into a memory, an idea or mental image3. (Damiàn Ortega) »
Damiàn Ortega, The Independant, 2010
« Ortega made an art piece, everyday for a month, each responding to a piece of information, an advertisement or a photography published that day in the press. The resulting thirty objects - sculptures, installations, sketches, and much else- were presented as work in progress. »
Man Ray, Obstruction (1920)
"Later, science and technology were to play an even greater part in the development of art, including hanging mobiles. Man Ray was one of the first representatives of the negativism of the Dadaist philosophy which followed the war of 1914-1918. Man Ray combined his sense of absurdityand non-conformism when he created in 1920 a readymade. He grouped a series of coat hangers in a balanced figuration which he named an "object of obstruction" "
Bruno Munari, Machines inutiles (1933)
Henri Gabriel. “The Hanging Mobile: A Historical Review.” Leonardo, vol. 18, no. 1, 1985, pp. 39–44.
"Bruno Munari explored different kinds of movement in art by using motors. About 1933 he created fragile mobiles with spherical forms and silk threads that moved by the slightest breeze. These he entitled 'Useless Machines'. Munari's work, in perfecting kinetic multiples, makes him a pioneer."
~ Alterned Spaces ~
L.C. Amstrong, Passion flower over paradise pool (2008)
"In 1995 Armstrong started painting the imaginary landscapes for which she is best known. They are brilliantly colored, highly detailed dreamscapes. Gigantic flowers in the foreground loom over tiny people and animals, accentuating the Alice in Wonderland shifts in scale. Influences include: 17th C. Dutch Vanitas paintings, German Romantic landscapes, 19th c. Hudson River School paintings, American Pop Art and Southern Californian “Fetish Finish” Art".
"As for technics, Amstrong’s flowered landscapes are painted in a high-keyed palette that takes a note from the comercial neon of Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip and reproduction of flowers in Jackson & Perkins gardening catalogues. The glossy finish of her paintings is a hardened resin that recalls her roots as a Venice Beach auto body decoration artisan. [...]
The media that Amstrong employs further subvert the smilingly idyll. Her trademark technique using of burning bomb fuse to produce flower stems incorporate a substance synonymous with destruction and extreme manifestations of dissent, giving her paintings an undeniable emotional and political charge. We are caught off guard in our perceptions and forced to recognize, time and again, the razor-fine line between paradise and peril."
=> The over-saturated colors, the flowers of inordinate proportions, forming a curtain over an ideal landscape background and the titles are all elements that participate in a kind of hyperbolic ode to a form of utopian beauty. The excessively cheerful and paradisiacal side of the composition is swayed by the balafres of bombs, which make the work ambivalent and gives a sense of threat. To me, it also raises the question of the artificial side of these fantastical imageries of an "exotic" and seductive elsewhere, out of the constraints of the material world and brought back to a form of original and lost paradise.
Richard Hamilton, Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? (1956)
Stonard, John Paul, Pop in the Age of Boom: Richard Hamilton’s ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?’, The Burlington Magazine, no. 149, september 2007, pp.607-620.
"Measuring barely one foot square, Richard Hamilton’s Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing ? is one of the most celebrated images in twentieth-century British art. It was created for the catalogue and used for one of the posters for the exhibition This is Tomorrow held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, dur- ing August and September 1956. Collaged with images drawn chiefly from American illustrated magazines, it has become an emblem of the Age of Boom, the post-War consumer culture of the late 1950s. It has also become a manifesto for a movement. In one of the first accounts of British Pop art, published in 1963, it was presented as a catalytic work, and the next year was decreed ‘the first genuine work of Pop’."
"Above all, it was a startling prognosis of the use of comic books, tinned food and burlesque nudes that formed the iconography of Pop art, and of the widespread use by artists of the metonymic language of advertising."
"Hamilton’s contribution dealt with American domestic appli- ances: ‘I was fascinated by “white goods” as they were called, washing machines and dishwashers and refrigerators – not simply as objects in themselves as designed objects, but also in the ways in which they were presented to the audience’."
"Hamilton’s iconographic prescription shows the dual interest in science and popular culture that had marked the Independent Group: ‘Man, Woman, Humanity, History, Food, Newspaper, Cinema, TV, Telephone, Comics (picture information), Words (textual information), Tape recording (aural information), Cars, Domestic appli- ances, Space’."
"[...] Hamilton later confirmed this retrospective element, describing his conception of the interior in general as ‘a set of anachronisms, a museum, with the lingering residues of decorative styles that an inhabited space collects’."
Samara Scott, Girl on Girl (2013)
~ Contextual Studies ~
Guillaume Apollinaire, Poèmes à Lou (1915)
Cette adorable personne c'est toi
Sous le grand chapeau canotier
Voici l'ovale de la figure
Ton cou exquis
Voici enfin l'imparfaite image de ton buste adoré
vu comme à travers un nuage
Un peu plus bas c'est ton coeur qui bat
This adorable person it is you
Under the wide boater
Here is the oval of your face
Your exquisite neck
Here is finally the imperfect image of your adored bust
Seen as through a cloud
A little lower it is your heart which beats
Molly Soda (2019)
Bruce Naumann, Raw-War (1971)
Moszynska, Anna, Sculpture Now, Thames & Hudson, London, 2013, p.77:
" One of the most revalent ways in which light has been used is where artists have engaged with the flexibility of neon as a medium. [...] The twisting of neon tubing to create linguistic phrases as either the whole or part of the work had been previously explored in the 60's [...]. [...] in the work of Bruce Nauman, who as well as making 'templates' from neon also created witty puns in which alternating neon light sequences play with palindromes such as RAW/WAR (1970).
=> Interesting how the palindrome can be approaches through time and space; as the spectator moves and the light alternates, the meaning of the letters transfigures.
Martin Creed, Work No. 890: DON'T WORRY (2008)
Martin Creed, Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT (1999)
Moszynska, Anna, Sculpture Now, Thames & Hudson, London, 2013, p.77:
" One of the most revalent ways in which light has been used is where artists have engaged with the flexibility of neon as a medium. [...] The twisting of neon tubing to create linguistic phrases as either the whole or part of the work had been previously explored in the 60's [...]. However, since the 1990's, within a neo-conceptual milieu, artists have been exploring neon to draw attention to the meaning of linguistics signage within a wider spatial ambit. [...] In certain works by the British artist Martin Creed (b.1968), neon word sequences occupy the exterior of historic buildings, lightning them up at night to create a pensive mood."
"[...] Placed within this particular context, the ambiguity of the phrase ‘everything is going to be alright’ – at once an optimistic assertion and a cliché betraying anxiety – is heightened, as the range of interpretations applied to Work No.203 demonstrates. While PEER described the neon text as ‘a positive and upbeat gesture’ (Swenson 1999, unpaginated), the artist Dave Beech, observing that ‘there has never been a worse time to decorate this place with the phrase’, concluded that ‘the neon says everything is going to be alright but the art is not so sure’ (Beech 1999, p.24). When questioned about the work’s meaning Creed reinforced its ambivalence, responding: ‘It means everything is going to be all right’ (Jonathan Jones, ‘What’s So Minimal about 15,000 Balloons?’, Observer, 14 March 1999".
"Work No.203 is Creed’s first work in neon, a material that he has subsequently used numerous times to illuminate other choice words and phrases including ‘DON’T WORRY’".
Zhang Huan, Family Tree (2001)
~ Come here I want to see you ~
Molly Soda, Inbox full (2012)
Soda was born Amalia Soto in 1989 in San Juan, Puerto Rico and currently lives and works in New York. She received her B.F.A in Photography and Imaging from Tish School of Art, New York University in 2011. Soda gained repute through participating in Paddles On!, the first ever digital art auction and gallery show held at Phillips auction house, New York, in 2013. There, she sold her piece Inbox Full.
=> the piece is a one-shot 10 hours video where she reads out loud and emotionlessly the messages she received on her Tumblr inbox. It shows a portrait format of her face, with the background changing during the process of reading, which she's doing in her own bedroom (as most of her video content).
Hot Sugar and Molly Soda, Last X-mas (2011)
Hot Sugar and Molly Soda, who were in a relationship at the time, did this re-interpretation of "Last Christmas" by Wham! (starstar). The song => représentatif des chansons d'amour et de noel ultra kitsch des années 80, donc rebondissent sur ce contenu et en refont une version complètement exacerbée de cette esthétique.
Mix de culture 80's et contemporaine (via les gifs, les synths, les collages + performance de genre; Molly apparait entourée des symboles relevant du féminin et dans une posture d'hyper-vulnérabilité, récupération de l'esthétique kawaii et tumblr) et Hot Sugar apparaît comme une sorte de mystérieux stalker, performing the music for her. Du coup c'est une sorte de duet ironique.
Bruce Naumann, Studies for Holograms (1970)
John Wood and Paul Harrisson, board (1993)
Board is the first performance released by Wood and Harrisson, in 1993. They stage themselves experimenting with different configurations of their bodies interacting with a board, in a video that could be regarded as a highly sophisticated choreography with no music, no background, nor facial expressions.
Sarah-Jean, Swallowed by the Season (2012)
Cindy Sherman, Untitled #360 (2000)
Myra Hindley, Marcus (1995)
Gianni Motti, Demi-finale des internationaux de France (2004)
~ Place ~
Gordon Matta-Clark, Conical Intersect (1977)
Conical Intersect, 1975 (also called Etant d’art pour locataire, Quel Con, Quel Can, and Cal Can) 27-29, rue Beaubourg, Paris
"Executed as part of the Paris Biennale, Conical Intersect was one of Matta-Clark’s major projects that continued the exploration of circular forms in space begun in Day’s End. The buildings in which he executed his work were the last to be demolished as part of the modernization of the area, primarily in the form of the Centre Georges Pompidou, by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano.
The cut into the two 17th century townhouses took the form of a great twisting cone. From the massive opening, 4 metres in diameter, which was cut through the north wall and whose centre reached the height of the fourth floor, the cone spiralled back in space through walls, doors and finally through the roof of the adjoining house, as it diminished. This presented a constantly changing, silent son-et-lumière, as Matta-Clark called it, with light pouring in through the hole at the top.
Liza Lou, Kitchen, (1991-1996)
"A full-scale and exactingly detailed kitchen encrusted in a rainbow of glistening beads, Liza Lou’s monumental installation took five years to make. After researching kitchen design manuals as well as historical tracts about the lives of nineteenth-century women, Lou made drawings and three-dimensional models to achieve a loose outline of Kitchen’s floor plan. She then fashioned the objects out of paper mâché, painted them, and applied the beads in a mosaic of surface pattern. This work, in Lou’s words, “argues for the dignity of labor”—a labor that here manifests as process and subject alike, and which is linked to gender, since crafts and kitchen work are traditionally female domains. Kitchen might also be read as a commentary on American life—even the American dream—with its ubiquitous products (Tide and Cap’N Crunch), aspirations (glittery surfaces and suburban assimilation), and realities (dishes in the sink and other kitchen drudgery)."
Gregor Schneider, White Torture (2007)
Moszynska, Anna, Sculpture Now, Thames & Hudson, London, 2013, p.182-184:
"[G. Schneider] construct[s] disturbing and often disorienting recreations of internal spaces reminiscent of abandoned film sets, eerily deserted warehouses or even domestic homes [...]. The spectator is led on labyrithine paths that have completely reconfigured the architecture of the hosting gallery or exhibition space, the navigation of which often ends up filling the visitor with anticipatory foreboding. Much of the work also have a political dimension.
"White Torture [was] made in 2007 and inspired by photographs of Guantanamo. Visitors walked through a maze of soundproofed cells, with interlocking doors and strip lighting, a terrifying place that aimed "to destroy a person's psyche without leaving any demonstrable traces".
"While the Geneva Convention of 1949 declared some torture practices inhumane, mental torture exists in a gray area, as it doesn't leave physical marks. So-called "white torture" uses sensory deprivation techniques to make prisoners hallucinate and experience breakdowns that make them highly susceptible to psychological manipulation."
Monika Sosnowska, Regional modernities (2013)
Moszynska, Anna, Sculpture Now, Thames & Hudson, London, 2013, p.141:
Echoing and exploring different contradictory modernisms, [...] Monika Sosnowska (b.1972) builds forms in response to specific sites often modifying pre-existent architecture. She denudes these of functionality either by dismantling the main element or by wrapping the shape until all purpose is lost. As she explained, 'I am especially interested in the moments when architectural space begins to take on the characteristics of mental space'.
Sosnowska creates large, psychologically charged architectural installations influenced by the changing landscape of her native Warsaw, and came to prominence with the 1:1 sculpture she created for the Polish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2007).
=> M. Sosnowska symbolically integrates a familiar place inside the space of exhibition, by the mean of these sculptures.
Monika Sosnowska’s sculptural language emerges from a process of experimentation with, and the appropriation of, construction materials such as steel beams, concrete, reinforcing rods and pipes. These elements – the solid and rigid foundations of buildings – are manipulated and warped, taking on an independence in which their former functionality is implied yet defunct. The formal language of her works echoes different contradictory Modernisms: that of the Polish constructivism of the 1930s; the minimal and conceptual tendencies of the international art of the 1960s and 1970s; and modernist architecture as experienced in Eastern Europe.
Ferdinand Cheval, Le Palais Idéal (1879-1912)
"Ferdinand Cheval was born in 1836 in the Drome, within a family of small farmers. He entered the letter carrier competition and passed it successfully. [...] During his long 33 km walking tour, he begins to imagine a «magical palace» and grandiose, probably inspired by the exotic photos printed on the postcards and magazines he peddles. His musings lay dormant in his mind until that day in April 1879 when he stumbled on a stone of unusual shape: it was the first stone of the Facteur Cheval's palace. The next day, new stones of equally singular shapes caught his attention and would eventually convince him. “Since Nature wants to do sculpture, I will do masonry and architecture."
Ferdinand Cheval became a “poor fool” in the eyes of his neighbours, locating stones during his daily tour and picking them up in the evening with his wheelbarrow to store in his garden. Launched in 1879, the construction of the ideal palace continues after its retirement in 1896 and will not be completed until 1912, 33 years after its beginning. Without any real notion of architecture, masonry or construction, the postman will erect his dream palace of 12 m high for 26 m long to the strength of his courage and obstinacy. The result, a true hymn to nature, blends architectural styles and inspirations, moving from the Bible to Egyptian and Hindu mythology, passing through Arabic and Inca influences."
In 1945, Jean Dubuffet introduced the concept of raw art: “We mean by Art Brut works executed by people who are free of artistic culture, in which therefore mimicry, contrary to what happens with intellectuals … We are witnessing the pure, raw artistic operation, reinvented in its entirety from all its phases by its author, from only its own impulses…”
=> in terms of the materials used to build the palace, it's relatable to our project as the postman did a daily journey, during which he identified and took the stones which would be useful to him. One might think that he was very inspired by the images he circulated every day, which certainly showed various monumental architectures, from all parts of the world. It is interesting to note that these factors have led to a kind of architecture that surely is unprecedented and eccentric, but at the same time extremely representative of a certain spirit of the end of the 19th century, as it recalls the universalist propensity... On the form, there is thus a kind of hybrid monument that unites extremely varied models on the threshold of the same space.
On the level of it's conceptualisation, there is a direct reference to the passage from the ideal to the material, thus a passage from the inner space to the outside. The "palais" as such could symbolize, in the nineteenth century, the inner world, in a system of metaphor always in use, which compares the organization of the human mind with a sort of labyrinthine architecture. It also reminds me on the mystical connotation of the castle ☆.
This work particularly touches me, because the facteur built it in homage to his daughter, who died while she was still a child. The palais is a mausoleum, built as sumptuous as possible.
Also, he's transcending his condition in such a beautiful way, with realizing this grandiose idea with the most modest means.
Mona Hatoum, Map (2019)
"The urgent themes of Hatoum’s work make more sense when we understand that this Beirut-born artist was exiled from Lebanon when civil war broke out. She moved to London to study in 1975, and the Lebanese conflict meant it was impossible for her to return home. Her experience and witnessing of cultural displacement continues to be felt acutely in her work. This is not to say that her work is autobiographical, but it certainly develops themes of exile and displacement, and these are as pertinent today as they have ever been.
[...] At the same time, the formal concerns of minimalism, and in particular the grid and the sphere, permeate work that is often oppressive and troubling."
"In Map (mobile) (2019), a deconstructed map of the world, from which countries and continents have been cut out, hangs like a crystal chandelier in the 9 x 9 x 9 space of the White Cube’s Bermondsey gallery. It is elegant and fragile, and it repositions border relations in ways that are geographically impossible."
=> To me it conveys a notion of unity, as all the pieces are made with the same fragile and transparent material. It gives an idea that they are all part of a bigger system, even if the pieces are distinct to each other, in this work. There's also a notion of dynamic betwee their position and an arbitrary in it, as it depends on their movements to space.
"The exhibition as a whole is deadly serious. In a global climate of uncertainty and precariousness, politically and environmentally, it is difficult not to see this exhibition as a stark warning about both of these things. It is a timely reminder, if it were needed, that art and artists do not exist separately from the world and all its problems, but are an integral part of it, and vital when it comes to raising consciousness."
Olafur Eliasson, Big Bang Fountain (2014)
Olafur Eliasson, Beauty (1993)
Olafur Eliasson, Blinde Passage (2010)
"Some artworks introduce natural phenomena such as rainbows to the gallery space. Others use reflections and shadows to play with the way we perceive and interact with the world. Many works result from the artist’s research into complex geometry, motion patterns, and his interest in colour theory."
I liked the use of intangible organic materials and all the variety of visual phenomena involving lights, water and movements. The big bang fountain and the flash lights was incredible, as it felt like taking pictures with my own eyes, and every single image that was created by the fall of water was unique and totally aleatory. It was also really impressive to experiment the corridor filled with fog, because the whole body of the viewer was immersed in this environment. It really made me want to make a work that would involve the spectator more, for our places project! For me, one of the most interesting work was the one that made space black and white by the use of orange lights, since there was again a real alteration of the viewer’s senses, an effect that lead me to question my own eyes.
Sterling Ruby, Acts/OSIRIS-REx (2016)
Sterling Ruby, ACTS/PRAYING MANTLE (2015)
=> It reminded of a sort of aquarium at first sight, but it's a fluid that's crystallized inside what appears to be resin/acrylic. The render is very pleasing to look at but also seem like a technical prouesse as the mouvementcoulour is just stopped in motion. The contrast of these aleatory and wavy lines with the square crystal-alike content is really fascinating to look at, and especially when the viewer turns around the pieces. I liked the contrast with the tables as well, that show some inscription and scratches. It adds a sort of human presence under these very minimalist sculptures.
---> this reminded me of this chair ☆ that I had in mind a few weeks ago. I like the idea of suspending time and mouvement through the use of transparent acrylic. This gave me the impulse to experiment with agar agar and flowers, as it's non toxic and cheaper than acrylic. It will also be easier and quick to use!
Martin Parr, Boring postcards (1999)
"Parr collects and curates his own images of such places and themes, but he also collects and curates the images of others. [...] It seems as if his dedication to the image, to its publication and diffusion, is total. But it comes with the price tag of a corrosive irony."
--> the idea is to collect and display images in a minimalist way, not to celebrate their inherent aesthetic value (or secondy), but rather to draw the attention of the audience on it's comic value or on the absurdity of such content. It reminds me on the work of Erik Kessels.
This work, as the collection of Erik Kessel, made me want to experiment with a minimalistic way of arrangement to present my collection project.
"Documentary has had a tendency to look at the extremes of society, at the photogenic and the nostalgic. It does not tell you too much about the society in which we live. In the 1970s, I used to look around at documentary photography in Britain and realized that if you took it all together it had no relation to the life I was living at all. A farm in Norfolk, a mental hospital, a circus. But nothing about conditions of life in Britain today. One of the things I've tried to do is make a connection between my life as a traveler, tourist, eater of food and the work that I've done." (E. Parr)
--> tries to work with his everyday. To focus on trivial yet personal things come close to the construction of a diary.
"Parr's attention to the nuances of social behavior had by this stage become nearly sociological: "I treat my documentary stance as being almost a duty to record things which aren't being recorded. You could almost say there's an anthropologist in me." [(E.Parr)]"
Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gas tanks (1965-2009)
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Bernd and Hilla Becher take pictures of industrial patrimony such as gas tanks and reunite these to create typologies. The way they captured these gas tanks is meant to be as neutral as possible - with zenithal light, a frontal point of view and the exact same dimensions for each picture. Here, they are displayed by Hilla Becher (2013) in a minimal way, centered and aligned, following the principle of a grid. The display tends to make it look like documentary photography or as if following the approach of archiving.
Here, the content is a certain type of architecture, and the methodology is to confronte them by displaying them in the most neutral and similar way possible.
==> I think I really was inspired by this idea of determining a typology; I tried to do the same while focusing on a certain type of musical genre + aesthetic for the covers.
Ai Weiwei, straight (2013)
"Straight is an ensemble of metal bars that were part of the ruins of the collapsed houses of Sichuan, whose structures they were supposed to support. Ai Weiwei collected them clandestinely and then straightened out the twisted ones by hand. Straight is therefore not a collection of reinforcing irons, but a tribute to the victims and a reminder of the mistakes that have made the construction of Sichuan so vulnerable. The installation cannot be understood without the account of its genesis."
"The government has never officially recognized that thousands of children have died because the schools where they were at the time of the earthquake were built with poor quality materials and disregarded safety standards. It is for having published on his blog the names of 5,000 of these victims of corruption and neglect that Ai Weiwei was arrested [in 2011]."
--> The act of collecting the names of the children in itself has a political dimension, Weiwei being actively standing against censorship and media silence.
El Anatsui, Ink Splash II (2012)
El Anatsui uses bottles top and make them flat square. Then he connect them and creates a homogeneous surface that seem like a melting canvas or a cover. The shapes and the way he arranges his material recalls me on mosaic, which could be a way to mix an aspects of preciosity and luxury that were traditionally associated to this practice ☆, with used common objects. He also uses a motif borrowed from the pictural language, the ink splash, as the main representation of this work, while he distances from typical art tools and materials such as painting.
Moszynska, Anna, Sculpture Now, Thames & Hudson, London, 2013, pp.61-62
"His work draws on traditional African idioms as well as Western art practices, and his comment that he is "drawn more to materials that have been subjected to considerable human use: mortars, trays, graters, tins and of late liquor bottle tops" indicates the range of materials recycled in his art."
Damiàn Ortega, The Independant : Arsenal's Tiki Taka (2010)
Damiàn Ortega used map pins, disposed directly against a wall and connected by a string. It depicits the tactic used by Arsenal during a play, which resulted in a goal. The article written in the independant described the different player's positions, that are represented by the dots, while the string figurates the way the ball followed. I like the efficiency of this work, as it allows to expose a succession of move all at the same time, with the minimum ressources. The render is also quite mysterious at first sight, as it recalls on a constellation.
Mario Merz, A Mallarmé (2003)
Doris Salcedo, Untitled (1989-1990)
Constantin Brancusi, Bird in space (1923)
Brancusi’s Bird in Space is a tall, slender sculpture made of bronze, marble, and wood. The bronze body, which swells at its center and then tapers at both ends, sits on a marble pedestal, which in turn is supported by a wood base. Bird in Space illustrates not necessarily the bird’s physical attributes but an abstract illusion of flight, portrayed by the swelling and tapering of the sculpture. The bird is pushing off from its feet tapered at the end and rises up as it thrusts its chest out and slightly tilts its head back. The elongated body expresses the quintessential speed and movement associated with flight.
=> the purpose is suggestion or evocation rather than representation, exemplifying the distinction between embodiment/illustration. (-> this choice of Brancusi lead to the renew of the question: what is art ? Will the law condor it art if it's not figurative?)
Alexander Calder, Triple Gong (1951)
"About 1930, Calder produced a new type of hanging mobile from wire, pieces of glass and wood. M. Duchamp used the word "mobile" in 1932 to describe Calder's work and distinguish it from "stabile", as stationary sculpture had been named by Hans Arp."
" Alexander Calder, with his technical knowledge and engineering expertise, perfected the elements of the mobile and thus furthered the development of a technical-artistic dualism in this medium."
"Once the mobiles were increased in size to a scale the artist could not manage in his studio, there were problems with their production. The first giant mobiles created by the ironworkers were often unnecessarily heavy; consequently, the movement of these large works was very slow, if they moved at all. Eventually, the technical difficulties were partially re-solved, but even in the later examples the original whimsical quality and spirited movement of the hand- crafted wind-driven mobiles were lost when the works were transformed into a colossal scale."
"Calder deliberately avoided what he called "the impression of mud piled onthe floor,"46 and his wire sculptures and Circus figures flying the face of the traditional sculptural reliance on immobile, massive, and weighty form. [...] Calder's Circus figures and wire sculptures owe a formal debt to the experiments of these artists [ Vladimir Tatlin and Naum Gabo], especially in their appreciation of space as a positive force. But Calder was not interested in frozen, delicate forms made of glass and celluloid. He used wire in a different way, as a volatile, snaking, squirming, and irrationally independant line. Calder sought to create a wire line which "moves on its own volition... jokes and teases... [is] deliberately [and], with all but human imagination, goes off into wild scrolls and tight tendrils". The unsettled line of the sculpture was intended to both disorient and re-orient the viewer. Calder intentionally accentuated the "instability of situations" in his wire pieces, exploiting the tensile strength of wire to deliberately effect a sense of uneasy overhang and an absence of safe, anchoring plumblines."
Sophie Tauber-Arp, Quatre espaces à croix brisée (1932)
The kinetic quality of a composition can also be sought in two-dimensional works. For example, it's present in the work of geometric abstraction of the swiss artist Sophie Taueber-Arp. "Quatre espaces à croix brisée" (Four spaces with a broken cross) (1932) rests on an appearance of statism and symmetry which are disturbed by the breaking of the central cross, whose left branch seems to be rushing out of the canvas.
Hurvin Anderson, Welcome : Carib (2005)
Hurvin Anderson, Country Club Series : Chicken Wire (2008)
"Hurvin Anderson returns repeatedly to paint places of social interaction. Parks, bars, local corner stores, barbershops and country clubs have resonance for the artist, who is both reflecting the Caribbean and responding to the complex spacial layers that these sites offer.
For this exhibition, in one of his paintings, Anderson returns to the Tennis Court, from an earlier Country Club series. On a trip to Trinidad, he photographed the tennis court at a distance through a chicken wire fence. This was the starting point for his continued investigation into barriers, and their iconographic potential. The artist is drawn again and again to the inherent contradiction of these barriers which simultaneously impose distance and yet attract through their formal design.
In other works in the show Anderson has pared back the image to focus only on the patterns and shapes of the window grills, fences, wrought iron gates and beaded curtains. These ubiquitous structures that are designed to keep one out, become the way into Hurvin Anderson's paintings. As such, these motifs go beyond their decorative functions to become a method for creating tension within the pictorial space."
=> The fences depicted in these paintings are not partitions, they allow to see through. Choosing to focus on its graphic appearance draws attention to the aesthetic value of the fence or the mesh that prints over the forbidden space, while the object in itself has a strong social meaning; they're function is to set a boundary between a private space (therefore inaccessible) and the outer space, in which the painter and the spectator are situated.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Tea Time in New Heaven (2013)
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Portals : Grandmother's Parlour (2016)
"Akunyili Crosby creates vibrant paintings that weave together personal and cultural narratives drawn from her experience. She uses an array of materials and techniques in each of her autobiographical works. Collage and photo-transfer provide texture and complexity to the surface of each composition in which photographs from family albums mingle with images from popular Nigerian lifestyle magazines. This varied and inventive use of media serves as a visual metaphor for the intersection of cultures as well as the artist’s own hybrid identity."
“Portals” contests assimilationist definitions of American identity in favor of a representation which is multiplicitous, operating across geographies. By juxtaposing images from different times, in different directions, Crosby constructs “contact zones” and provokes a mode of looking that reflects a feeling dislocation from the country in which she stands, the United States, and the country with which she also identifies, Nigeria.
[...] The process of sourcing her readymade images represents an act of memory, an effort to lay eyes on definitive residues of her childhood. There is a snapshot quality to many of the transfers, which, combined with the faded hues that result from Crosby rubbing the photographic image into the painting’s paper, leaves a filtered haze that mimics the way memory works sometimes. Some transfers are hard to make out, and many American eyes might skim past them, perhaps considering the subject unrecognizable, choosing instead to focus on the painted figure. The transfers are discernible, however, to viewers who are familiar with the generation and geography of the popular culture Crosby reproduces.
The photographs help form a barrier, informed by popular culture references, between the artist and the representation. Since no one audience, aside from the artist, will recognize them all, the photographs are a means by which Crosby can control the level of intimacy between audience and artist. This agentive act of building a personal archive also manages the degree to which the artist is revealed.
Samara Scott, Silks (2015)
Guillaume Apollinaire, Il pleut (1914)
cest vous aussi qu'il pleut merveilleuses rencontres de ma vie ô gouttelettes
et ces nuages cabrés se prennent à hennir tout un univers de villes auriculaires
écoute sil pleut tandis que le regret et le dédain pleurent une ancienne musique
écoute tomber les liens qui te retiennent en haut et en bas
its raining womens voices as if they were dead even in memory
Ben Vautier, Les amis du miam (2009)
Ann Veronica Janssens, L'odrre n'a pas d'ipmrotncae (2012)
The artist took a sentence she found in an article about the order of letters. The text appears in white capital letters and says "The odrer has no ipmrotncae" : as a Cambridge's study shows, as long as the first and last letter of a word are in order, the rest can be mixed without having an incidence on the reading.
This installation is placed on a building in the center-town of Geneva, and "gives rise to an apprehension in several stages, revealing a reading reflex that allows, by automatic ordering, a global understanding".
Jenny Holzer, I can't tell you (2006)
Jenny Holzer, Protect me from what I want (1982)
Maya Maxx (1995)
Molly Soda, Comfort Zone (2017)
Molly Soda, I'm funny and I cry a lot (2016)
Zhang Huan, To add one meter to an anonymous mountain (1995)
"To Add One Meter was inspired by an old saying, 'Beyond the mountain, there are more mountains'" Huan explained at the time. "It is about humility. Climb this mountain and you will find an even bigger mountain in front of you. It's about changing the natural state of things, about the idea of possibilities."
=> Zhang Huan is one of the artist whose work touches me the most. I discovered it during my years in college and was astonished by the way his pieces of art can be poetry, showing a sense of visual and ideal beauty, as well as it uses on an extreme violence against moral and physical boundaries.
I think that what I like most on this picture is that it's extremely simple, at first sight. Yet, this idea of adding one meter to a mountain by covering it with naked bodies offers a piece that is, formally and conceptually, one the most powerful I've ever seen. On a material point of view, because of the association between one massive inanimate and almost immortal object that is the mountain and the multiplicity of ephemral human skin and hair shows a strong contrasts and create something new, the anonymous mountain. The title itself, while it objectively describes the performance and delivers the meaning of the composition, also carries in itself a poetic charge. It evokes the relativity of human benchmarks, and formulates an imaginary act that is in itself neither necessary nor completely achievable, but that tries to deal with, and overcome a bit, the limits of nature and of human condition.
This work also makes sense in the context of our project, as it's a verb performed through the use of bodies, and which also happens to directly references the notion of space and it's marks, as they are being modified by these bodies.
Bruce Naumann, Portrait as a fountain (1966)
"Self-Portrait as a Fountain is one of Bruce Nauman’s Photographic Suite of eleven photographs based on puns. The portfolio reveals Bruce Nauman’s interest in the functions of language, as he humorously depicts literal interpretations of common phrases. In Self-Portrait as a Fountain, Nauman questions the traditional role of the artist. He depicts himself shirtless, with raised arms and open palms, spewing an arc of water out of his pursed lips, in imitation of the nude statues customarily found in decorative fountains. Thus the artist and the work of art become one and the same. During the period in which he made this work, Nauman used the statement “The true artist is an amazing luminous fountain” in a number of text-based works. This playful illustration of the statement satirizes the cliché of the artist as a prolific genius who spews forth a steady stream of masterpieces. Self-Portrait as a Fountain also pays homage to Marcel Duchamp‘s notorious Fountain (1917)—a readymade porcelain urinal that Duchamp provocatively exhibited as a sculpture. Like Fountain, Nauman’s Self-Portrait as a Fountain subverts conventional definitions of what constitutes a work of art."
=> Performance involves using the body both as a medium and as a concept. The staging of oneself, in this case, invites to reflect on the role and status of the artist, as Duchamp did, amongst others, by redefining the notion of the sacred or the canonical in art.
Marina Abramović, Imponderabilla (1977)
Ayesha Tan Jones (2019)
"Model Ayesha Tan Jones silently protested on the Gucci runway Sunday – with their hands. The words "MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT FASHION" were written on their palms. The British activist, who identifies as nonbinary, flashed their ink on the catwalk in response to the imagery of Gucci's Milan Fashion Week show, which began with still models in white straitjackets and sandals atop a conveyor belt. In Tan Jones' words, using "outfits alluding to mental patients, while being rolled out on a conveyor belt as if a piece of factory meat … is vulgar, unimaginative and offensive to the millions of people around the world affected by these issues." They continued: "I chose to protest the Gucci S/S 2020 runway show as I believe, as many of my fellow models do, that the stigma around mental health must end.""
=> As model, their bodies are invested by Gucci. They parade in their name and promote their clothing as part of their contract, and in my opinion, there's a paradox in the way that the models are generally made physically visible through the show, while their personal opinions and political posture tend to be invibilized as they have to adapt to their employers ideologies. But here, they speak out and opposite to the artistic choice of the house. I think it’s an incredible risk-taking and speaking out against an institution as powerful as this multinational can be, and to use the parade’s visibility to convey a broader message also recall on Gianni Motti.
It also made me think of a question that goes beyond this clothing line, about romanticizing mental health issues, as we may have inherit in the collective imagination through artistic figures such as accursed poet or genius, as defined in the 19th century.
Gordon Matta-Clark, Days End (1977)
Day’s End, 1975, Pier 52, Gansevoort Street and West Street, New York
"A lack of commercial interest in piers and their associated warehouses afforded Matta-Clark the opportunity to gain access to such sites on several occasions in the past, but the piece at Pier 52 was his most adventurous with this type. It involved the cutting of a warehouse dating from the turn of the century, previously owned by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, but long since abandoned. [...] Matta-Clark responded to the magical space of the building through a series of circular cuts that crossed, with only sections of each removed; this was also his most complex cutting to date. Removing sections of steel walls, between 250 and 450 mm thick, and sturdy wooden floor supports, he first cut a 3 m wide moat across the middle, bisecting the front and back halves."
"Matta-Clark was prosecuted for his use/misuse of the building, and faced a possible lawsuit for one million dollars in damages. The work at Pier 52 had been made without consent, and Matta-Clark had boarded and barb-wired all entrances except one, to which he had fixed his own lock. In his defence, Matta-Clark asserted that he had transformed this abandoned building into an indoor park of water and light. The claim for damages was finally dropped."
Martin Creed, Work No. 200: half the air in a given space (1998)
"[...] in 2001 Mr. Creed precipitated something of an uproar in the British press when he won the Tate’s Turner Prize for “Work No. 227: Lights Going On and Off.” It is exactly what it sounds like: The lights of a given space, which may or may not contain other art, are set to turn off and on at regular intervals. Depending on your mood, it creates frustration or provides breathers from looking at art. [...] As these works suggest, the art of Martin Creed veers between shock therapy and something quite a bit more tender. Either way it is direct, irreverent and also clownish, with, when it succeeds, an undercurrent of seriousness. Mr. Creed’s purpose, is generally to take liberties, with the body, the museum, the idea of art and most of all with the viewer’s imagination."
Creed's work Work No. 200: Half the air in a given space (1998) is a room which has half of its cubic space filled with balloons.
=> The title shows that the subject is the air volume of the space that is investigated by the work. The balloon serves as the measuring tool to quantify and to pack half the air of the gallery, at the same time that it obstructs the room space, as it becomes the content of the work in itself.
Tacita Dean, Palast (2004)
"Palast was created in Berlin. [...] It comprises a sequence of still shots angled at the reflective surfaces of bronze-mirrored windows on the Palast der Republik, or the Palace of the Republic, a government building opened in 1976 in former East Berlin serving primarily as the seat of the German Democratic Republic parliament – the Volkskammer. Built on the site of the former Hohenzollern palace (the Stadtschloss or City Palace), an ornate baroque palace, the Palast der Republik embodied the architectural style of the socialist government – a grand, imposing rectangular block, clad in white marble with 180 metres of windowed façade and named ‘the house of a thousand windows’. [...] Dean’s film looks at the building close up – only ever showing a section of the windowed walls and giving no sense of its vast scale. Instead, the camera focuses on the visual effects of changing light as the sun sets. Tightly cropped shots of the gridded windows show rectangles of brilliant yellow and glowing gold, abstracted compositions interrupted by the silhouette of a streetlamp, the reflection of a church crucifix or a white X mysteriously inscribed on a single pane of glass. While the soundtrack features the banal ambient noise of the street, including the sound of cars and the rumble of a motorbike, footsteps, clocks chiming, female voices speaking in German and dusk birdsong, the visual imagery becomes increasingly apocalyptic as the sun sets, reflected on the surface of the windows and framed by the industrial grid structure of the window cladding as a white ball of fire in a dramatic sea of red and orange that recalls the sublime paintings of the British nineteenth century artist John Martin (1789–1854)."
"“I find things in the process of disappearing attractive,” Tacita Dean admits. In her works she tracks down stories, places and people whose appearance reveals to us the transformations of the times. Before this background it is not surprising that the artist made the Palace of the Republic into the subject of a film work and a portfolio of six coloured photo engravings in 2005: at that time the building erected by the GDR government on the site of the former Berlin City Palace was destined for demolition. However, it was still possible to use the gutted building for art exhibitions and actions on a temporary basis. It was during this period that Dean produced the mysterious, melancholy images of the portfolio “Palace”. "
Thomas Demand, Presidency II (2008)
Moszynska, Anna, Sculpture Now, Thames & Hudson, London, 2013, p.101:
"[...] the construction of complexe sets that are made by hand and then photographed before being dismantled or discarded in favor of retaining the photographed image as the artwork [...]"
"Thomas Demand is primarily a sculptor. His works are 1:1 prints of highly realistic, life-sized models and sets painstakingly crafted in the studio out of paper and cardboard, which he photographs and then destroys. His interest focuses on the scenes of events that have never been entirely clarified and retain an aura of mystery in the collective memory.
[...] Presidency was commissioned by the New York Times Magazine, which published the frontal image of the desk in the Oval Office on its cover in November 2008, immediately after the presidential elections. The image created by the artist does not, however, offer any clue as to the identity of the president. Is the leather armchair still occupied by George W. Bush or does Barack Obama sit there now? Even though we do not know, however, the empty room constitutes a symbol of political and ideological decisions of the utmost importance. The question is thus raised of the connection between the Oval Office and the power it embodies. Thomas Demand addresses not only the illusion of power but also the illusory authenticity of photography in a society of communication. The fact that it was a weekly news magazine that commissioned the work from an artist like Demand adds a further significant element. Demand plays with representation as simulation that comes to replace the reality represented.
In actual fact, he works almost exclusively on images of places he has never visited in person. These are supplied by the mass media, of which he himself is a consumer, and firmly imprinted in the collective memory. At the same time, however, he eliminates every trace of the events and the figures involved. The scenes are represented in a deliberately neutral way, stripped of any detail that might gratify the voyeuristic appetites of the public. These images possess symbolic value due to events that the artist does not, however, show us. It is the viewer that must be aware of the facts in order to give the images their narrative dimension. Demand thus undertakes a reflection on individual moments in our recent history through reiteration, representation at two removes."
Liza Lou, Maximum Security Fence (2005)
"Over the past several years, while living and working in South Africa, Liza Lou has developed a body of work based upon further ideas of confinement and protection. Security Fence (2005) is a full-scale, silver beaded enclosure of chain-link and razor wire that can neither be entered nor exited."
Do Ho Suh, Home within Home within Home within Home within Home (2013)
Do Ho Suh (b. 1962, Seoul, Korea; lives and works in London, New York and Seoul) works across various media, creating drawings, film, and sculptural works that confront questions of home, physical space, displacement, memory, individuality, and collectivity. Suh is best known for his fabric sculptures that reconstruct to scale his former homes in Korea, Rhode Island, Berlin, London, and New York. Suh is interested in the malleability of space in both its physical and metaphorical forms, and examines how the body relates to, inhabits, and interacts with that space. He is particularly interested in domestic space and the way the concept of home can be articulated through architecture that has a specific location, form, and history. For Suh, the spaces we inhabit also contain psychological energy, and in his work he makes visible those markers of memories, personal experiences, and a sense of security, regardless of geographic location.
"What makes Do Ho Suh’s works truly remarkable is the sense of community and collaboration that is woven throughout his projects. From a group of nationally treasured pensioners who taught him how to sew the intricate seams of many of his works, to his mother’s touch on finding the right fabric, Do Ho Suh draws on the strengths of those around him to create his packable palaces."
=> collective dimension of his work, not spontaneously in that form but requires exchanges, communication and participation of other instances ( I should really keep this collective notion in mind and not shut myself in). The work also explicit how our sense of identity is built on different appartenances.
About the fabric: it makes his work easier to carry, as it’s really light and it can fit a case. So the work in itself can travel from one space to another. It also gives a render that could make allusion to the spectral aspect of his memories of the places. He reproduce spaces he has been living in and that inhabit him in reciprocity, through the affective value he sees in them.
The play with the different proportions of these buildings could refer on his own history with the most ancient being the pit and the occidental manoir overlaying the temple.
The use of thrill really inspired me to use this material as well, as it's very light and can ba easily transport. The main problem with it though is that it can quickly become a giant knot, so I must really reflect on a way to avoid my work to be unavailable because of the transport, if I use sewing as a method.
Do Ho Suh, Perfect Home (2002)
"Critics have written much about how Suh’s work goes beyond the “East/West binary” and explores issues of global mass migration. While Suh has never identified himself with such political issues, he has consistently talked about homesickness, cultural displacement and (be)longing in terms reminiscent of the negative space described by writers in the Go Home!collection: “I’m not in one place—just in between, definitely… I think this notion—home—is something that you can infinitely repeat…I think home is something you carry along with your life… I just want to carry that with me, you know, all the time.” "
"I mean, at some point in your life, you have to leave your home. And whenever you go back, it’s just not the same home anymore. I think home is something that you carry along with your life. That’s what I mean by [saying] it’s something that you can repeat over and over again. I just dealt with that issue visually. In a physically [minimal] way, it’s this light fabric thing that can recreate this ambiance of a space. (Do Ho Such)"