London Trip 18th Feb, Artist Context
I decided to visit London on a uni trip with my friend Ruth. We first explored the Royal Academy which had the artists such as Ruben, Jenny Saville and Francis Bacon etc.
I did not particularly enjoy the Ruben exhibit as I found it a little boring compared to the more contemporary section.
Jenny Savilles work was quite interesting it was based on a myth called Philomela which is from Greek Mythology expresses a sister in law being severly raped by her brother in law for over a year and he cuts out her tongue so she cannot tell a soul. She manages to weave a tapestry to send to her sister. Her sister is then mortified by the context and plans to take revenge on her husband, she then kills their son and feeds him in a meal to her husband.
The work is quite distorted in a expressionistic way, we can see some detail though most is quite dark and grotesque and she mainly used tones of black and whites here than colour. We can make out the child’s head in the bottom right hand corner and what we can assume is the rape taking place centrally but its too distorted to make out apart from some nude figures.
Another piece that caught my eye was Francis Bacons of sleeping figure produced in 1959, this exhibit strongly concentrated on the nude form mainly of female orientated forms which is quite different to see a male one here.
Francis Bacon was born on 28th Oct in 1909 and died at the age of 82 on April the 22nd 1992. His work mainly consisted of grotesque figures and portraits of distorted men in the nude etc. His work had many themes but the main few were sexuality and death, he had severe depression and often destroyed his work.
I find much of my work does explore the grotesque and macabre I think I just find life and death such a interesting topic, I love investigating in my projects in the sense of historical facts and local history.
We then visited the Saatchi Gallery which had some macabre works regarding life and death and phobias in many ways as its one of the greatest fears known to human kind.
Here was a very creepy piece, when I first examined it I realised it was human hair once I understood what it was I was in complete awe. It was a installation piece and every strand of hair made a flag representing a country.
I was memorized by this work and I spent quite a while finding flags I recognized.
Going further into the gallery I came across a room that was dedicated to sex, the nude and pornography from a video depicting the visual and sound of sex by the artist banging his hands together the viewer cannot help but relate the sound to sex from the flesh.
Here I thought it was in good humor,as studying closer its a fact that these skeleton are just another perspective and form, of human having sex.
I was drawn to this piece, I think it was because I felt as ease and comforted by the imagery world that allowed my mind to run away with imagination.
These pieces were very morbid once I started examining them closely I realised they were photographs of real dead bodies. I was not sure how to react, as I have always had a interest of the themes of death. Seeing the first image of the withered skin of his cheek bones and curling feet was unnerving, as its something we are not exposed to. The second body of the woman linked to me with cancer, due to her absence of hair and the medical circles on her skin upon her chest.
Her hands also appear to be bloated and beginning to turn purple as we see scabs on her head, it was quite upsetting to see as professions in Medical areas and the services would be exposed to the natural everyday events.
I saw some more Francis Bacon, which I really admired it linked perfectly to my work. Exploring the idea of something that could be considered hideous though beautiful, this is something I want to explore in my own work as his work here is very dark in the sense of his use of colour and subject as the face is distorted, but we can respect it and the pain he must have felt.
We then continued our exploring by visiting the Tate Modern, I found it quite hectic being half term week as there were more visitors than usual which was frustrating.
Studying this piece had many features of various things, from exploring the abuse of women linking to domestic housework and life and focuses of the theme of identity.
After this we decided to visit the Tate Britain, I did not have the chance to fully explore the complex but I did manage to jot down some helpful artists to look at.
Some were quite inspirational such as Louise Bourgeois the 25th December 1911 and died the 31st May in 2010.
Her works explored mainly spider sculptures, “Maman” is referred to a famous piece the Tate Modern commissioned her to produced which was related to fear and her mothers illness.
These drawings of spiders look terrifying in many aspects as she really emphasises the legs to express their creepy nature. I hope to capture some horror elements in my work from a first and third person perspective, as it will really portray the fear I want to capture.
Spiders are in fact the most common phobia I found for animals in my questionnaire. I think it’s due to the fast movement of their many legs and shape etc. It will be interesting to put myself in that position of acting out a phobia.
Another piece I saw was the Francis Bacons The Three studies at the base of the Crucifixion produced in 1944 painted in oils. It was supposed to have themes of religion, but Bacon suggested later on it linked to the Eumenides – the vengeful furies of Greek myth. This links to my work in various ways as we see it as the grotesque but we appreciate the colours as well.
Lastly is another Bacon piece, here again captures the moment of a scream which I think links perfectly to peoples reactions in my work that I plan to study.
Group Tutorial Feb 17th,
My group tutorial was quite interesting is was tiring as we got through the day, but it was helpful to see other peoples work to suggest areas they could consider taking it further such as one class mates work explored the use of print and I suggested maybe a way to allow people to interact with it and feel the texture as it seemed so inviting.
Another student explored the idea of collage in her work and people interacted with both parts which told a story, it was fun to play with a hand held book. But I felt the two pieces of work felt too separate rather than combining to a greater body of work. I do think though something you can interact with it really playful and fun.
My work at this point is all theory so it was difficult to show anything as I plan to donate blood on the 19th of Feb, they liked the concept though about the idea of risk and phobia. I’m quite nervous about donating blood but I think I will feel quite proud after it.
16th Feb Susan Adams crit talk
I decided to sit in on Susan Adams talk which was quite interesting in understanding her work as I never fully appreciated it I don’t think. My work does link and I can relate to her work from a narrative aspect she explores elements of the real world to the imagination from her website she quotes, “Current research exploring the dialogue between different physical levels within an art work, in particular above, at and below ground level. This exploration operates within a sociological, geographical an psychological framework. The tree flickers with man-made structures, both stretching roots that blindly reach into a different level.”
Much of her work explores these aspects of different layers in the world and possibly a connection to people their selves in the layers of skin to muscle etc.
“I am interested in exploring the relationship between fantasy and the real and the locations in which these two worlds collide. I am drawn to effigies of the living, uncanny, half-alive objects such as puppets, automata, figures that were made with a specific purpose in mind such as to embody religious beliefs. Being in the presence of something borderline raises questions as to the nature and perception of reality and the nearness of death or absence of reality and possible insanity. Another strand in the work is an attentive watchfulness for meaning, a hermit-like craving for signs. I have long been fascinated by the texts of riddles or questions that have no answers. In recent work the locations in which the organic and the mechanical find an uneasy relationship has been satellite dishes and telecommunications masts. They seem alert to the giving and receiving of information in the air, looking for meaning that has gone astray.”
The above image explores the connection between reality and mental challenges with whats real and whats not, such as the taboo of hearing voices etc.
It was quite inspirational of a talk as I feel I understand her work more now.
Further Artist Research Feb 14-
Is a well known tutor and performance artist. Her book called Performancemania was quite a interesting read regarding her works, one that caught my attention was her visiting the dentist to have her mouth anaesthetised so she slurred her words as she gave lectures to students, which appears to be more of a social experiment in many ways. Regarding my project of phobias many people actually fear the dentist including my father which is in regards to his awful teeth and he associates it with getting a filling.
Another piece which is quite interesting is called “Kiss Exam” produced in 1999 this explored taking a volunteer to kiss against a wall while Newman wrote the details of the experience. Much like my work she has participated in uncomfortable situations and personal experience and space.
Artist Research 13 Feb-
Marina Abramovich, November 30, 1946 in Belgrade in Spain. I have always felt like I had a strong connection to Marina, she pushed her limits in her work from her body to her mind. My favorite piece I have always admired was Rhythm 0 this was performed in 1974 where there was a sign directing people they could use any item on the table in front of them. They could use these objects on her. She was to stay motionless in this ordeal and allowed people to abuse her mentally and psychically.
She quoted “What I learned was that… if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.” … “I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.”
Looking at images it appeared to be a more male dominated atmosphere, as she sat in a room for six hours. This to me is the borderline of the extreme she pushed herself to be abused as she was passive to their actions, she could have been severely hurt or worse they could have killed her.
Much like Marina I plan to push myself mentally by re-creating peoples phobias. I have narrowed it down to a handful to consider and the second one I will act out will be donating blood. Many people have asked me why I want to examine this as a project, I began with the Supernatural and paranormal and I did not know how I could have continued in the sense of presenting it. It led me to a abandon tunnel in Greyfair which I began questioning why did people find it so frightening to watch, especially people with claustrophobia? I then realised it was because they imagined and pictured their selves in my position carrying the act out.
This led me to question people and their phobias to see what people feared. I feel this direction in my project is the way to go and I would not change the outcome any other way.
Valie Export, Performance Artist.
Much like Abramovich Export pushed her body to the extreme, here in Eros made in 1971 she rolls around on broken glass which could have been a euphemism at Glen Millers book “Broken Glass,” a book regarding the war from the Jews to the Nazis and the beginning of prosecution against the Jewish community. As she is a Austrian Artist many Austrians attitudes towards women were still believed to be based on Nazi ideology.
Abramovich also explored Exports work, as they are friends and both great admiration for one another. In Action Pants: Genital Panic. 1969 Export explored women from a feminist perspective, which explored wearing crotchless pants and physically approaching people to view her genitalia.
This was more physically engaging than mentally, which is something to consider for my work.
Tutorial with Davida, 12th Feb,
My tutorial went really well with Davida I was quite shocked as she seemed to be interested in my project and how it progressed. I found out her phobia was maggots, which was interesting as it involved her baby sitting as a teenager and the house was apparently covered in maggots. I found everyone’s phobias was linked to some sort of negative experience as a child, much like my phobia of Vertigo which is looking down from heights I remembered three instances and one involved being stuck in my attic as I couldn’t face getting down and stepping on a wobbly ladder.
Davida mentioned I’m putting myself in a series of real life situations – overcoming other people’s fears for them. This is true I plan to donate blood, interact with animals such as snakes, rats and spiders as I have found most people fears involve animals. I am quite nervous, though I’m very excited to explore putting myself in dangerous and daring situations.
Davida gave me a list of artists to look at which I have started examining, some I knew already like Marina Abramovic who focuses her body and mind into her work which demonstrates the emotional and psychical aspects of her work which has been in the past dangerous and draining to her health.
I also had a list of books to look at, which I have taken several out to examine.
Artist Context, Teresa Margolles Feb 12th.
As I explained to Tom I was worried how to present my work, he suggested to look at this artist. Her work is quite interesting and I think I have seen it previously. Studying the morbid and grotesque has always been a fascination of mine and Teresa made several morbid pieces.
Born in Culican in 1963 in Mexico she exhibits globally and exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2009, I have visited the Biennale twice now and enjoyed my time there and experience. One of her works was at Arts Mundi 5 Exhibition, here she had water droplets falling onto hotplates which sizzled which I am convinced I saw it exhibited a few years back.
The work consist of Plancha water, which has been used to cleanse dead bodies in a Mexican morgue, drips from the ceiling onto hotplates. It was to represent the respect of decomposing bodies from life to death, which most of her work focuses on.
It’s interesting how she presents her work which is something I will have to consider greatly in my work and particular shots etc