memory. language, art. wittgenstein. books. ceramics.

all sorts of thinkings on memory, language, art, wittgenstein, books, etc, while I am getting on with my MA

Sunday 30 May 2010

Ceramics and jewelry at RCA Summer Show 1

That show got me really thinking about what I want to do and why I am doing all this. I realised, I love printed ceramics as much as I loved it, when I was printing my plates. I love fantasy. I love the impossible seem possible. I will be back at it in September.

I did not take many photos there, because at the doors they insisted, that no photography was allowed. I thought it was bizarre, considering that the show is meant to be promoting emerging artists. Anyway, once we were in, I saw a few people taking photos and non of the students minded that.

Marta Mattson will be on my letter to Santa this year. She makes the most stunning crystal encrusted bug brooches. And those delicate lasercut ribbons from calf skin! She makes jewelry of the fairy tales. Her aesthetics remind me of Horniman Museum and old curiosity cabinets.

Sun Ae Kim reminded me how much I love porcelain: the translucency, the silky feel, the days of "The Curious Sofa".

If I was doing a degree in ceramics, I would end up doing something like what Hanna Mannheimer does. She layers, breaks, assembles. She uses found objects and she is not precious. Yep - it does not look like she works with the tweezers. Looking forward to seeing more of her work!

Amy Jayne Huges has got some very scribly vessels. Just like Hanna (above) she seems to have a very casual and expressive way of putting things together: a bit higgledy piggledy, a bit overflowing. Beautiful.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Vito Drago, Chris Kenny and Alberto Duman at England&Co

The lower gallery at England&Co has got the recent work of Vito Drago, Chris Kenny and Alberto Duman.

1. Chris Kenny produces those collages held together in the air by pins. They look extremely delicate and I bet they take absolutely ages to pin down. That man must have some patience!

This time, at England&Co he has got written language pinned down. I love that it looks like a coherent text - expecially the shadow of the lines in the background.

I remember seeing Chris Kenny's work at Fred gallery last year the collage exhibition. He had maps there, doing the same thing that he did at England&Co with language: taking a fragment out of the context, alienating it from it's previous habitat, planting it into a new artificial system, where the fragment acquires new neighbors and a new meaning.

2. Vito Drago had some "mixed media on page".
He has always stressed that the books he uses and manipulates in his work are ‘non-specific’, saying that ‘it is not the message of a particular book that interests me… there is no element of interpretation’. Drago takes the perception of books being representative of ‘knowledge’ and subverts and questions the certainty of that concept through deletion and obliteration – the content is irrelevant. He asks: ‘what do we really know?’
I thought his work was beautiful - there was kind of sensitivity to it. Something to contemplate about.

3. On the whole, I prefer Alberto Duman's work that was not in that gallery. And the reason for that is this: I don't like seeing the pixelation of the slated lines on the prints. I heard they are screenprints, but I assume they had been prepared on the computer and the pixels are visible. I am such an ass, but I felt cheated.
I would have preferred if the prints were letterpressed.

Friday 28 May 2010

John Furnival at England&Co

‘iconic exactness is combined with a spirit of semantic complexity and irony’.

I really like his drawings. The mishmash of intellectual fantasies spat out with amazing simplicity and exactness.

‘my whole work has been involved with the making of a moiré pattern of meaning, the laying of one message over another, unrelated one, to produce a third, unrelated to either.’

Saturday 22 May 2010

Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty

I saw this at Barbican yesterday.
Beautiful! Oh, don't we love scaring little scaredy children!
A bit Edward Gorey.

Friday 21 May 2010

Animate the World 2010 VS Anime Weekend

Two heartbreakingly beautiful feasts of animation in one weekend. How do you choose?!

Animate the World 2010 at Barbican
Anime Weekend at BFI

Animate the World has got all the workshops, Karel Zeman films, japanimation.

Anime Weekend has got... anime, of course. Including Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva.

Brendan and the Secret of Kells?

Thursday 20 May 2010

Disseminated letters

This was just lying on the floor in the studio. A bit like thoughts scattered around in a effort to compose themselves together into something meaningful.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Lepidopterophobia - fear of butterflies (2)

This is linked to Lepidopterophobia - fear of butterflies.

I have also been wondering about how much should I explain my work. I have started reading Susan Sontag and her writing only enforced my opinion, that too much explanation ruins the artwork: rips off the mystery and leaves no space for private thoughts and links.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Can aesthetics of an artwork stop the viewer from reading into the meaning?

We had our mid-point review the other day. The idea is, that a student displays one piece of their work and then he keeps his mouth shut, as others talk about it.

I had my one piece. In fact, I had one part of one piece - mine was only an element from a series. An abstract kind of an element too. As a result, nobody could "read" it.  It was agreed, that the work was aesthetically pleasing, that it encouraged the viewer to return to it, to explore and to discover. Then somebody said, that with some artwork, they are happy not to know the meaning (the intention?). And then came the question:
can aesthetics of an artwork stop the viewer from reading into the meaning?

Hm... Can aesthetics stop the viewer from reading into the meaning?

That brought the whole shitload of questions onto my poor unassuming brain.

1. Do I have to give a clear message?
2. Doesn't that make the artwork the same as a picture book? A dog = a picture of a dog?
3. Isn't straightforward representation of meaning called illustration?
4. Does art have to be "readable" only in it's direct interpretation of intended meaning?

Four days and four nights I did not sleep. Until I came a cross this blog entry from Jonathan Jones, called Explanations are the traitor of art.
If an artist can translate the meaning and purpose of a work into easily understandable words, it means one of two things. Either the artist is lying, in order to ease the way with patrons and funders; or the artist is a fool. And if dishonesty is the reason, that too is something that vitiates art. No serious art is easy to interpret. Nor is there ever a single valid interpretation of art. If art is good, there are many things to be said about it and much that will remain unsayable.
That blog led me onto this article in the Independent called Is art running out of ideas? Artist's forced to explain modern art by Tom Lubbock.

What we're up against here are two of contemporary art's guiding imperatives. Rule 1) Justification by meaning: the worth and interest of a work resides in what it's about. Rule 2) Absolute freedom of interpretation: a work is "about" anything that can, at a pinch, be said about it.


That's the problem with these meanings. They're not just highly tenuous. They're depressingly limiting. And we should put them aside. We should stop measuring art by its meaningfulness. We should heed the wise words of Susan Sontag, written almost 50 years ago in her essay "Against Interpretation".
"Our task is not to find the maximum amount of content in a work of art, much less to squeeze more content out of the work than is already there. Our task is to cut back on content so that we can see the thing at all. The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art – and, by analogy, our own experience – more, rather than less, real to us."

And then Wittgenstein - of course :-) - came extremely handy too. "What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence" (from his Tractatus). I suppose art comes into the category of those things, with which language is incapable of dealing very well. Like any other kind of philosophy. To be continued.

Anyway, I can sleep now. I am getting somewhere.

I might have to read that Susan Sontag's book "Against Interpretation".

Thursday 13 May 2010

Tony Trehy, Text Festival & other stuff.

When looking for some Art and Text reviews, I came across Tony Trehy's blog. Tony Trehy is a poet and a curator. He is also a founder of the Text Festival.
which brings together contemporary linguistically innovative poetry with conceptual art practices in a remarkable, internationally recognised, space of dialogue, sharing and experimentation in the field of creative language art.

Really enjoyed the blog! Very interesting, at times personal. Among many things I found on his blog, is the mention of Writing on the Wall, which is what I am reading now.

Monday 10 May 2010

Hellen Douglas does Daddy Long Legs

A book from Hellen Douglas. Perfect spider.

Sunday 9 May 2010

What Waldemar Januszczak said about text art.

This an article from March, but I keep returning to it.

"Text art gives me problems. Obviously, it is not an ism that speeds the pulse. You cannot imagine anyone adoring it with a crazy passion, can you? “What’s your favourite art?” “Text art. It shakes my kidneys!” That isn’t going to happen. If text art gives pleasure, it does so in a mild, thoughtful, dry and passionless way.

As a writer, I also have powerful conceptual difficulties accepting its basic premise. If someone has put some writing in a gallery, surely it needs to be judged first as a piece of writing, not as a piece of art?"
Why is it, that text art seems so passionless as compared to... hm... non-text art? Generally, purely text art gives me a kind of intellectual pleasure that a good thought does. However, it never really grips my heart. Visual, less language based art, on the other hand, can stop the breath. Is it because of the hemispheres or is it just me?

Cluster Thoughts

This blog is related to Pteronarcophobia - fear of flies and Lepidopterophobia - fear of butterflies.
Could I build a metaphor and literally visualise it as a scenario, develop it in a variety of ways. To make up something like a new conceptual metaphor and then invent a pretend reality to accommodate it?


Box for dormant Cluster Thoughts.

Saturday 8 May 2010

More lepidopterophobia

And now,
here's some REALY beautiful things about butterflies:

Alex Earl lampshade

Butterfly Ball by Diffuse Studio

Oh and this incredibly gorgeous chandelier, which - in fact - is made out of... fairies :-)

designed by bodo sperlein as part of the re-cyclos collection for lladro, the niagara chandeliers feature porcelain butterflies suspended on sideglow optic fibers. ceiling rose is fireproof black lacquer. 150W halide projector.

my work: Lepidopterophobia - fear of butterflies (1)

I do not have a fear of butterlies. However, I have a friend who does. I can really see where she is coming from: butterflies look careless and colourful as they flutter aimlessly, but one close look reveals their hairy heads and alien eyes.
Horrible creatures.
For some.

Affected by all this (above) I tried to make a book. Oooh, dear! Because of the nature of the course I am on, I am so conscious about making specifically artist's books. And it is really not good to be conscious about it - I tend to produce rubbish when I am.
Anyway, I made a book, trying to deal with the restrictive power of fear: how it paralyses our senses and our ability to think clearly. Pages do not fully open for the butterflies: the text inside is very hard to read.

I don't think much of this book (or most of the others I have made). It could be an interim stage to somewhere else. I like the simple quality of it and the structure, but I find it lacking substance. The stuff I said about Charlotte Cory. I should find ways to dig deeper, but still look like fun.

Friday 7 May 2010

"Introducing Wittgenstein" to those who get easily bored

That could be me :-)

Heaton and Groves show, that one does not have to bore readers shitless when dealing with the "serious" philosophy. Fantastic illustrations and a great sense of humor throughout the book.

In Introducing Wittgenstein we meet a strange man, a rigorous logician who prized poetry above philosophy, who inherited a fortune and gave it away, who sought death in the trenches of the First World War, a great teacher who advised his students to give up philosophy, a solitary man who nonetheless inspired lifelong friendships. We are also given a clear and accessible guide to Wittgenstein's central works.