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

Monday 21 June 2010

Stephen Walter maps the land

Stephen Walter had one of his maps at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Every time I see his work (and I happen to come across his work a lot) I think "Oh, it's him again!" This is how a grew to like him.

While geographically accurate, it replaces the austere, regimented symbolism of an Ordnance Survey map with a rich semiotic cartography, tracing Walter's personal pre-occupations as well as historical references, landmarks, and scattered throughout with the symbols and logos that infest the urban landscape.

I picked up a book of his at the AAF in autumn 2009. I wish it had all the map prints on bible paper folding out of pages, like proper maps. So I could examine every detail of them.

Guardian has got this interview about how he works.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Summer Exhibition at the Royal Accademy



Charles Mason at Nettie Horn

Nettie Horn is one of my favorite galleries. And that is not only because they have Marko Maetamm in their books.

Now they have a solo show by Charles Mason, called Structure and other anxieties.

Inhabited by feelings of recognition, Charles Mason’s work is tinted by physical and psychological implications resulting from a reflexion on the surface and the structure. Following from his earlier sculptural practice, his work recalls a certain feeling of loss; a familiarity both generated and revealed by an affinity towards the ready-made. Initially using fragmented and partially broken and repaired objects, Mason has continued to introduce in his sculptural practice the use of construction materials such as foam, tiles, concrete and other scaffolding elements. Embodying both a formal and architectural spirit, these new components reconsider as well as reinforce the intrinsec playful expression of the artist’s work. Notions of equilibrium, weight and matter are essentiel components in Mason’s minimalist works; and where even the two-dimensional works take on a sculptural approach in the way that the objects represented are purely outlined within a space.

The use of translucent and dark grey Perspex panels notably offer a unique experience where a sense of disorientation paradoxically contributes to the idea of recognition and where a type of daydream-like experimentation questions the notion of physicality; the viewer becomes part of the work as he travels around it and becomes reflected in the Perspex through which a deformed perception of reality is offered. This sweet paradox is perpetuated through a reassuring feeling and an unnerving grace generated by the supportive and even prosthetic combination of shapes which seem to carry organic and visceral tones within their industrial nature.

In his research of a new formal vocabulary, Charles Mason’s work evolves naturally through the practices of drawing and photography and in which the economy of means as well as a subtle irony assume here their full meaning. Taking the shape of a repeatedly drawn oblong form in perspective, “Wall drawing (camera della morte) 2010” generates an optically shallow space through its positioning and orientation as a wall frieze. Reinforced by a palindromic phenomenon, the artificiality and disorientation formely present in Mason’s use of Perspex screens – where the light is reflected and absorbed into an enclosed chamber - is also echoed here in the drawing.

That black perspex really works. With the light that there is, it produces amazing illusion of there/not-there see-through/reflection. Very interactive.

Ged Quinn's surreal paintings at Wilkinson Gallery

The other gallery I really enjoyed today, was Wilkinson Gallery. They have a show by Ged Quinn, called SOMEBODY'S COMING THAT HATES US.
Ged Quinn is tremendously unsettling, very dark and gently humorous. Sort of laughing and crying at the same time. Just like that.

Quinn will present a new body of work that not only ruminates on Romanticism and its historical forms and precedents, but also charts a narrative of its demise. Distinctly separated through the physical curation, the artist first details the envisaged end with a series of romantic landscapes turned dystopian: Turner and Friedrich’s world on its knees polluted, its reputation besmirched. Within these, Quinn’s world, peered at through the canvas, we see the come down, after the sublime aesthetic high, laid bare. In the upper galleries the artist addresses the human cause of the downfall, placing them like rogues in stocks, mocked by their painted editions: Hitler with breasts or a bonnet; Beria, Stalin’s chief of police, with a black eye; before them Victoria and Albert and so on. The landscapes are not an attempt to envisage an alter-reality; instead they map the artist’s profusion of references and thoughts in any given period. They could even be seen as the churning of the mind after the emotional high, a dreamlike scenario reflecting on reality, but also apart from reality. There is an undoubted sense of allegorical statement to be found within the densely detailed surfaces, yet it is an allegory that the artist refuses to give an easy solution to, preferring a feeling of heightened ambiguity. Quinn commonly paints straight to canvas, initially with broad washes of paint and a loose handling, only to detail the surface as the work progresses; as such they are gestures of ongoing cognitive action, not tightly controlled, easily deciphered distillations of thought. The viewer is instead left to tread their own coded path into the image and worm out the abundance of nonhierarchical cultural references independently. The strands and allusions are plethoric, rubbing shoulders with the philosophy and art historical motifs of the nineteenth century for example, the seeking viewer can also discern a lyric by John Cale in the show’s title. The unlikelihood of this companionship is mirrored in the barmy and almost prehistoric world evidently juxtaposed against the prosaic symbols of its downfall, an old mattress, a dumped utilitarian chair. Quinn is undoubted master and author of his creations, this itself responds to Romanticism’s idea of the artist as peddler of transcendent revelations; yet his authority over the works – each symbolism only ever finding its full subtext within the artist’s own mind and the converse democracy of giving the works over to the viewer’s personal determination – gives rise to questions of authority. The works are Quinn’s, He has rightful name to them, but the figures depicted in the portraits sort an authorship of different means. The suggestion that Quinn leads us to is that the corruption of sublime glory is undoubtedly down to a divine authoritarian madness. The portraits portray those that took on differing personas in their leadership, but all claimed transcended sanction. Each used aesthetics – stretching into the art historical modes of portraiture as social emblem – to give credence to their divine right. In Quinn’s world they are brought down with everything but egg appended to their faces.

Here my daughter said: "If I could paint like that, I would not ruin the whole picture with a naked boy in the middle" (see above)

PAINT at Degreeart: Zak Yeo Zhixiong, Benjamin Cohen, Nash Francis, etc.

This exhibition brings together a group of emerging artists united by an obsession with paint. From an addiction to their practice, to handling the substance of their medium, the selected artists live through this all-encompassing commitment to paint, as often required of painters in an era often dominated by new media. HRL Contemporary has a natural affinity with these emerging artists, brought together for their shared dedication and potential to mould the direction of contemporary painting.

2010 is a pivotal year for these artists, with many of them undertaking major solo exhibitions and successful international shows. April brought Tom de Freston’s solo, Exiles, at the Brick Lane Gallery with Tablo Arts; Zak Yeo’s solo show I am a Kampung Boy, with Fill Your Walls gallery in Singapore and Louise Thomas’s solo show Everybody is a Lake with Bischoff/Weiss in Mayfair. Similarly, Benjamin Cohen is busy preparing for his solo debut with HRL Contemporary at the Truman Brewery in October 2010.

Irmak Canevi, Benjamin Cohen, Nash Francis, Tom de Freston, Louise Thomas, Tessa Whitehead and Zak Yeo.

Nash Francis. I can totally see where these paintings are coming from. They are not that dissimilar from what I do (or that is what I would like to think :-)

Benjamin Cohen. He has got some great portraits in his gallery at Saatchi online. Very Baconesque!

Zak Yeo Zhixiong. He was a favorite with my son. Obviously.
I like the apocalyptic surrealism. A bit picture book. A bit comic art. But it seems to stir deeper.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Moving paper dolls

When assembling those dolls, what do they put into the joints to let them move?

Fedrigoni paper montains

Hina Aoyama cuts with scissors

Hina Aoyama cuts these with scissors.

Toilet paper masks by Fritz Junior Jacquet

I have been looking at all sorts of stuff, trying to get some ideas for my monomyth hero.

These are really cool! They are made from toilet paper by
Fritz Junior Jacquet.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Susan Sontag and more problems with content

I am reading Susan Sontag's "Against Interpretation and Other Essays". And it's good. Just what the doctor ordered to my undecided and confused self, who does not know how to deal with content, interpretation and aesthetics of my own work.

Of course, Susan Sontag does resolve any of my problems. She only provides arguments and insight into the issues along the same line of thought, that I have been following.

Here is my favorite quote so far:

"A work of art encountered as a work of art is an experience, not a statement or an answer to a question. Art is not only about something; it is something. A work of art it a thing in the world, not just a text or a commentary on the world." (p.21, Sontag)

The call for adventure! (coExposure)

Us, part-time Book Arts MA's, are having a show next month. CO-EXPOSURE.
Now that I have managed to find out opening hours for our building for those days, we are looking into other stuff, like - promotion, Private View and booze. It is going to be good fun!

I am working on the monomyth scenario, incorporating Joseph Campbell's structure of the events. It's a personal journey, metamorphosis, with numerous clues and symbols and allusions. I will have panels with quest schema hanging on the wall with small books at the bottom. The books will refer to certain points in the quest and will be a bit of a zoom-in.

The call

The threshold

These are the earlier ones:

35 March, 2010

The call for adventure

The limits of my world.

And this how many there are :-)

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Thursday 3 June 2010

Rachel Khedoori and the very physical books

I've got to see this.

Rachel Khedoori, London
Collated in giant tomes, the artist's collected stories about the Iraq war are dictionary-dense: a physical testament to the burden of recent history. At Hauser & Wirth, London, to 31 July 2010

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Louise Bourgeois on art, writting and life.

"The feminists took me as a role model, as a mother. It bothers me. I am not interested in being a mother. I am still a girl trying to understand myself."

"An artist can show things that other people are terrified of expressing."

"Art is a guarantee of sanity. That is the most important thing I have
“Art is manipulation without intervention.”

I am not what I am, I am what I do with my hands.”
“I like Francis Bacon best, because Francis Bacon has terrific problems, and he knows that he is not going to solve them, but he knows also that he can escape from day to day and stay alive, and he does that because his work gives him a kick.”

"I came from a family of repairers. The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn't get mad. She weaves and repairs it."

"What modern art means is that you have to keep finding new ways to express yourself, to express the problems, that there are no settled ways, no fixed approach. This is a painful situation, and modern art is about this painful situation of having no absolutely definite way of expressing yourself."

What a life she had! Louise Bourgeois art is beautiful, clever, sensitive, provoking and ... it makes you think.