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

Saturday 30 October 2010

Burning books - no2

I have been experimenting with firing books in various ways, trying to preserve the ghost of them. The result is so fragile, that they should deteriorate by themselves, just like the memory of what they represent will.

To be continued.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Oscar Munoz: how to be political and metaphysical

I have only just come across Oscar Munoz. Prof. Catherene Ewes suggested him at the tutorial yesterday.
I find this work terribly alluring. The subject is sensitive. The performance is simple. It could be political and metaphysical at the same time.

In Columbian artist Oscar Muñoz’ “Re/trato,” a 2003 video projection that was displayed in the Latin American exhibition at the 2005 Venice Biennial, a hand repeatedly tries to paint a portrait on the concrete sidewalk. As soon as the brush finishes one part of the painting, the other part begins to disappear. The artist paints with water, and the hot sun evaporates the image before it is completed. The portrait can never be seen as a whole. This work uses an ethereal material--water--to address the transitory nature of human existence. Munoz also uses appearing and disappearing portraits in his artworks as a metaphor for the numerous people who have mysteriously disappeared in his native country.

Sunday 17 October 2010

Frieze Sculpture park : Sanchayan Ghosh

I love the idea of a visitor walking away with a small piece of artwork. Not just a memory of it, but an actual piece. And if it is something as beautiful and delicate as Shola flowers!

Sanchayan Ghosh did put a note encouraging visitors to take A flower. Did he realise some people would be clearing his lawn by a bagfull?

An act of destruction
or an intended result?

He says: the work aims to interrogate ideas surrounding nationalism and identity. I say: it reflects on the ideas of greed and consumerism, unfortunately.

Frieze 2010: Conrad Shawcross and my nerdy intellectual self

Conrad Shawcross totally appeals to my nerdy intellectual self.

Frieze 2010: exquisite Johanna Karlsson

First I thought this was a beautiful pencil drawing on the wall. I would have been happy with that idea.

It turned out it is an exquisite sculpture by Johanna Karlsson. I was impressed.

Frieze 2010: very visual Seb Patane

I had never come across Seb Patane before. Strange, that is. I really like his work. To the extent where I wish his work was mine. Hm.

Why this fixation throughout your work with erasing identities: hiding heads, obliterating faces or eyes, using masks?

I am interested in performance and in performers, but not so concerned with their personalities or in portraying anyone. What is important to my work is the choreography and composition of things. I consider my pieces more abstract than figurative. And when I started working with found images, I guess the natural gesture for me was to obliterate the face, to remove that sense of identity, which makes everything quite confusing for the viewer, who is used to attach a face to a narrative, to a attach to a type of behaviour or personality to a type of face, say physiognomy. So it is like giving something to the viewer and then taking it away, like a game of contradictions. And that just grew and became more complex, more organic. And, finally, I think I am also reacting culturally, and probably unconsciously, against the whole cult of the celebrities, of the ego.

You often rescue images from the past and re-introduce them in the present tense, which often charges them with a nostalgic-symbolic element that they lacked when they were originally produced. Why do you think this time warp, taking them out of their context, produces that shift?

I operate in the present, and so do the viewers of my work who are faced with the images I chose with their baggage according to their age, their knowledge of things and their personal understanding of history and culture, whatever level that may be. But we are all inevitably challenged when faced with past, faded imagery; I think it must be because our mind tries to fill the gap between our present life and the one that is depicted in those pictures; this void, and I hope my visual interventions on those pictures, create a blurred feeling of confusion and wonder that I find interesting.

So this show is about war, or uses images of the war, rather. And the one at Tate took as a premise the whole idea of protest songs. However, even if these themes are heavily political, you have always justified your interest in them as the product of an aesthetic infatuation, rather than a desire to make a political statement.

Exactly, my work it is not that charged with political meaning, and I don’t pretend that it is. The thing is that, eventually, I will research these issues and learn about them, but I rather use their aesthetics. I am very visual person and that is what I am interested in. I am not saying it is devoid of content, I am saying that it comes with it, eventually. It is impossible not to engage with it. But also I am very interested in the way we look at images and we can detach ourselves from their content.

These are sippets of his interview to the Celeste magazine. His work does look like it should be politically charged: war, obliterated faces, etc. There are all sorts of assumptions and presumptions appearing. However, however, however - he is not interested in that. Great! He is interested in aesthetics. He is interested in interpretation. Uh - my new best friend!

So is it aesthetics or content first? Chicken or egg?

Saturday 16 October 2010

Frieze 2010: inappropriate sculpture by Alicja Kwade

Alicja Kwade is represented by Johann König Berlin. They were such a friendly lot!

Alicja's sculpture consisted of glass sheets and three candles: one lit and two unlit. The candles are cleverly placed on both sides of the glass. As the viewer walks around and watches the candles and the reflections, the unlit candles seem to become alight (from certain positions).

One of the candles was slightly further out. The gallery had only a small space. The visitors kept kicking the candle over. The girl kept putting it back into the very very particular location. She explained, that, possibly it was not the most appropriate installation to bring, considering the size of their space.

I am please they brought it, though. i have never heard of Alycja before, but I have now had a look at her website and I really like what I saw. I will keep my eyes open for her work.

Monday 11 October 2010

Burning books - no1

These are the books in our barn. They are in the wheelbarrow, so it would be easier to transport them to the fire place for burning.

The society that supported those books is no longer here. They have died even before they have reached the flames.

The books above are mainly ideological propaganda from the Soviet times as well as old "computer" text books from my parents' universities. All of them are void now. The truth has changed. The world has moved on.

Should they burn?

should they not?

Spring clean?


I am taking books, that no longer have the society that supports them (uh! I have got a barn full of them!) and I reduce them to an immensely fragile state - so fragile, that they may disintegrate in hands - just like the memory of the times, that they represent.

Monday 4 October 2010

Yohei Nishimura: fired books

I have been to the National Arts Library at V&A recently. I have got this essay to write and V&A offers access to the most fantastic collection. For free. AND your are allowed to photograph.

So - I was sitting there, getting slowly depressed for I was finding nothing relevant to my work. This is when I came across Yohei Nishimura. V&A has one of his fired books in their collection.

''The open & closed book: contemporary book arts'
Yohei Nishimura
Published by Yohei Nishimura
Tokyo, Japan, 1993
Height 17 cm x width 11 cm x depth 5 cm

This work by Yohei Nishimura is one of a series of bookworks that are the result of the artist's experiments of working on various objects by firing them in a kiln, 'At a certain point, I tried to fire books coated with clay as I believed that was the only way to keep forms of paper without turning them to ashes. Then I found a curious fact that not only a part of the book coated with clay, but also a part without, still conserves a form'. In this case the artist has fired a copy of a catalogue of an exhibition held at the V&A entitled 'The open & closed book' (1979). The original work is shrunk, the wrappers are a stark white and the pages are fused together.

Well. I thought it was the most beautiful piece of bookworks. Fragile. Tactile. Simple. The book is gone. Infomation is wiped out. Just the shape remains. Somehow it resembles the air of Rachel Whitread work. The ghost of a book.

Yohei Nishimura has given me onto some ideas for the future. Let's hope I get access to the ceramics studio!

Friday 1 October 2010

Tate does not allow to photograph artwork in their special collections! What a pain!

I visited the Tate Special collections last week. TWICE!

What a pain that place is! Tate does not allow to photograph artwork in their special collections. How is one supposed to research artist's books without a visual record? Are they not meant to be there to facilitate the study?

As a result, I felt obliged to steal some photos with my mobile. Of course.

THE METAPHOR PROBLEM AGAIN John Baldessari and Lawrence Weiner

Absence / Jeannie Meejin Yoon

Lolly Batty - Crosswords.

'GUANTANAMO BAY SONG BOOK' by Allora & Calzadilla

Yann Sérandour: Inside the White Cube, Overprinted Edition.