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

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Xhibit 2011 and more fired books

My work will be shown at Xhibit 2011 March 02-21.
Unfortunately my submission piece got flattened. (It might be suitable for another occasion) - I am in the process of getting the new one made. There are two more books coming out of the kiln this week. It may seem boring and repetitive, but I get so SO (really - SO!!!) excited each time when Tim opens the kilns.

I promised to myself, to move on with my book firing - after this week. Yehhh, right...

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Denise Hawrysio @ Camberwell

I do not usually write about things that happen at college (I should, shouldn't I?).

Yesterday we had a talk by Denise Hawrysio (here is a link to more info from Margaret Cooter) and I was also lucky to have a tutorial with her afterwards. She is such a nice person! It was great to see her cringe about some of her early work - don't we all :-) It was great to have a chat about explaining/not explaining the work to the audience. She gave me a great confidence boost!
Oh - and I love her last altered book project "Spotlight". On the whole, most of the work she showed seemed to be about setting the conditions/rules for the work to appear and then displaying the result: cutting out faces, letting prisoners fill the books, allowing chemical reaction to erode the pages.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Fired books - 1974. Like a tree.

Fired books - 1964. Un-titled.

A minute of silence.

Justinas Marcinkevicius died today. My generation grew up with his poetry.

When listening to this recording of him reading his own poetry, I could not stop thinking about what Susan Hiller said about voice. The physicality of voice. How the soundwaves touch your ear drums and make that sound meaningful. How his voice - this voice of the departed - can still physically affect us. Cause and effect. Across time.

Friday 11 February 2011

Beyond photography: Clarisse d’Arcimoles @ Degree Art

At the moment Degree Art has got a fascinating exhibition by Clarisse d’Arcimoles. Worth a trip to the East End.
Clarisse is a photographer, but the exhibition was not exactly what I expected of a photography exhibition. It is not one of those perfectly lit, high gloss, expensively framed, large format selection of land/city/seascapes, that fill the art fairs. Clarisse's work is intimate and homely. She recreates and documents the past (no wonder I loved the show). There are photos from her family albums (a kind of now and then arrangements), there is the story of the last resident of the demolished block of flats, there are her travels in India. I had an impression, that Clarisse functions first as an artist, and then as a photographer. I will certainly be keeping my eye on her.

Since graduating from Central Saint Martin’s just over a year ago, d’Arcimoles’ work has been enthusiastically received with exhibitions and awards in the UK and internationally. She is currently exhibiting in Newspeak: British Art Now Vol. II at the Saatchi Gallery. Clarisse d’Arcimoles immortalises, revisits and re-imagines through her work, taking memory and the passage of time as her material. Through this conflation of the past and present the results fluctuate between emotionally charged relics and documentary objects. D’Arcimoles’ delicate handling of her subjects challenges authenticity and artificiality in a bid for both nostalgia and reality.

Clarisse d’Arcimoles: Un-Possible retour and other recent works will include new and recently acclaimed photography, film and installation by d’Arcimoles. Un-Possible retour is a photographic series in which the artist reconstructed snapshots from her family photo albums. The works share the simultaneously poignant and comic atmosphere of The Good Old Days, a sustained investigation through notebooks, photography and film, into the life of Jimmy Watts, the oldest resident of the Market Estate in Holloway, demolished last year. The film will be shown in a reconstruction of how the artist displayed the film in Watts’ flat, custom-built for the exhibition. 16 impressions sous plastique is a collection of self-portraits of d’Arcimoles in a series of hostels and hotel rooms while travelling across India. The intimate environments are generic yet personal in their brief occupation, defined by the detritus of previous tenants or sterile anonymity, accompanied by unlikely commentary and recommendations. These celebrated works will be accompanied by new and previously unseen works.

Thursday 10 February 2011

Normal paranormal: Susan Hiller @ Tate Britain

I am not the kind of person who would sleep in the fairy rings when sober. I would also not seek aliens or ghost voices. I do not believe in full moon or the twelve signs of Zodiac. I like science and all the nerdy things that come with it.

Susan Hiller's exhibition at Tate has ghosts, dreams and all other otherworldly things: an unusual vehicle for the ideas. If Hiller intended to create a tension with that - she succeeded well for me - I am still struggling trying to consider her dream maps without an irony.

Other than my struggle to deal with the paranormal - the show is beautifully curated: a remarkable feast for eyes, ears and mind. Starting with the burnt paintings (which is what I was going to do with my last year's work), onto the wave postcards, the fire, through to the Freud's cabinet, the auras (yep, I like even those), the bottles. What I loved most, is the pieces where her past as an anthropologist comes through: artefacts collected and documented, arranged and ordered. Now they highlight that,what has always been there, but got lost between the familiar and stagnant meaning associations. She creates imaginary taxonomies - or our desire to make sense of things creates imaginary taxonomies - that otherwise would have not been grouped together. Well - I need to read more about her systems. Fascinating!

This is her older interview.

This major survey exhibition at Tate Britain will provide a timely focus on a selection of her key works, including many of the pioneering mixed-media installations and video projections for which she is best known. It will be the largest presentation of her work to date, providing a unique opportunity to follow her exploration of dreams, memories and supernatural phenomena across a career of almost four decades.

The exhibition is curated by Ann Gallagher, Head of Collections (British Art), Tate, with Sofia Karamani, Assistant Curator, Tate Britain. The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue published by Tate Publishing.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Jukhee's puking books

Jukhee Kwon, who is with me on the course, has got two of her books on display at Camberwell library. When I saw them first, I thought they were puking. What a metaphor! Beautiful!

Porcelain paper.

I started making those porcelain pages with an idea of binding them later. When I lifted one against the light, I saw the translucent marks - like water marks on paper - so delicate, so fragile, just barely there. I will most certainly not be binding the pages anymore. Possibly hang them like panels against the light? Suspended around the room? Like white linen drying in the sun.

Thursday 3 February 2011

Burning books - no11; 1968.

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 (firing in the kiln) - so fragile, that they may disintegrate in hands - just like the memory of the times, that they represent.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Burning books - why???!!!

I do not burn them because I have a problem with books and written word. I do not burn them as a political statement.

I reduce books to the fragility of an empty crab shell, not only because it is a book, but especially because of it's indexality (Charles Sanders Peirce). Those books that I fire are very much representative of their times. Not only for the truths they contain. The books also hold ink, dust, fingerprints, pigments, coffee stains, pencil marks and other residue from that specific moment. So I cremate them, purge them of the memories and thoughts. I reduce their materiality and their content to such fragility, that they may disintegrate in hands, just like the memory of the times that they represent. The beauty of death.

Firing books comes from my research into memory, identity, language and aesthetics. My firing practice is not there only to speak about books. It is also there to raise questions about memory, identity, historical truth, our links with past and the fragility of those links.

This is why I burn books.

Well - this is what I think. I am sure Freud would have a more exciting explanation.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

If there is cinematic poetry...

"Music articulates forms which language cannot set forth" - Susanne Langer (from G. L. Hagberg Art as Language. Wittgenstein, Meaning and Aesthetic Theory)
"Music articulates forms which language cannot set forth" - Susanne Langer (from G. L. Hagberg Art as Language. Wittgenstein, Meaning and Aesthetic Theory)

If there is cinematic poetry, this must be it. Do watch it to the end, if you have not seen it before. And get yourself a copy of the film - Spirited Away.

This must be the most beautiful scene from any film. Chihiro boards this train. It's a spirits' train - she is in the spirit land, trying to rescue her parents. The train only runs one way. It travels through the vast spaces of water. The music is sublime. So atmospheric.
I have travelled once on the slow train in winter across Lithuania. And this is how it felt. The land was vast and white; the stops seemed all in the middle of nowhere; the people were silent, pensative and carried baskets and old cases. I could almost hear that music!

PS. Apparently the magnificent soundtrack to this magnificent film is by Joe Hisaishi - one more name to add to my favorite Japanese artists, alongside Araki Takako, Yohei Nishimura and - of course - Hayao Miyazaki.