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Gallery visit – Gerhard Richter

Artist Rooms Gerhard Richter(28th July 2018)[Exhibition] John Hansard Gallery. 28th May-18th August 2018

This exhibition doesn’t contain as many paintings as I would like, the problem being that Richter has such a broad artistic vocabulary that it needs to encompass all his genres to be a good representation of the man.

As a result there was tapestry, squeegee painting, magnified paintings, photos of paintings magnified, photos, phots with paint on, pigment coated glass, blocks of coloured squares and a 30 minute video explaining his stained glass window at Cologne. There was also a room with facsimilies of the 48 heads.

Downstairs, the first pieces you see are 4 representational Persian rugs, that are patterned with a squeegee image almost like a folded ink blot picture. The friend I went with took issue with the fact that a Persian rug has to have an inbuilt imperfection, my counter to that is that maybe Richter already feels his work is imperfect given his attitude to painting photos? The initial pictures that the patterns were based on where different so the colour composite are not the same between works, in fact as I walked around the corner it took a while to work out that these where stitched pieces accuratly portraying his painted works, they aren’t small either. According to the booklet accompanying the exhibition, these represent 1 of his paintings split into 4, each quarter being used to create one full rug. Looking at them trying to see if there is meaning in the patterns and just amazed at the ability to get the colours to still look like queegee paintings.

The next room is a full squeegee painting and another smaller picture a portion of which was blown up in size and painted 4 fold larger than the original. The texture has been lost in the repetition (on purpose) as the original is quite impasto. While this links to the rugs and curates well as another explanation into Richter’s facination with replicates, it didn’t have the same impact as the abstraction visible in the actual squeegee painting on the wall 90degrees to its right.

Upstairs are 3 rooms, the first contained 3 abstract paintings, I was struck by silicate 880-4 as an enlarged microscopic view that had been softened by over brushing. The rythmic brush-strokes put me in mind of a vinyl record with their uniform marks and the light reflected like on an album. I would be interested to have seen how much paint was originall on the canvas before overbrushing. The repatition in the pattern seen so large had a soporific effect and I could have sat there for a long time.

I was less impressed with his pigment on glass pieces, the colour opposite sheets placed at right angles to reflect each other in a corner of the next room seemed to just be playing with colour, which as a lead in to the 4900 colours in the corner room seemed a bit cheesy.

The 4900 colours is almost reverential in the space at the Hansard gallery, the room is more than double height and the white background shows off the colours well given the huge amount of natural light and the view of the city from the huge window that takes out a full corner of the room. The video available to see on the floor below has Richter explaining that to him, it is difficult to read anything into the design, computer generated algorithm mixing the colours to make the pattern.

The 48 portraits are ambigous to say the least, originally painted for the German Pavillian at the 36th Venice Biennale in 1972 they show 3 sets of men as closed in head and start of shoulder portraits. They represent writers, musicians and scientists but where picked more for aesthetics over who they were, also, as they were put up 3 walls of a 4 walled room, it was noticeable they looked in and from the middle looked forward to you. They all still look like individuals though and there is inconsistancy in the softening so some of the eyes are clearer than others. I think my concerns where

it was like walking into a memorial of dead white men.

If Richter has such conflicting views on painting photos, how does he get around allowing photos of his paintings that are softened views of other photos? Which image has the greatest value to him? And bear in mind he allowed 4 sets of copies to be made…

I would like to see more of Richters paintings, he remains an enigma.

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Civilisations – BBC

Pt 1

Ancient history and recording animals 30 000 + years ago. musical instruments found at the same time link music to art. Creativity.

Are these memories, or wishes for the future, or wishes to be remembered by the artists?

Minoans from Crete. Islands still covered in architecture, spaces created for ceremony

recorded social art, decorative work to continually entertain, bull jumping as a national sport reproduced for posterity. Seal stones beautifully decorated in miniture then set in jewellery.

Greece Mysenaeans. Grave goods, grand gold rings + 1500 seperate objects decorative things and first fight scene carved into a seal stone 1.5″

Petra built by Nabataean carved into sandstone 4bc nomads trade in incense

Mexico and myans built theatres of political and religious significance. Gruesome bunch.

Mayan gods made small and large, and glyphs, very decorative.

Honduras, Copan(?) 16 generations of kings survived until the civilisation suffered years of drought and drifted away.

Pt 2 How do we look?

Almec 20′ high carved stone head. leading into looking at our socially predefined views on good looks?

Hadrian (?) goes to look at an ancient stone statue and record the experience in graffiti on the statue by a lady in waiting in the party through verse.

Ancient Greece, Athens art devoted to athletic human form. pottery covered in images that show them how to be Athenians. Athenian wives were for making babies and creating wool.

Wine container shows the line between man and beast (pissed blokes). “Deeply gendered and hierarchical.” Statue as memorial.

Roman Egypt portraits painted on coffins. individual likeness, layers of paint for flesh and highlights in the eyes. Silhouette created on a wall as a memory of a travelling love.

China, Emperor Chin 1974 discovery of terracotta army 7000 pieces all different, individual.

Pharaohs of Egypt and monumental statues. Even hidden in temples away from propaganda positioning. Carved for the pharoah himself? to help remind him of his own power?

Naxos, Greece. Marble used to carve huge statues, one half hewn and left in the quarry.

This leads to the greek style of statuary that has movement and muscle, anatomicly correct. Boxers statue, worn and tired he sits in his injuries head turned to the light. Made in Bronze to portray a character in a story, a forgotten person who is not the young athlete of most Greek art (lost in his own world).

Back to Frassiclaya(?) looking you in the eye with honesty.

a few hundred years later, and the female form is an object not doing anything, just to be looked at. And so it began…

Erotic, her hands hiding her form or teasing? Assumed male viewer in western art.

Syon House, England. resting place for antiquities brought there by its rich owners. Dying Gaul(?) opposite replica Apollo Belvederi(?) pleasing youth embodies a higher civilistation. Nude figures of humans doesn’t show a higher civilisation. it just defines how we see ourselves. She’s right, it is narrow.

Amlec wrestler using a greek style of proportion view of classical form in western way of seeing. expressive twist of body – realistic face.

Pt 3 Picturing Paradise

Painting landscapes to give yourself a space. Mu Xin under house arrest drawing the landscape he could remember.

Painting not as the world is, but as we would like it to be.

To be civilised meant to paint landscapes.

Scrolls unroll to tell stories.

Carpets show images of the structured garden.

Virgil extolling the rustic life.

Villa Barbaro(?) Building and architecture filled with painted friezes. Trompe l’oeil. Mixing man with gods. A paradise painted up that didn’t exist. “Buccolic Dreamscape”.

1500’s Bovaria Albrecht Altdorfer Landscape overtook the myth he inserted into a background. I think the link between a tree and a crucified Christ is a bit thin. Start of the reformation and the end of religious painting on the scale there was before. Also, aas a picture made with either a really fine set of brushes or a dip pen, I think Schama is wrong to atribute its creation to that level of energy over the control to make that delicately and it is a tight little picture.

Pieter Bruegel the elder 1560’s(?) from Antwerp credible depiction of country life. mixed his geography giving it a fairytale quality? “whole picture laid out as a moment… the whole human condition and our place inside it”…

Jan Van Guyen Landscape jobbing artist. pride in the flat lands the people had created. honest pictures of mud.

This progressed on to a more oppulent time and the landscapes moved on too, the clouds become dramatic high theatre in a painting of a windmill. 1670 Dutch going it alone in Europe.

1860’s American civil war Frederic Edwin Church Thomas Moran Propoganda p

Winslow Homer the veteran in a new field. a man cuts the corn in a field filled with ripe harvest. Painted shortly after a bloody battle and the assassination of a president. Solitary man many corn stalks.

Ansel Adams. used a red filter to darken the sky. His photos where his view of the landscape, twisted with filters burning and dodging the large scale negatives.

Pt 4 The Eye of Faith

Spring equinox Cambodia sunrise at temple at Angkor Wat. Heavily carved Hindu temple 12thC building built to unify man and devine world.

Dilemas religions face when they try to show god in real world?

Religious awe or curiousity peeking into world of devine. How do they work?

Ajunta caves? 200bc Buddha carved out of the rock. Earliest Buddhist painting in the world recorded. Redefined them as Italian renaisance rather than Indian art, a culture apart. You need to understand the significance of the art int eh spaces they were created for, not in galleries.

The eclectic path of the painted stories on the wall mean you should know the stories to find them. Seek out the message for themselves and find there own path to enlightenment.

Christian conquest of pagan Rome. Mosaics show stories from the bible. Shows unity of church state and military.

Jesus at the heart of early Christian battles.

How devine was he? was he made of the same stuff as God? shown in 3 states, younger, as the lamb and older as the man with a beard.

Venice. Coula di San Rocco. Religious meeting house, opulent place  for the rich to remember to give to the poor. C16th Tintoretto.

Overwhelmed by size, distracted by busy detailed. contrast by light and shade. Emotion Ruskin said it was to hard to analyse.

Some where C16th dress to bring the observer into the painting, Crucifixion is a historic part of our time and a religious event that is still relevant. However it was painted while the brotherhood was being criticised for paying for the opulence over the good deeds.

However, perils of vanity in religion abound…

Seville Church of the Macarena Madonna crying at death of Jesus, intended to have an aura of humanity. added to over years, dressed in a vast wardrobe. Festival of our lady in Easter. Idolatry? uncomfortably close to worship of images over faith.

Turkey

Sancaklar Mosque religious space stripped of all the non essential. reminiscent of cave of Hera(?) Islam as a faith of the word. Istanbul different view of Islam. Rich patterned tiles/carpets, the writing as decoration.

Aysha Makes a wall art which isn’t allowed by Mohammed but she is ok to cut it up and use it as cushion covers.

Calligraphy. graphic, balance.

Blue Mosque C17th no idols or living creatures, walls covered with plants and flowers on ceramic tiles and monumental calligraphy. which when it was made most of the viewers would have been illiterate and the script is high above your head and almost unreadable, go to absorb some of the blessing. Image becoming the word and word becoming the imagery.

Jewish Bible. patterns around text warning of idols and images. Jewish artists celebrating islamic patterns from medieval age, cultural blending Christian tradition of image of King David.

Ely Cathedral. Jewel of Gothic architecture Paint still visible. high arches Oliver Cromwell hacking off bits of statues. worship of images as a distraction from God. Saints, life of the Virgin, removing whole statues or heads and hands. Iconoclasm.

Artful narrative of religious conflict.

Muslom armies invaded India, Hinduism was a bit of a shock, many Gods and much idol creation. Dehli first mosque. 1190’s ornate colonnade. Hindu structures taken apart and used in its construction. to assert conquest by Islam? built the right way up as respect for the human image?

The Parthenon, Athens originally for Athena. Where do I come from what is my place in history. modern faith is civilisation. grand narratives bringing people together in shared believes.

What is civilisation? Little more than an act of faith.

Good answer.

Pt 5 The Triumph of art

Italian renaissance wasn’t the start of art being amazing, look further back to eastern art and you can see links between two. Istanbul, the higher sphere built as part of a christian church. It was then converted into a mosque. .

Great Fridays Mosque the engineer was born a Christian. Indivisibility of space. all in it together. Islam is a religion of law and simple faith. weightless dome raised on 4 pillars.

Rome St Peters Basilica Dome seated on a drum with a colonnade around it

1506 building started. Michealangelo took over. This was being built at the same time as the mosque.

Michelangelo threw a party as the cornice below the dome was complete.

Knave added as it looked far to pagan. Taller than other domes.

Florence, Cellini goldsmith trying to talk up his artistry to the same level as Michelangelo.

created Perseus holding up the head of medusa in one cast. Pointed it across the courtyard from David so it looks like its turned Michelangelo’s work to stone.

Hindu temple built with Indian ideas and some from Persia. Akbar as a ruler could paint so this dictated the rise of art in his time.

However, the art was a touch derogatory of the other rulers, like Turkish and English, seen below feet of emperor

European art got bigger and better. Carravagio.

Madonna di Loretto, madonna bares her feet, her neck and decollage in a (at the time) contemporary Italy.

Artemisia Gentileschi painted the allegory of painting in a self portrait as a female artist.

Valazquez Painted the royals, Las Meninas paints himself in it. who or what controls the way we look. Role reversal King and queen as a faint potential painted reflection at the back of the room.

Rembrandt’s The Night Watch as a theatrical enactment about to move off the canvas. watch out art, but watch out the world.

He copied Indian miniatures in pen and ink, sketchy little images, shows styles also moved from east to west.

Taj Mahal. took 20 years to complete as a monument. But was preceded by another tomb 10 years earlier, filled with a created garden.

These ideas then spread across to England with the empire.

Pt 6 First Contact

In the west, the issue with African art being possible when the Victorians believed them to be lesser.

Loss as the bronzes are in The British Museum in London not in Nigeria

Portuguese where there first a few centuries earlier. They went to trade, not conquer.

Met a civilisation that wasn’t in isolation.

Benin itself had a deep history which continued to develop. They took on Portuguese elements and represented them. Carved ivory head of a queen mother with a headdress of Portuguese heads backing up her knowledge.

Art sold West recognisable 16th C europeans carved on salt cellers.

The portuegeues became more outward looking, their architecture took in African ideas, including a rhino.

Albrect Durer created a woodcut from a sketch of another artist and sold thousands of images of this rhino.

Artist unknown the Kings fountain. Lisbon near the water, traders, and all class of white and black people that mingle.

Aztecs Mayan calendar and sacrifice for appeasement of gods and continuation of life.

Gold

1519 Tenochtitlán . Cortez and Montezuma meet. Cortez was gifted a Turquoise covered two headed snake (which I’ve helped yr 3 remake as a mosaic before). Spanish only wanted gold and mostly beet the Aztecs with European diseases.

aztec statues and temples raised and burned. the people forced into Catholicism to get rid of the sacrificing.

A book created for Spain by Aztecs to help understand them before overtaking them.

Day of the dead, a mix of Catholicism and Aztec. Not a western concept of negative view of death.

Spain got rich on gold they stole

El Greco brought to Spain the greek authodox art 1596 view of Toledo rich depiction of cathedral rising above landscape. Sacristi disrobing of Christ His crucifixion is raw.

Japan, Feudal society to robust to be conquered, Porteguese sailers driven there by storm. Highly sophisticated culture. So they traded with them instead.

Folding screen Namban screen(?) japan wasn’t impressed with european standards of hygene etc. Screens show the traders with exotic wears, the poeple shown, Africans, free and enslaved, Arabs and Europeans.

As missionaries arrived, the ne dynasty closed rank, killed off Christians and shut the kingdom off from the rest of the world. They instigated a revival of their own culture and banned travel.

Dutch merchants lived on an island in a harbour as inofensive traders who werenot interested in forcingthier religion on Japan, this way technology could travel to the kingdom.

Japans art took in new tech, ocular aids to help art become more three dimensional. Maruvama Okvo Bamboo in wind and rain (c1776) Room dividing screen, one side bamboo painted as if in wind, the other its painted as if in rain, layers of bamboo fading into distance.

Cracked ice (late c18) subtle painted on paper cracks painted with depth into distanc, budism imperfection and impermanence Beauty and perfection important to western art. there’s the link.

From Dutch point of view, it was one of many trading partenrships.

Amsterdam. centre of trading. Blue and wite chinese pottery, Japanese laquerware, clothes of fine silk from persia.

Dutch art comodified, art trading became a ‘thing’. wanted art that showed themselves.

Jan Vermeer paintings set in the Dutch home, ordinary life the rest of the world outside. shown in the objects in the paintngs, wall hangings, chinese pottery on the table, oriental rugs, silk robes on the people.

Maria sevilleraion. a Botnist who illistrated her findings. Showed lifecycles of bugs and plants they ate, created a big book of her pictures to fund her travels to where the Dutch had traded to sketch indiginous creatures.

Johan Zophany Calcutta, East India company Colonel Mordents cock match(1786) Painting on canvas fight put on for moab of oud(?)British cockeral is on the verge of killing the Indian bird, British walking off with the with Indian woman.

Company paintings commisioned by men of the company who had gone native, uncomfortable association with the interloperd.

Ghulam Ali Khan Colonel James Skinner () Painting of a mixed race chap in his military finery  Also painted architecture before western culture overtook that too. Calcutta headquarterd Govenrment house 1803 in British style.colonades a picture fronted palace. to show superiority. Political theatre, shock and awe.

Pt 7 Radiance

Gothic cathedral and stone, cold bleak colour. Some painted and bright light of gospel, light of creator, light throgh stained glass windows, showing pictures of bible stories so illiterate could understand. Believed gems could emit light and transport you to heaven, stained windows as a result showed visions of paradise.

Venice took the silks and rugs from the east to decorate itself.

Drawings to precede larger pieces separated Venice from the low arts. Saw drawing as the best solution and colour as pleasing the masses. The sacred conversation Bellini G, draped fabrics crisp rounded, colour balancing the picture

Titian a man with a quilted sleeve, fabrics painted in expensive ultramarine for a none religious painting. Titian Bacchus and Ariadne seperates the natural and earthy in browns to the higher ideals in the blue.

1750’s Joh Baptista Tiepalo 4 continents fresco releals earth over the heavens the higher up the stairs you go. The earth painted for the humans over the rulers and the religion.

India, Celebration of Holi artist unknown (c. 1775) Death of Vali; Rama & Lackshmana Wait Outside the Monsoon., picture created to be carried into court and shown alongside the reading of a poem about the picture. Bulaki Three Aspects of the Absolute, 3 images backed in gold, as a start in nothing but blank gold, the next the nearly perfect person centred in the gold  and the third the ‘physical material of the world’ is coming into being in silver. calming depiction of creation.

Madris, Goya 1788 The anual festival of Saint … the pursuit of happiness as people enjoy festival. next year Goya painted same picture but a more gutteral version light and joy gone. the San Isidro Pilgrimage (c. 1820-3) pain evident on the raw faces on the large panoramic canvas Napolean in the centre and his invasion of Spain. torture and horrors of war drawn out by Goya. in his 70’s Goya painted 14 pictures on the walls of his home as his response. Saturn devouring one of his children. Not a child, a shrunken naked woman.  Lights on in painting as 2 peasants fight to the death with sticks, beating each other. Goya is Godless in these paintings. Painting of dog on own looking up into empty sky. Dog without a master.

Japan, wood block print.Suzuki Harunobu, A Woman Running to Escape a Sudden Shower  (c.1765) up to 12 layers of colour, current and local and commercial for entertainment. Kitagawa Utamaro, The Oiran Yoso-oi at Her Toilet (c. 1799) courtesans waiting for customers, block prints of porn. Katsushika Hokusai 36 prints of mount Fuji beautiful blues. Waves in Kajikazawa in Kai Province (c. 1831), nearly overwhelming the land, all lines in blue, foam on top of waves, fisherman pulling in his lines. Fuji as a talisman of immortality, not just postcards but as a calming spirituality.

Giverny France Monet had 231 of the Japanese prints, painting the light not the object. Impressionism reshaping space and depth. painting modern art (at the time) of the peolpe around them observing nature over suburb. a series, many paintings of the same subject at different times and angles, Monet took this in, Rouen Cathedral, 30 versions. all with different light.  no object in the building is important, only how we see them. Deconstruction?

Van Gogh. Pere Tanguy (1888) the Harvesters woodblock colour and a rural setting. Starry night over the Rhone (1888) night scene, lights reflected in water, use of colour brings pallete throughout the picture, stars shiing brightly. Gas lights illuminate the waterside. radiance of here and now.

Matisse, Tangier Morocco. Islam pulls him, people of Tangiers surrounded by art Moroccan Tryptich as his view of Tangiers, blue green in all 3 paintings.

Back in France, his collages utilised colour and shape that came with him in his travels. The ROsary Chapel, stained glass light and colour tiles with depiction of Mary and Jesus as a mother and child over deity. Stone picked because shells are visible in it. Islamic pattern in hte glass, african pattern in wall art.

great art gives bolt of illumination.

Pt 8 The Cult of Progress

19 century industrial revolution and western civilisation believing theirs was the best way to go everyone else was primitive.

18th C harness nature. IR middle England, Architecture revolving around the factory. Joseph Wright of Derby painted this first cotton mill for it’s owner. Wright fascinated by this new. Progress. An Experiment on a bird in a bell pump. Oil painting of a science experiment, shows the peoples views and a bird dies, showed the fears of the age.

French army Napoleon invaded Egypt because he thought he was taking modern civilisation back to its original home.

Took artists along for ride, documented lost world and hieroglyphs. Dug for victory and took it away for betterment of wider world, became fascinated by Egypt and used designs round Europe.

Wanted to reeducate Muslim world, he failed to the brits who took over, We became obsessed with an imaginary view of exotic people and places.

Delacoix painted oriental world. Only he never saw the women of Arab household so he probably painted Jewish Parisian models. He made it up.

Nude women portrayed as a common site, European fantasies to escape industrialisation.

Europe changed, Turner painted it, old destroyed as new grew. Cities showed human cost of mechanisation.

USA new country and forged in enlightenment, Virgin territory art showed this god blessed country Thomas Cole Brit born Artist Landscapes took place of ruined Architecture added indigenous people, scene shrink them into features. Noble Savage of uncorrupt to be tamed.

His best work was allegorical view of rise and fall of civilisations on the principle that this happened to all civilisation. 5 paintings.

Manifest destiny, take their view of civilisation to furthest destinations. Indigenous coralled and hounded into being a disappearing culture George Kattling(?) painted portraits of real people, created an Indian gallery of paintings. still thought they were “doomed and must perish”.

Ignored the art of the native Indians which began to show the effect of the westerners

New Zealand. Gottfied Lindoer arrived in New Zealand from Czech to record Maori  1890’s however, Moaori were on increase. so they got Lindoer to paint them how they wanted to be painted, in a western style. and mixed western Maori dress.

Moari architecture, houses faced with patterns and characters, tattoos to link with ancestors and cultures. Tamoko

Camera and photo long exposure to start with.

Houseman transformed Paris from medieval  crammed housing to boulevards Nedar photo’d change and portraits of his time

Painters started to record human experiences Impressionism, light and colour

Flaneur  Monet recorded train station as modern France and Paris, golden age. tried to record dislocation of modern city Gustav Caillebotte paints disconcerting Paris no eye contact within or outside of rain soaked city street

Mary Cossatt painted someone looking at stage while being looked at by another audience member, male gave

A Bar at the Folie-Bergere Bored bar maid. see reflection of society lapping it up behind her. Social comment., maybe she is a commodity and prostitute.

a masterclass in ambiguity. everything is for sale doesn’t bear close scrutiny.

exposition universe, Eiffel Tower also colonial exhibitions people shown in mock cities with their art shown with superiority of France.

Paul Gauguin escaped modern life to Arles but kept going back, after exposition, left for Tahiti. 1891 local elite did well, then locals had war disease and alcohol, west arrived and decimated culture.

Gauguin found 13 year old lover and muse acknowledges modern issues with relationships, praises new style of painting. recorded decline of a culture . while searching for his mixed cultural self.

turn of 20th century Cubism? African mask Picasso. Primitive art was the basis of Cubism. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, uses African mask stylisation in painting for female faces  (prostitutes)  barbarity of European culture.

Flanders reduced to some primitive level. Otto Dix spent 3 years on westerner and eastern from partially in machine gun base, drew horrors he saw German artist no consolation of victory war cemetery. gas mask icon of total war home grown barbarism war triptych as paradox against religious painting, panel show before and after war, broken bodies traumatised, central panel wasted western front, rotting flesh skeleton referring to crucifixion, PTSD transferred onto art.

Pt 9 The vital Spark

1941 concentration camp for Jews Brandheis took art materials into camp and taught them art. momentary escape into imaginations. post war 2 suitcases containing more than 4000 pieces of art made by children where found. Poignant. What does art do in the face of war? does it have a place in this time or is it just a commodity.

Japan, Naoshima created art island, a place to view art chi chu(?) art museum.

Mondrian, Line form and colour, (negative form?) lines of abstract form to create the ocean. simplified and magnified. flat lines and calibrated for balance. Then in the 40’s Mondrian moved to New York and his art livened up. lost the black lines that weighed the art down and abstraction after the war took off, Jackson Pollocks splatter paintings.

Warhol pop culture. Du champs anything can be labelled art.

Keifer. War child (same as Scharmer) Heard Hitlers voice repelled by it so started journey. posing in a provocative way photo’d in places relevant to the salute. His major works where huge physical pictures of the desolation of war. Walhalla as a resting place of great names used by the nazis and reborn by Keifer as a hospital ward. Soiled and smoking landscapes.

Covers lead strips with film images as spools.

Stone mountain Georgia carved relief about the supporters of slavery, KKK founded in 1950’s here. Paper silhouette cut outs Kara Walker uses to show a culture abused by slavery

Ink wash and drawing murals of modern violence hark back to Goya’s depiction of war How do we do these deeds, how do we look at them. A series of racist events?

El Anatsui creates sumptuous huge fabrics from waste. flattened bottle tops (his father in Ghanaian wove Kentei(?) fabric for celebrating, so a continuation?) strongest modern art has magical power of transformation take last mights rubbish and turn it into something enduring.

Gunpowder Fireworks used to create art through explosions enduring art on paper. Lays out stencils on canvas. covers with coloured gunpowder adds real plants over top then lays card over and weights, which restrict explosion stencils protect the white. resets with black gunpowder and covers with blank canvases lights fuse layers of history hiding a lightness.

plus ghost on blank canvases

Ai Weiwei huge sculpture of refugees on an oversized blow up dinghy.

suspended up high with bodies lost floating on the floor. much like terracotta army created to accompany emperor into afterlife. the dispossessed a repeating cycle.

Mikal Rovner long lines of animated figures walk never endingly across the wall, projections of people like runes moving on stone tablets.  New building made from detritus of Israeli and Palestinian homes

Can art do something about it? can it heal a rift based on more people than are involved in creating the art?

 

 

Shared humanity is the message of the series

 

 

 

 

Iain Sinclair – Swimming to Heaven : The Lost Rivers of London

Sinclair, I., 2000. Swimming to Heaven – The Lost Rivers of London. 1st ed. London, Great Britain: The Swedenborg Society.

This is a very short book which details a re-edited speech by Sinclair about the lost Rivers of london, it is intermingled with literature quotes throughout history as well as his own observations and history with these waterways.

The overall conclusion is to mix the loves of the Londoners with these possibly unknown waters, swilling them up with all the other liquids that slosh around a city, the feel of the history is heavy as if that should remind people of the water beneath their feet even if they don’t know it’s there. The feeling is one of hope and colour and life with a back-story that people don’t even know about. Its a happier read than Rings of Saturn, which I preferred, possibly for the more romantic prose, possibly because it was a more fulfilling read even if it was morose in comparison. This text is rooted in now rather than nostalgia. It’s an energy with layers I hope I achieve in my pictures, however if I succeed in getting the almost opulent degradation of Rings of Saturn, I’d be just as happy.

Pt 5 Research

George Shaw – My Back to Nature(2018)[exhibition]Southampton City Gallery 4th may-1st September 2018.

Sickert, W (1889-91) Gaite Rochechouart [oil on canvas] Mottisfont. Romsey

Royal Collection Trust. 2018. THE PAPER MUSEUM OF CASSIANO DAL POZZO. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/themes/trails/highlights-from-the-print-collection/highlights-from-the-print-collection/the-paper-museum-of-cassiano-dal-pozzo. [Accessed 17 June 2018].

The Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London. 2018. THE PAPER MUSEUM OF CASSIANO DAL POZZO. [ONLINE] Available at: https://warburg.sas.ac.uk/research/research-projects/paper-museum-cassiano-dal-pozzo. [Accessed 17 June 2018].

Benjamin, W(1936) The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction In: Visual culture reader, Jessica Evans, Stuart Hall. London. Visual culture reader. pp. 72-79

The Public Domain Review. 2018. Cyanotypes of British Algae by Anna Atkins (1843). [ONLINE] Available at: https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/cyanotypes-of-british-algae-by-anna-atkins-1843/. [Accessed 17 June 2018].
Discover Artwork. 2018. Walter Richard Sickert. [ONLINE] Available at: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/search/actor:sickert-walter-richard-18601942. [Accessed 17 June 2018].
Christie’s. 2018. LOT 15 Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) L’ Eldorado. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/walter-richard-sickert-1860-1942-l-eldorado-6040621-details.aspx. [Accessed 18 June 2018].
Tate. 2018. Walter Richard Sickert – Ennui. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sickert-ennui-n03846. [Accessed 2 July 2018].

For research in part 5 we are asked to look at the paper museum of Cassiano Dal Pozzo. This was a collection of pictures brought together by Cassiano dal Pozzo and his younger brother Carlo Antonio in the seventeenth century. The number of pictures is around 10,000 and represents a broad catalogue of what was known at that time, for instance, plants were painted and pencil sketches of where they could be found added. This collection contained a mix of paintings, sketches and prints (the modern technolodgy) and the process of cataloguing it continues to this day.

The website states “The Paper Museum reflects the taste and intellectual breadth of Cassiano (1588-1657), one of the most learned and enthusiastic of all seventeenth-century Roman collectors.” This is a concerning sentence given the view in Ways of seeing about the link between the learned and art, it’s an elitist view and as Seabald notes in Rings of Saturn, the collection of art often rode on the back of slave trade (The Tate was financed by the sugar industry) or essentially the work of others who would never benefit.

This potentially puts a tarnish on the collection.

However, as a history of what was known at the time it is a fascinating collection.

A. Antiquities and Architecture

B. Natural History

c. Prints

The collection has been curated into 3 groups (above) with the prints in their own grouping, this seems to class them as lesser to the other original pictures and affords them a mass generalised group over slotting them into the other work. (Walter Benjamin Art in the age of mechanical reproduction discusses the lack of a time and space for a reproduced piece of work over the original, making it less authentic)

Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) created pictures around a set message, his final pieces would be based on preparatory sketches that added up to this final scene. They showed a point in history, the shops, the entertainment (the theatre) he showed the people enjoying it as well as the players on stage, This painting on the walls at Mottisfont (down the road from here) is a bit narrower than I managed in my sketchbook but is really that dark in an impressively imposing dark frame for a picture so small, I have to wonder at whether it needs a clean, the level of information for such rough painting is really good to seeDSC07734

he created pictures to show trials in life (Ennui. 1914, oil painting on canvas) and his portraits where less formal posing with backgrounds showing homes. I painted the modern equivalent of the theatre for everyone with a cinema, people lit from the front, alternatively, maybe someone watching the tv?

 

I also painted the front of a coffeeshop in town, adding in some of the patrons, the detail isn’t really there, and I used Sickerts back painting for both

 

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Sickert’s style was impressionist, with limited palette and with a dark underline clearly visible. Working in both oil pastel and oil paint (much like Degas) I’ve used acrylic in my sketchbook mostly as a choice on drying times to turn the page, the nature of the paint is different, but I’ve stuck with colours that seem to be recogniseable from his paintings, basicly anything with raw or burnt in the title prussian blue and because I have it titanium white. I used galeria black over liquitex heavy body as its a looser mix to work an expressive line which I think Sickerts paintings hang on, sometimes informed with presketching.

George Shaw rather handily has an exhibition currently at Southampton City Art Gallery entitled My Back to Nature. The premise is that he has looked at unused spaces and linked them to the paintings from the National Gallery showing mythical and historic goings on in the woods, the unused places we play and experience things for the first time. As a result his paintings have elements of the hidden or in one case pictures strewn about the ground ripped out of a porn magazine referencing the Bacchanalian delights from mythology. It has an air of subversion, a hint of forbidden, which is what the paintings he originally looked at showed the learned classes that could afford the art or visited the galleries.

His practise occurs through initial sketches, ink drawings with ink wash and finish with a selection of sizes of enamel on canvas. I found the sheen on the paintings really annoying, also, he prepares the paints by leaving them in his studio space without the lids on so they thicken up, close inspection of the paintings reveals the layers.

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I picked a tree off the path on the ridge above my home (an unused space), this has been set up as a swing , a place for children to play, maybe enacting out their remembered fairytales.

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Sketched in situ (I think Shaw works off of photos, the foreground is suspiciously well lit, as if from a flash).

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I then did the ink line and wash A3 to formalise what I felt was important and the light on the trunk and created dappled shade came through. This didn’t include any real detail from the bark so I decided to work it up with loose oils on A1 cartridge paper

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The effect is punchy, but the sky peaking through needed to be an undercoat of its own to then be covered, This painting happened in 2 sessions on separate days during which the spirit thinned first layer had dried well.I Like painting trees, its therapeutic, big reassuring things with generally still more years than me.

Tim Stoner has a more styalised type of painting, his pictures are views out onto settings from inside, through windows and doors or out from under umbrellas in the town square, overall, his use of paint gives an energy as overlapping colours add to the sense of movement. Again Stoner paints in people, shimmying across the canvas or paper, his charcoals showing obvious rubbing out to show a behind.

 

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Art and Artifact: The Museum as Medium – James Putnam

Putnam, J, 2009. Art and Artefact: The Museum as Medium. 2nd ed. London, Great Britain: Thames and Hudson.

 

Introduction. Open the Box

Places museums linked to artists, as places to store objects of interest, then the artists using the museum within work (Du Champs museum in a case).

looks at the difference putting objects into a glass case makes as to how we view them, spaces in museums being more important than the contents.

Fred Wilson et al curating museum contents for a different narrative on history.

1. The Museum Effect

This looks at display devices and how they elevate objects into things we expect to give due notice too in museums. Looks at the packaging used to store or move items of delecacy and value as exhibits themselves, looks at stipulating a distance from which you can view items.

2. Art or Artifact

Curated collections, twisting the truth or digging up the often unlooked at and putting it into an exhibition.

3. Public Inquiry

Art as a question about the system it inhabits (or exhibits in). Or in opposition to it which is a bit of a contradictory situation that the artists must get over (comments about the establishment being in charge and deciding the content of the gallery over to who visits the exhibitions)

4. Framing the Frame

The irony of the exhibit or the spaces it inhabits, looking at the storage spaces or the exhibits in their stored places.

5. Curator or Creator

mixing art into artefacts to call their authenticity into question, using the unexpected items from storage to create a point, creating a new point that differs from the standard line.

6. On the Inside

Chapter about collaborations between artists and museums that are less confrontational than chapter 3. So whilst showing a possible negative side to a museum collection, the added art is seen as positive and in some cases purchased by the museum.

7. Without Walls

Where the museum itself becomes the exhibit that helps draw people in, Bilbao and Tate Modern with the turbine hall.

there is a system in place within art to provide acceptable art accessably, museums facilitate this by choosing the art that people can seen (specificly, the people in charge of the museum). How many of them would allow an artist to show work that makes the museum come across as the institution it is?

George Shaws exhibition at Southampton City Art Gallery is accompanied by a room of pictures chosen by Shaw from the collection, but it doesn’t mix with his work, its merely an add on of stuff he likes. In that instance, it failed, I haven’t spotted any other collaborations to comment on.

However, I can see that the overall curation of an exhibit needs to raise questions in itself, if nothing else, so that the link between works makes a coherent message as you walk through the space.

 

The Rings of Saturn – WG Seabald

Bryson, B., 1996. Notes From a Small Island. 2nd ed. London, Great Britain: Black Swan.

Seabald, W., 2002. The Rings of Saturn. 20th ed. London, Great Britain: Random House.
  1. Seems to be a slow travel through disjointed thoughts. more of a meanderance. Browne seeing the quincunx everywhere. the pattern of dice on the five side, something in each corner and another in the middle. The study of burial, or cremation as the for-runner of burial, the addition of grave goods to ease the dead into the afterlife, Seabald is either naturally morbid or while in his hospital bed, thinks he will die?

2. Starts with a train journey with no-one interacting, then gets dropped off at a station that now is of no consequence, where once surrounded by windmills, it meant the arrival of everything to the area.

Talks of Somerleyton with a grand history then drops in the emptiness and disasters that befell it from this great point in its history. He is bouncing through time with ease.

3. Leaves Lowestoft talks of the self induced loneliness of the solitary fishermen on the seashore as he walks on, discusses the herring fishing history and its ebb and flow There is still an all prevailing sense of decay about this work, whether this is mirroring his imminent physical condition isn’t clear yet, brings to mind a Bill Bryson book I read a long time ago, Notes From a Small Island, where while describing Aberdeen and its rich history, he notes “It is, I’ve no doubt, a nice place to live. It’s just that it was so much like everywhere else.” This book has this similar all pervading tiredness of seeing the decay and knowing what a history it stands on seeping out of the pages.

4. Starts in Southwold looking out to sea and imagining an unimaginable battle no-one ever painted from life. Goes to the Sailors reading room and looks up a photo of Ferdinands blood stained coat and starts to remember a trip to Amsterdam the year earlier. Returns to the history in the reading room to discuss the atrocious deaths in WWII Croatia.

5. I’ll give this to him, Seabald defines the losing side of a war in a way most winning parties don’t. Roger Casemont captures his imagination as a program he falls asleep to and then finds out more, he is lyrical in his presentation of the past, and as I wrote depicts the underdogs side well for someone on the winning/white patriarchal side.

6. Striking chapter about a bridge he walks over, built for a small gauge train, which was purchased from Chinese dynasty. He doesn’t know exactly who from, but supposes a specific person and recites their history and demise. A rich modern (in comparison) history filled with excess.

7. Brief interlude visiting a friend on route.

8. Falls into conversation with De Jong finds out about the Tate’s financial origins (Tate and Lyle?) History of Fitzgerald’s and primarily Edward who had the gilded life of someone born into money, coursed because his upbringing was so controlled it fixed his solitary path through the rest of his life. Eccentric in the way only those with money can be. Also a walk around an ex military research facility on the east coast, now empty and barren.

9. A reminiscence of a family he stayed with in Ireland. The great house once a thing of proud beauty decaying due to the troubles making it an un-sellable millstone for the owners. A family who inherited it with no way to make a profit enough to deal with the upkeep and have an almost ethereal quality about their link to the house.

This chapter finishes with the final destruction of the wind in 1987, which I remember well. This ends the walk.

10. is about  the silk industry, its move from China through Greece, on to the main land up through western Europe into England, explains why it failed but produced skilled workmen who proffered first.

Ends with the death of Clara’s father as the great loss of the book? It is difficult to tell if this is the man that walked the east coast or its the author. The sense of loss is right through the book, its decay upon greatness followed by decay, it appears to be charting the demise of someone held in high esteem at the very least and is an indirect obituary of this greatness brought down.

Also I’m having difficulty working out the view of decay in terms described from Aesthetics (Tailaiferro) If romantic is a state of letting it fall into disrepair, this book allows for that, however, in classical terms it shows the route of the decline every step, however it feels so poetic it’s difficult to take the view away from the sense of lost love and romance.

However, I’m not sure how much of any of it is true? is the book a fiction?

I will read more of Seabald’s work though, it is mesmerising.

 

Ways of seeing – John Berger

Berger, J(1972)Ways of seeing, Penguin Books LTD, London

This book is about how biased art is, how elitist and how based on its own history and value over original meaning in context to original purpose.

1. Essay on value based on originality (Benjemin) over copy, on who values it, museums value within a specific criteria that ascertain originality and financial worth, whereas only a small percentage of the population ever walk into a gallery to see them, this all presupposes that we are viewing them in context, not on the telly, but within the surroundings they were painted for in whatever political/religious/class situation it was meant for.

2. Photo essay about use of female anatomy in modern adverts being the same as classical painting (presumably when they were selling the artist or themselves)

3.How women and men see themselves in the context of how others look at them, in the female case, as the self fulfilling profecy, the role of women in art as being observed.

4. Photo essay covering the previous chapter and the many roles of women, daughter, wife, mother, crone.

5. the value of the oil painting as as showing the ownership of the contents over good art transcending this to just show the human condition.

6. Photo essay of former chapter, metaphor, the happy pauper, the real emotion of the sitter etc.

7. The link between classical art imagery and modern advertising, which are promising love by showing a positive future over art showing what happened the day it was created  and as a show of this going forward.

The use of gender stereotypes throughout history and continuing on in this modern imagery, which is using art as a status symbol that shows wealth and a level of knowledge.

I’ve read this book 3 times now over the last 4 years, and it is as depressingly tough to take in as the first time.

I have to be making art for individuals, however it will only ever be an individual who frequents places of art, this limits my audience without  accounting social media.

Any portrayal of a human has connotations of the previous use of humans in many situations throughout history, I have to choose which of these histories to tap into and western traditional isn’t looking good.

I’m sure I’ll have a reread before my education is over.