Franz West

Franz West is most known for his mixed media sculptures which he terms “Adaptives”. These objects are meant to be “ergonomically inclined” that only fulfill the role of artwork when they are handled, carried, worn etc. West is interested in the dialogue between the viewer and the object, the relation between sculpture and painting and what it means to be aesthetic. West manipulates everyday materials and images and challenges the interplay between what is concealed and exposed, what is acted upon and what is being reacted to. This happens both in and outside of the gallery setting.

West typically uses papier-mache, wire, plaster, aluminium and other materials. Initially West started painting but then started creating collages and sculptures. In the 1990’s West began making large aluminium pieces inspired by Viennese sausages – which became well known for his “Adaptives” – which were meant for lying and sitting.

Like Oldenburg, I am interested in the outdoor, accessible nature of his work and the fact that the work invites interaction that includes more than looking. The audience is invited to sit and feel immersed in his installations. The fact that West’s installations are only considered art when they are interacted with further heightens the importance of the work being tactile. This is what Ellie and myself want to consider with our future work and it was a suggestion in our feedback in the Things That Matter project.

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Claes Oldenburg

Oldenburg is most notably known for his sculptures that combine the banal with the everyday. His public sculptures include objects that are easily recognizable to the public yet are made somewhat fantastical from their size. The use of scale defamiliarizes the object yet creates an uncanny effect: they are at once familiar yet unsettling. There is also a whimsy that is present that reminds me of Alice Through The Looking Glass, the environment is reduced in size while the objects are made gigantic. As they reside in a public space, it is open to the elements and unhidden from discovery. They invite contemplation in a fun and playful way, not taking themselves too seriously yet still inviting discussion. This is amplified from the installation being situated within the elements, they are not confined to a gallery or museum. They are open and accessible and demand attention from a wider audience.

This is another method that myself and Ellie can pursue, removing our recovered, and similarly banal, objects from the studio setting and recreating them in a different way within the public sphere. Not only are the objects not discarded and forced to reside in a room, they occupy a wider space that communicates their importance we feel they have.

Thomas Demand

The work of Thomas Demand is at once real and artificial. Demand began as a sculptor and began taking photographs as a mode of documentation of his paper constructions. In 1993 this stance reversed, and he began making his constructions for his photography. The artits begins by taking images from the media, normally a political event, which are then adapted into life-size models made from paper and cardboard. Demand also creates architectural spaces and environments which are built in the image of other images. Once they have been photographed, these environments are destroyed.

Whats interests Ellie and I is the use of a false environment to suggest a reality that does not exist. The setting is fake yet implies that such a place could exist. The use of material is also interesting, they are impermanent but suggest permanency. The whole environment is deconstructed and recreated to subvert perceptions and force a closer analysis of each image.

Elad Lassry

Elad Lassry rediscovers images from various sources and re-imagines them in an array of media which includes film, drawing, photography and sculpture. Despite this diversity of medium, Lassry has a very distinctive style of work which primarily focuses on the meaning of the contemporary image and our perception of it/them.

Lassry’s pictures are always the same scale and inhabit a space between image and sculpture. This is done through the manipulation of virtual space and real space. The image displayed conveys a virtual space and the frame, which is an extension of the image, facilitates the real space for the object to inhabit.  The images that Lassry uses can range from Hollywood headshots, magazine snapshots to photographs taken in a studio. Often these images reflect the traditions of still life. Lassry uses these images to create and ambiguous “signifier” that combined with the frame reinstates these images into a kind of uncanny still life, subverting the conventions of tradition into a contemporary discussion surrounding the image. Lassry questions if the object affects the reading of the image and how the subject affects our interpretation.

What I find interesting is the dialogue between depth, object and image. The image is layered and contains a multitude of components, yet it appears flat and two dimensional. As the scale remains the same for each completed image the flatness is amplified yet if attention is paid then the eye focuses on the differences and the impact of the layers on the image. It allows for consideration and for the audience to contemplate what it means to see.

 

Robert Gober

Robert Gober is most known for his meticulous sculptures that discuss themes of politics, sexuality, nature, relationships and childhood. His work is often centered around his past memories, or on familiar objects that can be found in his home or studio. These include sinks, doors, body parts, chairs etc. What interests me in his installations is the subversion of these objects. Unlike mine and Ellie’s previous work, the objects he provides aren’t Readymade’s, they are painstakingly recreated as sculptures which inject a sense of the uncanny into the installation. At once they appear normal yet Unheimlich: unsettling yet comfortable. One of mine and Ellie’s criticisms of our work was that our objects are too like themselves after their recovery. Gober here is a good example of how to overcome this. Not only is Gober recreating these objects but displacing them from their original use and location; a further subversion of their purpose. This is also an interesting approach to removing what is conventionally known about these objects, and inviting a discussion surrounding them.

Robert Gober

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From looking at his early dollhouse works and to his curatorial exhibitions – as shown below – myself and Ellie are interested in perhaps not altering the objects themselves, but the environment we place them in. Instead of having a large volume of objects, we can disrupt the objects by the environment they are situated in. From this we were discussing building rooms or floors and placing the objects in them, creating a sense of the uncanny whilst also maintaining that the objects should be considered as important. This would be shown by their size appearing larger when in fact they remain the same as they have always been.

Robert Gober Curation 2

Robert Gober Curation

Above is a scale model of the gallery space that Gober curated and below that is the actual space. The use of scale and copies is interesting to me an further comments on value and worth – themes that our collaboration have been interested in this year.

Evan Ifekoya

Ifekoya introduced the talk by stating that she would show us a sound essay that weaves together more recent work with things she is thinking about at the moment. The video is very slow and through this she is questioning what it means to listen and decenter the visual.

Alot of the time music is intersected with speech and layered so the audience perhaps is unsettled. Throughout the layering of speech becomes almost impossible to comprehend and actually hearLater, repetition of a chant is merged into a beat in a hypnotic fashion. Echoes of dialogue that distort the piece can be heard with clarity. There is a talk of time based realities, this is what I managed to pick up:

You translate vibrations that’s why you see hear… you are vibrations. You are inside the vibrations. You are vibrations beings.

Now there are images of tropical fish and footage of a blue ring octopus when discussing characteristics of zombies. Heavy beats play which then introduce a voice that speaks a language I cannot understand.

Ringing bells then play and another octopus is featured. Dance music is introduced and there appears to be different genres of music playing throughout. Over the top of this, a commentary of sound and noise production/understanding.

On the whole I didn’t really grasp what Ifekoya was trying to communicate but, in that case, the work was not meant for me. I found it interesting the seemingly disconnected pieces had different interpretations by the audience that the artist did not consider but were ultimately still valid. This made me consider if there truly has to be a justification of the decisions an artist makes or is it perfectly fine for a work just to be.

Tim Stoner

Stoner began by talking to us about some drawings he did when he was 18 and grew up i London. They are mostly of trees and parks. He had an inclination to be an artist but it was not a profession that was a popular choice in school.  He began his practice with drawings of motifs that we collect and inhabit us. He found that there is an importance of drawing and drawing our surroundings. Stoner knew he was good at drawing but knew other things were happening in art and that this wasn’t enough. His current practice includes the plane of what is seen, understood, imagined and announced. He frequently went on the train to London go to the Docklands and painted more of an idea of a place rather than depicting it accurately.  In the beginning,  a lot of his paintings were about traveling and speed of being on a train but not anything more complicated than that. Only when he attended the Royal College of Art that he realised he had been quite blinkered from the art world. He said that most people entered the college as abstract painters and came out as figurative. Stoner became interested in the psychological anchor of relationships to people and slippage of painting. He endeavored to try and find moment of how the painting slips out of you and represents totality of experience.

Stoner left the Royal College and was working as painter and decorator. He came across an opportunity to go to Spain  for 3 months as someone had dropped out of the program. Stoner began creating paintings about beauty and desire and at the time he wasn’t looking at the world as something good. After his 3 month stay he applied to an academy in Amsterdam and got the position he wanted. Initially, there was a real chaos present in his work and it soon collapsed. In his first year he decided to go back to himself  and started painting from family snapshots. He wanted the image to be flat but special at once. By back-lighting the piece this could solve the problem. Second year came together wanted painting to be like camouflage and wanted paintings to have positivity of a projected perfect lifestyle but also had nuclear end of the world thing going on.

At one time he endeavored to paint a couple fucking for some reason. After a while his painting became quite folksy with a wicker man vibe going on. Stoner went on to say that if you can’t make art then you cannot call yourself an artist. He came back to London studio in Bethnal Green and continued with the theme of the work in Holland that was still l really precise and accurate. He really stripped things down rigorously and pondered what is enough in painting. Stoner told us that when you’re a student you have an idea that everyone is going to want to work with you but it is not like that.

Eventually Stoner felt underwhelmed with his painting . He wanted to abandon his work and move to Spain – which he did. His neighbors were into farming and that was an inspiration to the paintings he was creating around this time. He was a lot more hands on with his work, scraping paint off and chucking paint on etc. He had a show in London in 2012 and hated it. This inspired him to destroy everything in his studio. He reverted back to drawing and drew things that he would naturally see on his way to the studio etc or generally around his travels. The aim was to make his work the subject and the relationship he had to it be the focus of his practice. In this way the place becomes really significant. In particular, Stoner enjoys the space where city turns to the countryside and vice versa. This prompted him to start to think of  the archaeological form of painting and scraping etc. In particular he is interested in how images are woven together and the entanglement of the image. Throughout all this, he is trying to find the elemental part of the painting and that a painting isn’t just picture or a depiction but an experience.

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