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.

 

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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.

Tate Exchange

We had the opportunity to visit the Tate as part of the Tate Exchange which really helped with inspiration for our studio work.

 

I particularly enjoyed Bruce Nauman’s neon pieces that included text and images. His exploration of language and image really intrigued me and I’m considering, from viewing the exhibition, including more text based pieces into my studio work. The Hyundai Commission by SUPERFLEX One Two Three Swing! was another favourite of mine. I responded particularly to the interactivity of the installation and how it seemed to weave its way through the space. Both of these examples of installations have the element of playful in common. This made me realise that for our collaboration, that element of fun is needed and should be present within the work that we make.

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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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Holly Pester

Pester introduced the talk by stating that she explores poetry, research and her sense of self. As an author she actively participates in her work taking the form of Subject. She introduced us to Map she created that acts as a cosmology to her practice: in the middle are the objects/things that are the focus of her obsessions.  Outside the middle column are the methods or modes that have are followed to explore the central topics. Pester is particularly fascinated with the relationships between these things that she is drawn to and how she can engage with them in her practice. Some of these Methodologies include cadence and hallucinations and her interests include bogs, clairvoyance, posture etc. Through this pursuit, Pester does not attempt to emphasis the self/the person.

Pester has touched on various artists and writers that have enabled and provoked particular ways of thinking. She found it important to acknowledge and locate the lineage of thinking and honour the texts and works created in line with her interests.  Hannah Weiner’s “I see words” – and the practice of Hannah Weiner –  was a particular interest. Weiner suffered from schizophrenia and an example of a symptom of her condition is that she sees texts coming out people heads. Weiner claimed this symptom as  clairvoyancy and logged her findings in her “clairvoyancy journals”. What Pester is intrigued by is the archiving of a bodily state into a mode of composition and how the text negotiates with this very particular, personal language.

“The Fast” is another text by Weiner that Pester studied and is interested in. Pester traveled to San Diego to read this piece and Pester traced the entries of Weiner as she starved herself, locked herself in the room and documented her experiences. Pester noticed how a strange attachment is formed when you study a persons very personal account of events. Pester told us how Weiner was seeing witches coming out of the taps and found herself (after time) agreeing with Weiner when she thought it was a good idea to move into the kitchen sink so it would allow her to drink and piss simultaneously . Pester found that Weiner’s voice within the text was haunting the material and also Pester herself.

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Pester read snippets of essays that she has written. She described her work as “hallucinatory lyric” despite the fact she does not hallucinated but does experience Hypnogogia (the vibrant space between sleeping and waking). When Pester hears things during this state, she is interested in this arena as a research space.

“Voices confuse a sense of myself”

“Voices of an expression as a different state of being”

“Mad utterances to be not mine”

Moving from Hallucination to gossip, Pester showed us a clip, that was quite old, installed inside telephone box on the gates of the Royal Academy. The piece was titled An Epic of Gossip and acted as a  “a storage tank of reserved otherness”. Some snippets of dialogue include “Its coming apart”and “you or the phone?”. Pester here was interested in this described otherness and the Lacanian idea of letting the other into your unconscious space of speech. As two people were on the phone, the friendship between the duo is a a space that allows the rehearsing of politics within our speech; after all your friends are the closest version to you.

Pester later worked on a book project after taking a residency ins the Woman’s Art Library at Goldsmiths which focuses on woman’s literature  mainly from 60’s through to the 80’s. She focused on an archival reading strategy centered around gossip which is the connector of data and information. The result of “Fan Fiction of the Archive” was a book of poetry, short stories and experimental fictions.

Holly Pester Archive Research

Pester then read from her poem “Two Sculptures” and these lines, I felt, were especially poignant:  “Everyone works in memory of victims”, “can anyone cut this cream cake”, “my birth chart is braided”. Here, the fact that someones birth is predetermined and woven to already to an already specified design is what especially piqued my interest. This action is a very feminine practice and suggests that care has similarly been woven into the creation of life.

Within Pester’s group Common Rest project, she and seven other artists used lullabies as method to draw on – and to think about – care, friendship and the politics of care and labour. They composed lullabies outside of the domestic normative space whilst attempting to maintain the spellbinding magic of the lullaby (that perhaps acts as a curse as well). Each song was a duet and they worked together to create an immersive, surreal piece. The group tackled themes such as: activism, mental health, abortion, love, the sea, spines, money, dogs, education and beds amongst other things.The piece we listened to called Rush was very repetitive, immersive and surreal and featured the layering of one specific sound which were in fact “elevated particles of speech”.

Pester than told us how she then focused on nervousness as a state of being and how she hopes to convert this into a mode of knowledge. She questions how this nervousness can be transformed into resistance. Below are some snippets of Nervousness as Style.

“I do include worry pressure anxiety and apprehension”

“Becoming a body in a sea/scene of bodies and functions”

“To be this much in love is to be sick and I love to be sick”

“Being a out exuberance and material together”

Pester than spoke about how she explored de-creativity to cultivation. Charlotte Bronte’s Villette was influential to this mode of thought. During the novel, the protagonist is so overcome with emotion regarding some love letters she has received she cannot bare to read them. Therefore, she wraps them in a handkerchief, dips them in oil, puts them in a glass and seals them with wax, and then they are finally buried in the ground resembling a grave. It is this raptured obsession that Pester finds so engaging and the archival quality of the protagonist’s actions. The letters inhabit a space that is not destructive but not creative either, they are placed in stasis.

Common Rest Holly Pester

Artist Statement – Things That Matter

Rebecca Uffindell and Eleanor Slaney work as part of a collaboration and throughout their practice challenge notions of worth mostly concerning materiality. During the external project “Things That Matter”, the title serving as the project prompt, the collaboration have explored notions of projected value and identity found in objects inhabiting a liminal space. Through this, they have also engaged with Anselm Franke’s theory regarding “Animism” and have questioned whether an object can truly possess an identity and, if this is true, is the object’s memory and previous existence a determining factor to its worth?

In the exhibition #ThingsThatMatter, Rebecca and Eleanor installed a variety of objects, retrieved from charity shops, and suspended them using wool over the beams within SPACE Gallery. The collaboration were mainly intrigued by the existence of liminal spaces, this being present in the setting of a charity shop. At once the found objects adopt a role of the abandoned and the salvaged and, until they are bought or discarded, will remain inhabiting that identity. By hanging the objects Rebecca and Eleanor hope that the audience will truly be confronted by the rejected and are able to navigate the features of each item and consider them in the open. In the centre of the exhibition lay cards posing questions such as: “Do these objects change when they are placed in a gallery setting?”, and “Ultimately, do these things matter?”. The intention was to pose unintrusive questions to the viewer, to allow them to acknowledge and consider these found objects and determine if their worth has changed. As the cards are placed centrally in regard to the installation, the viewer is forced to navigate the space in which the objects exist: in this instance, they refuse to be ignored.

Artists that have influenced Rebecca Uffindell during this process include the filmmaker Agnès Varda and Jeff Koons. After watching The Gleaners and I, Varda served as an interesting starting point to the collaboration and allowed them to consider the worth of what has been neglected by humanity. Varda, within this documentary acted as mediator to the observed and observer and was an active participant to gleaning herself. This instigated Rebecca and Eleanor to consider the liminality that is often present in identity as well as space. Jeff Koons was influential in establishing an arena in which the ordinary can take centre stage. This is present within his Banality series, as well as repurposing pre-existing objects, Koons transfers these ordinary ornaments into a space that was previously not inclusive to them, therefore permitting them to be acknowledged as something worth viewing.

Rebecca Uffindell and Eleanor Slaney intend to continue working collaboratively and further engage in materiality, perhaps expanding off of the external project. Ambiguity and whimsy remain as strong elements to be featured in their work and they hope to expand upon their current practice and continue challenging their audiences – and their own – perceptions of identity, place and belonging.

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