01 February 2015

1600 chairs

Or maybe only 1550. The place: Istanbul. The artist: Doris Salcedo. Her theme: Art as repair.

" In 2002, Salcedo placed 280 chairs at the Palace of Justice in Bogotá "to pay homage to those killed here in a failed guerrilla coup seventeen years earlier." In 2003, she filled the Istanbul Biennial space between two buildings with 1,550 chairs "evoking the masses of faceless migrants who underpin our globalised economy."

"Salcedo's work provokes many questions after a first look, but she does provide answers to the mystery. The approach she takes to portraying these messages are unique and bold although she is using everyday objects like chairs."

Image via pinterest, text via mymodernmet.

31 January 2015

Spot the difference

This is the eastern section of the "New Exhibitions" brochure, listing lots of galleries in London, that comes out bimonthly. At the top - Jan/Feb; below, the out of date one, Nov/Dec. So much easier to read the gallery names on the blue, but the street names are too pale. The real difference, invisible in the photo, is the addition of a few galleries - the prestigious White Cube is there at last - and the deletion of quite a few names, presumably because they've closed.

Just noticed there's a website - www.newexhibitions.com, which says:

"New Exhibitions of Contemporary Art is the UK’s most widely used and trusted art resource.

"Galleries are subject to selection. The New Exhibitions bi-monthly printed guide is thoroughly proofed and edited, and the website continuously updated to ensure accurate and timely information. Over 25,000 copies per issue are distributed through hundreds of art venues and by posted subscription."

If only the format wasn't so unwieldy - unfolded, it's the size of a broadsheet newspaper, and the gallery you want is always unreadable except by complete unfolding.

But that's a small moan for a compact gallery-guide. It has exhibitions outside London too.

Venerable brushes

Found in the paintbrush drawer - an unused waterbrush, hurrah (the water isn't flowing properly in my current one; why?) - and not just one old toothbrush, but one after another after another, saved serially because they were sure to be useful ... but they aren't; I've never made a single mark with any of them, bristles or handle. 

Before giving them the toss I had to take a photo of the effect of sun through the clear handles (as you do) and this led to some toothbrush venery ...
A chaos of toothbrushes

An assortment of toothbrushes

A regiment of toothbrushes

A domino-effect of toothbrushes

A confrontation of toothbrushes

An indifference of toothbrushes

A conspiracy of toothbrushes

An ostracism of toothbrushes

A greeting of toothbrushes

A stratigraphy of toothbrushes

A disillusion of toothbrushes

An aerial view of toothbrushes

An ostrich position of toothbrushes

30 January 2015

Ceramics, week 3

Earlier in the day I had made the fabric shapes for dipping: stitching and gathering, wrapping and pleating, and then steaming in my home-made apparatus, which consists of a square of fabric with corners tied. It fits over a large pan of simmering water, but must not touch the water. You have to be careful with cloth near a flame, so the flame was at its lowest and I put the corners up on the lid as much as possible -
Safety first!
The steamy parcels
At the class, it was exciting to get the delicate items from last week - intact; they're about 4" tall but my plan (or, hope) is to make them larger -
After the day of winding at Espacio Gallery, I made some balls of cotton wound over crumpled paper, and dipped them, then let them drip. Which gave rise to the idea of letting the stitched fabric drip, rather than puddle - and drying it with a hair dryer so that it would keep its tall shape. Let's see if that works -
Robert suggested painting the fabric with glaze, for stability - it can dry and the fabric can be dipped next week -
This is what went into the kiln - some stamped tiles, filled in with black slip, and five textile creations (fingers crossed) -


29 January 2015

Poetry Thursday - page 235 of A Humument by Tom Phillips

http://www.tomphillips.co.uk/studio-blog/item/5787-he-do-the-police-in-different-voices

Can a picture be a poem? This one can, if you go to the web page on which it appeared (click here) and listen to the author reading it. Hearing it adds that extra, sensible, dimension.

The picture is p.235 of Tom Phillips' A Humument ... which started life on 5 November 1966 and is now in its fifth edition, as the artist remakes pages. It has its own website, where you can get the book, prints, and even an app.

Here's a screengrab so you can see lots of images of it at once, as well as Tom Phillips in the bottom right corner -
Click to enlarge, or search for "humument" to see more
Tom Phillips (b.1937) is an artistic polymath -  his work, it says on his website, includes "painting (both figurative and abstract), opera (composer, librettist, set designer), concrete poetry and ornamental forms of writing, sculpture and site-specific designs (mosaic, tapestry, wire frame objects). He has also taken on several para-artistic roles – critic, curator, committee chairman for the Royal Academy, translator..."

He became an artist, the story goes, because while in primary school he heard the word artist and learned that an artist is someone who doesn't have to put his paints away - so he decided to become one.

28 January 2015

All wound up

It was good fun at Espacio Gallery's Anti-Gallery Gallery show last week, sitting and doing things with wool and thread - some people came because they knew what was going on, and others came in off the street, looked at the work on display, and stayed to help wind a memory ball or do some knitting -

Other things were going on too - Pat was inviting people to try printmaking -
and Esperanza was making a fluorescent ball, which she squeezed out the door to sit on the pavement -
My idea for the memory ball is that a person would be enjoying the sweet while winding the wrapper into the ball -

Some of the winders -
Gabrielle and Karin, from Hastings
Two young men from Madrid who now live nearby
Catherine [hope I remembered the name right!] introduced the idea of tearing the wrappers
Shirene also contributed a length of braiding
Knitting instruction was on offer
Viva learned, Agnese already knew how
(note the display of  newly-made prints on the wall)
Later on...
Morwenna with some of her Continuous Making project
Tap performance by members of Women's Tap Rhythm Collective
 After which, more winding -
Christa
Graham
Chloe
In the background, near the window, Caroline's knitting, to which we contributed

27 January 2015

Drawing Tuesday - ironwork at V&A

Lots of lovely linear things, like this lecturn - but no space near it for settling in on a drawing stool -
This grille was far away but enticing - symmetrical except for the mermaid in the middle - perfect for charcoal -
What I didn't know was that charcoal is now prohibited in the V&A. The warder who broke the news very kindly let me finish the drawing "but do be quick, we've got one of the curators coming to look at an object incident" (someone had been tampering with a screw, perhaps with a view to removing the object).

After a week of being carried around, the drawing has now mirrored itself -
Next challenge (pencil this time) is this 17th century German bracket - again, it was the 3Dness that attracted me -
The proportions and angles were made trickier to capture by the slanting lines around it. And there turned out to be "more than meets the eye". This is the point where I nearly gave up -
Some time later, a bit wishy-washy, a bit inaccurate, but all there -
Next time, contrast - contrast, contrast, contrast!

Michelle was capturing pattern (with enviable contrast) -
I know she develops her sketchbook pages when she gets back home - a lesson to us all. The simple design here could have many developments -
Mike was certainly using contrast - a screen by Guimard, who did the Paris Metro entrances -
and these are by jeweller Wendy Ramshaw -
Afterwards I went back and observed variations in curlicues -
Those are 19th century copies of older ironwork, so I went to look at "the real thing" in the medieval galleries - the Chichester Screen, for example, 12th century -
Along the way, wonderful shadows from the ironwork gallery's centrepiece (19th century) -