Although I have begun to work primarily with performance, video and installation as I feel it is in these formats that my ideas (and identity as an artist) are communicated most strongly, I have also continued to produce collages. I find collages useful as a way of reflecting and commenting directly on popular culture, in this way they become sketches for other work, that generate ideas, themes and subject matter. There is also a practical benefit as in terms of work that I sell, collages tend to be the most popular.
Today I created an installation work entitled I DON'T KNOW. It consists of a golden cherub statuette on one wall, a video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn1eiTBmp6U) projected onto another, the words I DON'T KNOW in large red plastic letters on the final wall and a curved arrow on the floor suggesting an order in which to view each wall. After producing a number of video works, I wanted to think about installing one in the context of objects and text that allude to a relationship between one another. I am interested in the ambiguous and subjective, and how each viewer interprets the symbolism of the images, objects and words. I wanted to create atmosphere without objectivity or crassness, a subtlty in conversation between the elements of the installation that aknowledges a narrative but allows for interpretation. It is a reflection of the self and of modern human life, the confusion we feel and the search for ourselves and for something else.
This month is a very busy time for me...
I exhibited online on Sunday 16th with Keiken Collective (http://keikencollective.tumblr.com).
I sold small art works + performed poetry at Donatsu on Saturday 22nd.
I am exhibiting at Mount Below from Tuesday 2nd December - Tuesday 9th December.
I performed a piece with Nine Derriocott on Wednesday 19th (Comfort in Seclusion). We are currently planning further collaborative performances.
I am planning to create a piece in response to a poem by Elizabeth Diamond.
I am beginning to organise and curate an exhibition of the work of Ben Franks, a local artist. The exhibition will be held in the Garden Studio in the new year.
I recently completed a privately commissioned collage on canvas called Femme Fatale
I finished a piece of writing entitled In Search of Bas Jan Ader
I am creating a multimedia installation entitled I DON'T KNOW to be viewed on Friday 28th
I am organising a poetry + music night, SQUARES, at Cribbs Bar on Tuesday 2nd December
This is the balance we strive for as we seek both personal quarantine and human connection in the every day. Comfort in seclusion and comfort in conversation. Two bodies are separated by a partition, alone yet conscious of one another’s existence through linked monitors and cameras. As they respond through interactions with the given props, the piece becomes an exercise in trust, communication and isolation.
Me > google translate > you.
I help, help, I feel
Here with me
I can not
what I do
I do not know who they are
you do not
Flight. Not mechanised, not aided or abetted by technology, but solely by the individual. One of man's last frontiers and a dream that can never be realised. How often does a child, or an adult in moments of lucid innocence, dream of flying. In Seagull, the artist tries, quite genuinely, to fly. The romanticism of the concept is belittled by the physicality of the attempt - futile and absurd, arms wave for the short duration of the film before the inevitability of the situation dawns and failure is embraced.
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd AKA Spartacus Chetwynd AKA Alalia Chetwynd. Her name changes alone suggest a fascination with character, identity and popular culture. Chetwynd's work most often takes the form of large scale performances - physical orchestras of people, costumes and props that form surrealist narratives, bridging the gaps between performance art, theatre and film. They allude to a carnival atmosphere, celebrations of colour and human energy, with Chetwynd performing and playing the role of director whilst allowing for individual expression from the actors. Within these she makes playful references to film and television (such as her Brain Bug based on a character from 1997 sci-fi epic Starship Troopers, various Star Wars references in The Green Room and her Cat Bus based on anime classic My Neighbour Totoro). But her work is more than simply 'fun'. A complex depth of social issues are explored through the scenes she constructs, from democracy to human morality. I enjoy the energy of her work and the balance she sits on between humour and sincerity. I am increasingly concerned with character, costume and props within my own practice, and how the use of such devices can be used to engage the viewer and become symbolic of popular culture and personal emotional states. Further inspiration from Chetwynd lies in the involvement of other performers within my work as well as the way in which it is displayed through the installation of video and sculptural forms.
Noises of defecation and flatulence form a sound track as the artist stands nude for the 3 minute duration of the piece. This is a scene of painful embarrassment, both sonically and visually. I wanted to play on the 'toilet humour' that exists due to our attitude towards what is seen as dirty and private - on one hand we are disgusted yet on the other we are amused at these noises and the images they allude to. Yet, in this video such images are absent. Instead, we are faced with an image that is wholly vulnerable rather than abject as the noises would have us believe. The artist stands silently, naked and exposed, forming an awkward relationship between two elements that speak of intimacy - one that borders comedy and the other, tragedy.
Chris Burden's work is often misunderstood, pigeon-holed as attention-seeking works of shock and danger. At first glance, this is what his most iconic works seem to be - How can Shoot, in which he is shot in the arm, be concerned with anything other than blatant shock value, art to the extreme? Even such works of this scale, though, have a subtly. Burden is interested in interaction, control over the self and the situation and how the masculine complex and our human faculties in general can be unpacked through performance. Shoot, for example, is a scene of violence, yet relies on so much more to convey what the artist is saying. Burden has to trust the marksman to hit his arm, and vice versa has to be trusted not to move. The audience have to trust both performers in this way. So, the act becomes less about violence and more about ethics and interaction - trust in human relationships, power, conscience and submission. The fact that the piece was filmed off campus with a select audience and little publicity shows a deliberate avoidance of sensationalism, drama and offence, which can often draw attention away from the intellectual dialogue of a performance. Chris Burden seeks truth through means of perception and sense. For example, in White Light/White Heat he spent 22 days lying on a platform that concealed himself from the audience, giving them the option to believe or not believe he was there, to sense his presence or accept the failure of their eyes to see what hey were told was there and walk away. Again, we come back to ideas of trust, conscience and the power of the artist. Burden becomes a character in the balance of power in social engagement and weakness in the role of others, proving his practice to be much more than simply masochistic. Two elements of White Light/White Heat have particular relevance to my own creative process - references to popular culture within titles or the subject matter of the piece itself (in this case a Velvet Underground song of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62ckXALWn1M) can give the work a depth and relatability beyond the confines of the artists original intentions, if used considerately. Also, ideas of solitude and isolation (in terms of the individual artist and in broader human experience) are explored in the piece, interestingly utilized to the extreme of the artist no longer being visible. There are a number of devices Burden makes use of which make his work so effective. Firstly, he puts himself at eye level (intellectually) with an audience, giving priority to emotional, moral and spiritual human experience with symbolic references (to religious, historical and literary matters) becoming a secondary function of the work. He also solves the dilemma of exhibiting physical manifestations of his ideas without compromising the nature of ephemeral work in the form of 'relics' - objects used within the performances which, alongside written descriptions of the event, symbolise the ideas conveyed. Lastly, as discussed, he uses striking and sometimes violent imagery not to offend but as a tool within a wider conversation causing his work to be just as much about fragility, survival and light as it is about violence, death and darkness.
The portraits of three angry young men, conforming to a 21st century stereotype - council houses, unemployed, drink and drugs, Jeremy Kyle, CHAV. These men appear after a brief encounter with google images using the aforementioned phrases. But, these men stand revealed. Pink glitter covers their hair, alluding to a weakness, a vulnerability. After a chance encounter with a member of the public with pink hair, I wanted to explore my current themes of masculinity, vulnerability, failure and human expression through these collages. Through their weaknesses, their rejection of gender expectations and their exposure as fallen heroes, these men become brand new ancients, a modern Achilles story.