Although the submission date for the open call I am using has now ended, I decided to try to contact the artists that I am interested in using, to see whether they would be hypothetically interested in the proposal.
I emailed Darren Harvey-Regan, Naoko Ito, Ula Dajerling and Abigail Reynolds outlining my proposal and the reasons why I would like to feature their work.
Thus far I am received a response from Ito as follows:
Thank you for checking my art works and contacting me. I am feeling you are working hard on the assignment, which is great. I do feel comfortable you use my works on your assignment. Please keep me informed if you need something from me.
Good luck with your project!
I was extremely pleased with her kind response and helpful words.
I have been unable to find contact information for Kader Attia or his management, so I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org – an organisation which features his work and biography and inquired as to whether they would be able to assist me in contacting him.
I was reminded of Kader Attia’s work during the Liverpool Biennial 2012 (http://liverpoolbiennial.co.uk/download/LB2012_guide.pdf). Attia grew up in France and Algeria finding himself between the religions of Christianity and Islam. This upbringing led Attia to question ideas surrounding identity and the relationship between the East and West within his artistic practice (Edge of Arabia, 2010).
Following online research into his work, I came across the recognizable image of Ghost, 2007. The installation is made from foil moulded into empty shells of praying Muslim women.
Although the Hayward Open Call is a UK exhibition, I felt this would be a relevant piece because of the multi-cultural society the UK is becoming. The piece instantly presents ideas surrounding religion and worship but also gives an eery and peaceful atmosphere. Although the empty foil shells may give an impersonal feeling, the viewer could perhaps consider themselves within this piece – their mortality, vulnerability spirituality and place in society (The Saatchi Gallery, 2007). I feel this piece would work well with my concept regarding hierotopic spaces as it gives a sense of contemplation and devotion, as well as reflecting on what one holds as sacred within a consumerist, ‘throwaway’ (with its use of foil) society.
Edge of Arabia (2010) Kader Attia (online) Available at: http://edgeofarabia.com/artists/kader-attia (accessed on 23/02/2014)
Saatchi Gallery (2007) Ghost(online) Available at: http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/artpages/kader_attia_ghosts_2.htm (accessed on 23/02/2014)
In 2013, I visited Poland born, London based artist Ula Dajerling‘s exhibition Dark Materialism at Plymouth Arts Centre. I was intrigued with her pieces which included ideas of space, time and our connection to the environment whether it’s man-made or natural.
The first piece I came across was two objects which looked like pieces of coal like structures called Dark Materialism, 2012 presented on a white plinth. The plinth gave the objects a prominence, alluding to ideas of a relic of some importance. The larger of the two objects was a piece of copper slag which had been thrown back into the landscape after smelting metal from the earth. Although Dajerling initially thought the object was a natural material, it was actually a by-product of the “engineered landscape”. The smaller object was made by pouring melted wax into the larger object to create a piece which represented the void. These pieces suggest ideas of how society connects with, effects and fills it’s environment (Plymouth Arts Centre, 2013)
The second work I am interested in is Victory Over the Sun, 2012. The piece is a swinging rock pendulum with a light directly beneath. The rotation of the rock and shadow created on the ceiling is reminder of time passing by. I particularly like this piece because there is something very hypnotizing and historical about the circular movement. In terms of a historical nature, it suggested to me the fact of the continuous earth rotation for millions of years and life’s necessity for this movement – which is something that could be deemed as sacred (Ibid).
During my artist research into landscape, preservation and nostalgia I came across Tokyo born, New York based artist Naoko Ito and her pieces which were included in an exhibition at CAM Raleigh, New York in 2011 called Urban Nature. In this work Ito explored the themes of how nature is presented in urban areas, how a society with limited access to the wild view nature and how they find ways of preserving or containing it within an urban environment.
In some of the works Ito has stacked up glass jars which contain and “preserve (…) segmented tree branches” on a concrete floor – juxtaposing manmade and natural objects.
In KV265, 2009 a video of green imagery and the sound of Ito playing Mozart’s twelve variations of Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman on the piano, is projected behind the stacked glass jarred piece Plight.
The melody could perhaps seem familiar to the viewer as it sounds like childhood nursery rhymes and heightens a sense of “nostalgia” (CAM Raleigh, 2011). The Gallery states that:
Ito considers this work to be a “treatment for winter depression;” filled with lovely scenes of green projected through jars, their final images distorted and dreamlike (…) the dialogue between [both] works speak of summer and winter, growth and decline, joy and sadness (Ibid).
I felt really drawn to these pieces, particularly as the Hayward Curatorial Open Call Exhibition is touring to quite urban environments including Newcastle and Liverpool. The idea of the viewer re-considering their landscape and presenting a sense of nostalgia as well as preservation appealed to me and my concept. Similarly to Abigail Reynolds, the pieces create a sense of importance to society’s environment – something that one may take for granted.
CAM Raleigh (2011) Naoko Ito: Urban Nature (online) New York: CAM Raleigh. Available at: http://camraleigh.org/exhibitions/2011ito/ (accessed on 21/02/2014)
During our second year studies, artist Abigail Reynolds was a visiting lecturer in 2013. Reynolds is a London based artist who uses old books and images in her collage and sculptural pieces. Many of the images that she re-uses to create new work, are of the British landscape at different periods in history. By re-presenting these images she seems to create a dialogue and reconnect the audience to how they perceive their visual culture (Artsy, 2014).
In this respect, I feel that her work would be fitting with my idea with regard to sacred places following the archeologist and historian Neil Oliver’s comments (in the BBC series Sacred Wonders of Britain, 2013) of how our ancestors were concerned with how they could connect with the landscape around them.
I am particularly interested with her work for The British Countryside in Britain, 2011 exhibition at Seventeen Gallery, London. In the exhibition Reynolds uses glass, books and images of historical moments and cultural landscapes of Britain including nature and urban environments to create assemblages. The gallery notes that the books format and printing also hold a “cultural meaning and belonging” (Seventeen Gallery, 2011). Furthermore, the pieces also focus on “idealized or nostalgic notions of Britain” which I feel would be relevant to the idea of what society views as sacred or of value (Ibid).
The two pieces from this exhibition which I am interested in for the open call would be Magic Mountain, 2011 and Black Rock, 2011. I feel that the composition of the glass over parts of the images and wall space draw attention to the pictures and seems to elevate their importance to the viewer. There is also something of a shrine-like quality to the work.
During my online research into emerging artists I came across Darren Harvey-Regan (Ramsay, 2013, online), a London based artist and graduate of Plymouth University and the Royal College of Art. Harvey-Regan interest is based in photography and sculpture or object stating:
The presentation of photographs in interaction with objects serves to highlight the inherent tensions within representation; between the photograph as an object and the image of the world it contains. In this way, I consider the photograph as being something not only to think about, but to think with (Exeter Phoenix, 2013, online)
After looking at his website http://www.harveyregan.com/, I was particularly drawn to his 2013 work Metalepsis. The definition of metalepsis as stated in dictionary.com is:
the use of metonymy to replace a word already used figuratively (Dictionary.com, 2014, online)
In Harvey-Regan’s photographical work for this piece, the artist creates a narrative through the photographs by presenting several differing objects and images linked by a similar composition. This allows the viewer to recognize the familiarly between the pieces and correlate one image to the next.
I found it particularly interesting that Harvey-Regan had seemed to use religious or ancient iconography and somehow transfered the same sense or level of profundity on the corresponding photographs of objects including rocks, masonry and oranges! This interconnection between the two elements appeared to create a sense of animism within the objects – the objects seemed to adopt a living spirit so to speak.
My interpretation of the piece led me to believe that these works could play an important role in my proposal. I had initially thought that sculpture would be a more likely addition, however I feel that Harvey-Regan’s photographical work relates to the concept of hierotopy in a contemporary work. His work gives a sense of familiarity in what one could believe to be a profound or of spiritual importance.
Following the student group meeting on the 16th January, I thought about the prospect of working with a kinetic artist for the Council House project. Although I have used kinetic mechanisms in some of my own artwork in the past, I do not feel confident and fully equipped or knowledgeable in producing a working, professional piece which would last the duration of the exhibition (which I expect to be for several months).
Thus, later that evening, I recalled earlier conversations I have had with Southwest artist Lee McDonald during Plymouth College of Art’s Ephemeron, “Artist as Curator”, Critique Event at Karst in April 2013 regarding his sound pieces – particularly his Sonic Reverber pieces. (Lee also has a studio at Karst, Plymouth.)
After visiting his website again to refresh my memory, I could see that Lee is predominantly interested in the mechanisms of objects and explores the reactional processes and properties of such objects i.e. pushing their capabilities and possibilities in terms of physics and sound (McDonald, 2014, online).
Lee is also interested in audience participation and although there may be a restriction on sound pieces, there is still the opportunity for movement.
He also uses many recyclable materials or “dead” mechanical objects i.e. objects which have had a live use but are now defunct.
I personally feel that his pieces would work particularly well in the Council House building because it would be completely unexpected.
Lee has showcased his work in gallery spaces, as well as festivals and it seemed that he has a positive attitude in bringing his art to new audiences. Much of the art on display at present in the Council House is fairly traditional and Lee’s kinetic work could literally “liven up” the somewhat serious nature and atmosphere of the space. I also feel this would be an excellent opportunity to promote discussions regarding art and its environment – especially as the student group are looking at the role of the artist as curator.
I mentioned asking Lee if he would be interested in the project to my fellow student group members and received a positive response from them. On this basis I emailed Lee a week later and received a reply back, advising that he would be interested and suggesting the group meet up to discuss.