Tate Modern

Robert Rauschenberg

I felt that Rauschenberg was a very diverse artist, and I was interested to see his use of text and the fact that he was dyslexic. This fact has encouraged me to reflect on the fact that I use text in both my day job and my art and what association or influence my word blindness might have on my artwork.

Robert Rauschenberg’s dyslexia helped him create art—art that uses words.

In school, Rauschenberg would doodle in the margins of his textbooks and was a slow reader. Though he went to college, he dropped out and was drafted by the Navy, where his interest in art was piqued.

While he was stationed in San Diego, he was exposed to The Henry E. Huntington Library and other museums of art, where he took a liking to many two- and three-dimensional art forms called “combines,” which have inspired his artwork.

Though Rauschenberg has difficulty reading, lots of his art uses words to create the image. One aspect in particular he uses is palindromes, where the sentence is spelled the same both forward and backward. One of his most famous works is called Able was I ere I saw Elba, about Napoleon’s exile to the isle of Elba.

“I got hooked,” Rauschenberg said of his use of words in art. “Also because I am dyslexic, I was very good at the print workshop economically, because I can see backwards and forwards at the same time! I don’t have to proof it, I can already see it!”http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/success-stories/robert-rauschenberg

I find it interesting that he uses palindromes, I have a huge thing about symmetry in all things and can get really bent out of shape if things are not symmetrical, in terms of text and words palindromes kind of fit into this symmetrical world that I like to exist in.

I also felt a strong sense of influence from both his combines and his screen printing. I have been fascinated with screen printing all my life and this is an area I am beginning to explore more.

His combines were of particular interest to me, given the fact that I like to use found objects and props in my work.

I also found the piece Tire Paint, of particular interest and this has inspired me to think of a similar/different method to communicate the journey that the refugees might take in my Specialist Study (ARF 505) module work.

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This landmark exhibition celebrates his extraordinary six-decade career, taking you on a dazzling adventure through modern art in the company of a truly remarkable artist.

From paintings including flashing lights to a stuffed angora goat, Rauschenberg’s appetite for incorporating things he found in the streets of New York knew no limits. Pop art silkscreen paintings of Kennedy sit alongside 1000 gallons of bentonite mud bubbling to its own rhythm. Rauschenberg even made a drawing which was sent to the moon.

Each room captures a different moment of this rich journey, from Rauschenberg’s early response to abstract expressionism to his final works saturated in images and colour. Seen together they show how Rauschenberg rethought the possibilities for art in our time.

This exhibition, organised in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art, New York, is the first full-scale retrospective since the artist’s death in 2008 and the ultimate Rauschenberg experience. It is your one chance to see these major international loans together in one place, while discovering the full story of an inspirational and much-loved artist whose influence is still felt today.

Exhibition organised by Tate Modern and The Museum of Modern Art, New York

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/robert-rauschenberg

I did notice a Time Cover whilst in the Rauschenberg exhibition and liked the affinity to the Dada Punk induction project that I had completed last year.

This gave me the impetus to look further into the Time Cover work that Rauschenberg had completed. It turned out that he had created several Time Covers and actually appeared on one himself.

Living Cities

This was my must see room that I had researched prior to going to London. Overall, very inspired by the room and encouraged to continue with these themes that I have found a particular interest in.

This display includes artists from Beirut, Cairo, Los Angeles, as well as Kharkov in the Ukraine, making parallels and exploring differences between the cities in which they find themselves. The artworks range from panoramic overviews to close-up images recording the minutiae of daily life.

The diverse selection of materials within the display, including couscous and rubber, reflects the many different locations and cultural contexts in which these artists are working.

http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/display/living-cities

Julie Mehretu

Another interesting way of mapping a city using mark making to create abstracted images of cities, histories, geographies and wars. This has inspired me to continue with my biro drawing, which I feel in recent months has fallen by the wayside. I also find architecture more interesting than landscapes and like this architectural feel that this piece embues.

Julie Mehretu makes large-scale, gestural paintings that are built up through layers of acrylic paint on canvas overlaid with mark-making using pencil, pen, ink and thick streams of paint. Mehretu’s work conveys a layering and compression of time, space and place and a collapse of art historical references, from the dynamism of the Italian Futurists and the geometric abstraction of Malevich to the enveloping scale of Abstract Expressionist colour field painting. In her highly worked canvases, Mehretu creates new narratives using abstracted images of cities, histories, wars and geographies with a frenetic mark making that for the artist becomes a way of signifying social agency as well suggesting an unravelling of a personal biography.

http://whitecube.com/artists/julie_mehretu/

Mogamma: Part 3 was made by Julie Mehretu in 2012 as part of a series Mogamma: A Painting in Four Parts shown at Documenta 13, Kassel in the summer of 2012. The series takes its name from the government building in Tahrir Square in Cairo, a building which formed a backdrop for the protests against then President Hosni Mubarak’s regime in early 2011. The Mogamma was constructed in the 1940s and designed by the Egyptian architect Kamal Ismail; it was an administrative centre which became a symbol of the country’s government bureaucracy.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/mehretu-mogamma-a-painting-in-four-parts-part-3-t13997

Marwan Rechmaoui

Having had some discussion with Helen about mapping and thinking about my Specialist Study (ARF 505) module work, I was particularly interested to see this piece. I like the use of rubber and the precise detail that has been used in the map.

In recent weeks I have been considering rubber as a new medium, travelling 400 miles a week along the A55, I see many abandoned rubber tyres on the side of the road and I had been considering a potential piece that maps the A55 using rubber in some way.

This accompanied with the piece by Robert Rauscenberg where he painted a tyre and then drove over a row of pages to create a print of the tyre marks has given me some inspiration in the potential of this.

Beirut Caoutchouc is a large floor-based rubber map of the city of Beirut. The expanse is embossed with roads and highways represented in precise detail. It is segmented into sixty individual pieces following the division of neighbourhoods in the city, yet when it is exhibited the map appears singular and complete. Consequently Rechmaoui’s installation examines the physical and social formation that make up one of the world’s most conflicted cities. However, other than the demarcations of roads and neighbourhoods, landmarks or specific points of identification – including the green line that divided Christian and Muslim communities during the Lebanese civil war (1975–90) – are absent, mapping a terrain empty of the political and religious divisions that have characterised the city’s recent history. The artist’s use of rubber stresses the city’s resilience, despite human and natural threat, while it also provides a durable surface for the viewer to walk across, initiating a personal encounter with both the artwork and the city it represents.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/rechmaoui-beirut-caoutchouc-t13192

Nil Yalter

I was fascinated with the videos that Nil Yalter had created using documentary footage with people from the immigrant communities in Istanbul, Paris and New York and felt inspired to produce more video work that highlights important global issues such as these. Interesting to note that this work was made over three years in the 1970’s, and yet again I see not much has changed in our society in relation to these issues.

Temporary Dwellings consists of seven archival board panels on which the artist has recorded the details of the lives of immigrant communities in Istanbul, Paris and New York. Using drawing, text and collage (of detritus gathered from her time spent in these cities) she merges a sociological approach with a poetic and critical gaze. The seven panels are accompanied by six videos that consist of documentary interviews with the inhabitants of these locations. The work was made over a three-year period between 1974 and 1977.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/yalter-temporary-dwellings-t13652

Kader Attia

I find the cultural implications of this piece interesting, using couscous, a staple food is a clever way to represent something that relates to people of North African origin. The decay that appears as the couscous is disintegrating, to me shows the degradation of a city and a culture under the dominance of another, France over Algeria.  To me, all conflict and war arises from a situation where one culture or country has a desire to dominate another. I can see similarities in all these situations where the core issues that appeal to me, that of humanity and human rights for all are apparent.

Untitled (Ghardaïa) 2009 is a scale model of the ancient city Ghardaïa in the M’zab Valley in Algeria. The model is made from cooked couscous, a staple food of North Africa, and sits on a wooden table or on the floor. The square and circular blocks cluster towards the centre of the terrain, which is marked by a tall tower. All the buildings comprise variations on simple geometric forms. The model is accompanied by three works on paper: portraits of the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier (1887–1965) and of the French architect Fernand Pouillon (1912–1986) and a print out of the UNESCO Advisory Body Evaluation of the M’zab Valley as a world heritage site. These three digital prints unframed and are attached to the walls surrounding the sculpture. By bringing these elements together Kader Attia highlights a moment of cultural exchange between France and Algeria – specifically between the architects and the city that was their inspiration – which in turn parallels the artist’s personal history, as he was born in France to Algerian parents.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/attia-untitled-ghardaia-t13179

Untitled (Ghardaïa) reveals the influence of the East on the West, troubling the logic of colonial influence in which the coloniser dominates and degrades a native culture and civilisation. However, just as the work seems to celebrate the influence Ghardaïa has had on European Modernist architecture, it also evidences its precariousness. This is played out literally as the couscous crumbles and decays over the course of the installation, only to be refreshed when the structures become unrecognisable. But it is also suggested by the fixed gazes of the architects who look onto the model from the wall, as well as the world heritage accreditation, which signals the need for the city’s care and protection. Ultimately Untitled (Ghardaïa) poses questions about why the city is valued: whether it is because of its local history or its association with Western architecture.

Louise Borgeois

In Awe!

What can I say, a dream to have actually seen Maman, I imagined Maman to be a lot larger that what ‘she’ actually is.  I like the fact that her work is autobiographical and deals with the raw experiences of life that we all are very familiar with and I can be further inspired by her use of subject matter that is also close to my own heart.

Louise Bourgeois’s work is often autobiographical, while addressing universal experiences such as birth, death, love, loss and fear.

This exhibition brings together a selection of Bourgeois’s late works, alongside a small number of earlier pieces from her remarkable seven-decade career. She was born in Paris in 1911. Her parents ran a business restoring antique tapestries, which sparked her life-long interest in textiles. Though she initially studied mathematics and geometry at the Sorbonne, she soon changed direction and trained as an artist. In 1938 she moved to New York City, where she remained until her death in 2010.

Bourgeois returned again and again to a number of themes, though the materials she used to express them vary greatly. Her sculpturedrawing  and writing are characterised by an unflinching emotional honesty, as she continually retold and reworked the memories and stories that shaped her life.

http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/display/louise-bourgeois

Cell (Eyes and Mirrors) is one of a series of installations which Bourgeois began making in 1989. The Cells are typically constructed from a mixture of such salvaged architectural materials as old doors, windows and wire mesh combined with found objects and sculptural fragments. This Cell has the structure of a cube. The ceiling and two of the walls are made of woven iron mesh joined by iron bars which are hinged in places. The other two walls consist of iron rods welded in a grid holding large square panes of glass so that they resemble oversize windows. Several spaces in the grid are empty of glass. A large round mirror is attached to a hinged circular panel cut out of the centre of the ceiling. The panel rotates to reflect different aspects of the interior.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/bourgeois-cell-eyes-and-mirrors-t06899

The many mirrors create a profusion of reflections and altered perspectives which disrupt any sense of direct perception the eyes would seem to propose. Enclosed within the cage-like structure, the eyes are themselves trapped in a space which offers them for viewing by other eyes – those of the viewer. Bourgeois has stated:

The subject of pain is the business I am in. To give meaning and shape to
frustration and suffering … The Cells represent different types of pain: the
physical, the emotional and psychological, and the mental and intellectual. When
does the emotional become physical? When does the physical become emotional:
It’s a circle going around and around. Pain can begin at any point and turn in any
direction.

 

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