Dissertation Excerpt

Diaspora, Decoupling and Globalization

Excerpt from Dissertation by Michelle Wright that discusses artists who live away from but continue to create art about their homeland.


Diasporas, migrant communities of people who have left their home land either by force, as a result of war, through natural disasters such as famine and through a desire to create a better life for themselves, have been increasingly discussed by the global media. The UK media focusing only on the current issues that relate to the UK, appears to suggest a false impression of the Diaspora issues affecting people in the UK on a daily basis, these issues affecting the Diasporas, are issues that have existed for many across the world throughout the ages.

Now, more than ever it is especially easy to experience instantaneous interaction with other people around the world as a result of globalisation. We have access to knowledge from anywhere in the world through the internet and the ever increasing access to better technology. It is now easier to travel to anywhere in the world, people trade on a global level and money is easily moved from one country to another. As a result of the world becoming more accessible through globalization, Diaspora and migration is an increasing phenomenon that we are more and more aware of.

Individuals who experience life from within a Diaspora, may encounter issues of identity, in that they associate with more than one identity, not only as an individual but possessing a shared sense of belonging to the transient community they exist within and the community that still exist in their homeland. Over time, it is only natural for individuals who have migrated to begin to identify with their host community also. It is only natural to feel that sense of belonging which comes from the community we are a part of but also from knowing where we came from, understanding our roots. These transient communities, having de-coupled from their homeland without severing roots to their homeland, in a sense become its own autonomous entity.

There are many artists in the world today who deal with issues of Diaspora and Migration whilst living away from their homeland. Although they are apart from the day to day experiences of their homeland, they continue to be rooted in the traditions and beliefs of the nation that they are intrinsically linked too. This duality, born in one place, live in another but still belong to the culture of your homeland can be a place where isolation is experienced, being connected to your homeland, all the time, while being separated. The Diaspora Art created, resonates with the essence of this sense of rootedness to their homeland and represents a remembrance or homage to those traditions and beliefs that are at the core of their being.

Some artists also create work about Diaspora as an observer or an outsider looking in at the Transient Communities. This process of ethnographic research can mean that the artist spends time with the Diaspora they are observing to gain a better understanding of their distinct position in today’s society, behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, language and traditions through the observation of their daily lives and information gathered through other means, such as artefacts and journals.

When Ethnographic Research is undertaken, the observer can find they empathise strongly with the Diaspora, can become conditioned by the group culture and begin to develop the same cultural tendencies, strengthening relationships with the group without actually becoming a part of the group.

A Transient Community can sometimes lack a collective identity or historical event that creates a collective bond amongst the community which can lead to the re-invention of traditions from their homeland or even the invention of new traditions, attempting to keep their cultural heritage alive.

When a Diasporic Community is moving to a new host country it must be anticipated that there will be an element of hostility from the host community, often taking the form of aggression towards individuals that belong to these migrating communities.

Encouraged by the media, it appears to be a common way of thinking in the UK that the influx of these migrant communities will destroy our Britishness, that cultural heritage that we Brits identify with. However host communities are often divided with an element of the resident population welcoming the migrant communities, providing help, support and assistance to enable them become established within the UK.

This amalgamation of new cultures can bring about exciting periods of change and an assimilation that may in fact preserve our so cherished traditions and identity that some cling to fervently. People belonging to these migrating communities have trades of worked in a professional capacity before they had to migrate from their homeland, these skills can only be seen as a positive contribution to the new society that they find themselves in.

Questions for Artists

As part of the Dissertation Research I sent the following email to both Smoking Dogs Films and Iwan Bala.

My name is Michelle Wright and I’m a student at Coleg Menai in North Wales studying BA (Hons) Fine Art with Bangor University. I’m in my Final Year and my Dissertation research is the reason for my email. As part of the dissertation process we have been asked to acquire a direct quote from a practising Contemporary Artist to include with our essay.

For my Dissertation along with the essay, I have to curate an imaginary/theoretical exhibition at an existing gallery. The title of my theoretical exhibition is Diaspora, Decoupling and Representation and I am bringing together the artists John Akomfrah, El Anatsui, Mona Hatoum and Emily Jacir.

Please may you consider the following questions and provide your opinion as a response that I may use as a quote in my dissertation.

  • In your opinion does a Fine Artist have to belong to a particular Diaspora/Minority Group in order to accurately represent them in a Fine Art context?
  • Do you believe a Fine Artist can accurately represent a Diaspora/Minority Group using ethnographic research methods?
  • If an artist uses ethnographic research to represent a Diaspora Minority Group, do you believe this can create resistance within the Diaspora/Minority Group to the Fine Artist’s work?

Finally I would like to thank you for the consideration and say that any comments you may have will be very useful and much appreciated.

Best Regards

Michelle Wright

I received two responses and used the comments from Iwan Bala in the Dissertation Catalogue.

Below is the response from David Lawson at Smoking Dogs Films.

Dear Michelle,

Many thanks for your e mail. John has done many interviews over the years and there are many on- line, including Tate shots, and a Barbican film to accompany his recent show, Arnolfini have one on their website. So please feel free to quote from any of those as he is concentrating on two new commissions at the moment.
Very good luck and best regards
David Lawson
Producer
Smoking Dogs Films
Below is the response from Iwan Bala.

Dear Michelle

This is quite a complex thesis to undertake, but here are my immediate responses;

In your opinion does a Fine Artist have to belong to a particular Diaspora/Minority Group in order to accurately represent them in a Fine Art context?

I believe that an artist not of a Diaspora/Minority Group might understand, but would find it difficult to fully empathise and express the situation honestly. So, my answer would be Yes, an artist would need to be from within the Group.

Do you believe a Fine Artist can accurately represent a Diaspora/Minority Group using ethnographic research methods?

It is a well rehearsed argument that ethnography can be dubious in its ‘outsider/insider’ dichotomy. Western intellectual claims of academic analysis are predisposed to certain assumptions. However, it may be the only way to try and understand.

If an artist uses ethnographic research to represent a Diaspora Minority Group, do you believe this can create resistance within the Diaspora/Minority Group to the Fine Artist’s work?

Certainly it can. By the end of the twentieth century, diaspora/minority groups had begun to represent themselves and became more resistant to the Eurocentricity of ‘outside’ observers and commentators.

Hope this helps.

Cofion

Iwan

Mona Hatoum

The two pieces of work for Mona Hatoum that I plan to include in this dissertation are Present Tense (1996) and Continental Drift (2000).


Although the Palestinian artist in exile, Mona Hatoum uses maps in her artwork, these are not to make direct political statements, in fact her focus is more about the aesthetics of the artwork, the materials used and simplification to produce a reduced form that arrive at an abstraction which can then suggest many different associations with the piece.

The piece Present Tense (1996), the first cartographic piece by Mona Hatoum, constructed over the space of a week from olive oil soap bars which has been produced in the West Bank since the 14th Century, purchased by Hatoum in the local market. Red glass beads outlined the division of land in the 1993 Oslo Peace Agreement and were also purchased in the same local market. Originally created to be displayed at the Anadiel Gallery in Jerusalem, Present Tense was later acquired by the Tate Gallery in 2013.

The original intention was to mark the boundaries in the soap with nails, however considering that this appeared “aggressive” and “sad”, Hatoum chose the red glass beads instead.

Using a temporary material such as soap that will degrade over time, dissolving the borders defined by the red glass beads suggests the fluidity of borders that we see in our modern day world. Although conservation of the material was not a consideration at the time of making, newer pieces of soap are being covered in liquitex to conserve the colour and moisture content of the soap. We all associate soap with cleanliness and purity, yet this piece with the beads began to suggest that the soap had become unclean, diseased or untouchable and associations with the plight of the Palestinian people were beginning to take shape.

Having an unsettled personal history, Hatoum describes a feeling of not being able to take anything for granted, not even the solidity of the ground that you stand on.

Continental Drift, another cartographic piece created in 2000 from Iron filings and transparent plastic as a representation of the world from the North Pole. The iron fillings represent the ocean and a magnetized rotary arm passing over the iron filings creates a tidal wave that disfigures and alters the continents, continually shifting to show the instability in our geographical borders, suggesting that fixed boundaries that we know and accept can be destabilized by the presence of an overriding power, an invisible force that can affect our perception of the world.

Maps historically have been drawn and then redrawn time and again, the cartographic pieces of Mona Hatoum inspire reflection on the fluidity of our borders and boundaries and our identities that are intrinsically linked to these fixed delineations. By disfiguring her artwork, so to, our perceptions of the borders and boundaries become diffused and the sense of destabilisation lingers.

Bibliography Entries

Present Tense. (1996). Mona Hatoum [Olive Oil Soap, Red Glass Beads] Jerusalem: Anadiel Gallery.

Continental Drift. (2000). Mona Hatoum [Stainless Steel, Glass, Iron Filings, Electric Motor, Timer] London: Tate Britain.

Hatoum, M. (2000). Mona Hatoum. 1st ed. London: Tate Gallery Publishing.

Asperen, H. and Goudeau, J. (2014). The imagined and real Jerusalem in art and architecture. Leiden [u.a.]: Brill.

The Migrant’s Time Rethinking Art History and Diaspora. (2011). 1st ed. Massachusetts: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Thinking With Diagrams: The Semiotic Basis of Human Cognition – Semiotics, Communication and Cognition. (2016). 1st ed. De Gruyter.

Gržinić, M. (n.d.). Irit Rogoff, Terra infirma, Geography’s visual culture. (2013) London: Routledge.

Wood, D., Fels, J. and Krygier, J. (2010). Rethinking the power of maps. New York: Guilford Press.

Mona Hatoum by Janine Antoni. (1998). Bomb, (63).

Persekian, J. (2013). MONA HATOUM: PRESENT TENSE. Art Asia Pacific, [online] (84). Available at: http://artasiapacific.com/Magazine/84/PresentTenseMONAHATOUM  [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Martens, A. (2003). Mona Hatoum. ArtScene, [online] (July/August 2003). Available at: http://artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles2003/Articles0703/MHatoumA.html [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Cooke, R. (2016). Mona Hatoum: ‘It’s all luck. I feel things happen accidentally’. The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/apr/17/mona-hatoum-interview-installation-artist-tate-modern-exhibition [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Um.es. (2017). Cartographies of affect in the work of Mona Hatoum – Espacio articulado. [online] Available at: http://www.um.es/artlab/index.php/cartographies-of-affect-in-the-work-of-mona-hatoum/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2017].

Postcolonial.org. (2008). Hatoum, Said and Foucault: Resistance through Revealing the Power-Knowledge Nexus? [online] Available at: http://postcolonial.org/index.php/pct/article/viewFile/891/79  [Accessed 24 Oct. 2017].

Tate (2011). Mona Hatoum – Studio Visit | TateShots. [online] YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs3DzydSKu8 [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Serpentine Galleries (2011). Mona Hatoum – Mappings. [online] Vimeo. Available at: https://vimeo.com/24541176  [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Richard Long

After feedback from Emrys and Helen about the Contextual Studies 2 (ARF 501) Presentation I have spent some time thinking about Richard Long.

Richard Long also has an affinity with nature and his work, which is often a documentation of his walks in the landscape, is about his interaction with the environment. While some of Richard Long’s walks are recorded by a photograph others, such as In the Clouds 1991 are text based. These pieces are sparse in nature, with a handful of words chosen to describe the long walks the artist makes all over the world.

http://www.tate.org.uk/artist-rooms/collection/themes/artist-rooms-theme-language

My only knowledge of Richard Long is from the “A Line made by Walking” piece that he created in 1967.

A Line Made by Walking exists now only in a photograph. This, too, is part of the iconoclastic nature – and the imaginative power – of Long’s art, that it is often as transient and impermanent as anything in the natural world around it. The grass has long since grown back over the track he left that day in a field of wild flowers somewhere in England. It is quite conceivable that no one else actually saw the original work, or, if they did, recognised it as his, or indeed, as a work of art at all.

“The work often has all kinds of echoes,” Long says, “some accidental. If you undertake a walk, you are echoing the whole history of mankind, from the early migrations out of Africa on foot that took people all over the world.”

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/may/10/art-richard-long

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking,” wrote Nietzsche. Richard Long’s great thought while walking was to make his walking into his art. In an illuminating catalogue essay for Heaven and Earth, Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, writes, “In A Line Made by Walking (1967), a work made at the age of 22, Long changed our notion of sculpture and gave new meaning to an activity as old as man himself. Nothing in the history of art quite prepared us for the originality of his action.”

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/may/10/art-richard-long

‘I’m proud of being the first person to cross Dartmoor in a straight line’

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/apr/16/richard-long-earth-sky-houghton-hall-interview

This formative piece was made on one of Long’s journeys to St Martin’s from his home in Bristol. Between hitchhiking lifts, he stopped in a field in Wiltshire where he walked backwards and forwards until the flattened turf caught the sunlight and became visible as a line. He photographed this work, and recorded his physical interventions within the landscape.
Although this artwork underplays the artist’s corporeal presence, it anticipates a widespread interest in performative art practice. This piece demonstrates how Long had already found a visual language for his lifelong concerns with impermanence, motion and relativity.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/long-a-line-made-by-walking-p07149

When Emrys first mentioned Richard Long in the presentation I gave, I was a bit unsure where the link to this artist would be, however as I began to research him it became quickly apparent that I could see not only a link to his outdoor work but also his Textworks as well, I began to see the connection to Richard Long more clearly.

He mediates his experience of these places, from mountains through to deserts, shorelines, grasslands, rivers and snowscapes, according to archetypal geometric marks and shapes, made by his footsteps alone or gathered from the materials of the place. These walks and temporary works of passage are recorded with photographs, maps and text works, where measurements of time and distance, place names and phenomena are vocabulary for both original ideas and powerful, condensed narratives.

http://www.lissongallery.com/artists/richard-long

60 Minute Walk (1990)

This piece adds support to my thinking about combining screen printing methods with other printing methods, in my case digital, in this case Lithograph.

https://i2.wp.com/www.tate.org.uk/art/images/work/AL/AL00207_10.jpgThis lithograph and screen print, which measuring 189.50 cm high, stands roughly the size of a man and catalogues a series of experiences noted during a sixty-minute walk. The number 60 runs throughout the piece, which features 60 lines of texts and was then reproduced into 60 prints. With this repetition, Long draws our attention to the temporal quality of this walk, presenting us with one descriptive word or phrase for every minute of his journey, describing what he saw, heard, felt, and did.

The letters sit atop a black and gray background which Long created by applying ink onto the surface directly with his fingertips. Against this minimal background, each line contains only one to three words, making the text long and narrow as if the words are walking down the original path in Big Bend, Texas.

Long experiments here with a different process of recording his actions; rather than photograph the walk, he wrote a poem and then presented that poem in a way that recalls the physical experience of the original in simple terms. The words are concise and the background of the poem is a monochromatic, gestural expression. Yet, the artwork still remains conceptual, as the audience can never fully envision the actual event and is left with only the poetic fragments.

Lithograph and screen print – Museum of Modern Art, New York

http://www.theartstory.org/artist-long-richard-artworks.htm

Text Works

His Textworks, I find particularly interesting and they have piqued my interest because of the symmetry in their design (everything always has to be symmetrical for me) and the palindromic nature, a new obsession of mine, particularly with poetry is the palindrome.

Outdoor Works

A hamlet once stood here … White Deer Circle, 2016.Houghton Hall is a venerable stately home these days, but White Deer Circle, as this work is called, is new – created by Richard Long for an exhibition that, unusually for this visionary land artist, is being held outdoors. His stump circle is an uncanny echo of a Seahenge, an ancient wooden circle discovered on a beach 12 miles away. Amazingly, Long, who this year marks 50 years of showing his walking-inspired work, has never heard of the bronze age relic. Perhaps Long is listening to the landscape more closely than most, though, for he is unsurprised by such serendipity.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/apr/16/richard-long-earth-sky-houghton-hall-interview

They accompany the permanent long sculpture, ‘Full Moon Circle‘, which was commissioned for Houghton in 2003. There will also be large mud works in the outdoor colonnades and smaller-scale works in gallery spaces, as well as historic material relating to the artist’s career.

https://www.experiencenorfolk.uk/whats-on/land-sky-richard-long-houghton/

'Full Moon Circle' by Richard Long

Richard Long in the Stone Hall at Houghton Hall 

The sturdy splendour of the Stone Hall currently has even more to draw the eye. Richard Long, the British land artist, has installed a work beneath the chandelier as part of his summer show at Houghton, Earth Sky. This particular piece stops you in your tracks more than the others – it’s a black, white and grey circle of rocks, formatted as compass coordinates. It brings the wild irregularity of nature inside, but ordered perfectly, as if by magic. “I will certainly miss this piece when it’s gone,” says Rocksavage. “It’s an incredible architectural intervention.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/art/richard-long-earth-sky-houghton-hall/

 

 

 

 

Joseph Beuys

After feedback from Emrys and Helen about the Contextual Studies 2 (ARF 501) Presentation I have spent some time thinking about Joseph Beuys and how he might influence my artwork.

While Holzer is known for inserting her political statements into the public sphere, the German artist Joseph Beuys is lauded for his role using art for social transformation. Beuys positioned himself as artist, teacher and educator often articulating his thinking through extensive lectures, using blackboards to illustrate his ideas in works such as For the lecture: The social organism – a work of art, Bochum, 2nd March 1974 1974. Beuys own words were inextricably linked with the artwork itself in part because of his role as a teacher and activist.

Much of Beuys’s work was focused on the environment – many of actions would take place in the landscape.

http://www.tate.org.uk/artist-rooms/collection/themes/artist-rooms-theme-language

I was interested to learn, Joseph Beuys was considered a Pedagogue (a Strict, Pedantic Teacher). I can relate to having a pedantic nature and can be a bit this way myself sometimes.

Joseph Beuys (German:[ˈjoːzɛf ˈbɔʏs]; 12 May 1921 – 23 January 1986) was a German Fluxus, happening, and performance artist as well as a sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist, and pedagogue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Beuys

This started me thinking about the blackboard I had seen in the Tate Gallery. His work is provokative, stimulating a reaction and engagement from the audience. I too like to stimulate a reaction, I’m not concerned with whether people like my work, only that in viewing my work something has changed within them, that my work has provoked a reaction, either good or bad.

During the 1970s, Beuys lectured extensively on art and politics, and the task of creating a genuinely democratic society.

arts-graphics-2005_1158438a1

In the Duveen Galleries, in what is now Tate Britain, Beuys lectured on humanity’s natural creative capacity and the power of direct democracy to shape society. He chalked his conceptual theories onto the three leftmost blackboards (the fourth was used in a subsequent action at Whitechapel Gallery) and engaged the crowd in a free-form and often tense discussion.

http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/display/artist-and-society/joseph-beuys

Four Blackboards 1972 by Joseph Beuys 1921-1986

This series of three blackboards were used to illustrate an event held at Tate in 1972, in which Beuys discussed his ideas about communication and grassroots democracy. A fourth blackboard, not displayed here, was used during a subsequent lecture at the Whitechapel Gallery.

Gallery label, March 2003

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/beuys-four-blackboards-t03594

This lit a spark in my mind given my recent delve into the theories of Pedagogy, Creative Processes and Autoethnography in Education discussed in my blog post Creative Flow.

beuystreeThe subtitle of this work indicates that 7,000 Oaks was fundamentally a time-based, or “process” work of environmentalism and eco-urbanization. Beuys planted 7000 trees in the small, historic city of Kassel, Germany, over several years (carried out with the assistance of volunteers), each oak accompanied by a stone of basalt. Beuys’s concerted effort to physically, spiritually and metaphorically alter the city’s social spaces – economic, political, and cultural, among others – is what finally constituted a community-wide “social sculpture” (Beuys’s own terminology). 7000 Oaks officially began in 1982 at Documenta 7, the international exhibition of modern and contemporary art that is organized, by a guest curator, at Kassel every five years (since 1955). Beuys’s own ecological “happening” drew to an official close five years later, at Documenta 8, after being continued by others for a full year after Beuys’s own death.

7000 oak trees and 7000 basalt stones – Kassel, Germany

http://www.theartstory.org/artist-beuys-joseph-artworks.htm

Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol

 A playful balance between Beuys the warm with Warhol the cold.

The chalkboard, a tool used by Beuys with cold and inhuman computer printouts, something Warhol would have liked. The wax prints are warmed up (a la Beuys). The poem in the center speaks to inside out, hot and cold.

https://www.spudart.org/blog/joseph-beuys-andy-warhol/

I really like the use of a blackboard in Joseph Beuys work and have previously considered the idea that something like this could be used to record daily thoughts or happenings over a period of time to create a piece of artwork.

Text in Art

After feedback from Emrys and Helen about the Contextual Studies 2 (ARF 501) Presentation I have spent some time thinking about Text in Art.

The terms ‘visual language’ or ‘vocabulary’ are typically used to describe the distinct characteristics of an artisthttp://www.tate.org.uk/artist-rooms/collection/themes/artist-rooms-theme-language’s practice. This employment of words is apt within the context of modern and contemporary art, since the use of written or spoken word has been a significant feature of artists’ practices since the early twentieth century. The use of letters and words in artworks is traditionally associated with authorship – the artist’s signature or inscription, often towards bottom of a painting or drawing.

http://www.tate.org.uk/artist-rooms/collection/themes/artist-rooms-theme-language

Graffitti Artists

Street and graffiti artists have always been using the power of letters and written words to attract attention of distracted bystanders, hungry for meaning and significance. For graffiti lettering it all began with letters and symbols scrawled on public surfaces, and when one looks at the work created by ten creators featured on the following list, it becomes clear how those markings evolved in beautiful and unexpected ways over the years. Some of them explore the beauty of lettering itself by creating complex and almost mystical calligraphic images, while others strive with great passion to achieve more simple, yet deeply philosophical use of typography as a vehicle to convey their messages.

http://www.widewalls.ch/10-artists-that-write-their-art/

Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer (born July 29, 1950, Gallipolis, Ohio) is an American neo-conceptual artist, based in Hoosick Falls, New York. The main focus of her work is the delivery of words and ideas in public spaces.

Holzer belongs to the feminist branch of a generation of artists that emerged around 1980, looking for new ways to make narrative or commentary an implicit part of visual objects. Her contemporaries include Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Sarah Charlesworth, and Louise Lawler.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/jenny-holzer-1307

Truisms 1984 by Jenny Holzer born 1950
Truisms 1984 © Jenny Holzer

Idris Khan

  Lately, I’ve been exploring the use of text in my artwork. Many artists employ text – I’m thinking about artists like Joseph Kosuth, Ed Ruscha, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, etc. And recently I was introduced to the work of photographer, Idris Kahn and quickly discovered his artwork as well. Kahn, a London based artist, uses large stamped lines of text in his work. The text is inspired by Nietzsche. There’s something really compelling about Kahn’s work and I keep coming back to it again and again.

Hans Haacke

Hans Haacke‘s work questions systems of power and can be nicely packaged in the blanket of institutional critique. His most attractive piece is Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, A Real Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 (1971), an abstracted infographic linking a wealthy land owner (Shapolsky) to buildings he purchased. I haven’t seen it in a while, but it painted the guy as a slumlord and really dug into the shell companies used to purchase the land indirectly. It caused quite a stir at the time, and the Guggenheim refused it for Haacke’s solo show (possibly due to his politicizing a tie with the Guggenheim’s Board).

https://www.quora.com/Who-are-the-major-conceptual-artists-who-mainly-use-words-in-their-art

main-qimg-75eda7ac97d7a48b69ed28f58725d1a0

Bruce Nauman

Bruce Nauman is known for his wordplay and interest in banality. His most famous works are neon signs.

https://www.quora.com/Who-are-the-major-conceptual-artists-who-mainly-use-words-in-their-art

Martin Creed

Martin Creed (born 1968) is a British artist and musician. He won the Turner Prize in 2001 for Work No. 227: The lights going on and off. Creed lives and works in London.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/martin-creed-2760

Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT 1999 by Martin Creed born 1968
Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT 1999 © Martin Creed

Lawrence Weiner

TAKEN TO AS DEEP AS THE SEA CAN BE 2005 by Lawrence Weiner born 1942
TAKEN TO AS DEEP AS THE SEA CAN BE 2005 © Lawrence Weiner

Lawrence Weiner (born February 10, 1942) is one of the central figures in the formation of conceptual art in the 1960s.

His work often takes the form of typographic texts.

The Weiner works in the ARTIST ROOMS collection consist of a cycle of ten wall texts; each statement such as Tied Up in Knots 1988 and Roughly Ripped Apart 1988 suggests a physical action or invoke the manipulation of an object or matter. Weiner regards his language works as sculptures, and they can be seen as instructions or propositions that could be enacted. These works are displayed as vinyl lettering applied directly to the exhibition surface. The artist’s aim is to offer a universal, objective experience in which the reader is invited to execute the work through his or her own imagination.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/lawrence-weiner-7743

Weiner is regarded as a founding figure of Postminimalism’s Conceptual art, which includes artists like Douglas Huebler, Robert Barry, Joseph Kosuth, and Sol LeWitt.[5]

Weiner began his career as an artist as a very young man at the height of Abstract Expressionism. His debut public work/exhibition was at the age of 19, with what he called Cratering Piece. An action piece, the work consisted of explosives set to ignite simultaneously in the four corners of a field in Marin County, California. That work, as Weiner later developed his practice as a painter, became an epiphany for the turning point in his career.[6] His work in the early 1960s included six years of making explosions in the landscape of California to create craters as individual sculptures.[7] He is also known during his early work for creating gestures described in simple statements leading to the ambiguity of whether the artwork was the gesture or the statement describing the gesture: e.g.”Two minutes of spray paint directly on the floor..” or ” A 36″ x 36″ removal of lathing or support wall…” (both 1968). In 1968, when Sol LeWitt came up with his Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, Weiner formulated his “Declaration of Intent” (1968):

1. The artist may construct the piece.
2. The piece may be fabricated.
3. The piece need not be built.

Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist the decision as to condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of receivership.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Weiner

Mario Merz

Works form the early twentieth century where appropriated words, letters and symbols were increasingly incorporated, such as Francis Picabia’s The Fig-Leaf 1922 and Kurt Schwitters’s Mz.299 1922, reflected the emerging avant-garde movements of the time. This period also saw an increasing presence of the printed word in the urban landscape and the developing sophistication of marketing and advertising.

The Italian artist Mario Merz began using neon in 1966, his neon texts were often juxtaposed against everyday objects as is the case with Che Fare? 1968-73. The words ‘Che Fare’ in neon resemble handwriting sunk into a pot of wax that melts under the heat of the neon. Che Fare translates as ‘What is to be Done?’ taken from the title of a political pamphlet produced by Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in 1902. The text is widely regarded as advocating a political party to promote Marxism within the working classes and has come to define the drama of an individual’s engagement in modern society.

http://www.tate.org.uk/artist-rooms/collection/themes/artist-rooms-theme-language

Pain and Anger in Art

After feedback from Emrys and Helen about the Contextual Studies 2 (ARF 501) Presentation I have spent some time thinking about Pain and Anger in Art.

Pain doesn’t show up on a body scan and can’t be measured in a test. As a result, many chronic pain sufferers turn to art, opting to paint, draw or sculpt images in an effort to depict their pain.

“It’s often much more difficult to put pain into words, which is one of the big problems with pain,” said Allan I. Basbaum, editor-in-chief of Pain, the medical journal of The International Association for the Study of Pain. “You can’t articulate it, and you can’t see it. There is no question people often try to illustrate their pain.”

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/pain-as-an-art-form/?_r=0

Pain Exhibit

Mark Collen founded the organization as a result of his own experience with chronic pain. He herniated a disk in his lower back resulting in chronic nerve pain. He searched for many years but was unable to find quality pain management and felt that no matter how hard he tried to communicate with his physician he was unable to express his true physical pain. Mark began to make art about his pain and suffering as a way to visually share his experience with his doctor. After showing his artwork to his healthcare provider his treatment improved as a result of his doctor having a visual reference and seeing the pain through Mark’s art. Art was far more effective at communicating pain than words ever could be. As a result of his experience, in 2001 Mark decided to reach out to other artists with chronic pain and assemble an online collection of images of their art expressing some facet of the pain experience. The response was overwhelming and artists from around the globe volunteered to join Mark to share their pain experiences with the public through their artwork on-line. In June of 2012 PAIN Exhibit was formally born as a non-profit with the goal to use the collection as a visual tool to educate healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain and give a voice to those suffering in silence. James Gregory, who is also affected by chronic pain, has been part of the journey of the PAIN Exhibit throughout the years and is integral to the exhibit achieving its mission.

http://painexhibit.org/en/about/

Art is far more effective at communicating the pain experience than words. The pain experience goes beyond the actual occurrence of physical pain and encompasses the entirety of one’s life. This experience can be both negative and positive.

The negative pain experience can include multiple surgeries, painful treatments, using different medications which produce unpleasant side effects, the failing of relationships, feelings of isolation and being trapped, poor self-image, depression, insomnia, frustration in trying to find quality medical treatment, and battles with insurance companies and lawyers. Since chronic pain frequently cannot be seen, unlike a broken arm, many with pain are not believed by doctors, colleagues, friends and family. This lack of belief is especially difficult for those living with pain.

Although no person would ever volunteer to have chronic pain, the pain experience can impact one’s life in positive ways. “What does not kill you makes you stronger,” is an applicable quote. It is not unusual for people with chronic pain to develop greater inner strength, and to become more introspective which leads to increased self-understanding. Chronic pain may change the course of one’s life and result in a more satisfying path. It is not unusual for those in pain to begin the pursuit of a spiritual path which can greatly enhance life.

http://painexhibit.org/en/pain-and-art/

Frida Kahlo

One of the most famous pain artists is Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, whose work, now on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is imbued with the lifelong suffering she experienced after being impaled during a trolley accident as a teenager. Her injuries left her spine and pelvis shattered, resulting in multiple operations and miscarriages, and she often depicted her suffering on canvas in stark, disturbing and even bloody images.

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/pain-as-an-art-form/?_r=0