Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tehcing Hsieh


the One Year Performance (1980-1981) by Tehching Hsieh in fact was something i couldn't really make my mind up if i 'liked' it or not. as you walk into the exhibition space the work evokes a definite respect for the man. The sheer feat of the One Year Performance commands respect and awe, even though i really struggled to empathise with the want, or need to do something along those lines to yourself. To be the honest the over riding impression i was left with was a mildly depressed feeling that the physical proof, photo by photo of Hsieh's year, didn't really ammount to much physically. being confronted with a physical representation, hour by hour of a year made me more than anything realise how little time there is in those 365 days. i assume a year is a big chunk of time, but that fact that Hsieh had used a year of his life to produce x ammount of photos left me feeling a bit depressed at the realisation of what constitutes a year.
obviously hes a well respected artist, the work is described in the fact website as 'an exceptional series of artworks: five separate one-year-long performances.'. Regardless, i really find the idea of this strain of endurance works depressing, the idea that you'd use a year of your life in such a pursuit seems completely alien to me. the whole concept of every hour of every day clocking in and taking a photo seems like a horrendous thing to want to do to yourself, i cant help but thinking of all the implications it would have on your life, and for the whole result of that year to be what it is, for me just seems like an incredibly depressing concept.


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Tala Madani mural on the Gable end 24 Fleet Street


I think this piece is one of the ones that made me think the most about the publication and consumption of my work, i personally found the piece curious and interesting in a visual innuendo/double entendre kind of way, but the reception from the majority of the group got me thinking about how i would have received it it if i hadn't been herded around and told it was 'fine art', it probably would have made me laugh, think about it for a few moments whilst i walked past it and the tell my friends to go and see the big painting on the end of the building outside Envi, not the most life changing experience, but at the same I'm really fond of the piece. But at the same time it really made me think about the consumption of my art, how i would want it received. i really liked the fact the mural hadn't been confined to a gallery, that even if you weren't a little intimidated by the building, you would at least have to go out of your way to see - the idea that it was big enough and in a relatively conspicuous enough place for a whole load of different people to see. its really made me want to use something similarly public and easily accessible if a lot smaller in scale for my piece; But at the same time my work is a million miles away from Madani's fleeting innuendo. my work centers around appropriated memories and my attempt to create objects that are familiar and vague enough for people to evoke and transpose their own memories, and is currently shaping up to be an installation based piece; Yet at the same time theres something about the nature of Madani's mural, the way you can perceive it how you want without all the conventions of showing in galleries, the consumption in a way is quite personal, it could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. and theres something in that idea of people consuming 'as they will' that i find really interesting and something i would like to try with my work, albeit a strain running from the main installation hub of the piece.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Lars Lauman exhibition, Open Eye Gallery

from what i gathered there were three main elements to the Lars Lauman exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery; The first video piece you notice as you walk into the gallery  is entitled 'Morrissey Foretelling the Death of Diana', 2006. The main obstacle for me and this piece is mainly that I'm not really that big of a fan of Morrissey, and I'm also not that keen on conspiracy theories, which didn't really endear me to the idea of sitting down and watching a video piece about the two.
The second video piece that you notice is called 'Helen Keller (and the great purging bonfire of books and unpublished manuscripts illuminating the dark)'. this video piece however was something that i felt i needed to sit down and watch from start to finish. I'm not sure how interested i was in the actual footage and imagery of the film, and how much was the conventions of TV - my routine of 'theres something that looks like a film and has a definite narrative on a screen, sit down and watch it'. most of the imagery was recycled and as a result there were times when i felt like i was watching an old film on TV, a film that id walked in on half way through, something i knew i wouldn't really understand but id give a good half to two thirds of my attention to, im not sure how sucessful a video peice my reactions made it, i didnt really sit down and take the message in - if there was a definate message to be take in! but it definately suceeded in getting me to sit down and watch.

still from the peice 'Helen Keller (and the great purging bonfire of books and unpublished manuscripts illuminating the dark)'

The video piece that i enjoyed the most was a piece called 'Duett', 2010. it was something that i didn't initially notice because the sound was coming through head phones and it was on a TV screen instead of projected like the previous two, the TV screen was on its side, something that caught my attention purely because it wasn't as you'd expect TVs to be, the piece didn't provide me with any proper narrative or information like the other two, and as a result i felt as though i was allowed to take from it what i wanted, there wasn't enough structure or narrative, it was vague enough that i could just enjoy it for what i got from it without the impression that there was a definite message i should be understanding. It was made up of the images of Margaret Thatcher and Donald Rumsfeld discussing the sinking of an Argentine ship and the known and unknowns of the Afghanistan war (information which i have just got off the Internet). but at the time, all i had was assumptions, i knew who Margaret Thatcher was, and i could guess the other speaker was an American politician from possibly the 70's or 80's. i was aware of the political references and could guess certain elements of the facts, but at the same time was lulled into a state where i could have listened to the audio all day, even though it was pretty much on a loop and the same words and noises were repeated it had a really curios quality; i was completely content with listening and watching the visuals of the piece. i was aware of the people and connotations involved but didn't feel forced to understand, i felt as though i was allowed to take from it what i wanted and enjoy the piece just for what i got from it.

Do Ho Suh, the wegded house


i personally thought 'the wedged house' piece was relatively interesting, for me on a superficial and quite simple level it was good fun. there was the initial surprise and innocent appreciation for something that is a visual oddity, i found it quite reminiscent of film sets, almost like the synthetic buildings in Disney land. i personality didn't buy into the idea that this was a serious piece of art that had a message to communicate, it was simple innocent amusement.
I think its main success was in the fact that you don't necessarily expect it to be there, its an 'oh look theres a house stuck between two buildings' a quick look closer and your ready to move on. I'm not sure if that was the artists aim, there were probably quite a lot of references and ideas that were lost on me. i found it, for the lack of a better term, a welcome surprise, it wasn't going to be anything life affirming or leave a lasting impression, but at the same time it got a reaction, abiet a tourist-esque 'ooh look at that' but at the same time is that really so bad?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Diango Hernández in the Tate

One of the pieces that really made me think about the way i deal with certain ideas was Diango Hernández; i was really interested in the visuals of Hernández's work and found myself wanting more context and understanding of the piece, but just couldn't seem to get an explanation that satisfied me, the little written explanations didn't give me enough information and i just couldn't seem to find a way into the work. That lack of access past the visuals really made me think about pieces i had made and the whole idea of context, how much should you spell out to the viewer? i personally felt that my lack of context made the piece less than it could have been for me. i lost much of my initial interest because i just couldn't get to grips with the peice. its made me address elements of my work that are similar to Hernández's "more emotional end of touched, recreating notions of homesickness in dreamlike landscapes" its made me think about how much i include in the visuals of my work and how much information i allow the viewers to access.

Sachiko Abe:
I'm not sure why, but as i look back on the Sachiko Abe piece, I'm slowly falling out of love with it. initially i really enjoyed the piece because of how visually impressive it all was. i think the magic of it all wears off a little when after a period of time. as an installation piece it was incredibly effective, the way she used static objects and performance, combined with the audio of her scissors cutting the paper. it was an all encompassing experience, that in the moment was incredible. but for some reason the longer its been since i actually experienced it all the less enamoured i am with it. 
I think the Abe piece was successful because of the initial visuals your confronted with as you walk into the room, its initially really impressive, the sheer amount of paper and the way she cuts it so fine and carefully are really impressive on both a visual and technical level. i think the other element of its success was the venue, it enabled the fairytale connotations, an element which i think was really important to the wow factor - something I'm not really sure had massive links to the practice of her 'paper cutting' and I'm assuming was just more of a response to the A Foundation room.  i did however find it bizarre how she used what i interpreted to be a coping mechanism, a massive paper cutting doodle. an act in itself which to me implies something quite personal, but at the same time she had turned it into a performance/endurance piece, the two to me seem to be quite conflicting.