Within this lecture, Helena introduced three artists who use their bodies in conjunction with materials to address ideas of ephemerality.
What is a Trace?
A mark or residue left behind after a performance has taken place
There is a tension in performance art and it is difficult to contain the performance.
“The possibility that something substantial can be made from the outline left after the body has disappeared”
Silueta – works in Mexico 1973-77
Ana Mendieta’s works are autobiographical and touch upon the fact that she felt no sense of belonging. Themes of spirituality, ceremony and ritual exist within her practice. Ana creates multi textural pieces that combine her own body with organic materials. The materials remain static and work in conjunction with the landscape. Echoing the ephemerality of the body being in the performance. The materials she uses will decay over time.
Body Tracks 1974
This piece consists of a work being made with blood on the hands and forearms. She is the instructor and the participant in this piece – controlling her own movements and the marks that are made. Leaving a trace allows the viewer to reimagine the action. It has a relationship to place and explores ideas between permanence and impermanence.
S/Kin, Tempting Failure 2014
This artist questions the boundaries between her body, materials and what is left behind (the trace). She becomes immersed in the materials and almost disappears with them. An installation is left behind after the performance work has taken place.
“The space between you and me” – Experimentica, Cardiff 2011 & Tempting Failure London 2012
This performance addresses the contrast between the use of ink with charcoal. The charcoal starts to disappear and so what remains? She is Leaving a trace of what happened. This performance shows the building up residues and the leaving of a mark behind the performance.
Key elements to produce a performance, where to start and what to plan
– Idea and Inspiration – What are we trying to say and why?
– Audience – Number/Positioning
– Making conscious decisions – constructing elements to make a performance
What do you do with the marks and traces after?
Only a few people see the live action performance, it is important to document it. Without an audience/documentation. Unless only for you, a performance might not as well exist.
This lecture has given me more information of how to plan our performance and we will be meeting as a group to discuss the points and finally plan the outcome.
Modernism and Feminism
Alexander Rodchenko, Make way for the women 1935 – Geometry symbolising fairness and rationality. There is a socialist/realist element within the work. Making a statement about men and women but from a mans perspective. Male photographer, positive image, portraying a solution to womens equality, but the women are still kind of objects for the men to look at, being seen through the male gaze. Womens action is at the centre of the image. Propogandistic intention.
If the photographer was a women, the image would be viewed really differently and there would be no thought of the women being objectified.
Questions of Identity
Marc Quinn – Alison Lapper, Pregnant 2005 – It is a sculpture of a working class disabled single mother produced by a middle class able bodied man. Which of these facts is most important? He chose her as an image to sculpt. There is a valued place for women in the world. The sculpture has a heroic element. Bringing equality of women, people with disabilities and single mothers etc. Using language of classical sculpture to comment on the place of people with disabilities in society.
Sarah Lucas – Get hold of this 1994-5
Sarah Lucas – Where does it all end? 1995
What are the signs of masculine and feminine in these images? Feminine – Pink, red, lipstick, the opposition between white teeth and red lips. Look like womens arms. Masculine – Snarl, gritting teeth on a cigarette. Takes offensive elements of male culture and asks how poerful it is if a woman does it.
Post-feminism as a term, often comes up in the 1990s.
Feminism and Post-Feminism
Katy Deepwell – 3 popular mis-conceptions about feminism-
That Feminism = Women + Power
That Feminism = Bra burning lesbian separatism
That Feminism = is only a question of gender.
(These are only half truths)
Julia Kristeva outlines the 3 moments of Feminism-
Feminism = Equal Rights
Feminism = Advocacy of a separate women’s culture
Feminism = Total re-evaluation of Ideas of Masculine and Feminine
One strand of feminist art avoided images of the sexualised female body because in the past these images have been objectified and exploited.
Mel Ramas – Miss Corn Flakes 1964
Barbara Kruger – What are you looking at 1994
In small print it says “This is not a mirror”. Targeting the women that look at fashion magazines, saying that you are not looking at what you should aspire to become, it is just another woman.
Another strand produced generalised images of the sexualised female body.
Judy Chicago – The Dinner Party 1974 – 9
Strong Statement of the cultural status of women. All of the crockery in this piece is stylized female genitals. Falic symbols are normalised in culture, female ones are not as normalized and so she is putting them out there. The idea that Biology is destiny is hindering on Women. A lot of art uses imagery of the female genitalia within it. Is that all that women have in common then? They all have vaginas? Virginia Wolf is one of the women at the table here, aren’t her books and achievements more important than her vagina?
In the 1990s, many artists started using highly sexualised imagery again.
Pipilotti Rist – I’m not the girl who misses much 1986
She is using the language of titilation, but using video technology to prevent that happening. Wants to deflate through humour. Slowing and speeding up time up to get a state of conciousness. Pipilotto Rist is interested in an innocent sexual experience, a bodily experience. Her work doesn’t talk a page three language, more like a dream state.
Re-evaluation of Masculine and Feminine?
Jenny Saville, Passage 2004-5
Collier Schort, untitled 2011
Is it possible to transcend ideas of gender in art?
Maybe in these images, the intention is that they are not labelled as a particular gender – equalizing man and woman?
This label remains problematic, it suggests that it comes after feminism and can be used in several ways:
– It comes after feminism because feminism has been successful
– It comes after feminism because feminism has failed
– It comes after feminism because it is the antidote to feminism
– It comes after feminism because it is the opposite of feminism
– It comes after feminism because it is the continuation of feminism
There is no definite answer and so the label Post-feminsim is still difficult to determine.
Nan Goldin – Nan one month after being battered 1984
Sarah Lucas – Two fried eggs and a kebab – The male and the female rediced to sexual symbols.
Sarah Lucas – NUDS 2010 – Bodily experience
John Carran – The Wizard 1994
Lisa Yuskovage – Day 1999-2000
Does knowing the gender of the artist change the significance of the painting?
Lucy Lippard in Deepwell p.157
Does the fact that a woman paints a woman neutralise the pornographic source or is it still pornography?
Lisa Yuskavage – Half Family 2003
This isn’t an image directed at men. It gives off a feelnig that is significant only to women. About the feeling of having a body, not what it looks like.
Masculine and Feminine
Helen Chadwick – Piss Flowers 1991-2
They peed in the snow and cast the imprint. Some represent the male and some represent the female. The longer, more falic like stamens actually represent the females, this is because there is less movement in the female pee stream. Stereotypically we would think that the more falic sculptures represented the male so this piece is clever and interesting.
Images from the Bad Girls Exhibition 1993
Helen Chadwick Glossolalia 1992
Contrast of Hard and Soft. Small Falic Symbols, Making a falic symbol in the middle. An image like this would be picked for an exhibition called “Bad Girls” because there is an appeal to the body, Tongues and fur. The togetherness of hair and tongue is often quite repulsive. We reject it without thinking about it. Unconcious Reaction.
Before this lecture, I had never really considered issues of gender very deeply before. I certainly had not discussed whether the gender of the artist changes the way that the art work is viewed. I have been encouraged to think about certain connotations that certain materials and imagery has in terms of masculine and feminine and been shown how art can cause a divide in opinion. To me, it doesn’t matter whether the artist or subject n an art work is a man or a woman, I would consider the art work itself and the concepts behind it. It is always interesting to learn how art is used to convey messages or comment on a life situation. Within this lecture, we talked about whether Jenny Saville’s Passage piece equalizes the rights of a man and a woman, I can see the evidence for this opinion, but for me it highlighted the fact that individuals are scrutinised for being different in some way and that she was making difference accepted and depicting it in a aesthetically pleasing way, Similar ideas were running in Marc Quinns sculpture of Alison. Feminism has been portrayed in art for many years and it was interesting to learn how it has changed.
What is my place in the world?
Do I belong there?
Caspar David Friedrich – Monk by the Sea
Comparing it to a classical Landscape – Richard Wilson, The White Monk 1760-65
Caspar David Friedrich – Morning in the Sudeten Mountains 1810-11
How does Friedrich’s painting differ from wilsons? Colour palette, mood.
How do the painters think about religion?
Wilson seems more distant from religion than Friedrich. Friedrich is thinking of religion organising our relationship with the natural world.
In Caspar David Friedrich – Monk by the Sea – What time of day is it?
Written about as a lightless dawn. For the monk, the dawn isn’t important as it is for the pair on the mountain in the other piece.
Do you think that this place is real or imaginary?
It is a culmination of experience . Long flat horizon. Empty paintings.
Jan Van Goyen – View of Harlem 1646
Alternating pattern of light and dark, Colours lighter in the distance, more full of colour in the foreground. There is more cloud perspective than in friedrichs work. Friedrich’s is much flatter. Distance becomes flatter and more immense because there are no markers in it.
Mark Rothko 1969 – Is there still distance in this picture? Does it look like a place to you? There are similarities to Friedrich’s work. It is stark and there is a fluctuation between flatness and deep space.
There is a lot of fine detail in Friedrich’s Monk by the sea. It makes it look more like a portrait of the place. When you notice a painting has fine detail, you walk in closer to it. Having an intimate relationship with the work. The artist must be thinking about where he wants the spectator to be. The monk isn’t entirely resolved in himself.
What is the relationship between these figures and their surroundings?
Caspar David Friedrich – The wanderer above the sea of mist
The figure is taking possession of a view, dominating the landscape. He wants to be there and he is in control.
The Chasseur in the Forest 1814
The landscape is dominating the figure here, he has no horse, he is lost and not in control. He’s french, the forest is german. Friedrich is a nationalist. German land rising up against the french invaders. Vulnerable.
Francis Danby – Romantic Woodland landscape 1824-5
Will nature accept us? Romantics think of nature in a more psychological way than an ecological way.
Anselm Kiefer, Varus 1976 – For Kiefer, Germany begins with Slaughter in the forest.
Marina Neudecker – Things can change in a day 2009
Models in vitrines suspended in liquid. Does the vitrine intensify the situation or distance you from it? Like a cinema screen, they encourage you to project yourself into the scene.
How does a group rather than a solitary figure alter the confrontation with nature?
Caspar David Friedrich – Chalk Cliffs at Rugen 1818 – less vulnerable, more people – However, not a strong sense of communication.
Is the Visible World enough?
Classical Landscape is a name given to a type of painting – developed in the 17th century. Related to History Painting. Some have narratives and some don’t. Mood and atmosphere is conveyed within the paintings
Is the artists job simply to record the appearance of the world, or to transform it?
Nicolas Poussin – Landscape with a Calm 1650-1. Based in Rome. Peaceful/neutral. More movement in the sky, contrasted with a static lake and a still and calm foreground. The people are small and insignificant in comparison to nature. A vision of an ordered, harmonious society.
Nicolas Poussin – Landscape with St.John on Patmas 1640
Is the relation betweeen humans and nature the same as in the Landscape with a calm? How is history represented?
It is more like land left behind. Have humans taken advantage? Have they moved on? Even though, John is sitting, he is not really entwined into the work like the people in the other piece.
Nicolas Poussin – Landscape with the body of Phocion – carried out of Athens 1648. This has a narrative. Alternatiing bands of dark and light. Neverending path it seems. The city is close enough to be important in the painting, but far enough away that we stop being able to see how we could get there. There is a complicated visual access to the city
Nicolas Poussin – A Roman road. An announcement of technological Power. Political, This kind of depth, perspective is highly technologically advanced for the 17th Century
Charles Sheeler – Classic Landscape 1931
Where is the nature in this Landscape?
It has gone, However: there is natural organisation in the pile of earth and sand
Charles Sheerler – American Landscape 1930
Is he being ironic calling this a landscape? Even though there is no nature within the picture, it is a man-made landscape. Does he want us to find these scenes beautiful or ugly? Brighter lighting, reflections, some bright colours, making it look more appealing but very geometric.
George Shaw – Scenes from a Passion: 2002: Paints areas where he grew up. A question is posed about the conventions we use to describe reality
George Shaw – The blocked Drain – 2010
(not a version of Poussins roman road) but does our knowledge of it affect how we view this?
The first road seems new and innovative. George Shaws seems barren and disregarded.
Gregory Crewdsen, The madison 2007
Takes still photos, but like a hollywood movie. The road is always the same road continuing. Imagining the thoughts of the landscape from the figures perspective.
Gregory Crewdsen, untitled (Beneath the roses) 2007
What is the relation between nature and culture here?
Organic elements separate from man made, degraded nature. The nature is not lush greenery, it is weeds. Could be hopeful after destruction, is nature reclaiming it?
Gregory Crewdsen – Beneath the roses 2006
Beneath the surface, looking deeper, a metaphor?
Relationship between the two people – could they be lovers? Could be an attacker and she is a victim. Soothing or disturbing? Degraded nature again and disturbing elements.
Nicolas Poussin – Echo and harcissus 1630
Eduardo Manet – Le dejuner sur (l’herbe 1863)
Do these paintings change the way that we look at Crewdsen’s photographs? In what way?
INSTALLATION – installation can be found in contemporary art shows across the globe. Installation does not rely on any particular materials or working processes. Any arrangement of objects or images can be claimed as installation art.
What kind of thing is installation? Is installation a distinct artistic practice?
Carlos Bunga, Mausoleum 2012 – Improvised cardboard architectures, within Artes Mundi, which we will be going to see.
Anything arranged in a space can be claimed as installation.
Where did Installation begin?
Arguably, cave paintings in Lascaux could be seen as the first form of installation. Or Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel because they are site specific paintings and the way that people move through the space is in his thoughts. Some people also argue that Marcel Duchamp’s fountain could be the first form of installation because by existing in a gallery, it included the space around it.
HISTORY 1: ROMANTICISM: PANORAMA
Anon: The Rhinebeck Panorama c.1810 – The first panorama was painted by Robert Barker and was a 360 degree view of Edinburgh, viewed from the centre creating a more thorough illusion. Viewing it more as a 3D object/Installation.
Hendrik Mesdag – The Mesdag Panorama 1881.
Real sand/rocks/netting in front of the painting. Real environment/nature blending in with the painting. It is lit entirely by daylight which changes during the course of the day. A total art environment with no outside view.
Mass spectacle – Play Bill for Astley’s amphitheatre 1854. Panoramas were not the only form of entertainment.
HISTORY 2: ROMANTICISM: GESAMTKUNSTWERK
(The total work of art)
The gesamtkunstwerk was an attempt to bring all the arts together in one overwhelming spectacle. The nazis drew on this idea when staging and filming mass rallies
Danny Boyle – London Olympics opening ceremony 2012 – An example of how these notions are still carried on.
Robert Wienie – Film: The cabinet of Dr.Caligari 1920 – Wiene’s film is an attempt to find a modernist version of the gesamtkunstwerk. It draws on expressionist painting and shows the exterior world warped and twisted under psychological pressure.
MODERNISM: THE ATTACK ON EASEL PAINTING
El Lizzitzky – Proun Room (reconstruction) 1923. – Moving beyond painting. Changing the goal of art from the representation of the existing world to the creation of a new one.
DADAISM: Posters and slogans on the wall as well as paintings. Think of a wall as being one work of art. Put a mannequin in the international dada fair in Berlin, wearing German army uniform and a pigs head, they wanted to offend.
Kurt Schwitterz – Merzbau 1925. Built in his studio in Hanover. It can be seen as an abstract walk in sculpture. A complex and shifting narrative, not just an object. Contained drawers/cupboards where mementos were kept of friends and family. He would relay his stories while people walked around.
Marcel Duchamp – Coal Sacks 1938
1200 coalsacks were suspended from the ceiling. The viewer is invited to imagine them as being full of coal. A threat to the visitor. Part of the international surrealist exhibition, Paris 1938. Designed to overwhelm visitors. The floor of the exhibition was not even, it was covered in earth and gravel. There were rotating doors with pictures hanging on them. Coffee was roasted in the gallery and one of the surrealists has got hold of a recording of maniacal laughter. The exhibition was shown in darkness. This created an environment that stimulates all the senses not just sight. Duchamp did a piece called a mile of sting that interfered with the conventional running of an exhibition.
Yves Klein – The void, 1960
Opposite of Duchamp, Rather than filling the gallery, he emptied it out entirely. Each visitor was given a vivid blue cocktail. The drink would turn their urine blue. The work had a shared moment and a private dimension, where the artwork returns in your urine, taking an immaterial trace of the art with you.
Claus Oldenberg – The store 1961
Got a shop as a studio, made replicas of ordinary consumer goods. A messy quality to it. Limp, Inadequate and often oversized sculptures. Starts painting on the wall itself, display cases. All making up a total environment.
Allen Kaprow, words, 1962.
Active. Visitors use the words to make new poems. There are a number of record players. Visitors become activated by the environment and become an artist themselves, chaotic and unlike a standard gallery.
MODERNISM: THE INSTALLATION SHOT
In the 1960s, photographic reproduction became cheaper and more widely used. Reviews of shows were accompanied by a general shot of the gallery known as the installation shot
Joseph Beuys – The Pack 1969
Collective nature of the artwork is transparent. It is clearly a single thing although made up of separate objects. Made to look good when it is reproduced in the press.
SURVEY: SPECTACLE – THE MINIMALIST PANORAMA
Richard Wilson 20:50 1987
Made out of oil. It appears deep but only a thin layer of oil. The viewer has a sense of vulnerability, reflective.
Displays a material as a material but on a massive scale. An imbalance between the viewer and the work.
Olafur Eliason – The Weather Project 2003
Plated the ceiling of the turbine hall in mirrors to massively increase the sense of space. Many people lay down on the floor to contemplate the reflection above. Light is made up of street lights and water vapour is sprayed, a relational work.
Yayoi Kusama – Installation scene for mirror room 1992
Uses reflection in a more aggressive way. The box is only reflecting what is already there. She often photographs herself as an object disappearing into her environment. Protecting herself from it.
Mona Hatrum, Marbles carpet 1995
The glass marbles force visitors to walk around the edges of the room. In a similar way – in her piece Light Sentence, the moving light at the centre of this installation creates threatening shadows which tend to keep visitors towards the edge of the room.
Cornelia Parker – Cold, Dark, Matter – She’d taken away and blown up by the army and all the pieces exhibited. The material is constant, only the form has changed. Light tends to draw visitors in.
Cildo Miereles, Missoes 1987
Spectacle is not always about an end in itself. The work consists of coins, communion wafers and animal bones. This work is about the power of religion and how lives are transformed through ritual to money.
SURVEY: NARRATIVE INSTALLATIONS
Ilya Kabakov – The man flew into space from his apartment 1981-88
How do we know that we are being shown a narrative? In these works, we are normally shown a habitable but non usable space. When a viewer is kept out of a space, we view the objects within the space and start to read them. You construct a narrative by putting together the objects that you can see.
Louise Bourgeouis – Cell XXVI 2003
These cells are more abstract that Kabakov’s apartments, but they present us with an enclosure and a sense of habitation. She makes many cells that possibly portray the idea of being trapped?
SURVEY: RELATIONAL WORKS
Relational aesthetics – all works of art produce a model of sociability
Helio Oiticica – Tropicalia 1967
Environments that you could explore.
What kind of behaviours are possible because of a certain work of art?
Ernesto Neto – Walking in Venus’ Blue Cave 2001
Wants people to play with the objects he makes and have interaction with them and each other. In his work “Humanoides” 2001 – People put the odd suit like seats on and shared foolishness and laughter between them.
Pipilotti Rist – Pour your body out 2009
A social space is being created and she wants people to relax and be grounded by sitting on the floor
Lap Lamp 2005 – Lamp is a video projector. You sit on the chair and watch the video projection on your lap. Quite personal, makes you vulnerable and potentially uncomfortable
Rirkit Tiravanija – cooks food in a museum or gallery space. Highlighting the unwritten conventions of gallery behaviour. He exhibits the leftovers of a social happening – displays the dirty plates etc.
Thomas Hirschorn, Bataille Monument 2002
created on a rough housing estate. You had to get in a cab and be dropped off in the turkish estate to find out that the monument was closed. All the people could do was go to the local bar. He is using the fact that he is an artist to force people to interact. Poses the question: “what do you do with art world insiders?”
Felix Gonzalez – Torres, untitled (placebo) 1991
a floor full of sweets. Infact enough sweets to weigh the same as the weight of his dead lover. A memorial to them. People are invited to take a sweet and so the work has a relational quality. Also, makes you think about a piece of a person touching other peoples lives
Ai Wei Wei – Sunflower Seeds, 2010
People walking over it, sitting on it, conversing with it and interacting with the seeds.
IS INSTALLATION ART THEATRICAL?
Berlinde de Bruyckere – Cripplewood 2013
Made out of wax… takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the environment. Interested in how the unorganic can suggest the organic. Suggests more that it actually shows and is quite theatrical
Theatricality can have a negative charge. If the reaction and actions of the viewer become part of the piece, in some way it must be quite theatrical
IS IT BETTER TO REPRESENT SOMETHING OR TO EXPERIENCE IT?
Caspar David Friedrich, The Sea of Ice 1823-4
Anya Gallacio, Intensities and surfaces 1996
CO EXISTENCE CRITERION – The way we behave in relation to an artwork can be used to judge its quality
Liam Gillick – Discussion – Benches 2010 – Quite happy for people to ignore his artwork
Carsten Holler, Test Site, 2006 – Slides that you can go down. You become part of the artwork.
Santiago Sierra, A 160cm Line tattooed on 4 people. 2000
Volunteers/prostitutes/drug addicts. Paid the equivalent of a round of Heroin to do this
This Lecture definitely encouraged me to think about installation a lot more in depth. When wandering around galleries viewing installations/ I tend to struggle to understand the artists intentions, what the reaction of the viewer should be or could be and why things are arranged or placed in a certain space or way. Learning about the different kinds of installations that are around, encourages me to be more open minded about them. I now understand that sometimes they can be made to convey a meaning or portray a narrative. It may be an experience that they want the viewer to have. However, they may want the viewer to form their own opinions. It may be about a physical form, or a suggested concept. INSTALLATION covers a wider spectrum that I thought and it is intriguing to me that it seems really that any arrangement of objects or imagery in a space could be considered as an installation. I think the installation world can be very clever. Some of the artists mentioned within this lecture have used minimal materials/imagery but the message is highly powerful. I wouldn’t say that this lecture has made me instantly think about creating installation but there are definitely elements within it that I could tie into my work.