Sunday, 18 January 2009

Does Richard Woods do visual research in Bedford?

Views of The Yin & Yang of Frillip Moolog at Bedford College South Bank Art Centre. Show runs until 30th Jan. Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm. It has been curated by Bedford Creative Arts and is one of their new Offsite Projects.

As part of the show I have given a talk on my work and thought processes while making beings. Next week I will also be giving some tutoring sessions with textile students at Bedford College. My Powerpoint images showed how I make visual links all the time and as a result the tutors have asked me to lead sessions which focus specifically on visual research. I’m really pleased about this as I am quite passionate about it. I find inspiration every where and always take photos. Now with a camera on my phone too it means that there really is no excuse for missing a quick ‘snap’. In my visual research I don’t need the images to be of a very high quality as I’m usually interested because of colours, form or sometimes it’s a modified use. There are so many reasons for something to be of interest. Categorisation of my images is the hardest task. As they build up on my PC I’ve had to set up a filing system that works. i.e. with categories that I understand and remember so that I and am able to retrieve the images when I need them. As I was leaving Bedford last week I was lucky enough to be driving slowly enough to snap this wall.
My question is. Were they just trying to jazz it up a bit or were they inspired by Richard Woods’ recent Stone Clad Cottages. (A Fermynwoods Contemporary Art Offsite project back in November 2008.) No this wall has been painted for a while… Could Richard Woods have a similar photo of this wall in his source file?!
I have been interested in Richard Woods’ work for quite a while now. His chest of drawers for Established and Sons isn’t my favourite but when I saw his floor installed as part of Liverpool Biennial this year I was really taken with the impact and also loved the attention to detail. Back in 2007 he made Tudor Fold a project in Birmingham curated by Gavin Wade. It’s perfect in its simplicity. He’s made us look again. Decorating a 1970’s terrace as a black and white Tudor building, we are forced to have another look. We are jolted and reminded of so much that we take for granted. How often do we look without really looking? Yes this is the door from an old kitchen unit. It was fitted into this drystone dyke in Yorkshire...upside down!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

From defaced cactus to Statuephilia

Graffiti, is it art or sacrilege? When is it harmless mark making, leaving your mark for future generations and when is it vandalism and damage of property that is not yours? This summer in Parc Guell in Barcelona we came across this cactus. I’d never seen anything like this before. Can you imagine the juice from the succulent leaves oozing out as the marks were cut? It makes me think of the blood brothers rituals as shown in old Cowboy and Indian films.
Then on New Years Day we visited Canterbury cathedral. There was so much to look at and to photograph but I was especially drawn to the graffiti. I love the antiquity of the building and I love the idea that we maybe aren’t so far evolved from our ancestors as we like to think.
But what is sacrilege? Isn’t it going a bit too far to deface a holy building and place of worship? Maybe the graffiti artists just wanted a piece of the action wanted to add their mark to be part of the (presumably) huge team of stonemasons. The oldest wooden church in England (near Basildon) was again more interesting because of this graffiti in the few brickwork areas of the building. The bricks look fairly soft.
This idea of making your mark of leaving something unique and personal behind is the way that I read these Salvador Dali candlesticks. Some people have a simple thumbprint but why not your anus? We chatted about this quite a bit when we saw this piece in the The DalĂ­ Theatre-Museum in Figueres this summer. Was it a baby’s anus and would it have wriggled and cried?
Completely making the leap because of the gold I just have to now mention the new Kate Moss statue, Siren, by Marc Quinn. It is part of the Statuephilia exhibition at the British Museum and is also writen about in Crafts magazine (Jan/Feb09). Far from staring at her face all I can do is look at the crotch detail. Am I getting too distracted by details? Should we put the emphasis on the fantastic skill of the craftsmen who cast Moss’s body (taking a whole year to do so) or rather to see her as Mark Quinn intends us to?
Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Quinn said he saw Miss Moss, who posed for him for a day though not in the position of the statue, as a "modern day Aphrodite".
"For Kate, she thinks it lifts her into a mythical level," he said.
"I think she very much loved it because she understands the difference between her image and her self.

"The sculpture is really about whether we make images or they make us. It's about trying to live up to impossible dreams and immortality."

What I want to know is if Kate Moss didn’t pose in this position then whose intimate details am I looking at? So, from graffiti to this; what a journey…