Martin Creed

Martin Creed’s show at Hauser & Wirth in London features a large revolving neon sign. It stands 6 foot 8 inches off the ground and revolves at varying speeds. The way he talks about his work is really illuminating- thought not in the sense of critical analysis, rather in the poetic sense: Martin Creed himself seems to refuse to be drawn beyond a certain point when discussing his concepts and intentions. Offering practical explanations such as ‘I wasn’t really sure what speed it should go at’, and that he realised that in making the work turn implied the mother slightly out of control. It’s as if he is experiencing his work with us, with the same discovery and delight, reading alongside, as maker and viewer.

Confessing that he ‘wouldn’t know where to start’ to make a work of art, approaching things from a making point of view, it is his music which comes across as the most knowing, the most crafted of his works. His songs are succinct and precise in their lyrics, often bringing our attention to the tiniest parts of life which might otherwise be overlooked.

Songs such as ‘ABC’ and ‘Blow and Suck’ convey a joy at playing the most rudimentary notes, and an integrity of performance without irony.

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Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz

Just watched a really interesting video on TED talks featuring artist Vik Muniz. In it he talks about his path in life to where he is today. I like his view on the arc of things leading to this point. From starting out as a maker of artifacts, he moved on to the specificity of his works, leading to images of sugar-plantation children rendered in sugar,

and drawings of clouds made out of clouds (see first image above).

Again questioning how he, and we, see the world, he began to play with scale and presentation, leading him to do his earthworks series, which involved photographing images carved into the earth, some of which were person-sized, some of which were monumental, visible only from the air:

His play on scale and perception is really interesting to me- something technically really well executed, and looking at how work is presented to us, and how accessible it is.

 

Steven Miles Inaugural Lecture 13-01-11

Last year I attended the inagural lecture of Matthew Cornford and thought it was just brilliant. If I understand correctly, it’s a new professors’ way of introducing themselves to the University as a whole, so last year we were treated to a sort of portfolio and life path presentation of work and experiences which led to the appointment. So I’ve signed up for this one too.

‘Steven Miles, Professor of Urban Culture will present his lecture entitled:

Purchasing the post-modern self? Place, space and the art of consumption, Thursday 13 January at 6.30pm

Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton, Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY

The subject of consumption became a focus for considerable attention by social scientists in the 1990s when many commentators recognised that, potentially at least, consumption was as significant an arena for the construction of identity as that of production. Despite its ten minutes of fame, critical engagement with consumption has never been fully crystalised. The status quo is such that the arena of consumption has largely deemed to be a trivial entity; apparently a preoccupation of postmodernists and right-wing apologists. In this presentation it is suggested that, whether we like it or not and regardless of the environmental consequences, the experience of consumption continues to lay at the very heart of contemporary social and cultural life and, as such, deserves more serious attention in both the social sciences and the arts. At present, the actions of consumers are all too easily condemned both on a social and an intellectual level; the latter perhaps saying more about academics’ own consumption habits and, in particular, their penchant for the joys of Radio 4 than it does about the world they interrogate. Often the subtleties of the complex and contradictory characteristics of a consumer society are misinterpreted so that the pleasure implied by consumer lifestyles remain unexplored in favour of a wholly predictable analysis which masquerades as a ‘critical’ analysis of the neo-liberal state. The concern here is with the extent to which the consumer is ‘controlled’ by the world which he or she inhabits. Focusing in particular on the role of consumption in the construction of the urban everyday, notably through the relationship between the city and art and more specifically, the museum and the art gallery, the suggestion here is that the consumer is actively complicit in the consumer society in which he or she is implicated. The consumer should not then be condemned or indeed pitied for he or she gladly dances to the tune that the consumer society has chosen.

Light refreshments will be served after the lecture.

Please RSVP to events@brighton.ac.uk or book online at http://www.brighton.ac.uk/events“>http://www.brighton.ac.uk/events

The sublime Kristine Tillge Lund

At the Royal College of Art exhibition in 2008 I spent a good 20 minutes looking
at this collection by the Danish Ceramisist Kristine Tillge Lund,
and have excelled at narrowly missing opportunities to look at
further works ever since… seems like she’s working in Denmark a
lot at the moment, but keep your eyes peeled…. The combination of
design and craftmanship used to address each concept was just
brilliant. I really felt that I was looking at work made by an
artist with an integral understanding of her material and it’s
influence on her subject.

Lust by kristen tillge Lund , 2008 ceramic and wood

The image of this artwork first caught my eye in as a printed image in publicity for the the summer show at the RCA in 2008, and i went to the show with the express intention of seeing it for myself.
The bold primary colours and somewhat familiar form are reminiscent of a toy of bygone years- i can clearly remember playing with something similar as a child, yet as a mother myself now, i can say that this sort of plaything is no longer the norm, so already i am drawn to it on a wave of nostalgia and feel assured that i recognise it already. But the name. The title of the price jars me over and over into questioning what i am looking at.
Lust is a wholly adult emotion. Sexual by nature, this sits very uncomfortably with the childish ideas of toys.
So the toy takes on a more adult theme, suddenly the forms become phallic. I find myself trying to imagine them as the tools i saw in school which were used to demonstrate how to put on a condom, but this is ultimately futile- they are toys, dildos possibly. Yet there are always the colours. The primary colours we see most commonly on toys bring me back sharply to childhood, and the exceptional finish which is flawless, high gloss, again referring to moulded plastic, a safety feature.
Again, i am swung back to uncertainty, as i have been told that the material is ceramic, a fragile, inflexible material. A material which is extremely sharp if broken, this material is unfit for toys for young children, and also unfit for sexual toys without risk. This only adds further conflict in how i can view this work. The material rules out a child,s toy, the title and form suggests sex, the material now suggests risk. The variety of sizes, and the rings on the sticks suggest multiple parties, a variety of accessories….
And once again i am drawn back to the basic colours and familiar form of a toy…. All this has been suggested to me through ceramics, wood and the title. That the finish is so flawless completes the deal, detracts nothing from the exploration of the object.
In her work, kristen tillge lund has for me encapsulated a moment of balance, of friction, of beauty, of arousal, in a sublime physical manifestation of a vast depth of intent.

Things to look forward to looking at in 2011

Courtesy of Adrian Searl at the Guardian, and his article on the best visual arts for 2011

Tracey Emin, in all her glory- will be the first time I’ll see some of the celebrated classics with my own eyes at the Southbank center.

Keeping-It-Real-008

Mona Hatoum at the Whitechapel gallery . Really exited about this work from an artist who cuts to the point, examining the sharper end of the contradictions in life.

And squeezing in just in time to inspire the last pages of my 2nd year essay will the the British Modern Sculpture show at the RA from 22nd Jan….