MA Fine Art study proposal

Project Proposal

  1. Working Title

How can the materiality of the relationships we have with others and objects be physically manifested?

  1. Aims and Objectives

My work questions our relationships with stuff and with each other in terms of materials. I expose the physicalities of how we interact.

The value of objects and materials is related to functionality, availability and desirability.

I interrogate the scale by which we measure value and application of resources.

In making 3D objects I invite the possibility of spacial and tactile engagement with my work.

“You first experience an artwork physically. Meanings, connotations and associations  come after the initial physical experience. ‘

(interview- Glencross, J, broadsheet to exhibition at Le Creux de l’Enfer, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Thiers 1999)

I will be engaging with the impact of objects on human life, and the juxtaposition between low-tech assembly and high-tech production.

Removing a familiar object, albeit tool, utensil, toy or adornment from the space it habitually occupies, renders it temporarily useless in its location.

Our perception of the original is heightened when it is suspended from its familiar role, situated with an unexpected pair, or crafted from an alternative material,.

 However materially stable objects may seem, they are… different things in different scenes (Brown, B, Thing Theory, ed. Candlin and Guins, 2009)

I orient my enquiry around base metals, in particular gold and copper. I engage with their production, use and re-use cycles. They play essential roles in the communication networks through which our current views on the world are accessed, yet their presence in our daily lives is largely invisible.

Similarly, the processes required to extract them from the ground affects the local communities and environments in ways which are invisible to the majority of consumers.

Copper also provides us with our water through plumbing.

Traditional uses and assumptions about metallic functions and availability of water are now in flux.

I seek out these echoes of presence, necessity and dependency.

  1. Context

My main reference point for the sculptural interpretations of concepts of object-hood and space are

‘It is as though objecthood alone can, in the present circumstances, secure something’s identity, if not as nonart, at least as a neither painting nor sculpture; or as though a work of art- more acurately, a work of modernist painting or sculpture- were in some essential respect  not an object. (p.310)

The ‘Obdurate Identity’ of a specific material, like the wholeness of the shape, is simply stated or given or established at the very outset, if not before the outset; accordingly, the experience of both is one of endlessness, or inexhaustibuility, of being able go on and on letting, for example, the material itself confront one in all its literalness, its ‘objectitivity’, its absence of anything beyond itself.

(Fried, M, Art and Objecthood, ed Candluin and Guins 2009 p. 320)

The medium and material’s role in the conceptual interpretation of artworks since the birth of readymade and of ad-hoc art via David Smith, David Nash, Phyllida Barlow, Mona Hatoum and Ai Weiwei.

Duchamp’s presentation of the object as material and object was fueled by Dada’s anarchist approach to making, and created the path followed by the surrealists and abstract artists.  Smith’s use of scrap materials for an abstract sculptural end is echoed in Nash’s dedication to the tree in its material state, and is to be found again in works by Giuseppe Penone and John Chamberlain.

The naked engagement with space found in Phyllida Barlow’s works speaks of an ad-hoc utilitarian selection of construction materials, the visible making process highlighting the locations.

Mona Hatoum and Ai Weiwei’s integration of material and concept is well summed up by Hatoum:

 “I want the meaning to be imbedded in the material that I’m using. I choose the material as an extention of the concept or sometimes in opposition to it, to create a contradictory and paradoxical situation of attraction/repulsion, fascination and revulsion.” (Hatoum quoted in Antoni 1998 p61)

‘It is as though objecthood alone can, in the present circumstances, secure something’s identity, if not as nonart, at least as a neither painting nor sculpture; or as though a work of art- more acurately, a work of modernist painting or sculpture- were in some essential respect  not an object. (p.310)

The ‘Obdurate Identity’ of a specific material, like the wholeness of the shape, is simply stated or given or established at the very outset, if not before the outset; accordingly, the experience of both is one of endlessness, or inexhaustibuility, of being able go on and on letting, for example, the material itself confront one in all its literalness, its ‘objectitivity’, its absence of anything beyond itself.

(Fried, M, Art and Objecthood, ed Candluin and Guins 2009 p. 320))

“Material matters” when the environment and the economy are considerations in the production process. (Jorunn Veiteberg, Being in circulation: Materials and values, Think Tank, 2010

Money may be the standard definition of currency, but materials, information, objects, places and even people can also become a currency: at a given moment they may have a value, but this may not last… (Mònica Gaspar, the currency of craft, Think Tank 2010)

Recent and current relevant exhibitions include Thingness at the Camberwell Space, Hidden Heroes at the Science Museum, Grayson Perry at the British Museum, Granmateria at Libby Sellers Gallery.

  1. Methodology  

I contextualise my practice by looking at current exhibitions and attending seminars and symposiums at college and at independent galleries.

In particular I have participated in ShortcourseUK through Capefarewell, an arts organisation engaged with climate change. This will resulted in a group show in February 2012 in Triangle Gallery Chelsea. My work from this show was included in the accompanying publication.

The residency I will be attended in Spain was in direct contrast to a shorter trip to the only desert area in the UK located in Dungeness. These trips provide personal opportunity to respond directly to the environments, in particular the role water plays there.

Visiting current exhibitions and researching artists’ work will inform my research strategies.

Group show participation will enable my work to stand in contrast with others.

Site specific responses are becoming more relevant in my work, and help me to specialise my interests in specific materials, eg. metallic components in a space.

Through sourcing materials from organised sources, such as scrapyards, charity shops and car boot sales and ad-hoc situations such as ‘wombling’ from pavements, friends and skips I will repurpose and intercept materials to make my work, purchasing as little new as possible.

I have attended seminars in Berlin which I have accessed through the Insatiable symposium at Chelsea, and I will be developing that relationship with a view to organising a group show with Erasmus students there.

I am keen to develop my idea of an investigation into the contrast between how we relate to spaces as we occupy them compared to how we relate to them when we connect digitally.

  1. Outcomes

I will produce written contributions to the debate regarding objects and our temporal relationships with them. I will make artworks which feel out their place in context to the thingness and materiality of objects. This will be an ongoing body of work.

Maintaining the balance between contrivance of resources and integrity of thought through making will be vital. Seeking out new opportunities to show work amongst contemporary, contrasting or contradictory settings will be necessary to allow reading of some of the my ideas. For example, I will be looking to explore what differentiates work produced with existing or sustainable materials from other forms of production, if at all. How will the context of one specific location over another alter the outcome?

My experiences are recorded in a weekly blog as well as in a reflective journal which provides a visual documentary of my work and findings.

  1. Work Plan

My studio works will be essential to my development and all relevant research prompted my investigations. I intend to organise and participate in several group shows over the course of my MA, in the belief that staging work within the context of work by different practitioners, I may be able to see more clearly its successes and shortcomings.

The following outline of work is intended as an outline, and is not limited to:

January 2013
  • Ongoing studio work and research
  • mold making for casting replica telephones in bronze
February
  • Ongoing studio work and research
  • Sharon Morris Gospel Oak book launch- poetry dealing with empathetic relationships with objects
March
  • Ongoing studio work and research
  • Book space and create site-specific works with cables.
April
  • Ongoing studio work and research
  • Dungeness residency. Contrast climate and technology with La Joya.
May
  • Ongoing studio work and research
  • organise erasmus exchange show looking at temporal relationships with places

 

June Ongoing studio work and researchSymposium on time and sustainable practice in Berlin
July
  • Ongoing studio work and research
  • Possible group show to coincide with degree shows London-wide
August Ongoing studio work and researchBuild Show
September
  • Ongoing studio work and research
  • MA Fine Art graduate show
  1. Bibliography
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Archer, Michael, Material culture; the object in British art of the 1980s and ’90s, London South Bank Centre,1997.
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Barthes, Roland. Obvie et l’obtus.English/ The responsibility of forms: critical essays on music, art, and representation, Berkeley :University of California Press,1991.
Baudrillard, : art and artefact / edited by Nicholas Zurbrugg.
Baudrillard J, The system of objects, translated by James Benedict
Bennett, Jane, Vibrant matter :a political ecology of things, Durham, N.C. ;London :Duke University Press,c2010.
Border fetishisms :material objects in unstable spaces, New York ;London : Routledge,1998.
Buck-Morss, Stallabrass and Donskis, Ground Control, technology and utopia, Black Dog Publishing, 1997
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Ideas unbound; unique ideas uniquely expressed ; material, shape, concept, effect, trick, scale, variation, fake & gadget. Tokyo :P.I.E.,c2003.
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Jencks, Charles. Adhocism :the case for improvisation, London :Secker and Warburg,1972.
Kettles Yard, Beyond Measure, conversations across art and science, University of Cambridge, 2008
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Pauli, Lori, Manufactured landscapes :the photographs of Edward Burtynsky, Ottawa :National Gallery of Canada in association with Yale University Press,2003.
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Polity in association with Blackwell, Visual theory :painting and interpretation. Cambridge, 1991
Rideal, Liz. Stills, New York :Lucas Schoormans, 2001
Salgado, Andrew, Body and identity as object of art: conceptualizing space and material as tool and metaphor, 2009.
Waldman, Diane, Collage, assemblage and the found object, Phaidon, London, 1992

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