Category Archives: Part 1 – Contemporary Art

PART 1/CONTEMPORARY ART/SELF EVALUATION

SELF EVALUATION

I have loved Part 1.  Each day I have got excited as to who or what I will discover next, my eyes have been opened to Contemporary Art, I am now contemplating this route instead of Creative Writing, which was my first choice along with Photography.   I feel I have been learning more about navigating and researching various galleries, magazines, blogs and websites relating to art.

I have learned how to break down complicated essays by reading them 3 or 4 times.  The first time, would be skimming to see what the article was about, second time I would highlight anything that jumped out at me, like quotes and artists names, third time I would highlight words I didn’t understand and add them to my glossary.  I would then analyse and make notes of those sections, this gave me a better understanding of what I was reading.

Time and Place were very prevalent, I have startied to see clearly the meaning of these  elements throughout Contemporary Art, sometimes I didn’t get it, but it was certainly becoming clearer.  I also started to learn the different Art movements and types of Art like ‘Conceptual Art’ and ‘Installation Art’ and ‘textual art’.

I have started to realize the importance of labeling photos and referencing quotes. I learned how to label properly on the blog, making it look more professional.

I have learned new words and set up a menu tab on my blog adding these words.

Regarding my blog posts I have added my own photos to add some of my own creativity I have tried to use those that relate to the exercise in some way,  Although I enjoy adding my notes to the blog, I also keep a hard copy notebook as I find it easier to write things down first, adding drawings or photos and then copyying the notes in more detail onto the blog.  I feel really pleased with how my blog has progressed, it was quite frustrating in the beginning, with a few technical hitches, but am happy with it now.

I really enjoyed visiting the new Abdulaziz World Cultural Centre and discovering more about the building itself, I researched the company that designed and built it, finding out that parts of the building, above and below ground meant Past, future and present, ‘time’ reference and the landscape it was built on was a particularly important ‘place’, to serve both the local and international community.

I have learned about Installation art and conceptual art and the idea of text playing a major part in both these types of art really intrigued me.  I thought it was amazing to see the difference in my first reaction to the installation art piece A Place Beyond Belief by Nathan Coley.  My initial thought was it must be religious?  its ‘place’ was by a church and hinting possibly of a place that’s beyond belief ie heaven.  Little did I know the story behind these words, you can only find this information by looking it up. nothing indicates that it relates to the aftermath of 9/11 or racist views.

On reflection of Part 1,I feel I am learning new skills on note taking, research, technical and writing. What I feel I need to learn more about is referencing and how to write in a more academic way. I would like to get more involved in some of the ‘hang outs’ or forums to get student views and help, as to be honest I don’t know if I am doing any of this right.  What I do know is I’m learning so much and thoroughly enjoying the journey.

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PART 1/CONTEMPORARY ART/ASSIGNMENT 1

BA Honors Creative Arts

Creative Arts 1: Creative Arts Today

Part 1 – Contemporary Art

OCA Blog: www.jeanjeannieocablog.wordpress.com/

ASSIGNMENT ONE

PART A

Reflective learning

What is Art? Eight weeks ago I was asked this question.  At that time I believed art to be something that someone created to make you feel an emotion and to make you question.  I think that if you are an artist, the aim is to make the viewer feel emotions such as love, happiness, fear, horror, sadness, hatred and anger.  This is what art means to me.  Having completed Part 1, I still stand by this initial thought of what art is. Researching many artists and their art pieces has made me feel all of these emotions. They have made me question things like religion, politics, racism and terrorism to the meaning of ‘time’ and ‘place’, the history of Art, the mediums available and the perceptions of both the artist and the viewer.  Art is more than just a painting or sculpture it is the creation of an emotion.

152 words

During part 1, I have used and practiced navigating around online libraries and galleries and researched using magazines, videos and blogs. I have learned to better understand complicated essays by creating a method of note taking.  Essential learning has been understanding the importance of ‘time’ and ‘place’ in the art world and also discovering the meaning of new words.  At times learning the technical side of a blog has been both challenging and gratifying. I would like to develop understanding the uses of referencing and writing in an academic style.  I would also like to learn more about contemporary Arab artists and participate in the OCA forums.

107 words

I believe my blog to be a reflection of my understanding of Contemporary Art.  I have enjoyed completing all the exercises and have included extensive notes on artists and their work.  I have referenced articles, websites and videos and included photos, drawings, printouts, references and copies of my hand written notes.  I think www.jeanjeannieocablog.wordpress.comis progressing well. Visually it is designed as per OCA guidance, however, I have added my own menu tabs to include a Glossary and a Time and Place.  Each post has included one of my own photographs that I feel is related to my notes on each exercise within the individual projects. In my opinion, improvements, such as grouping, should be made to the style and layout of the photographs.  Also, the references need to be added in the correct format and the writing to be worded in a more academic style.

146 words

PART B

JEREMY DELLER’S THE BATTLE OF ORGREAVE 2001IS IT ART?

The following essay is my personal opinion on why I think Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave 2001 is art.  I will consider all aspects of the video clip, audio piece and written articles to ascertain whether it is or is not art.  In orderto do this,I will discuss the importance of Deller’s reference to ‘time’ and ‘place’ and will provide evidence.  I will also provide information that confirms why Deller chose the media format and what influenced him in the making of the film.  As this media has provoked several emotional feelings, my belief is that Deller’s portrayal of the events that took place on June 9, 1984, ‘The Battle of Orgreave’– is Art. I think art is something produced by someone that canprovoke emotions such as anger, fear and anxiety, all of which I felt when watching the video clips.

When I first viewed the video clip,it was quite shocking.I honestly thought it was a clip from a documentary or a news report of events that actually happened.  Little did I know that the rocks being thrown were made of coloured sponge, the police batons were plastic and the bloodied faces were covered in red make-up.  I felt fearful for the miners as they were being taunted and driven back through their village by the police.  However, I soon learned it was a re-enactment of the 1984 Battle of Orgreave or as Michael Morris says “in many ways it was a piece of social history re-lived, not re-enacted”.  Morris M. Artangel Collection 2001.I believe his justification for this was because it was an event staged in the original village which portrayed the events that had happened in 1984.  Furthermore, the police were being played by the miners who were actually involved in 1984.

The importance of time and place is mentioned in the video clips and audio message.  Moreover, in the chapter of Politics/Control by Dean & Miller 2005, ‘time’ and ‘place’ are mentionedin the same paragraph showing how crucial this information is to determine where it happened and when.  “It was on 8 June,1984 that one of the most shocking incidents of the dispute occurred near the Orgreave Coking Plant in South Yorkshire; a violent confrontation between striking miners and ranks of police which led to a cavalry charge through the village” Dean & Millar Place Room Five Politics/Control 2005.   The re-enactment happens in the same, village, the same month, with some of the same miners, 17 years later on June 17, 2001.

There are various representations of the time and eraof the Battle of Orgreave such as the vintage 1980’s t-shirts, the ‘coal not dole’ stickers (there is no dole now), the make of the burnt-out car, denim jackets and jeans and the style of the police helmets.  However, the village fete atmosphere with a marquee selling souvenirs and plants, the sighting of a high-speed train and a Virgin advertisement were small signs that it was in fact a re-enactment and a different era, it was not an actual real event happening.

I believe, Deller has used the media of video and audio to gain maximum effect. Everything seems real to the viewer, which in turn, can cause many emotions.  When he was younger, he was influenced by the news on TV of the striking miners and had always wanted to recreate the scene to make sure it takes its place in history.  To do this, he had to bring it alive again.  When referring to the commission he gained from Artangel he said “I’ve always described it as digging up a corpse and giving it a proper post mortem”.Deller J. 2001.  To back up this piece as being historical art, Jonathan Jones of the Guardian newspaper refers to it as a “history painting” perhaps after learning that Deller has an MA in History of Art, further confirmation that he knows what he is doing and it’s not just a video showing a violent scene.  This was contrary to what I first thought on reading the article in the Guardian online, I thought Jones was going to argue that it wasn’t art as his opening headline said “Missiles fly, truncheons swing, police chase miners as cars burn.  It’s all very exciting.  Why is it Art?”Jonathan Jones 2001 – The Guardian.

It would appear that for Deller to get his historical message across to a wider audience he created an installation artwork piece at the Tate Gallery using a variety of medium. These included the original video and audio pieces, along with a wall painting and textual frames containing old newspapers of the events of June 8, 1984.  The Battle of Orgreave (an injury to One is an Injury to All)The Tate Gallery 2001.  The installation is another testament of his desire to be known for his historical art through social groups or communities as Andrew Wilson of the Tate Gallery said “For this work, as with most of his projects, Deller interacted and engaged with different social groups or communities to produce an artwork that can take many forms”.

In conclusion, as I have mentioned before, I understand art is something that has been created by someone to make you feel an emotion and to make you question. Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave does just that.  It makes you angry, fearful, annoyed, anxious and frightened.  You realise there is more to this group of men in t-shirts and denim jackets being chased and beaten by policemen. It does make you ask the following questions. Why did this happen? When did it happen? Where did it happen? And how was it allowed to happen?  I hope that from the information gained from The Tate Gallery, Guardian newspaper and Jeremy Deller’s website, it has been proved that Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave 2001 is art.

989 words

Bibliography

Jones J: “Missiles fly, truncheons swing, police chase miners as cars burn. It’s all very exciting. But why is it art?” (June 19, 2001) – The Guardian2001

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2001/jun/19/artsfeatures

 Morris M: The Battle of Orgreave 2001 – Artangel Collection

https://www.artangel.org.uk/project/the-battle-of-orgreave/

Deller J: The Battle of Orgreave 2001

http://www.jeremydeller.org/TheBattleOfOrgreave/TheBattleOfOrgreave.php

Wilson A: The Battle of Orgreave (an injury to One is an Injury to All) (2001) Tate Gallery

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/deller-the-battle-of-orgreave-archive-an-injury-to-one-is-an-injury-to-all-t12185

Dean & Millar: PlaceRoom Five, Politics/Control – Thames & Hudson (2005)

 

 

 

 

 

PART 1/CONTEMPORARY ART/PROJECT 3/RESEARCH AND REFLECTION

I can’t believe that I have completed Part 1 – Contemporary Art with only the Assignment to do.  I say only but what I mean is the journey to this point has just been incredible.  I have absolutely loved it.  Each day I have got excited as to who or what I will discover next, my eyes have been opened to Contemporary Art.  So much so, that I am now contemplating this route instead of Creative Writing, which was my first choice along with Photography.   I felt in Project 3 I was learning more about researching and finding different exhibitions, galleries, Art magazines, personal blogs and websites relating to artists, this was besides the OCA website and the online libraries available.  It really has been a fascinating and educational learning curve.

I found that I was able to break down complicated essays by reading them, not just once, but at least 3 or 4 times.  The first time, would be skimming through to see what the article was about, second time I would highlight anything that would jump out at me, like quotes, artists names and general interest, third time I would use a different highlighter and look for words I didn’t understand and add them to my glossary.  I would then analyse and make notes of just those sections I had highlighted, which game me a better understanding of what I was reading.  This seemed to work for me.

Time and Place were very prevalent and I was starting to see more clearly the meaning of these two elements throughout Contemporary Art, sometimes I didn’t get it, but is was certainly becoming clearer.  I also started to learn the different Art movements and types of Art like ‘Conceptual Art’ and ‘Installation Art’.

I have started to realize the importance of labeling photos used from other sources, and discovered how to do this properly which makes the reference look more professional, and realizing how important it is, this hadn’t been a priority before as I just wanted to be able to type up my notes and put pictures on my blog.  What I realize now is even my own photos should be labeled, not that anyone would want to use them, but it does make me realize the importance of referencing photos used that are other peoples.

I have learned new words that I have never even seen before and words that I thought I knew the meaning of but actually don’t.  I set up a menu tab on my blog and have added these words as I go along under each alphabet letter, going forward I will put them in alphabetical order, minor detail, but just that I love being able to refer back to them and as the course continues it is best to go as I mean to go on.  I had also thought of adding an Artists tab to be able to add a list of all the artists I have come across, due to time constraints I haven’t done this but may still do.  What I have done as I have gone along is when I’ve mentioned an artist or their work I have provided links to their website or blog or to the actual artwork.

By adding my own photos to the blog posts I was trying to create some of my own creativity by adding photos that I thought related to the exercise in some way, not always but just sometimes, it helped me get used to adding things to the blog and learning how to label them, something I know I need to go back on when I have time as I only just started to do this when I found out how.  I have really enjoyed adding my notes to the blog, although I also keep a hard copy notebook as I find it easier to write things down first adding drawings or photos as I go along and then copy the notes in more detail on the blog, this seems to be working for me.

I really enjoyed visiting the new Abdulaziz World Cultural Centre and discovering more about the building itself, there was far more to this than when you first see it from a distance, I researched the company that designed and built it, finding out that parts of the building, above and below ground meant Past, future and present – ‘Time’ and the landscape it was built on was a particularly important ‘place’ , to serve both the local community and international visitors.  It is an incredible site-specific art building.

By doing the exercises I discovered more about the Saudi Arabian Art scene, something I didn’t even know existed, up until ten years ago it was virtually non existent it would seem, but now artists like Abdulnasser Gharem, have helped to create an Art Scene that is helping Saudi artists on to the International platform, but also to help younger people be involved in something other than crime or worse, terrorist acts.  I have found a lot of information on him via interviews on you tube, online exhibitions and galleries, newspaper and magazine articles, such an incredible artist.  I have also researched many of the other artists suggested

King Abdulaziz World Cultural Centre – photos courtesy of Snøhetta

Al Saraat (The Path) 2007 – photo courtesy of Edge of Arabia Exhibition

in the exercises and have become more and more intrigued and fascinated by Contemporary Art.

It really has been thoroughly enjoyable to learn about Installation art and conceptual art in this last section and the idea of text playing a major part in both these types of art really intrigued me.  I thought it was amazing to see the difference in my first reaction to the installation art piece A Place Beyond Belief by Nathan Coley.  My initial thought was it must be religious, it’s ‘place’ was by a church of some kind, and hinting possibly of a place that’s beyond belief ie heaven.  Little did I know the story behind these words, you can only find this information by looking it up, there is nothing to indicate that it relates to the aftermath of 9/11 and religion, particularly racist views.

Overall my reflection of this last project and the course itself has been of real enjoyment, I feel my mind is active again and learning new skills regarding note taking, research, even technical, not to mention just the joy of writing to the point I just want to keep writing and writing about Art and what I am discovering.  What I feel I need to learn more about is referencing and what to quote or not to quote.  I would like to get more involved in some of the ‘hang outs’ or forums to get student views and help, as to be honest I don’t know if I am doing any of this right, I’m just going with the flow and doing the exercises and writing my notes.  What I do know is I’m learning and I am loving that, I’m loving learning more about Saudi Arabia, better late than never and eager to discover new places to visit and find out more about the art scene.  This really has taught me so much just in this first part, it will be amazing to read my blog at the end of the full course because I can feel the difference just after Part 1.  Can’t wait to start Part 2 …. Assignment first though.

PART 1/CONTEMPORARY ART/PROJECT 3/CONCLUSION

“The use of text, written or verbal, has been a significant feature of artists’ practices since the early twentieth century” Tate Gallery

 In conclusion to work on Part One, we are asked to read an article on the use of text in art.  Three links were provided, but unfortunately none of them worked (note to self to contact OCA to advise). I looked on the Tate Gallery at ‘Artists Rooms’ to see if I could find anything relating to the article but I couldn’t.  I typed in the words quoted above, into a search engine and came across a blog by Nicola Anthony, her blog post was about Text and Language and she says “Read what Tate says about this theme”.  I am therefore hoping this is the article that the link was referring to as it does mention several artists and all about letters, words and texts in different forms and used in different ways such as “narrative, instruction, as a statement, as sculpture, in literary and poetic forms, as recorded speech and as the matter or object of the artwork itself”.  This blog post I had originally come across I think is an old blog site as I have since discovered a new one and can’t believe by doing this search I have discovered yet another amazing artist by accident.  Nicola Anthony artist based in London and Singapore uses text in her art.

My notes:

Cubist painters integrated letters and words, painted and found, into still life as they questioned representation on the two-dimensional surface.

Marcel Duchamp, father of Conceptual art – radical often elaborate us of wordplay

Text crucial vehicle for artists challenging notion that artwork should consist of a physical object.  Art became increasingly ephemeral (lasting a very short time) due to shift towards ideas and systems that invited the viewer to engage with an intellectual concept.  “dematerialisation of the art object”.

 Text was immediate – billboards and signage exemplified in new commercial world.  Graphic signs in own right “The words have these abstract shapes, they live in a world of no size” Ed Ruschas  – visual alliteration

 Jenny Holzer – projected messages on public places or displayed on electronic signboards often provocative/highly politicized

 “In all three cases and more the openness and ambiguity of language has offered artists the means to provoke and suggest, urge and instruct, compelling the viewer or rather, the reader to explore realms beyond the physical presence of an object in a gallery”

 The prospect of turning text and literature into works of art, appeals to me greatly, I had never seen it like that before or at least never thought about it in this way.  I often cut out quotes that I like and put them on my mood board, or I’ve made cards and written poems and played around with the words in a decorative way, but didn’t think of it as Art.  I have seen neon signs throughout my travels like Joseph Kosuth, but do I see them as Art? .. no I hadn’t up until now.  It would appear that artists throughout the world have used text in their art.  This course has made me curious about art in Saudi Arabia and through researching online  I discovered a Saudi Arabian  Conceptual artist Abdulnasser Gharem, he had used the written word Al Siraat  (The Path) all over a broken bridge that had washed away villagers in flash flooding 25 years previously, I have written about this artist in my previous blog post as he now fascinates me and I’ve since discovered you tube interviews and exhibitions his work has been held at.

I liked that Cubist painters had incorporated words into their still life paintings and how artists are making the words stand out in neon lighting, making sure their message gets out to the viewer, although sometimes being provocative like Jenny Holzer.  It does seem that text in art gives the viewer something different to think about when they view a piece of art that contains text rather than just an object.  As a writer, I find this very intriguing and would like to do more research on this type of art.  For my featured image I’ve used a photo I took walking through the streets of Florence, I remember looking into a shop window and just seeing this display of hanging words, I loved it.  I didn’t know what I know now, I just feel it relates to the use of text in Art.

 Jenny Holzer

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/holzer-blue-purple-tilt-ar00082

Nicola Anthony

https://nicolaanthony.https://nicolaanthony.wordpress.com/

wordpress.com/2013/04/18/text-and-language-room-tate-modern/

Lawrence Winer

https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/lawrence-weiner

and

Joseph Kosuth

https://www.theartstory.org/artist-kosuth-joseph.htm

 both conceptual Artists – text based work.

Abdulnasser Gharem

http://edgeofarabia.com/artists/abdulnasser-gharem

A PLACE BEYOND BELIEF (2012) – Nathan Coley

What’s your first response to this piece?  It has been erected next to some kind of church, and mentions a place beyond belief which makes it sound religious like ‘Heaven’.  So I do think it has religious significance.

What questions are you going to ask in order to make sense of the piece?

  • Is this site-specific art? It is –  the place is in Kosovo
  • Do I have an emotional response to this piece? I feel it is a religious message, the way its next to a church and almost like the words are heading towards the sky
  • What is the media and form of the piece I think it is installation art and is also textual – he is a conceptual artist
  • What is the relevance to Time and Place: Coley has used a public ‘space’ to display his structure next to a church – I’m not sure of any ‘time’ relevance

What type of work do you think this is?

I think it is installation art, using text, it wants the viewer to think about the words and work out why it is next to a church, and what the connection is.

What you do you think the text is about?

I think it is about religion

What are your first thoughts after listening to the monologue?

It was very sad, people were judging this man on his religion, they were being racist, he was suffering as they all were, he didn’t think twice about the colour of the baby when he put the money in its clothing, it could have been a white baby he would have done the same.

Other information available on Coley’s website

“Belief is part of the invisible landscape of knowledge.  Belief can be an explicit declaration.  And it is a complicated term to address.  Belief opens a box of leaping and squirming groupings of consensus and conflict, not to mention suspicion and sentiment.  To believe is to place weight. value, and emphasis on something.  It is a process that pulls the fiction of the straight line of objectivity into oblique subjectivity.  All these problems come before this word has even been tied to a referent or wrapped around a subject or object.  Nathan Coley’s subject is belief, not belief in”. Nathan Coley’s website.  The words are referring to the train journey of a group of people after the 9/11 attack, who hate the man wearing an orange turban, they are prejudice towards him, he on the other hand is not as he puts money into the baby’s clothing the narrator of the story thinks that the people of American need to find a place beyond belief, they can’t be prejudice the people need to come together.

There was a lot more information to read through, but now realising i have time constraints, but its an interesting read.

Where is it actually sited:  in Kosovo and was unveiled on September 11, 2012.

Does this alter your response to it: Yes I’m surprised its not in America

Have your views changed on this piece: Absolutely, I thought it was purely a piece about a place called heaven.  I had no idea it would relate to the horrors of 9/11 and the aftermath of how people felt, there is a book called A place beyond Belief.

Do you think contextual information is essential to gaining a greater understanding of contemporary work?  Yes I do, it’s a way of getting a message across to a wider audience, making the viewer think deeper into the words that are displayed or written.

Do you think it should be an essential ingredient No otherwise there would be no other forms of art to convey messages, I love using letters and words to convey feelings, thoughts and views, however there has to be all sorts of choices when it comes to art.

What do you think of this piece? What do you think it achieves? It allows people to find out about what went on after 9/11 and for the people of Kosovo to have hope and to have the courage to rebuild their country.

All these art works relate to religion and faith, its as if he wants all faiths to unite together he is trying to get this message across through this text media and large installation structure.

 

 

PART 1/CONTEMPORARY ART/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 3

SITE VISIT

I live in Saudi Arabia, and am very lucky to live within 10 minutes from the incredible King Abdulaziz World Culture Arts Centre (ITHRA) that has finally been completed in 2017.  The building itself is a fascinating structure of contemporary architecture and stands prominent in a place just outside the Aramco compound in Dhahran, Eastern Provence in Saudi Arabia. Ithra - King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture

Photo courtesy of Snohetta website

An initial foundation stone was laid by King Abdullah on May 20, 2008 and officially opened by the present King, the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz on December 1, 2017.  I was extremely excited to visit the centre and it certainly has the wow factor as you approach the unique, contemporary structure.

The building, houses a cinema, theatre, museum, library and exhibition hall.  I feel at the moment it is still in its opening stages but cannot wait to see what events and artworks will be held at this magnificent building.

Place: Two landscape features Lush Gardens and a Monosurface – situated in Dhahran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia providing diverse cultural facilities for both local and worldwide audience.

Landscape of Ithra

Place

Time:  In a drawing found on the Architectures website: Snohetta it shows the top part of the structure means the future, the middle part on the ground level is the present and below the surface is the past.

https://snohetta.com/projects/39-king-abdulaziz-centre-for-world-culture

Time

Title:  ITHRA – King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture

Artist:  Snohetta (Architect firm in Norway)

Origin:  Norway

Completion: 2017 (first stone laid 2008)

Art Movement:  Site-specific – Cultural landmark for both regional and national visitors

Typology:  Cultural Centre

Cost: $400 million – approximately

On reflection I enjoyed visiting the centre and finding out further information about it, there were several sources I used to obtain additional information ie the approximate cost and the Artist which were not displayed on the ITHRA website.  Once I knew who the Architect firm were that designed it I searched for their website and was able to gain further informationt.  There was also a newspaper called The Art Newspaper  that had writen an article back in January this year about pending opening of the centre.  This will be an amazing culture centre, at the moment I feel its in its early stages and needs new marketing to spread the word.

GALLERY VISIT

Living in Saudi Arabia has its limitations, there are restrictions that perhaps no other country has, like freedom of press, or freedom to create art that perhaps is considered too political or offensive to their religion.  However, within two days of researching the Saudi Arabian Art scene, I have become mesmorized by what is happening, I never knew such Art Galleries existed here or that there are International critically acclaimed Arab artists both male and female.  As a woman living in Saudi Arabia the restrictions have made me not venture out too far from my secured compound, on a weekly basis I will only go to the local souqs, shopping mall and supermarkets, I now sadly regret this as it would appear there are galleries in Al Khobar and further afield in Jeddah and Riyadh that are open to the public.  I feel annoyed at myself for not realising that there is an Art scene and that it is ok for women to go to them, it is an exciting era for the art scene of Saudi Arabia .  For this exercise in order to achieve a Gallery visit I decided to go online to see what galleries I could visit virtually, I wanted to investigate Saudi artists  and I found many, however I very quickly became fascinated by a certain artist called Abdulnasser Gharem.  I found his work on an exhibition site called Edge of Arabia his work was part of an exhibition held in Venice 2009.  There were several artists, but his artwork really stood out, one in particular reflected both Place and Time.

Al Siraat (The Path) 2007

Time and Place Photo courtesy of Ayyam Gallery – Al Siraat (The Path) by Abdulnasser Gharem 2007

Title:  Al Siraat (The Path) – 2007

Artist: Abdulnasser Gharem – an interview about the artist can be found on the Guardian Website

Description: Lightbox 73 x 123cm – Photography/site-specific/text/religious

Art Movement: Conceptual

Place: A bridge at the base of the rocky Aseeri landscape in Saudi Arabia – site-specific

Time: In 1982 there was flash flooding in the south-western part of Saudi Arabia that headed towards some remote villages, the people in one of these villages headed towards a concrete bridge they thought would protect them.  It didn’t, most of the bridge and the villagers were swept away.  Twenty five years later, the artist Gharem, covered the remains of the bridge with the world ‘Al Siraat’ which means ‘path’ or ‘the way’.  “It is about the choices you make in life, whether you follow the straight path, the winding path, or whether you trust in the idea of a path at all.  This word can also be used to refer to the bridge you face on detath that connects this world and the next”. Henry Hemming: Edge of Arabia Exhibition 2009.

The Path

The Path 2007 by Abdulnasser Gharem – Edge of Arabia Exhibition 2009

I felt this conceptual piece of art referred to both place and time and also text related.  I discovered the artist was an officer in the Saudi Arabian Army who had gone to school with two of the terrorists involved in 9/11.  He felt he needed to try and get young people of Saudi Arabia involved in Art to try and stop them being terrorists and has since been a co founder of the arts organization Edge of Arabia that helps to promote arts education to help Saudi artists on to the international platform.  His work relates to his Saudi Heritage but also has political and social references.

On reflection to discovering the art scene in Saudi Arabia I truly wish I had started sooner, I can’t believe how fascinating it is, I came across a wide variety of work on various online galleries and was particularly interested in some of the female artists that are having a voice in their art.  However, After researching many of the sites it was Gharem’s work that really caught my attention and I just can’t help think That not only have I discovered something more about myself, but also about the people and country that I live in.  It has made me want to go to Al Khobar now and visit some of the galleries and to research more of the online galleries and discover more about these artists.

INSTALLATION ART – TATE WEBSITE

As part of Exercise 3 we are also asked to make notes regarding an article on the Tate Website by Claire Bishop (2005) – But is it Installation Art? by Claire Bishop (2005).

What is Installation Art?

Tate Gallery: Used to describe large-scale, mixed-media constructions, often designed for a specific place or for a temporary period of time

The Art StoryA term generally used to describe artwork located in three-dimensional interior space as the word “instal” means putting something inside of something else.  It is often site-specific

Visual Arts CorkInstallation art is a relatively new genre of contemporary art – practised by an increasing number of postmodernist artists – which involves the configuration or “installation” of objects in a space, such as a room or warehouse.  The resulting arrangement of material and space comprises the “artwork”.

Key words from the article:

Gabriel Orozco – Serpentine Gallery – “conceptual and installation artis” – comprised paintings, sculpture and photography

Artforum, Arts Magazine and Studio International: 1960’s magazine – “Installation Shot” – the way an exhibition was arranged.

Ilya Kabakov – paintings installed in fictional Soviet museum – museum is part of the art whereas “The main actor in the total installation, the main centre toward which everything is addressed, for which everything is intended, is the viewer’ Kabakov – he wants the viewer to be part of the place.

Glenn Brown – paintings are specifically installed in a space as separate entities

Vito Acconci – wanted viewers to walk barefoot on sand and straw or to listen to Jimi Hendrix records while relaxing in a hammock.  He developed the term “supra-sensorial” he hoped could “release the individual from his opprsessive condition.

Installation of 1980s more visual and lavish giganticism – excessive use of materials, compared to Bruce Nauman’s installations of 1960s and 1970s – video feedback, mirrors and harsh coloured lighting – made to feel out of sync.

1990s Guggenheim in New York and Turbine Hall of Tate Modern or ex industrial buildings – big wow factor

Turner prize often won by video installation artists, site specific work yet to scoop the award apart from Martin Creed’s The lights going on and off 2001.

James Meyer in Artform “To make a big splash in the global pond of spectacle culture today, you have to have a big rock to drop”. – wall size video/film projections, oversize photographs and overwhelming sculptures. rather than “inducing awareness and provoking thought”.  wrote Meyer. 

Liam Gillick: Middlebrow, low talent earnestness of production and effect with neo profound content

1990s – active participation by viewers – Volksboutique fully functional second-hand clothes shop by Christine Hill.  Flying Machine viewers in a harness controlling their speed but not direction.

My thoughts on this article

Claire Bishop starts off with “What does the term ‘installation art’ mean? Does it apply to big dark rooms that you stumble into to watch videos? Or empty rooms in which the lights go on and off’? The conclusion she comes to is that it means many things.  This is because of the history and changing terms of the meaning for “installation art”.  It would appear different artists believe it to be different meanings such as the artists Ilya Kabakov and Glenn Brown.  Kabakov would display his art pieces in a space that would be part of the art collection – the viewer would be inside the art piece as in his fictional Soviet museum.  Whereas Brown would have his art pieces installed in a specific way around a room, for the viewer to view individually.

My impression is that Installation Art used to be more about the big wow faction, whereby a whole building would be taken over and the installation would be site-specific to that place or the place would be part of a special building like The Tate Modern, the art piece would enable the viewer to walk in and be part of that installation.  Whereas in today’s art world, it’s more about what is installed in the place ie a floor to ceiling video show, or huge photographs that take up a whole wall, these perhaps would not necessarily be site specific as they could be moved.

It is interesting to see the different ideas that artists have and that certain artists feel that don’t want to call themselves “installation artists” as there is confusion over what exactly they are and perhaps takes away the importance of other Art Movement titles.  It would appear the large site-specific art works do not win titles such as the Turner Prize, these normally go to the likes of video installation artists.  Although there has been one artist called Martin Creed who did win it with his The lights going on and off 2001.  Perhaps it is showing that those large places that used to provide the wow factor are no longer what brings the viewer in.  However, I do think Bishop believes there are still artists and viewers still wanting to view the traditional “installation art” whereby the viewer is active within the art, instead of the more modern – video on the wall type of installation.  I would like to think there is room for both and are equally as important.

On reflection I found this article fairly easy to read and to understand, it was good to see the viewpoints of various artists and how they see themselves as “installation artists”.  I enjoyed reading the piece and highlighting areas of interest after reading it the third time.  I felt that ‘place’ was very significant when referring to installation art as traditionally it was the ‘place’ where the artwork would be installed or be site-specific.

 

PART 1/CONTEMPORARY ART/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 2

Below is a list of artists mentioned in Dean an Millar’s essay.  I have also mentioned which artists’ work incorporates text and whether related to ‘place’.

Vitaly Komar  & Alex Melamid – Russian artists who met as Art students who teamed up together in 1965 I can’t find any of their  works incorporating text

John Constable – Considered to be one of England’s greatest landscape painters, no pieces of work incorporates text from what I can see

Alec Finlay –   His site specific nest-boxes were commissioned by CGP Gallery and were situated all around Southwark Park – they all incorporate a short poem therefore incorporated text and they were in a ‘place’ called Southwark Park, London

Douglas Huebler  – Created a Site Sculpture project at Windham College, Putney, spending only a day to create it.  Using various media and incorporating text.  The ‘place’ was specific to Windham College, and detailed on a map.

Dan Graham – I could only find glass structures that he had designed with no text incorporated into the large structures.

Joachim Koester – I couldn’t find any work that included text into his videos or structures

Doug Aitken – uses part film and part sculpture in this exhibition of screens in a room shaped in the words WEST therefore incorporating text in the visual art display, the film is about a woman in her apartment who is going blind and wants to document everything.  I am presuming ‘place’ is her apartment unless it is where the actual sculpture is hung ie the gallery.

Jane and Louise Wilson – Twins born in England – no works identified that incorporated text

Roni Horn  – This work is displayed with text being incorporated into the display.  Roni would spend 1 to 3 months in Iceland – she feels is a “rare and unspoiled refuge, a central place where identity becomes comprehensible”.  

Alexander and Susan Morris – Unable to find information on these artists

Graham Gussin – ‘As If’- this piece of artwork is displayed in Liverpool which is the only reference I can see referring to ‘place’ however the artwork does incorporate text.

Marie Hugonnier – Creates collages on old Spanish newspapers – incorporates text and ‘place’ is Spain.

Mette Tronvoll – Seems to be photos of people in Angolia – none than incorporate text.

EXERCISE 2

Katie Patterson is considered to be a leading  visual artist of her generation, born in Scotland 1981 she has created very scientific projects ranging from a map of all the dead stars in the universe, to making records recording the ice melting from glaciers in Iceland.  The link in Exercise 2 links to pictures of the glacier and a number, but not the sound.  I have managed to find an interview on Katie in which she discusses the recording of the melting of the three glaciers and how she brought back water from them and created the records with the sounds.  According to the article there was a number that could be called from anywhere in the world to listen to the icebergs melting.

Patterson’s work is described as scientifically romantic and her projects consider our place on earth in the context of geological time and change.  I would define this piece as a site specific, visual and audio piece as it couldn’t be physically moved but could be heard all around the world.  I’m not sure I get it as being art, I think it is more a scientific piece to do with the transporting of sound not something to specifically look at.  I couldn’t see anything referring to Patterson’s use of text.  However, ‘place’ is in Iceland, I can also see the relationship with time as in the time the glaciers have been there and the time it takes for them to melt.

On reflection I didn’t enjoy this exercise as much as the others perhaps because the link didn’t provide the sound that I was expecting or there weren’t specific questions being asked of this piece apart from defining the piece in terms of media, which I understand it to be visual media (video and sound).  I felt a bit confused by the term of art for this.

I chose this photo for my blog post as it reminds me a bit of what Katie Patterson is about, the darkness, sun/moon/water and landscape, depicting ‘place’ as being a landscape in Saudi Arabia.

PART 1/CONTEMPORARY ART/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 1

In this exercise we are asked to read an essay from our course book Place. London: Thames and Hudson by Dean, T, and Millar, J. (2005).  I managed to find a copy of the piece on the OCA website and printed it off, allowing me to highlight any parts that stood out or words I didn’t understand.  As instructed, first time I read it, I skimmed through  the essay, finding my mind wondering about what to have for dinner tonight and remembering I must clean the kitchen drawer out.  In other words, nothing was really catching my attention, lots of words joining into one.  Even now having read it three times, highlighting what I think are important parts, I have found it particularly hard and unsure of what parts I am meant to be noticing.  The second time I read it, I highlighted parts in yellow, the third time I highlighted in orange to see if there was anything different that needed highlighting, there wasn’t much.

I think what I will do for the moment is type out those sections I have highlighted, just to see if any of it makes sense.  In the first instance though, I want to just write down my own thoughts on What is Place.  To me Place is some where you visit or live, like Scotland or in my case Saudi Arabia.  Within those places are other places, like Edinburgh is a place within Scotland that has a castle, Mecca is a religious place within Saudi Arabia that all Muslims are meant to visit once in their life time.   It is then possible to go even further and say within the castle there is a place you can sit and just admire the architecture.  In mecca there is a place you stop and worship called The Kaaba (a large black stone structure).  This is what place means to me.

Notes I highlighted from the Essay

The authors of the book mention that the world Place might be used as a synonym for ‘space’, ‘location’, ‘site’ or ‘territory’.  I agree that location is a place, and on thinking about ‘space’ I guess a wide open space like landscape would be a place of beauty.

‘A word that is used to describe our relationship to the world around us and because, within art, this perhaps occurs most often within the genre of landscape, it is here that we would begin’ Dean & Millar (2005) I seem to understand this part that according to the authors they believe in the art world, ‘place’ is considered to be mostly a word given for landscape – perhaps a painting or photograph.

‘In the Dark and Middle Ages, Landschaft, the first form of the word, meant a collection of dwellings built within an area of cultivated land that, in turn, is surrounded by an unknown – and unknowable – wilderness’ Dean & Millar (2005). The essay again refers to place as being landscape, the word Landschaft changed through time to become Landschap by the Dutch, then the English changed it to Landskip ‘broad, often elevated, views of rural scenes in which one can see villages and fields, woods and roads’. 

‘A landscape is the land transformed, whether through the physical act of inhabitation or enclosure, clearance or cultivation, or through human perception’. The authors do seem to be making landscape as the prime meaning for place.

‘What, then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is.  If I wish to explain it to him who asks me, I do not know’.  Saint Augustine.  Apparently this is similar to what would happen if you were asked the same question as place, not sure I understand apart from the authors saying it is the same as time as it is part of our everyday lives and perhaps not questioned, as it is what it is, place is all around us.

‘When space feels thoroughly familiar to us, it has become place’, Yi Fu Tuan (1976), I agree with this remark, when I am comfortable in the space around me, in my home, work or walking in a forest, it does become a place, particularly one where I like to be.  I presume that is what is meant by the piece.

‘Historical events are now known simply the name of the place in which they occurred – Hiroshima, Auschwitz, Chernobyl’ Dean & Millar.  I hadn’t thought about this before.  I thought I would come up with some of my own like Hillsborough and Dunkirk.

‘Hebrew name for God, Makom, means place’.  Dean & Millar (2005). I could understand if Heaven was a place but not sure how God can be described as a place.

‘The real voyage of discovery consists in not seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes’.  Proust.  Not sure I understand this piece but had highlighted it.  Is it to do with art, as in discovering new places to paint, new eyes would give a new view-point of a place.  When I take photos of places I have visited I try to put a new slant on it, ie I would prefer to take a photo at a different view point or zoom in on something quirky to do with the place I have visited, not your average tourist snap, new eyes so to speak, so perhaps this is what Proust means.

‘Everything is somewhere and in place’, Aristotle.  I liked this quote, and yes everything has its place, an apple in a bowl, bottle of water in the fridge, a pen on the desk, a house in the countryside, a man on the moon.  They are all in a place.

On reflection of this exercise,  I feel like already I understand what ‘place’ means.  When I first read the essay, it almost went straight over my head, even the second time, nothing seemed to sink in, it is only now having gone back over the yellow and orange shaded notes and typing them out, that something is sinking in.  I think I’ve learned a little more about note taking and analyzing smaller sections, hilighting sections that stand out, words that I don’t understand.  I’m sure now if I had more time, I could go back over the essay and pull out more sections to analyse, but for now I’m happy that things have caught my attention and am again eager to move on to the next exercise.  I feel that I have learned more about the meaning of Place than when I started this particular blog entry.  I have also found new words I don’t understand, and words that I thought I understood but actually mean something a little different.  I have added these words  to my glossary and have also added a photo to my post that I took in Devon on Dartmoor.  This photo is what I now feel the authors are meaning about landscape or a place, where there are trees and land as far as the eye can see, a beautiful place, perfectly suitable for a painting or photograph.