Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Beautiful Alone

Throughout my research for The Body as a Site of Cultural Representation, i became fascinated with things I'd never before thought twice about - human waste. After having looked at work by artists such as Karla Black and Mona Hatoum, I began to take notice of every day things such as the build up of hair in my hairbrush, chipped nail varnish on the coffee table, and the visual nightmare that is a dirty face wipe, used to take off the day's make up.. I was so intrigued how something that we initially use to make ourselves beautiful, could then appear so displeasing to the eye once it was no longer on the body. These traces left behind of our struggle to be beautiful made me think more about vanity, and why we need to be beautiful, what is it all about? And as I was lying in bed, alone, I rolled over onto the other side to that empty space, and for that moment I wished that the space wasn't empty. This need to be loved struck me as one of the things that drives our vanity, this desire we have to be beautiful. So for my exhibition piece, I went to bed one night with my full make-up, fake tan - the lot and fell asleep. In the morning when I took my sheet off the bed, what was left behind were marks, gorgeous marks where my body had lay, but only on one side of the bed, enhancing this idea of being alone, beautiful but alone. To this sheet I had to do something more, to reinforce this idea of beauty, so I chose to decorate the sheet with pearls, things that are not only classically beautiful, but that also have connotations of purity and sexuality. I spent the next few days sewing on pearls of various sizes, the process adding emphasis to the feminine ideas behind the work, and I finished the piece by sewing the words, 'beautiful', where my body lay, and, 'alone', where there lay no-one. I hope you like it.

Studio Installation - Site Place Context

After having experimented with drawing the landscape, I took my ideas back into the studio and thought about the space I was in, and how i might draw contours for the studio. This led me to take interest in what was happening within the space, between the walls and the floor for example, or between the floor and the furniture upon it. Taking inspiration from artists such as Monika Grzymala and Sharyn O'Mara, I started drawing out this relationship using black straws and graph/lined paper, as a sort of 3D line moving around the space, exploring different surfaces and planes. I set to work in my corner where I made a 3Dimensional drawing that tumbled from wall to plynth, plynth to floor, floor to chair..

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

drawing the landscape

Whilst researching the history of Bellahouston Park, i discovered that in the 1990s parts of the park were restricted due to subsidence caused by old mine works underneath the south side of the park. This made me take interest in the park's landforms, the hills, the flat surfaces, the dips and the curves. As part of my development of this, I have started thinking about contours, and what these lines mean in a landscape. When I look at maps, these contour lines look beautiful, the way they flow around a page to distinguish the form of the land. I thought it would be interesting if these lines actually existed in our environment. I went to the park today with brightly coloured ribbon with which I attempted to mark out contours on the landscape - obviously not accurately as you can tell from the photos, but I just wanted to have an idea of what these contour lines might look like if they truly existed. I then started using the ribbons not only to describe the shape of the earth beneath me but to show the relationship between the form of the land and the things upon it. The trees that stand in Bellahouston Park started out as tiny little seeds in the lands soil, and are completely dependent on the land in which they fix their roots. The areas where there are trees would look so different if these trees were non existant, so I have used the ribbons to describe this relationship between the form of the trees and the land.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

watch out, avatars about...

After having spent some time using the Second Life virtual world, I found it difficult to see how I could create something in these spaces that I really believed in. For me, the best thing about it is that there isn't really gravity, so you can make objects suspended in the air and then fly around them. I made a floating, pink, spherical object on the GSA island which excited me for about five minutes but as for using the world to communicate and live a second life through my avatar, I'm not too fussed. So I wondered, how could this be taken further in an art project to create something that I truly believe in, and then I found out about a Chinese artist, Cao Fei, who uses her learnings from Second Life to not only to create work within the virtual world, but who's findings have fuelled her to make work in Real Life too.

Cao Fei has taken the idea of the avatar alter-ego and created these wacky, super-hero type costumes in which people wear in the real world to take the life of the avatar out of the computer and onto the streets. She calls these works "COSPLAYERS" and is an experiment to give young people dressed as game characters the ability to traverse the city at will, and to engage in combat within their imaginary world. They expect their costumes will grant them true magical power, enabling the wearer to transcend reality and put themselves above all worldly and mundane concerns.

The images here are photographs of her COSPLAYERS out in the real world, and she documents these as photos and films. As well as doing this, Cao Fei reflects on the behaviour of avatars in the digital environment of Second Life and the motivations behind people who explore and inhabit virtual worlds. She makes video installations using these sites and has even gone on to create her own virtual utopia, RMB City, in which she is both participant and observer through her Second Life avatar, Tracy China, who acts as a guide, philosopher and tourist.

To find out more about her virtual world, log onto www.rmbcity.com

To look at more of her work outwith second life visit www.caofei.com

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

anish kapoor on iplayer

Imagine: The Year of Anish Kapoor
on BBC iPlayer
Watch it.x

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Wind In My Hair

Lara Favaretto
at the Tramway 23rd Oct - 13th Dec 2009

Lara Favaretto creates such an atmosphere in this exhibition space, a feeling that was totally new to me. I was able to really feel the presence of this work as well as see them, hear them, it was an incredible experience. Colourful hairy giants of all shapes and sizes swirling at random, you could feel the wind in your hair as you moved around the room. It was a beautiful thing. And as I walked around I could feel the energy of the people too - everyone smiling, laughing, getting a real buzz off her work. I've never felt an atmosphere so electric. Maybe it had something to do with the free booze that was on offer at the opening, but either way, I think its lush. I'm going back again - sober this time. I'll probably love it more.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Art On The Subway

Passing daily through the city, there is so much to see - hundreds of people roam the streets, adverts smother our buildings and pigeons infest the skies. I see this every day, but i'm not left with the memory of anything in particular. I sometimes wonder where one person might be going, or what they’re doing, but unless they’re a Johnny Depp look-a-like, I forget about them as soon as they’re out of sight.

This weekend, while waiting in the underground for the next train, I expected to get in a carriage, sit with my head down and listen to my i-pod. The train pulled into the station and I was drawn to one particular carriage. Not because there were more seats or that the Johnny Depp look-a-like I’m trying to find happened to be there, but because I could see through the window, a huge globe, made from hundreds of origami birds, swinging from the ceiling. I walked into the carriage and the lady whose creation this was apologised for the obstruction. I assured her that it was anything but, and that I was delighted to be in its presence. As the train moved away from the station, the globe started swinging all around the carriage, only just missing the noses of the other passengers, making this work look like it was specifically made to hang in the interior of this carriage.

We started talking and it turned out she’d been at an origami workshop that day and her work was the result of an intensive few hours of paper folding. A few more people in our carriage took interest in this origami wonder and so the woman proceeded to hand out little origami birds she had spare in her handbag. As I got off the train I couldn’t help but feel like what would have been an uncomfortable, lonely journey was made so enjoyable by the presence of this piece of work.

Its moments like this that I will always remember, and carry with me day to day. In an artistic city like Glasgow, the ordinary is met with the extra-ordinary and is a talking point for those present. Art brings us together in a way we should celebrate, and not take for granted. So keep your eyes peeled, and the extra-ordinary things will jump out at you and make your day that little bit better.