It’s Illustration Jim but not as we know it!

Utopian conception of the world was not only presented in literature but also by illustrating the possibilities of futuristic paradise where people would live in. Utopia is defined as a place we can only dream about, it’s based on science fiction and fantasy what makes it easer to understand and imagine the concept of perfect living conditions. The opposite of utopia is dystopia. Easy, it’s just a total difference to what we expect from utopian society. As for me, both are lacking of the humanity. As far as I am concerned utopian World would be full with happy people enjoying every minute of their existence. They wouldn’t know what sadness is and would never be miserable. Living life which doesn’t contain of any emotions but constant happiness, makes it much more boring and loosing. However, dystopia seems not to be any better either. Dystopian concept also includes technology which influenced people’s life, but it varies in case of lack of mentioned happiness or broadly understood emotions. When I think of dystopia, I see black and white landscapes, full of miserable people surrounded by technology which is not possible to refer to these days. Literature was familiar with utopias for centuries, starting on the Garden of Eden in Genesis and ending on Gulliver’s Travels.

Frank R Paul illustrated his versions of utopia and dystopia. Amazing Stories (Jan ’42) showed the utopian version of the future world, obviously kind of futuristic where the technology development was clearly visible. Totally different to current materials the buildings are made of (glass, metal etc). The dystopian image was black and white, shown part of the city reminds of big cities such as New York or Chicago.

Rick Guidince commissioned Space Colony designs of the 1970s which were the utopian visions for the future. And again, it was another way of presenting possibilities on how might the potential future look like for instance like American suburbia.

Very interesting piece of work was created by Antonio Sant’Elia. His drawings presented a well thought utopian reality in the future world. Apparently, most of his projects have already been realised, developed. Some of his drawings reminded me of buildings that are here in London or other major cities all over the World. As his works are dated for 1910s, we can tell we already live in utopian, futuristic world. But do we actually? As for me, no. This is a good example of how the drawings became a part of reality.

A definite pioneer in architecture was Buckminster Fuller who also presented his utopian visions of the world. He went really far with his imagination and came up with new, fresh and outstanding ideas on building new living areas. He wanted to make the buildings really compact using new materials which would give an opportunity to make the buildings less heavy. He also, in his ideas, didn’t stick to traditional housing options, he thought of the easiest way to build and place the buildings.

Apparently, I don’t think we live in sort of utopian world because besides the technology development, unification of the architecture all over the world or minority of constantly happy people, we still have the everyday issues that we have go through and probably that will never end.

 

Flowers, Faces and Spaces – Illustrative Publication review

The Flowers, Faces and Spaces is a catalogue of a David Hockey’s exhibition held at Annely Juda Fine Art in London in 1997. The album contains full colour reproductions of his paintings, followed by the photos of his studio in Los Angeles as well as the exhibition space. The reader not only sees the paintings in detail, but also observe artist’s workspace and the development of chosen pieces. Presented paintings are supported by the minimal description: title of the work, the date of the artwork, medium of the painting and artwork’s size.

The publication includes Hockney’s general concept and explains what was the source of inspiration to create the entire set of flower paintings. Back in The Hague, Hockney set a challenge for himself after seeing the outstanding Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. Hockney wanted to play with the light additionally focus on colour and space, so he decided to paint flowers as a subject that artists were concentrated on for centuries. David Hockney always paid attention to well-known and appreciated artists and their workshop, he states “I always had a great interest in Picasso, but never quite know how to deal with it – like most artists” (Hockney, 2004, p.10).

Personally, I really like the whole outcome of the presented works as it’s kept in cleanliness and is simplified so that the reader can concentrate on artworks. It makes me more aware as a reader of the artist’s personal approach to his artworks by seeing his studio in LA. What I can agree with is some sort of a connection and alikeness in case of his studio and the space his works were exhibited, the light plays really well with the painting in both. Hockney, by taking flowers as a subject to work on, experimented with a common motive and came out with a fresh ways of seeing them. The pieces presented in this album are showing personal approach to the matter of still life, how artist sets up everything first and then painted it using slightly different, more expressive colours by fully following the certain shapes. What makes the pieces appealing are tones and a use of light as they both give some kind of a texture to the paintings. What is more, the paintings are eye-catching by their composition that Hockney set up. Their colourfulness works well with white pages and the general publication’s simplicity. That also gives an impression of being at the exhibition. Some of the paintings are enlarged to a centrefold format, it affects the album’s consistency and makes it less boring for a reader. The cover painting “30 Sunflowers 1996” is presented from three different points of view: first one are the photos revealing two stages of how the painting was being produced. Second is just painting’s reproduction with a label on the side. Last, is the centrefold containing proper details of a sunflower. Referencing to Hockney’s other works, it’s clearly visible what colours, shades and forms he’s constantly using and developing throughout the time. Not only flowers were the subject he focused on, but also houses, people’s portraits, landscapes or animals, all made within similar style and with colour palette.

Bibliography:

  • Hockney, D. (2004) Hockney’s pictures. London : Thames & Hudson.
  • Livingstone, M. (1988) David Hockney : etchings and lithographs. London : Thames and Hudson (and) Waddington Graphics.
  • Marjorie E. Wieseman. (2013) Vermeer and music : the art of love and leisure. London : National Gallery Company.
  • The Practical Art World. 2018. Examples of Artwork Labels. [ONLINE] Available at: https://thepracticalartworld.com/2014/06/18/examples-of-artwork-labels/. [Accessed 11 February 2018].

Craftivism

Craftivism always have been very political, starting from suffragettes and ending on today’s world art that relates to current political issues. Women’s craft has a long history behind and actually straight from the start was focused on the political issues. Suffragette movement was the first one to use branding and to make their products themselves, they used certain colours in everything they did, they took politics into their homes to develop craftivism and their own propaganda.

Suffragettes were super focused on their aim and the inequality in the time it was meant for them to live in. The whole movement started in the late 19-th / early 20-th century. They were fighting (literally) for women’s right to vote. They basically had to radically change their life and change their priorities in case of everyday life. They started the protests that were taking place in both the UK and the US. The protests varied in form, some were over aggressive, almost radical and brutal, they used to blow up the postboxes by putting bombs inside or just simply breaking shop’s windows. Although, peaceful actions were also taken such as strikes on which women walked with their banners and shown off theirselves so that woman should not be related to only houseworks.

They basically had to take everything into their hands so that the movement was alive. The only way to produce some kind of a propaganda was to craft stuff that helped. A ‘craft’ ,as far as I am concerned, can be defined as a traditional way of making goods with local materials. They based their pieces on three colours: purple, white and green. Each of them symbolised something different. Purple symbolised dignity, white purity, and green hope.

I think it is a really good example of the craftivism which is apparently starting to be a form of art that is really popular these days. The political changes we are got to live with, the unity which was important for so many generations is being devastated. Many artists decide to support their own political views by art. I would say that the craftivism can is any form of art unless it’s not made in factories, many copies etc. It also have to contain a deeper meaning which will make the viewer understand and make him reflect on today’s world and current issues. It’s actually quite difficult to underestimate the boundaries of craftivism, if the craftivism should be exhibited in the galleries or just being available for some kind of a movement. Of course it should be seen by many people to make them aware of the problems and make them follow the movement in some percent but also if something starts to be followed by too many people, it’s way easier to get lost with the priorities that were set up at first.

 

 

 

Digital Folklore

Folktale is a story originating in popular culture being based on customs and traditional beliefs, these are for example fairytales which are passed down through the generations. Urban legend is sth that is told from one person to another and usually there’s always some strange link to reality.

Vernacular web, use of the terminology that is particular to the certain environment for example we as the students of LCC use different phrases that might not be understood by other UAL students.

‘Vernacular Web The internet has its own way of speaking, language and expressions, a shared language, which allows us an insight into the culture of present day ordinary ‘folk’’ Clifford Geertz

The Net as a Museum is a world wide story bank to which a lot of people contribute to.

Contemporary folk culture, internet folk culture might be explored first hand not being filtered by an academic hypothesis.

We loose the face to face experience while using the internet so we start contributing in the visual language such as emojis/emoticons, acronyms eg WTF. This language became the part of the real world as we lack of the human expressions.

We have the ability to SHARE things very easily and even edit it.

Richard Dawkins, the biologist, came up with a term ‘meme’ in 1976. Memes are created for a wide net circulation. Memes are not biological but they need biological input to survive. As society change memes become less relevant so they disappear.

Erik Knudesn posts a pair of images under the pseudonym at somethingawful.com. The content was to post realistic photographs containing the supernatural elements. People were really curious where did the name Slenderman came from and the fiction was mixed with reality.

There is a willing expansion into urban legend. Even tho people know its a fiction people want it to become an urban legend. After 10 days, the Slenderman’s M.O is established, he becomes metatextual/metaphysical. It might be also linked to the story of Pied Piper, like a modern day one.

Slenderman meets saleable mass media. The artist didn’t copyrighted him, the character appeared in eg Minecraft, tv programs etc.

Why is Slenderman that popular, whey are we not sharing the nice tales?

Hybridisation, we can use these digital platforms of creating ideas even further by blending the analogue and digital forms.

 

Funny Ha-Ha

CTS started with a short videos on YouTube. We discussed wether they were funny or not and what made them funny.

The Incongruity (meaning a break with expectations; a mismatch; something that doesn’t fit) is a key ingredient of humour. Harvey Nichols Bristol posters made with humour, Wallace and Gromit used as models to represent the luxurious brand. The animation itself is made in a different way, shows the reality and daily situations that everyone can relate to. The brand chosen these clay animation puppets instead of local celebs. Mismatch is the working class characters and top-end store presented on one picture so that the brand doesn’t associate only posh people with their brand. Theres a flow between the majority of people and the rich rest.

Image result for wallace and gromit harvey nichols

Wallace and Gromit in a campaign for Harvey Nichols

‘The mismatching often involves the transgression of social norms, or the breaking of established social patterns‘ (Kuipers 2009, p.221)

Recognition is pretty important as well, recognising behaviours, emotional responses, you kind of allow yourself to recognition, humour can provide a means of communication  and showing the imperfect side of humans. Humour matters and we don’t take it seriously when we find it funny it acc reveal whats the stuff that bothering us sometimes, a common denominator.

Recognition, relatable content, children are innocent, Flippant talking about killing people, it talks about serious stuff but its funny in a way that you can laugh about it.

To properly understand memes and the humorous content basically you also need to have a basic knowledge about the pop culture. Shown example is an image of Hagrid from Harry Potter where the cultural references are clearly visible to those who know hashtags, what swag is and know who Hagrid is.

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Personally what I find funny are memes which are followed by an image that I can relate to or which art funny itself. The way they communicate and how memes show totally common things make it even easier to understand. As the one above, it reminds me of the situation that usually happens to me while watching Netflix (and I love doggos but it doesn’t matter). I feel just like this doggo and I guess I look kind of familiar.

In groups we had to draw up a list of different kinds of humour/comedy and examples for each. The given examples were Sit-com (The Simpsons, Friends), pranks, vines, stand-ups, parodies, mockumentaries, romantic comedies. Types of humour we listed are satire, sarcasm, sth what happens accidentally.

In case of humour we were explained what a gag and a pun are. A ‘gag’ is more possibly to be a visual and a ‘pun’ is more of a word play.

‘Much humor is based on the transgression of societal boundaries, and such transgression can cause offense as well as amusement. And while not all humor has a butt, many jokes have some sort of target: groups, persons, objects, ideas, or the world at large.’ (Kuipers 2008, pp. 382-3)

Spitting image (1984 – 1996) presented politicians and celebs as puppets. What was funny was actually what existed in the real world. Caricatures exaggerate the characteristics of a person to come up with kind of a grotesque effect. Common way of presenting the current politicians and other public figures.

It was the moment when I came up with an idea for the catalogue that is due in May. My theme might be the caricatures of politicians related to European Union and issues in today’s word.

An illustrator that I paid attention to was John Holcroft. His work is based on today’s world and current issues ‘you will be aware of the cutting, satirical messages in his concepts, however this is just one side to his work.’.

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John Holcroft

We also went through definitions of caricature, parody, pastiche and irony. It’s all about imitation but it varies in a way that for example the pastiche is just about being funny without any deeper meaning.

Sources:

  • Animals in Predicaments Posting. 2018. Animals in Predicaments Posting. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/451689008565313/. [Accessed 18 January 2018].
  • Dr Nina Mickwitz, 2018, Funny Ha-Ha why humour matters, Lecture delivered to UAL: London College of Communication, Year 1, 18th Jan 2018.
  • Hypebeast. 2018. https://hypebeast.com/2008/8/wallace-and-gromit-for-harvey-nichols. [Accessed 18 January 2018].
  • John Holcroft. 2018. news & info. [ONLINE] Available at: http://johnholcroft.com/news.html. [Accessed 18 January 2018].
  • Kuipers, G. (2008), ‘The Sociology of Humour.’ In The Primer of Humour Research, edited by Viktor Raskin, pp. 361-398. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

     

 

CTS1 : Brief and catalogue design

We were introduced to the reprographics, the lcc services in terms of printing and binding your work. Afterwards we were given few examples of catalogues made during last year’s Contextual and Theoretical Studies 1. We had to figure out what the brief for this year was. After having a brief look through the catalogues and discussing them in groups of three we we were finally introduced to our assignment due on the 17th of May.

We were informed what our books should look like and what should contain of.

The piece that I really liked was the Visual Catalogue by Milest Williams. It contained all the information that was required and additionally was made in a really good way with proper material used. The whole leyout was easy to read and communicate with the reader easily.

The colours used here make the outcome really comfortable to read. Also the images are in good resolution what is important because the other piece that J was shown was full of images with a really bad quality. It made the whole thing really difficult to have a look through and even to read as the ink printed on the different page so the text was not clear. It was also about the paper choice, onone side it was glossy what was the reason the ink just transferred on the next page. The wrong use of materials made me aware to avoid these while doing my work. What is more, this one was binded within a Japanese binding method what wasn’t suited for this type of work. It was supposed to be clear and simply but at the end, as for me, it is in a totally different way.

Catalogue by CHO15466367

Seen and Not Heard: Curating Public Exhibitions

At the recent CTS session we had a discussion about curation; how it changed over the centuries and how did museums and galleries were accessible to the masses. At the end we were given boxes containing parts of various archives available at LCC for instance the zine collection and Stanley Kubrick’s archive.

A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881, a painting by William Powell Frith (1881) is a suitable example of the separation between the mass and the minority of higher class which is clearly visible at the painting on its own with no people from a different social class. The art was only accessible for aristocracy etc. Compared to currently held exhibitions at the galleries (mainly the modern art ones) the frames vary a lot, they used to be heavy and pretty expensive, but now no one pays attention to these that much unless it’s an exhibition in National Gallery or the British Museum.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania A Private View at the Gallery, a painting by William Powell Frith

A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881William Powell Frith (1883),                       Oil on Canvas

We were briefly informed about the British Museum’s history. It was first opened in the Montague House in 1759 by James Simon. There were more than 70.000 pieces of the collection founded by Sir Hans Sloane. It was meant to be a free place for learning, but out of all, the visitors had to be approved first to get in. Apparently, only higher classes were able to enter the museum, while the working classes, children and women were not let in.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania Montague House in 1759 by James Simon

The north front of Montagu House and Gardens. Engraving by James Simon, 1714

The very first museum opened to the masses was Louvre in Paris. The aim of it was to give people a necessary and free access to culture, no matter on how much money do you have and most importantly who you are. The issue was, there were paintings of kings and queens only but people coming in were just ordinary people. It was very problematic as the visitors destroyed the pieces and they had to restore the original paintings.

As I said at the beginning, we discussed ways of curation over the centuries. From heavy frames to frameless pieces of work. The curation changed significantly; the sculptures were being grouped and put in one room as well as the paintings held separately so the story was similar relating to the objects in one room, for instance the fashion exhibition at the V&A.

Most of the museums were bombed during the World War the Second and UK didn’t have money to rebuild the collections of the British Museum. The US had money as they didn’t take active part in war as the UK did, so they invented a curation where you walk with a curator and being informed about the paintings, the Americans changed the system, they came up with an idea how should the art galleries work like. Instead of having huge public institutions you have spaces that are created for the art itself. Modern art museums were transformed into a timeless places with no clocks hanging on the walls and a simple lighting.

We also had two tasks to do, one about the Parthenon Sculptures whether to leave them in London or give them back to Athens as they’re a huge part of a Greek history and heritage. Second, to curate our own display in 30 mins, we had a part of a Stanley Kubrick’s archive including his research on ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. 

 

First things first

The First things first manifesto was first published in 1964 and was signed by 22 artists. We were questioning if the manifesto is still up to date, what was the main argument and what would we add to the manifesto. As far as I am concerned, artists still for instance design daily use products, its boxes and stuff but they want art to be more important and they want more proper jobs. Now art is not only understood by paintings or sculptures but now in the digital software era, artists are able to do everything to make life easier by designing stuff.

During this CTS session, we watched a Charlie Chaplin’s movie Modern Times (1963) which was related to the situation at the time. Big factories were manufacturing goods without artists, craftspeople but previously designed and made by them. This led to negative reactions on the mass production so the organisation against started to develop. One of these was Arts and Crafts Movement (1880s) and it spread from the UK to America or Japan. We saw few examples of work produced by William Morris (1834-1896) followed by his quote ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’ (The Beauty of Life, a lecture before the Birmingham Society of Arts and School of Design (19 February 1880), later published in Hopes and Fears for Art: Five Lectures Delivered in Birmingham, London, and Nottingham, 1878 – 1881). 

We also went through Design for a better world: The Bauhaus (1919 – 1933, Germany). They embraced functionalism, geometric formalism and machine aesthetic. Under the Nazi pressure, Bauhaus closes and many artists emigrate to the US.

Alison Jacques Gallery – Sheila Hicks: STONES OF PEACE

While choosing an exhibition to visit from the list that we were given, I had in mind a feeling that I should visit a gallery that I had never been to. I’ve decided to visit the Alison Jacques Gallery located near Tottenham Court Road tube station.

Stones of Peace is an exhibition containing Sheila Hicks’s art works from woven linen panels to soft sculptures. It’s difficult to describe presented pieces in few words but I can sum them up as colourful, mysterious, extraordinary and well-thought ones. A press release about the exhibition says that ‘The artist referred to works in progress as ‘silver of sentiment, slumbering on the doorstep’ , while creating the show’ (Press release, Sheila Hicks: Stones of Peace). On the very first sight, we can very easily notice the limitless variety of colours, range of textiles and materials used and the hidden stories behind the art pieces. Hicks uses her work as the way to communicate with world; ‘If you keep your eyes open, you’re going to have a hell of a time’ (Sheila Hicks, Wall Street Journal Magazine, September, 2017).

 

Sheila Hicks and her work is strongly influenced by her research and travels to South America, Asia and Africa. This helped her to create her very own vocabulary breaking any categorisation and the boundaries in art; ‘between painting, sculpture, design and architecture’ (Press release, Sheila Hicks: Stones of Peace). Also her works are greatly made with a massive list of materials used to create them, starting with rayon, going through cotton and ending up on pure pigmented acrylic fibre. Hicks is referencing to art she saw, places she went to and cultures she experienced mainly in Chile, Mexico, Morocco but also in India. On one of the research papers at the exhibition, just at the very beginning, there’s a note about burial wigs saying;

‘Styles of hairdressing varied according to region just as did hats and headbands. Some indication of the coiffures remains in burial wigs made of human hair or wool which were often placed on mummies. One type consists of a knotted cap to which are attached innumerable hair braids, a fashion among certain Aymara men and women. Colored threads wrapped around the… ‘

Based on this artist’s note we can relate her work to the burial wigs she was on about. This was something that influenced her pieces for sure and made her inspired to do them. Right next to the note was a picture of the colored threads mentioned in the note as well. On the same research paper, it’s possible to see notes about artist’s further research. As far as I know it’s in french but what i can read is sewing machine and wool fabric with embroidery.

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What’s also important is that the whole exhibition takes place in small, tiny space which makes it more personal so that the viewer can have more private, deeper thoughts on the show. I think that the pieces were really well presented, especially the yellow intertwined yarn which was actually floating in the air. The piece seemed really heavy but by the way it was installed at the exhibition, it gave a totally fresher, lighter view on it. As far as I am concerned, the exhibition was really appealing to me and not only because I am currently really into textiles and fabrics, but the reason was that it wasn’t a common exhibition you could visit in every and each museum. Shown pieces of work don’t have any captions saying what are they made of or what’s the title. It intrigues the viewer to overthink or just to make you comfortable with the work you got the opportunity to see OR to make you think of your own title/analysis. I felt really impressed by the range of colours used and the huge variety of ways in which Sheila Hicks used all the fabrics and materials. At first glance the work seemed not really exciting but with a closer look, it seemed like it was more and more to explore about it. I personally think, the presented work was influenced by African and South American culture and the research paper presented at the exhibition was only a hint to go deeper, explore, feel comfortable with the pieces presented at the Alison Jacques Gallery and what is also somehow important (at least it would for me) to feel the relation between them and cultures that influenced the artist.