Sunday, 24 May 2009

Collaboration publication

Ventral : Holzor Collaboration

Ventral is currently collating work from artists from across the globe to participate in a small publication with a limited print run.
The publication is based on the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy of thought being limited by language.

There are four initial collages that all the artists will add to individually to create truly unique pieces that will give insight into the way perception of the same things differ, in this case within within a creative context. 

We have all heard of the proverb "A picture speaks a thousand words", but how hard is it to construct those pictorial concepts succinctly into an understandable discourse?
If this proves too difficult a task, then does this prove that concepts are indeed confined within the realms of language in order to be truly understood? 

To see the collages to collaborate on click here, manipulate them based on your interpretation, and send me the finished article.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Mel Bochner

Mel Bochner is another great conceptual artist whose perceptual conveyances of critical, philosophical theory inspire me greatly. 

"Mel Bochner is considered a pioneer of the Post-Minimal and Conceptual art movements. He began making prints in the early 70's and printmaking has remained for him an essential medium for experimentation.

"Thought about systems, procedures, language -- about how we are able to know anything...cognitive strategies -- counting, measuring, stacking, or ordering" "He gradually moves on to equally basic investigations of the language of relationships: prepositions, verbs, and simple logical propositions. The questions he deals with in his conceptual works, like the materials he uses, are familiar to everyone - fundamental givens in our culture. But their surface simplicity masks a serious questioning of all systems of representation, both visual and verbal." 

(Two Palms Press)

"Language is Not Transparent (1970), a text written out in chalk on a painted section of wall, and Bochner’s prepositional sculpture works from the same year are ambitious attempts to give visual form to Wittgensteinian logic. The difficulty with much of these works runs parallel to that of Wittgenstein’s statement that ‘It is difficult to know something and to act as if you did not know it.’ 

Bochner regularly asks the viewer to act as if they didn’t understand his logistic inquiries into objective truths. Much of his work comes across as pretentious and impenetrable when it is often obvious and simple."

Michelle Grabner

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Poem : Why I am still here

Why the fuck am I still here?

why the fuck am i still here?

why the fuck am i still here?

Im not sure.

Its not realising the problem of existence as an origin, thats fucking easy, science has answered that particular conundrum. but why the fuck am I still here?

Im drinking myself into a desperate sense of creativity, my own little escape. 

A world inside a world, a fourth dimensional consciousness, 

and I'm gazing wontedly at the sour cream and onion pringles that reciprocate in a gesture of condescension and piousness. 

I want to pop the bastards in a hope that a high uptake of dopamine will caress the backs of my retinas and dribble on my optical nerves. Please stimulate me, that's all I ask. And then what? then.......what?

Why the fuck am i still here? 

why the fuck am i still herE?

I imagine its because i haven't had a book published,

an essay revered or discussed on any sort of magnitude,

a poem read at a lecture,

or a piece of art gazed upon in inspiration or condemnation

I am here because i am selfish

and i want to live for as long as possible

for an otherwise insignificant reward.

Why the fuck am i still here?

i don't want to be forgotten

but inevitably

I will.

Poem : Perpetual piss

The 3 dimensional man stands hunched at the 3 dimensional lamp post

and ponders and ulterior existence to his own

where the 3 dimensional man is reduced to a silhouette 

walking through himself when he staggers home.

His 3 dimensional bottle casts a 2 dimensional shadow

like a sullen projection of a cheap prostitute

casting a 2 dimensional  composition with 2 dimensional stains

He lights his 3 dimensional cigarette

a combustible cylinder of futile presumptions 

emitting 3 dimensional plumes of regret.

He finds himself stood

arched under the  one dimensional sky

this figure of lines is transparent through light

passing through his perpendicular self

a four dimensional image of somebody else

who sleeps in piss

on the 2 dimensional concrete

where he thought he lost his head.

Poem : The day God wore a little dress

Mushrooms eclipsing neighbouring streets 

Buildings and cars, commuters and 

People exchanging dollars for newspapers or

Doughnuts exploding on shirt collars

Running for refuge in nearby corners, under coats, clothes 

Reserving air from the smoke

As it seizes its immediate path, like dense liquid to a container

Submerging the nearest stranger

Through the red gossamer glow, hermetic and unmoved by events as

The lights turn nonchalantly from amber to green  

“Did you see that plane?” one says

“Oh my god!” in repost

The cost of life is invaluable, insurmountable

As families crumble like steel

Now malleable and brittle under the searing scorn of that concrete New York sun

“Terrorist hijackers, what have they done?” Another asks disbelieving 

Whilst watching panic flapping

Its arms where once was calm

The hot dog stall is unmanned and overturned

Bits of bodies with mustard in baps 

“Where is God?” Another asks

As disassembled limbs slap on tarmac

“We’re under attack!”

Grey smog clings, unfettered, to any substance

Clouding vision but clarifying judgement, empirical

Whilst the world swirls with polka dots and striped socks

A girl in a dress is pulled from the rubble. A miracle, 

To think she’s intact. “Here is God at last!” a woman shouts

With peace of mind that is otherwise in pieces, like imploded panes of glass.

But should I feel bad, for finding amusement through dusty internal organs?

For a miracle to have occurred, people would emerge 

Unscathed from ground zero and

Brush the concrete from their clothes and go home.

The life of the girl I’ll take as a tonic, 

But miracle it is not

Perhaps Allah is just as incompetent

Or maybe Our Father was being ironic.

Poem : Potatoes

Reduced to the privilege of analysis

enduring time and test to imagine

a conclusion that doesn't befit 

a species with such a gift.

I sit enveloped in myself

entwined by yarn of nucleotides

with ambivalent meanderings

and twists

a catalyst for virulent ponderings

And Nietzsche said 

magnificent ideas are conceived by walking

what sanctimony we're taught

alluding that thoughts 

are inherently great.

So nearly were we all potatoes

earthly and somewhere

undiscovered diamonds of dirt

always with

one idea less

two chromosomes more 

and a marvelous

silent retort.

Chrissie Macdonald
Chrissie Macdonald is an artist who 's 3D work elicits a sense of curiosity, which is inherently a positive, yet self indulgent trait. The perfect Euclidean geometry (unconcerned with hyperbolic and elliptic geometry) in her work is hastily positioned in its surroundings, and reverts to an imperfect state of being, which often looks unfinished and thus uncomfortable. This offers little if no comfort for the viewer.

Sol LeWitt

“Sol LeWitt gives primacy to the originating idea of a work of art rather than to its execution. Seeking a way to escape the dominance of Abstract Expressionism—with its large-scale paintings and emotionally loaded brushwork—he began in the early 1960s to explore a new method of making art” […] “Based on the unit of an open rather than solid cube, the works peel away what he perceived as the decorative skin on traditional sculpture, revealing their underlying skeleton, or structure. Though he has created structures in a range of scales and shapes—the permutations growing more intricate over the last four decades—LeWitt has maintained the use of white cubes with a ratio of 1:8:5.” -Whitney

"Sol LeWitt is a minimalist by style and a conceptualist by inclination and faith. Between minimalism and conceptualism -- which in his work and in that of many other artists of his generation butted up against each other, overlapping to the point where they are by now often inseparable -- he created a new and a fresh art." -St. Luis Dispatch, David Bonetti, Visual Arts Critic 10.3.2004 

As Sol Lewitt explained in his 'Paragraphs on Conceptual Art', that "art that is meant for the sensation of the eye primarily would be called perceptual rather than conceptual" (Lewitt,1967) which highlighted the dichotomous nature of the design/art practice, in that to create something visually appealing, the concept is rendered with partial unimportance.
"Since the function of conception and perception are contradictory (one pre, the other post fact) that artist would mitigate his idea by applying subjective judgement to it." (Ibid)
This, empirically, I have to agree with to some degree. However, the notion that 'percept' and 'concept' are separate, I feel, is of an absolutist, theoretical viewpoint. The work we are creating relies heavily upon the concept, but without the perception, it is of no value.

Dan Flavin

"Despite Flavin's claim to have made an arbitrary choice of color in his breakthrough diagonal, the selection of gold light obviously conjures the traditional religious artefact, if ironically.6 Forced by his father to attend a Roman 

Catholic seminary, Flavin had cultivated an educated rejection of traditional theology. Two of his first fluorescent works of 1963 were dedicated to William of Ockham, a medieval philosopher and founder of Nominalism who proposed that faith in God must be held separately from any rational deduction from facts of this earth. Flavin's invocation of Nominalism -- known in the more popular dictum that "no more entities should be posited than are necessary" (Ockham's Razor) -- could be considered a Rosetta stone for Minimalism. Flavin's art neither rejects nor summons faith since the question of God is never raised. For, art is matter and is, therefore, no proof of anything spiritual.

Created by an artist steeped in traditions of art and canons of Catholicism, Flavin's icons and fluorescent works offer nothing less than a reconsideration and deconstruction of art's past through both the systematic use of form and light and the tool of irony. Thus, he pits the transcendent aspirations of art against the practical commonality of the commercial light fixture, allowing neither to prevail."
 Michael Govan

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Ellsworth Kelly

"For over six decades, Ellsworth Kelly has produced variations on one theme. The clean edges of his monumental, geometric works blur the much-contested line between painting and sculpture and proved integral to the midcentury transition from the grandiosity of Abstract Expressionism to the myriad reactionary movements it launched. Largely comprising pairs of stacked, wall-mounted panels, one of each rotated to a varying degree, the recent works of “Diagonal” correspond with this tradition. Despite their simplicity, the layered paintings create a sense of illusionism unexpected from such a practice, and as they overwhelm the viewer, their stark, imposing presence creates an almost installation-like work in itself." Artforum

Importance of perception

The importance of perception is expressed throughout history in both art and literature. The ideologies conveyed have become somewhat conventional in the sense of escapism they offer. An idea that is present in Sylvia Plath's poem 'The Soliloquy of the Solipsist'

know you appear,
vivid at my side,
denying you sprang out of my head,
claiming you feel,
love fiery enough to prove flesh real,
though it's quite clear,
all your beauty, all your wit, is a gift
my dear,
from me. "

For aphorisms to be expressed, for idyllic places of escapism to be idyllic places of escapism, for a chair to be a chair,
they must all be perceived, else they are nothing.

Some perceptions have a general rule of thumb, with exceptions that prove the trend. The majority of people from an urban environment would undoubtedly state their idyllic place of escapism as somewhere in moderate isolation.
Is it any wonder why people feel the most 'spiritual' when at the top of a mountain, or walking through a forrest or countryside? It is a theme replete in love poetry and other pieces of literature throughout history, for example Robert Frost's 'Reluctance';

"Out through the fields and woods,
and over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view,
and looked at the world and descended."

Jon Keat's 'O Solitude!'

"Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep-
Nature's observatory, whence the dell,
In flowery slopes; its river's crystal swell"

And most forms of fiction and existentialist theory, non more so than Camus' 'The Myth of Sisyphus' where the example of the mountain is literally and allegorically implied as a perpetual sense of struggle and achievement.

Guy de Cointet

"Regarding text as a fluid continuum of ciphers, signs, and codes, Guy de Cointet visualized language as the occasion for attenuated reading and word games. Pairing formal clarity with opacity of meaning and deferred comprehension, Cointet’s language-based practice ranged from restrained drawings; graphic, signlike paintings; and books and newspapers in code to theatrical productions and their accompanying sculptural stage props. Examples of every medium are on view in this exhibition, but the eight works on paper, made between 1971 and 1983, are riveting: In some, sentences are elegantly scripted in backward calligraphy, requiring a mirror and patience to read, while elsewhere, words are veiled in code and letters are scrambled or abstracted into patterns of lines teetering suspensefully on the edge between legibility and impenetrable symbology. Executed with polylingual fluency befitting the son of a linguist and a general, Cointet processed and encrypted language through meticulous calculation, visual contortion, and wordplay. He was interested in language’s noncommunicative uses, and his work investigates the mystifying enchantment of (apparent) gibberish, the aesthetics of typeface design, and the horizon of sense and nonsense." Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer

Kazimir Malevich and the Black Square

"Black square on white field, carrying abstraction to its ultimate geometric simplification. Called a "dead square" and a "void" by the critics, as well as "the greatest by far among the fairground tricks of instant culture." To Malevich, however, this square symbolized a "full void," in that it showed how painting could fulfill itself unaided by any reference to a specific external reality. For him the square represented only Suprematism: "the supremacy of pure feeling" in and of itself. Malevich removes specific subject matter by shifting away from representation and mimesis and towards the purity of mathematical geometry. "The square = feeling, the white field = the void beyond this feeling."

The Black Square is not quite as simple as it looks: even by taking art to degree zero as Malevich does here, he creates a stressed reading of figure that reads two ways, either a black square on top of a white ground or a black hole surrounded by a white border. Every object has a static facade and an inner dynamic."

Much like Malevich's ideal of the square representing 
"a blissful sense of liberating non-objectivity...where nothing is real except feeling... and so feeling became the substance of life." suggests similar connotations with the black square symbolically conveying conformity.
For us the black square reflects the nature of modernity and the organisation of societies in that escapism is offered as a remedy, as opposed to societies providing a remedy for escapism.
The natural progression leads seamlessly onto the conflictual geometry of the triangle and its religious or 'spiritual' affiliations - a 'hyper-reality' to manufacture purpose and a craving for meaning.

In the works of Sartre and Heidegger, they describe FACTICITY as the relation to objects and events, as well as emotions respectively, in order to create a sense of identity. This leads to the split of the consciousness between objectivity and subjectivity, what Sartre coined the 
'in-itself'and the 'for-itself'.
In a contradictory sense, Malevich is objectifying his 'non-objective' square by appropriating a definition upon it. The square must be 'felt' or firstly perceived as a square in order for it to be subjective, emotive. The very fact of calling it a square prompts the viewer to 'see' it thusly, and not to 'see' it as a hollow white square.
The FACTICITY of objects is often where feeling is derived. The 'fact' that I may like Liverpool over Manchester is only considered 'fact' as Manchester exists and the comparison can be made. The same can be said for the mass conformity of an idea (hegemony) that propels individuals to feel a need to 'escape'. One does not exist without the other.

The triangle exists within the square, one is the cause of the other and both are ironic.
Escapism is revered often in the from of religion, and on the basis of ill logic, whilst conformity works very much in a similar fashion, perpetuating the unhappiness that prompts the desire to escape.