Wednesday, February 24, 2016

bye bye kitty

Professor Christina Spiker gave a teaching demo on February 19th titled "Bye Bye Kitty: Issues in Cntemporary Japanese Art" where she discussed the direction that Japanese art has been taking over the past five years. This was an exciting topic for me to learn about since I had a lot of associations regarding Japanese visual culture but knew few contemporary artists other than Takashi Murakami.

Takashi Murakami at Miami Art Basel, 2008

Spiker explained that the art world has taken a dramatic shift with the last five years, and that current trends are steering away from the *kawaii* optimism common in Japanese visual culture, observable in Takashi's smiling flowers. Artists that Spiker presented, such as Ikeda Manabu and Aida Makoto are combining past and present visual trends to make social and political statements. The Tohoku earthquake and tsumnami played a role in this mental shift as well as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Spiker described the show  "Bye Bye Kitty: Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art" that took place in 2011, the year of these catastrophes, and encouraged us to look into the upcoming exhibition "In the Wake: Japanese photographers respond to 3/11" which will take place March of this year.  

detail of Foretoken, Ikeda Manabu, 2013

Ash Colour Mountains, Aida Makoto

During an interactive point in her lecture, Spiker had students compare images of well-known Japanese prints to the works of Contemporary artists. Aida Makoto and Ikeda Manadu create works in such incredible detail that are are very conceptually compelling. Ash Colour Mountains utilizes the form of Mount Fuji, a common symbol in Japanese prints, and Foretoken takes the form of the Wave of Kaganawa (1829-1832) (a classic dorm room poster). Looking closely at Ash Colour Mountains one can see that the mountain is made out of what seems like infinite disposable work men, in khaki pants and white t-shirts. Foretoken is made up of elements of a cosmopolitan Japanese city and can be understood as a commentary on garbage. I think that both of these works are provocative in the way that they are able to present bleak themes in such an aesthetically pleasing and tasteful way. Both of these works are massive (Ash Colour Mountains in 10 meters wide) and they would be quite an experience to see in person, compared to on a computer screen. 

detail of Ash Colour Mountains

Monday, February 22, 2016

Project Projection!

For my final project, I am planning to create an experimental video to project onto the installation piece I am submitting in the Studio Art Senior Show. I am continuing to thinking about ideas of layering with multimedia. My goal is to create a projection that will enhance and compliment the shapes and ideas that I am already thinking about in the installation (pattern, movement, fluidity physical space, maybe hinting at whimsicality or grotesqueness without being overt about it).

I would like to continue experimenting with stop motion and to try out the software Dragonframe. I spoke to Anne Haydock about my ideas and she suggested that I look at Dada videos as well as videos by artists Man Ray and Anthony McCall, since they deal with high abstraction and have simple high contrast forms.  I will continue to think about negative space and two-dimensionality in this project since I think that superimposing this on the installation could have a cool effect. I really like the idea of looking into film, however this is medium I have not worked with before and approaching this now may be biting off more than I can chew.

Yayoi Kusama and Kara Walker are on my mind in the way they create multi-media interactive, sensory-overload spaces within white-cube environments (I haven’t actually experienced rooms by these artists in person, although I saw a sculpture by Kusama at the exit of the SFO airport). I’m also thinking about the forms used by artists like Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith. I need to look into artists that work specifically with projection (I will scope out books on the library third floor). I also plan on looking through the archives of the Mattress Factory.

The lovely Eva Hesse

I will need to think about the set-up and effect of the projection within the Wriston Galleries and should discuss this with Beth Zinsli sooner rather than later. Things to consider are: where will the projector be mounted (obvious or not/ can viewers interact with it). I will need to be hyper-alert of technical difficulties and losing data with software crashes (especially since this is a new type of project for me). I will also need to think about how much of the installation this will project 

week 8: look into analogue projector and Dragon Frame, create pieces for animation
week 9: create footage and editing

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

burden and baudrillard and the realness of being shot

Chris Burden (1946-2015)

"Doomed" (1975)

The performances of Chris Burden are intentionally shocking and disturbing and have the capacity to affect "viewers" encountering them through their documentation and retelling. Burden creates an immediately real experience for his audience members; their life-threatening quality transforms their experience from an a viewer into that of participant and witness. I think this connects to the confusion of illusion and reality in the "fake hold-up" scenario that Baudrillard describes. In the same way "Of the same order as the impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real, is the impossibility of staging an illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible” (Baudrillard, 38).

Many of Burden's pieces draw attention to real-world stuff such as person-to-person contracts and the brutality of war. Although his performances are meant to be ephemeral, their residue such as "relics" (nails, jackets) and documentation (photography and sound recording) are important factors in historicizing his work. Burden also raises the question of authorship-- why isn't the shooter in "Shoot Piece" (link contains footage Burden being shot in performance) or any other helper referenced besides him? Legal reasons or interest in anonymity? In my research I was surprised to learn how corporate this guy is—I had encountered him a number of times in reading but only with works like “Shoot Piece”. I didn’t know that he was the first artist to be represented at Gagosian Gallery and that he completely changed his work to large-scale sculptures mid-career (which evoke the “real” in a different, more subdued kind of way). It's challenging for me to articulate an opinion on Burden's work...I feel like it's bothersome but in a very boring way. I think I like the work Marina and Ulay much more because of the emotion and passion connected to them, whereas Burden is entirely monotone and robot-like about his pursuits. 

"Relation in Time" (1977)