Work in progress:
This week I started a new bunch of backgrounds:
Work in progress:
This week I started a new bunch of backgrounds:
I think I’m in a good working flow at the moment. A lot of things happen spontaneously. I’ll let the work speak for itself.
At an intermediate exhibition of the Master course at Chelsea College, I remembered one work in particular. It was a collage of prints.
This led me to the idea to work with prints. I asked myself, how can I combine painting and prints?
. My goal is to have created 30 – 40 works (of the same scale) by the end of the semester, in order to present them as a series.
The subjects I use are still representations of Gargoils. But modified and altered in form to remove the narration from the representation.
In a fabric shop at Oxford Circus I bought different textiles to paint on.
After talking to Ben, I started reworking on the picture with the pre-columbian figure. This time I wanted to take the banal narration out of the picture by adding a second object and overlapping it with the already depicted figure. I started from the subject of the SM cult. However, this time I am more interested in the materiality of the lacquer glove than in its function.
At the beginning of the week we finished wallpapering the walls, laminated the floor and placed furniture in the room. Due to great teamwork and work sharing we had no stress and everything went according to plan.
The final show was based on creating a living room to represent a calm, cozy atmosphere where my collective and I made a performance. The performance was focused on discussing topics that are uncomfortable and people with different beliefs and views could easily get offended and argue about. We spoke about religions, spirits, political topics and also about the structure of art schools, which was not part of the plan but went very well.
The reaction of the audience was impressive, there were many people, some of them just listening, however most of them wanted to take part and share their opinion over the topics. Many people asked us why we are doing this, others said the idea was amazing. To be honest, i didn’t believe that people would take the trouble or have the courage to participate in such a public discussion. Having many conversations about what we are going to do in the performance, bringing in every day good references such as books and articles, we spoke about the different ways of how the performance could possibly go. For that reason we were able to deal with the reactions of the audience in a very smooth way, without getting stuck and changing the topics.
On Wednesday I had my Assesment Tutorial with my Tutor Ben Fitton, where I showed my work for the first time. I think it was a good thing that he gave us more then enough time to finish our works because that´s why I was able to show him an even bigger choice of my different peaces.
His criticism was relatively hard but helped me a lot. He said things like:
– I’m too sure of what I’m doing. My work therefore tends towards decoration.
– The painted figures, objects and statues in my work (especially if they stand alone in the picture) are only reproductions of the original objects and photos. Where is the point to just copy them and try to reproduce them in the best possible way?
– When I take subjects, such as sculptures from pre-Columbian times, it has nothing to do with my original context. But the subject of Gargoyl already is, because it is part of Christian mythology, and thus part of my past.
According to Ben’s view, and I agree with him, the work with the greatest potential is the second picture I painted this semester. I want to go deeper into the subject of the Gargoyles linked to architectural objects. I want to analyze and build up on one of the first paintings I did since the unit started: A simple composition of two different objects, which are building up a relation to each other, and a flat background.
What does an upright standing element signal? What does a Gargoyles stand for and what kind of relationship is created between the two? I want to study this relation between those objects. What makes them interesting? What makes them harmonizing? What makes them repulsive or even offensive?
This week we started with the design of our imitated living room. We cleared the original studio, started to fix the wallpapers to the wall and imitated the floorboards with brown masking tape. Sherley was working on projections for the two windows. We shot videos from the perspective of the windows during different times of the day. We tried to imitate daylight in the evening at the opening to underline this twist of real and the unreal.
I gave myself a little push and started thinking about breaking out of the traditional rectangular format of a picture. The idea came to me last week when I found a cut piece of wood in the wood workshop. I guess it was probably a sample of the provided tasks from the wood workshop introduction.
This little peace of wood was the reason why I decided to focus on only one scale for the entire semester. I wanted to keep my original format but a the same time I was ready to involve different interventions.
I also started working with pre columbian sculptures/objects and I was trying to find some parallels to the christian mythology. I was very fascinated by the subtlety and accuracy of these thousands of years old sculptures. One parallel are the stories that sculputers carry with them over time. They are charged with myths, they have experienced and survived the rise and fall of their civilisation. Many of them have wandered across continents and have been touched by thousands of different hands. They were robbed of their original function, sold or exhibited. All these stories are contained in these sculptures. No matter what they are and were they are from.
This week I spent some time at the exhibitions that are currently on display at Tate Modern.
– ARTIST ROOMS: Jenny Holzer
American artist Jenny Holzer presents statements that can provoke strong responses. Holzer’s work asks us to consider the words and messages that surround us. Her art takes many forms, including stone benches, projections, signs, posters, paintings, plaques and textiles. Words are central to her work, whether pasted on a wall, flickering from an electronic sign, carved in granite or stitched in wood. Her texts can be forceful and apparently simple, but may contradict one another. They are not necessarily straightforward expressions of the artist’s views.
– MAGIC REALISM: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33
Throughout my time in Berlin I was able to develope an inclination towards the artistic flow of the magic realism even if it differs slightly from the original movement of the New Objectivity.
The New Objectivity was a formative style in the German Empire between the wars, with leading representatives such as George Grosz, Otto Dix, Carl Grossberg, Alexander Kanoldt, Karl Hubbuch, Franz Radziwill, Christian Schad, Georg Scholz and Georg Schrimpf. It was not restricted to Germany alone but also developed in Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. After the First World War and under the influence of serious socio-political upheavals that culminated in the Weimar Republic, New Objectivity developed under the influence of the Italian Pittura metafisica to an art that, found its way back to the object, the everyday object, a clear pictorial concept and to an objectifying mode of representation. The call for order (Retour à l’ordre, Return to order), which had already become loud in France during the First World War, led to a renewed return to the principles of order and artistic traditions (e.g. the way of painting) in art as well. Characteristics of the New Objectivity style are a strict pictorial composition, often with an accentuated effect of perspective, a formal vocabulary built up from basic geometric forms, an over-sharp drawing with a richness of detail sometimes appearing like the Old Masters. The strong emphasis on the clarity and objectivity of the things leads to a partly alienating, cool super-realism, which shapes the specific character of New Objectivity art. Thematically, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, landscapes, connected often with a melancholic or mystically exaggerated mood are in the foreground.
During this visit I saw an amazing work by an artist, part of the Magic Realism, I didn’t know jet. Thats why I would like to include him a bit more into my blog. Unfortunately I couldn’t find that many informations about his life and work. Strangely enough, he was not very popular as a painter in the current of Magical Realism/New Objectivity, during his time until today. Nevertheless Josef Mangold, with Christian Schad, is one of my personal favourites of this current because of the sharpness, accuracy and softness of his work which describes perfectly the alienating super realism.
Josef Mangold was a german artist in the style of New Objectivity and Magic Realism. Born 1884 in Cologne, he died probable in 1942 in a Concentration Camp. Mangold studied at the “Kunstgewerbeschulen” in Cologne and Berlin and was a member of the “Rheinische Sezession”.
I can see large parallels comparing his work to my work: he concentrates on two or three objects, the pictures have a clear, simple structure, with a flat background on which the 2-3 subjects move and communicate with each other.
The print graphics of Heinz Mack were a huge inspiration for my studies on polychrome backgrounds.
Heinz Mack, a multiple documenta participant, was born in Lollar in 1931 and is currently living in Mönchengladbach, Germany. In 1957, together with Otto Piene, he founded the artists’ movement ZERO in Düsseldorf, which Günther Uecker soon joined. In the post-war period, ZERO represented an artistic new beginning in the reduction to pure color, the concentration on light and movement. ZERO brought a new purism to art and quickly became one of the most important and internationally acclaimed impulses in the awakening of the arts after 1945.
These components of ZERO, among other things like “the sensual qualities of the pure, light-filled colors as carefully and at the same time as intensively as possible to bring to the appearance” (Heinz Mack 2009) are to this day Heinz Mack’s artistic theme. He dedicates himself to them and above all to the meaning of light in painting, sculpture, drawing and graphic art. “Light is decisive for my art. As far as light is concerned, I would like to go to the limits of what is feasible. I am fascinated by the spectrum of light, in relation to space and time”. (Heinz Mack, 2006)
Since the 1957s, Heinz Mack has been working with the various possibilities of printing technology and their use, as it can be seen from his rich graphic oeuvre. Since the 1990s, more and more traditional techniques such as lithography and various gravure printing processes have been used. The sheet “Belvedere” for example is an elaborate sheet in which 34 screens were used for printing. These numerous printing processes enable Mack to produce works of immense colour intensity and luminosity. It seems like he is painting the light. Furthermore prints like this allow a differentiated play of colours and structures. Since Heinz Mack always uses original drawings as models for his silkscreen prints, these, like the unique pieces, are characterized by spontaneity. Thus he describes his drawings “as the “grammar of his art” and “language of his hand”, because it follows the movements of his hand, its duct, its rhythm and partly also unconsciously his feelings.
I have chosen the thistle and the deformed hand as subjects for my work. The thistle has an ambivalent appearance. On one side you are bounded by the beauty and elegance of the flower, but on the other side it´s easy to get hurt as soon as you get to close to the beauty. A beautiful game. The cool, the blueish and the violet are accompanied by the warm green of the leaves. I would associate it with defense, but also with independence, strength, worries and sins.
In my second painterly work I reapplied to the technique of underpainting.
The Chelsea College helps me to broaden my horizon and especially to question and renew my artistic activity. Unlike the Art Accademy Berlin Weissensee, the medium of painting is not very widespread. I almost have the feeling that painting is not being taken that seriously. That’s why i feel the need to assert myself even more.
One of the main reasons why I applied to this school for the exchange semester is the following: to work and study with different people who have different approaches and abilities with different strength in other medias than me.
The approach of every painter is different. There are subjects and problems that you work through in pictures and there is often this original idea on which the works are based. However, according to my experience, the picture always chooses it´s own way. A new way on which it often deviates itself completely from the original idea and has nothing to do with it anymore. I think that this complete freedom and openness during the process is one the greatest attractions inside a piece of work.
Each painting has many safeguards. Paintings are impulsive but also sensual. They can be controlled but also executed subconsciously. Planing is just as important as coinncidence.
Learning from these two different artistic processes and bringing them together is the greatest possibility I have during my stay in London.
I’m looking for a way not to substitute but to complete a painting. I want to combine installations with paintings. I want to create an environment that leads directly to the paintings and the other round. I wonder how I can complement painting without stealing too much attention from it. One solution would be to work with the mirror image of a painting. Also in the painterly process you work with the mirror image, because it´s the mirror image in the brain that creates a completely new image. This helps to recognize compositional mistakes.
On November 1st I took part in Mel Jordan’s and Andy Hewitt’s workshop “On being together, memberships, collectives and unions”. In the workshop we talked about social practice, the relationship between art and politics and the agency of working together. We discussed the relationship between language and art and had the task to write our own slogan. The workshop took place at the Beaconsfield gallery where the exhibition “The Partisan Social Club + Sean Griffiths” was currently on view. The Partisan Social Club was initiated by Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan and evolved with the members who signed up to undertake a series of workshops on the production and publishing of slogans at Beaconsfield in September 2018
I took part at the open day of the Royal college and felt very enthusiastic about the work of one student who is about to graduate. Her name is Grace Woodcock. She covers rectangular wood panels with various fabrics. She places different objects between the wooden plate and the fabric. Her ambiguously domestic, digital seeming paintings look very much like organic sculptures.
This week we took a big step forward in our group tutorial. The idea was to create a safe space where we could have the possibility to take time for ourself and to write down thoughts and ideas. We wanted to create a place where the unreal can become real and vice versa. Everyone was driven by the idea to create a place that is only real for us but everything around it is captured in an illusionary world.
Vonnie brought a tent with her that should do justice to the safe space. For last Monday everyone had the task to take an object, that describes themselves or the artistic process, with them.
The idea was the same as in the collage on the wall, only this time with something concrete: to find common interests and new links.
I brought a vase with a dried thistle flower in it. I think that melancholy and the relationship between these two objects is a good comparison for my artistic work. The clay vase resists time and confronts the transience of the flower. Actually, the two objects are fundamentally different, but they still form a harmonious bond. Both objects need each other to embody their shared spirit.
By stringing together of our objects, several connections have been crystallized out of each other: Boundaries and structures, the real and the unreal, creation, ambiguity, repetition, everyday, perception (how we perceive) and doubt.
I was working on two new pictures at the same time. By following my feelings and thoughts I skipped between the two. One of them is a continuation of the key motif. But the object of the key is multiplied. The subject transforms itself from a monumental construction to a kind one of ornamental pattern that moves into the background.
The second work goes back to the idea of creating a relationship between two different subjects. I could already immagine the atmosphere in my head. I was looking forward to create a cool, melancholic mood. My studies on the works of the romanian artist Victor Man helped me to figure out the right touch.
Man often shows his penchant for painting in dark colors, reminiscent of the work of the 18th century landscape painters who used black mirrors, also known as “Claude mirrors”, to transform colors into dark undertones. His works captures moods to offer the viewer only ambiguous, vague traces and leave him or her in the haze. His paintings also recall images and objects from different time levels which seem to oscillate between disappearance and memory. Victor Man’s very personal poetics and the illustrative diversity of his work are influenced by historical facts and subjective impressions from different worlds and epochs. Victor Man is equally inspired by old and new.
His work consists of independent iconographies in which frequent literary references mix with his own biography. Literature and art history, collective memory and personal experience are the elements interwoven by the artist into a non-linear history in which the differences between present and past, fiction, imagination and reality are eliminated. Victor Man deals with various forms of transition: from human to animal, organic to artificial, face to mask. This overlapping of points of reference runs through all his works. Occultism, gender, androgyny and appearance form a recurring theme. The pictures never give explanations, but hints and suggestions that give the viewer the feeling that a reversal of all meanings is always possible.
Every Monday morning we have our group meeting without the presence of our tutor. In this meetings various discussions took place. We talked about exhibitions, thoughts and about ways and ideas how our collective work should look like. To be honest, it was hard to get things started, especially because not all of us could have been in the studio all the time.
In our first „collective research“ we started building big collages with all our research, images, drawings and texts mixed together. We wanted to see if brindges and links are emerging between those layers.
I isolated the chrome objects, which I used as a model for my work, on the canvas and deprived them of their original function. Through this decontextualization I tried to produce an abstraction of the subject.
On Monday I went to the National Gallery to see the work of the old masters. I was fascinated by materiality and the luminosity of painted textiles like folding capes for example. I saw that by using under-paintings, a maximum of luminosity of the colors could be achieved.
In the fine arts, under-paintings is a preparatory layer of paint that helps to define the tonal values of the subsequent painting. The intended effect is only achieved by applying further layers of paint. Under-paintings were very common in works during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque and up to the 19th century, as long as multi-layered oil painting was used.
I tried to apply the technique of underpainting on my own work:
In my second work i focused on creating a dialogue between two different objects.
In order to find the right form for the architectural element that adds the painted sculpture, I took some time studying the work of Konrad Klapheck.
I feel like his works are a digital version of everyday objects. Freed from their original function, they take on a new meaning and importance. The objects mutate into monumental sculptures.
Konrad Klapheck is a German graphic artist, painter and art professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Today he is regarded as a classic of the post-war Avantgarde. Konrad Klapheck developed his own style of painting, which shows characteristics of Realism, Surrealism and Pop Art which he still cultivates today. Since the 1950s he has been painting precisely, figuratively, large-scale and seemingly realistic. His motifs are technical devices, machines, apparatuses and everyday objects, which he alienates but also re-composes. These include typewriters, sewing machines, telephones and sirens, taps and showers, irons, shoes and shoe trees, keys, saws, car tyres, bicycle bells and watches. He is simply called a “machine painter” because he humanizes his objects and gives them poetic and literary titles.
During my visit at Frieze master I saw a piece of work by Klapheck. It was the representation of a stylized blue key connected to a chain. At the other end of the chain is a second reddish object attached, whose original function I can not interpret. The key, the chain and the reddish object hang on a glowing background painted in naples-yellow.
I was thrilled by the precision of the execution but above all by the simplicity of the subject. I modified this representation of the key and took it over in my work.