After submitting A4 and receiving my tutor report from Robert, my BoW is in a good place as I look to conclude this module. He suggested to research Black Square (1913) by Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935). Robert first brought up Malevich back in my tutor report for A1. This was due to my use of the square crop, with its links to modernism and purity of form (see fig. 1.). This time around the recommendation was based upon the formal aspect meeting a metaphysical one. Malevich had no distinguished style prior to painting Black Square, but it was a central piece to his unveiling of the manifesto Suprematism, which is described as his “…intent to liberate painting from the shackles of mimesis and representation, to raise it to a higher state and into greater spatial freedom.” (Spalding, 2014). It is an artwork that is thought to be the Hour Zero of modern art.Read More
Back in May I had the opportunity to finish my time up in Liverpool by putting into practice the theory for my BoW in the public space, before heading to my new pastures of Kuala Lumpur. While this wasn’t completely a now or never situation, my coming 6-12 months will be limited to the domestic space where I could, in theory continue with my formations strategy which is based upon working within the confines of home much like Uta Barth. In addition my accessibility to photo quality printing is not the same as what I had previously in my studio space, making the logistics of the process more inhibiting.
There was a sense of unknown how the ideas would translate outside, however I had undertaken plenty of research beforehand on site-specificity and participation. After a period of getting the technique and process right, I gathered 6 completed interventions on the public space around Liverpool.Read More
Sometimes Liverpool reminds me how active it is with contemporary arts festivals. LightNight is an annual free event where for one-night only recognised galleries and museums, combined with local an independent pop-ups celebrate arts and culture. Perhaps more inclusive than my experience of the Liverpool Biennial, here more than 100 organisations join together to create a free-flow of talks, workshops, performance, live music, etc.Read More
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have started working with my ideas of shadowgrams and formations in the public space.
I quickly realised that working with a camera setup was too slow and intrusive. Much like my notations and many of my earlier OCA projects, I drew on the incognito characteristic of the smartphone which allows me greater mobility and dexterity in operating within the public realm. My ‘gear’ was now reduced to a simple A4 wallet which I carried chalk (for dark surfaces and paint stick (for light surfaces) and an A4 card to mark the space. I could then use the wallet for transporting the prints for installation. In a way, the wallet has become part of the “…presence of the artist…” which then “…endows places with a ‘unique’ distinction.” (Kwon, 1997, p.105).Read More
This case study is grounded in the theory I presented in A3 in a domestic space. While I considered those earlier formations to be a form of visual meditation, the interventions in the public space take on a dynamic course of action akin to street art. The process requires a “fluid mobility” that embraces “…site specificity as a nomadic practice.” (Kwon, 1997, p.100).Read More
Admittedly Illuminating the Wilderness, a film and installation exhibition on the top floor of Tate Liverpool initially does not have a specific relevance to photography. The film is a collaboration with Project Art Works, focusing on people who are highly sensitive to the sensory stimuli of the world and have have complex needs. However the accompanying installation is an evolving piece that starts off as a series of hanging rolls of plain paper which are expressed upon through a series of workshops in the gallery by participating groups from Social Care organisations across Merseyside, culminating in a unique piece of work relevant to its space and place.Read More
After a successful exhibition at The Bluecoat in Liverpool last year, artist Emma Smith returned to the North West of England for a repeated presentation of her work Euphonia, together with a new piece, 5Hz at HOME, Manchester.
Smith’s practice centres around human connectivity. She creates site-specific works, a subject of interest for me in BoW based on a period of research and production with a diverse group of “…academics, professionals and hobbyists and drawing on the fields of anthropology, history, psychology, neurology, physics and biology.” (Smith, no date).Read More
Prior to entering the public space to commence with experimenting for A4, I have had (too much) time to consider how my A4 paper placeholders will be affectively used. Scale becomes a matter of concern in making a coherent formation. Shadows outside are significantly larger outdoors compared to the contained graphic compositions in the image space when working indoors. So if I was to try to create a mosaic of time and light on an exterior surface, I will need to consider the size of the object that the shadow is being cast from.Read More
Following on from my previous post, the second essay my tutor recommended I read was Claire Bishop’s controversial piece The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents (2006). It did not put me off engaging with public space per say, but it did stimulate some self-reflection on just how involved I want to engage my work publicly and whether or not I was prepared to “…renounce authorial presence in favour of allowing participants to speak through him or her.” (Bishop, 2006, p.183).Read More
There has been an extended break since I completed A3 for BoW. After coming to a satisfactory conclusion to how my visual strategy and theory behind formations works, the focus shifted with me and my tutor how best to bring it into the public space. Two recommended essays from Robert really did help me to decide how, and where I should engage with participation and site-specificty. Firstly, Miwon Kwon’s essay One Place after Another: Notes on Site Specificity (1997) provides a strong overview on how the artists role has evolved from “…a maker of aesthetic objects…” to “…a facilitator, educator, coordinator, and bureaucrat.” (Kwon, 1997, p.103). This alludes to not only the multiplicity of roles the artist undertakes, but perhaps also the levels of meaning that can be attributed to the work. Kwon refers to the work of Richard Serra in how size, scale, location of the work are collaborators when determining how a work will be initiated in a specific space (see fig. 1.). In this sense Serra is as much a spatial consultant as he is a maker of sculpture. It is in this spirit that I see my formations being determined by the light and shadow patterns unique to the surface I attach my gaze.Read More
After making good progress into the articulation of my shadowgram work, my tutor for BoW, Robert suggested looking into the work of Agnes Martin (1912-2004) which I would suggest, acts as a global counterpoint to a recent research post into Lee Ufan, who used repetition and harmonious form in which structure is implied. Spatial awareness in Lee’s case is founded in his early education in calligraphy, where the use of a grid is central to the arrangement and proportion of a character. The grid, the interval and line was previously considered an underlay to construct a representational image and written language. György Kepes refers to this as “Plastic Organisation” that arranges the two-dimensional space. Similarly, Josef Müller-Brockmann regards the grid as an essential tool “…for solving visual problems in two and three dimensions.” (Müller-Brockmann, 1981/2015, p.13). It is, in essence to those who use it, visual grammar. With experience and skill, the grid will remain present without being ‘seen’ as the distribution of space becomes more intuitive.Read More
Joan Kee describes Lee Ufan (b. 1936) as “…as a champion of the global before the global turn actually came to pass.” (Kee, 2011). Lee is regarded as a leading figure of not one, but two art movements, in Japan and his native Korea. In his initial literary capacity, he wrote the manifesto for the Mono-ha movement in Japan, and later influenced Dansaekhwa in Korea. Both of which are regarded to be amongst the most significant practices of 20th century art in East Asia (Morley, 2013). If we were to simplify, Lee’s sculpture would be more representative of Mono-ha, while his painting (see fig. 1.) would come to be more identified with Dansaekhwa.Read More
The career of Kwon Boomoon (b. 1955) follows a similar trajectory to Joo Myungduck. Boomoon, as he likes to be informally called is more than a first generation Korean ‘art’ photographer as from the New Wave, he is also a first generation photographer. Like Joo, he has had a distinguished career in documentary and his project on the Hahoe Village in Andong is of great historical significance in Korea. (Lee, 2014). Today he is more recognised for his series Naksan (see fig. 1.), which is a graphically composed sequence of waves and blizzards that confront the Naksan coastline. The series captures the variances of nature with each image a reflection of the ebb and flow of tide and storm.Read More
There are many unique qualities to the work and life of Lee Jungjin (b. 1961). Perhaps more than any New Wave photographer from Korea, she is representative of cross-cultural exchange. Lee’s path offers a differentiation to the landscape genre out of Korea; partly because of her choice of subject (see fig. 1.) and also the time she spent in the West. After her studies and a brief period of freelance and documentary work, Lee moved to New York where she worked for Robert Frank, who she cites as an influence on her work. (Nelson, 2016). Of course Frank’s journeys, that culminated in the seminal The Americans will have inspired Lee to similarly explore her new environment as an outsider, but we could also interrogate further some of her series in relation to Western photography history. In her thesis Contemporary Landscape Photography: Dissolving Boundaries in Jungjin Lee’s Wind Series, Amelia Nelson writes that Lee “…was influenced by the Western artistic tradition and represented both a step away from the Asian tradition of landscape painting and an opening of Korean society.” (Nelson, 2016, p.13).Read More
The first word that comes to mind when viewing the work of Min Byunghun (b. 1955) would probably be ‘absence’. His work perhaps more than any New Wave photographer relies less on cultural signifiers and more on the presence of absence, creating atmospheres. Art critic Oh Kwangsoo describes the work aptly saying “Everything existing on the border of what is and what isn’t, are endlessly erased away, and then endlessly revived.” (Oh, 2006, p.7). Min’s main source of inspiration is nature but his subject is sometimes nondescript, or like his series Weed (see fig. 1.) a muse that doesn’t have reverie.Read More
The first time I saw the work of Kim Daesoo (b. 1955) was at an exhibition in the MMCA Seoul titled Korean Beauty: Two Kinds of Nature (Lee, 2014). Kim’s study of bamboo (see fig. 1.), together with the work of another Korean photographer Choi Byungkwan were an inspirational starting point for my own series In Praise of Shadows. Together with the much venerated pine tree, nature again becomes the symbol of both national and regional identity (together with China and Japan). Bamboo belongs to what Kim Youngkee describes as the “Four Scholars” (Kim, 2009), together with plum trees, orchids and chrysanthemums. Much like Bae Bien-U, Kim’s intention is to translate the connotations of the philosophical spirit into straight photography.Read More
Bae Bien-U (b. 1950) is regarded as one of the driving forces behind the rapid growth of the Korean photography scene since the 1990’s (Lee, 2014). He is most renowned for his series Sonamu (see. fig. 1) which resonates with the deep rooted cultural identity of pine trees in Korea (and by extension East Asia in general). His use of a panoramic camera evokes comparisons with traditional scrolls and screens of East Asia art.Read More
I was first introduced to the work of Joo Myungduck (b. 1940) by another renowned Korean photographer Park Youngsook in 2014. Joo’s series Lost Landscapes was a departure to anything I had seen before. The technical terms you would use to describe a photograph like Mt. Halla (see fig. 1.) would be low key or more critically nit-picking underexposed. They are an image that needs to be seen in order to be felt. Something that comes with age and maturity. These ‘black landscapes’ are his trademark, but they don’t even scratch the surface of his story.Read More
Liverpool’s Biennial is now in its 10th edition which is positive in establishing its position on the arts and culture calendar for the city. Although the predictability of its venues and limited amount of prospects for local artists does make it occasionally alienating for the community. It certainly doesn't have the vibe of the Documenta in Kassel, Germany. Which might be an extreme example. But while Kassel is taken over by international artists and tourists there remains a cultural inclusion with its inhabitants that I don’t recognise as much here. Attending the kick-off of the fringe event Independents Biennial back in April there was a collective frustration of people left to squabble over nominal funds and a couple of venues delegated after an arduous box-ticking exercise.Read More
It is not possible to overstate the value of this exhibition in the timing of my entry into L3. I visited Shape of Light at the Tate Modern just prior to enrolling and the exhibition helped to articulate my artist statement and intention for CS. I had the discovery of recognising many influential works of the Korean photographers I have researched and admired the last years. And so compressing this into an exhibition review would not be realistic. What I will do here is discuss the exhibition on its own merit with a separate intention to isolate connections I made from the exhibition in later posts which can form the basis of my research into CS.Read More