Liverpool Biennial

October 26, 2010

I went to Liverpool last week with Interactive Arts to view some of the work in the Biennial. We were only there for the day so we couldn’t see all the exhibitions on offer around the city but managed to pack in a fair few nevertheless.

 

First was 52 Renshaw Street and the Visitor Centre, which was a huge exhibition within the old Rapid Hardware shop. The shell of the building kept a lot of the features of the old shop, such as sales signs and predominantly the space was left shabby and peeling, great for finding nice textures to take pictures of, but (in my opinion) not the best space to fully show off a lot of artwork. In the main I was not impressed by this exhibition, and because of its sheer size I felt I spent a little too long walking around the building when there were better exhibitions that I visited later in the day that I would have liked to have seen more of. This is not to say that all the artwork was bad, quite the contrary, there were some pieces of real note, such as NS Harsha’s ‘Sky Gazers’, a room you enter looking at the floor to see hundreds of faces looking up at you then find yourself looking up with them and reflected in a mirrored ceiling. It’s just such a shame there was so much to walk through to find the best pieces.

NH Harsha's 'Sky Gazers'

FACT was second on route. I really enjoyed each piece here, particularly Yves Netzhammer’s ‘Dialogical Abrasion’, a large installation which combined 3D animation, sculpture and sound installation ingeniously to enter the viewer into the depths of the mind of a person who is having flash-backs to a car crash and his fragmented memories and associations to this.

Yves Netzhammer’s ‘Dialogical Abrasion’

Yves Netzhammer’s ‘Dialogical Abrasion’

The animation was particularly impacting especially with the piercing and unsettling sounds in the installation. I genuinely felt as if I had stepped into this person’s nightmare and their unconscious and was trying to piece together the crash and its after-affects with them. I imagine that even with the huge amount of thought that went into this piece, the artist is still giving away elements of his unconscious that he is unaware of and cannot explain. A psychoanalyst would be kept busy for a long time with this piece! I’m happy that I was able to step out of this person’s unconscious at the end of it though. Brilliant piece of work.

Yves Netzhammer’s ‘Dialogical Abrasion’

Another piece that was rather impacting was Meiro Koizumi’s video ‘My Voice Would Reach You’. I won’t spoil it for those who want to see it but the film was rather poignant in its style and content, and reminded me of the loneliness portrayed in the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story ‘Tony Takitani’. This type of feeling is featured and portrayed very effectively in a lot of Japanese artists’ work I have noticed.

The A Foundation played host to this year’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries. I felt that this was a mixed bag in terms of those picked for the exhibition, but works I thought were successful were ‘Terracotta Warrior’ by Pablo Wendel and ‘Dis_illusion_Coin_Faces’ by Kiwoun Shin.

 

Kiwoun Shin ‘Dis_illusion_Coin_Faces’

I just had time to nip across the road to the Contemporary Urban Centre where I viewed some particularly inspiring video work in the ‘City States’ exhibition. Beneath the red brick arches of this converted factory building a series of flat screen TVs were installed; my particular favourite was Mioon’s ‘Statue Number’ which shows various bronze statues in cities with the hustle and bustle of people walking by but then very slowly the background fades out to leave the statue on its own and subtly reveals the statue breathing, possibly sighing. This is another eloquent portrayal of loneliness and reveals that nothing is more ignored than a monument that was originally erected to do just the opposite.

The trip ended with a small detour to Crosby Beach to see the Antony Gormley work of art, ‘Another Place’. It was lovely to see, but it was extremely cold and windy so we didn’t stay too long! All in all, a successful trip with lots of works of art to feel inspired by.

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Return to Light

October 14, 2010

This is the start. Or what appears to be the real start of the course. This week we were given an inspired talk on the Austrian philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Glossop Project, which will be inspired by his thinking. More on this closer to the spring; let’s just say we’ll be ‘flying’ the mind… 

The second project that I have signed up to is the Mary Greg Project, which will focus on coming up with ideas for a special exhibition at Platt Hall which holds the majority of Mary’s weird and wonderful collections of things. Next week I’ll visit Platt Hall to get a fuller measure of the woman and her collection so will write more on this then. For the meantime, go to the Mary Mary Quite Contrary website for more information.

The third project is a personal project on whatever I wish to do. I only started brainstorming yesterday so my ideas are still fairly scattered. I’ve decided to start from light, or rather, return to light as a lot of the work I did on Foundation used light. So far I’ve been brainstorming ideas regarding the projection of light and its qualities through glass or other materials. I’ve been reading up on artists that use light, such as Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin and James Turrell, amongst others.

James Turrell is opening a new exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in London. It includes a perceptual cell called ‘Bindu Shards’ which you need to reserve a place for a light-incited experience of what has been described as ‘weightless imagery’. This sounds like incredibly exciting and inspirational work that I’d love to go and see. Such a shame I’m in Manchester!

James Turrell's 'The Light Inside' by Flickr User eschipul

An Interactive Start

October 2, 2010

This summer has whizzed by, I haven’t had much chance to work fully on any major projects, just a few things here and there – mainly experimenting with shadows and doings a few stop motion animations. I’ve also made some new jewellery, of which I hope to post some pictures up soon.

Most of my time has been taken up with working; I was lucky enough to be asked to write the Property pages for the London Metro newspaper for a large chunk of the summer months. It was great to get my teeth into the full-page articles; I enjoyed interviewing a range of people including architects, directors of football teams, trendy movers and shakers of Kensal Rise and (of course) estate agents. I’m happy to be writing again and hope to do some more newspaper and magazine work throughout the rest of the year.

Now to the start of university; a couple of weeks ago I started the Interactive Arts course at Manchester Metropolitan University. It’s still early days yet, but so far I’m happy with the enthusiastic tutors, my fellow students seem gregarious characters and I can’t wait to get on with some art work!

Last week we went to the Imperial War Museum North, the most memorable part was going up in a rickety lift to the ‘air’ section of the impressive building by architect Daniel Libeskind. At the top of the lift we were greeted with a long passageway flanked by metal sheets and with a floor made from some sort of grill with a view right through to the ground very far below. I didn’t think I’d be too scared, but I have to say that my knees did have an involuntary wobble at the sight and walking along was a strange experience with the wind whipping around and nothing to hold on to, even for the psychological aid! Views from the main platform were great though.

 This week we got into groups to create a themed party, my group had ‘astronauts party’ for which we covered a blacked out room with tin foil, projected a film of the moon on to one wall, played space-themed music and hung flying saucer sweets from the ceiling to play gravity-free UFO bobbing. We dressed as astronauts and baked away in the room we’d unwittingly insulated…