TRANSFORMATION NUMBER 4 (see previous post for 1-3)
As always, with a next day deadline and no creative project started, inspiration struck around 9pm last night and i was up until 4am seeing it through.
The recurring, underlying theme of all my uni “transformation” pieces so far, starting with the giant cardboard scissors and news paper chain inspired by my necklace, which then turned into a crossword puzzle rubix cube that became a giant hand drawn crossword puzzle with only three repeating words, has been a very defiant “JUST WATCH ME”. I think it’s more a mantra to convince myself rather than anyone else, as it’s my own internal voice that shouts the loudest “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”
So I made this video of myself to be played on a roughly made cardboard telly with a magnifying reading sheet for a screen. To watch it you’d have to bend down and peer in, at just he right angle. The magnifying screen will distort the image unless you focus on the very centre, where I am. It encourages you to try seeing me from a particular point of view. Be curious enough to make the effort. Or something like that 🙂
The interesting thing that I’ve come to know during all of this playing and experimenting with ideas, is that while I will of course always appreciate and be extremely grateful for positive feedback, I no longer NEED it. I’m learning to follow my inner compass and trust my own judgement. Self acceptance is much more profoundly satisfying (and a million times harder to achieve) than approval from others.
This time last year, I had to pull out of uni as I had so many pressures competing for attention. My daughter was very ill and I was ill too (needing surgery), totally broke and, with exams looming, had to make the decision to quit before March 31st (the census date). It was a very difficult time but we all muddled through. I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to (or even whether I should) do it again, but here I am, completing week five of Round Two!
What a difference a year makes!! I had my first written exam on Monday and was so nervous and sleep deprived in the lead-up that I didn’t have much time or energy left for the practical side of things. But I did it.
I had absolutely nothing ready for today’s presentation (we do one a week), and was starting to think I’d have to forfeit the marks… And then this happened!
Once again, I did it. (“take the first step and the path shall appear”)
It was all totally spontaneous. I was still wearing jeans and doc martins under that dress which I pulled on at the last minute, and the garish, heavy makeup was slapped on just as quickly!
I know, it’s ridiculous, and probably not all that original either, but, you know … it’s Ahhhrrt, daahrrlings! 😉
A student using my scissors to cut the chain the chain they’re attached to
HOW THE GIANT SCISSORS CAME TO BE:
First, I spent time with an object that meant something to me, observing, sketching, thinking, exploring, making notes, taking photos, using free association to unlock ideas. The object I chose was the necklace that I’ve worn around my neck for the last 10 years. On the chain is a little gold pair of scissors. The idea was to study this necklace and transform it, create a work of art inspired by it, using any medium. Once I’d finished the transformation, I repeated the process several times, letting each stage inform the next. To read more about the process, you can click through the gallery below.
TRANSFORMATION NUMBER ONE: SCISSORS
TRANSFORMATION NUMBER 2
The newspaper chains of the previous sculpture reminded me of how much we are shaped, informed and manipulated by the world, media and people around us. The headlines I cut from the paper were transformed several times, first when I read and projected my own interpretation onto them, then when I removed them from their original context, and again when I placed them alongside other cuttings to form a loose narrative. Once I’d turned them into links, they were curved and the words partially hidden so that only certain parts of the sentences could be seen, and what was seen varied depending on the position of the viewer. What was visible was transformed yet again by the personal interpretation of each of those viewers …. The only way the headlines or sentences could be seen and read in full was after the links had been broken away from each other and laid out flat on the table or wall.
This made me realise that no matter what face we think we are showing to the world, or what we believe we are communicating, no one can ever truly know or relate to the full story. What others see is profoundly influenced by their previous experiences, personality, beliefs, abilities, cultural background, education and so on.
Sometimes, the only way to make sense of things is to separate each individual thought, idea, memory, sensation, from the rest of the background noise and lay it out in isolation. While it is true that we are the sum of all our parts, each of those parts takes on an entirely different meaning when viewed in relation to any or all of the others. Exploring one at a time has been an extremely enlightening experience for me.
From this reflection I formed the idea of using blank crossword puzzles to cover the Rubix cube, a challenge I had never been able to complete as a child, but I’d always found crosswords relatively easy and fun.
While playing with the cube I noticed that no matter how many times I shuffled the segments, the central squares always stayed in the middle. I placed a printed image of the cardboard scissors (which had come to represent my self) in the middle on all six sides, to show that no matter how much background noise or chaos surrounds us in life, we can weather all the twists and turns if we are able to stay true and stable at the core.
I was inspired to make this piece while contemplating the little gold charm bracelet that I’ve worn almost every day for over 20 years. It struck me how little it would be worth to anyone but me, as the true value is in the meaning attached to each individual charm, all the memories preserved and provoked when I look at them.
Each charm has a complete, standalone story of its own, and when linked together on a single chain they become part of an even more intricate and meaningful whole. A metaphor for life, really, as who we are is the sum of our myriad parts, all invaluable.
I have always had a “things” drawer in my kitchen, a Purgatory for random objects that don’t fit or belong anywhere else. Some are waiting to be useful again, some waiting to be repaired, some waiting for their pair to show up, and some have been in there so long that the outside world has forgotten they exist.
This things drawer has been moved from rental house to rental house over the years, and i thought it was time to explore it. Spending so long with each random piece, cleaning it, preparing its surface and gilding it, then linking them all together was quite an amazing experience. Every single seemingly insignificant castaway had a story to remind me of. Every single thing had once had purpose, played a part in my life. Remembering the tiny ways in which each object had served me over the years prompted all the surrounding memories to surface. I was able to see patterns and links and make sense of the chaos. It was just the start of a very important and ongoing process.
Louise Bourgeois was in therapy for more than 30 years and wrote an essay on ‘Freud’s Toys’. The Freud museum in London has a display of her work and recently unearthed writings about her analysis
Above Freud’s bulbous, oriental carpet-draped couch in 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, hangs a shrivelled, double-headed bronze penis by Louise Bourgeois. In an essay on “Freud’s Toys” (1990), as Bourgeois dismissed the ancient artefacts that swarm over his desk and shelves (including numerous phallic amulets), she described Freud’s cluttered office, with its “half-dead hysterics”, as “a pitiful place”. She also referred to Freud’s patients as “maggots”, which gives additional resonance to the placing of her suspended larval form. Analysis was, in her view, a form of metamorphosis, promising the transformation of seething misery into what Freud described as “common unhappiness”. “A maggot,” Bourgeois wrote, “is actually a symbol of resurrection.”
Though she doesn’t acknowledge it in her essay, Bourgeois had been in analysis herself for more than 30 years. In 1951, suffering from depression after her father’s death, she entered therapy with Dr Leonard Cammer. The following year she switched to Dr Henry Lowenfeld, a second-generation Freudian who had emigrated to New York in 1938, the same year she did. Lowenfeld had been trained by the Marxist analyst Otto Fenichel in Berlin, where he was also a part of Wilhelm Reich’s radical group, Sex-Pol.
However, in New York, keen to assimilate to American culture and disenchanted with communism, Lowenfeld became part of the psychoanalytic mainstream and hid his radical past. At the height of the cold war he stole the incriminating Rundbriefe – letters written by Fenichel in the 1930s and circulated among their group of dissident analysts – from his colleague Annie Reich in an attempt to erase that history.
In 2007, just before Bourgeois’s retrospective at Tate Modern, two boxes of discarded writings that refer to her analysis, which she underwent four times a week, were found in her Chelsea home; after her death in 2010 (aged 98), her assistant unearthed two more. Selections of these have been exhibited in the Freud museum alongside two dozen of her bulging and sinister patchwork sculptures and installations. These jottings, on random pads, letterheads, even playing cards, offer a glimpse into Bourgeois’s psychological states. According to these notes, Lowenfeld considered the artist’s inability to accept her aggression as the central problem to be worked through in analysis. “Aggression is used by guilt and turned against myself instead of being sublimated into useful channels,” she wrote.
To art historians her free associations and doodles not only suggest clues as to the personal relationships and conflicts that inform all her work, but seem to offer direct links to her creative process (one Isis-like sketch is displayed here next to a similar multi-breasted sculpture, as fecund as the Venusof Willendorf). In an aborted letter to “Mon cher Papa”, Bourgeois wrote: “In the 20th century the best work has been produced by those people whose exclusive concern was themselves.” Her father was a tyrannical philanderer who had a 10-year affair with a live-in English governess, the discovery of which was the central trauma to which Bourgeois endlessly returned in her confessional work.
The recently discovered archive reveals the artist to have been an enthusiastic list-maker. In 1958, aged 47, Bourgeois compiled a melancholy account of her failures: “I have failed as a wife / as a woman / as a mother / as a hostess / as an artist / as a business woman”, and so on. She made a suicidal list of “seven easy ways to end it all” (and throws in another for good measure). She listed her fears: “I am afraid of silence / I am afraid of the dark / I am afraid to fall down/ I am afraid of insomnia / I am afraid of emptiness …” And her feelings about analysis: “The analysis is a job / is a trap / is a privilege / is a luxury / is a duty … is a joke / makes me powerless / makes me into a cop / is a bad dream …”
In New York, there’s a clear line between public indecency and performance art and it’s marked by the setting of the sun.
City officials have told artist Andy Golub who body paints nude women in public that his models cannot go bottomless until the sun goes down, the New York Post, reports.
“It’s a compromise that is allowing Andy to paint, and the police to do more important things – although less fun,” said Golub’s lawyer, Ronald Kuby, after a judge agreed to let charges against the artist lapse if he is not rearrested in six months.
Golub had been arrested for public lewdness in late July as he finished painting two nude women in Times Square.
Under an agreement approved prosecutors, he will be allowed to paint topless, but not bottomless, women all day long – subject to any crowd control issues.
Full public nudity is allowed in New York City, so long as it is part of a play, performance, exhibition or show.
The city has no law specifically banning nude body painting. But city officials can set what are called time, place and manner restrictions, banning nudity, for instance, at times or places when very young children might see it.
As a compromise, the city agreed to leave painters of nude bodies alone so long as the models do not go bottomless before sunset, Mr Kuby said.
“There’s not too many people doing this, that I know of,” Golub said as he left court. “If you see live, outdoor body painting, it’s probably me.”
Australian painter Margaret Olley has died, aged 88.
A spokeswoman for the Art Gallery of NSW says Olley was found dead at her Paddington home in Sydney, early on Tuesday morning. The cause of her death was unknown at this stage, the spokeswoman said.
Olley was the subject of this year’s winning Archibald Prize portrait by Ben Quilty and in 1948 sat for William Dobell’s prize-winner.
In 1991, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service as an artist and to the promotion of art. In 2006, Olley was awarded Australia’s highest civilian honour, the Companion of the Order, for service as one of Australia’s most distinguished artists, for philanthropy to the arts, and for encouragement of young and emerging artists.
“It’s such a great award. I’m overawed,” Olley said at the time. “I thought just judges and just very important people got it. “I’m not important. I just do what I want to do.”
Born in Lismore on June 24, 1923, Olley began painting as a young girl at boarding school in Brisbane, going on to become one of Australia’s most respected still-life and interior artists. She become of the country’s most generous benefactors to public galleries, including the Art Gallery of NSW and Museum of Contemporary Art, and she held honorary doctorates from the Macquarie, Sydney, Queensland and Newcastle universities.
PHOTO: ‘Foremost figurative artist of his generation’: A Sotheby’s auction house worker displays Freud’s Self-Portrait with a Black Eye (AFP: Shaun Curry)
PHOTO: Dead at 88: Lucian Freud last year (AFP: Stephan Agostini)
British painter Lucian Freud, whose uncompromising portraits made him one of the world’s most revered and coveted artists, has died aged 88.
His long-time New York art dealer William Acquavella said the grandson of Sigmund Freud and brother of British radio and television personality Clement Freud had died at his home in London on Wednesday night (local time) after an unspecified illness.
“My family and I mourn Lucian Freud not only as one of the great painters of the 20th century but also as a very dear friend,” the dealer said in a statement.
“As the foremost figurative artist of his generation he imbued both portraiture and landscape with profound insight, drama and energy.
“In company he was exciting, humble, warm and witty. He lived to paint and painted until the day he died, far removed from the noise of the art world.”
Whatever he thought of the art world, Freud was very much its darling towards the end of his life.
Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, a 1995 portrait of a nude, obese woman asleep on a sofa, fetched $US33.6 million at Christie’s in 2008, a new auction record for any living artist.
He lived to paint and painted until the day he died.
New York art dealer William Acquavella
The buyer was widely reported to be Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
He tended to paint people he knew – family, friends and fellow artists, but was also famously commissioned to depict Queen Elizabeth.
The resulting portrait, an unflattering portrayal of a severe-looking monarch painted in 2001, divided the critics, with Arthur Edwards, photographer for the Sun tabloid, saying: “They should hang it in the khazi (toilet).”
Freud was born in Berlin in 1922 to a well-off German family who fled the Nazis for Britain in 1933 and became British citizens in 1939.
Freud went to several schools but is said to have attended few classes.
“I was very solitary. I hardly spoke English. I was considered rather bad tempered, of which I was rather proud,” he once said.
Freud attended a string of art colleges and had a brief spell with the merchant navy before turning to art and staging his first exhibitions in the 1940s.
The artist had a string of relationships and is believed to have left behind many illegitimate children.
A Pablo Picasso painting given to the University of Sydney has fetched more than $A20 million at an auction in London, with the sale proceeds to fund health research at the institution.The 40cm-wide painting, Jeune fille endormie, was one of 11 artworks given to the university last year by an anonymous donor, on the basis that any sale proceeds would go to research.The brightly coloured cubist work, which Spanish-born Picasso painted in 1935, depicts his French lover and muse, Marie-Therese Walter, asleep over her arms.
It was brought to Australia a year ago by plane in the mystery owners carry-on luggage, University of Sydney spokesman Dr Andrew Potter told AAP from London on Wednesday.When it was auctioned by Christies on Tuesday London time, it fetched STG13.5 million $A20.8 million, which was above its top end pre-sale estimate of STG8 million $A12.31 million.
Bidding was fierce, with the bidding starting at STG7 million $A10.8 million before escalating to the final price in less than two minutes.”We understand it was a British buyer,” Dr Potter said.”Were not aware of the name. There is some suggestion the name will be released in the next few weeks.”The painting was auctioned in London rather than in Sydney because the market for such works was much bigger in the United Kingdom, Dr Potter said.”Collectors of work like this are not normally in Australia,” he said.Money raised from the painting will go towards research into obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease at the university.
Originally acquired by Walter P Chrysler, founder of the motor company, the painting changed hands just once before it was donated to the University of Sydney in 2010 by the mystery benefactor.It was shown at a Picasso retrospective at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art MoMA in 1939, and an exhibition of works from the Chrysler collection in 1941. It had since been hidden from view in a private collection. The painting was part of an overall gift to the university which included other paintings, cash and jewellery.
Mr Ai, the creator of the Tate Modern’s Sunflower Seeds exhibition, was allowed to spend 20 minutes with his wife, Lu Qing, at a secret location on Sunday afternoon, helping to dispel online rumours that he had been tortured.
He seemed conflicted, contained, his face was tense, Lu told the Associated Press, “I could see redness in his eyes. It was obvious that without freedom to express himself he was not behaving naturally even with me, someone from his family.”
She added that the people who arranged the visit showed no identification and warned her not to speak about anything except family or health matters.
“We could not talk about the economic charges or other stuff, mainly about the family and health,” she said. “We were careful, we knew that the deal could be broken at any moment, so we were careful.”
The visit came as a relief for other members of his family, including Mr Ai’s elderly mother. “The rumours that we’ve heard about him being tortured have been too much for us to take, but now seeing is believing,” said Gao Ying.
Fears for Ai’s physical safety had mounted in recent weeks after online reports that he had been coerced into confessing after watching a video of another disappeared dissident, the human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng being tortured with an electric shock baton.
China has faced mounting international criticism over its detention of Ai Weiwei, who was taken last month during a widespread Chinese clampdown on lawyers, bloggers and artists apparently provoked by the fears that Middle East street revolutions could spread to China.
The novelist Salman Rushdie and the sculptor Anish Kapoor have headed calls from the international artistic community to free Ai Weiwei and urging governments to be more vocal in condemning his arrest.
China has responded by angrily rejected US and European fears that it is “backsliding” on human rights, describing such criticisms as “condescending” and warning strongly against any interference in its judicial sovereignty.
Ai, 53, is officially being investigated for “economic crimes” however his friends, family and colleagues all believe that his detention is because of his outspoken criticism of China’s ruling Communist Party and the failings of the one-party state.
His mother told The Telegraph that Lu Qing had reassured Ai – who was dressed in his own clothes, not a detention centre uniform – that his family were all strong and well, and that tears had welled up in his eyes as he heard that good news.
Although the circumstances of the meeting has revealed nothing of Ai’s exact whereabouts, it might have clarified the legal basis on which he is being held, lawyers said.
Ai’s family members confirmed to The Telegraph on Monday that they still haven’t been given any formal indication of the charges he is facing, which according to Chinese criminal law, they should have received no later than 37 days after his detention.
Liu Xiaoyuan, a lawyer and friend of Ai, says the visit now suggests that Ai is being held under a separate section of Chinese law which would allow the authorities to detain him living under house surveillance (house arrest) for six months.
Although highly unusual, Mr Liu said, it would not be unprecedented for a suspect to be detained under house arrest but outside his own home, even though in normal circumstances suspects under house arrest are allowed telephone contact with the outside world.
While relieved to be granted a visit, Ai’s family say they still want his case to be resolved quickly and in the open.
“Now that we’ve seen that his health is okay, of course we are a bit less anxious, but that’s not to say we want him to stay where he is,” Ai’s mother added to the Associated Press, “We really want this case to be dealt with as soon as possible and for the government to follow proper procedures in keeping with Chinese law.”