Anselm Kiefer’s materials

Before Christmas I went to see the Anselm Kiefer show at the Royal Academy. It was fantastic. It reminded me of how much I love seeing art.

I was wondering a little today about the reasons why I enjoyed the show so much, and why the content of it resonated with me as much as it did. Quite a lot of it is very nebulous really. It’s difficult to put your finger on what’s going on some of the time for the simple reason that it’s about things which are by nature hard to define.

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Unit 3 is upon us

Hmm. Well, I’ve fannied around for ages with writing this post and haven’t really written anything. I started writing something but it’s on my laptop and I can’t remember writing anything in it that I cared about at all. That’s probably not a good sign.

I want to write a short post, then, saying where i think I’m at. No doubt somewhat hilariously, I had a dream that changed my mind about my direction a little bit. In the dream Jonathan Kearney was telling me my prototype was boring as it was too much like a school text book or something. It was prescriptive. I woke up and immediately thought ‘I must look at Anselm Kiefer, Ansel Adams and Christian Boltanski again’. So there we go. This undoubtedly makes me sound like a muppet but it seems I achieve that pretty regularly anyway. The important thing is that those three artists mark a continuation of earlier thoughts and making something with a simple and direct, quite emotional presence. The thought didn’t just come from a dream, though it seems to have been part of the way my brain processed it. This is really a thought for the work in a gallery space. I may need a different approach for the online version.

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February 19th 2008

The other people’s pictures issue

I have spent quite a lot if time of late looking at artists who interest me for different reasons. Most of the work that follows has a large ‘Gee Whizz that’s big’ factor. I’m struggling to find much work that deals with the wordier end of what I’m dealing with, or that inspires me to think on it. I’ll be commenting on this soon as I think it might need a bit of its own breathing space.

Anselm Kiefer

I want the part of this project that’s about the very genesis of language to have a sense of primal origins about it. I think in many of Anselm Kiefer’s paintings there’s an incredibly strong sense of ‘usness’ – this is our history. I love the fact that his work so often feels like part of the fabric of the dawn of a time long before ours. The scale of his pictures lends itself to feeling immersed in the pictures as well. The pictures from his series about the Jewish exodus from Israel show this well. Of course, in these paintings the narrative/mythological background add to the immersive effect; and then there’s the obvious thing of his being a German artist working through a few issues, on a national scale. Just imagine them 20 foot wide and you’re some of the way there.

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January 8th 2008

I haven’t blogged for a while again but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped thinking. Clearly. Had a tutorial with Andy. We agreed that the way to go for the time being was to investigate several of the possible avenues open to me. And there are quite a few.

The more I look at the academic end of this project the more I think I need to have a big element that deals with it in what you might call a more romantic way. I say romantic for want of a better word. The most inspiring things I’ve seen for this have been fairy tales (slightly bizarrely, perhaps) and Anselm Kiefer’s book project, where he has big pages with layered up paint that could be showing everything and nothing. It’s like all meaning has been condensed into this space and turned into mulch. i like that. With this in mind I have been doing similar things of late.

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