Tuesday, 18 October 2011

'Navigating The Dark' - Kalliopi Lemos The Crypt Gallery, St Pancras

Footnote : In April next year I will be exhibting with 6 other artists in this space. There is no doubt death figures strongly in this space !

Lemos is Greek  painter scupltor and installation artist. Her recent work has explored the narrative of journeys and the displacement and the politics of forced migration.
Navigating the Dark is a three part exhibtion in Athens,Crete and London, The Crypt gallery.

She made this work at the The Crypt site specific.

This vaulted underground burial space is a very eerie and highly charged venue in itself. Combine it with this work of Lemos and terror come to mind !

Found objects, three actual boats, are filled with steel structures of snakes, black birds and figures. Voices seemingly come out of the walls and behind you as walk around the space.

It is un - nerving and left me feeling very unsettled. Not the most pleasant experience, however, the artist has set out to envelope us in these very notions of fear and dread. After all, think about the boat people, for example, who risked their lives to have the slimmest possibility of a new one.

 How full of fear must they be in the middle of the ocean in a boat full of holes? I am sure this exhibition would not conjure up for them anywhere near the wretchedness and horror they have been through and indeed go through to escape.
Aside from the drama of this exhibtion, the quality of workmanship and the presentation is brilliant. The film which  is featured depicts materials such as salt , primitive shaped wood feature strongly alongside steel mesh and  lavae shapes. The constant whispering and noise of insects sucking away adds to the atmosphere and resonates with the building itself.
This exhibition has you looking over your shoulder constantly - even the invigilator said he does not enjoy turning out the lights !

Pipilotti Rist - Eyeball Massage - Exhibition at The Hayward Gallery

Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist creates videos and installations that invite us to look at the world through new eyes.

Music features alongside delicous and colourful imagery in Rist's videos. As an artist she focuses on the fallout of the mistakes which camera's and technology often make - boldly taking them into her work.

The result on the larger screens has a dreamlike quality. She takes ordinary imagery from nature and intercepts the speed and colour creating a feast for the eyes. In the second room there are floating veils of fabric with sheep projected onto them, however it feels like you are watching nature for the very first time. There are many effects over the top of these films - I wasn't quite sure  how that worked at first, then as you move throught the entire exhibition, (which is vast) it seems to sit well. 

The very very small projections within handbags and conical shells, which are placed regally on cushioned plinths, are intriguing. The sound calls you to look inside.
A VERY small screen embedded in the floor and another huge box in which you are invited to place your head through holes to watch a film 'I Notice Everything' is doing exactly what Rist set out to do - make us view film differently. Throughout the entire exhibition this is what happens from sitting on headless human shape cushions to standing up, your head in a box, to kneeling to see the smallest film screen ever, to peering into objects. I found this exhibition fresh and very light / beautiful and on many levels alot of fun. 

Marks -Traces - Left Overs

traces + layers of history in the contemporary world
the beginning + end  of living

I notice marks all the time. It could be a road or a wall or in this case above a counter in a printers at Southwark. Layers of touch and wearing down of objects attracts me. I enjoy a little wabi sabi in my objects or things left behind. These marks could never be replicated as it is the passage of time which reveals these beautiful types of mark making to us. A form of printmaking perhaps.

I work with sheets of paper on my desk, jotting down things and ideas which come to mind spontaneously as I am working in my studio. The layers of ideas grow and as I move through them - some I use, others are there for later or maybe never to be realised.
Broken shells, dried structures of plants are, to me, like gold. They are enchanting and hold true magical possibilities.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Kevin Carter - Photo Journalist - b. 1960 in Johannesburg

Kevin Carter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for the tragic photograph of a emaciated Sudanese
 child trying to crawl to the feeding station whilst a vulture looks menacingly on. It has been stated that the mother was nearby and was getting food from a plane which had just landed.
This has never to my knowledge been confirmed. We will never know what happened to the girl in the image.
It is a very difficult image to comprehend indeed. Apparently his brief for this assignment was to
never disturb the natural events which were taking place in a community.

This has been and will continue to be a very controversial photograph, of this there can be no doubt. However many of Carter's photographs are tragic and document the most harrowing scenarios. It must have been incredibily difficult to maintain a distinction between 'right and wrong'. I imagine the line would become blurred after exposure to such violence, sadness and deprevation.

Did he 'do the right thing' by leaving the child to it's inevitable demise ? Over his career he raised global awareness to the plight of many devastating situations and saved the lives of many people.
The debate is a challenging one with, I suspect no end.

Kevin Carter paid the ultimate price - he committed suicide shortly after he won the Pulitzer prize in 1994.
The violence he'd encountered in his life as a journalist, in South Africa, became too much to live with.

I made to etching based on Carter's photograph. The format is elongated and narrow.

'you left me'
From my own personal point of view I found this hard to draw, difficult to look at objectively and incredibly sad and moving.
Making the first image was so emotional that I came to thinking  'what can I do to make this a different scene'. 
 I decided to make a second image of a chubby, able baby standing upright. A child who can fend off the vulture. The bird fly's high up into the sky leaving the child  in peace.

This is how the world should be - an ideal world where there is no tragedy and no one has to suffer.
Not the photographer doing his job and following his brief . . . . .  OR the defenseless child.

I am beginning a new series of works which this has been the catalyst for and I have to say I will be glad to leave these images be for the time being.

The new works will focus on fun aspects of childrens lives - games !