Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Neil krug

Neil Krug is a photographer who creates hazy psychedelic sun-soaked images inspired by the covers of 70's pulp novels. This kind of aesthetic seems to be everywhere at the moment, with new technology seeking to emulate old photography technics such as instagram, and the new resurgence of lomography. Krug uses expired polaroid film to create the hazy bleached out effects in his pictures. Many of the shots look like they are movie stills, particularly those in his book Pulp, which predominantly feature his wife, the model Joni Harbeck. He also makes music videos and is working on a feature film. While the oversexed, throwback nostalgia is a little too idealistic and uncritical for my taste, they are just so breathtakingly beautiful that I find myself wishing I could tease out such psychedelic colours from my own polaroid camera, and envying his ability to make vintage photographs that are still modern enough not to become kitsch.


Krug's video for Ladytron:

Suzy O'Mullane

Working in an art gallery in Dublin I keep hearing about Suzy O'Mullane and her scandalous-for-its-lack-of-scandal affair with Mick Mulcahy. It's strange to be eavesdropping on gossip about someone I knew growing up, as a friend of my mothers rather than as an artist, and pleasing to hear she is doing so well for herself in Ireland and abroad.
It's also made me re-evluate her as an artist rather than family friend, and address my own personal opinions of her art separate from my opinion of her as a person. Knowing more about her private life than her professional career makes that difficult, but I'm finding myself increasingly drawn to her work when it crops up in group shows or sits alongside other artists, most obviously Mick Mulcahy, whose art I never really understood what all the fuss was about. Suzy though has developed enormously since I last had contact with her work, which must have been nearly ten years ago. While she always had a flair for intense engaging portraits, her singular focus on life drawing, and the female form particularly seemed to restrain her somewhat. Then I remember going to an exhibition she held after the tragic death of her daughter Roisin, and being bowled over by the emotional intensity of the work, multiple portraits of her daughter and herself, strewn with miniature pink rosebuds to signify her daughters name, they were allegorical as well as realistic, and added an extra layer of complexity to her bold outlines and strong, confident marks. Since then her work has been rife with animal imagery, most notably wolves and while women still dominate as subjects, they are less studied portraits of individuals than metaphorical symbols of emotion. She herself makes the connection between her own personal tragedy and an unleashing of artistic growth:
"Since 2004, during a time of massive personal crisis and subsequent growth, my work began to emerge dramatically from its formal reality, and its concern with observation and architectural space.”..."Thus, the central concept of the current work is a recording, narrating and mythifying of autobiographical events and issues of personal significance. Through intensely worked charcoal drawings, sometimes using paint and oil crayon on paper, the intention of the work is to convey emotional and sometimes metaphysical connection, as well as absurd hypothetical situations. Humans and animals have interchangeable roles, and are devoid of accepted markers.”
Your Hair Veils My Eyes
Even her portraits have gained a depth of feeling and intensity, with their palimpsest quality of thickly worked up lines left un-erased, showing the physical labour invested in her work.


Cold Bride

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The pointless quest of Neoism

In a Neoist view, the world is not collision of things in space, but a dissimilar row of each independent phenomena. Neoism does not conceive of the spatial as lasting in time. Since each state is irreducible, the mere act of giving it a name implies falsification. The paradox however is that epistemologies exist in Neosim, in countless numbers. There are Neoists who consider a certain pain, a green tinge of the yellow, a temperature, a certain tone the only reality. Other Neoists perceive all people having sex as the same being, and all people memorizing a line of Homer as Homer. Another group has reached the point of denying time. It reasons that the present is undefined, that the future has no reality than as present hope, that the past is no more than present memory. Yet another group has it that the history of the universe is the handwriting produced by a minor god in order to communicate with a demon; that the world is an emblem whose subscription is partly lost, and in which only that which happens every three hundredth night is true. Another believes that while we are asleep here, we are awake somewhere else, so that everyone is two. Books are rarely signed, and the notion of plagiarism does not exist. It has been established that all literature is the work of only one ageless and anonymous writer.
definition from website the seven by nine sqaures- an attempt to create the illustion of an art movement, or to start a movement by declaring it already exists. not very successful, but then isnt that what how most movements begin? its only when people already take them for granted, that in retrospect you can trace out roots and beginnings, that otherwise would be dismissed as unconnected and irrelevant.

rather reminds me of dada, in its anti-art stance, defining itself by what it is not, and in its political implications.
amazon: house of nine squares - the book by Florian Cramer.
I haven't read it, and to be honest don't intend to, but the idea of an invented identity, that can be adopted and used at will is probably what appeals to me most about this whole concept:

"Karen Eliot is a name that refers to an individual human being who can be anyone. The name is fixed, the people using it aren't. The purpose of many different people using the same name is to create a situation for which no one in particular is responsible and to practically examine western philosophical notions of identity, individuality, originality, value and truth.
Anyone can become Karen Eliot simply by adopting the name, but they are only Karen Eliot for the period in which they adopt the name. Karen Eliot was materialised, rather than born, as an open context in the summer of 1985. When one becomes Karen Eliot one's previous existence consists of the acts other people have undertaken using the name. When one becomes Karen Eliot one has non family, no parents, no birth. Karen Eliot was not born, s/he was materialised from social forces, constructed as a means of entering the shifting terrain that circumscribes the 'individual' and society."

Monday, 21 November 2011

conceptual art

A very vague definition for a very broad range of art practices, its probably what I like most about art. the fact that something so visual, physical and visceral can be made intellectual and immaterial. well not quite immaterial, although Sol Lewitt might disagree with that. He prioritizes Idea over object in his statement in Paragraphs on Conceptual Art: “The idea becomes the machine that makes the art”.He uses mathematical systems to determine the form of his work, as in his 47 3 part variations on 3 different kinds of cubes, exhibited at the dwan gallery in 1968, which is a three dimensional realization of a predetermined concept, ordered by permuting linear dimension and binary volumetric possibilities. The number of variations and arrangement of the work is governed by mathematical logic. Made up of three types of cubes, solid, cube with opposite sides removed and a cube with one side removed. The variations represent all possible different three part combinations of the types of cubes, vertical arrangements and orientations. Such pieces completely removes any aesthetic decisions of the artist from the work, allowing abstract geometrical systems to determine the form, while also showing that abstract art can also contain a high degree of visual complexity.
Whether or not this makes art a triumphant illustration of the powers of human reason, or a demonstration of the failure of any proposed system of communication is open to debate. 
In his paragraphs on conceptual art he emphasizes the communication of idea over the logic of a piece, the form it takes and even the intentions of the artist. The idea itself gains a sort of independece, “the idea becomes a machine that makes the art”. He says: “in terms of idea the artist is free even to surprise himself”. using pre set plans and  separating the conception of a work and its execution, in the case of the wall drawings by getting others to actually create the drawings, eliminates all subjectivity. Even the concept becomes unimportant “it doesn’t really matter if the viewer understands the concepts of the artist by seeing the art”. By separating each stage of creation, lewitt makes them all of equal importance. He claims that the idea itself even if not made visual, is as much a work of art as any finished product. this suggests to me that for lewitt drawing itself held no merit, but merely served as a tool of communication, as constricted by rules and system as language or mathematics. but the ideas that lewitt is attempting to communicate are not about the rational systems of logic that he employs to create the form of the work, but rather the errors that occur within these systems. in his instructions for an exhibition in nova scotia in 1969 he described it as “a work that uses the idea of error, a work that uses the idea of infinity, a work that is subversive, a work that is not original”. This idea of error is what occurs in the process of making the work, in separating out the stages of creation, into the idea, the execution and the reception, lewitt is exposing the potential for miscommunication and making evident the outside factors that become as much a part of the works making as the artist himself, as in the influence of the gallery space in his wall drawings, where the uneven surface of the wall results in broken lines that disrupt the artists intention and the logic of its execution. The work becomes subject to the space’s enviornment, and the reception of the viewer. Lewitt deliberately encourages misreadings, and invites alterations to the initial idea. This separation of idea from exection from reception reveals the failure of those systems of logic which constrain us, by communicating his ideas in verbal instruction that are then carried out according to numerical permutations example… the viewer needs to trace back these linguistic or numerical systems in order to access the idea of the work. The errors that occur en route and disrupt this communication shows both the artists powerlessness in the face of external systems of convention and the failure of these systems in transmitting ideas between artist and viewer, and the widening gap between “the objective understanding of the idea and a subjective interpretation of it”.
This breakdown of systems of communication and questioning of the authority of language is what, in my opinion, art does best. By simply offering alternative ways of interpreting ideas, sensations, or images it can challenge or supplement linguistic systems. Anything that challenges the way we think, the possible constraints on our ability to think must be a good thing.