I completed my walk and linked my macro world to the 'real' world with a derive of 32km from Worcester to Wolverhampton. The highlight of which was my dad joining me for an hour or two - most enlightening.
I'm walking from Worcester to Wolverhampton tomorrow. Why? Two reasons: 1. I have being preparing an essay as my first piece of practical work. Instead of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation or readymade I have decided to hand in a non-fictional essay. The story is about using the computer to investigate a randomly chosen area of urban Wolverhampton. To finish the project I thought I would link the hub-Worcester to the area in Wolvo - a situationist idea. 2. I like the history and romance of the english civil war, I am going to trace the escape route of King Charles. Sad? I'm not sure if I'm going to be a cavalier or a roundhead yet? Following my last debacle of a presentation, I'm going to try again, if I fail this time then I will leave this type of performance out of my practice, I'm a sucker, I keep making my life harder for myself.
I don't think I'll be invited onto the Dimbleby lecture circuit anytime soon. Hold on a minute he just quoted from Wikipedia - disruptive technologies : 'A disruptive technology or disruptive innovation is a technological innovation, product, or service that eventually overturns the existing dominant technology or status quo product in the market. Disruptive innovations can be broadly classified into lower-end and new-market disruptive innovations. A new-market disruptive innovation is often aimed at non-consumption, whereas a lower-end disruptive innovation is aimed at mainstream customers who were ignored by established companies. Sometimes, a disruptive technology comes to dominate an existing market by either filling a role in a new market that the older technology could not fill (as more expensive, lower capacity but smaller-sized hard disks did for newly developed notebook computers in the 1980s) or by successively moving up-market through performance improvements until finally displacing the market incumbents (as digital photography has begun to replace film photography).
The future is going to be far more futuristic than previously expected.
My first assessed presentation was a humbling experience. I thought I had a grasp of some of the theories of the avant-garde but having completed a disastrous presentation, I'll feel glad to achieve/scrape a pass, all started well, but I was ill-prepared and my presentation collapsed with the absence of formatted slides and a text which I'd rushed together with little in-depth reading. On completing the presentation I was questioned about some of the details and asked questions in a 'viva' type two v one situation. Not a good day at the office, I'm resolved to do more reading, I'm hopeful that it will all fall into place and my essay will be more successful.
As you may already know, last night the winner of the infamous Turner Prize was announced... it was of course Mark Wallinger for his Exhibition State Britain and his Turner Prize Exhibition piece Sleeper.
Yesterday we took a trip to the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham to view and discuss the work of artist Alice Cattaneo. I hadn't seen any leaflets or previews of this show so didn't really know what to expect. Added to that, she is a relatively young artist and this was her first show in Britain.
Entering the first room of the show you are presented with a large floor based sculpture made from wood and some sort of white plastic board. On closer inspection, one can see that it is infact foam mounting board which has been cut into various shapes, both regualr and geometric. Some almost look like sails, an Armarda sailing across the gallery floor. The thin wooden batons that go to make up the structure of the piece, are joined with nothing more than strips of gaffa tape (tm). There are bumps, scratches and other marks across the surface of the board. These, in our opinion were in no way deliberate and sort of took quite alot away from the piece. Not good.
Connected to the first room is a darkened space, on the far wall is projected a piece entitled The Singer 2004. A harshly edited piece involving a small blue paper figure who bends, folds and ultimately collapses overlain with a broken soundtrack of opera singing. It isn't a million miles away from being used on an Ice Cream advert. This piece made me laugh in it's almost slapstick combination of movement and sound.
The next room contained 1 more video projection and a Television looping 5 short video works. These pieces in my opinion didn't work as well as The Singer 2004 A group of seemingly white paper cubes are dragged and pushed around by a hand across a tabletop, arranging themselves into orderly rows and then exploding into disarray. It is quite obvious that part of the footage is reversed to achieve some of the effects, but still I hadn't taken anything from it. The other video of note involved a series of household objects being passed from one detached hand to another and after a pause were handed back. I really couldn't see what I was supposed to be taking form these works as they didn't seem to share anything apart for the crude way they had been edited.
Walking into the next and largest room of the show, you aren't some much presented as eventually notice a arrangement of mainly wooden sculptures. The first thng I noticed was a small piece of 2 x 4 about ten feet from the floor sticking out of the wall. It had been cut at an angle and appeared to have been forced through the plasterboard, almost like the Caddilac at the Hard Rock Cafe. In my opinion that was the best part of the show, although reading the literature and the small title panel on the wall, it wasn't a piece on its own - a missed oppoutunity. The other pieces were again tied and fixed with whatever the artist could find, gaffa tape, sandwich ties and bits of string and white tack. One piece hung from the iron bar that supports the ceiling and had the look of an explosion, another wall based sculpture made of curved wooden sticks intersected with straight rods sat alongside a plinth like piece made of wood with a stack of paper skewered with a metal rod. With all these pieces, there was a definite relationship to Constructivism, Futurism and Modernism. Whether that was deliberate or not I couldn't say but as we discussed, there was no possible way you couldn't bring that Art historical baggage with you when viewing this work.
The piece that really let the show down ws the corner floor sculture, which was again , a mixture of wooden batons, engineering bricks, gaffa tape and fishing line. The gaffa tape was the thing that really let the work down in my opinion, not so much the stuff that joins the batons together, but that which secured the fishing line to the wall. It looked a mess and wasn't adding anything to the work. Attached to the fishing line were small tabs of gaffa tape whose function was not clear. Were they defining that space? Would they create a shape as you move round the sculpture? No. They were added to the sculpture on the orders of the IKONs Health and Safety officer. I had lost all interest in this show by now. There were a series of video works in the tower room, although I have seen them, I don't want to take any more of your time by writing about them.
Like the old adage... There's a whole lot of nothing going on.
On Tuesday at 4:00pm I had a tutorial with my course director. It was great, really informal. We talked about my work, what I had planned, anything and everything! He's a really nice bloke and one of the easiest people to talk to I've ever met. I showed him the proposals I had sent to the New Generation Arts people and he thought they were really really good! He said that he could tell that I had found my Language, both Artistic and visual, already. Something he said, takes some artists a long time to get to. I agree, I am very comfortable with the visual and artistic language that I use. Its not like I had to really search for it, it kind of just happens!
Through talking to him, It turns out that an ex-MA student from Margaret Street is now the creative director and events manager at Jodrell Bank Observatory, I am going to get in touch and see what happens! As always I will let you know how that goes!
I always come away from a tutorial with my tutors feeling positive and inspired and eager to get on with making work. Some students, if they get landed with the wrong tutor don't/can't develop their work to the extent they could because the tutor doesn't suit their practice. I am rather lucky in that respect.
Monday rolls around again and I find myself sat in the comfy chair zone at Uni again. You may remember that about 2 weeks ago I saw what I thought was a Rat scurry across the canteen floor along the heating pipes... Well, It turns out (after earwigging a conversation) that I'm not the only one to have seen him/her. Apparently the canteen lady had seen it this morning and ever since has refused to go down to that end of the canteen!
Anyway, today was the last CPA lecture that I have to attend, although the tutor is running another series of Philosophy lectures next semester which I may attend. This weeks lecture was partly about Animality in Art, interesting as it may be it was kind of a departure from what we had been learning about in the preceeding weeks. I have to say that I didn't find it as interesting and found myself zoning out from time to time imagining the portion of Cod and Chips that would be waiting for me on the journey home. Some of it was really interesting though, we returned to the discussion of the Lascaux Caves and the paintings therein - It didn't seem to make sense to start virtually a whole new topic in the last lecture, but then he mentioned he would be doing another set of lectures so this was a taster of things to come.
14 years ago I started art college and visited my first Turner Prize. Since then I have visited each and every year and of course, I have scrawled, doodled and drawn a cartoon in a note pad or sketchbook..
To mark the European Capital of Culture, Liverpool welcomes the Turner Prize. The short-listed artists are Zarina Bhimji, Nathan Coley, Mike Nelson and Mark Wallinger, the exhibition opened at the Tate Liverpool on the 19th October 2007 and runs until the 13th January with the winner being announced on the 3rd December.
Each year the Turner throws up some controversy, some years attract more column inches than others but in general this show polarizes us as artists and art lovers. Regardless, it never fails to stimulate debate with the ‘pro’ camp proclaiming it as one of the most important and prestigious awards for the visual arts in Europe, and the ‘anti’ camp; the Stuckists, the K Foundation and as the tabloid press would have it, the general public, all queue up to berate it as a waste of time and money.
So what’s topical this year? How about ‘Sleeper’, an epic (4 hours of footage) film of the artist Mark Wall¬inger dressed in a bear suit walking around the Neue Nationalgalerie at night. He walks, runs and stumbles like a sketch from Dom Joly’s Trigger Happy TV. This art act / performance is, and is intended to be, humorous however Wallinger’s work is always carefully considered in terms of answering national identity, social and political lines of enquiry. We think about Berlin, the Cold War hub of surveillance and espionage and a hot bed of political nationalism. We think about spies, sleepers in disguise and the bear, a national heraldic impe¬rialist symbol, running around lost and forlorn.
Mike Nelson re-visits a fictional narrative called ‘Amnesiac shrine’ in this installation piece, which isn’t what we have come to expect of Nelson. He usually makes space and fills it with found objects and clut¬ter, dust, chipboard and awkward spaces have made up previous environments. In this space we are sent in circles around a number of corridors and chambers that are minimalistic, identical and opposite - a white walled maze. Under-lying this is the fictional narrative dreamt up by the artist, a story of a Gulf War band of bikers. As you walk around the corridors you are invited to peer in through punched out holes in the walls, you see sand and lights like the desert environment of either the Gulf or a bikers Mid-Western American dream.
Zarina Bhimji’s exhibit consists of a series of photographs and a film. Zarina was born in Uganda, her work is deeply connected with East Africa, Zanzibar and India. The artist immersed herself in two years research into political policy, social economics and colonialism. She traveled the length and breadth of the Uganda railway, stopping at each station to record testimony of the locals and a sound track that features here in the mesmerizing film ‘Waiting.’ The film looks at a factory manufacturing rope from a natural material called sisal. The film uses soft focus and slow panning shots of the process. The photos that accompany the film are of walls and architecture, they feature as recurring themes and reflect a more violent nature in the societies depicted in the work.
Nathan Coley’s installation or sculpture, ‘there will be no miracles here’ is the only time a single piece has been nominated for the prize. It is a large fairground style illuminated sign on scaffolding, a French Royal decree made in the 17th century. Cole uses it to divide the room, here we cannot have miracles, over there it is fine. Cole’s exhibit is about boundaries and designation. As you enter and leave the room you are forced to crossover an artwork (threshold sculpture) and gallery staff tell the public to ‘mind the artwork.’. Nathan employs other pieces to strengthen these ideas, a model of a generic English house is emblazoned with the words Hope & Glory and photographs of confessional boxes are framed and then covered by a rect¬angle of black spray paint which denies the image underneath.
So there it is, two installations, photographs and two films, not a painting or bronze in sight, no plinths and no canvas. A brainy Turner Prize, concerned less with aesthetics, more with social existences - again this show will divide us as artists. I’d like to offer this, the 15th ‘Liverpool’ edition cartoon. Visit the exhibition, if not for the Turner Prize then for Tate Liverpool and if not for that, then for Liverpool 2008 European City of Culture.
Wandering to Uni through New Street you can't help but be drawn along to the German Christmas Market, I was a bit early so I decided to have a mooch around. The smell of Bratwurst and Stale Beer was overwhelming as you push your way through the completely undersized alleyways, getting in people's way and they treading on your heels. It's the same old fodder, mugs with your name on, paper theatres, bags and scarves made from Alpacca fur, as the great man said, I've never seen so much stuff I didn't want. Having said that though, I cant deny it's Christmas appeal, I am starting to feel a lot more festive because of it.
Anyway, last nights lecture... I've been reading Giles Deleuze's Francis Bacon and the Logic of Sensation as part of my Contemporary Philosophical Aesthetics lectures. I have to say that I find reading the text a lot more enlightening than listening to the lecturers interpretation of it, I don't know why that is. So my tip is to always read what's on the reading list aswell as attend the lectures!
We were dealing with Bacon's use of couples and triptychs in his paintings. The key to understanding (or at least attempting to understand) Bacon's works is that they don't contain any narrative elements, the figures in them have no relationships to speak of and that a series of paintings are to be read in no particular order, they are not cells from a comic book, the three panels are 1 painting. My way of looking at them is to view them as one moment captured in 3 simultaneous photographs arranged around the figure.
The figures within the paintings act in three ways: active elements, passive elements and witnesses. Any figure however can act in either role and as such the sensation caused by the paintings changes according to the role the viewer assigns to each figure. If you didnt know that this rubric existed or had to be applied to the works, then how on earth are they meant to function in the prescribed way? What happens if two figures are assigned the same functions? Does the painting malfunction? Explode? I am finding this really interesting though, guess I should go and read a bit more...
We all met at Euston and went on another of our tutors wonderful 'walks' - no underground - no buses - Unadulterated foot power - 1st stop Walter Keoroning bookshop - Haywood Gallery for the love of painting - Tate Modern for the 'crack' and Louise Bourgoise. Excuse the spelling it's late. Will add more details later.
Whilst I was sat enjoying a cup of Machine coffee (from the machine that has only just been repaired after being out of order for over a month!), in the corner of my eye I could see something black moving around to my right, at first I thought it was a fly but as I turned round I saw that it was infact a rodent. It moved too fast for me to see whether it was a Mouse or a Rat, all I can say is that its body looked almost 14cms long and its tail was the around the same length - was it a rat? It dissapeared behind the plaster copy of the Venus Di Milo and that was the last I saw of it.
Last nights Contemporary Philosophical Aesthetics lecture was a continuation of our discussion of Francis Bacon and Deleuze's philosophies on the 'Logic of Sensation.' As with most of these lectures, I am slowly but surely getting to grips with some of the ideas dealt with, I couldn't say I understand it enough to explain it coherently though. - I must go and read more!
I recieved an e-mail yesterday telling me that I will definitely be a part of the New Generation Arts Festival in Birmingham next year, my initial proposal is being considered but I have to formulate a back-up proposal just in case it doesn't get through! How cool is that?!
Had a great tutorial yesterday which really helped get me focused and in a position to get some work done. We discussed my ideas and my tutor was seemingly impressed with what I'd done so far. Oh yeah... and as part of my practice, I've bought a plot of land on the Moon - watch this space! (#Cringe#)
As I got to the space where the tutorial was going to be held I knew something quite different was going on. Walking along the corridor I could hear what can only be described as Musack - elevator music. As I got to the door I was greeted by a woman in a black trouser suit who greeted me warmly, if perhaps a bit awkwardly who asked me; "Have you travelled far?" "No not very far" I replied in a semi-confused state, 'Only from downstairs', I thought.
She then proceeded to offer me a drink, I chose a beer, and as I crossed the threshold and into the room, and as my eyes got used to the low lit setting I could see a Coffin lying on a table atop a purple cloth.
She then asked me if I knew anyone else present and I didnt as they were a mixture of second year Part-time students. I was introduced to a couple more people and wandered over to inspect the coffin.
On top of it was a bunch completely withered and crumbling roses, the brass name plaque was devoid of any indication of to 'who' this was but was covered in a sticky residue, like when you peel off the label from a beer bottle. Had there been a name?Scattered over the floor were a mixture of dead and recently live petals.
The room slowly started to fill up, each greeted in the same way I had been until the group was assembled. I was at a loss as to what was happening or what I was supposed to be taking form this work.
Then it became even more confusing, on the screen behind the coffin was projected a group of nine naked women apparently sleeping on a wooden bunk-bed structure which reminded me very much of the kinds of conditions people had to live in at Auschwitz, was that the connection? Concentration camps - death? Then why were we supposedly at a wake of an unknown, un-named person? I was still incredibly confused and nothing that was being dicussed was helping. I just couldnt make sense of this work at all.
The session was drawing to a close and it came out whilst talking to the artist that she was not actually sure what the work was about - well then what on earth are we supposed to be able to take from it? No wonder I couldnt understand it, there was nothing to understand.
I arrived at Uni at 9:30am and went and sat in the canteen. After resting my legs for about half an hour I decided I'd wander around the 1st and 2nd year BA studios to see what (if anything) was going on. There were a handful of students in and as I made my way through the plasterboard labyrinth I spotted a few pieces of exceptional work - to be honest, something I wasnt expecting to see so early in their time here, took me quite by surprise!
At 11:00 it was time for our first Group tutorial of the course... one problem though... the students whose work we were supposed to be looking at hadn't turned up. Our tutor suggested that we go and sit in the canteen and see what happened - he'd come and get us if and when they arrived. 12:00 rolled around... still no sign... 1:00pm... still no sign... by now our tutors we're getting slightly annoyed (perhaps an understatement) as no word of their whereabouts had been recieved. How long does it take to send a quick email to let us know that they weren't coming? Our course director went off and made a couple of phone calls, and came back with the news that the first student was on Jury duty at some courthouse and the second had put their back out lifting heavy rocks and would be laid up for another week?! What a waste of our time. There was another tutorial scheduled for 4:00pm.. it deserves its own post...
The lecture today was all about "Parietal Art", or Cave Art. We discussed how this art can be seen as perhaps some of the purest art that has ever been produced. It has no previous art history to make any comparisons with or any other context. It is seen by many as early man's attempt to commune with nature. An animal instinct to interpret and commune with their surroundings resulted in these amazing drawings and paintings. Some of the larger animal figures are over 20ft long and there is also evidence of scaffolding to get to the higher areas! They are far from mere doodles, showing a learned technique and the earliest and simplest known perspective used in art, some 30,000 years old!
I thought today I would do a "Live Broadcast" from Uni. I am currently sat at one of the gleaming new Macintosh(R) computers in the comfy chair zone of the canteen. On the desk infront of me is a Venti Latte from Starbucks(R), as our coffee machine is still broken after two weeks!
Anywho.. I'm waiting for this weeks Contemporary Philosophical Aesthetics lecture. As usual Uni is virtually deserted.. a perfect time to get some photocopying done, as any other time the queue extends all the way to the door!
After spending the last week being thoroughly annoyed at the Post Office, it was a welcome relief to get an e-mail from the NGA people(see last weeks blog) telling me my Portfolio CD had arrived safe and sound. I sent it 1st class recorded delivery last Monday and it has only today made it. If I had posted it from Cornwall or Inverness I could probably accept this late running. However.. I handed in to a Postal Clerk at the Post Office in Birmingham city centre and it only had to go to Perry Barr! It takes a week to send a CD 5 miles?!
Just got back from college after a long and busy day, hense this short entry - learnt a lot tonight in a good lecture about Andre Bretton and his manefesto for Surrealism - In focus we looked at his fictoral Quazi novel Nadja. I had my first review published and a meeting with the editor of 'art of england' - I had a good pier tutorial with a sister comrade - she gave me some good ideas and I gave her some ideas, so we may work together further.
The train was on-time, for once, so I got into Uni with a couple of hours to spare before my Contemporary Philosophical Aesthetics Lecture. I spent the time sat reading the material we had been given last week to refresh my memory as to what we were discussing. It helped, as much as it could, but it's still heavy going. At 6:30pm it was time to wander over to the lecture theatre, throwing my coffee cup into the bin ( I had a feeling I was going to need the caffeine ) I ambled across the concourse and found a seat near the front.
It was a very good lecture and I actually gleaned a bit of information from it, which was a bit of a surprise seeing as I'd had a hard time reading the material. I always find that I take things in better verbally.
Walking back to the station at 8:15pm I began to mull over what was discussed in the lecture; Affect and Percept, The Deleuzian view of Art's creation and how Art can be considered as far from just a human activity or invention. Apparently there is a species of Bird in Australia which creates Art. By all accounts it arranges leaves in patterns for no puropose other than it has an impulsion to do so. This was quite interesting and questions the role of Artist as gifted genius. Then it took an even stranger turn and we were discussing the notion that the movement of Tectonic plates could be considered as the Earth making Art?! I'm going to have to go away and really think about this!
Oh and another tip from me to you: I've started to keep a 'Vocab Book,' like we used to have for French at School. Every time I hear or read a word I dont understand ( could be an ism or whatever, usually a long word!) I write it down and find an explanation of it in the dictionary or online. This is going to help when it comes to start writing, and it keeps me sane!
At 10am I had my first tutorial with my Tutor, an Artist with FA Projects. I had been one of his students in the second year of my Degree and he had really helped me turn a corner with my work. We sat in his office ( as a part time student I don't get a studio space, which is fine by me as it's going to save me a whole pile of cash in the end!) and discussed what I wanted to do on the course and what my work was about. He had asked me to bring along a CD containing images of my work, which I did, and he asked me to explain what each piece/image was about. It's not until someone asks you to talk about your work that you realise how much you actually do know. An attack of Pringles(R) syndrome; Once I got started I couldnt stop. Consequently our meeting over-ran which I don't think impressed the next student.
That afternoon I had to deliver a presentation to all the other MA Students about my work, what I'd done that morning but to a much larger crowd. This surprisingly didnt faze me and again I found myself rambling on. Whilst talking about my piece "Canine Concerto In Middle C." ( a piece where I made a flute from a dogwhistle and performed a rendition of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' on it. The idea being that the flute would make inadible music that only the dogs could hear. They seemed to enjoy it.) I caught the course director smiling a rather broad smile - I do hope that's a good sign!
I opened my e-mail inbox and to my surprise had an message from the people at New Generation Arts Festival in Birmingham. It said that they had seen my graduate show and were impressed by it, the e-mail went on to invite me to submit a proposal for possible inclusion in next years festival. This is quite exciting for me as the New Generation Arts Festival is quite a big deal, I am really hoping that I'm successful in my application. I will keep you all informed as things progress.
During my time on the BA course I had never really had much call to go and work in the workshops, this was either because I didn't need to or that any practical work would be done at home. Part of the reason is that one of the workshop technicians wasn't the easiest person to get along with so we kind of avoided any work in there, we stuck to our studios.
Today we were given a talk by the on-site Health and Safety officer who explained to us things that were mostly common sense but by law they had to make sure we were told. A couple of us, having come straight form the BA were excused the wrokshop tour and equipment induction as we had done it not so long ago and were still covered by the universiity's insurance. We crept away leaving all the new students to get aqquainted with the technicians and this new environment.
We also didn't have to attend the Library induction, it really wasn't worth it. Some of us had only just returned a pile of books. We headed back to the canteen to once again put the world to rights.
It was like I'd never left, walking back into the College Building at Margaret Street. The security guard was still there, "Morning", I said cheerily. "Alright Mate, good to see ya." He replied in a thick Birmingham accent. He returned to watching the 4 grainy black and white monitors and I signed in. Infact it had only been about 12 weeks since I'd been at Uni. Collecting the sealed envelope that embodied all that I had worked for over the previous 3 years. The place was still as friendly and inviting as it had always been; the same faces, the smell that seems to pervade all Art colleges - Oil Paints and coffee.
I made my way to the canteen and plonked myself down on the comfy chairs. Always go for a comfy chair - especially if you have to walk form your house to the train station, stand up on the train because people somehow think that a rucksack needs to find a comfortable chair by the window, and then walk through the centre of Birmingham dodging scarily bubbly people who ask you "Have you ever taken a personality test?!" For the uninitiated, these people turn out to be Scientologists - who try to get you to attend meetings and buy books.
Anyway, I was sat there for a few minutes when the head of the MA course came in and ushered us through to the Lecture theatre. It was a welcome meeting, introducing us to the various lecturers and proffessors and support staff that we would be no doubt working alongside over the next couple of years. - I'm doing my MA on a Part time basis, purely because I don't want to rush the experience and feel I can get a lot more out of it over 2 years.
"I would provide you all with a copy of the course handbook" said the course director, "but they've delivered the wrong ones"
WEEK one consisted of introductions and a formal lecture welcoming us to the college. During the second week we all arrived eager to get cracking, our main tutor escorted us all out of the campus and we went on a walk around West Park and the surrounding area, perplexed we all followed, we stopped and the tutor bought us all a tea at a quant tea house in the centre of the park, there we were set this project;
Develop a new work based on the area of Wolverhampton you have circled on the map. As suggested above the work can take any form (film,photography, installation, painting etc), but should be made in response to the situation. Seminars, tutorials, lectures and critics will be held to support the development of your work. We all took it in turns to draw a circle on our maps and we all set off to walk our indervidual walks.
In this week I was approached by 'art of england' to write a column featuring a review, I chose to write a review about my tutors recent exhibition at the Newlyn Exchange;
The Abolition of the Work?’ 29th October - 18th November - Newlyn Exchange
Professor Matthew Cornford of Cornford & Cross artist collaboration is my teacher, in writing this review I am leaving behind a great fat shinny apple after class, I will endeavor to keep my opinions objective. David Cross and Matthew Cornford met at St. Martins in 1987 and they have been working callaboratively ever since. ‘The Abolition of the Work?’ is their latest joint offering and is being shown at the Newlyn Gallery in Penzance. It is an exhibition which in some ways re-visits an earlier show with the same title back in 2004. ‘Where is the Work’ at The South London gallery consisted of a seemingly empty room. On closer examination and investigation canny visitors discovered Cornford & Cross’s Duchampian act, the artists removed an old floor grille from the heating vent from the floor of the South London Gallery and replaced it with a new one. Working with other craftpersons’ and creatives’ is central to the Cornford & Cross practice; product designers and master forgers were engaged in an insightful and complex reverse engineering, model making and casting process. The old grille was preserved and entered into the galleries collection. This act and the documentary evidence of the act makes up the actual art, Cornford and Cross belong to the new relation aesthetics, a relatively new movement becoming increasing popular among artists like the 2004 Turner prize winner Jeremy Dellor. ‘Where is the Review?’ A review would spoil your experience and so this is more of a challenge, I dare you to visit explore and discover the interventions that have taken place in this beautiful part of the world. Matthew and David would implore you ‘take a walk’ around Penzance and Cornwall, meet the natives and visit this exhibition at Newlyn Exchange Gallery, Penzance. This type of art isn’t for all but even at first glance the work might well be invisible or deeply conceptual but remember all the other people involved in the work behind the ‘Work.’ And as for being teachers pet, the dog ate my homework.
I ashamedly bent the truth and wangled a day of work to attend the media review at the Turner Prize. It was a frenzy of activity, Nicholas Serota was there, looking out of sorts, forlorn, a fish out of water? He kept peering over shoulders pulling the notes of note-pads, he has always struck me as a art version of Alaister Campbell. Anyway it was virtually impossible to see the works without getting in the way of someone's photo or in the shot of a T.V crew and presenter. It was then that it struck me I could be in the press myself when I'm supposed to be at work ......SHIT....! I dashed around shielding my face, avoiding the clicking cameras and the boom wielding interviewers desperate to get out. This is a hard enough task without Nathan Coley putting traps in my path, and Nelson creating a perfectly mirrored installation which had me going around in circles, finally the dark at the end of a white walled, strip lightened tunnel, I burst into the back rooms into a luncheon headed up by our long faced friend Nicholas Serota, arts movers and shakers in attendance. What I really needed then was Wallinger's bear costume. So in a trance like the Zarina Bhimji film in the show, I left the Albert dockside, and I proudly congratulated myself on avoiding the chance of me being in some background shot on channel 4 that evening when I bumped into the foundation teacher from work - what are the odds of that? He was on a field trip to the Tate.
So I've got to hold my breath now and hope that they don't put two & two together or indeed read this blog entry.
Read the blog entries of two MA fine art students. Nathaniel Pitt and Chris Hodson are studying at Wolverhampton and Birmingham respectivly. This blog is a recording of their experiences in these two seats of learning