“Up then, fair phoenix bride, frustrate the sun;
Thyself from thine affection
Takest warmth enough, and from thine eye
All lesser birds will take their jollity.
Up, up, fair bride, and call
Thy stars from out their several boxes, take
Thy rubies, pearls, and diamonds forth, and make
Thyself a constellation of them all;
And by their blazing signify
That a great princess falls, but doth not die.
Be thou a new star, that to us portends
Ends of much wonder; and be thou those ends.”
―John Donne – the complete english poems.
What is reality? You could say reality is constructed and that we are a part of those structures, but what makes these structures tangible, how do we sense reality, how do we perceive reality? – This is where Olufar Elliasson comes in. Elliasson is Danish artist who’s well known for it’s large installations and sculptures where he tends to make the natural elements and experiences that it produces more tangible.
“Art is not only about decorating the world and making it look even better or even worse (subjective notion of art), it’s also about taking responsibility.” – Let’s start with this notion of art, and as we go further I’ll try to explain it to you, what it means and most of all, how powerful it’s content is.
What’s the difference between thinking and doing?
What does it mean when I’m in a space, does it make any difference?
“New York City Waterfalls“ – A large-scale installation project by Eliasson which ran from July 2008 till October 2008 in which he tries to make “space” more experienceable, more tangible. To accomplish this he uses the speed of water as an indicator, as a measurement of how big a structure is. He uses it as an indicator of time and therefore also of distance. “How long does it take till the water reaches the surface, how fast is the water falling when watching from a distance”: one could ask himself. This way he attempts to make the space and dimensions of the (enormous) city more tangible. Because New York is after all a city that tends to play around with the sense of space. – It’s enormous, large-scaled, somewhat surreal.
So these waterfalls are not only an act of bringing nature back to the city but also about giving them a sense of dimension. Eliasson beliefs that it makes a big difference whether you have a body which feels a part of space, rather than having a body who’s just in front of a picture. Because when someone has a sense of time and space it makes the space accessible. It makes the space changeable. Again you could relate this with community, to come back to what I talked about yesterday. It could relate to collectivity and the sense of being together. (See last post; “chaos reinvented & how life gave birth to itself” ) Therefore they might feel a part of that space, of society.
But how do we create public space that is both tolerant towards individuality and also to collectivity whithout polerising the two into opposites? Let’s say that experiencing art and space is about taking part into the world, about sharing responsibility. So what’s the difference between thinking and doing and what’s in between? Experiencing something is what connects both opposites. But what’s experiencing something? Having an experience is taking part in the world, is sharing something, it’s about sharing responsibility. That’s why art really makes a relevance in this world. Therefore Art and culture has proven that one can create a space which is both sensitive to collectivity and individuality.
Chaos, a lifeless hump which existed before the era of gods. It was merely a concept not a god which is a crucial difference that must be made clear before I can proceed. Therefore “it” was not personalized like the later Gods were, neither has it an embodiment like for example Zeus or Aphrodite. Out of this Chaos, life and earth came forth. These first concepts who came forth out of the Chaos: Nyx (night) , Tartaros (the underworld), Gaea (the earth) and Eros (love) were also still concepts. But from these four, the first generation of embodied Gods came forth (fe. Kronos).
A lifeless lump, unfashion’d, and unfram’d,
Of jarring seeds; and justly Chaos nam’d.
No sun was lighted up, the world to view;
No moon did yet her blunted horns renew:
Nor yet was Earth suspended in the sky,..”
-Ovid; Metamorphoses, first book –
It’s important to note the difference between the Biblical story of Genesis and the beginning of ‘life’ as written down by the ancient Greeks and romans. The biggest ‘confusion’ lies in the fact that the world, earth or life – as told to us by the ancients – was not “created” , therefore there was no higher being, no God who molded the world (to his example – cf. Genesis). Instead, the world ‘gave birth to itself’. It came forth out of what they called ‘Chaos’ (which was ‘a gaping hole’, it was nor masculine nor female – it had no sex). So in that way it’s considerable that all the needed structures to build up life, to create the world were already contained inside of the Chaos but in a messy kind of way.
Arne Quinze, a Belgian conceptual artist who’s work mainly relates to the social interaction, communication and urbanisation of art. He believes that by placing art in a common environment like a park or such, the public, the people passing by, get educated and involved into the world of culture. There’s no more hiding from art, it’s no longer concealed in a dark museum which is rarely visited by the ‘commoners’. Therefor he places art right in front of their faces which leaves them no choice: they can either like or dislike it, but the interaction is inevitable.
“There’s no chaos, only structure” is a tagline in some of his work expressing his inner self and how he describes his thoughts. To him there is no chaos, everything is structured even in the chaos you find structure. (remember Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where in structure already was concealed inside of the Chaos). There’s no such thing as chaos in Quinze’s world or at least not in the sense of how society defines chaos. Chaos does exist, as a form of structure. Chaos is irretrievably linked with life. In life everything is a matter of rhythm. Something without a rigid structure is part of the organic order in life. (Again think about how the ancients described it). So the link between both is rather inevitable. As chaos housed structure and life. Arne Quinze’s ‘chaotic’ structures house people, house life. They shelter life, they form a meeting space, a social environment in what at first looked as a chaotic swarm of people passing by each other randomly. It brings them together. It brings art and life together. It reminds the people of their biggest accomplishment; culture.
“There’s no chaos, only structure”
Earlier posts featuring Arne Quinze: https://whatsaboutart.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/cities-like-open-air-museums-beaufort-04-1/
A simple draft, hidden in a plain old-fashioned sketchbook. That’s all it takes.
As I was searching for something this afternoon (nothing out of the ordinary), I surprisingly stumbled upon this (old) sketchbook of mine, which dates back to my college-years (2011). Although this was (hidden) is my closet all along it still surprised me how many memories it made me recollect. This sketch (see below) in particular. First of all I can still remember the sight I looked upon when drawing this sketch, gazing over the Grand Canale in Venice (what a sublime picture). Focusing my sight upon the San Giorgio Maggiore. It was warm that day. The sun glazing upon my sheets, I drew this fast sketch.
Now, more than 2 years later it still reminds me of the particular feelings I felt that day, being in love and all. Things were different back then, so many has changed since I got my college degree. University is nothing alike what I used to to back in those days.
What I really wanted to share with you is what it inspired me to do these last couple of days. As i gazed upon this sketch, I saw one thing, “structures”. I saw how the dome has been drew with its skeleton included, its supporting structures. Well, that’s what I want to explore in the near future; how to trigger certain expressions using only the structural lines of an object/building. Which structures are unable to? If so, why is this? Which structures are more appropriate than others and why? Architecture reduced to their fundamental support. “Des lignes sans plus”.
Peter Fischli & David Weiss – 1987 – Art Installation (aprox 100ft).
It’s been a while, I admit it, it has been too long. But today I decided to get back on track. One year has past without a painting or drawing has been made, which gives me the perfect opportunity to start with a clean slate (new work below), to start over with a brand new perspective and most of all: new stories to share with new people who might care.
I’m sorry it took this long.
Have a great day
Enjoy and be disturbed; created by Bunuel and Salvador Dali. Masters of Surrealism and owners of the weird side of the 20th century.
Director: Luis Bunuel
Epic, touching and above all, astonishing and beautiful. These are the sounds from beneath the earth, the memory of an era below the surface, a recreation of the devastating sounds produced by a coal mine.
As mentioned before, I recently went to Manifesta ’09 (The deep of Modern, The european Biennial of Contemporary Art) where I saw this really moving and perhaps politically Video by Karikis Mikhail & Uriel Orlow. Working together with an ex-coal miners choir from Kent they recall an vocalise the sounds of underground activity in the coal-mines. The scenery used is the same as were they have worked for almost their entire lifespan. It Resonates with pathos, dignity and emotional force. It’s a tribute a requiem to all those who have spend their time in the mines, for all those who gave their lives.
Which moved me the most is perhaps that the sounds (which are inhumane) are not created by the machinery itself, but by the people who were the driving force of it all.