Tuesday, 27 October 2009

What I thought was Junk-ola

The Finnish film artist Fanni Niemi-Junkola came to the Whitworth Art Gallery for a talk about her work on 20th October 2009. I hadn't heard of her before but I soon discovered that I wasn't that keen on her work. The first video she showed us was 'Giants' (1998). It featured two women fighting, almost wrestling, on the beach. It was close up, slowed down and the disgruntled noises coming from the women were slowed and heightened. I found this unsettling and uncomfortable to watch. As it was slowed down slightly, to me it seemed lacking in drama. And I thought considering the content of the film is should be full of it. The women didn't seem to be using all of their energy and effort either. The fighting didn't seem real and full of strong emotions. It seemed very controlled and like the women were holding back instead of letting go. It is staged and I know as an art piece it is more about what the 'fighting' stands for rather than how real it appears; but personally I feel that the meaning is somewhat weakened if I don't believe it is actually happening.

The next film she showed us was probably my favourite of them. 'To begin' (made in 2001) was of a woman near to the point of giving birth. It only showed two people throughout though, the woman and who I assume is the father of the child. This was a very stark video. It was grey and lacked colour but full of medical equipment. Niemi-Junkola suggested that the artistic gesture in this was the absent emotional context which seemed almost cruel. The fact that there was only two people, highlighted this and a sense of loneliness.

In contrast to the first two videos being depictions of women, 'Tower' (2008) was a landscape piece. It was a view from a helicopter of the top of a lighthouse in the sea. A harsh noise constantly blared out. The 'music' gave me a headache but I appreciated the meaning of the power of a small community.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Food Glorious Food

A personal project for us to get our teeth stuck into. No brief though, just the one word to start us off: FOOD. Usually I like to rely on a direct starting point for a project so getting started was a bit of a challenge considering the broadness of the topic. I thought about almost every aspect of food; nutrition and science, obesity and anorexia, Christmas and Ramadan, food chains and animals, even cannibalism. After a brainstorm of epic proportions and researching different areas, I became particularly interested in gluttony. The superstitions, stories and ideas from years ago, about this deadly sin, really fascinated me.

Gluttony is the over-indulgence of anything to the point of waste. It is an excessive desire for food and to withhold food from the starved and needy. An obsessive anticipation of meals, the constant eating of delicacies and extravagantly costly foods. It is associated with pigs and the colour orange. The punishment for being gluttonous in life is to be force-fed rats, toads and snakes in hell.

So many artists have looked at the seven deadly sins, from Bosch to Paul Cadmus. More on Bosch later.


6th October 2009; a rainy tuesday evening with nothing to do but throw ourselves into the Free for Arts Festival taking place in Manchester that week. So off we went to the art special of Quizimodo at Odder Bar.

We didn't win. Infact we didn't even come close as we came joint second to last. But we won an '80s style waist trimmer for our efforts, watched some Art Attack clips, and learnt some arty facts along the way. For example, contrary to popular belief that Van Gogh didn't sell any paintings during his lifetime, he actually sold one. Just the one though.

Instead of the usual drawing round of the quiz, there was a sculpture round. Each team was handed some plasticine and asked to create their finest 3-dimensional masterpiece. We produced a whole exhibition of underwater delights. This included my very own dragon-of-the-sea who was affectionately named Greg, as well as a button and a conch. It is a well known fact that buttons are found in the sea. Neither did we win this round but Quavers and biscuits at the end made everyone feel like winners.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Mission Impossible

Brief number 2; another group task. This time we were set a video project. Similar to the Sweded Movies which Be Kind Rewind is made up of, we had to parody a film. We were tackling Mission Impossible.

I'd hardly done any video projects before this one but I really enjoyed it. It was fun to mimick such a serious sort of film and be so resourceful. Not all video footage needs to be an expense and I think Michel Gondry proves this perfectly through The Science Of Sleep, which is a lovely film.

Definitely going to try my hand at some more video work in the future.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

First Blog & A Negative Space Party

This is the first blog I have ever written. So far so good. Once I figure out how to add pictures and videos I'm sure it'll be a breeze. The hard part for me will be the regular posting, as many times I have tried to keep a diary of sorts and every one of them died a death shortly after.

Our first project was a cross-year party project. This involved each group being given an artist to be inspired by. Artists included: Bill Viola, Heath Robinson, Van Gogh, Alexander Calder, Picasso, Jean Tinguely, Marcel Duchamp, Rebecca Horn, and the artist who influenced the party we prepared; Rachel Whiteread.

The sculptress primarily focuses on the aspect of negative space. We included a large white cube, a response to her Embankment sculpture and the space we were given to work within. Surrounded by black balloons, another reflection of space, or rather, lack of.