I’m putting together ideas for the final assignment in my Curatorial Practice class. Right now, I’m attracted to a few art pieces that speak to the theme of nature vs culture, or specifically, the transformation of nature into culture/culture transforming into nature. But I’m not sure exactly what I want to say, or what topic I want to focus on. I’m hoping that by putting down these ideas here, something will happen. That, or panic will happen and then something will really happen.
Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty (1970)
Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) (Image: Good Morning Gloucester)
I’m attracted to Smithson’s project because it is a literal translation of culture into nature, something in which we have placed into nature and letting nature dictate the outcome and the life of the art piece. It would be interesting to do something similar where I can alter or add something to the environment and see how the environment deals with it. However, the timeline to see what nature does to the artwork is very short. I have one week. If I had started this a few months earlier, I could have shown the progression of the project but right now, that’s impossible.
Kruger is another artist who’s work is appealing. I like how she combines images and texts where she questions feminism and consumerism. Her work is graphic in style. They look like advertisements which was the intent for the viewer’s first impression. However, upon further observation, the viewer will see that they are art pieces and also the meaning behind what the texts say. Her work does ask questions about what has shaped us and our culture. It might be a cool idea to investigate further.
Can I just say that Fluxkits are awesome? I love them! Ever since I created one for my Cabinet of the Everyday project, I can’t get enough of them. I would love to combine the idea of a Fluxkit into my final assignment but I’m still thinking about what I want to say with them. How will the kit speak to the nature vs culture them? Perhaps I can combine the idea of the fluxkit with that of Smithson’s earthwork sculpture? It could be interactive and be left anonymously in nature. Perhaps I could create messages for people to follow? For thought is required.
Fluxkit for the Creative Mind
I’m taking a break from essay writing to bring you another project: Fluxkit for the Creative Mind!
Need inspiration? Wish you had more imagination and vision? Feel that you’re not talented enough? Look no further! Buy and own the new Fluxkit for the Creative Mind! Simply follow the instructions and you’ll notice the results immediately.
If only this existed!
I really enjoyed making this project because I love the absurd. I was inspired by the avant-garde art movement, Fluxus, whom made these interactive, fun and absurd collection boxes called fluxkits. What is a fluxkit? I’ll let artist Alison Knowles explain that:
The idea behind my Fluxkit is that I feel that the characteristics (shown here as bottles) are what we all share. Sometimes we feel like we don’t possess one or any of these characteristics that are connected with creativity. Wouldn’t it be nice to just take a magic elixir that can boost your confidence? Wouldn’t it be nice if I can crack open the ‘Imagination’ bottle and drink it in its entirety, which I hope will help me write a compelling and interesting essay?
Again I ask: if only?!
The two top prints (not including the ripped one) in the bath are mine. I shot them last week using my Dad’s Pentax Asahi SP1000 camera for my photography class. I’m pretty happy with how the negatives turned out, and the prints look gorgeous!
Now, I will need to scan the negatives so I can post them to my blog, as well as send a few to my friend who posed for me.
Young woman applying make up, woodblock print. c.1795 (Source: wikipaintings.org)
Another artist of the Japanese ukiyo-e genre whom I considered for my project is Utamaro Kitagawa (1750?-1806).
Utamaro was considered one of the great printmakers of the genre. Like many other printmakers, he experimented in subjects like landscapes to animals to kabuki actors, but it was his focus of women that made him well-known and solidified his reputation.
His representations of beautiful women (bijin-ga) showed his respect and his admiration towards them. His models ranged from the lowest class of prostitutes to high-class courtesans such as geishas. His prints focused on their everyday life, how they prepared themselves before a day’s work to their interactions with their peers. Even though his women were idealized in their features such as elongated torsos, large heads, and slim bodies, he undoubtedly found an interesting subject to concentrate his entire career on.
“Lovers in an upstairs room” from series, “Poem of the Pillow”, woodblock print, 1788 (Source: British Museum)
As with Kuniyoshi and other printmakers, Utamaro’s work also dealt in erotica, or shun-ga. His best known series of shun-ga is “Poem of the Pillow”. The image above is one of my favourites. The picture is very sensual. What is striking is that the woman’s leg is raised, open for the invitation. We don’t see the lovers’ faces, only that they are focused on themselves. It’s a private moment that is loving and tender. The British Museum has a great description of this piece, along with the poem that accompanies it. I would love to own a reproduction of this print one day.