Archive for March 2015

A selection of Brey's work on display

As part of a trip abroad to Antwerp, Belgium. I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA), located in the Zuid district of the city. The gallery has its own collection and temporary exhibitions and doesn't shy away from alternative styles. When I went, I became heavily intrigued by the current exhibition Fuel to the Fire, featuring the work of Cuban artist Ricardo Brey, most of work of which I believe fits in perfectly with my project.
Árbol cortado y escombros

 Árbol quemado (Verbrande boom)

Rest Before Labour


Bastón del Diablo

Above is a few of Brey's photographic works on display, all of which incorporate a tangible element as well as a A1 picture. The photos represent an environment and the interior of certain natural elements from those environments (e.g. trees, ground, cave, etc.) while the objects place next to or in front of them give you a more realistic idea of how they are and the feel of which they give the artist.

"Rock Ball", "Egg", "Love" and "A Dream of Nine Nights"

More of Brey's work, which consist of fold-out boxes which old significant objects and a multitude of books, drawings, sculptural and performative proposals in the form of a fold-our binder. Each page is a work of its own and notes the process of the 3D element that takes up most of the box over beautiful illustrations of animals, organs, flora and other natural elements. Further illustrations were on display from alternative projects also:

"Papeles de Verrazano"

From the visit, I feel that I have more direction of where I want to take my final piece and a wider vocabulary of how to mimic my idea of 'Inside Out' via different development plans of which I plan to carry out prior to the initial planning of my final piece.
I documented my visit to the gallery at a later date and collected various leaflets from the museum as seen above, as well as a select few sketches based on some of the pieces on display. From what I discovered, I feel drawn to the shape of sphere featured in some of Brey's work, and how I could transcribe them to relate to my project 'Inside Out'.
Gallery Visit - Museum of Contemporary Art (Belgium) Full View

Today, I conducted further research around two contemporary artists that I believe relate to my project and can inspire me with new development ideas. I chose the American prolific contemporary artist Jim Shaw and English etcher Gemma Anderson.
I originally saw Jim Shaw's non-art collection at the Magnificent Obsessions exhibit at the Barbican Centre and upon further inspection of his work, I have discovered some interesting pieces of work which I believe relate to Inside Out.

Shaw’s work is informed by a relentless inquiry into the imagery of popular culture, the vernacular, art history, politics, religion and myth, as well as his own unconscious mind. An obsessive cultural cataloguer, he draws from these disparate sources to make work in distinct series that are intensively researched and often take years to complete. His first major project, My Mirage 1986-91, charted the changing psyche of his alter-ego Billy from adolescence in middle America, to his discovery of sex and drugs then to his subsequent fall and rebirth through organised religion.
A selection of Shaw's work

From the works I have discovered, Shaw's work looks into the idea of playing with people's state of minds; their experiences and recreated them by rearranging the logic of what should be inside and what shouldn't. One example is the piece titled "Cake (Jim)", a oil on digital ink jet painting, which portrays a shirtless male figure (Jim) in front of a heavy-brush stroke painting featuring a white box. The colourful background is supposed to present the creativity of Jim while the box shows the space he needs for fresh ideas (i.e. room to create). This projects Jim's interior mind-state out onto him and suggest how it influences him on the outside.

I came across Anderson's work from the book titled The Artists of Science by Barbara Daily which documents particular contemporary artists and how their work relates to science in one way or another.
A few of the 16 etchings in the series

The collection of Anderson's work which I came across is a series of 16 etchings titled The Art of Psychiatry which were created using Japanese inks. The pieces are intricate and delicate etchings of psychiatrists and patients from psychiatric hospitals in South London. The prints were not labelled, meaning that psychiatrists were indistinguishable from their patients, highlighting the universality of mental ill-health. She interviewed each person and the portraits incorporated representations of objects that carried meanings for the subject, together with medicinal herbs used in psychiatric medications.

Art-wise, the etchings form the subjects out of objects relating to them from the interviews Anderson conducted on them, an example being one called "Connor" in which the subject's lungs can be view though his torso while being surrounded by other objects relating to him.

In retrospect, from the artists here, I believe the inspiration from Anderson's work will help me in my developments in the lead-up to my final piece. I now have a new idea involing x-rays thanks to the piece I formerly mentioned. 
Artist Research - Jim Shaw / Gemma Anderson Full View

As further research for ideas development ideas using the logical agenda I set out for a fraction of my work for my project Inside Out, I visited the Science Museum in South Kensington, London to see if any of the exhibits relate to my project idea and to see science held any possible answers for graphics overall.
A selection of exhibits on display

During my venture through the museum via the exhibits Engineer Your Future, Atmosphere, Cravings and Information Age. From what I saw, I believe the following pieces hold some significance towards my research.
Clockwise: V2 Rocket, Sectioned Mini, Sectioned Toilet, Washing Machine, Atom Divider, Biggest Tyre in the World, Ring Log

Out of the pieces seen above, my favourite is the V2 Rocket, a 1945 missile used in the Second World War to kill 2700 people due to Hitler's fascination with 'Wonder Weapons'. The interior workings and tubing of it is visible via an open plate and exposes its function. To contrast the mechanical tool, a cut tree log which rings show its age, described as a "climate diary". The rings exposes the tree's interior while the ring describes - to an extent - shows how its inside helps to form its outside, and therefore relates well to my project idea.

Along with the inclusion of devices like cars, washing machines and toilets cut in half to see their interior workings, I found the graphic of an atom divider based on the movement of the body interest and I wish to experiment with the idea further in a development. Overall I enjoyed the museum visit and feel more inspired for my idea. I will carry these out at a later time after my research stage.
Gallery Visit - Science Musuem Full View

As part of my contextual research, I commuted to a number of galleries in London to view the exhibits on display and find artists that relate to my work and that I develop a liking for. These galleries included the Serpentine and Sackler galleries in South Kensington and the Barbican in North London.

Examples of the current exhibition at Serpentine

One of two galleries situated in the midst of Hyde Park, the Serpentine Gallery is currently holding an exhibit titled Bite Your Tongue consisting of the work of the late war artist Leon Golub. The artist was fuelled by his conviction that art should hold a contemporary relevance rooted in the collective experiences of humankind. 

As a postwar, figurative painter, Golub repeatedly returned to themes of oppression and violence to voice his strong opposition to inequality and misuse of power. Below are a select few of his paintings that appealed to me:
Clockwise: Vietnamn I, Postwar, Biology, Vieteman IV, Man, I've Got to Get Myself Together!

The majority of these pieces symbolise the brutality of the Vietnam War from the last century, which to me shows Golub's ambition to get his views heard in the most shocking yet honest way. My favourite piece - and one which I believe relates to my project proposal of exploring what's inside a person to determinate the meaning of their exterior, and a skeleton is a literal interpretation of what is inside a person. Golub's take is more comical than I intend my incarnation of work to be, but also amusing to the fact that an artist should have multiple personality traits.
A select few of the art pieces on display at the Sackler Gallery

The other Hyde Park gallery - the Sackler Gallery - was holding an exhibition called Boomerang by Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou. The artist's work is characterised by his belief in the social responsibility of the artist to voice current political, ecological and economical concerns. The paradoxes and contradictions of modern life observed by Tayou are expressed via assemblages of contrasting objects and materials, a few of which I have listed as my favourites of the gallery:
Left to right: Leaves, Our Traditions Coton Tige, Seeing Double

I particualy like the layout of the gallery as it gives off the sense of a mirroring theme. When you travel around one way to view the exhibits - following the paper bag trail exhibit attached to the ceiling - you find them again at the other side but from another direction. Our Traditions comprises of hanging alter objects that represent the origins of African society as a reminder to where we as humans come from and for Tayou to show is own origins.

My favourite piece from the gallery is Coton Tige; a cloud-like object with wooden thorns sticking out of it suspended in the middle of a room. The piece is supposed to be callback to Europe's colonial history of cotton production and the slave labour demanded by it, again a reference to Tayou's familial background.

BARBICAN CENTRE - Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector
The last exhibition I visited was headlined Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector - held in the Barbican Centre in City of London - and rather than exhibit work by artists, it showed household items collected by artists. No photography was permitted inside the gallery so I instead took notes and drew sketches of the works on display.
My notes and drawings from the gallery. I will write them up properly later this week

The fascinating personal collections of post-war and contemporary artists ranges from mass-produced memorabilia and popular collectibles to one-of-a-kind curiosities, rare artefacts and specimens. These collections are supposed to provide insight into the inspirations, influences, motives and obsessions of the artists; Damien Hurst, Pae White, Arnam and Hiroshi Sugimoto among them.

I found the concept of the gallery interesting as it was different take on that to expect from a typical exhibition and makes aware of how important contextualisation is to artists, whether they are young designers or famous artists. 
Publicity photos of Sokimoto's and Pae's collections

The set-ups that appealed to me most included Hiroshi Sokimoto's collection of paintings, which contrasted heavily to the work he produces, and Pae White, whose simple garments of work (i.e. hanging out pieces of patterned cloth together and wire structures) make you see the simplest things of everyday life in a more particular and mesmerising way.
The slow-moving kayak

Afterwards, I visited The Curve exhibition space at the Barbican, which was showcasing Slow Movement; a project by Swiss artist and sculptor Roman Signer. The exhibit featured a kayak boat, described as a longstanding symbol and form in Signer's work for three decades. The kayak is towed through the 90-metre long gallery by a rope suspended from the ceiling, navigating the Curve as if moving through a canal, with two other kayaks installed across the centre in unexpected ways, reflecting Signer’s playful and surreal approach to his subject.


I found the experience pointless and empty in terms of atmosphere and visual, but I see this as a learning curve that maybe after all the work an artist produces, something that is easy and simple to produce is what climaxes a project perfectly, and that I shouldn't take on the idea that my final piece should be significantly complex.

At a later date, I documented the research I collected from gallery visits from the day previous into my sketchbook, the results of which can be seen below:
The documented the works displayed at the Serpentine and Sackler galleries above and talked about the artists intentions in their work to what they wanted people to see about a particular territory (i.e. the Vietnam War and the traditions of Africa). In the pages below, I wrote up and redrew my sketches and notes taken from the Magnificent Obsessions exhibition at the Barbican and experimented with a range of art materials to reproduce my sketches.
This also includes new sketches and notes I made concerning the works of Damien Hurst, Pae White, Arnam and Roman Signer, among others and how they can help influence my forthcoming experiments and developments. 

In closing, I am confident with the research I have gathered and learned from the galleries and I hope to implement this new knowledge into forthcoming pieces of work, however I believe I still need to collect further research outside of contextualisation for my developments and see where I can move on from there for my final piece.
Gallery Visits - Serpentine / Sackler / Barbican Centre Full View

To start off the practical work for my final major project, I created an introduction / brainstorm page that introduces my proposes FMP subject as well as take note of some initial development ideas in the form of rough sketches and paintings.

As well as introducing my idea and outlining its nature, the ideas I presented are shown to visualise what I mean by my project objective. Featured among them is a dress made up of an expressive font, the disarrangement of a person in hexagon shapes to symbolise taking one apart to discover their inner self, a descending stencil cutting in a book, and a person's silhouette filled with an image of something that matters to them (the example shown below being a beach)
Introduction page

My particular favourite drawing seen above is one featuring a city skyline lit up at night, with light bulbs hanging below. The piece takes the inside OUT in literal manner, as the light bulbs are what cause the skyscrapers to light up at night. I have ideas of how I can carry out this development (e.g. as a digital media piece, built from scratch, etc), but I need to find some contextualisation to help define it and what it primarily  means to me.

My next task will to be visit certain galleries accros London to gather secondary research and take note of other artists' work for inspiration and how they contextualise to my work.
Introduction Full View

After completing a number of projects on the Foundation Diploma course in Graphic Design at Ravensbourne, I am now prepared to begin my Final Major Project, which will take the course of 7 weeks to complete.

My proposed project - titled Inside Out - revolves around exploring the interiors of objects and people and explaining how they reflect on their respective exteriors, using the cliché phrase “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”. Metaphorically, I want to strip back the layers of a subject and look at what makes or influences them to be what they are (e.g. a person’s personality traits, the functions of an object and what it will be used for, etc) as opposed to comparing to what is actually underneath (e.g. organs,, although I could use that as a form of comparison.

Inspired pieces of work

I was inspired by the works of Paul Duncan, a graphic designer who created a specific piece of work advertising the 2014 World Cup that showed the creation of a singular Brazilian football jersey from the plant the silk comes from, through to stitching, logo-printing; all the way to the final product, as a sign of victory. Research and method-wise, I intend to carry out questionnaires for a selection of my classmates and friends, using them as potential subjects to base my work on.

I will also be inspecting various kinds of objects and possibly environments to find that makes up their symbolic traits and what they mean to certain people. I also intend to look at other artists’ work such as Mike Perry, Angela Palmer and Marta Bevacqua and visit galleries relating to my project for contextual and secondary research. I aim to implement my collected research into a series illustration and digital graphic trials of work before moving on to what will be my final pieces.

This blog will serve as my personal log of the examination of my final major project and explore contextual research, developments, exhibition visits and the progress of the creation of my final piece.
Project Proposal Brief Full View


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