January 21, 2012

Temporality lasts longest

"When there was something left to save" by Anya Gallaccio, 2008

In my previous post I wrote about Ephemeral art. I also wanted to tell about Anya Gallaccio's work, but I didn't dare to add photos of Anya Gallaccio's work in the same post with my academy work.

First a little about Anya: Anya Gallaccio (born 1963) is a Scottish artist, who often incorporates organic material in her work such as fruit, vegetables, plants, ice, and recently sand. Often these materials change during the course of the exhibition. Once they have left the artist's atelier nature takes over control. Flowers wither, grass grows, ice melts, fruit rots. In other works the natural course of transformation is stopped. Sprouting potatoes and broad bean pods, branches and whole trees trunks are reproduced in bronze, their lives prolonged indefinitely. In 2003 she was nominated for the Turner Prize of the Tate Britain, London.

In her work she found a perfect balance, partly temporary, partly permanent. "Because Nothing has Changed" (2000) is a bronze sculpture of a tree adorned with porcelain apples. "Because I Could Not Stop" (2002) is a similar bronze tree but with real apples which are left to rot. The bronze looks as fragile as the fruits. She inspired me to continue with my temporary works, in both my ricecarpets as wallpaper installations. She proofs that temporary art can have just as much impact on the art scene, museums and the art market as long-lasting paintings or sculptures.

"...The conceptual framework of her art is often developed from the specific site and its historic resonance. Yet the physical presence of the work is always a primary concern. The viewer’s senses are stimulated at every turn. This might be the pleasurable scent of flowers or chocolate - which at a later date might become the disturbing stench of decay. Or it might be the bold use of unexpected forms to create a stunning view, for example through the introduction of seven felled oak trees to the grand Duveen galleries at Tate Britain, or the simple presentation of a wall of gerbera daisies pinned behind a single sheet of glass, as seen in a new work, preserve ‘beauty’ 1991-2003, for the Turner Prize exhibition."
from "The Weekly Artist"

Enjoy and take time to read the titles!

"Glaschu"by Anya Gallaccio, live plants arranged in a giant carpet pattern, inspired by Templeton's Carpet Factory designs, 1999

"Preserve ‘beauty’" by Anya Gallacio, made of 2,000 red gerberas 1991-2003

"Blessed (Drawing for a sculpture)" by Anya Gallaccio, 2000

"It must give you pleasure" by Anya Gallaccio, 2001

"Because I could not stop" by Anya Gallaccio, 2002

January 20, 2012


Children trying to taste the lollipop for the photo, 2003

Why make temporary art? Why make something that isn't meant to last? Questions often asked, not only by colleagues, the audience and friends, but also by myself.
It all started in my first year of the Art Academy. I made a lollypop of 150 cm. I made it of real sugar, the top part strawberry flavored and the bottom banana. It smelled great, I had to put I sign with it "Don't eat the Art" when it laid out to dry.
I exhibited the lollipop in the garden of the academy, later my mom planted it in her kitchen garden to make some photos.

Making of lollipop, 2003

Lollipop, 2003

After the lollipop I experimented with food (eating round food on a round picnic blanket only passing the food around in a circle), with soap, dried acrylic (molds of pill strips) and hair gel (inspired by the works of Nobert Stück). It was after my graduation that I made my first ricecarpet. I didn't think about "how to sell" or if it was practical, I just felt like making it. After that, many ricecarpets followed and I'm still very happy with the organic materials (rice, lentils, beans, corn, sunflowerseeds).

Cat-milk bottles with drops of hair gel, 2003

When I was little, I was fascinated by vanitas paintings. I loved the dark oil paintings, they where spooky. They carry out this feeling, this warning; "You are just a tiny dot in the universe, what comes on your path, what you'll become, no one knows, but be quick, because nothing last, nothing remains".

"In the arts, vanitas is a type of symbolic work of art especially associated with Northern European still life painting in Flanders and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries, though also common in other places and periods. The word is Latin, meaning "emptiness" and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:2 from the Bible is often quoted in conjunction with this term. The Vulgate (Latin translation of the Bible) renders the verse as Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas. The verse is translated as Vanity of vanities, all is vanity by the King James Version of the Bible, and Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless by the New International Version of the Bible."
-from Wikipedia

This subject never left my work. My translation of it is much lighter. My work is not about "nietigheid" (nothingness) or ending, I'm trying to capture a moment in time, share an experience. A memory can last for ever, it's not something you can hold in your hands, but you can feel it and share it.

"Metroman's Dance" by Nobert Strück, 1989. Page from SO-OP 1982 - 1990

"Suicide soap" by Nobert Strück, 1988. Page from SO-OP 1982 - 1990

"The transience of life has been a continued subject for artists of the fifteenth century to contemporary times. Prominent within fifteenth century northern European still life paintings the burning candle or partially peeled lemon symbolised the transience of time, and consequently of life. Manifest in the symbols of vanitas the ephemeral remained within the realms of picturesque depiction, the continued diversification of materials throughout the twentieth century however transformed subject into material form.
Ephemeral works of art embody a perpetual state of physical transformation, time very literally defines the truly ephemeral work of art. Ice, flowers, sand, chocolate, in this post-modern destruction of the revered art object traditionally non-art materials embody rather than represent transience."

-from Wikipedia

Finding my place in art and life, I found the term "Ephemeral art". It is a much better word than "temporary art", see the explanation above. Ephemeral things (from Greek ephemeros, literally "lasting only one day") are transitory, existing only briefly. Typically the term is used to describe objects found in nature, although it can describe a wide range of things.

Hope I will be part of that art movement some day!

January 11, 2012

Starting with a splash!

"Dandelion explosion" by Walter Mason in 2005

First of best of wishes for 2012! Let it be a year full of things you want to do! And get time to do it!
Tried to make a list of things to do today, what has to come first on my blog and when. I got a call that my studio was maybe flooded so I dropped my plans, left my mind and headed there. Lucky for me, it's my next-door-neighbor's studio that is probably flooded...When I got back I started cleaning out my closet (because I get shelfs this weekend, living in this house a year this weekend..), adding nice pictures of birds in my agenda and getting distracted by Facebook.

"red berries, black hole, green duckweed" by Walter Mason in 2007

Monday my design for a Pagi-Sore batik finally went in a package on its way to Jakarta, indonesia. I will add photos of the painting and the making of soon. Read more about it in the blogpost "Making paper look like fabric".
I like to start this year with not a post about history, then again everything that is documented is already history, but with something new and temporary. In this new year next to Batik and Dutch (colonial) history and folkart, I will be making posts about Temporary Art. This fine example is made by Germany based artist Walter Mason. Found a post about it on the site Recycl Art. Inspiration to feed your recycling mind! Just what I need on a day like today. It's always difficult to re-start after you finished something you worked on that long. It's also the feeling of being satisfied for a moment, but all artists know this never last long...
Back to Walter Mason. He makes land art, with almost graphical feel to it. After he makes it, he then let nature do the erasing. In these photos with a little help by a brick.

Land Art is becoming the new graffiti. Sunday someone told me that in a TV program they interviewed a man making stone-carpets in the forest. He just collected stones and when he had enough he made a little piece of art. People in the village where telling each other that they should walk there and there when walking the dog, to see more of these artworks!

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Land Art was a quite popular art form from the US. Still a lot of great epic Land Art is made, but it had a bit of a taking-themselves-very-serious feel to it. I always have ideas for making temporary art statements, but I never quite make them. Maybe 2012 will be a good year for recycling ideas, or finally execute them and getting back to nature.

"Buttercups" by Walter Mason in 2007

More Land Art by Walter Mason on his photostream Meandermind