The combined work of Fitch & Trecartin exhibited sculptural installations screening films. I enjoyed how interactive this exhibition was and how it was so easy to understand, in a sense – the films were of a very flamboyant group of friends getting f*cked up on everything and anything. Not saying my friends are like that, but watching those films really remind me of what you remember after a heavy night. The effects and distortion at times, were very relatable to visions you see and things happening when you’re in a state. The films kept me on edge and I was always keen to know what’s going to happen next, like a story. On occasion, the films got so weird you were almost scared for them as if this was they’re everyday life, this is how their friends in the film actually live because it was so serious and open to this is what life is like. The effects of the film really inspired me, the sounds was eery and made you feel funny, the visionary effects kept your eyes glued to the screen so much you felt you were witnessing the situation in first hand.
The Sigmar Polke exhibition at Tate Modern really inspired me for the unit 2 project. I had never come face to face with an exhibition based solely on one artist, and loved most of the work. His style of art is exactly what I love to see and explore or figure out. A lot of pieces are very confusing or questionable but I admire his controversy. I felt that a lot of techniques used in his work are ones that I have either used before, tried to use, or really want to use at some point in the future in my own practice. One piece that really stood out to me was in the last room of the exhibition. It was a huge painting, with layers, creating illusions if you looked closely enough.
The painting gave me the idea to experiment with pieces that I would be able to layer and create a similar effect to Polke’s piece, but perhaps not quite as detailed. I liked the idea of illusions because it linked nicely with my theme – psychedelia. I also liked how I was able to experiment with the idea of layering, using Photoshop, double exposures and scanners. There was so much to play around with and try out. This exhibition was greatly influential on my project work for this unit and allowed me to learn and apply to my own work.
1: The Key Achievements of your work for this Unit
I feel that Unit 2 has helped me to achieve a lot in myself as an artist. By experimenting first instead of jumping immediately in to an idea gave me a greater knowledge of my theme and what I want to get across to the viewer. Experimenting led me to create restrictive paintings/drawings (whilst stood up, with my left hand, my eyes closed etc). I really enjoy doing these but probably wouldn’t have come across doing them again if I hadn’t been experimenting. I enjoyed the digital pathway playing a smaller project in my role also, because this is usually demanding over my projects.
2: The most useful things that you have learned
Despite the digital pathway not playing a huge part in my project, I still managed to learn a few new techniques on Photoshop, which will be useful for the future. I feel that this project has helped me to distinguish my style and what it is I do in Art, what processes I use. Psychedelia has always excited me, listening to music from the 60’s and just knowing about the culture in general. Because of this project I now feel that I know much more than I ever would have regarding the theme and particularly how psychedelia applies to art and what this type of art is.
3: Some issues that you found challenging and how you dealt with them
At the beginning of the project, I found it hard to think of what to photograph with my film camera. I wanted to experiment with photography but I didn’t know how or what. So I experimented through painting, which allowed me to get a feel of how psychedelic art looks, feels and the processes behind it. Another issue would be how I present my work for the assessment. Unfortunately by the time I finished my pieces, it was too late to send them away for celluloid development as they would have arrived once the assessments are over. However this is always something that can be taken to another project.
4: The main area for development that you can take forward into your next work?
In the future I feel that my work will look more and more psychedelic as I have never studied a style of work to suit my needs and also describe my past work so accurately. I will also take inspiration from the lo fi hi fi brief by experimenting a lot more before I immediately indulge in to an idea. I have always enjoyed analogue processes so there is a high demand for that in my future projects, such as celluloid, cyanotypes and more paintings. Time management is also a big area for development, so that incidents such as being unable to use celluloid for the exhibition do not occur again.
For my project, I have focused on the style of psychedelic art. I felt that this theme opened up many opportunities to use both analogue and digital media, combining the two and developing them back and forth. Photography has been the majority of my practise after experimenting with restrictive paintings and smaller investigations in my sketchbook. Layering has been a key process throughout my work inspired by artist Sigmar Polke. This way, I am able to combine analogue with digital, manipulate them and develop them in whichever pathway I wish and allow further experimentations.
Mirrorcity was an incredibly inspiring exhibition to visit whilst making work for my project regarding psychedelia. The exhibition was created as somewhere that is real, that exists in the world yet hold the most fictional and almost mythical pieces. All the work used up the space very thoughtfully, as pieces were leading you on from one to the other very smoothly and the installations were incredibly unique. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s portraits of black men really stood out to me, after reading her statement I felt that I could really connect to her work and understand her intentions and where she was coming from.
Another piece that really stood out were photo manipulations created by John Stezaker. I really enjoy creating illusions using physical photographs and cutting them up, but never had I seen such skill until I came across Stezaker’s work. Some pieces often had me looking twice, his work was so easy to fool.
What really caught my eye in Mirrorcity however, is the installation created by Tai Shani. I had never come across a piece like this before. It was so weird, it was so interesting. I sat there for half an hour, listening to the stories her characters were telling me. It was so hypnotizing, not just the films and sounds but the installation and world she had created inside. Similarly, I also enjoyed Laure Prouvost’s installation which felt like you were in someone’s home despite her dramatic narrating which was really interesting to listen to.
Larry Carlson is an artist who creates psychedelic imagery through prints. Carlson’s prints are incredibly detailed which is something I admire, however have not focused on in my project. His works are made from manipulations creating scenes you couldn’t imagine, which I think is sometimes the point of psychedelia. It’s thinking in a sense to open your mind to the possibilities of the impossible.
Neil Krug is a photographer who manipulates his photographs to become almost like illusions in a very psychedelic manner. I really took inspiration from his work as I particularly liked how recent his work was yet it looks like it was taken decades ago. His use of ‘analogue’ cameras was highly influential on my work so I was able to see how photography had been made psychedelic, what type of techniques and effects allow this final look.