Abstract Heads Experiments

Taking things out, putting them back in again.

Sleeping Snooze. Not a graveyard, but reclining.

Postproduction: culture as screenplay: how art reprograms the world

Postproduction: culture as screenplay: how art reprograms the world
Nicolas Bourriaud; [editor, Caroline Schneider; translation, Jeanine Herman]
Publisher: New York : Lukas & Sternberg, c2002.
ISBN: 0971119309 DDC: 709.049


what if the platform, the plinth, becomes the work?

what if we take an AH and put it on a gaudy platform?

why does the plane of the ground have to be flat?

"Post-production refers to a zone of working" - what "PP" would I do to an AH?

" inventing protocols of use for all existing modes of representation and formal structures. It is a matter of seizing all the codes of a culture, all the forms of everyday life, the workds of the global patrimony, and making them function. To learn how to use forms is above all to know how to make them one´s own, to inhabit them." p.12

copy other people.... and learn from this what you need to learn

Sarah Morris, Household gloss on Canvas http://i1.exhibit-e.com/petzel/afc98954.jpg

p.17 "The supremacy of cultures of appropriation and the reprocessing of forms calls
for an ethics: to paraphrase Philippe Thomas, artworks belong to
everyone. Contemporary art tends to abolish the ownership of forms,
or in any case to shake up the old jurisprudence. Are we heading
toward a culture that would do away with copyright in favor of a
policy allowing free access to works, a sort of blueprint for a com-
mmunism of forms"

p. 18"The Situationists extolled la derive (or drift), a technique
of navigating through various urban settings as if they were film sets.
These situations, which had to be constructed, were experienced,
ephemeral, and immaterial works, an art of the passing of time resis-
tant to any fixed limitations. Their task was to eradicate, with tools
borrowed from the modern lexicon, the mediocrity of an alienated
everyday life in which the artwork served as a screen, or a consola-
tion, representing nothing other than the materialization of a lack."

p19."Using a remote
control is also production, the timid production of alienated leisure
time: with your finger on the button, you construct a program."

p.20"The quality of a work depends on the trajectory it describes in the cul-
tural landscape. It constructs a linkage between forms, signs, and

p.24 "Citizens of international public space, they tra-
verse these spaces for a set amount of time before adopting new
identities; they are universally exotic. They make the acquaintance of
people of all sorts, the way one might hook up with strangers during
a long trip. That is why one of the formal models of Tiravanija's work
is the airport, a transitional place in which individuals go from boutique
to boutique and from information desk to information desk and join
the temporary micro-communities that gather while waiting to reach
a destination. Tiravanija's works are the accessories and decor of a
planetary scenario, a script in progress whose subject is how to in-
habit the world without residing anywhere."

that's all well and good, but people tend to isolate themselves at airports... forming queues NOT talking to each other...

p26 "Art is the product of a gap."

p.27 "Why not use art to look at the world, rather than stare sullenly at the
forms it presents?"

erm... because it's supposed to be reflecting the world as the artist sees it????

Maturity in Art

How do we become mature as artists?







1965 Contemporary Sculpture: Anthony Caro

Words used by Greenberg:

integrally abstract contours profiles vectors lines of force direction satisfaction weight relations of its discrete parts syntax radical unlikeness to nature structural logic spinal nodal symmetry surreptitiously indirectly planar and liner shapes agglomerations enclosing silhouette internal pattern readily apparent axes centres of interest tangentially ex-centrically ground plan echo interlock superstructure elevation unity confusion radical rejection of monolithic structure pictorial many different, dramatically different points of view roundness paradoxical vocabulary of forms depth surfaces edges rectilinear changes of direction strictly rectangular calligraphic cursive curved forms necessarily angular sparingly rect-angular tilting tipping odd-angled cantilevering sprawling cursiveness separate frontal move fuse light heavy interwoven fugally open closed irregular regular lightness regularity relationships rectangular boxlike plain emphasised symmetry forthright symmetry startling effect syntactic massiveness literal massiveness smaller lighter thinner foursquare squatness rectangular symmetry less fragile inner and outer play intrinsically purely limpidly masterpieces low centre of gravity constant features originality perfect fulfilment ground-flung wide-open enclosures L T relieved vertical elements strike heroic grand-manner resonantly less expectedly historic connotations roots Perpendicular Gothic grand sublime peculiarly English aspiration achieved weightlessness belongs distinctively non-monolithic sprung Cubist collage originality of style denying weight lowering raising possibility opening extending ground-hugging laterally inflecting vertically accents lateral movement plane of the ground base foil challenge force of gravity applied colour high-keyed off shades deprive metal surfaces tactile connotations render optical essential importance art of colour satisfactory unsuccessful transcend specific combination detract quality impression aesthetically literally provisional changed decisively quality secondary unnecessary originality stylistic formal ingenuity novelty taste challenged changes expands make room product of necessity compelled vision

Barry Flanagan

Título Barry Flanagan Libros/Monografias
Autor(es) Flanagan, Barry (Escultor), 1941- (Autor)
Publicación España : Fundacion la Caixa, 1993
Descripción Física 145p. : il.
Idioma Español;
ISBN 847664423X

p.136 "Whilst interrupting a carver's work, I realised that a conductor reaching for the first violinist's bow isn't recognising his place.

In the workshop the purpose of drawings has changed, now included in the practice, rather than put on the gallery wall."

p.138 "In Japanese myth the Gods commanded all the animals to make presents to them, Whilst all the other animals brought gifts the hare is honoured because it made a barbecue of itself. Analogous to the role of talent...... His guardian deities are surely Thor and Hermes."

"the opportunity of a print to me, as a sculptor, somehow speaks of that commitment to be responsible and exposed - to have the presence of mind to draw."

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Walter Benjamin 1936

"Even the most perfect reproduction of a work is lacking one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence. This includes the changes it may have suffered in physical condition over the years, as well as the various changes in its ownership. The traces of the first can be revealed only by chemical or physical analyses which it is impossible to perform on a reproduction; changes of ownership are subject to a tradition which must be traced from the situation of the original.

The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity."

so there is pedigree, heritage in authentic art... the work become symbolic of the cult

"When the age of mechanical reproduction separated art from its basis in cult, the semblance of its autonomy disappeared forever."

Anyone can have a copy of a Picasso on their wall. But only one man can have the original that Picasso painted on his wall. But we have moved so far away from this now.... Bridget Riley, Damien Hirst lay not one finger on their work, but their cults exist nonetheless. Mechanical reproduction can help with the idea of "fashionability", but the original is still worth having.

My confusion about the art world is that I wouldn´t want to buy "an original signed print" by any artist. What´s the point in having a mechanical copy? I want an original on my wall, one that has specific meaning to me, if to no-one else. Do people have more money that sense? Or is my sense so very different to other people´s?

Critical terms for art history

Critical terms for art history
edited by Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, c1996.
ISBN: 0226571653 DDC: 701.4 LCC: N34 Edition: (paper : acid-free paper)

Schiff "Originality"

p.107 Modernists have a certain hubris. Often arguing that they lack true precedent, they conceive of themselves (not their principles) as original and seek originality by realising their inner feelings, thoughts and character. Accordingly, romantics and modernists associate artistic authenticity with an expressive manner so autonomous that it must also appear innovative, in opposition to the value a classicist might locate in selective repetition. The lesson is this: classics repeat; moderns should not, except when re-iteraring what belongs to each one of them alone, their personal style.


To seek originality by stressing one´s deviation from others has consequences in the social realm, it encourages a certain personal competition which in turn has economic implications. Artists sell their unique difference, but not always easily. Modernists saw the irony of struggling for market recognition in a world ruled by fashion, which itself follows a principle of uniqueness of a peculiar kind: fashion is novelty produced in multiple and multiauthored edition.

So, do I need to copy others in my work? Somewhere along the line, the originality that I see in my work (Abstract Heads, clearly; and when I find a specific "language" the Mies series too) needs to be replicated, copied, fashioned, editioned.

Altermodernism and Me.

It's really interesting to see how my exploratory works (before starting the Masters) reflect the ideas in the Altermodern Manifesto:

Increased communication, travel and migration are affecting the way we live

These images were made in Huddersfield during a period of time when I was moving to Barcelona. They reflect both my old life and my new life, with ideas and motifs appropriated from at least four artists.

The "Capvespres" series was born out of a number of journeys: to Colera to discover the word "capvspres"; around the streets of Barcelona to find the appropriated artworks; from Huddersfield where most of the life drawings were made; to Maine from whence the tissue paper came (re-cycled from my wedding); and, surfing the internet to look at images of collage. Without each of these journeys, this series could not have existed as it does now.

Our daily lives consist of journeys in a chaotic and teeming universe

Our quotidian journey is so full, it's impossible to see the manhole cover for the road.

Multiculturalism and identity is being overtaken by creolisation: Artists are now starting from a globalised state of culture

These works were made for a proposal for the "Drap Art" Exhibition 2008. "Drap" means junk or rubbish. They were made from my own rubbish, and I recycled ideas from major artists, who I think many Spanish people haven't even heard of; Carl Andre, Antony Gormley and Martin Creed. My artistic cultural heritage started in the UK, but has since taken in Europe, the USA and Central America. And the links here in Spain with South America, and the use of the internet to see what's happening in China, South Korea and the rest of the world all must have some influence on my thought process leading to my work.

This new universalism is based on translations, subtitling and generalised dubbing

Today's art explores the bonds that text and image, time and space, weave between themselves

Perhaps a bit literal, but these works are based on translating the phrase "Not everything you see is art" into Castellano and Catalan. The problem that needed solving was that the translation had to be in exactly 24 characters, so as to keep the form of the original layout of the words in English. We had to cheat, and use a sort of Argentinian Spanish. But I like cheating in my work.

The mechanical process of making these works involved cutting the letters out, placing them on a painted canvas and spray painting over them. The force of the spray caused some of the letters to move, producing some "ghosts" of letters. I used text to spell out literally what can be "seen through" the work where the canvas does not cover the whole of the frame.

Artists are responding to a new globalised perception. They traverse a cultural landscape saturated with signs and create new pathways between multiple formats of expression and communication.

These collages, created in old drawers, are not only colour studies, but cultural studies. Starting with pages from "Don Quixote" artistic cultural items (flyers, postcards etc. ) are combined with objects from the whole of life.

Here I am creating my own signs, my own language of forms, form, volumes, volume, constructs and constructions, all ultimately based on the question "who are you, where are you, why are you, when will you be?"

What school of art am I from?

Ripped from Wikipedia as a way of getting a very quick overview of schools of art.

Classicism is a specific genre of philosophy, expressing itself in literature, architecture, art, and music, which has Ancient Greek and Roman sources and an emphasis on society. It was particularly expressed in the Enlightenment, and the Age of Reason.
Classicism first made an appearance as such during the Italian renaissance when the fall of Byzantium and rising trade with the Islamic cultures brought a flood of knowledge about, and from, the antiquity of Europe. Until that time the identification with antiquity had been seen as a continuous history of Christendom from the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine I. Renaissance classicism introduced a host of elements into European culture, including the application of mathematics and empiricism into art, humanism, literary and depictive realism, and formalism. Importantly it also introduced Polytheism, or "paganism", and the juxtaposition of ancient and modern.
The classicism of the Renaissance led to, and gave way to, a different sense of what was "classical" in the 16th and 17th centuries. In this period classicism took on more overtly structural overtones of orderliness, predictability, the use of geometry and grids, the importance of rigorous discipline and pedagogy, as well as the formation of schools of art and music. The court of Louis XIV was seen as the center of this form of classicism, with its references to the gods of Olympus as a symbolic prop for absolutism, its adherence to axiomatic and deductive reasoning, and its love of order and predictability.

I do like a certain orderliness in my work, but there's a good deal of serendipity that works against Classicism. Pedagogy is important to me in general, and some of my work involves juxtaposition. It's interesting that it was foreign influences, trade, movement that enabled this ism to appear, and there may be links to Altermodernism (see below)

Cubist In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context. Often the surfaces intersect at seemingly random angles, removing a coherent sense of depth. The background and object planes interpenetrate one another to create the shallow ambiguous space, one of cubism's distinct characteristics.

I guess I do this. But instead of re-assembling on one surface, I put them into three separate surfaces, making the viewer move from form to form.

Constructivist was an artistic and architectural movement that originated in Russia from 1919 onward which rejected the idea of autonomous art in favour of art as a practice directed towards social purposes.

My art has no social purpose, just personal purpose. I don't make art to teach, to inform, to change society. I make art for individuals to put in their spaces. Even monumental or public art is like this.

Futurist expressed a passionate loathing of everything old, especially political and artistic tradition.

I love futuristic art. I don't loathe anything.

Formalist is the concept that a work's artistic value is entirely determined by its form--the way it is made, its purely visual aspects, and its medium. Formalism emphasizes compositional elements such as color, line, shape and texture rather than realism, context, and content. In visual art, formalism is a concept that posits that everything necessary to comprehending a work of art is contained within the work of art. The context for the work, including the reason for its creation, the historical background, and the life of the artist, is considered to be of secondary importance. Formalism is an approach to understanding art.

I hope that my work can be seen as of and by itself. But I like telling the story of my art. And I certainly don't plan every line or plane.

Modern includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation. Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing and with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. A tendency toward abstraction is characteristic of much modern art.

I embrace the traditions of the past, especially the modern past. I guess there is a tendency towards abstraction in my work.

Modernist Modernism was a revolt against the conservative values of realism. Arguably the most paradigmatic motive of modernism, is the rejection of tradition, and its reprise, incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision and parody in new forms. Modernism rejected the lingering certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and also that of the existence of a compassionate, all-powerful Creator God.
In general, the term modernism encompasses the activities and output of those who felt the "traditional" forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated in the new economic, social, and political conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world. The poet Ezra Pound's 1934 injunction to "Make it new!" was paradigmatic of the movement's approach towards the obsolete. Another paradigmatic exhortation was articulated by philosopher and composer Theodor Adorno, which in the 1940s, invited to challenge conventional surface coherence and appearance of harmony, typical of the rationality of Enlightenment thinking. A salient characteristic of modernism is self-consciousness. This often led to experiments with form, and work that draws attention to the processes and materials used (and to the further tendency of abstraction).

Fifty years ago, I would have been proudly Modernist. And I am happy enough that the process and materials used in my abstraction can be seen. But I want to make it new by looking at the old.

Remodernist The Remodernism manifesto was published on March 1, 2000 to promote vision, authenticity and self-expression, with an emphasis on painting, and subtitled "towards a new spirituality in art." Its premise is that the potential of the modernist vision has not been fulfilled, that its development has been in the wrong direction and that this vision needs to be reclaimed, redefined and redeveloped. It advocates the search for truth, knowledge and meaning, and challenges formalism.
It has a short introduction, summing up: "Modernism has progressively lost its way, until finally toppling into the bottomless pit of Postmodern balderdash." This is followed by 14 numbered points, stressing bravery, individuality, inclusiveness, communication, humanity and the perennial against nihilism, scientific materialism and the "brainless destruction of convention." Point 7 states:
Spirituality is the journey of the soul on earth. Its first principle is a declaration of intent to face the truth. Truth is what it is, regardless of what we want it to be. Being a spiritual artist means addressing unflinchingly our projections, good and bad, the attractive and the grotesque, our strengths as well as our delusions, in order to know ourselves and thereby our true relationship with others and our connection to the divine.
Point 9 states: "Spiritual art is not religion. Spirituality is humanity's quest to understand itself and finds its symbology through the clarity and integrity of its artists." Point 12 links its use of the word "God" to enthusiasm — from the Greek root "en theos" (to be possessed by God).
The summary at the end starts, "It is quite clear to anyone of an uncluttered mental disposition that what is now put forward, quite seriously, as art by the ruling elite, is proof that a seemingly rational development of a body of ideas has gone seriously awry," and finds the solution is a spiritual renaissance because "there is nowhere else for art to go. Stuckism's mandate is to initiate that spiritual renaissance now."

I started looking at Remondernism with interest. And then we got to the spirituality bit. I love the word enthusiasm, but I prefer the notion of "God within" rather than being "possessed". It is a choice we make, not an overtaking by God. But art does not need a spiritual renaissance. And it certainly doesn't need the God-awful art as shown as part of this movement at http://www.redbubble.com/groups/remodernist-painters

Post-modern is a tendency in contemporary culture characterized by the problem of objective truth and inherent suspicion towards global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. It involves the belief that many, if not all, apparent realities are only social constructs, as they are subject to change inherent to time and place. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, and motivations; in particular it attacks the use of sharp classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial. Rather, it holds realities to be plural and relative, and dependent on who the interested parties are and what their interests consist in. It attempts to problematise modernist overconfidence, by drawing into sharp contrast the difference between how confident speakers are of their positions versus how confident they need to be to serve their supposed purposes.

I don't really have a problem with this manifesto, just how it is manifest. I love some post-modern art, and hate other. So I guess that works in it's favour. I want people to love or hate my work, but not to be ambivalent toward it.

Relational art
Artists included by Bourriaud under the rubric of Relational Aesthetics include: Rirkrit Tiravanija, Philippe Parreno, Carsten Höller, Henry Bond, Douglas Gordon and Pierre Huyghe.[13]
Bourriaud explores this notion of relational aesthetics through examples of what he calls relational art. According to Bourriaud, relational art encompasses "a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space."[14]
The artwork creates a social environment in which people come together to participate in a shared activity. Bourriaud claims "the role of artworks is no longer to form imaginary and utopian realities, but to actually be ways of living and models of action within the existing real, whatever scale chosen by the artist."
In Relational art, the audience is envisaged as a community. Rather than the artwork being an encounter between a viewer and an object, relational art produces intersubjective encounters. Through these encounters, meaning is elaborated collectively, rather than in the space of individual consumption.

I love my studio. I don't think I want other people actually messing in there. But when I have an "open studio" day I love talking to people about my work, and they gather meaning and encounter the work in an interesting way. But I do think I create works for individual consumption. Though I am interested in looking at how I might take my art out into the world.

Conceptual art is art in which the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Many of the works, sometimes called installations, of the artist Sol LeWitt may be constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions. This method was fundamental to LeWitt's definition of Conceptual art, one of the first to appear in print:
“ In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.

Nah.... I want to make pretty things, and serendipity in the process is too important for the outcome for everything to be planned.

Altermodernism ALTERMODERN
A new modernity is emerging, reconfigured to an age of globalisation – understood in its economic, political and cultural aspects: an altermodern culture

Increased communication, travel and migration are affecting the way we live

Our daily lives consist of journeys in a chaotic and teeming universe

Multiculturalism and identity is being overtaken by creolisation: Artists are now starting from a globalised state of culture

This new universalism is based on translations, subtitling and generalised dubbing

Today's art explores the bonds that text and image, time and space, weave between themselves

Artists are responding to a new globalised perception. They traverse a cultural landscape saturated with signs and create new pathways between multiple formats of expression and communication.

Watch the cartoon here:

"Heterochronia is the co-presence of different times in our everyday life. I think what's very specific to our period of time is the intertwining of different periods of historisations at the same time. We are surrounded by many different layers of time, all the time and it leads to a different way to apprehend what's contemporary, what is really contempoorary, and what are we contemporary of?" [NICOLAS BOURRIAUD, http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/altermodern/explore.shtm]





Simon Starling




Tate Triennial

Nicolas Burriaud

Installing Gateway Getaway 2008-09

This is the most interesting and thought provoking thesis on art in this decade I have seen. There are a lot of values here that I need to unpick, to think through, to work on and with to produce or conceive or share art. This is going to be an interesting journey, after all.

But why do I need to belong to a "school" of art, anyhow? Well, obviously I don't. But there is a sense of legitimacy I suppose. Though given that I rejected Rose's critical tool of Compositional Interpretation or "The good eye approach" which starts with the attribution of schools, styles and influences to a work, I don't store too much weight with this. I think it's more of wanting to feel like I belong to a movement, to a group which is going somewhere, which can make me examine my own practice and move me to develop new ideas.




the co-presence of different times

surrounded by many different layers of time

what is really contemporary?

what are we contemporary of?

heterochronia het·er·o·chro·ni·a (hět'ə-rō-krō'nē-ə)
The origin or development of tissues or organs at an unusual time or out of the regular sequence.

Heterochronia. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Heterochronia (accessed: April 25, 2011).

I like this medical definition of the word, which gives a sense of "unusual" and "out of regular" times.

I see "the co-presence of different times" in my Abstract Head works of Mark Rothko, Damien Hirst and Picasso. Using a temporal sequence of images to create an evolving portrait of the artist to become the work. Abstract Head: Damien Hirst [second from right]

But in the past I have always thought of showing the work in a linear fashion, from youngest to oldest/emblematic work. This is not necessary. I need to have a look at what happens when I change the order of display of the work, for example, Abstract Head Mark Rothko:

I'm also interested in how this might work with Walter Benjamin:

Clearly this last image, taken of the Dani Karavan memorial to Benjamin "Passages", is pure Abstract Head. The concept of time is shown through the young, middle-aged (Benjamin was never old) and the memorial, giving rise to immortality... though of course this is mainly due to his writing and its continuing influence, rather than the memorial itself.

The use of mechanical reproduction leads us to be able to see any image by any artist at any time. Temporal, linear time really does become meaningless in this way.

mid-14c., "worldly, secular," later "of time, terrestrial, earthly" (late 14c.), "temporary, lasting only for a time" (late 14c.), from O.Fr. temporal , from L. temporalis "of time, temporary," from tempus (gen. temporis ) "time, season, proper time or season."

temporal. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/temporal (accessed: April 25, 2011).

1630s, from M.L. contemporarius , from L. con- "with" + temporarius "of time," from tempus "time" (see temper). Meaning "modern, characteristic of the present" is from 1866. Noun sense of "one who lives at the same time as another" is from 1630s, replacing native time-fellow (1570s).

contemporary. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/contemporary (accessed: April 25, 2011).

Is the writing of Walter Benjamin contemporary? It was cetainly of its time, but also, given the continued interest in his work, it is also of the present.

And, by a quirk of fate/serendipity, Esther Leslie, a world renowned expert on WB, is the sister of my sister-in-law.http://www.militantesthetix.co.uk/waltbenj/benjp.htm

Critiquing my work.

Why would I want to critique my own work? Why would I want someone else, either professional or lay, to critique my work?

Don't I know what my work is trying to say, do, mean? Can't I convey that in words?

But where does my work come from? From the sum of all my life, experience, knowledge. I have seen a lot of things in my time. And felt a lot of experiences. How can I be sure which ones are relevant to this particular work?

On the other hand, a professional critic hasn't been inside my mind/brain/heart for the last 46 years. How can he possibly know what the work means? Only by comparison to other works, either other works by me, or works by other artists. He probably has a wider knowledge of art, a deeper thinking about it than I can have. Erm... But why should this be true? Perhaps he is just better with words.

And people might believe a critic more than they believe me.

And what about a member of the public? What do they know? They know if they like it or not. Like it enough to take a photo of it. To read the text about it. To buy it. To look at it every day. Would they believe me, or a critic? Would they care?

Is my objectivity better than someone else's subjectivity? Can a critic be objective? Do I want the public to be objective? Or to remain subjective?

1610s, originally in the philosophical sense of "considered in relation to its object" (opposite of subjective ), formed on pattern of M.L. objectivus , from objectum "object" (see object (n.)). Meaning "impersonal, unbiased" is first found 1855, influenced by Ger. objektiv. The noun is 1738, with sense of "something objective to the mind;" meaning "goal, aim" is first as a military term from the U.S. War Between the States, 1864 (in objective point ), from Fr.; general use of it is first attested 1881.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

objective. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/objective (accessed: April 24, 2011).

mid-15c., "pertaining to a political subject" (now obsolete), from L.L. subjectivus , from subjectus (see subject (n.)). Meaning "existing in the mind" (mind="the thinking subject") is from 1707; thus, "personal idiosyncratic" (1767). Related: Subjectively ; subjectivity .

subjective. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/subjective (accessed: April 24, 2011).

Olafur Eliasson: Playing with space and light

How do we know that being in a space makes a difference?

Is there a sense of consequences?
If I feel that the space is tangible, if I feel there is time, I also feel that I can change the space.

Individuality and Collectivity... how do we avoid polarising the two?

Art - causality, consequences... thinking and doing.... experience is about responsibility


Form Fracture Frame

Click on a photo to see a larger version (you'll need to use the BACK arrow to come back to the blog.
Alternatively, over 200 photos of the various experiments can be seen here:

I have a bit of a problem with the second Studio Task. The problem is, I've done it already. I've taken an Abstract Head FORM [1], and created a plaster [2] or wood model of it. Then I've FRACTURED it, either by moving the elements of plaster into new positions [3], or creating three dimensional sculptures with the wooden elements [4], or creating a mobile from a few chosen elements. Finally I've FRAMED this by taking a photo [5] (let's face it , the wood sculptures are too fragile to exist in reality for long; but one day I'll make them out of bronze and then paint them pastel colours, like Jose Pedro Croft did) or making a video [6]. Even though video isn't art. I'm not sure, but I don't think creativity and non-linear thinking are my problems with being an artist.


But I'm glad that I have completed this task already. It means I have to start again, but from where I am. I can't go back. And in any case, I don't want to seem to literal in my use of the words Form Frame Fracture.

So I sat in a café and thought. And thought. And I started playing with the words Form Frame Fracture. And ate a sandwich. And a cake. And obviously had a pot of tea. There were some interesting definitions that I liked... FORM "to make", "fashion", "to mould", "good form", and in music the form can be unique... you could move bars of music round...but why? what's the question? Why would you do that??? My tax FORM says I am a sculptor... And then I realised I should play with the words themselves and so I started making anagrams......



I like the idea of having rules and breaking them; so even though my rule was that each anagram should be contained within the original word, I ended up with "Fur crate of REM farm". I conceived a piece where I would make a crate from old pieces of wood, cover this in fur, make a silver foil helmet connected to a bank of computer monitors to "capture" my dreams, and finally do a performance piece using my old karate and contemporary dance skills to interpret being placed in the crate and having my dreams farmed.

And then I remembered that I am not a conceptual artist. This is arty-wank at its worst. I might be able to play the game, but for me, it's just not art. I like things. I like to make things. Martin Creed might be right when he says there are enough things in the world, but there will never be enough beautiful things that speak intimately and individually to people. And so, to start again...

But where to start? Well, with an Abstract Head FORM. And some cardboard. First to create a 2D plane with all the parts. [7] Then to create a single form, using masking tape. [8] Then to morph the form into a cylinder.[9] Of course it´s not a complete cylinder, as the cardboard won´t bend perfectly. And then to FRACTURE it by cutting some adjoining planes, allowing the cardboard to try to reform a flat surface.[10,11,12] This works pretty well, and I could imagine it created as a 10m high Cor-Ten steel sculpture in a roundabout, especially one approached from the top of a hill. But now I want to define the planes again, so I paint them all a different colour.[13,14] Perhaps it´s just my colour choice, but this is looking terrible. Also, one of the sculptures loses integrity and collapses with the wet paint. I think spray paint would be better. A single colour. That seems to be working better.[15,16]



Where next? How do I FRAME these sculptures? Literally, with a pictures frame? No; I like the noun. Frame: a rigid structure formed of relatively slender pieces. But I have used up all the cardboard! I have some pieces of rebar framework. I can use these somehow. To create a "missing pieces" Abstract Head. Using the frame to hold the individual pieces together. Or I have some pieces of wire taken from a cable. They are all a bit curly. But serendipity is fine in my work, which, though you might think it's very linear, is just as happy to be wavy. Then Miguel tells me it's the wrong type of metal to weld or solder. But I've got it into my head that I can create the Frame of an abstract head with all the lines being 40cm. It's just that the short lines in the single plane have to push back into the third dimension in order to appear to be short, even though they are 40cm too. I made some notes on this:

For this part of the experiment I started by making a cube [17]. I liked the look of this, the wavy lines giving it a less formal and austere quality. I started adding a few lines, obviously the horizontal and vertical lines are quite simple but then shorter lines are already being problematic.[18] Without being able to solder the wires, it's impossible to hold them in the correct place, and so the whole frame starts to slant [19]. And I realised that the form really needed to lose the supporting structure of the "back and sides" of the initial cube [20].


These photos [21,22,23] show the concept of this piece very well. In [22] I had started to use fishing line to hold up the structure. All of the pieces of metal are the same length; but the direct frontal perspective shows the different lengths of the original form. It is only when the viewer moves that the reality of the technique can been clearly seen [23]. Of course that's not the way the sculpture will be seen in real life. When a viewer first encounters the work, it will make no "sense" until the "optimum" viewing position is found directly in front and in the middle of the appropriate side.


In the end I ran out of time (and patience) to complete the sculpture with all the lines of the original sketch. However, I am delighted with the result aesthetically [25] and certainly feel that with the right materials this is a style of work that needs to be explored further. The bottom right corner (detailed [26]) is particularly pleasing, given that every piece of wire is the same length.


An artist paints so that he will have something to look at.

Barnett Newman
Barnett Newman: Paintings, Sculptures, Works on Paper
Armin Zweite, Barnett Newman, Jane Bobko,
Publisher: Hatje Cantz Publishers
ISBN: 3775707956 Edition: Hardcover; 1999-11-01

Time and Chance: A tribute to John Cage and Merce Cunningham, Galeria D'Art Horizon

where chance has been relegated to the casinos

10 reasons I make art.

1. Immortality
2. So that there are pretty things in the world.
3. So that people can like it, and take it home.
4. To make the world a better place.
5. Because I like making things that no one else could make.
6. So that I have something to look at.

Chuck Close: life and work, 1988-1995

Chuck Close
Chuck Close: life and work, 1988-1995
text by John Guare
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Thames and Hudson in association with Yarrow Press, 1995.
ISBN: 0500092532 DDC: 759.13 LCC: ND1329

p. 36 "Richard Serra and Robert Smithson, my contemporaries, all of us coming up together at the same time, had a belief that if you only have the courage to back yourself into your own corner you would find your way out, but if you stay in the middle of the room you'll be with everyone else and only everybody else's solution will occur to you. We believed that problem creating was more interesting that or at least as interesting as problem solving, that if you can ask yourself the interesting question, the solution will come, that you must purge yourself of the ghosts of everyone else's solutions but putting yourself in a position where none of their answers is applicable. ... So I this is all I knew. I was an artist. I was in trouble. Nobody had any answers that would apply to me. I had to accept where I was and see where it took me. In that horrible room, I painted every day."

Rafa Forteza

"I want you, when you see my work, not to think of something of me, but of you. And it´s the same if you don´t understand, because in reality, there is nothing to understand."


A view of the art in my house.

By taking a look at the work in my house, I want to explore what is important to me about art. If it´s important enough for me to have brought all the way from England to Spain, and then to hang on my walls, I guess it must have some meaning to me.

This set of posters is from an advertising campaign of a Canadian metallurgic company. When I was a teenager, I saw them in The Economist and sent off for a set, which duly arrived a few weeks later. I stuck them with blu-tak onto my bedroom wall. Not for me the tennis player with no nickers, nor that Ferrari poster (though I did want a Porsche 928 [Ok, I still do.]). Some of the posters have words like "Agents of Change" and "Alchemy". I loved the simple design, the colour scheme, the fact that this was a metallurgic company. It wasn´t until I bought my second home that I was able to find a place to put them up, buying the cheap frames they are still in from IKEA. They have been on the walls in every home I have had since then, moving from hallway to bedroom to spare bedroom to kitchen. I value them like old friends, as they have taught me something of the value of growing up, doing things for myself and stability.

My daughter made this when she was very little. She wanted to make a picture with of candles, using tin foil, but she couldn´t find any glue, so she used electrical tape instead. The final effect is quite marvellous, and I´m sure you can see your own imagery. But for me it´s about determination, using what is available to make the best of a situation, achieving what you want to achieve, regardless of what convention says.

This was painted by a friend of mine when we were in a band together. The bottom half was used as the cover of our album. Of course, you can see whose work it is copying, but there´s nothing wrong with stealing a good idea. I spent a bit of money on a medium priced frame from IKEA for this one, and covered the backing board in blue material. It´s called "Over the Rainbow, Under the Weather" which is a great title for any work. The artist still makes me laugh with his one-liners on Facebook.

This is one of the first life drawings I did. I guess it´s based on Schiele, but it´s the fact that it´s a single line that I find wonderful about it. I am looking forward to being able to draw when I am 80.

Not exactly what I would call art, I saw this for 50p in Habitat. The frame cost significantly more than the print. I love the simplicity of the image, and it´s potential for symbolism.

I´m not a big fan of photography as art. I bought the poster and cards of the Radcliffe Infirmary when a friend of mine was staying there having his spine put back together. The image is of Triton, a powerful figure with fish´s tail. I wrote a poem for my friend "The Power of a Man". The rugby player is my son, who did a photo-shoot at university. The tree is the apple tree, Photoshopped by my wife´s grandmother, under which we got married.

I have always loved going to art galleries and museums. My favourite meal must be afternoon tea at a gallery. One day I went to Dean Clough in Halifax. An "unknown" graphic designer, Chris Vine was having a show. As I wandered around I realised that I loved this work. The colour, obviously, but also the symbolism, the simplicity. It is based on a the "Made Simple" series of books, using the colour scheme of that series. Each work was supposed to signify a different period of art. I never did find out what period this work is from, but it´s called "Spoilsport". I was persuaded that the price wasn´t THAT much money, and bought it with 12 months interest-free credit. Of course I couldn´t take it away for several weeks, and, in fact it had to be delivered as it wouldn´t fit into my car. It is a work that for my sums up the reason I make art, and I´ll explore that a little later.

As an act of faith, this work is incredible. When my children were young they bought me a watch for my birthday, which, without really thinking about it, I said I´d probably never wear as I hate watches. For my 40th birthday they decided to have this work made for me. I will always remember the trepidation with which they sat on the sofa, waiting for me to open it. Fortunately I loved it, and hung it on the wall immediately for all my friends to see when they came to my party later that day.

"Madonna and Child" is the work I made for my final piece of the OCNW Life Drawing Course. It is based on all sorts of research, and also compromises too. It wasn´t meant to have a religious theme to it, but that came out serendipitously as I completed the work.

These are works I made as part of my final piece for the OCNW Life Drawing and Portraiture Course. They are quick Photoshop drawings that helped me move towards my final work. Mounted in frames I found lying around in the first flat I lived in here in Barcelona.

"Abstract Heads Alex (unfinshed)" is perhaps the first work I made that I am totally convinced by. Again, serendipity played its part in the creation of this piece, which, if it had been like others in the series, would have had every inch of canvas covered in paint. To me, it works just as it is, and when shown in my first one man show, it was the piece most people liked. It is the inspiration for a great many experiments in my practice.

One of two works currently in the guest bedroom, this is one of the better "Capvespres" a series of works based on building collage over an existing work. It´s a reminder to me that good art can come from many places, but that these places don´t all have to be explored fully.

A work by my wife´s grandmother, this is a collage and ceramic piece created to celebrate our wedding.

This piece belongs to my wife, who bought it from an exhibition in the bar/restaurant in which she was working. All day every day she was exposed to it, and thus she fell in love with it.

This final piece was given to us by the artist and his wife to celebrate our wedding.