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ART HISTORIES

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CONTENTS 3 Foreword by Thomas Groves 4 Introduction by Thomas Groves 6 Institutional Critique: Sam Gough-Yates, Cata Ivancov, Ellen King 7 How to Turn a Career into a Commons by Dr. Paolo Plotegher 8 On Where There’s Muck and British Politics: An Interview with Mark Wallinger 12 Historic Carving: Michael Cooper, Cassidie Alder, Tim Fielder, Joseph Murphy, Ayako Furuno, Clunie Fretton, Steve Atkinson, Oliver Dorman 19 Read Art and Anarchism by Dr. Michael Paraskos 20 Juxtaposing Old and New: How Eclecticism Enhances Display by Viv Lawes 22 ArtWork and HomeWork: ​Feminism and The Histories of Domestic Studios in the 1970s​by Abi Shapiro 24 Feminist Critique: Anne-Marie Hanlon, Alakina Mann, Josephine Gordon-Foxwell, Maria McCullough 25 The Life Beyond Irony by Dr. Matthew Rowe 29 On Painting: Diane Chappalley, Alice McVicer, Jacob Montague, Finnian Richman, Sean Mortimore, Kimberley Harvey, Rene Gonzalez 32 Conservation: Mark Searle, Joseph Ward, Rebecca Davison, Liza Nathan, Kirsten Walsh, Coralie Llucia, Anna Don, Robert Mitchell 36 The Artist as Algorithm by James Tabbush 37 Image & Object: Nick York-Simpson, Callum Stannard, Thomas Elliot, Matthew Bradley, Tuesday Riddell 39 Covering: On All the Names by José Saramago, by Jon Shaw 40 From the Writing Fellows: Gabriel Gbadamosi & Annette Kobak 44 Biographies

Photographic essay by Corey Bartle-Sanderson Edited by Thomas Groves & Harriet Lam


FOREWORD Why Thinking Matters Thomas Groves Head of the Art Histories Department

The fact that you are reading this probably means that you are already thinking; and this means that you are probably someone who believes that within the arts thinking matters. Quite possibly, you also think that thinking takes different forms and recognise the need to embrace a range of ways to think about fine art and craft. At City and Guilds of London Art School we give a lot of thought to how images and objects produce a kind of thinking of their own; to how materials generate ideas that can be meaningfully explored through the very material and visual languages from which they originate. The School’s unique attention to how raw materials such as paint, wood and stone each emerge out of a particular material history enables it to clearly define their contemporary application and the ways we might think about them. For us, materiality matters; it matters to the extent that what materialises out of it, namely the world of things around us, can only be understood, adequately, if it is first and foremost considered in terms of the very stuff from which it is made. It is well known that artists and craftspeople think through their materials; but this in itself is not a singular phenomenon.The surgeon thinks through the particular tension of her sutures, the plumber through the weight of water and the seams of his pipes, the decorator through the edges of surfaces and the drying time of paints. What is exceptional about the artist and the craftsperson today is not that they think through materials, but that they think through materials critically. Critical material thinking means thinking through the on-

tologies, aesthetics, politics and social discourses of things themselves such that those things can be understood in terms of their participation within the complex cultural landscape of our times. By understanding things critically, we stand a chance of recognising their value, of what they mean to us, and what ultimately this might mean for us, and the ways we choose to live. The students and staff at City and Guilds of London Art School, each in their own way contribute to critical material thinking and it is the aim of the Art Histories Department to encourage and foster excellence and diversity within this. All our staff are practicing researchers, writers or curators and in the following pages we have published extracts from their recent work. But at the heart of this journal is the written word of our graduating students. It is not possible to print every student’s thesis or essay in full, or the many artworks and objects they discuss, so I have selected passages from each that I believe demonstrate the range and depth of critical material thinking throughout the school. Our students are highly creative and skillful makers and they approach the craft of the written word with the same degree of rigor and inventiveness as they approach their stone, wood and paint. As you read through this journal, what I hope you will be able to discern, is not only the quality of their writing, but the extent to which our students are involved in a particular kind of thinking, one that not only privileges things in themselves, but also the extent to which these things really matter.


INTRODUCTION Thomas Groves, Head of the Art Histories Department Formerly referred to as the Humanities Department, Art Histories at City and Guilds of London Art School delivers a critical programme of Art History to students studying Art and Design Foundation, BA (Hons) and MA Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation Studies. Our lecturing staff and visiting speakers come from a wide range of academic backgrounds and together deliver a rich programme of visits, lectures, seminars and tutorials, and support the writing of students’ essays, presentations and theses. Throughout the department professional expertise is combined with an acute awareness of individual needs and an unusually generous allocation of contact time and specialist support is provided to ensure that the very highest standards of teaching and learning take place. Within this publication the texts by our teaching staff provide a glimpse of the kind of research they are currently engaged in. All our teaching staff are professional academics who, in addition to their teaching practice, write, lecture, curate exhibitions and make art work of their own. Each has their own area of interest but all share a commitment to thinking though materiality and the art object. The featured texts by our students are excerpts from their final-year thesis or (in the case of Conservation Studies students) extracts from their second-year essays. Each passage has been selected to provide the reader with an insight into the wide range of research that takes place within the School as well as the quality of writing produced. Students independently choose the subject of their research and in addition to the sections on Historic Carving and Conservation, I have introduced the headings of Institutional Critique, Feminist Critique, On Painting and Image & Object to help guide the

reader through the variety of themes explored. I am extremely grateful to Mark Wallinger for allowing us to publish the transcript of an interview conducted by Sculpture student Sam Gough-Yates. Part of the Tate collection, Where There’s Muck is an important early work by the celebrated British artist and Sam’s interview gives us a valuable and original insight into the political and creative conditions that underpinned its making. Thank you to lecturer at the Art School, architectural historian and editor of County Life John Goodall who shares his expert knowledge of the Temple Church Effigies with Michael Cooper. I am also delighted to be able to publish an extract from an essay by our Fine Art alumnus James Tabbush. After winning the school’s Brian Till prize for Humanities Thesis in 2014, James has gone on to write and publish a number of sharp and insightful texts in a range of art magazines. I am especially grateful to this year’s Royal Literary Fund Fellows Gabriel Gbadamosi and Annette Kobak. The RLF Fellowship scheme enables us to host professional and award-winning writers who lend their literary expertise to our students and staff. Gabriel and Annette have made a significant impact on student achievement this year and it is a privilege to be the first to publish these expertly crafted essays here. The photographs throughout are by Corey Bartle-Sanderson. Corey is an emerging artist whose own work critically interrogates the relation between the hand-made object and its image. The photographs featured here document his vision of how critical material thinking is at work within the very fabric of the Art School. Lastly I would like to thank my co-editor Harriet Lam. Without her hard work, enthusiasm and indefatigable attention to detail, this publication would not have been possible.


INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE Politics of the Image: On Mark Wallinger’s Where There’s Muck Sam Gough-Yates Mark Wallinger’s 1985 work Where There’s Muck raises issues around art, politics, class and, in particular, ownership. Its central theme is the celebrated portrait painting by Thomas Gainsborough, Mr and Mrs Andrews (c.1750). In the early 1970s, Gainsborough’s painting was the focus of a debate that introduced the subjects of class, power, and social change into the study of art history, in which the writers John Berger, and Lawrence Gowing and later John Barrell were central. […] Wallinger takes the historically charged theme of Albion and reverses it, attacking the painting through its own ideology, while referencing the rising nationalism and social unrest of the period. “Conservative Party blue”1 spray paint has been applied not only to the plywood panels but also across the otherwise white wall of the gallery; positioned across the whole of the top section of the work, almost acting as a skyline. Martin Herbert favourably described Wallinger’s use of spray paint as “defilement of the cherishable past.”2 If Mr and Mrs Andrews is a painting about property, Wallinger emphasises that it is stolen property. His graffiti-style lettering on a painting about property suggests a crime against it. Wallinger references the mythical past with which the word is associated while relating it to England football hooligans. He explains: “I guess that the thing that excited me at that point, was not exactly to re-write history, but history is Martin Herbert, Mark Wallinger (London: Thames & Hudson, 2011)

forever contestable and I was interested in just skewing things in a different sort of way.” […] Wallinger’s work is a powerful and provocative, “part of a critique of the established order,” but he is under no illusions; art does not transform the world.“Inevitably, [works of art] just feed back into the mainstream… I’m more hopeful than convinced that anything gets changed.” It becomes part of the story of British art as, for example, the histories of works by Gainsborough, Blake, andWilliam Morris illustrate.The debate that John Berger initiated suggests that “there are other ways at looking at history and art history and appreciating artists, and that we’re in a constant dialogue with the past.” Where There’s Muck reveals not just the muck of both 18th and 20th century England, but also much about the condition of the present. The full transcript of Sam’s interview with Mark Wallinger is printed on page 8.

The Storming of the Museum: Institutional Critique from Marcel Broothaers to Hito Steyerl Cata Ivancov Today “dissent is turned into a spectacle of its own, and rebels become spectators of their own rebellion.”3 This happens in popular culture – punk is a

1 

Ibid.

2 

 David Beech, ‘Institutionalisation for All’, Art Monthly, no.294 (March 2006) 3


INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE good example – but also in the art world, where the radical artists of the 1960s are now exhibited by blue-chip galleries and given retrospectives at museums. Today, “the first condition of art’s independence is not art’s isolation but its contestation of the cultural field, either by setting up alternative spaces or by occupying existing spaces differently.”1 Critical art today therefore has to be what Gerald Raunig suggested – it has to say everything, critical of orthodoxies, of hidden forces and of its own entanglements. Hito Steyerl, as I have suggested, is a good example of this quality. In order to stay an independent force it must also keep changing so that it cannot be completely appropriated by capital. This argument also leads to a slightly more pessimistic view that the role of institutional critique must always be limited by the forces of politics and even more so of global economics. Even institutional critique only exists because of a strange fashion for contemporary art among the world’s wealthy classes, who then fund art schools, residencies and small avant-garde institutions. Critical art cannot have much of a role in changing the great political and economic substructure of which it is a superstructure. But it can change the institution by entangling itself in these structures of power, and can continue to transform and bring self-consciousness and new kinds of critical art into art institutions.

The First Time I Met Joëlle Tuerlinckx: Autobiography and Institutional Critique Ellen King The mother tongue, spoken or written, expects an answer. It is a conversation, a word the root of which means “turning together.” The mother tongue is language not as mere communication, but as relation, relationship. It connects. ... Its power is not in dividing but in binding.2 – Ursula LeGuin Tuerlinckx’s work seems to speak with this 1

 Ibid.

 Jane Tompkins. ‘Me and My Shadow’. New Literary History, vol. 19, no. 1 (Autumn 1987) 2

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tongue, challenging our assumptions about the nature of institutions by pointing out that they are not isolated, complete in themselves, but are intimately related to the people, objects and ideas that make them up, as well as those that they define themselves against or exclude. De Zegher and Carl argue that Tuerlinckx’s work promotes “a feminine principle of association, interrelation and mutuality,”3 however, perhaps some would see this ‘feminine’ language as merely whimsical. While Paul Carey-Kent does see that Tuerlinckx’s work questions “how we impose our frameworks on the world,” he also contrasts her work with “Michael Asher’s method of using a gallery’s exhibition history to generate institutional critique,” remarking that unlike Asher, Tuerlinckx is “more tease than traducer.”4 The word ‘tease’ also comes up in Adrian Searle’s review of her 2013 retrospective WOR(L)D(K) IN PROGRESS?. Carey-Kent describes her work as “quirkily charming” and both speak of a “peculiar” or “odd”5 logic to her systems and objects. This language – particularly the use of the historically gendered word ‘tease’ – seems dismissive and patronising. Neither critic seems to be able to get past the vocabulary of the work to get to the underlying implications of her process. It’s possible that, as representatives and beneficiaries of such institutional publications as The Guardian and Art Monthly, they are too absorbed in the systems she is critiquing to understand quite what she is getting at – the mother tongue is too alien for them to translate into their own experience.

How to Turn a Career into a Commons (Extract) Dr. Paolo Plotegher MA Fine Art Lecturer I am part of an open collective based in New Cross, South London, we call ourselves the  Catherine de Zegher and Katherine Carl, ‘A Story Around Zero’. Joëlle Tuerlinckx: study book. (Gent: Merz, 2007) 3

Paul Carey-Kent, ‘Joëlle Tuerlinckx: WOR(L)D(K) IN PROGRESS?’ Art Monthly, No.374 (March 2014)  4

Adrian Searle. ‘Joëlle Tuerlinckx: the artist who makes puzzles out of meteorites and Sellotape’. The Guardian (11 December 2013) 5


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New Cross Commoners, and we are in the process of organizing The Field, a place we recently got rent free for five years from a private landlord. What I am writing here partly comes from that experience, but it also intends to feed it. Reproducing What? Marxist Feminists in the ‘70s used the terms reproduction and reproductive labour to show how the productive labour of the factory was only the most visible part of the capitalist labour system, and how the productive work in the factory was actually sustained by the reproductive labour of housewives: caring for the children, for the elderly, for the husband, for the house, cooking, cleaning, loving. Reproduction was not considered as labour, it was naturalized and seen as the “natural” task of a woman. Militant struggle at that time had the factory as its privileged site and to talk about reproduction was also to claim for the home to be a place of political struggle, understanding how the nuclear family and not the assembly line was the basic unit for capitalism to function. Wages for Housework was an international Feminist movement that demanded wages for reproductive labour to generate a debate and an engagement with the issue of reproduction. It is important to underline that the point was for reproduction at home to be recognized as labour and not to demand more work for women! Feminists were clear on that: we fight for a liberation from labour not to be enslaved in the same way men are. How do existing models of career change if we take into account reproduction? If a career has to do not simply with jobs but with how we reproduce our life? It is always useful to ask yourself who is doing reproductive labour in order for you to have a (job) career. It might be your parents if you are lucky enough, it might be your partner, it might be the East European cleaning lady if you can afford this, it might be more likely yourself, reducing care to a minimum and with the main aim of being a more efficient productive worker. All the “leisure time” you have could be seen as time you use to re-charge the batteries for yourself as a worker. If in the “West” today the nuclear family with its role of the housewife is not so much the basis of the dominant economic system as it was before, reproduction is still largely unperceived and naturalized, the focus

goes to production, our jobs, earning wages. We most often reproduce our life in order to work, instead of working to reproduce our lives. This relationship between production and reproduction is complicated because it doesn’t easily come down to individual choices, and the primacy of production over reproduction is an axiom of capitalism. What we should do is to challenge the capitalist primacy of production and productivity, and the related imperative of consumption. Let’s produce less and reproduce better (together)!

On Where There’s Muck and British Politics An Interview with Mark Wallinger by Sam Gough-Yates, January 2015 SGY: Can I start by asking which artists have influenced your work or your style of work? MW: I think it was the MA at Goldsmiths that was quite a big influence on me. I was in a two-year messy period, post-college. Chelsea didn’t really have much in the way of an ethos on what they wanted to teach and they were still in thrall to a kind of abstraction and so anyone making work deemed figurative was put in a sort of studio of eccentrics really, or that’s how I considered us. I was eager for some real input and traction and finally got going when I was on the MA. It was partly about the teaching, partly due to one or two things that I was looking at and reading. I suppose it was a way of trying to construct meaning in a more objective way. I had been in a sort of neo-expressionist morass for a bit of a while. It was as much what I was reading, as what I was looking at really. I’d been reading E.P Thompson’s The Making of The English Working Class. There was a book by John Barrel called The Dark Side of The Landscape which looked at Gainsborough and Constable and a couple of other artists and how they tried to construct a kind of realism, coming out of Claude Lorrain and things like that; basically landscapes that were excused by having classical illusions, and taking them into actually addressing life as it was in East Anglia. I found that,


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in a way, quite inspirational. So it was, in part, an art historical piecing together of things and at the same time, it was the kind of mismatch between the rhetoric of the Tory government at the time. This was post Falklands War and around about the time of the miners’ strike and they were pumping out this patriotic stuff and it was all Elgar and rolling fields and didn’t really match my reality living in Brixton. So I think it was that which prompted me. I was also working in Collet’s at the time, a radical communist run book shop, and they used to send over old Bolshevik posters that were bound up in very cheap bits of packing ply-wood. I started taking them home and that’s how Common Grain started and so I started citing and quoting fragments of Stubbs and Gainsborough. Moving away at that point from painting on canvas to something that was, literally, a bit more constructed was quite a big leap for me, and quite liberating. Having all these art historical things to bounce off my lived-in reality, as I saw it, gave me a certain purchase on things. Where There’s Muck was in my final MA show. Most of that show went in to my first commercial show at Anthony Reynolds the following January. So that was an exciting, creative period for me around about ‘85 and that summer I was given the use of a huge studio, because all the BA students at Goldsmiths had gone away. So that was a really fertile period. I got a load of work done and had a lot of space. [In regards to] Where There’s Muck. I was looking at Gainsborough’s portrait of Mr and Mrs Andrews, which is as much a portrait of the land they own, as them. I suppose that there was also the Heysel Stadium riot and football hooliganism. The National Front were a bit more prominent then. Politics, were a hell of a lot more divisive and so this image of England or Britain was very much contested I would say at the time. So the graffiti ‘Albion’ - obviously that was a sort of old poetic name for England, but of course it attached itself to a football club. There’s the old folk song John Barleycorn that I started using. I wanted it to be slightly enigmatic, it is a personification of corn, but also a kind of eternal spirit of something a bit more Bacchanalian about the British. So, I co-opted that and that was a slogan on a few things, as was Jerusalem. I

suppose I was reading a fair amount of poetry Blake and also William Cobbett’s Rural Rides, so there were sort of historical, art historical things and I was working in a shop where all the different factions of the left were employed and the left was rather muted at that point. The SDP [Social Democratic Party] had been formed and that kind of guaranteed Tory rule for all those years. So, I guess that the thing that excited me at that point, was not exactly to re-write history, but history is forever contestable and so I was interested in just skewing things in a different sort of way. SGY:You say in the book by Martin Herbert that you were sort of astounded when you found how un-political people were when you went to Chelsea. I wondered, in what ways do you think this might have changed? MW: Well, to be honest, back then at least politicians were making arguments, rather than being ruled by PR and afraid to say anything at all. More latterly, I was asked to make a piece for a Margaret Thatcher based show and I got them to send me VHSs of all the Tory conference speeches and even after the landslide victory, post Falklands War, she was still arguing, as she saw it, against socialism. She was making a proper case and it was for the other side to debate and come back with a better argument. I think that’s kind of disappeared altogether from politics now. Things are, I think, worse now. Chelsea was a curious place, because it was a bit post-punk at that point. I was never entirely convinced by punk, and I would say the ‘we can do it for ourselves’ and the entrepreneurial things to do with punk were very individualistic and almost at the heart of Conservative Party ethos really. I wasn’t sure myself, quite how radical that was. By the time I was at Chelsea it was just a sort of ‘look’ that hung around and it didn’t seem to be attached to anything ideological or anything particularly progressive or effective and so, yes, it was a shock when I heard other students say “give Maggie a chance” and so they did. SGY: Do you think that Mr and Mrs Andrews is or was central to an appreciation of the way British art developed? MW: Perhaps. Although, in a way, I don’t think it


INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUE developed. English art is curious and it is often said we are more of a literary nation, so I think that you can follow the art historical line in a smoother, unfolding fashion in France and other countries.Whereas here, you know, the Pre-Raphaelites were very literary in a way. There isn’t that same formal imperative that drives art through to a kind of modernism that you find in France or even Russia. So I think that after Gainsborough, Constable, Turner, it is very difficult to join the dots really, through to art of the last century. We’re always a bit riding on the back of countries that have had a more seamless sort of progression. SGY: Everything in Where There’s Muck is there for a reason. It’s very strategically placed. I was wondering why you’ve painted the yellow lines on some of the plywood pieces. MW: Back when I made it, it was the first time that rape fields started appearing in the landscape and they were a bit of an affront to me visually. I was just imagining ahead that Mr and Mrs Andrews, by this point, would be growing rape. Also, as a chronic hay-fever sufferer back then, rape was the devil (laughs) and also the word itself was a rather violent assault on the landscape.

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SGY: Where do you see the relationship between art and politics? Is it just a way of seeing, or do they influence one another? MW: That’s a very difficult question. I just hope that certain images give one cause to think and might, perhaps, here and there chip away at how we generally consume things. I think they are part of a critique of the established order and occasionally they make some kind of mark or gain a minor victory here and there. Inevitably, they just feed back into the mainstream. I’m more hopeful than convinced that anything gets changed. SGY: How do you think the political issues you show in Where There’s Muck are relevant today? MW: Well, I was interested in John Barrell’s assessment of Constable, in which the figures, in the end, get reduced to flecks of paint. This kind of landscape that we have, which one appreciates much the time in an unthinking way, is all about ownership really and power and economics. It just happens to take a rather pretty organic form much of the time. I suppose that people are thinking about, well


12 everything, in a more global way. It feeds into arguments about national identity, as much as anything else, but also, how the land is managed, farmed and for whom that’s done. Then you’ve got the whole thing to do with GM and the rest of it. There will probably be some big conglomerate that might own that land now, you know, or they might have gone organic (laughs). They might have to become the enlightenment patrician type of farmer or there might be a New Town there. There’s a drastic housing shortage here at the moment and yet we’re protective of the countryside as if that was some kind of sacred indeclinable thing, when it’s just land isn’t it? (laughs) SGY: How do you feel Where There’s Muck sits when compared with other notable works shown in the same period? MW: I suppose I was drawn to make things about national identity, class, and specific landscapes because there was a lot of work around at the time that suggested that there was a kind of international language or Esperanto and class was a thing that no one dared talk about within art. There seemed to be the attitude that somehow art transcended those sorts of things. I wanted to start from specifics and I think actually all the great works do start from that. Joyce’s Ulysses is both a sort of universal masterpiece and the best description of Dublin as it was in 1904. So, I just wanted to start with what excited or angered me at the time really. SGY: Is there an educational purpose with a work like Where There’s Muck? MW: Well, I hope it gives pause for thought you know. Funnily enough, I was in the National Gallery on Saturday, so I saw the original. It’s very small, isn’t it? (laughs). I was thinking, ‘I got very heated about that back then’ (laughs). I hope it suggests that there are other ways at looking at history and art history and appreciating artists. We are in a constant dialogue with the past and it proposes ‘This might be another way at looking at this’.

HISTORIC CARVING The Temple Church Effigies: Michael Cooper in Conversation with John Goodall (Extract) MC: Philippe Aries the French historian suggested that the effigies were not corpses lying down but standing figures. This brings into question whether the effigies in the Temple are displayed correctly; since sculptures were made to be viewed from specific angles. JG: I think that we can be fairly certain that effigies are always intended to be lying down because it’s not clear how one would place them if they were vertical. But there are very, very similar images in the vertical position on the west fronts of Wells [Cathedral] and Lincoln Cathedral, which in many respects look like effigial figures. The English are more interested in this animation. There are quite clearly English effigies – I don’t know if you know the one at Dorchester in Oxfordshire where the effigy looks quite literally as if it’s about to leap off its base. The two ways in which they animate these effigies typically are crossing the legs and then using the hand to grasp the pommel of the sword as if he is just about to draw it. People have of course read significance into that suggesting that this is a knight about to leap to the defence of Christ, or he’s about to perform his knightly function, and also I don’t think that that’s an inappropriate meaning. I think there is in English sculpture, clearly an interest in making things look lively as though they are living, as though they are real. There is a tension I suppose, in presenting a living person horizontally, because they do look as though they’re sleeping.


HISTORIC CARVING All of these effigies I suppose... a really important point to make – it’s a very obvious point to make – they are all showing people in life, in youth, in full grown, not adolescence but in their physical prime. That is of course at complete odds with the reality, or sometimes the reality, where there is an old person like William Marshal who was not a man in his prime when he died, and of course he’s buried in the clothing he wore from Jerusalem isn’t he? Buried in a habit as I seem to remember. So in fact, this is a complete disjunction, in William Marshal’s case, with what is going on down below. I think it’s an important point to make that we don’t actually know which one of those is William Marshal. One of the problems with the dating of them is that they are dated typologically. That is to say there is an assumption that the effigies go from these rather French saint figures to being these rather more animated English figures. It’s not quite clear – and this is a circular argument in some ways, although I think it’s a reasonable enough point, they are dated also with reference to their accoutrement… Hmmm well, are they? Is there anything technical in the armour that proves a date, I don’t know if it does? There is, on the back of the heel, a single spiked Norman spur. Which would suggest it is very early armour. This is one of the minor details that’s been picked up on. There have been historians looking into the style of the armour to try and figure out which came first. However they are so very similar in the Temple Church. The execution is in Purbeck of course. This does fit in with a lot of the very early effigies that do exist; I mean at least the very early effigies in Westminster Abbey. Did you come on the tour, where we pointed out that very rotten thing under the bench? You can’t quite believe that that is as important as it is. In the east end of the church itself in Temple, there is that bishop’s tomb in Purbeck. So it is fitting into a pattern and there aren’t … I don’t think there are any late examples of effigies in Purbeck. It’s quite an interesting thing that Purbeck as a sculptural material comes and goes. There are lots of Purbeck tomb slabs, but actual sculpted figures in Purbeck, I don’t know of any 14th century examples off the top of my head. MC: Do you think that the material had an influence as well, due to the restrictions of Purbeck?

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JG: Well, you would know more in a way than I do about that. I mean, I don’t know how hard Purbeck is to carve. Is it more difficult to carve? MC: I am about to start carving a piece of Purbeck marble myself, and I have been forewarned about it. JG: Because the fossils kind of pop out, do they? MC:That’s right, and it’s said to be quite tough. Given that, it would then be able to take more risky approaches, have things thinner due to the strength of the stone. JG: It is quite a weird disjunction that a lot of earlier, and most of the early 13th century bishops’ effigies are made with beaten sheets of copper gilt. Now, I find it very weird – given that that is the smartest burial tomb you could possibly commission, which lives on in royal effigies in England and in France, and in the Beauchamp effigy in Warwick – that you would chose a material that is totally different from copper gilt i.e. black and polished. Though I think it’s also worth saying that of course marble has tremendous prestige. […] The copper gilt effigy remains popular throughout the middle ages. Brasses are a cheap way after all, of creating a copper gilt effigy. When you have the Purbeck there is the delight of the contrast. Maybe some of these tombs are partly gilded to create that contrast of black and gold. However, I don’t know if that’s ever been demonstrated. Do you know, have you read anything that talked about gilding or metal addition to…? MC: I read somewhere about the conservation of the tomb, I think in one of Richardson’s publications, where they were discovering numerous coats of paint. JG: Really, what colours, do you know? MC:There was green and red on the shield. JG: But not gold? Green and red would be correct for the Marshal as well wouldn’t it. Another interesting thing about this particular group is that they are very clearly a set. I mean, that they are always dated relatively close together aren’t they. In England you’re virtually in this situation where there are no knightly effigies, pretty much at all. Then quite suddenly


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in one single church you have this extraordinary concentration of them, and nowhere else. MC: Do you think that was the influence of the Temple Church? As though the status was a prerequisite for being buried there? JG: It implies something even more than that doesn’t it. It implies that the group of people who were buried there want to show that they were level pegging. They are all trying to do the same thing. They are doing the same kind of effigy and as far as we know, the best guess as I recall, is that they were previously arranged on either side of the screen to the choir. So they are always in that nave. So they are clearly a kind of collective. They’re joining a club and the club is very exclusive. They are trying to create a posthumous club and the point is, that club doesn’t exist anywhere else, you can’t be buried somewhere else and join it, you’ve got to be there. That speaks of the prestige of the Templars, it speaks of the prestige enjoyed by William Marshal and it speaks of the prestige of the building at that given time.

The fool is also imbued with symbolism: he is renowned for pointing out the folly of his master and therefore provides a similar role to that of the animals, a mirror reflecting one’s failings back at oneself. He is also said to be ruled by his passions – much as the dog is – so is found to be greedy, lazy, and lecherous.2 This spontaneity and inability to resist temptation makes him good fodder to be made an example of. Considering the manifest qualities in both fool and grotesque, we might conclude that the dogs in the supporters of The Kiss allude to a condemnable action occurring in the main scene; a symbolic representation of dancing being a gateway to lustful or lecherous activity which, being one of the Seven Deadly Sins, is frowned upon by the Church.

How Did Traditional Urushi Lacquerwork Fall into Decline in the West During the First Half of the 20th Century? Tim Fielder

The Kiss: Religious, Historic and Symbolic Interpretations of a Misericord in Chichester Cathedral Cassidie Alder Christopher Queen posits the idea that devils and demons are often depicted as hideous combinations of animal parts as a means to represent chaos and disorder; exaggerated features form animal-like faces. Presupposing that during this time there was a strong emphasis on religious teachings, he suggests that the reason for connections between the dog and the devil arise from passages in the Bible which use allegories of canine behaviour to condemn actions, for example: “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly”1 (Prov. 26.11; 2 Pet. 2.22) Various other references of dogs’ disgusting actions make it possible that this inspired the populace to regard them as grotesque creatures and agents of sin, always at the mercy of their urges.  Christopher Queen, ‘Dogs on Display’, Medieval Iconography (2013) https://medievaliconography.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/dogs-on-display/

Jean Dunand is one of the best-known exponents of French Art Deco. He began with vases which he hand-raised – a demanding process in itself. His earlier pieces are more closely reflective of the great interest in Japonisme, which has as one of its elements a strong interest in Naturalism, and was a major influence on much of Art Nouveau design. Dunand often worked the surfaces with repoussé (a metalworking technique in which a metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief), chiseling, and with inlays of other coloured metals. He was an able pupil, and mastered these techniques, including the highly prized coquille d’œuf in which small pieces of egg shell are painstakingly embedded into the lacquer to form various patterns. Either the inside or the outside of the shell could be used uppermost with each giving a different effect. Soon Dunand had so many important commissions that he had to enlarge his studio and was employing 100 people. He went beyond the teachings of Seizo Sugawara, developing new col-

1

Christa Grossinger, The World Upside Down: English misericords (London: Harvey Miller, 1997) 2


HISTORIC CARVING ours such as greens, corals and yellows. Gradually, however, he abandoned the traditional Asian motifs for smooth surfaces and more geometric designs reflective of African art and Cubism. Some of his most successful pieces are pure forms of perfect proportions, in a single colour.

How was Dürer Influenced by the Native Works of Nuremburg and the German Lands? Joseph Murphy In practical application, drawing is the backbone of any sculptor’s work, and the greatest sculptors are often the most accomplished draftsmen; Michelangelo’s being some of the most prized working drawings to date. These drawings are often attractive because of the sculptural quality and the sculptor’s intimate knowledge of form. The ability to create a drawing that can be worked straight into wood or stone is very important to the cost-effectiveness of a workshop, saving the need for expensive modelling. It is also important to show drawings to clients for winning commissions, for explaining the composition

15

of a scene to a layperson, and for working out designs. The ability of the artist or craftsman to represent his thoughts successfully on a page saves the need to create lots of models, although these would have unavoidable in some cases. As an apprentice in a workshop that encompassed all and as an artist in a city that claimed some of the greatest sculptors of its day, Dürer would have been able to see the relationship between drawing and sculpture and would almost certainly have drawn from sculpture himself. The prowess in drawing that is evident in many of the great sculptors and painters would have been achieved through constant studies, drawings from life, copying the drawings of masters and also observational drawing of sculpture, including relief sculpture. As Dürer was an artist who was renowned for his observational skills it is fair to presume that he observed the sculpture in Nuremburg and the other Northern European cities he visited. If he did not record these observations directly perhaps this was because they were so much a part of his own tradition, the tradition he trained in and which was such an important part of the city in which he was born.


16

HISTORIC CARVING

To what Extent is Sir Richard Westmacott’s Monument to Charles James Fox in Westminster Abbey a Successful Sculpture? Ayako Furuno The Fox Monument openly appeals to emotion as much as it does cerebral principles. Fox was well-known for his passionate denouncement of the slave trade and desire to “deliver the nation and the age from the ignominy of so disgraceful a traffic”1 – a highly emotive topic. The presence of the African, who gazes passionately at Fox, is, of course, in recognition of Fox’s work in this field, as well as indicating “the prominence which the abolition of the slave-trade then occupied in the public mind.”2 Although Neoclassicism has been typified as emotionally “staid”3, Honour writes: No one had ever wept quite as persistently or profusely as the late 18th century man of feeling. A readiness to weep was the mark of true sensibility... Nearly all the ‘best sellers’ of the period paid tribute to the cult – A Sentimental Journey, The Man of Feeling, Clarissa... [This applied] not only to fiction... it was with an appeal to sentiment that Rousseau began his Contrat Social. Sentiment proved a more effective weapon that reason to attack slavery and social injustice.4 This sentimentality, therefore, is in fact part of the very essence of what was considered to be successful art; it was “supposed that [as] the ‘language of the heart’ was at all times and in all countries the same, the work of art that appealed to sensibility naturally acquired universal validity.”5 According to such terms, Westmacott was arguably successful: slavery and the fight against it, whether 19th century or modern, is a relevant, emotive subject today, still el Ralph Fell, Memoirs of the Public Life of the Late Right Honourable Charles James Fox (London : J.F. Hughes, 1808) 1

oquently evoked by the figure of the African.

Misericords and the World Turned Upside-Down Clunie Fretton The concept of ‘the world turned upside-down’ is a recurrent theme in the decorative carvings seen on misericords from the earliest examples between 1220-1260 in the choir stalls at Exeter Cathedral6 to some of the latest in Beverley Minster7 in 1520. It is characterised by a sometimes serious but often satirical reversal of roles, wherein the hunter becomes the hunted, the virtuous are depicted as depraved, and the mighty become the lowly. These carvings, humorously observed, serve to make broader and more important comments on the social climate of the time and in particular, serve to provoke thought in the individuals that view them. They carry with them moral lessons entwined with the comical situations they depict, which act as potent reminders of all men’s foibles. [...] The visual vocabulary of the time was far wider and more specific to Christian symbolism than that of the modern viewer, so a great deal more depth and meaning was immediately accessible to the contemporary viewer than there is today. Upon sight of the carving the viewer would be reminded of the various interconnected stories triggered by the image and the moral meanings. [...] These visual allegories also served the purpose of allowing stories to be referenced or figures to be included in carvings that would otherwise be inappropraite. As with misericords, where the position beneath the seat made them largely unsuitable for religious imagery, so the use of images that led the viewer on a mental journey through his or her knowledge of the scripture was a neat shorthand without any demeaning of holy figures by depicting them in an unholy place.

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey (London: John Murray, 1890) 2 

 Eric Abbott, Westminster Abbey (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988) 3

Hugh Honour, Neo-classicism (London: Penguin, 1991) 4 

5

Ibid. 

 A satirical image of a king, saddled and ready to be ridden as a horse in a classic role reversal. 6

 What appears to be a dog or bear riding a fox on one supporter, and the same figure tucking the fox into a cot on the other. 7


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HISTORIC CARVING

The Mesmerising Madness of Mr. Smith:The ‘Character Heads’ of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt Steve Atkinson Somewhere along the way, perhaps in Rome, but most probably amongst the intellectuals of Vienna, Messerschmidt had acquired various beliefs. One of these was that “the true secret of proportion lies in the proportions of Egyptian statuary”1. He had a drawing of an Egyptian statue hanging in his room and thought that the proportions in this drawing were the “normal proportions for all human forms”2 . This interest in Egyptian art was unconventional; “he assigned Egyptian art the status of the norm from which all human corporeal knowledge derived, thereby altering the standard 18th century claim promoted elsewhere, most notably by Johann Joachim Winckelmann, that Greek and Roman sculpture represented the platonic ideal of human

appearance.”3 But the fact that the heads were described as ‘Egyptian heads’ in his obituary and elsewhere suggests that the provenance of this approach was widely understood if not practiced. The Egyptian designation most likely refers to the frontal gaze, the absence of shoulders and formality found in much ancient Egyptian portraiture, especially that of the Armana period. “By insisting on frontality, Messerschmidt’s heads break their connection to the classical past and recall instead the rigid formality of Egyptian sculpture.”4

Symbols and Circumstances in the work of Elena Polenova and Piero Della Francesca Oliver Dorman Russian artist Elena Polenova was born in Saint Petersburg in 1850, the youngest daughter of Dmi-

Michael Yonan, ‘The Man Behind the Mask? Looking at Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’, Eighteenth Century Studies, vol.42 no.3 (Spring 2009) 3 

 Christoph Friedrich Nicolai, ‘The Heads of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’, Paris Review (2010) 1

2

 Ibid.

4

 Ibid.


READ ART & ANARCHISM try Vailevich and Maria Alekseevna. She played a prominent role in the development of ideas and visual art in Russia during most of her adult life, and left a legacy of influence that has lasted to this day. 1

From what can be learned about Polenova’s life, it is evident that she was a free-thinking, intelligent and determined individual and it is the times and circumstances in which she lived that largely dictated how her creativity would come to materialise itself in the objects and illustrations she made. With the ascension of Nicholas I in 1825, “Russian tastes in architecture began to turn to the antique as they did in all Europe at that time.”2 It was these and other factors that set the stage for Polenova’s work to flourish and find a receptive audience. In 1883 she defined an artistic credo for herself and her sister-in-law Maria Vasilievna Yakunchikova (with whom she worked closely) that was radical in its individualism for the political climate in which it was written. She writes, “God forbid that I should ever be concerned with how interesting my subject would be to the public—or even spare any thought for the public while I am at work. Only thus can one be worthy of being called an artist.”3

Read Art and Anarchism Dr Michael Paraskos, Lecturer in the History of British Architecture Before the First World War numerous political, social and religious groups vied with each other to persuade people that their visions of the still-new century would lead to a beautiful new world. Contrary to popular belief, the War did not extinguish this idealism, and after 1918 new groups emerged that also claimed to have the route map to lead us to a kind of Nirvana. Of course, not all of these groups were pleasant, generous or kind, but many were and there is Natalia Murray, A Russian Fairytale:The Art and Craft of Elena Polenova (Guildford: Watts Gallery, 2014) 1 

 Marina Bowater, Decorative art of Russia, (London: Studio Editions, 1990) 2

Natalya Polenova, At the Dawn of Art Nouveau: From Symbolism to Conventionality (Lecture at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 2015) 3 

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no doubt that much of what we consider to be the best things in our society, such as universal suffrage, pensions for the old and free schools for the young, and the National Health Service, have their roots in the idealism of this period. A hundred years ago, one of those idealists, who is the focus of my research, was just receiving his call-up papers to go and fight in the trenches of the First World War. His name was Herbert Read, and his experience of that war had a profound effect on him. Far from shattering his faith in human nature or leaving him disillusioned, he began to dream of a better future for humanity. There is no doubt Read was radicalised by his wartime experiences, but he was also humanised by them, coming to believe that all the apparent differences between people, that had seemed so important before the war, meant nothing when everyone was together, living, suffering and dying in the trenches of the Eastern Front. In terms of his politics, out of this experience, Read became a committed anarchist, and in terms of his cultural preferences he became a committed modernist. In fact he was to become the most well-known and widely-read writer on modern art in the 20th century. In Read’s mind anarchism and art were two sides of the same coin. Although his preference was towards a form of co-operative anarchism, called anarcho-syndicalism, in which communities live not without rules, but with rules they establish for themselves, he also believed in the fundamental importance of the individualism he saw in contemporary art. This dialectic between the community and the individual became the central tenet in his theorising, and he mapped it on to various other dialectical theories popular at the time. This included the longstanding dialectic between Classicism and Romanticism, but also new theories such as the Freudian idea of the extrovert and introvert personality, and in art onto the opposed movements known as Constructivism and Surrealism. The impact of Read’s writings was extensive, particularly in art schools where his dialectic was often expressed to students as the need to create tension in a work.To achieve tension students were taught to avoid relying solely on safe and predetermined compositional forms and instead to disrupt their work through the introduction of something unexpected. Of course this was a balancing act


20 as too much disruption would lead to chaos. This theory was not just applicable to art, but to society too. Read saw the community as something safe, known and to some extent predetermined, but the individual had the capacity to undermine this complacency by introducing something unexpected. Indeed, Read suggested, this is the function of artists in a community. Of course the argument might be put forward that a community that is functioning perfectly well does not need to have someone come along to challenge its cherished ways of doing things. Certainly this was the view of Plato when he advised that artists should be banished from society as they are a disruptive force. But Read’s view was that the disruption to a community caused by the individualism of artists was necessary to allow that community to evolve. If it did not then that community was doomed to ossify and fail to adapt to the inevitable changes that would happen in the world around it. This means the artist was seen by Read as a kind of experimenter, whose role in a community was to suggest new ways of conceptualising reality. By then challenging the community to recognise the validity, or invalidity, of those experiments the artist allowed that community to adapt and survive to changing circumstances. In our world art is increasingly seen as a marginal activity, and despite more people visiting art galleries and museums than ever before, there is an increasing belief that art is part of the leisure industry rather than something necessary for survival. That also helps to explain why our major art institutions place so much emphasis on big name celebrity artists, the crowd-pullers, rather than helping younger and lesser-known artists reach an audience. If we were to follow Read’s political lead we might suspect this downgrading of art into mere entertainment is a deliberate ploy by our leaders as it renders art safe. Mainstream art no longer acts as a challenge to society because those who control the art world have a vested interest in avoiding any attack on their power and authority. The challenge set down by Read to artists and wider society is to change that as our very survival might depend on it.

Juxtaposing Old and New: How Eclecticism Enhances Display Viv Lawes, Lecturer in the History of Style Seductiveness lies at the heart of any successful pairing of old and new works of art. Objects made during different chronological periods, each in their way embodying the cultural norms of their own times, depend upon a mutual and charismatic attraction that is at once hard to define and yet immediately apparent to the discerning eye. Historically, grand Western collections have always juxtaposed old with new, reflecting the spirit and attitudes of the times as well as the personal preferences of the collector. Taste is partly based on instinctive reactions to individual formal qualities – composition, line, mass, colour, texture and material – and their overall arrangement. The late 19th century German psychological theory of Gestalt (the mind’s ability to comprehend the whole rather than consciously focus on the parts) posited that ‘good Gestalt’ appeared to the mind as the harmonious structure emerging from apparently unrelated elements or combinations. Its visual embodiment of good Gestaltung (design) is the very definition of a pleasing mix of old and new. Taste also depends on the ability to judge intrinsic quality, a skill that presupposes a degree of knowledge. For this reason the notion of taste has historically been associated with the educated elite of society. 500 years ago the humanist scholar would not only educate his Renaissance patron’s children in the classics, but would also advise the patron on selecting both old and new artificialia alongside naturalia: man-made works such as classical sculpture, manuscripts, paintings, tapestries, gems, coins and medals, supplemented with wonders of the natural world. Florentine Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519-74), for example, mixed antique, modern and exotic artworks in the Scrittoio della Calliope, his private study in the Palazzo Vecchio: 5th century BC Etruscan bronze statuettes;1 antique-inspired Unearthed in Arezzo in 1553, the group was found alongside the celebrated Etruscan Chimera. It was placed in the Medici Pope Leo X’s apartments in the Palazzo Vecchio; now in the Uffizzi Museum. 1


JUXTAPOSING OLD & NEW sculptures by contemporary Tuscan masters Donatello, Cellini and Sansovino; Damescene weaponry and Aztec animal heads of precious stone, all alongside natural shells, stones and crystals.1 Displayed on shelves and in cabinets, arranged by typology and material, they were offset by Giorgio Vasari’s (1511-1574) mythological figure scenes in the room’s frescos, ceiling panels and stained glass windows. It must have looked like a miniature museum and its purpose was to demonstrate the erudition, wealth and power of Duke Cosimo. Old and new were also put together from the 16th to early 19th centuries in the collectors’ cabinets, known as Kunst- and Wunderkammern, which were the northern European incarnation of the Italian Renaissance studioli dedicated to collections of artificialia and naturalia. A painting by Flemish artist Frans Francken the Younger (1581-1642), Kunst- und Raritätenkammer, 1636, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, illustrates the eclecticism, richness and variety of the collection of 16th century cartographer Abraham Ortelius in one corner of his cabinet. The classical tradition formed the backbone of art, culture and education in the West until its slow dilution during the 20th century, weaving in and out of concurrent shifts in style of the decorative arts: the Baroque love of profusion, tonal contrast and theatricality; the asymmetric froth of Rococo; the vertical jaggedness of the 19th century Gothic Revival. The harmonious forms of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture were displayed alongside contemporary works: an Apollo next to a Netherlandish ebonized floral marquetry cabinet; an Aphrodite of Knidos by a suite of Chippendale Rococo chairs. [...] In terms of the development of ideas, the late 17th to mid-19th century also formed the backdrop to the emergence of the concept of ‘antiques’, without which organisations like BADA would never have existed. In the 1690s a philosophical argument over the relative merits of the ancient versus the modern (known as the Querelle in France) exploded. As antiques dealer and historian Leon Rosenstein argues in Antiques: The History of an Idea (essential reading for toAndrea Gáldy, ‘Vasari. Exhibitor of Art: Medici Collections of Antiquities’, Maia Gahta, Giorgio Vasari and the Birth of the Museum (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014)

21

day’s art collector), the ‘moderns’ were able to assert in the 18th century that artworks from the past could never be brought back to life by imitation (in contrast to the beliefs of Renaissance scholars) but could instead fire the contemporary imagination about the worlds in which they were made. Each object therefore became unique, a surviving signature of the past. This concept of history was reflected in the interests of learned groups such as the Society of Antiquaries (founded 1707), and eventually formed the basis of qualities such as provenance and patina. Rosenstein describes this change of outlook as a “keen historical and cultural sensibility… towards the past and the global… that would ultimately find its locus in the appreciation of the quotidian object as an antique.”2 Without this appreciation, the classification of ‘antique’ works of art would have remained as ancient classical statuary; businesses like Mallett, which was founded in 1865 and is one of the oldest antiques retailers in the world, would not be here now. The company over the last decade has increased the number of contemporary works shown in dramatic arrangements with traditional pieces illustrates the mutual visual charge that such combinations can exert. Over the last 250 years, the collecting of antiques, now broadly defined as objects over 100 years old, has grown immeasurably.The redistribution of wealth into the hands of the middle classes in the first half of the 19th century accelerated the trend. The ‘middling sort’, as Josiah Wedgwood once called this rising sector of the market, was able to purchase quality works at a relatively modest cost as industrial advances opened up the market. Modern and contemporary fine art and design have more recently been assimilated into mainstream collecting. Works of the early 20th century onwards look radically different from traditional works in terms of line, motif and material: fine art has consciously rejected the classical tradition since the late 19th century, while design has taken new directions with opportunities offered by materials technology and industrial production techniques – tubular steel, concrete, moulded plastics and now 3D

1

Leon Rosenstein, Antiques:The History of an Idea (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009) 2


22 printing. Combining old and new harmoniously is more challenging now that it is no longer consciously shaped by the classical tradition. [...] Dealer Richard Coles (of Godson & Coles) believes that ‘spirit’ is the key to inspiring combinations of old and new. He focuses on hanging mid20th century British abstract art with fine 18th and 19th century English furniture. Coles believes that the designers of the 18th century and the painters of the mid-20th century both felt impelled to come up with new ideas to meet the needs of their rapidly evolving cultures. This innovatory spirit, energy and assurance creates “an extraordinary dialogue” when the works – which have to be the “best of the best” – are brought together. This dialogue is demonstrated in the combination of a pair of c.1770 Pierre Langlois ebonized serpentine commodes with Chinese coromandel lacquer panels below Victor Pasmore’s 1966-67 abstract painting Linear Form. The cropped aerial view depicted in the lacquer panels, cut from a larger screen, has an abstract quality that plays with the linear forces in Pasmore’s Constructivist work; the boldness of the lacquer is counterbalanced by the confident white voids in the painting. While judging purely by gut instinct is the first step to successful eclecticism, understanding the cultural and historical context of a work leads to more profound insights, says London dealer Peter Petrou. Being a generalist rather than specialist helps to open the dealer’s mind and stops a collector from feeling pressurized by current trends. For example, in a timid attempt at pursuing ‘good’ taste it may be tempting to avoid exuberance. This is a fallacy: boisterous works just needs space to breathe. Young Irish designer Joseph Walsh, whom Petrou showcases, creates sculptural furniture inspired by patterns of growth and evolution in nature.Walsh’s Enignum range is reminiscent of the metamorphic and indefinable forms of the northern European Auricular style of 17th century; the success of both his work and that of the van Vianen brothers – the most celebrated of the Baroque period silversmiths working in the Auricular style – depend on an unerring eye and virtuosic technique. Armed with this historical comparison it would be worth considering hanging a 17th century

painting or textile in the same room as Walsh’s furniture. It may or may not work but this kind of experimentation is the first step in building a collector’s confidence in his or her ability to make sound judgments based on gut instinct, gestalt and a thirst for knowledge.

FEMINIST CRITIQUE ArtWork and HomeWork: ​ Feminism and The Histories of Domestic Studios in the 1970s​ Abi Shapiro, Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Art History Because the artists’ studio has been historically gendered as male, this has subsequently affected the way women’s artistic labour is perceived in art history. This is particularly evident in Western postwar art narratives, where art is thought to be contingent on where it was made, how it was made, and by whom it was made. As Daniel Buren noted in his 1971 essay ‘The Function of the Studio’, it is “in the studio that the work of art is closest to its own reality… it is only in the studio that the work may be said to belong.”1 In maintaining the link between the site of production and the ontology of the art object, Buren proposed a paradigm of viewership that brings the art object into being through the realisation of the processes of artistic labour as being constitutive of its spatial origins in the studio. What effect does this paradigm have for the historical analysis of women making art and their spaces of work? For Buren’s female contemporaries in the 1970s – in contrast to their male colleagues – the artist’s studio was, more often than not, located in the home. For married artists and artists with children, the work of art Daniel Buren, ‘The Function of the Studio’ (1971), October vol.10 (Fall 1979) 1


24

FEMINIST CRITIQUE

making and the work of homemaking not only physically overlapped, but in the case of their content in their artwork, art and home intersected. As such, gender specific experiences of artistic labour were forged between the contingencies of domestic work and studio work heralding a new genre of feminist autobiographical art undergirded by the edict of the women’s liberation movement that “the personal is political.” 1970s feminist art that represented ‘women’s work’ such as childcare, cooking and cleaning, can be said to be doubly ideological in its different views of work. On the one hand, the public exhibition of domestic labour makes visible the unpaid, private chores performed by women bringing the home into the public domain and politicising the gendered division of labour. On the other hand, artwork that marked the domestic space as both the subject and the site of artistic production resists the entrenched masculine models of artistic labour in studio that took place away from the home and instead the home-as-studio could be said to be a site of resistance to singularly domestic subjugation and a refusal to silence creativity. Feminist materialist approaches in art history in recent years have focused on how we might reconfigure the term ‘artwork’ as both noun and verb in order to take into account the multiple forms of labour (and their value systems) involved for women making art at home. This is to consider the different kinds of labour that supported and impeded (but ultimately constituted) women artists’ practices by necessarily expanding the parameters of how we locate the labour of art making in gendered bodies and in situated spaces such as the studio. To attend to the struggles of how women worked and how their art emerged from – and in defiance to – those struggles, points to how artwork can be instrumentalized in feminist art history: we must take note of the ways in which gendered labor is performed, visualized, valued and articulated by different subjects (including art historians) and in turn, how that construal of that labor locates subjects in different circumstances, in – and outside – the margins of art historical discourse.

Nude or Naked: The Reclining Female Figure Anne-Marie Hanlon The immediate model for Manet’s Olympia was Titian’s Venus of Urbino. Yet she was unlike any other nude that had come before – “she wasn’t Eve in the Garden of Venus… She wasn’t a Goddess or an Angel or a shy Bather caught off Guard.”1 Manet had stripped away the academic technique of the representational space that Titian had used, along with the curve of the body. He had also removed the veil of mythology, making her a contemporary woman, shameless, unclothed and undoubtedly not allegorical.

How do Jenny Saville & Wangechi Mutu use the Distortion of the Body to Speak Personally & Politically? Alakina Mann Jenny Saville and Wangechi Mutu share an interest in how their bodies are imaged and represented and both search for a new, more honest representation. They distort and disrupt the typical European gaze in Western art and the objectification of the female body in the modern media, as highlighted by 1970s third wave feminists. The gaze is used by both artists as a tool for political discussion but in rather different ways. Their desire to explore their personal views leads them to question their own gaze, as well as their viewers’, distorting the naked female figure is both a way and means to do this [...] Mutu and Saville are essentially dealing with the same gaze: the white, heterosexual, European male; however this gaze is far more complicated when applied to the African female. […] For a white European woman the effect is objectification, but for an African woman the effect is othering, eroticizing and objectifying.

 Mary Elizabeth Williams, ‘Manet’s “Olympia”’, Salon (May 2002) 1


FEMINIST CRITIQUE

What are the Responsibilities of Autobiographical Art? Josephine Gordon-Foxwell Exhibiting in a gallery space can be a socially acceptable form of confession. It is a cathartic process; even a form of therapy, where unspoken thoughts can be released and memories redressed and reattributed. A prime example of this is Tracey Emin’s Everyone I’ve Ever Slept With, a tent embroidered on the interior with the names of everyone with whom she had shared a bed. This was not a purely sexual confession, but recognition of the past. The audience, one by one, had to lie in the tent to see the names; this was an intimate and personal conversation between the artist and the viewer. By creating this work, she has taken control of these memories. Tracey Emin has said of the work that “it was like carving out gravestones for me... it was a painful work.”1

The Role of Confession in the Practice of Two 20th Century Female Artists Maria McCullough In his ‘History of Sexuality’, Foucault argues that “Western societies have established the confession as one of the main rituals we rely on for the production of truth: the codification of the sacrament of penance”2. Our society has become obsessed with “the infinite task of extracting the depths of oneself, in between the words, a truth which the very form of the confession holds out like a shimmering mirage.”3 The compelling allure of the mirage is that “confession will finally deliver to the individual the truth of who they are or who they ought to be, the secret of the heretofore hidden self.”4 […] By covering and altering her participants’ faces,

 Secret Knowledge, Tracey Emin on Louise Bourgeois: Women Without Secrets (BBC4, 2013) 1

  Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality.Vol.1:The Will to Knowledge (London: Penguin, 1998) 2

3 4

Ibid.  Ibid.

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Gillian Wearing makes a simple intervention that shifts the video from simple confession to a strangely anonymous series of stories, the origins of which are obscured and distorted.The stories no longer have a familiar and recognisable basis, they become a form of fiction left open to interpretation.

The Life Beyond Irony (Extract) Dr. Matthew Rowe, Lecturer in the History of Ideas Setting the Scene: What is Irony? A powerful conversational and debating tool: an essential facet in humour, especially intellectual humour, indeed frequently it’s the only type of humour of which intellectuals are capable. More than this though, it has become the sine qua non of contemporary life itself, the basic ingredient of our talk and judgements. Here, its role is to acknowledge the diversity that both the quantity and and rapidity of contemporary cultural information has made apparent to our daily lives about virtually any subject under the sun. With this acknowledgement of diversity has come another contemporary attitude for which irony is ideally suited: we may call this the ironic attitude. This attitude has as its basis the mistrust, or even denial, of commitment. The contemporary feeling is that commitment is misplaced in such a diverse world if one is to have any hope of keeping in contact with the changing world and values of our peers or our friends. Commitment was only possible in a previous world, a pre-relativistic world of progress and deferment. Commitment was a feature of the world when the predominant attitude of the educated towards that world was aesthetic – the aesthetic attitude. Now this is descried as a result of the move from, or confusion between, aesthetic and ironic distancing. Commitment now is a feature of either the helpless consumer, buying every tie-in he can, or the zealot, generally regarded as a mistaken crank. It is interesting that the change has occurred within commitment itself. Inevitably, as the Western World has secularised and relativised itself, the shift in commitments has mirrored this by turning from religion to politics. Nowadays, the religious zealot is a crank, if not possibly a danger-


26

THE LIFE BEYOND IRONY

ous madman, at risk of getting himself imprisoned, or us killed, if they pursue their aims too ‘vigorously’ - contra the 19th Century. A small, contributing reason for this may be the change from a manufacturing to service industrial basis among the major industrial countries after the apex of their colonial achievements – political agitation is obviously less conducive, more dangerous, to a ruling power than religious information, which at least, all people can profess to share. Yet, the most important factor in this shift from religious to political commitment as the norm is the depth and assurance of the truths which the committed profess. Religion purports to be true per se – with the authority of all powerful, all knowing, usually benevolent source; politics however, has to admit of some diversity in order to be politics – it must always be going against something, usually something that is already happening. The politician will argue that a thing is wrong, but only that it is a wrong way to deal with a problem, or the wrong problem with which to deal – this may be just as serious in a secular world – and that her ways are right. For the politician being better is being right. For the religious being right is the only option. So, in a world shot through with irony the most common form of commitment is one that is peculiarly suited to the times. Commitment then, is what the ironist fears. This is a mistake. A confusion. It is not commitment that should be disparaged, but authenticity. The ironic position is, after all, itself a commitment. Everything done, or entertained, is a commitment to that thing, activity or consideration. What does not follow, is that we believe that those things to which we are committed have any authenticity outside of our belief. This is what the ironists should fear because it calls to objectivity for justification and also to a dichotomy (at least) between the authentic (and true) and the inauthentic (and false). Here we have the calling card of camp, aestheticism on the cheap. But here we get ahead of ourselves. […] The commitment/authenticity confusion is understandable because it looks at first glance that commitment implies appeal to some greater authority than is contained within the object of commitment. But that is not so.That only happens when the further question of why the commit-

ment is to this object rather than that is posed. Then one needs, because one is asked for, a justification of one’s commitment and that is where authenticity may come in, because to justify this rather than that requires that we show that there is a reason, that ‘this’ is more worthy, more deserving in some way internal to the object itself than ‘that’. Of course, there is no need to give such a justification – one of the characteristic differences beyond the life within, and the life beyond, irony. Many of the differences ultimate rely on the same sort of mistaking of structure for content. As will be seen this is inevitable for irony and the ironic attitude in all its manifestation. The problem’s source is treating a variable (commitment) which can apply equally to any object because it a state of mind, as a constant (authenticity) which appeals to supposedly different properties of the objects under discussion. […] But we, here, are talking about the form of irony that is peculiar to modern life as a buffer against claims of spurious objectivity and truth and as a defence against charges of naffness, should one just happen to come across someone who raises an ironical eyebrow at one of our deepest heartfelt beliefs. Accordingly, with the slide from aestheticism to irony we have seen amusement displaced, from characterising superiority, to hiding uncertainty – another commitment/authenticity dispute. Solve it yourself - irony and relativism are not cosy bedfellows. In fact irony depends, if having any force at all, on at least the things under discussion by the ironist having a determinate position of importance. The communication of ironic intent implies that this view of the world will be shared by the speaker. So, irony depends on there being a shared and meaningful world for speaker and listener alike which gives definite and objective answers to questions of definite objective importance. In other words, to use irony demands that one see meaning everywhere and also that one sees the world as meaningful, and not just a world which we’ve made meaningful. There is more. Another component essential to any form of irony, and, as will be seen, especially important to those made in current society to indicate an awareness and at least partial mastery of our uncertainties of which objects occupy which positions in our hierarchy of value is an implicit


29 rendering of the object talked about as itself fully understood, an indication that one is oneself superior to the object about which one is talking.Thus one cannot simultaneously be in wonder, or awe, of an object and view it ironically. One cannot be an ironic lover. Any irony that is present on such occasions is usually an aside on the comparative scarcity of the ‘aweful’ emotion in one so knowing. Moreover, this superiority over the object is expected to be shared by the listener, because if it isn’t then the irony may be missed and you may be mistaken for a philistine, or worse, a consumer, hence the distanced, superior, yet commitment tone to this prose... it is this fear which keeps most ironic statements and the targets of irony safe and which also leads to the general weakening in the sharpness of irony seen in our society.

ON PAINTING The Materialisation of Remembering in Phoebe Unwin’s Paintings Diane Chappalley [...] memory is never just a straightforward process of recording lest we forget and, even in the best equipped of minds, it can be a slippery mechanism. It can be both elusive and intrusive and we can rarely be completely sure of its fidelity to the events or facts it recalls.1 - Joan Gibbons As Gibbons describes it, the uncertainty of a memory is part of its true content. This constant paradox in the exploration of remembrance shows the difficulty of reaching the core of a memory. Phoebe Unwin develops her paintings without knowing the result as she is searching for the balance of the unsure truth. This ignorance of the creation’s end result means that it has the potential to fail. The inability to access its essence and the acceptance of this insecurity is a way to reach the uncertain nature of a memory. [...]

Neo Rauch: A Critical Study Alice McVicker In Neo Rauch’s 2009 painting Ausschüttung, three protagonists stand in the foreground: a woman and two men are presented on the right-hand side of the canvas. Although none seem to be engaging or looking at each other, they are performing a set task of throwing out, or distributing objects. Each seems withdrawn, and their actions self-absorbed. The woman addresses the viewer as she aids a man (who is staring into the distance) pouring away an ambiguous silver fluid, while a dog-like creature delves in beneath the falling liquid, which itself falls into an abyss of abstraction. The third protagonist pours away abstract geometric matter, whilst also gazing into the distance – again, as if a routine task – as if they had all done this a thousand times. They appear to be pouring the matter over a railing or boundary of some kind, on the edge of green and grey, cloudy and windswept anonymous district. [...] In the distance, behind the three protagonists, an enigmatic figure walks, carrying two empty dishes, heading towards two other, equally enigmatic figures, who are accumulating more from what looks like a cave at the foot of a large rock, leaning away towards the edge of the painting; all this creates a strange, eerie sensation. Smith, in The New York Times, noted that the figures often seem unanchored, as if taken from an illustrated ‘how-to’ manual – and casually inserted, like dolls, in a set-up photograph.2 They are imagined and created directly on the canvas, which may be one reason his surfaces are so active. [...] Rauch studied under the crumbling regime of Socialism; it is Socialist Realism which lingers in his work’s frequent suggestions of foul utopias – peopled by smoothbrowed heroes, laced with Surrealist uncanniness, and given Pop éclat. Aspects of his style bring to mind Goya, Beckmann, Balthus, and Magritte, as well as – in trace amounts – Jörg Immendorff and other West German Neo-expressionists who affected him in the 1980s.3

Roberta Smith, ‘Art in Review: Neo Rauch’, New York Times (26 April 2002) 2

 Joan Gibbons. Contemporary Art and Memory: Images of Recollection and Remembrance. (London. I.B. Tauris, 2007) 1

P. Schjeldahl, ‘Paintings for Now: Neo Rauch at the Met.’ The New Yorker (June 2007) 3


30

ON PAINTING

Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba and How his Use of the Primitive Illustrates the Trauma & Hardship of War Jacob Montague Wide-eyed soldiers stand still as if in anticipation of their orders, flanking two orange and blue central figures. Their expressions are quite different to those surrounding them, appearing far more in touch with the chaos present on all sides.The soldiers’ faces are executed in dull pink, reminiscent of dolls and plastic figurines.Their arms extend from their bodies with lifeless rigidity while weapons hang from their necks like jewellery. The figures are reminiscent of children’s toys with each limb able to be controlled and manipulated at the child’s will. Despite the influence of a potent history of local child-led graffiti in the Ivorian capital of Abidjan, Aboudia paints with experience and maturity. The rich mixture of red hues and saturated orange, akin to the extreme heat of West Africa, fuels the intensity of the largely barren background.The faces are rigorously changed and worked in order to achieve the perfect expression, consistently maintaining harmony between both the additive and reductive sections of the picture plane. Aggressive red skulls peer through the shoulders of each soldier; their haunting expressions are offset by the deadpan smiles of the figures in green, as paint drips from their faces like sweat or blood. These works are striking reminders of the power of paint.

We Were All in The Mirror: Ivan Seal, G.L. Brierley, Jonny Green and Lacan Finian Richman Ivan Seal’s 2011 painting thats what your getting is of a big pile of dark coal-like rocks carefully placed in a pyramid form which stands on a grey plinth with the top surface thickly painted in black. The objects are beautifully, glossily highlighted as though the light source is at the top left hand side of the painting and rendered from the top to bottom with very clean, marble-like mixture of blue and green, or yellow.The object is located in this open

space with nothing but two plain colours, green and dark orange, both the colours having a muted brillance in comparison with the rocks. The work is painted in impasto, particularly the rocky object which is raised slightly in relief. Intense shadow intensifies the three dementionality of the object. As opposed to the ambiguity of the painted objects, the painting itself is somehow soothing to look at, extaordinarily calm and quiet. [...] Seal claims that he paints from memory. He paints objects, he says, because he feels the urge to. […] “It’s a kind of escapism, I hate to say this.”1 Painting allows him to lose himself. “I often think about people. When I paint things from memory, rather than remembering how things look, or look in photographs, I take the ‘taste’ of it. So memory becomes more about the taste. I paint the taste of that bag, I can take the taste of my first girlfriend, or what happened to my mother.”2

The Use of Photography in the works of Jonathan Wateridge and Gregory Crewdson Sean Mortimore Although there is nothing immediately strange about the six paintings that made up Wateridge’s 2011 show Mittelland, there is a very particular sense of temperature and quiet about them. The body of work appears to be of places where time has all but stopped. The compositions of Mittelland are more vacant that those of Another Place, and as a result feel more distilled. The undertones of social political issues and cinema seem quietened and the alienation of the viewer from the image heightened. [...] Wateridge’s 2001 work Repainting illustrates the importance of diverse application techniques within the artist’s paintings through the juxtaposition of contrasting painting applications. The splattering of paint onto the couple’s clothes has been represented through a process of dry brushing and smearing white paint over the painted trousers and sweatshirts of the figures to achive a  Harriet Loffler, ‘Artist Talk: Ivan Seal (19 April 2013)’, Contemporary Art Society 1

2 

Ibid.


ON PAINTING look and feel as close to wiped paint and muck as possible.This contrasts with the thin layers of progressively lighter tones, which depict the transparent plastic sheets in the background. Wateridge is able to harmonise his work by treating all areas of his painting with the same level of care and accuracy. This importance of painting in its own right is what separates his work from just being photographs that have been rendered in paint. It is the significance of this construction of the disclosed image that characterises Wateridge’s practice.

The Equality of Things: An Analysis of the Subject/Object Relationship in the Works of Ellen Altfest Kimberley Harvey Eyal Weizman discusses Paul Crutzen’s proposal that human activity has had such a significant impact on the earth’s ecosystem that it has shifted us from the Holocene epoch into the Anthropocene epoch, described as the era of humans. He believes that “humanity has become one geological force amongst others, shaping the material properties of the planet with a power equivalent to that of volcanoes, earthquakes and plate tectonics.”1 He goes onto say that “the former solid distinction between humanity and nature, or between the ‘human’ and ‘natural’ sciences melt in the powerful face of the Anthropocene concept. What else could it do when psychology (as just one example) is seen to have geological consequences?”2 I believe his rhetorical question is incredibly valid and illustrates the profound relationship we now have with the earth and our inextricably bound future together. Crutzen’s proposal in the eyes of Weizman is predominantly anxiety-riddled and ultimately doomed. He believes that we are not likely to survive this new epoch and essentially “the greatest collective project of mankind is our last.”3 Artists as well as scientists and philosophers are observers; they look at the world around them. […] Ellen Altfest has developed a strong

language of her own which involves observing the natural world around her in obsessive detail. […] She appears incredibly in tune with the relationship between things; their visual equality and ontological existence.

Painting with Photographic Source Material: Three Different Contemporary Approaches to Political Painting Rene Gonzalez Adrian Ghenie’s painting The Trial (2010) makes reference to a specific historical event: the trial of Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife in Romania, moments before his documented execution that was shown on national television. Ghenie uses photography as source material, showing us a glimpse of the real moment before it faded away. He distorts the image, blurring elements of the original picture, so that where they were once clear and tangible, they now are not. Something about them it seems has been lost between the fraction of an instant when the event happened and was photographed to the time when Ghenie’s painting was made. [...] Rachel Wolff describes how Ghenie “creates a mythology on his canvas, one that encompasses the layers of history, the clichés surrounding its most horrific figures, and our collective and personal memories of how it all went down.”4 The work tries to reconstruct a historical moment with incomplete pieces of information. It is an honest approach to portraiture considering its political content, because it is not the artist’s opinion of Ceausescu that we see, but merely a reminder of his existence. Ghenie’s position regarding Ceausescu is present in the choice to represent him without the symbolism of power and divinity, as a regular person, now faded from existence.

 Sophie O’Brien, Today we reboot the planet: Adrián Villar Rojas. (London: Koenig, 2013) 1

2

 Ibid.

3

 Ibid.

31

 Rachel Wolff, ‘Adrian Ghenie’, Art+Auction (March 2013) 4


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CONSERVATION The Mazarin Chest: The Necessity of a Collaborative Approach in Conservation Mark Searle The Mazarin Chest demonstrates the ambiguous and subjective nature of ethics in contemporary conservation practice. Housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum and constructed for the 17th century western market but made in Japan using traditional materials by Japanese artisans, this object truly straddles east and west. However, the Mazarin Chest – and urushi in general – is understood and valued in very different ways by the UK and Japan, and this has significant ramifications on how conservators approach their treatment. While in Europe lacquerware is proscribed value through creative expression, skill of technique and its place in art history, in Japan it represents the uniqueness of their culture and invokes a sense of community and tradition.1 Therefore, whilst the UK conservators aim to employ the ideal of “reversible”, or in practice at least retreatable, techniques in order to preserve the authenticity of the object, Japan’s conservation philosophy laments that “In order to maintain the cultural integrity and continuity of lacquer objects, Japanese conservators observe the principle of using materials as close as possible to those from which the object is made.”2

methodology for the Mazarin Chest that not only respected western ethics of re-treatability but also allows for the cultural continuity of the object by as far as possible utilising materials and techniques similar to those employed in manufacture.3

The Testing of Silicon Dioxide Sol Gel Produced by a Precursor Mixture of Silicon Tetraethoxide & Methyltriethoxysilane Solution These hitherto incompatible mind-sets were Acting as a Water Repellent united in the Mazarin Chest Project through a Coating on Architectural Stone collaborative approach. Two urushi conservators, Shayne Rivers from Britain/Australia and Yoshihiko Yamashita from Japan, developed a conservation Victoria & Albert Museum, Treatment of the Mazarin Chest www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/treatment-ofmazarin-chest/ 1

Yamashita Yoshihiko & Shayne Rivers, ‘Light-Induced Deterioration of Urushi, Maki-e and Nashiji decoration’, East Asian Lacquer: Material Culture, Science and Conservation (London: Archetype, 2011)

Joseph Ward Ancient monuments are valued and regarded not only because they are our heritage, they impart a sense of history and identity and on the other hand leave us in wonderment at their beauty

2 

Victoria & Albert Museum, The Mazarin Chest Project www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/mazarin-chest-conservation-project/ 3


CONSERVATION and magnitude. Centuries of worship and the cultural association of monuments mean that even centuries ago steps were taken to preserve them, there was always an awareness of the fragility of materials over time. An example of this is recorded by Vitruvius (c.80-15 BC)2 and Pliny (23-79 BC)3 who wrote about the use of oils and waxes as protective coatings on stone. 1

The sensibility towards preservation has wavered through the centuries. The Victorian John Ruskin – an early pioneer of conservation – wrote about his disdain of “modern” restoration in 1877:

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a glimpse of a French style trying to make its way in to the interiors of the English aristocracy. The Duchess of Norfolk was a Francophile who was eager to embrace the exuberant Rococo style and promote herself as a leader in fashion and taste. The conservation project and the Victoria and Albert Museum looked to restore the room to its former splendor through a program of re-creation, re-gilding and cleaning. As visitors walk into the room today, they are often heard gasping, much like the guests at the opening party in 1756.

It is impossible for anyone to know the horror and contempt with which I regard modern restoration - but it is so great that it simply paralyses me in despair. [...] Of course, all restoration is accursed architect’s jobbery, and will go on as long as they can get their filthy bread by such business.4

How was the Arab Hall at Leighton House Museum a Reflection of its Time? Issues Facing the Contemporary Conservator of the Interior Today

Unlike the 1800s, when the most common conservation solution was to replace or retool a failing stone,5 the purpose of restoration today is more often seen as:

Liza Nathan

the careful management of change, it is about revealing and sharing the significance of places and ensuring that their special qualities are protected enhanced understood and enjoyed by present and future generations.6

The Norfolk House Music Room: The Influence of a French Style on an English Interior Rebecca Davison The Norfolk Music Room provides us with an opportunity to take a stroll into the past. It provides John Ashurst & Francis Dimes. Conservation of Building and Decorative Stone. Vol. 2. (London: Butterworth-­Heinemann, 1990) 1

Vitruvius. The Ten Books on Architecture (New York: Dover, 1960) 2

3

Pliny, Natural History (London: Bohn, 1855)

Richard Pieper, ‘Symposium on Preservation Treatments for Historic Masonry.’ APT Bulletin 26. 4

5

Ibid.

National Trust. The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping (Swindon: National Trust, 2011) 6

The Arab Hall is a wonderful example of the fascination with the East in the High Victorian period. Leighton can be seen to have been influenced by a number of other interiors and art forms of the time and used these to project his status as a contemporary artist of discerning taste. The fact that Leighton paid Aitchison alone £7000 reflects his desire to create a room of extravagance and a testament of consummate craftsmanship.7 The Arab Hall was a room in which to entertain before the climax of the studio itself, and it is this function that has carried through to the present day, which was an invaluable prompt for its subsequent restoration in 2008. The conservation issues, particularly the vulnerability of the mosaic floor, pose serious problems for the continued survival of the room. However, the Arab Hall was and is a room in which to entertain and it is fundamental to the running and upkeep of the Leighton House Museum that such events are held. Therefore, the conservator is faced with the typical predicament of making realistic choices about the way the space is run without harming the aesthetic of the interior. This said, measures need to be taken in order to protect the floor on a long-term basis to ensure continued appreciation of its beauty by future generations. Purcell Miller Tritton, Conservation Management Plan, (London: Purcell Miller Tritton, 2006) 7


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CONSERVATION

The Wall Paintings of the Chapter House in Westminster Abbey Kirsten Walsh During the 13th century, experimentation with oil and protein-based media led to the technical sophistication associated with gothic wall painting. Stylistically, courtly paintings of the late 13th and 14th centuries were inspired by the elegant mannered figures of French painting. As the century advanced, fashions for Italian and German usurped French influence.1 Although Italianate influence travelled to England, the techniques employed in the majority of high status 14th century English painting schemes remained firmly northern European. The use of lead white grounds can be considered a turning point.2 No longer having to rely on the carbonation of lime as the mechanism for binding pigments, painters of the 14th century embraced the use of organic media, in particular linseed oil, and the Roger Rosewell. Medieval Wall Paintings in English and Welsh Churches. (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2008) 1

Helen Howard. Pigments of English Medieval Wall Painting. (London: Archetype, 2003) 2

ability to widen the available pallet to include alkali-sensitive pigments. This led to the production of sumptuous jewel-like effects, created through the application of multiple transparent glazes. The use of relief techniques also flourished in this period: raised ornament, tin relief, imitation jewels and enamels, and even mirrors, were commonly found in English schemes of the 14th century.

Alessandro Pampurino’s Frescoed Ceiling in the Casa Maffi, Cremona Coralie Llucia The Cremona ceiling from the Casa Maffi is a great example of the influence of Andrea Mantegna in Northern Italy throughout the 16th century. The seperation of Alessandro Pampurino’s wall painting from its original context is an interesting subject of debate. The detachment certainly put the object in great risk but it may have been its salvation too since the Casa Maffi does not appear to have survived the modern days. The condition in which the ceiling was kept until today is outstanding considering its history. Its detachment and transportation from Cremona to London


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CONSERVATION required a lot of care and skills and shows that the dealers certainly valued it enough to make it a success. The newest restoration has allowed us the appreciation of its beauty today as an object of art in its own right and attract our attention on the work of less known artists such as Pampurino.

Hereford Cathedral in 1862” , but this essentially erases all trace of neglect from its aesthetic, therefore removing it from its social context. 2

Standen House: Conservation Issues

The Hereford Screen by Sir George Robert Mitchell Standen is a jewel of the Arts and Crafts moveGilbert Scott Anna Don After many years of neglect, the Hereford Screen arrived at the Victoria and Albert Museum in an incredibly degraded state. The metals were corroded, the copper and brass discoloured by oxidisation, the paint faded and flaking with rust stains, and the mosaics had salt formations in areas. Due to the complexity and sheer scale of the restoration project, three treatment proposals were suggested ranging in severity, starting with minimum conservation for display, partial conservation, then full restoration. Diana Heath, the Head of Metal Conservation at the V&A, decided on a treatment combining partial conservation and full restoration, to restore stability to the screen and “reinstate the full colour scheme with a sympathetic revival of damaged areas, keeping much of the early paint and gilding without removing all evidence of deterioration.”1 This decision led to an undertaking of the V&A’s largest project, beginning with a condition report in 1995 to being placed on display in 2001, with 40 conservators involved. Despite the incredible outcome of this work, the extent of intervention by conservators in the restoration of the Hereford Screen may be questioned. It is important to consider what aspects of the screen may be lost, in what is ultimately an attempt to salvage its features. This is perhaps the most important consideration the conservator must make before embarking on any project, particularly one of this scale. While the restoration of the Hereford Screen has restored its structural integrity, the final product barely shows signs of its turbulent history. It has been restored to “resemble it’s appearance when installed in

Diana Heath. ‘The Resurrection of the Hereford Screen’ V&A Conservation Journal. Issue 38 (2001)

ment. It gives the visitor a clear vision of the life and taste of a middle class Victorian family. It also highlights the issues between conservation, restoration and visitor experience. These dilemmas will always be faced in these types of properties; whether to conserve objects and interiors as they have been handed down to us or restore them thereby attempting to return them to their original state. Our modern aesthetic is to conserve and protect cultural objects from further decay. Where restoration is carried out the work should be clearly defined so that there is no blurring between the old and the new. These dilemmas become larger when we are faced with a catastrophe such as the fires at Hampton Court and Uppark house in Petersfield. Should we accept the loss of these cultural jewels, conserve what can be saved and build in a new style or rebuild that which once was and restore and by doing so destroy the aesthetic we are trying to preserve. When dealing with iconic buildings it will at times be necessary to sacrifice our modern conservator aesthetic to the taste of the wider society. These questions have been debated since the start of antiquarian interests i.e. the repositioning of stones at Stonehenge, Sir Arthur Evans treatment of the site at Knossos in Crete, and will be continued to be faced into the future.

1

2

Ibid.


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IMAGE & OBJECT The Artist As Algorithm (Extract) James Tabbush, Fine Art Graduate 2014 I was at a small dinner party for young artists and art students. On a screen above the courgette salad and Turkish bread, a woman was writhing distractedly, looking at me and winking. Behind her was the familiar flowing form of the iTunes visualiser. Every so often, a window would appear asking for three ‘credits’ to continue watching a nude version, with which the woman would interact complexly, in regard to which was in front and which behind; it wasn’t at all clear where she thought she was. Then a kind of competition started among those present as to who could replace the iTunes whirls with the most fantastically inappropriate video and music. The dancing woman danced in a transparent layer above grinding gears, advertising landscapes and jelly beans. In the end it was striptease overlaid onto sausage production, which was great in all sorts of ways. Nobody needed to think about why these different juxtapositions were funny or interesting, because we were all young people who had grown up with the internet – there was a pleasing kind of group consciousness. Kari Altmann said in an interview with Rhizome that artists of her circle (‘post-internet’ artists, roughly speaking) were behaving more like content feeds than like artists of the past. She said that she could predict what any of them was going to post or combine next. ‘Images became meta images,’ she said, narrating these changes. ‘Objects became meta images. Everything could be linked. Everything was part of a stream, then a mass.’ One sees this in looking over the Twitter feed of an artist like Joey Holder, a fairly recent Goldsmiths graduate who posts a great quantity of images of marine biological oddities and their corollaries in the world of technology, and makes work that displays a similarly filtered set of images in semi-transparent overlays. Her work is sensual, overwhelming, a bit of a data dump. She quoted to me from her artist’s statement: “Fragmented patterns clash against automated representations, each vying for the viewer’s attention, creating a barrage of ex-

cess and exuberance.” These works are not like novels or symphonies; they don’t weave a tapestry of meaning out of internet detritus. Instead they filter and collate, or combine two streams of data into one. Altmann continues: “One image wasn’t enough. The timeline from thought to post diminished. All content sources became equalized.” We are familiar with this from Facebook, even if we are not artworld insiders. The time taken between having a funny idea and publishing a celebrity’s photograph with a wilfully ungrammatical sentence overlaid in bold has become exponentially smaller in the last few years.When we find out about, say, oil cooled computers or a new kind of manbag, we will often post it to interested friends without thinking much about it. These are obvious things. But the idea that artists are doing the same, that they use the same unreflective processes to make their work, this seems significant. These artists, even when they have a quasi-critical agenda, are not interpreting or analysing the world in the way that artists have done historically. They act as one vector among a whole network of such vectors. “No doubt, one could describe the ambition of the 21st century artists as the desire to become a network,” wrote Nicolas Bourriaud in The Radicant, six years ago. The interpretation and analysis, which does exist, comes in a thousand micro-decisions about what to repost and what to discard. The artist becomes a little more like an algorithm charting their own aesthetic preoccupations, or as a small filtration station in a great sea of images and information. One of the most affecting bits of any post-internet art I’ve seen is at the end of Jon Rafman’s Mainsqueeze, where a barely comprehensible image shows us a swimming pool totally full of people who rise and fall en masse with the artificial waves.The individuals are effaced; we see only bits of fluorescent colour and blank skin pixels. One piece of information could not possibly matter on its own; the only thing worth noticing is metadata. It’s a kind of nightmare, to be squashed within


IMAGE & OBJECT a crowd and to be at the mercy of a wave; but these people seem to be doing it of their own accord. This one image communicates a lot about our society, and even something about the art world. Because the flow of water, the supremely unreflective activity of the digital world, is now also present in art making, even as it produces strange and fascinating things like Mainsqueeze.

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heroic archetype. Charles Jagger saw himself as a bridge between the world of the academy and the working classes who, in his view, had won the war.

The Changing Face of Semiotics as Demonstrated by an Examination of Four Paintings Thomas Elliott

Copying and Image Appropriation Nick York-Simpson For years, art was about the representation of reality. Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain is a great example of a complete break from this. Rather than art being a copy of reality, Duchamp made reality a copy of art… With Duchamp you enter into a weird world where a work of art is both art and not art at the same time.

Every Artist is a Human Being Callum Stannard Early in the 20th century monumental public art endorsed by the state had largely stagnated; Tatlin’s Tower had yet to be conceived. European art of the 19th century was often the servant of grandiose Imperialism, stale and moribund in heroic neo-classical imagery. Monumental figures of contemporaries were frequently presented in anachronistic dress and manner to flatter the European empires whose heroic militarism had yet to face the reality of the Great War. 19th century bourgeois art would be transformed by Realism and Impressionism and, in the early 20th century, by the art of revolution and modernism. However, regardless of Rodin challenging the neo-classical boundaries with his Balzac and the Burgers of Calais, public art – the art of the state – largely remained moribund. It was not until after the Great War that public art first faced the challenge of representing the reality of a contemporary experience that did not accord with imperial hubris. The unprecedented scale of the war the imposition of conscription and its impact on the lives of non-combatants demanded a public response.The public understanding of war had undergone a paradigm shift, it was difficult to accept the standard

Richard Wollheim in Art and its Objects differentiates two perceptive approaches to conferring meaning from an art object, namely seeing-as and seeing-in. If X is the medium of representation and Y is the object represented, “if you see X as Y there will be certain features of X that permit me to see it, or explain my seeing it as Y”1; whereas seeing-in involves only seeing Y in X. So where seeing-as relies on the additive accumulation of individual material elements to hopefully build to the degree of permitting a reading of Y, “seeing-in is the cultivation of a special kind of visual experience, which fastens upon certain objects in the environment for its furtherance,”2 thus only requiring a notion of Y. This subtle difference explains much of how we are capable of seeing features beyond paint’s intrinsic materiality. If we were capable of only seeing-as features like motion and narrative would have to have a physical signifier, furthermore it is not possible to confuse a three-dimensional object with its two dimensional counterpart so any seeing-as is already an abstraction of the real phenomena and as such is open to total representational denial.

The Relational Aesthetics of Test Site and Orbit Matthew Bradley In October of 2006 Carsten Höller was commissioned to participate in the Unilever Series at the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Titled Test Site the work consisted of five large slides that navigated their way to the lower ground floor with varying degrees of stainless steel spirals. The work was  Richard Wollheim, Art and its Objects. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992) 1

2

 Ibid.


IMAGE & OBJECT positioned parallel to the multiple gallery levels so that each of the levels possessed its own access to one of these giant sculptures that steered you, in circles, vertically through the immense height of the hall. The finishing point of all the slides met at the bottom of the hall’s long ramp, underneath the walkway that creates the connection to the ground floor.The lengthy walk down the ramp gave you a great perspective to appreciate the repeating rhythmic swirls. Höller tells us that “A slide is a sculpture that you can travel inside. However, it would be a mistake to think that you have to use the slide to make sense of it. Looking at the work from the outside is a different but equally valid experience, just as one might contemplate The Endless Column 1938 by Constantin Brancusi.”1

How the Freudian Uncanny Influenced Kubrick’s decisions in The Shining Tuesday Riddell

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Covering: On All the Names by José Saramago (trans. Margaret Jull Costa, Harvill & Secker, 1999) Jon Shaw, MA Fine Art lecturer This is the inaugural essay for a planned regular feature in Rattle: A Journal at the Convergence of Art and Writing, discussing book covers and their resonances with the book beyond the merely illustrative. In José Saramago’s 1998 Nobel Lecture, there is one ellipsis... Saramago was recounting the story of his grandparents, and of his youth. As with so much of his writing, the predominant mode here is autobiography, and the predominant affect is humility; and, as with so much of his writing, they are bound together with a lightness and a texture which is so natural that it is only when one comes to speak of them that one realises how masterfully skilful Saramago has been to banish any hint of contradiction from their meeting.

The double is one of the main uncanny themes in The Shining; the idea of the double has always had a strong effect on the collective mind of mankind. This can be seen here in the fascination with twins, personality splits and the idea that there can be duplicates of something or that one thing can be two opposing entities at the same time. Kubrick has tapped into this reverberating model thoughout the film as it is brimming with doubles, cycles, people existing in two different time frames at once as altered embodiments, and conflicting personalities which are battling for power.This means there are two Gradys, Delberts, Charles, and two Mrs Masseys in the bathtub of room 237.2 But Kubrick adds additional doubles into the film; Danny’s personality is divided between him and Tony, the young boy who lives in his mouth. Danny is seen in the mirror split between himself and his imaginary friend Tony. Here the viewer hears Danny having a conversation between himself and Tony through the mirror.We hear Danny’s voice change into Tony’s as they exchange in conversation.

This ellipsis is not, I think, one of allusion; there is no irony in it. It is, rather, a bowing to history. Saramago has told us of a fig tree by his grandparent’s home, a tree under which, on balmy nights, the boy and his grandfather would sometimes sleep. It was not the only fig tree in the vicinity of the house, and yet — for reason of its age and bearing, he tells us — it was “the fig tree”. The boy who is speaking through the man then holds his tongue for a sentence.The process by which this tree has acquired for itself the definite article, the man now speaking tells us, acquired it, necessarily, for itself alone, is a rhetorical turn called “antonomasia”. This is, he goes on, “an erudite word that I met only many years after and learned the meaning of...”. Here the ellipsis — that moment of silence pregnant with the count of three — as the man cedes once more to the boy: for the story must be told in its proper order. But it is not only time which reasserts itself inside that held breath, it is also that humility: the grandfather whose warm shadow the boy will sleep in was illiterate, and antonomasia or not, they will wake under the fig tree.

  Vincent Honoré, Carsten Höller: Interview. http://www. tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/unileverseries-carsten-holler-test-site/carsten-holler-interview

For Saramago, history is not built from these Greek-rooted words; history is woven from lives lived, though this is not to say that language is not a predominant determinant in these lives. There

1

2

Rodney Asch, Room 237 (London: Metrodome, 2012)


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FROM THE WRITING FELLOWS

is the repetition and embellishment of stories, of anecdotes which are not reports of a life lived, but – in the telling – are the very living of those lives. These are what the boy falls asleep to under the fig tree, the “legends, apparitions, terrors, unique episodes, old deaths, scuffles with sticks and stones, the words of our forefathers, an untiring rumour of memories”. There are the official words, too, the words of officialdom: the births-marriages-and-deaths inscribed by the qualified and starch-collared few: words as arbitrary as they are structuring. These, too, are not mere records of events, they are events themselves. And, perhaps, in their own way, not so different from rumours.

gies. And binding them all, perhaps better than any life could, though perhaps no different, the novel.

All the Names takes place – comes to life – where these languages meet: where stories told and retold no longer run parallel and untouching alongside the official and officiating words. The stories here are not tales under a fig tree, but clippings from newspapers and gossip magazines. The man clipping, collecting and archiving the lives of the famous and infamous is a clerk in the city Registry, Señor José.

Gabriel Gbadamosi, Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow

This image shows a mouth silenced by language, by the image of language. A pair of type-written syllables, forced apart and held together by a dash: “mor-peg”. The word means nothing, or, rather, it has accreted no meaning, has no history. It is, in this way, like the first word; or like other words for which we must invent the referent: it is like a name, though for what we know not. And yet, despite its meaninglessness, its nonsense, this word silences this woman: it speaks for her, and makes no sense. The word does not appear inside the book, anymore than the woman silenced by that word is in the book. Indeed, this is not a word and this is not a woman: this is an image of a woman, this is an image of a word. Without their histories – the history as it appears in the Registries, and the history as we tell it to ourselves, both – these are flattened, inert things. “mor-peg” is antonomasia, here. A useless word, meaningless: it makes nothing official, it remembers nothing, it relives and lives nothing. In front of it, we stand as mute as the woman who is gagged by it before our eyes. But it is into that silence, that contrived and metred pause, that something may rush in: a life; a language, more than one; records and forms and inventories; boxes of clippings; gravestones; declarations of love; prescriptions; proscriptions; apolo-

FROM THE WRITING FELLOWS Life-Changing Literature: Romeo and Juliet

I played Capulet, Juliet’s dad, when I was sixteen in a youth theatre production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at the Old Vic Theatre in London. Really, I wanted to be Romeo: we all did; only the Nurse among the girls wanted to be in the play about a Nurse sorting things out instead of the one about Juliet falling in love; we all wanted the attention of being the ones to be loved. We didn’t like Romeo, who played it flaunting himself, and so we liked it when the first night came and all our jealous dreams about him came true. It happened like this: the Inner London Education Authority who organised us to put on the set text for schools had one of those days – like the one in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead – when you flip a coin and it keeps coming up Heads: they only booked in girls’ schools. On the opening night we had an audience of a thousand teenage girls screaming their heads off in derision at Romeo trying to get past the line – “O sweet Juliet, Thy beauty hath made me effeminate.” Well, he was a bit limp, but we didn’t mean for them to tear him apart. He was like a mouse panting in the spotlight under an enormous black cat stretching out its claws from the darkness. Of course, they were only sharing that they all knew about first time nerves ending in impotence – it was part of the sex education we all got out of the play at school – but contempt for a performance not coming up to scratch can be cruel. It started with giggles – which are infectious – and became the roaring sound of a mob starting to enjoy it, ready to pounce and kill anything that moved across the stage if it even opened its mouth. No one wanted


FROM THE WRITING FELLOWS to go on – not Capulets, not Montagues – none of the boys, not one of the girls. And seeing it from the audience point of view it must look funny when instead of making an entrance the actors get pushed on to the stage struggling in their costumes. Everyone was getting killed out there. It was blood all over the stage. Until I came on as Juliet’s dad, and grabbed her by the hair, ripped her dress open, and threw her across the room for disobeying me and meeting a boy. I even remembered to glare at Juliet’s mum, daring her to say anything (she didn’t have a line there, so she just turned away). You could hear a pin drop, the silence of Juliet sobbing. And that’s when the penny dropped. The dirty secret was out about who I was and what was going on for all those girls – I was my dad, jealously guarding the burgeoning sexuality of my teenage sisters against those lurking boys, and they, out there in the dark, were all my daughters, because what was going on in my house was going on in theirs. It was out of the closet, the dirty secret of sexual jealousy and violence between fathers and daughters, made public by the silence that surrounded it – the pin drop, the sobs. Now when I write, that experience of becoming my father to play Capulet informs the way I make characters. And the public silence of 1000 London teenagers has always sounded more thunderingly truthful to me than applause.

Artful Writing Annette Kobak, Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow Did you hear Daniel Barenboim explaining in his Reith Lectures how he gauges the precise moment to break into the silence of the concert hall with his first piano notes? He does it, he said, by imagining the music is already there, pre-existing, and that he’s just joining it - or, as he put it, just “stepping on a train that’s already in motion”? When I heard that, I realized what a helpful concept that was for writing – for that often problematic opening sentence of a book. So as a writer, instead of facing a blank page and your first marks on it, you slip into the world you’re conjuring up mid-stream, rather as Laurence Sterne famously does in Tristram Shandy: “I wish”, the book starts, “either my father or my moth-

41

er, or indeed both of them [...] had minded what they were about when they begot me.” We’re joining Shandy’s up-and-running world without fanfare or preamble – almost on an offbeat. Like many people in the arts, I find it helpful to take ideas about strategies in writing from an art form other than my own, like this. Not that I don’t love reading writers’ thoughts on the process and pitfalls of writing: to a fault, I do – from Montaigne to EM Forster, from Dorothea Brande to Stephen King, from David Lodge or Ray Bradbury and all the Paris Review interviews up to the whole proliferating (and often repetitive) world of blogs on how to write. To a fault, because it can be another all too seductive displacement activity, another sharpening of the pencils; and while it’s consoling to read of writers like Norman Mailer or Hanif Kureishi encountering the same troughs as we have, it can compound the problem and angst for us writers, locked in our studies and our thoughts with no way out but words. Sometimes other artforms offer just the right jolts and practical insights, just the sturdy artisan’s tips that move things on and expand our worlds. For me, it’s art rather than music that does this on the whole. [...] Both art and writing typically capture that attention in notebooks and sketchbooks, accumulating scraps with no particular agenda. I find artists’ habits and attitudes in keeping their sketchbooks instructive in keeping a writing notebook: they value, but don’t over-control their material, making the books tactile and sensuous objects in themselves, while not being too precious about them. ‘Dud’ pages are kept in on principle, cheek by jowl with good ones, and a seemingly perfect drawing overdrawn by something else. Once committed to making an artwork, though, the tables are turned: a little formality and boundary-making are in order. It’s a common practice in painting, for example, to make a pencil or tape frame around the edge of a blank paper or canvas before beginning a picture. With writing, such a framing device can also serve to contain massing initial thoughts within some simple structure, to stop them getting out of hand at the start. This can be anything from setting up files with working titles for parts or chapters of a book (colour-coded perhaps for research, chronology,


42

FROM THE WRITING FELLOWS

drafts – thank you, Mr Jobs) to imagining the actual look of the book you’re starting: its front cover, design, its title, your name on it, the fonts. Sometimes this process can even throw up a title. Of course, as with the painting, your work may end up spilling over its boundaries altogether, or changing tack: the framework isn’t there to limit you, but to give reassuring signposts to your subconscious about your serious intentions. With painting, the bonus is that you have a payoff when you finish: that satisfying moment when you strip off the tape and reveal the crisp edge which offsets your work. And similar tada! moments in writing come when clicking on the word length and finding you’re hitting it (thanks again, Mr Jobs), or when you suddenly see your way to an unexpected final sentence, and realize you’re home and (reasonably) dry. Do these connections seem too obscure, too personal or even too obvious, to you? If so, I’ll offer you a random bouquet – in the spirit of Matisse and Renoir – of practical painting tips that have excited me or spurred me on with their parallels to writing. I leave it to you to imagine if and how they could be applicable to your own work – and therefore stealable, in Picasso’s well-known formulation. First: it’s a good idea to allow for a sacrificial quarter of an hour or so at the beginning of the working day, warming up with something connected to your work. Allow for some pfaffing – some sharpening of pencils, some drawing with the left hand, as it were. This particularly applies if there’s a tight deadline. (As Garrison Keillor put it for writers, “Deadline? Then slow down.”) Secondly: think layers. The old masters created paintings in layers, invariably with the darkest colours first – starting with black. Black itself was - and still is - best made with, for example, lemon yellow, alizarin crimson and Prussian blue, rather than straight from the black tube. (Lemon yellow in black, who’d have thought?) In the same way, the richest and darkest villains in literature - the Satans, the Richard IIIs - have many hues to them. By putting the darkest areas in first, you give yourself an overall pattern, and the confidence that subsequent layers, ending with any highlights and lines, will work at their best against them. Thirdly: when painting a portrait, it’s good (I’ve

learnt), if entirely counter-intuitive, to paint a layer of blue under the flesh colour. This – rather nicely – is because of the blood-veins under our skin: our underlying colour is blue (not even red, which you might think for blood). Think Lucian Freud. And an additional tip in portrait painting is to determine which direction the eyes are looking – even what they are looking at, which may be out of the picture. (This resonates in non-fiction for me: I cracked my biography of Isabelle Eberhardt the moment I began looking at the world out of her eyes – as if I were inside her head, looking out.) And then – a random tip – watch out for magenta as a colour: it dominates, and also stains. Use it sparingly and judiciously. As you would an exclamation mark(!). Finally – the ribbon around the bouquet: a wonderful end-moment in oil painting, akin to ripping off the tape around the canvas, is putting the glazes in. Boy, do they pull things together. But, master painters say, never put white into a glaze, because it makes things too chalky. (Which is why yellow ochre is bad for a glaze, as it has too much white in it.) And, importantly: don’t be tempted to over-glaze at the end. And it is very tempting to over-glaze: to smooth everything out, to gloss over the bits that don’t quite gel. Does that sound familiar, with writing? To over-glaze a sentence, tidying it up just that bit too much on the surface, to give an appearance of coherence, without fully addressing why it doesn’t hang together? [...] That cross-fertilization between art and writing has always gone the other way, too, of course, as with Hockney drawing on Cavafy or Wallace Stevens, or Van Gogh on Hugo, Zola, Balzac, Dickens, Shakespeare and many more. As Van Gogh puts it, “There is something of Rembrandt in Shakespeare, and of Corregio in Michelet, and of Delacroix in Victor Hugo... it comes to the same, if one only understands the thing in the right way.” “You see,” he writes to Theo, “there are many things which one must believe and love”, and he urges him to “admit... that the love of books is as sacred as the love of Rembrandt, and I even think the two complete each other... But one must learn to read, exactly as one must learn to see, and learn to live.” How helpful it is, in the everyday isolation of writing, to know one’s joining a conversation – a train of thought – that’s already bowling along.


BIOGRAPHIES Corey Bartle-Sanderson is a visual artist with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Kingston University. Much of his work plays with the assumption that images will be manipulated, and seeks a balance between realism and surrealism, combining photography, sculpture and installation. His interests comprise digital and analogue processes equally. Gabriel Gbadamosi is a poet, playwright and essayist; and was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the Art School from 2013-15. His novel Vauxhall (2013) won the Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize and Best International Novel at the Sharjah Book Fair. He was AHRC Creative and PerformingArts Fellow in European andAfrican performance at the Pinter Centre, Goldsmiths, and a Judith E.Wilson Fellow for creative writing at Cambridge University. Thomas Groves is Head of the Art Histories (formerly Humanities) Department at the Art School. He is the Publications Manager and Education Coordinator at Block 336, an artist-run project space and gallery in Brixton, London. He is a writer, curator and practicing artist. Annette Kobak is a writer and broadcaster whose books include Joe’s War: My Father Decoded, and biography of the traveller Isabelle Eberhardt. She is a long-standing reviewer for the New York Times Book Review and the Times Literary Supplement, and a former chair of the Cheltenham Literary Festival. She has received an Arts Council award and a Society of Authors travel award, and is now on the Society of Authors’ broadcasting committee. She has MA degrees from Cambridge in modern languages and the University of East Anglia in creative writing. She was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the Art School from 2014-15. Viv Lawes is an author, arts journalist, lecturer and curator. In addition to her work at the City & Guilds of London Art School, she also lectures at Sotheby’s Institute and L’Institut d’Etudes Supérieures des Arts, London. She is an accredited lecturer for NADFAS; and has written for The Art Newspaper, Antiques Trade Gazette, The Guardian, Art & Auction, Country Life and The Royal Academy Magazine amongst others. As Senior UK consultant to Singapore Gallery One East Asia, she has co-curated many exhibitions of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art in London and Singapore since 2011. Dr Michael Paraskos is an art historian, and as well as teaching at City and Guilds of London Art School is Programme Officer in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at SOAS. He has appeared on televi-

sion and radio, and has reviewed books and exhibitions for numerous publications including The Spectator. He is the author of books including Herbert Read: Icon and Idea (2014), The Aphorisms of Irsee (2011) and Clive Head (2010), and his new book Herbert Read:The Search for a Modernist Eden is due to be published in 2016. Dr Paolo Plotegher is interested in making use of art and theory in collective practices of social solidarity and micropolitical transformation. He experiments with those practices mainly in London, in the neighbourhood where he lives, with the New Cross Commoners and at The Field. He writes primarily for the collectives he is part of. He collaborates with other socio-politically engaged artists and theorists, like Brave New Alps and the Nanopolitics Group. He teaches at Goldsmiths and City and Guilds of London Art School. Dr Matthew Rowe is a philosopher whose primary interests are in aesthetics, the philosophy of art and the relationship between art practice and art theory. He gained his PhD in 2008 and since then has spoken at academic conferences and published articles and book chapters in the UK, Europe and the US. He is currently a peer reviewer for the British Journal of Aesthetics and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. His current research is focussing on site specificity in artistic production and issues surrounding morality and photography. Abi Shapiro is a lecturer in Art History at City & Guilds Art School London, UK as well as a PhD Candidate in Art History at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She holds a BA in English Literature & History of Art from Durham University, and an MA in History of Art from The Courtauld Institute of Art. Abi specialises in research regarding postwar feminist art and its histories. Jon K. Shaw is a writer, educator and editor. His academic research concerns unilateral difference and retroactive causation in the work of Antonin Artaud. He lives in southeast London. James Tabbush is an artist and writer. He graduated from the BA Fine Art Painting at City and Guilds of London Art School in 2014. Since then he has completed a residency at Unit 10 in Bristol, has shown in group exhibitions in London, and also created a collaborative performance/installation with Alexis Niarchos under the aegis of the Dig Collective, which took place as part of Art Licks Weekend 2014. He has recently written for the forthcoming issue of Elephant Magazine, and for Spectrum: A Survey of Artists’ Moving Image.


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Profile for City and Guilds of London Art School

Art Histories 2015  

The inaugural publication from City & Guilds of London Art School's Art Histories Department.

Art Histories 2015  

The inaugural publication from City & Guilds of London Art School's Art Histories Department.

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