HART magazine dilettante n.f. personne qui pratique une activité, un art pour le plaisir N°2 december 2013
Artist Talk Ewan Eason // Features The Birds & The Bees // Features ‘Art School Stole My Virginity’ // Interview Nandipha Mntambo // Profile Alex Daish // Alumni Alexandra Choa & Surabhi Khanna
Nandipha Mntambo, Balandzeli 2004 Cowhide, resin, waxed cord. ÂŠ Courtesy Michael Stevenson, Cape Town
We would like to start by thanking you for all
of your overwhelming support for this last issue. As always, we welcome your comments, suggestions and contributions to the magazine.
Contents 06 THE BIRDS & THE BEES 08 MONEY, FRIEND OR FOE? 09 WAR PHOTOGRAPHY &
THE CONCEPT OF HORROR
10 PUBLIC REACTION TO
‘ART SCHOOL STOLE MY VIRGINITY’
12 ALEX DAISH
In addition, we would like to thank our contributors too and to share our excitement about Issue 2 of HART. We have introduced an Alumni Section in which we talked to Alexandra Choa and Surabhi Khanna, who founded HARTmagazine in 2011. We’re also thrilled about our features and interviews with artists Ewan Eason and Sue’s interview of Nandipha Mntambo. The theme for this issue was Controversies, focusing on the debates within the field and the industry. We are featuring Alex Daish and his submission to the Art Society’s Growth and Decay exhibition last year, as well as questions about the controversy of the art market, and war photography. Finally, the next issue will be themed Cities, for which we would love to feature the articles about art around the world, the city as an artwork itself…
14 IN CONVERSATION WITH NANDIPHA MNTAMBO Interview by Sue Eccleston
Heart from HART, Anna and Azmina
16 ALEXANDRA CHOA
& SURABHI KHAN
18 KITTY’S CHOICE
WRITE FOR HARTmagazine
If you have any ideas for an article, or know someone you would like to interview, e-mail us at email@example.com
Credits Front Cover - Ewan Eason Mappa Mundi, London, 2013 Thermal ribbon transfer on self-adhesive vinyl © Courtesy of the artist, photo by Antonio Parente
Back Cover - Nandipha Mntambo ...everyone carries a shadow I, 2013 Archival pigment ink on 300gr Baryta paper © Courtesy Michael Stevenson, Cape Town Design & Layout Azmina Abdulla & Anna Tomlinson
Ewan David Eason, Mappa Mundi – New York , 2013, Thermal ribbon transfer on self-adhesive vinyl © Ewan Eason
Ewan Eason By Kitty Whittell & Antonio Parente
Ewan David Eason initially began his in-
most iconic topographical surfaces on our
vestigation into the interplay between con-
planet in shimmering gold. However these
trasting colours. This soon developed into an
works are not just an artist representation but
exploration of the concept of contrasts in itself.
also the result of a painstaking process un-
With references to the work of Paul Cezanne,
dertaken in order to document the landscape,
and his strict use of primary colours and their
whilst sympathetically following the ethos and
immediate derivatives, Eason’s investigation
history of cartography. High levels of accura-
manifests itself into a variety of mediums in-
cy and dedication are used in the construction
cluding sculpture, painting and video. In 2011
of these prints, emphasising their status as a
he started work on his Mappa Mundi series. A
method of art-as-documentation. The context
term deriving from the Medieval Latin words
of these works represents a snapshot of our
Mappa, meaning sheet, and Mundi - of the
ever-changing landscape that could potential-
world, these maps historically ranged in size
ly be completely re-written in as little as a de-
and complexity from simple schematic maps
an inch or less in diameter to elaborate wall hangings.
This series of Eason’s work has been well recieved in a number of prestigious institu-
Eason’s Mappa Mundi prints portray a
tions including the Barbican and a recent
contemporary visualisation of today’s cities
charity auction at Christies. They have also
in juxtaposition to their medieval namesake.
featured in the Royal Academy Summer Show
They depict a bird’s eye view of some of the
two years running.
Artist Talk is pround to present Ewan Eason on the 15th of January.
2013 BFAMI Auction Exhibition, Christies, London, Presented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery Fractal Reactors, Kahaila, London Art Southampton, The Hamptons, USA, Presented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London ArtMRKT, San Francisco, Presented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery London Art Fair, London, Presented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery Art Wynwood, Miami, Presented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery 2012 Art Miami, FL, Presented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery Multiplied Art Fair, London, Presented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery Boat Magazine Launch, Hospital Club, London Creative Cities Collection, Olympic Museum, Beijing Creative Cities Collection, The Barbican Centre, London Mappa Mundi Publicis, London More Than Gold, St Margarets, Westminster Young Masters Fundraising Auction, Rupert Cavendish, London Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London 2011 Boundaries & Borders, St Maryâ€™s Space, London Celestial Architecture, Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Parliament Square, London 2010 Ellipses...Whatsâ€™s Unsaid, Red Gate Gallery, London
Mappa Mundi 15 January 2013, 6pm UCL History of Art Department Seminar Room 6, Gordon Square 21 Drinks Reception to follow Please register via: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ewan-eason-talk-tickets-9704645857
Torii Kiyonaga (1752 - 1815), detail from Sode no maki (Handscroll for the Sleeve), c. 1785. © The Trustees of the British Museum
The Birds & the Bees By Kitty Whittell
itting in the darkened halls of the British Museum surrounded by scrolls on which sinuous Japanese figures are engaged in remarkable acts of erotic contortion, you would think that they would require your undivided attention. And yet the most engaging things in the room are not these exquisite paintings, but the people looking at them. Students with furrowed brows nod their heads as though grasping a deeper meaning, little old ladies huddle around them giggling at the phallic head of an octopus whilst academics glance about, shifting uncomfortably, and blushing beetroot if anyone gets too close whilst they stare at a couple going at it behind a peony bush. It’s remarkable how different people react to sex, particularly in the realms of art. It’s not as though it is a new phenomenon, the works in, Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese art, date from around 1600 and sex in the artistic sense goes much further back. In Pompeii sex is plastered on the walls, tiled into the floors and phallic sculptures reminiscent of mobiles would have once spun over head. This is of course an exaggerated image but you get the idea. What is clear is that these images possess the ability to instil a certain level of discomfort in the viewer,
but why, in the age where sex can be seen in a public exhibition at a highly respected institution, do we still feel this way and feel the need to disguise our interests in it beneath moral veils? The sex in Pompeii and the Shunga show are by no means representative of depictions of sex in the synoptic sense. Images of sex and sexual pleasure can be far more subtle. The nude being a prime example. It is difficult to argue that Cabanal’s The Birth of Venus 1863, doesn’t possess a titillating insight into the female form. Or that Ingres’ La Grande Odelisque, has not been idealised to do the same. Art like this, in which sex appeal is now understood as blatant and obvious, remained largely accepted in society due to the veneer of respectability created through the emulation of antique sculpture. Ironic perhaps considering the antics of the antique that we see now on public display in Pompeii. Returning to the subject of the nude, the boundaries of acceptability are called into question. We look at works such as La Grande Odelisque and deem them subtle and beautiful. But then take an abstracted, sexually overt piece such as Sarah Lucas’ Au Natural 1994 and label it disturbing and explicit, despite the fact that it lacks the far more realistic
depictions of fleshy extremities that Ingres presents us with directly. It is interesting to consider whether this demonstrates that the veils of the past extend to the present day. Feminist supporters like to criticise the patriarchal society of the previous centuries for their sexist, soft-porn representations of the nude, and celebrate the works that expose this and emphasise sexuality as Lucas does. But on some level is this debate misled? Considering the alternative perspective, according to Barthes the viewer decides what they see and interpret it accordingly. Whether these are highly sexed images of sultry curves and feminine ideals determined by men at the expense of women, or simply an image taken from classical mythology is entirely up to the viewer. By highlighting the inflammatory issue that these women are being objectified does this then miss a certain something, that this is just sex? That by continuously returning to these issues we miss out on the appreciation of a moment in history? On a more current note the recent debates on the subject of Page Three Girls and how their presence undermines the credibility of describing The Sun as a newspaper. In either case our seemingly unanimous decision to attack these images and indeed the hidden agendas they posses demonstrates a highly complex interest in all things sexual. At the same time how many would be comfortable revealing the intimate contents of our hard drives and internet histories? Sometimes these veils seem necessary, both in art and our private lives, in order to maintain a level of morality that is ultimately ridiculous and therefore remains so contentious. Even in the most extreme attempts to expose and highlight these issues the veils remain. Take for example Andrea Fraser’s Untitled 2003, in which Fras-
er proposed a sexual encounter with a private collector for which she was supposedly paid £20,000, the true figure has never been disclosed. The act was filmed, creating a 60 minute motion picture, the only copies of which remain in private collections. Fraser’s original intentions in her work are to demonstrate what people want from art, not necessarily in the economic sense, but in the emotional, personal and psychological. At the same time this work highlights, perhaps in a less romantic sense that sex sells. The paradox in this is that despite the fact that the work is discussed and vaguely understood in the public domain, it remains anonymous, with the intimate details once again hidden beneath a veil of privacy. In this case it is perhaps understandable, but when images of the same nature are so readily available these days it is interesting that they cannot be viewed in the name of art. Particularly when works from the distant past of a similarly pornographic nature are on show at the British Museum, albeit with an over 16 rating. Sitting once again in the Shunga exhibit at the British Museum, something originally overlooked comes to the surface. All of the cultures mentioned in this article have periods of sexual enlightenment and revolution that give way to censorship and repression, as Japan did in the 19th century. Society changes and fluctuates according to the principles and boundaries we choose to establish. The problem we face now is living in a moment when we seek to push these boundaries that have arguably been pushed to their maximum, how can we extend them when so much has gone before? The different avenues we explore already possess precedents that can be twisted into whatever we want them to mean, the result being that whatever we choose to say, write or express lacks originality. So when it comes to sex, what more is there to say?
Shunga, Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art shows 300 years of a liberated and enlightened attitude to sex in Japan and demonstrates how influential these typically taboo paintings have been, inspiring people from Toulouse-Lautrec to modern Japanese manga anime artists. British Museum Shunga, Sex and Pleasure in Japanese art Closing date: 5th January Tickets: £5 for full time students.
MONEY, FRIEND OR FOE? By Ksenia Lukina
New York has hosted another sensational sale, as in just six minutes Francis Bacon’s triptych of Lucian Freud’s Portraits sold for a record-breaking 142 million dollars. The art market is, arguably, one of the most controversial institutions within the art world. By this I mean the market of the present day the industry founded on love of art and simultaneously denounced for its redefinition of the value of art. Anne Perkins from The Guardian questioned the motives of the anonymous new owner of the Bacon, who spent so much of his own money on the artwork, while the world is still recovering from the Great Recession. On the other hand there are opinions arguing that the masterpiece is priceless and that there is always a reason for an unreasonably high price. However, this can never be defined. An auction price is never realistic, but rather it is determined by who is ready to buy the work and how much money can be invested into the purchase at that moment. Although this is a version of the bidders-game, in the end the masterpieces get the deserved appreciation, even though everyone in the art world is dissatisfied by the means through which the work gained its notoriety.
Steve Wynn, the man who gave Las Vegas its biggest casinos, is for example most associated with putting an elbow through the canvas of Le Rêve (The Dream) by Picasso. The spectacular accident occurred just before the painting was about to be sold. Similarly Ryoei Saito, a Japanese industrialist, acquired a ‘Portrait of Dr Paul Gachet by Van Gogh’ and Renoir’s ‘Bal du Moulin de la Galette’ to later on inform the world of his plans to get cremated together with them. Yet, does a collector have the right to deprive the public of its artistic heritage? Can he buy that right for millions of dollars? Technically, yes. Once the hammer is down, there is a new master for the masterpiece. But, as a quick aside, Renoir and Van Gogh were carefully restored and not burned. This helped define and create the stereotype of the ‘evil’ generation of billionaire collectors. Another rumour that has been spread is that Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili is the man who owns some of the most expensive Picassos ever sold at auction, such as ‘Nude Green Leaves’, ‘Bust’ and ‘Dora Maar au Chat’ and has famously, yet anonymously, given the ‘Nude Green’ to Tate Modern.
Harsh scepticism towards the clientele of big auction houses is explained by the fact that the entrance ticket to the saleroom is one’s wealth. In order to get a coveted artwork from a renowned dealer, a potential buyer needs to be either a reputable connoisseur or an existing client. A dealer, in this case instead of a bid, determines who takes the artworks home, since it is his or her reputation at stake.
Ronald Lauder, another Forbes superstar has been credited with finding and restoring Jewish art looted by the Nazis. Among those is Klimt’s ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer 1’ – a work that is unofficially considered to be the 5th most expensive painting. Along with other artworks it is put on display at Neue Galerie in New York, an institution initiated by Lauder to commemorate the artistic advances of his nation.
Paradoxically, “collector” has become almost a negative word in the art industry. Respectable families who collect art are usually described by a rich history of purchasing and the intellectual aura. For some reason the latter never gets attributed to the new breed of collectors - billionaires stereotyped as wanting Picassos to hang up in their yachts.
The latest Francis Bacon price: is it another act of a flashy billionaire robbing the intelligentsia of its icons? Is money a friend to the arts, just as it is a friend to humanitarian aid? Yet the art market is unique in that it scorns the very same money it attracts. A controversy of the notorious rank, it is not yet ready to give straight answers to its own debates.
War Photography & the Concept of Horror By Mayanne Soret
n 1979 movie Apocalypse Now (F.F. Coppola) Vietnam War veteran Benjamin Willard is sent back to the Front to find Captain Kurtz. When he finally arrives in the community that hosts Kurtz, he is taken as prisoner and meets a photojournalist covering the war, who due to the strain of the war has developed psychological trauma. Attempting to create a new reality despite the absurdity of his surroundings, he continues to shoot mechanically, thinking that he is leading a righteous life. The film therefore questions madness as a result of war. Paralleling personal experience and photography, the film showcases the ability of photography to recreate . Photography registers reality in its most faithful details. It is meant to reproduce, to give the viewer a copy, an unbiased recreation of the action witnessed. Photography, supposedly, offers no escape from the truth. Coppola’s photojournalist sets himself up as a witness to ab impossible reality and the paradox leads him to madness. In his photograph ‘Death on a Lepzig Balcony’ (18 April 1945, Gelatin Silver Print) war photographer Robert Capa shows a dead soldier, shot by a German sniper. Light pouring from the open door and window, creates an illuminated corridor to the dark interior of the apartment, in which the lifeless body of the soldier lies, his hand still on his heart giving him a sense of intense vulnerability. The highly contrasted black and white shows a large bloodstain on the right side of the soldier’s body, flowing to the interior of the room. The outline of the door creates a double frame with that of the photograph, making the viewer a witness to something in a way, nonsensical. Indeed, the sky is clear and the white tons suggest a sunny day, the room is tidy and also intensely quiet. Apart from the blood stain the soldier is not visibly hurt, yet he is lies lifeless. The picture isolates the event witnessed, focuses and frames a singular point in time and space: while the viewer could look away in reality, he has no other choice but to confront on the photograph.
This capacity of focus within the image also confines the subject to the visual limits of the lens, and emphasizing his individuality, thereby making him neither a martyr nor a leader. The work democratizes individuality, humanizing the subject to the extreme. The medium makes every subject equal in its own representation, therefore creating two major responses. First the relationship between the viewer and the subject creates a strong emotional connection. In ‘The Pain of a Father’ (1964, gelatin Silver Print), a photograph of the Vietnam war, Horst Faas shows a father holding the body of a young child, looking up at a group of soldier on a Laurie. The gaze of the soldiers, all observing the father figure concentrates the viewer attention on the subject and his expression of grief. The house in the background evokes a metaphorical home and family, both destroyed by the death of the son. Behind the subject, another soldier is holding a gun, along his leg as if he was about to aim, showing the father’s courage in the face of danger. But the soldier does not aim; the father retains the captain’s full attention. The individuality of the father and his dead son, a representation of loss drawn in the middle of a deadly conflict, is there brought to the forefront and therefore questions the human impact of war mainly silenced before the great wars. Finally, the humanization of the tyrannical figure through photography weakens our perception of him as an absolute leader of divine law, exemplified in the portrait of Mussolini by the photographer Lucien Aigner (1936, Gelatin Silver Print). The Fascist leader was extremely careful on the presence of photographers around him, but at end of the Stresa Conference, to which even official Fascist photographers were not invited, Aigner managed to interfere and catch the “Duce” sneezing. What could have been described as inhumanity is countered by his human condition and becomes madness: he is aware of his own acts; he is deprived of his glorification and through the photograph becomes the human monster.
Public reaction to
‘Art School Stole My Virginity’ By Will Johnson
student at Central Saint Martins has announced that he will lose his virginity to another boy as a piece of performance art. Naturally, the artwork – entitled “Art School Stole My Virginity” – has sparked much debate. Coinciding roughly with another controversial public art performances, such as the Russian man who nailed his scrotum to the pavement of Moscow’s Red Square, the local artist announced his intentions through his Tumblr, and the story quickly became trend-worthy on social media sites. Mainstream news outlets then got hold of the story. The debate that followed was another instance of the age-old question: what is art?. There were many who chimed in and claimed loudly that this wasn’t art, questioning how something that took as little skill as being passively involved in having sex, be art? Was it just a shock-tactic? Yet, why so many with little interest in modern art felt compelled to share their opinion about this particular instance was interesting. Perhaps people feel as though they, as members of the general public, were being conned by artists who create such sensationalist pieces. Browsing the comments of the story’s article on the Daily Mail website, people were angry at the idea that such a thing could be art. Commenters tended to label the artwork as exhibitionist and pornographic. Guardian comments were similar; many claiming that though they agreed it was art, it was just bad art. There is also the underlying uneasiness many commenters expressed at the homoerotic nature of the piece. Pettet himself seems to reject this as a feature of the content: he conceives of it as something which challenges received wisdom on virginity and purity. Naturally, the sexually explicit character of the piece itself, is cause for outrage among the more conservative, but detectable in many responses was a somewhat shrouded homophobia.
As to whether it constitutes art, I would argue that it does: if it’s conceived of as art, if it’s in a gallery, if people talk and think about it as art, then it’s art. This is a practical rather than a theoretical approach, I admit, but I think it is relevant to the current situation. Performance art has cemented its own identity as a major medium since the 1970s. Why are we still allowing public discussion about performance pieces to be governed by the status-as-art discourse rather than the content of the actual piece? In Pettet’s case, people have concentrated on the status-as-art issue so much as to virtually forget about the content. Very few, if any, people have been talking about its effectiveness as a discussion of the cultural expectations regarding the loss of virginity. People haven’t been discussing the intrinsically democratic, temporary and tangible nature of performance art in relation to this instance. If we really want to discuss the artwork, this is what we should be focusing on. What is ironic, though, about “Clayton Pettet and Art School Stole My Virginity” is that people are talking about it like it has already happened. Who knows what the performance will be like? It is already being treated as a finite, completed and archived event. This is what really gets to the centre of the issue of the misunderstanding of performance and conceptual art: it is easy to grasp the idea or inspiration for an artwork, and think that one has already experienced it. But form and content entwine to create meanings that are both infinite and contingent. We won’t be able to grasp at the meanings of the performance until after the event. Art meanings are, as far I am concerned, a posteriori. We can discuss the possibilities of meanings, but we can’t talk about a finished event. Unfortunately, discussion of Pettet’s work has been dominated by questioning of its art-worthiness and not on the important questions about sexuality and expectations it hopes to discuss. We should reserve judgement on the work until it has happened.
Clayton Pettet, 2013 ÂŠ Hannah McGee
Alex Daish Courbet’s Origin of The World is undoubtedly controversial, but what specifically inspired you to propose this as the new flag for the United Nations? Well, I wouldn’t say Origin of The World is that controversial nowadays. It is just a painting of vulva. Anyway I can remember the inspiration exactly. I am always jotting down weird nuggets of ideas, and I can remember this one coming along whilst watching Simon Amstell’s last Edinburgh show on iPlayer. He did a bit about how in the future we would look back on now and how we would laugh at the way we slice up the globe into countries, and instead the future with all of humanity united as one under a vagina flag, the place we all came from. The idea resonated with the ideas that I think we all had when were younger and more idealistic. Creating this flag seemed like quite a noble proposition to one part of me, another part of me thought it would just be very funny. To present a serious alternative to the UN’s flag, and when I remembered Courbet’s title of the piece it seemed like an obvious candidate. How did you first react when you received the response from the company? I thought it was hilarious. I didn’t even know businesses outside of awful West End Nightclubs
could actually refuse your business. I guess the flag industry is doing better than I could have ever imagined. It was only a week before the shows deadline though, thus the idea to make the email transactions the work. I thought a piece of work that explained itself that also wasn’t what it wanted to be would be quite funny; a tribute to an unmade work. Panic and laughter are a pretty good recipe for creativity in my opinion. How do you think your piece fit with the theme of ‘Growth & Decay’? I didn’t really make it with the theme in mind. The opposing words seem designed to allow a broad set of work. So when I submitted the piece, I knew I would be able to justify later with hindsight. Here is my attempt: The real work that I wanted to make was trying to connect a decay of individual nations states and a growth of a future utopian globe. A future utopia more closely tied to ‘mother earth’, like Gaia theory and all that. Apart from this piece, you have done many more - is there one that is particularly important to you, or that you feel conveys a unique message? My personal favorite work of mine was made at the tail end of my art foundation. I had got interested in sciart whilst going to Physics
Departments during open days. It was an installation featuring an old 70’s Cathode Ray Tube Tele with neodymium super magnets glued to it. The magnetism distorted the on screen static, making the field lines visible. The magnets also allow you to sculpt out of the screen within the magnetic field. So I built free standing metal constructions with nails, Meccano and iron filings that resembled organic growths or moulds. Importantly, 1% of the static signal you see is actually left over from the Big Bang. This piece, I can’t even remember what I called it (I think untitled works are lazy), but it’s been my best attempt to bring invisible scientific processes into a physical and visible object. There was an appropriately 70’s seat for people to sit in and ponder their place in the universe if they wanted to (no one did, people are scared of sitting on artworks). Thinking about it might have fit into the ‘Growth and Decay’ show better than my Proposed United Nations Flag (in light of Amstell’s ‘Numb’): Rejected did in the end. You’re founder and president of Free Hype at UCL, can you tell us a bit more about the idea behind the society? The summer before last I was working in a pub after finding it really hard to get paid work in anything more interesting. The whole creative and media industries have come to expect students to work without pay for extensive periods, especially if you don’t have some nepotism to hand. I already thought a career path in advertising was ‘selling out’. So when I need to pay rent in London the rest of the year it would really cost me to work for free. I got quite angry with this. It gives anyone with parents who live in London and can afford to subsidize their unpaid internship and education have a huge advantage in getting the few junior positions available. It’s also risky for an industry that at its best runs on talent rather than connections, and could lack the diversity needed to connect to the masses if everyone working in it had all work unpaid internships with the support of their rich London parents. Also making work and giving your ideas to huge billion pounds brands for nothing, seems wrong when so many charities are struggling
with austerity. Doing actual work for charities whilst building up your portfolio seemed infinitely better than making tea for corporations. Thus, Free Hype was born. Work is setup like a creative agency and work pro bono for London charities. It’s the perfect way to play and practice. You get to stretch your legs creatively and work with real clients that appreciate what you do. Anyone can shake a bucket and sit in some beans, we try and be a bit cleverer than that. As a graphics editor for the Cheese Grater magazine, can you tell us more about controversies covered by the magazine and how you help convey those through design? Apparently all the real controversies were before I joined Cheese Grater. I’ve complained about our current lack of lawsuits before. The Editorial team is actually really careful about what they publish. Nothing is written which we can’t subsequently back up. There is a lot of great stuff we don’t publish due to a lack of verifiable evidence. Luckily I just have the role of making several sheets of black and white folded paper as attractive and legible as possible. This year, I pushed for a bigger image on the front to help in conveying the feature story. With the president Beatrice a fellow Art Historian we are both fans of John Heartfield’s work for AIZ. Compared to him, Photoshop allows us to make up and vary plenty of photomontages until we find one we like and sits with the headline. You’re doing HAMS but are also very engaged with entrepreneurship and artistic design, what are you hoping to do in the future? I’ve realized that I do a much better job, when I really care and find what I’m doing interesting. I think that I just want to make things that make people happy, and whether that ends up being a social enterprise, some user experience design, some weird art or an amusing advert, I don’t know yet. Maybe do everything at once? http://alexdaish.co.uk/
Nandipha Mntambo, ... everyone carries a shadow IV (Archival pigment ink on 300gr Baryta paper), 2013. ÂŠ Michael Stevenson, Cape Town
Nandipha Mntambo Interviewed by Sue Ecclestone Born in Swaziland in 1982, Nandipha Mntambo graduated with a Masters in Fine Art (with distinction) from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, in June 2007.
SE: Nandipha, I first interviewed you in 2011 for the World Art Journal. Since then you have had your first solo show in Sweden, in addition to producing a number of new works including photography and video. How do you get the ideas for your work? NM: Sometimes I am lucky enough to have a dream of a piece. Other times, for example with my cowhide sculptural pieces, the work is inspired by the hide I purchase. Sometimes I just start working & the process flows organically. SE: You mention your sculptural works using cowhide. How did these come about? NM: I started using cowhide in my fourth year of study at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at University of Cape Town. I was struggling with what medium to use and I always had a keen interest in forensics: I wanted to be a Forensic Pathologist initially. I had a strange dream about cows, in which I was left with a whole heap of cowhide. I was lucky enough to have contact with a taxidermist who was willing to assist me with the formula and chemicals needed for the type of tanning process I now use,
so I decided to explore this medium. SE: Tell me something about the process for moulding the cowhides. Is it a purely practical procedure for you, or is there a spiritual aspect to transforming something from one form into another? NM:There is a very practical element to the chemicals and making the mould. My process has more to do with exercising control over my medium. I would describe the experience as emotional, rather than spiritual. Many of the pieces have elements that reflected my emotional state at the time. SE: That is interesting because the works certainly convey emotion, was this your intention? NM: I am trying to convey is that everyoneâ€™s individual struggle is part of a bigger picture: a larger struggle about similar things. SE: Is one of those struggles boundaries? Many of your works seem to challenge the traditional boundaries that exist in society, whether they are gender, sexual or otherwise.
NM: Boundaries and borders have always been a part of my work. The very thin line that exists between male/female, sexuality/sensuality, right/wrong and attraction/repulsion: sometimes the line is so thin we cannot tell the difference. SE: Europa and some of your more recent photographic works, such as... everyone carries a shadow, challenge the more conventional way that ‘nudes’ are portrayed in art. However, artists who deal with the female form in their work are often accused of being feminist. Are you a feminist? NM: I cannot describe myself as a feminist. I initially started working with the female form because the politics of representing other people are very complex. I found it less complicated to use my own body because I can control how I am portrayed and consumed by a viewer. ‘... everyone carries a shadow’ was inspired by my desire to unravel understandings of the binaries I mentioned earlier , plus fighting/protecting. I use my body as the primary object in a performance with a male counterpart who acts as my doubl: a mirror and shadow that will exist as my ‘other’. I use our bodies to question definers of identity and power within our recorded interaction. Using references from Classical Sculpture traditions, conceptual art and performance, this work focuses on the relationship between the human form, movement and space. S.E: I understand the work was an organic transition from your video work Paso Doble, which itself would seem to be a progression from your 2008 work, Unkungenisa. You clearly have a fascination with bulls and bullfighting how did Paso Doble emerge? N.M: The Paso Doble is a dance that references elements of a bullfight. Within the dance, the male dancer is in the character of a bullfighter
and his female counterpart the ‘muleta’ or the red cape used to entice the bull. By choosing to work with two female dancers, this video again explores my earlier themes while examining power within certain relationships. SE: In previous interviews, you have talked of being ‘put in boxes’ namely as ‘female’ and ‘black’. Indeed, your work is often discussed in the context of your ‘Africaness’, suggesting the work of African artists is influenced by political issues, colonialism and in the case of South African artists, the Apartheid regime. Do you think this is reductive? NM: I would like to exhibit my work without being labelled as anything but an artist, perhaps a complex concept for some critics and historians because it would force a new dialogue and ‘language’ that is not confined by the labels of the past. There seems to be an unfortunate disregarding of the fact that we all have individual experiences of our realities. I did not experience Apartheid or the residue of Colonialism in the same way as other South African people, be they Black, White, Indian, Coloured etc. The perpetuation of labels is reductive and stunts any growth or new understanding of art generally. The world is too globalised for these terms to even matter anymore. My experiences are global. I don’t live anywhere in particular and travel so much that my immediate environment changes all the time; my exposure to South Africa is not my only influence. I think that people ‘conveniently’ forget that Africa is a large and complex continent; it does not make sense to box it and its people all as one thing. Africa and Africans are bombarded with American and European products, television, music, clothing and lifestyle, even if one has not travelled off the continent there is a constant reminder of the globalised world. How we understand Africa is not a static thing and this term makes it seem as though it is a never changing reality.
Alexandra Choa & Surabhi Khanna Co-Founders & 1st Editorial Directors of HARTmagazine
Alexandra Choa and Surabhi Khanna founded HARTmagazine in 2011, to further involve students in discussion of art historical issues, beyond the walls of the department. They launched HARTmagazine as a website, allowing students from within the department to contribute by writing exhibition reviews or about topics of their choice. Alexandra and Surabhi built the platform to allow us to collectively continue growing HARTmagazine. Through their foundation, the magazine has been able to continue to develop and branch into different mediums, to reach students throughout the department and to showcase the talent within our department. The founders and first editorial directors of HARTmagazine will, therefore, be the first to be featured in the new Alumni section of HART, sharing what they have been doing since graduating from UCL and what inspired them to initially found HARTmagazine.
One of the previous logos
growing, this time in print! Since its conception in late 2010, its launch in March 2011, to my final days in the department in June 2012, the magazine has completed many ‘firsts’now comes another… the first HARTMagazine Alumni section! Azmina got in touch with us to ask if we could write a little about our involvement in HART and what the first HART members have been up to since leaving. Let’s do this in order… Alongside assisting in commissioning and editing articles, I coined the name “HARTMagazine” to correspond with our unique course code (and to forge a feeble joke, far more amusing in my head, about us budding art historians who… HeART ART! Har-Har!) After leaving, it was hard to believe that I’d jumped the final hurdle and it was time to leave HART, and UCL behind to join the real world of work… That summer, I worked as a temporary employee at a Singaporean art gallery for a few months focusing on sales and communication activity. I absolutely loved my time there and was inspired to take my time finding my métier for the rest of the year. I then travelled to a few places in Asia and landed my next work placement at the New Statesman working on their culture and politics desk earlier this year, along with a stint as a gallery invigilator at “London’s first global art fair,” Art 13. Needless to say, my experiences thus far
had been pretty surreal! In June, I decided it was time to knuckle down and work full-time so that I could pursue my creative interests on the side in my free time, and that brings me to where I am currently. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Just get two cakes! The beauty of semantics permits this, as they’re still yours and you’ll still have one left to admire once you surreptitiously take a slice of the other, and relish it. Enough about me (and cake…) I think the bottom line about this little story is, whether you’re in your first, second, or third year, is to make the most of your time and think about the next steps forward; whether that is further study or gaining experience (building up a portfolio of written HARTicles is a good place to start!) Leaving university is a major transition and can often be filled with a sense of uncertainty. No one has their future completely figured out, nor do they stick to a plan but the more actions you take whilst at university, when time and resources are within optimum reach, the easier it is to gain an understanding of yourselves and what you want out of your future careers. I can only share what I’ve learnt from my experiences so far, but I’d say now is as good as any other time to dust away those mental cobwebs and fully explore the opportunities that present themselves to you in the months to come. This sort of learning is never time wasted…
Hello all! It is wonderful to see HART
Here’s to a productive new year!
In Conversation with Alexandra Choa How was HARTmagazine founded? I realised we didnt have many department activities and I thought it would be fun to get a group of us writing and reviewing art events happening not only in London but around the world. Bringing together students not just in the history of art department together but students from other art departments around the world. Friends from HKU, Brown, Berekely, NYU, Skidmore contributed to the magazine and we had a wonderfully culturally diverse magazine online for students at UCL and around the world to learn from each other. What have you been up to since you graduated? I’m currently on my placement year for my M.F.A in Producing at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. I am in Hong Kong work-
ing at an art consultancy firm called Creative Partnerships Ltd as Assistant Project Manager, setting up a new non-profit organization called Draw Together HK. Last year I produced my first theatre production on Lightship 93 with friends from my MA course. The 3 of us formed a theatre group called Forked Path. Forked Path is now in the process of devising a new show with The Lab Collective and Theatre Delicatessen in London, with plans to tours in Asia. I am also working with the Chinese University Hong Kong’s (CUHK) Museum of Art, where I set up a new initiative called Young Friends of the Art Museum, CUHK. I’m in the process of co-curating an exhibition for HK Land’s 125th Anniversary in June 2014, which will be in a commercial building called Exchange Square. Artists currently selected for the exhibition are Johnson Tsang, Otto Li, and Barbara Choi.
© Tate Modern Images
Painting Now: Five Contemporary Artists 12th November 2013 9th February 2014 Painting Now: Five Contemporary Artists, focuses on the most recent work of Tomma abts, Gillian Carnegie, Simon Ling, Lucy McKenzie and Catherine Story. Each of the pieces in the show engages with the traditional technique of painting and how each artist applies it to the contemporary practises of art production. With contemporary artists largely under-represented in large scale shows this is an opportunity to see what is being made by current artists who are not yet household names. Tickets are £11.00 (£10 without donation and £9.50 with concessions)
Joseph Beuys Closing Soon: 31st December Josef Beuys room at Tate Modern is something that you will invariably have stumbled into whilst trying to see the Picasso’s in the next door room. However the three of his installations currently presented alongside each other will be dispersed at the end of the month and despite their admittedly bland appearance they are really worth a moment of appreciation. The autobiographical nature of Beuys’ work is representative of his very personal views on the society he was living in, and the wounded nature of mankind on a larger scale. Through his art he sought the heal the rift between man and nature with his shamanesque performance pieces and ritualistic installations like the ones seen at Tate.
Christmas Past: A drawing room in 1870 © Geffrye Museum of the Home/Chris Ridley
Christmas at Geffrye Museum! 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes Enjoying Christmas past in Christmas present has come early this year. The Geffrye Museum’s annual Christmas show opens on the 26th of November. Authentic festive decorations give an insight into Christmas in England over the past 400 years. The origins of modern Christmas are revealed through their festive displays and show how their meanings have changed and developed into the traditions we see today. The permanent collection will be transformed to seasonal displays which are a must-see for the festive period with a series of events available to join and get ready for Christmas. Open till Sunday 5th January 2014
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