Student: Tom van â€˜t Westeinde s104815 Assignor: Frans Franssen. Date: 5-6-2012
Table of content I n t r o d u c t io n 3 A c q ua i n ta n c e 4 A n d r e i R u b l e v 9 A l e x a n d e r C a l d e r Experimenting M o b i l e c e l e b r at io n m ac h i n e
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I n t r o d u c t io n I started the assignment in, to my opinion, the most creative building of the whole campus. When I entered one of the practice spaces of Vertigo I had no idea what I was going to learn let alone what I was going to do. The big wooden tables surrounded by crutches were full of past projects from the students of Mr. Franssen, our expert and also an artist with the necessary knowledge and experience. Starting with an introduction round to all the students, Mr. Franssen tried to figure out what
the motivation for each student was to choose this assignment. Surprised by this first question I started thinking about my motivation. I knew that in the first semester I misunderstood my Ideas and Concept activities, which were more categorized under Form and Senses. This was the first reason for choosing an assignment within Ideas and Concepts. I made the choice for Panamarenko on the advice of a friend, Thijmen van Gurp. Through him I knew that I was getting into a little different
assignment than usual, which for me was a reason to start with it completely blank, and let everything come at me. Because of this attitude I had no specific goal for the assignment. That made the first learning moment of the assignment, because there was enough freedom within the process to develop certain aspects of idea generating. This means that in the future I have to set a more clear goal for my own development within an assignment as long as it fits within its aspects.
A c q ua i n ta n c e
It became clear that less than half of the group, as well as myself, did not even knew who or what Panamarenko exactly is, or maybe even was. Mr. Franssen surprised me again with the first task of the assignment; draw a Panamarenko. It was strange to be signed up with the task of drawing something without having a clue about what to draw at all. On the other hand this was the first opportunity to use my creativity and imagination. Before we started the only thing we got to know was that there was a Panamarenko in the Vertigo Building and it looked like a kind of plane. With this information I tried to, what seemed to be an artwork, draw a plane in a certain time period. This resulted in a Wright-brothers inspired air plane from the 20â€™s.
My first sketch of a â€œPanamarenkoâ€?
After my first drawing we could go and have a look at the actual artwork. It was bizarre to know that I had pass this creation already several times but actually never noticed this remarkable craftsmanship behind the glass of the atrium in Vertigo. For me this piece of handwork could even date from the time of the Wright Brothers, or maybe even the ages of Leonardo DaVinci. The choice of most materials, the mechanism and the proportions of this plane made it for me look like a delicate and fragile object that represents the dream of flying. This artwork, the so-called Umbilly 1, was intended to be placed at the faculty of Mechanical Engineering on commission of the art committee of this University. However, the mechanical engineers did not want the object be placed in their faculty because it could not fly. To my opinion, those rational engineers have a limited imagination. Like Jacob Voorhuis says in the paper ‘Panamarenko, Umbilly I, Wanderings of a plane within the TU/e; “Angels fly in paintings, in dreams, in a virtual world of imagination. The Umbilly I flies in the same world in any case.” I definitely agree on that. The drawing of the Umbilly 1 became something completely different then the first one. It was very difficult to draw an object out of your memory that you only saw once, but I pointed out the recognizable characteristics.
“Umbilly I” 5
My second sketch after the acquaintance
After this introduction to Panamarenko we continued with sketching. This time we had to pick an object out of the aforementioned projects. I choose an object that appealed to me because I once saw it being exhibited in the main building and I was curious about its looks and workings. Once I laid my hands on this object and started to draw it from different perspectives I noticed the peculiarities from the object. The object, what I called the “Space Bike” because of its futuristic look, seemed anything accept a normal vehicle. While I did my very best to sketch the several remarkable details and played around with it in a way I thought it should function, I noticed that the axis of the front wheel was not placed in the middle. This gave the bike, while riding, a dynamic movement. Because of this movement, the steer like hook in the front made it possible to break the movement when the thick part of the wheel reached that point. While having a closer look to the object it seemed that, although I called it a bike, had not much resemblance with a bike except for the two wheels. There was no real saddle but more a kind of iron stairs construction between the two axes. This made me think about its functionality and usability. For me the object became more and more an art object that represents movement.
“The Space Bike”
Furthermore we visited the workplace, called “De Beeldenstorm”. For me this place was the ultimate representation of craftsmanship, fine arts and technique. After a guided tour from one of the responsible experts it became clear that this was a place for artists, students and designers to experiment with all kind of materials. The facility offers practical support to help producing all kinds of materials varying from plastics to metals and bronze. After a short acquaintance with this place we passed on to a place where you could experiment all kinds of printing methods to, for example, create t-shirts. By the look of all the equipment I had the idea that I went back in time while entering that room. This place radiated the ultimate form of handicraft. I think you can be very proud when you can create a fabric in this place by using the equipment and your creativity.
“Artist workplace “De Beeldenstorm” is a place were artist, designers, and students meet each other and where experimental work can be done” 8
Andrei Rublev for a hot air balloon ride. While being disturbed by a fight the balloon takes off a church and the man seems very delighted when the construction actually flies. With this first scene I made the connection to Panamarenko in what for me seemed as realizing the dream of flying. The movie continued displaying the life of Andrei Rublev through different chapters of his life. Through this confusing journey I could not determine the real leitmotif of the movie. Partly this was probably because of the traditional language of the movie. However there were several scenes out of
this movie that remained into my thoughts. During the movie it became clear what the profession was of Andrei Rublev and how he and his apprentices worked on several projects during time. He seemed to be an artist who doubts himself many times what even leads to a strike in which he refuses to paint or speak. Also the many cases of animal cruelty in the movie were very shocking to me. So you could see how a horse, a many returning animal, falling from a stairs and is stabbed by a spear as well as a cow on fire and the torture of a dog. 9
Besides this shocking material another thing that I still remember is the production of the massive bell somewhere at the end of the movie. To me this represents the ultimate form of hard work and dedication of an artist. Especially when the maker bursts into tears when finally the bell is rung. After returning from this enlightening movie the task was to make a drawing with colored crayons inspired on the movie. For this drawing I used the memories I had from the most impressive scenes of the movie. I drew the clock together with a horse, some landscape and some expressions. The drawing became a representation of my impression of the movie.
â€œWhit this drawing I tried to express what I thought were the highlight of the movie as well as its atmosphere.â€? 10
Alexander Calder For the third meeting we went to “Het Gemeentemuseum” in The Hague. The building was an artwork on itself because of the late nineteenth century architecture from H.P. Berlage. With an construction of concrete iron and bricks, Berlage wanted to invite people in the building. I entered the building through the corridor that was meant to lead the visitor to the world of art. While standing in the queue for a ticket it was noticeable that I as a student brought the average age drastically down. Among all the pensioners you could immediately see who were the students of the university. When entering the building I got immediately the impression of being in the twenties because of the use of bricks, wood and tiles in red, yellow and green. The first statue that appeared was not from Alexander Calder, for which I intentionally went to the museum. This artwork was again a Panamarenko called “Batopillo”. Again this piece represented flying; it was what seemed to be a parachutist but without a parachute. Instead of this nylon device there was a construction of 5 propellers on its back. It was clear that Panamarenko, again, made the connection to flying, levitation or any other way to defeat gravity.
and more ...
I continued going to the actual exhibition of Alexander Calder. I did not no more than that this was an American sculptor and specialized in kinetic art. By seeing the first creation the kinetic art became immediately clear. His mobiles are the perfect example of balance, motion and change. However it seemed that Calder was not only an expert in kinetic art. In the early years of his career he became famous because of his toys. This lead to his â€œCirque Calderâ€? which was displayed through a movie at the exhibition. The circus consisted of small objects made out of wire strings, rubber and cloth. This circus was the start of his interest in the wire sculpture. The results of this interest were showed through the exhibition. It was wonderful to see how skilled Calder made use of simple tools to create 3D visualizations out of wires.
Besides making physical sculptures Calder had a certain interest for painted. Starting with illustrations for book and journals I could see how his paintings evolved through time. To my opinion the seemed very influenced by his visit to the studio of Piet Mondriaan. His drawings became more and more abstract and also the use of colour was reduced to almost only primary colours. His prints as well as his sculptures moved more into the dimension of pure abstraction. For his sculptures he also used mainly the colours red, yellow, blue, black and various shades of gray. Furthermore the collection of Calder contained sculptures to be exposed outside. For some monumental works he changed his working method wherefore he first made small model which later could be enlarged to monumental sizes.
After going through all the fascinating and peculiar artwork of Calder and Mondriaan I took a quick look in the other spaces of the museum. The rest of the museum contained a huge variety of different designs and art. Together with a wide collection of Barbies in all kind of outfits, whose function was not completely clear to me, you could view a large amount of miniature designer chairs as well as some impressive classical rooms with beautiful wall decoration and chandeliers although it was not my taste at all. At the end I also had a little sneak peak at an authentic â€œRietveld Chairâ€? as well as some models of the different houses of Mondriaan.
Experimenting For the next lesson it was again time to do things ourselves. Here fore we could use first floor of the main building of the university. In this way we had the opportunity to experiment with size, space, form, colour and shapes. After a short acquaintance with an artist who worked in the aforementioned “Beeldenstorm” and some materials she was experimenting with we could go and be free to use our imagination. Because to my opinion Panamarenko kept coming back with every activity of this assignment I wanted to do something antigravity as well. I started with making a so called “Jumping Jack” with some simple materials as cardboard and fish wire, but this was not what I wanted. So I started to simplify the idea of flying towards simple paper planes but then out of A0 sized paper. In this way I could make something that would really fly but is not as usual as a normal A4 sized paper. To add something extra I numbered the planes randomly to mislead the actual number and add some messages to it. This was followed by throwing the planes from the fourth floor to see if they actually would fly. Some of the designs did, and some not so for that I made some constructive adaptation to them. To be more in control of the fly I tried to guide the plane on a fish wire because kites are the best example of defeating gravity through natural elements.
As an extra addition to the day we watched two short films of Michaël Dudok de Wit. The first one, “Le Moine et le Poisson” was a beautiful cel-animated movie. I was amazed by the use of colour but I was even more overwhelmed by the way how the music was used to substantiate the atmosphere of the images perfectly. Thereby, it was magnificent how the maker could communicate a message in six minutes and twenty-two seconds. Of course it is open for everyone how to interpret this message but for me it seemed like someone chasing something that he do not understand. The Monk wants something but the approach is wrong what resulted in an inexhaustible attitude of greed. The second short film, “Father and Daughter” was ass well a beautiful celanimated movie but with a complete other message. This movie, with the windy Netherlands as backdrop, is one big visual presented emotion. The use of silhouette of the characters as well as the returning shadows of the trees and bicycle, seascape and sky give the eight minute during movie even a darker edge. The first impression for me was sadness. The fact that a father leaves his daughter to never return again. Losing a parent seems to me as one of the saddest thing that could happen. However I think there is also a message of hope. You see the little girl growing up to an old woman but still she keep returning to the same place, hoping that see will see her father although I think she knows he will never return again. At the end, when I have the feeling that she dies, see runs towards her father while growing back in all the ages. 16
M o b i l e c e l e b r at io n For the final lesson I had to come up with an idea for my â€œMobile celebration machineâ€?. To do this I watched to my whole process of the assignment and used all the activities as my inspiration for an Eureka!-moment. First I started to think about what I associate with celebration. When I think of celebration I think of a party. Of course a party is not complete without balloons. To my opinion these inflatable rubber bags are the ultimate party decorator. Furthermore the hot air balloon served in the opening scene of the movie of Andrei Rublev. I wanted to combine these balloons with something that I liked from the assignment. I got inspired by the way how Alexander Calder went from wire sculptures to the kinetic art of his mobiles. I also related the kinetic part of this to the dynamic movement I found stood central in my imagination of the space bike. As a
m ac h i n e
start I began to visualize my idea of my mobile celebration machine. To make the connection towards Panamarenko I wanted the mobile to defeat gravity instead of being pulled down by this force. For this I wanted to fill the balloons with helium and place the mobile on the ground so it will reach for the sky. To visualize this I made a drawing with crayons. For the colours I stuck to the colours that Calder, Mondriaan and Rietveld used in the art I saw from them. After this I started to experiment with wires myself and see what I could do with simple tools. After experimenting with shapes and techniques I started to make a small model of how I thought my mobile would look like. For this I used aluminium decoration wires and small water balloons. 17
As an extra connection to balloons I also watched the short film â€œLe Ballon Rougeâ€? from the French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse. In this movie the perfectly round red balloon has a mind on its own and interact with the main character, Pascal Lamorisse, and other balloon owners. This idea is in line with the dynamic movement of the mobile and once placed it could interact with passersby and because of the flexibility of the installation the balloons will interact with each other. 18
For the real model I bought also a tank of helium and with this gas I started to fill balloon and try to keep my mobile floating. When it seemed that it only worked with big round balloon I made another mobile and placed it outside so the wind could play with it. The movie of this is in on the disc or you can scan the QR code. As I see it the complete process of the assignment is a huge source of inspiration to come up with a final concept. In terms of Ideas and Concepts I see this as a new way of idea generating that inspires me in a really artistic way. By picking different aspect out of an impressive amount of cultural, creative and artisan activities I think I completed the assignment in a satisfying way.