Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ideas on Transformation_1

Alteration, modification, conversion, permutation, deviation, mutation, transition, metamorphosis, evolution, alchemy, distortion, deterioration, decay, maturation, camouflage, restructure and interpretation

Change from one form to another, as in assimilation, metabolism, metamorphosis
Change in disposition, heart, character or the like, conversion

Each researched artist I've investigated so far has captured with the theme differently – whether it be literal, as in Urs Luthi's photographs of himself aging as well as transforming gender, or Shepard Fairey's street art, where he takes a recognizable image and through printing/tagging etc., has managed to alter the image's meaning and present the viewer with a new set of social questions e.g. American President or the US dollar.

Transformation can be specific to the treatment of subject, in the case of Luthi, or Shepherd's work, or specific to the treatment of method – such as in the case of Gaspare O Melcher, who experiments very heavily with etching and aquatints, transforming a fairly 'neat' well tested process, into that of 'contained chaos' dabbed, scratched, blotched symbols. Catherine Bolle pushes the method of printmaking to a new level, one which incorporates a 3rd dimension to her work – she prints, cuts and scrapes into glass, perspex etc., to “unite the gestures of painting, writing and moulding”.

Claes Oldenburg tells us that 'size matters' in his larger than life ice-cream sculptures jutting out of buildings or large pieces of pie wedged into a landscape. He deviates from the nature of 'food' and makes it art – food may not be an area I am interested in, but his concept that art is art, whatever its purpose, “I am for an art that embroils itself in everyday life crap and still comes out top”.

I enjoy the world of Bernhard Lugunbuhl and Klaudia Schifferle, because their transformation is captivating and has a consistency: their drawings represent their prints, which represent their sculpture – they consistently use transformation of medium to move across multiple art disciplines, to present an idea.

Then there is a more object based 'transformation' as seen in Josef Felix Muller's works. That of transforming or changing the use of an object – for example, his Woodcuts from 1983, are actually floorboards removed from his rented accommodation, he 'appropriated' and transformed the 'nature‟ of the floorboards, from a functional floor, to a piece of artwork, which hangs on a wall. i.e. Figurative, functionality transformation/reuse/transforming purpose?
Additional thoughts – change from one state or form to another, therefore requiring catalyst.

Nature of something is inherent/always attributed to the subject, whilst the function of the subject/object may change.

So far, I touched the surface on the transformation of subject

– Traditional/Cultural transformation -
Masks encompass many variations on the theme of transformation. How personality transforms through wearing the mask, or how traditional meaning is lost through transforming the 'use of the mask' by today's cultural understanding, as a purely decorative or scientific relic. Heidegger describes Phenomenology as “the process of letting things manifest themselves”, whilst Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's describes it as the "study[ing] the structure of various types of experience ranging from perception, thought, memory, imagination, emotion, desire, and volition to bodily awareness, embodied action, and social activity, including linguistic activity".

- Social/Traditional transformations: Yuji Hiratsuka transforms the 'Traditional', in his “archetypal portraits” which take technique and to a degree social archetypes in Japanese society and represent them as “balancing past and present with Humour” (Mary S. Tolman of Tolman Collection, 1996).

- Advertising/Media as transformation – I looked at advertisements from the 1940s – 1960s, which have Newly interpreted meaning – racist, sexist, and selling the idea of "brand", e.g. Cola to infants or an advert with a little girl in the picture, and the slogan “… because innocence is sexier than you think…” it doesn‟t matter about what is being advertised, it‟s about reinterpreting the 'slogan' today.

I haven't come up with exactly what I want to present over the next three months, but these are some of my ideas…

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