Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ideas on Transformation_3

For the week, I've gathered ideas, based on my assignment submission last week:

– 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.

I have investigated artists Quon-Gean Ho, Deborah Klein and more recently, on recommendation, Conrad Botes, performance artists Leigh Bowery and Nick Cave...

I am completely taken with Botes, Bowery's and Cave's creative styles and hope to create a body of work on my interpretation of their 'intentions'. Botes "... mocks conventional notions of individualism and 'humanism', ranging from romantic love to self-flagellation." Ref

Weeping Zombies III

Bowery's work: peformance art, critical humour in music and fashion. "Leigh Bowery, peripheral in the notion of art practice by combining dandyism and body art, reconstructed his image while performing ...[he] uses the expression of the 'other' to create a form of cultural lip-syncing transvestism." Ref

Whilst Cave - an American fabric sculptor, dancer, and performance artist - creator of Soundsuits, explores the themes of durability and fragility, costuming and masquerading. " ... he discovered this identity-altering power early on". “When I was inside a suit, you couldn’t tell if I was a woman or man; if I was black, red, green or orange; from Haiti or South Africa,” he said. “I was no longer Nick. I was a shaman of sorts.” Ref

This is a rabbit hole - the further you go, the more you find. Each artist has influenced others, or has been influential in transforming social/cultural perception - not always without major prejudice. The strange thing about tradition is that I could look at each of these artists - South African Botes, Australian Bowery and American Cave's works - through some form or other, I associate with their use of mask in a form of social identity, tradition and cultural questioning.

With my own work, I'll continue to investigate how to bring the 'performance', masquerade, and 'spectacle' into printmaking: focussing on African heritage, masks, traditional folklore, the idea of 'plastic sexuality.

I'll just have to keep experimenting, because using elements such as the challenging of individualism, spectacle and gender (Bote & Bowery), reuse, tradition and (to a degree) folklore (Cave), prove that contemporary art thrives on a sense of 'transformation'...

Sketches -

China Markers and Whiteboard Markers over Photograph printouts

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