Tag: Conceptual

Girls who are Beuys, Who like Beuys to be girls, Who do Beuys…

On the Sunday of the Low residency I met up with an old friend and we went to the Tate Modern, a monumental building probably not best utilised to show as much work as possible, but still good to see such great work. After a week of mostly digital work it was different and refreshing to see some more physical work.

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Joseph Beuys the brillant German conceptual artist had some work in the Tate, and I remembered how much I liked his work and the ideas behind them. I remember laughing at his fabricated self creation myth, that whilst serving as a Stuka dive bomber in the German Army in the second World War he was shot down on the Russian front and rescued by a nomadic Tatar tribe, that wrapped his broken body in animal fat and felt and nursed him back to health. Army records show he was in fact re-cooperating in a German field hospital. But what of it, he understood that Human Beings want a larger story…myth and legend.

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“It is not inconsistent with Beuys’ work that his biography would have been subject to his own reinterpretation;this particular story has served as a powerful myth of origins for Beuys’s artistic identity, as well as providing an initial interpretive key to his use of unconventional materials, amongst which felt and fat were central.” [1]

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I started to understand ‘Beuys as shaman’ when I read about the first time he visited The United States and immediatedly performed an action;

“…The action actually began at Kennedy Airport, where friends wrapped him in felt and transported him to the gallery in an ambulance. Beuys then spent several days in a room with only a felt blanket, a flashlight, a cane that looked like a shepherd’s staff, copies of the Wall Street Journal (which were delivered daily), and a live coyote. His choice of employing a coyote was perhaps an acknowledgment of an animal that holds great spiritual significance for Native Americans, or a commentary on a country that through its Western expansion had become “lost” America.”

…and I didn’t even mention the dead hare.

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Note to Self:

  • Whittle down the rationale of your artistic practice, it sometimes comes across as muddled.
  • Finish off one or two Arduino projects that have been lying around and then quickly move on to more visual screen orientated work.

Condensation Cube

Hans Haacke’s work was never entirely bound by conceptualism because it always traced connections between concepts and form.

condensation-cube

‘Condensation Cube’ (1963-65) personifies this for me. It is a sealed Plexiglass box containing a small amount of water. When the room is warm, the water turns to gas, as it cools, the water condenses on the Plexiglass and returns to liquid. It is a sealed physical system, but it is also visually altered by its surroundings. There is a tension between its individuality and its dependance on the world around it.

Note to Self:

  • Perspex: Where to buy sheets + cheaply?