A quickly thrown together video of the ‘Working Title’ exhibition, come in and experience it for yourself, it really is a bit of a marvel. The exhibition only runs until the 9th October so hurry hurry!
Some of the less finished or less successful work I created…
This piece re-organises itself every 17 seconds – the median time that a gallery visitor spends in front of each art work.
by Tom Davis
“I’m not artistic”, a phrase I have heard from a countless number of people. Do they judge this on their ability to figuratively paint a family portrait in oils or make a lifelike sculpture of a dancing horse, Do they believe, for some reason, that this is the only outlet for creativity? I believe that we all have something which tells us what we want from a material, that-goes-with-that-then-that-fits-there-and-that-colour-is-really-good-and-I-really-want-to-touch-that-but-I-prefer-that-pattern. Whether we see this as ‘artistic’ is subjective, but we all have the creativity to know what we want. There are processes we go through, whether we are an artist applying them to art, or simply applying them to everyday life.
Every artists in Working Title goes through a different process, I know myself from making things in my own practice that we sometimes give ourselves rules, unconsciously or consciously, some more strict than others (Now, this object will be REALLY small, I can only use ONE colour on this .) Some are there so we can purposefully disobey them, creating something simultaneously pleasing and awful, dirty and good…so wrong and so right, as a friend puts it in a review of Phyllida Barlow’s most recent exhibition,
‘Then you look up, or down; then its big, stupid and awkward – an installation in the top room was so unbelievably harsh I actually wanted to punch its stupid pointy parts in, and the colour and the gorgeously carefree way pink paint had just been slapped on to naked metal, well that was just despicable. I hated that room but it was brilliant; everything jarring and crammed in like that…’
For artist Beata Kozlowska, it is always important that her pieces are clean. Clean lines and clean shapes, as well as being literally clean, she could not bare the idea of constructing a work using a dirty chair, yet for some artists, using an object as it comes, or even going against what seems to be right (Instead of a white box, I will use this brilliantly dirty old crate as a plinth) is all part of the fun.
There is an infinite amount of points (most of which I wouldn’t like to touch upon) to consider when thinking about how an artist creates and thus ‘gets’ to an artwork, whether there has been a thoughtful step-by-step decision making process or a haphazard purposeful lack of thinking, I find it curious how even if we want a piece to be spontaneous or naive, we will always carry the baggage of pre-thinking.
If you are not familiar with the Working Title artists (successfully avoiding the barrage of tweeting, facebooking and blogging), or have never stepped into the realms of artwork created in this fashion, it is possible you will say to yourself (secretly or out loud) “This isn’t art”. I often wonder why this is, possibly the cheapness of the artwork’s materials, its recognition as something too familiar or that its creation has come about with an apparent lack of skill. This issue is raised in ‘Make do and bend: The adhoc in sculptural practice’, an essay by Joanne Lee.
‘ … There are huge anxieties of inadequacy [for artists], as if perhaps people fear that everyone else is doing it properly, whilst they themselves are not. Contemporary art frequently displays a rather complicated relationship with its materials and means of making; artists aren’t quite sure how to validate their practice to the non-cognoscenti when working outside an established craft tradition or with cheap, everyday materials (those employing sellotape as opposed to say, casting bronze)…such work does not easily convince those for whom some clear demonstration of technical ‘artistic’ skill is still a requirement. Of course matters are not so neatly binary…lo-fi materials are at times laboriously crafted with the kind of attention paid to costly stuff.’
As we have re-iterated, throughout our blog posts, these materials are fun, they are begging to be played with and experimented with (I bet that conjures up a few images), but perhaps this is the reason that some can’t take it seriously, It seems a bit tacky to proclaim that you have ‘creative freedom’ with these objects, but you do, and I think that is simultaneously why people are so attracted to using cheap materials (in an extremely experimental way) in their artistic practice, and why it is often seen as a waste of time (it is thrown together without any worth.)
The bits and pieces gathered from the craft bank and set aside in the visitors section of Working Title are placed there without expectation, these materials are not like a pencil waiting for a drawing, they are like a pencil waiting for you to maybe construct a strange 3D sculpture comprised completely of pencils, they are objects waiting for your decisions, as small or grand as you like. I think it takes a creative gesture on a supposedly mundane material to disprove the statement “I am not artistic”, and sometimes it is just a simple gesture that can make us realise the potential that lies in something we might often overlook.
Some more partly finished work to show!
The printer windchime is now coin operated.
I’ve been working on a piece with a Dust Devil hoover. This evolved out of trying to make something with computer cooling fans. The idea is that it looks like a self sustaining snow globe. As you can see it still needs a lot of work.
Finally, today I started something with the scanner part of the printer. The finished idea is to have the lights moving in opposite directions constantly rearranging themselves in new ways. This will hopefully be further developed next week.
The first series of work I called ‘The New Eldorado’ as a reference to pop culture and the myth built around the golden age of prosperity. Golden plastic lid, purity of blue, orange and White… Colour is another indication of unifying and enabling symbiosis within the object. I was also experimenting with already existing natural ‘presupposition’ of brought objects. I use them in assemblages, mini- installation, Solaris, with mirrors, metal bars, round shapes of the records, lampshades…
At the end of the week I was tempted to create ironic harmony, merely maintaining a balance within the assembled objects. Orange mini columns, reminiscent of negative furniture, are fragilly supporting each other balancing on the red string…
The process of creating my work was so similar to the process of my usual art practice. I found the project relieving and inspiring. Also I had a chance to collaborate/ or rather interact not only with fellow artists ( Nicola Dale, Jason Tylor, Andy Parker), but also with enthusiastic audience.
A bit of a frustrating day today. Mainly as I did’t have the right technology to implement the ideas I had. That and the hard drives wern’t playing ball. More on that hopefully in the coming week. My ardunio however arrived and after a trip to Maplin (my third this week) I had it up and running with some basic controlling of the printer windchime. Video posted below.
Day two and I’ve sort of got my head around this way of working. I’ve managed to produce something fit for ‘the wall’ – a semi exhibition space in the gallery.
My piece is a printer activated wind chime ,which works in principle but needs a bit of fine tuning.
A video of it working properly will hopefully be posted shortly.
LOOK INTO THE LIGHT FOR A CLEAR VIEW said the S. Mark Gubb public artwork just outside Portsmouth Harbour station. I obeyed the order. During my week-long stint at Aspex I was rewarded with a sky of blue, hot sunshine, a rollercoaster, the Spinnaker Tower and fresh sea air.
The public had been very generous in donating their unwanted items to Working Title. I spent the first couple of days reveling in the Aladdin’s cave of junk. I decided not to make concrete plans immediately, just to react to what I found. In order to warm up, I made a few small works quickly: a little landscape made from jar lids, deflated balloons and images of bonsai; a toast rack of 2D trees; a fire extinguisher which sprayed out a rainbow of colours; a laptop with the keys replaced by upturned rusty screws; a book turned into a laptop with the leftover keys; a dying tree made out of brown paper, copper piping and tyres. It was difficult not to get giddy with all the possibly-maybe useful stuff. I admired my fellow artists (it was a pleasure to work alongside Beata Kozlowska and Andy Parker) for their far more considered approach, which rubbed off on me eventually and I calmed down…
By accident I found that some white tent poles I had hoarded fitted exactly onto small white plastic bottles. I had also been attracted to a large roll of white material (possibly carpet backing). Using a tent pole base as a stencil, I cut circles out of the material. Once threaded onto the poles, I found I had made strange looking structures inspired by my surroundings – they were spindly like the aforementioned Tower, but oddly organic like something growing on the seabed. The structures’ individual elements were no longer useful – but at least I had rescued the material, the bottles and the poles from oblivion (even if only for a short while). The structures were hazy, shadowy things, hovering in the crevices between use, misuse and disuse - I think they might have been ghosts of sorts.