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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Fine Art Essay.

Doors -  Our guardian, frame and front cover of our lives.

This essay will explore my interests and theories in relation to my studio practice. My work has naturally evolved from my previous study of architecture and psychogeography. Primarily looking at psycho geography opened up my work to a variety of avenues and interests. Offering me the possibility of using maps in an open ended way to explore urban spaces, after my exploratory work around local urban landscapes and cities, I decided it would be of my best interest to continue in a way where I could dig deeper into my original discoveries about my local society, how it works and more importantly how people work.

The front covers of our existence.

Sometimes it’s hard to find an escape or somewhere to hide, so in my practice, particularly my final submission for the art gallery I will point out the fine line between an opportunity begging and staring you in the face and another where it doesn’t’ necessary stand out. I will have done this discretely not allowing the obvious to stand out but never taking the objects purpose away. My pieces need to capture the audience’s imagination so they can relive their childhood obsessions and dreams. Audiences must feel the need to understand the purpose of my practice and where it may lead. I began term one exploring many different theories and practises such as architecture and Psychogeography. Finally these lead me to my Final Major Project “Front covers of our existence”. I will explain my journey throughout many different themes starting from urban exploration and explaining how I got to the stage where I am now.

Psycho geographic practices
One of the basic situationist practices is the dérive [literally: “drifting”], a technique
of rapid passage through varied ambiances. Dérives involve playful-constructive behavior
and awareness of psycho geographical effects, and are thus quite different from
the classic notions of journey or stroll.

Psychogeography holds many different meanings, I’ve practiced the exploration of urban landscapes and cities also in my own work. Psychogeography is a process where anyone can get involved with through the internet. It originated from human curiosity and tendency to drift away and explore environments. It involves many playful and inventive strategies to find answers. Being very experimental and letting yourself become encapsulated by mystery is the aim, as it was my own aim when I followed the maps on my circuit boards. I allowed myself to ignore my surroundings and followed these trails across Birmingham recording my discoveries. These became my inspiration for this practice. Unexpectedly I concluded my findings in places I would not have guessed, places I would not normally stray. Hypothetically It was to see if these directions had any place in real life? Or do they just work electronically? Interestingly enough it was not the destination where I was to find my answers but the journey, the derive held the importance.
I used the derive as an action in which I could let myself go to where ever I was taken in the moment and make discoveries. I got used to this, finding many new walks of life and desire lines. This concept of psychogeography has lead me to understand the human way of travel. Our tendencies to cut corners and treasure time. I began unravelling informal paths that have been created. These paths are more formally known as desire lines. This concept also connects with the journey’s of life and the many variations of doors we may or may not pass.

Desire Lines
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Psychogeography taught me about exploration and how you must ignore everything else that is happening around you to discover the full potential of new spaces. Also if I had not researched this theory I would have not fully appreciated exploration techniques, resulting in me not being able to present my findings about society with as much belief and detail. Psychogeography has helped link together all of my ideas and assist me in moving through all of the themes in my work.
I have a strong interest in redundancy and abandonment issues, I’ve worked on these themes for a while progressing from neglection in people, electronics and more recently architecture. After my original research and exploration I early on determined an area of work I would like to pursue. I knew I wanted my practice to link with property and architecture so I took this direction. Urban exploration has been my general driving point, exploring and documenting my discoveries. My expeditions lead me to many redundant buildings. I was spurred on at the time by a national study in the Daily Mail newspaper where it claimed Walsall was listed number two in the section for large centre shop closures. It had a percentage of 26%. I wanted to see this, so I decided to discover it for myself.
Architecture in the 1900’s had a huge influence on my practice. Architects in this time period began developing new architectural solutions with new technological possibilities. It was after the second world war when sky scrapers began arising. They were made from new, fresh and exciting materials. I learnt more about post war architecture and found two integral sites for my study. Trellick Tower (London) and D’Habitation (Marseilles). I became increasingly interested in most architects visions of the future, the concept of streets in the sky.

Le Corbusier described buildings as “machines for living”.

This is the idea of automatically producing communities within high rise flats, just like Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower and Corbusier’s Unit De’ Habitation. These two examples were the first of their kind and promised great things. Unlike many other examples today these two now have a famous part in history and now are relatively successful. Many other post war tower blocks have been demolished or now sit abandoned. The worlds utopian vision of living experience has merely happened and has become quite the opposite. This downfall in property and redundancy is shown in my practice.

In the 1960’s modern architecture received criticism, architecture critic Siegfried Giedion said “It seemed universal, elitist and lacked meaning” and “At the moment a certain confusion exists in contemporary architecture as in painting, a kind of pause, even a kind of exhaustion”

Goldfinger saw his role very much as an artist, bringing a view of the social future a21s well as the functional present:
Whenever space is enclosed a spatial sensation will automatically result for persons who happen to be within it... it is the artist who comprehends the social requirements of his time and is able to integrate the technical potentialities in order to shape the spaces of the future.

Potentially I can see a vision of the future where we all get what we desire. We already have the ability to drift away in our imagination. I believe that the day will come when our dreams can easily become reality. Leading on from my architectural study I continued my practice with the vision of a utopian escape. After influence from urban exploration and studies I pinpointed a common feature. A front door. I thought about what these doors represented and what they have experienced? Our Psyche takes us down different paths and through many doors. A door is the metaphor for our lives they represent new beginnings and endings. I’ve focused my priority on the heritage and history of doors. I’m interested in the life that a door has lived. Mostly I’ve been visiting and documenting doors of my particular interest and analysing their value. There is no definition for a door because they all represent a different way of life, and everybody owns a door. Doors live with us through our lives and memory expressing our personalities. A door is not simply a plank of wood or a cut of PVC but a guardian, frame and front cover for our lives.
My current practice involves me creating the illusions of both a door and air vent leading to alternate realities. The aim is to represent a whole world to be discovered, a lifeline and guide to many corridors in life and theoretically the idea of a more utopian reality. Most human being’s find themselves running around in circles, desperate to break the trend. Often life in general accustoms to a strict daily routine where everything is planned and superstitions are created which can dictate our routine. The practice I pursue is to offer assurance that you might find yourself travelling down endless corridors but you will never know what‘s right around the corner. Also I aim for people to realise that its not the appearance but what’s inside which matters. It is for my audience to determine what lies behind my door and vent, I hope for it to ask questions of people and also offer them a mental escape. In my work I want people to believe in what they see; I want people to have faith in the images and instillations that I present.
Michael Landy’s practice creates questions about value, usefulness and employment. Similarly I expect my work to question such issues.

Landy explains “The installation questions the way in which we value and identify ourselves through labour”

Landy often uses his work to make his audience address their own personal issues. He feels “Semi-detached” his large scale installation of his fathers house defines him, he was raised here and his family still remain there. I admire the realism and sentiment of Landy’s Semi-detached, I hope that my practice can similarly emulate the standard Landy has set in this piece of work. I hope people also sincerely see my work to be realistic as this element holds the key to my work being successful. I always aim for my work to have the element of feeling real if not actually being real. This is vital for my practice when gathering material and the method of gathering it. I agree with how journalist Kirsten Bailey describes Semi-detached;

“Because your in an art gallery, and programmed to observe, you notice the little things which would normally pass you by - the odd rusty nail poking out of the brickwork, bits of wire, the broken-off washing line…”

My project “Front covers of our existence” emphasises my desire is to help people learn the value of opportunity and chance, many elements of life are overlooked and often as humans we underestimate the chances we are given. Everybody takes chances some work out and others don’t, It’s the realisation that another will come along that I stress in my practice. The idea I follow is that one door leads to another. There are always options and various avenues. My practice hopefully spells out opportunity, development and chance. Every fantasy takes you somewhere new; we do not know where we may end up. “Hitchcock Hallway” by Danish artists Aslak Vibaek and Peter Dossing, is another installation I admire. I can relate to the installations sense of mystery and the meaning behind it. Ikon Eastside’s exhibition advert reads,
“The entrance to the gallery is replaced by a door - what lies beyond is for the visitor to discover”

AVPD draw inspiration from literature, film and science and they look at how our bodies react to certain spaces. This co-insides with my previous video experimentation “Between these four walls” (8). I also looked into the science of a human and our tendencies in today’s society. Also similarly I took inspiration from literature, Gaston Bachelard’s “Poetics Of Space”.

“For the moment I should like to point out the original fullness of the house’s being. Our daydreams carry us back to it. And the poet well knows that the house holds childhood motionless, in its arms.”
“The house we were born in is more than an embodiment of home, it is also an embodiment of dreams.”

As you know my practice revolves around doors, so firstly for my final piece a door will be made. After strenuous planning I have drew up a design which seemed viable. (11) “Final design of proposal”. The design is integral to my concept so I had to keep between the lines of my concepts and the practicality of the work so that the power of my final piece is not affected. Many factors that I have to think about, size and shape are integral, not just visibly but structurally the piece needs to meet health and safety requirements. Also it’s important to realize my piece won’t just be in any space but specifically in the gallery. This often requires me to visit my area regularly so I can visualize the show. I’ve often learnt how work can change in its environment so this is something that I have had to play with; due to the great and huge wall space I’ve been granted. It’s my aim to make my work fit comfortably in its surroundings; my door needs to feel like it belongs there. (12) “How my door final piece may look”

My planning has stumbled on many occasions, this due to the struggle with keeping its meaning in-tact. In many ways I can see great idea’s which are really not feasible. For instance I concluded at one point that I could create the ultimate experience by constructing an exterior wall along the original; however after speaking with technicians I found that due to many constrictions it was not realistically possible. Similarly to my door creation I will make another object. This is another brain-teaser for the audience. The idea to create another escape route is so that there is a theme and some continuality in my work. The other idea is to construct an air vent. This shall be made with the same high standards of the door and will have more or less the same requirements. Both pieces will be made from wood and then coated with the same paint the gallery uses on their walls. This is so that when my pieces are secured in the gallery there is not a difference in the shade of colour. This will smoothly blend my contributions into the wall giving them a feel of value and belonging. Equally as important as the structure is the lighting that my work requires. This is to generate a sense of mystery and provoke reactions. I believe that a ray of light both peeping through the door and through the vent offers an insight to another place and proves existence. Also at the same time opens up viewers imaginations and reinforces their own personal beliefs.

I believe that once completed my final piece will match the requirements needed in order for it to be successful. I think that my final piece will tie together any loose ends in my sketchbook and will clarify the under lying meaning throughout my practice. Many opportunity’s still exist in this world, where most recently it has been doubted. My recent work is all about highlighting opportunity and supporting belief. Hope is what gets many people through every day life. Once I believe that my message is understood more widely I see my work moving towards celebrating where hope can lead. What is behind my door? This will be something I will work towards in the future. Even if my recent practice only reaches one person, that will be an achievement for me to have influenced somebody. My work is aimed to influence people and that is the purpose of creating it , so I hope my recent work reaches out to someone.


(Figure 1).

(Figure 2). and image below.

(Figure 3).

(Figure 4). and image below.

(Figure 5)

(Figure 6). and image below.

(Figure 7).  at-ikon-eastside/   and image below.

(Figure 8). “Between these four walls”, image below.

(Figure 9).
The Poetics Of Space - Gaston Bachelard, Beacon Press Books. Page 7/8.

(Figure 10).
The Poetics Of Space - Gaston Bachelard, Beacon Press Books. Page 15.

(Figure 11). “Final design of proposal”, image below.

 (Figure 12). “How my door final piece may look”, image below.

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