Last term I experimented with the theme of material preservation as a contradictory way to both identify and efface individuality – voicing my concerns about wider subjects. While the project resulted in a series of interesting outcomes, I felt disappointed by its [lack of] final presentation. With this in mind I visited the arguably well-presented works at Hong Kong Art Central and Art Basel fairs, only to realise that my dissatisfaction goes beyond presentation, and is in fact directed at what I call the ‘prostitution’ of Art. As a naive student and aspiring artist, I felt embarrassed to learn that the modern art world does not run on artistic integrity and creativity, but rather on paradoxical capitalist consumerism and archetypes of success. With my experience at the art fairs being the root of my inspiration, I would like to explore the ironies of the art world through the practice of conceptual art as an irony within itself.
For the final major project I intend to produce a satirical performance piece of work deconstructing the ‘art exhibition’ as a playful way to address my temporary disillusionment in Art. My goal will be to provide the audience an opportunity to experience art without its glorified façade and to openly question its authenticity. (A mock performance will be recorded and documented as a film for the purpose of assessments.) After having asked and received permission from peers, I will act as an brutally-honest tour guide briefing the public during the private view of our final major projects – bringing to a debate topics such as artisanship, pretence and value – as inspired by Grayson Perry’s ‘Playing to the Gallery’. In order to bring professionalism to my performance as tour guide, I will visit galleries and exhibitions to experience first-hand tours and take note of their behaviours, posture and point of interests. I will also seek inspiration from the work of performers and stand-up comedians such as Cindy Sherman and Monty Python for the persona I may adopt and for tips on how to overcome obstacles as an amateur performer. I am aware that the project may evolve in response to the development of my ideas or practical issues that could come up; it is my challenge therefore to keep a personal reflective journal in which I record the changes in thought and consequent changes in concept or aim of the project. I will also write a weekly blog, documenting the progress of my project with pictures, audio files and films.
To review and assess my project, I will organise and take part in regular critiques, tutorials and group discussions with people outside the course to establish where improvements could be made within my project. The feedback and critical response received will be recorded as part of the journal, together with specific adjustments and/or further plans. I will judge the overall success of my project based on the depth of my research, how well I have managed to communicate my findings through the film/ live performance and whether I have managed to strongly engage with my audience.
Goals this week:
Research exhibitions with guided tours - plan visit
Research virtual guided tour
Research stand up comedians
Make notes and reflect
Develop list of important themes for mockery
Exhibitions attended so far:
Art Central Fair Hong Kong
Art Basel Fair Hong Kong
Performing for the Camera @ Tate Modern
Conceptual Art in Britain @ Tate Britain
Photographer who focuses on the issue of the female social role and personas - questions the collective and individual identity - similar to Samuel Fosso (seen at the Tate Modern)
'Turning the camera on herself in a game of extended role playing of fantasy Hollywood, fashion, mass advertising, and "girl-next-door" roles and poses, Sherman ultimately called her audience's attention to the powerful machinery and make-up that lay behind the countless images circulating in an incessantly public, "plugged in" culture.' I look up to how Sherman uses herself as a canvas, to ironically submit herself to the images of mass demands to make a statement. She took inspiration from fashion magazine and other marketing medias to create the 'ideal, stereotypical woman'. I will also seek inspiration from appropriate sources - ArtReview, Art Forum, Frieze and 'art curator job descriptions' - it will be my goal next week to brainstorm the 'stereotypical art superintendent'
'Sherman's many variations on the methods of self-portraiture share a single, notable feature: in the vast majority of her portraits she directly confronts the viewer's gaze, no less in the case of posed sex dolls, as though to suggest that an underlying penchant for deception is perhaps the only "value" that truly unites us.'By providing an interactive live performance, I also hope to directly confront the audience, providing them an even better platform to experience the 'persona'. I hope to build up enough confidence and knowledge to be able to truly adopt and become 'the identity' (temporarily)
Cameroonian photographer who similarly to Sherman, also made self-portraits representing the many stereotypical, associated identities with the 'African man'. I took noticed of 'African Spirit' because of the presentation - 3 X 4 rows of large portraits. Similar to the Suitman Young Kim exhibition I saw in Hong Kong.
Suitman Young Kim
Travel photographer known for his distinctive appearance. His work differs from Sherman and Fosso in that he unifies his series of portraits through the common suit and yellow-tinted glasses. (in though his own travel series, photos vary significantly)
From exhibition brochure - On 'Suitman's Travel Photos - 'During the past twenty-something years, Suitman and Young Kim traveled across six continents, visited hundreds of places and created thousands of images. These images serve as a journal of his search for identity. As his obsession with identity has gradually diminished over the years, Kim has come to a conclusion: the sense of belonging only exists in the context where he feels secure, which he can create it anywhere he wants. These travel photographs reflect his feeling of socio-cultural isolation for he portrays himself as a nomad wandering on this planet.'
On Suitman's Portrait Series - '...The suit is a universal outfit - some might say, uniform - accepted in nearly every culture. Kim calls this particular collection of his work ' they all look the same to me...' - the stereotype of Asian appearances, which he had heard all the time growing up in the States. The outfit unifies the faces, and when the superficial is stripped off, we get to see who we really are.'
I initially found his work very interesting because of the aspect of 'identity seeking' - I now think that his project serves as great inspiration for my final major project - 'what does it mean to adopt a stereotypical identity?' His exhibition made people feel both 'distant and familiar'. Would I be able to make my audience feel the same about me - or rather the persona I adopt - as well as my overall performance?
ID400 - seen at the Tate Modern - I'd like to draw attention to her.... simply because I find her hilarious!