Chosen Artist

For the second part of the Summer Project 2017, one artist out of the ten needed to be chosen in order to work with their artwork more closely. The artist needed to be the one that I relate with the strongest, either because their work overlaps with my current concerns, or because their work suggests a new direction for my work that which I find compelling. While writing each blog post, I crossed artists that I could not quite connect with off of the list and it finally came down to two: Wolfgang Tillmans and Pipilotti Rist. It then came to writing down what I liked about their artwork, what I found most compelling, and whether I had the same current concerns or whether I could gain a new direction from the inspiration of their works (green are positive points, red are bad points):
Wolfgang Tillmans

  • Easier to understand where he gains his inspiration and process from
  • Like the way he exhibits his work – inspiring
  • Archiving and recording – collecting
  • Looks at things in different ways compared to others – refreshing outlook
  • Life is an ongoing investigation
  • Evoking ‘beautiful’ emotions out of ‘shocking’ pieces – new direction
  • The variety of pieces from the human body to plates full of food
  • Life may be made of real surfaces but abstraction liberated and illuminated the innate enigma of components
  • Reflection he cannot control everything – new direction
  • Only photographs what he relates to – current

Pipilotti Rist

  • Human body and the way she presents it
  • Inspired by her films – transferring this to other mediums would be fun
  • Don’t necessarily have the same current concerns
  • Don’t quite get her process of working
  • Differences in experience – new direction – but only between men and women – narrow minded?
  • The way in which she displays, creating environments
  • Makes work about unconscious thoughts and dreams of the world she lives in – good or bad?

This clearly showed me that I would be able to gain much more inspiration and have more flexibility through the inspiration of Wolfgang Tillmans. The next step was to write 300 words that outline the core ideas and use of materials and mediums that Wolfgang Tillmans uses to communicate his ideas. Draft one looked a little like this:

Wolfgang Tillmans uses photography to show that life may be made of real surfaces but abstraction has liberated and illuminated the innate enigma of components. His photography is also the communication of the idea and reflection that he cannot control everything. Tillmans also looks at the intimacy between things, especially the detail that people take for granted or ‘forget’ to look at. This can be both comforting and disturbing.
The non-definitive answer of the divison between wanting to control everything and the acceptance of what it actually is, is shown in the materials and physical developing process that Tillmans uses. The methods of translating and developing include exposing to different coloured light sources, folding, made in reverse, and the suggestion of a fold. Photograohs, much like the real world are always in a state of fluctuation, and this inspires the different angles that appear within the materiality of the photograph, and the way in which these are pointed against each other in Tillmans works. The way in which he manipulates the works reinforces that he cannot control everything. Tillmans has previously mentioned that he can only photograph that which he relates to.
The way in which Tillmans exhibties, without the use of nails, which ruins the edges, allows a partial control over some things. Occasionally, his exhibition are arranged in an unstoppable sprawl which is juxtapositioned throughout the space. Once again, this reinforces the idea of uncontrolability for Tillmans, even though he controlled the exhibition space.
“What intrigues me is the tension of the two key qualities of a photograph: the promise of it being a perfect, controlled object, and the reality of a photographic image being mechanically quite unsophisticated. It creases or buckles when it’s too dry, curls in humidity, becomes rigid and vulnerable when it’s mounted, and for that reason, loses its flexibility. I choose to reconcile all this and don’t try to pretend that it isn’t happening. I’ve made all of that part of the beauty of the visual experience. The fact that photographs aren’t permanent is like a reminder of our condition; showing their vulnerability protects one from the disappointment of seeing them fade. The inkjet prints have this built in as a concept: their impermanence is clearly imaginable yet the owner also has the original master print and can reprint the inkjet print when they feel it’s necessary. – ArtSpace
(394 words)

 
I needed to go back to the drawing board for several reasons: The draft was almost 100 words too long, there were quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes, and for me, some of it just didn’t make sense. I also didn’t want to have the large quote at the bottom as all of it was not necessary to the work that I am doing and the piece that I needed to write. It is for this reason I came up with these 300 words (298 to be exact) to outline the core ideas and use of materials and mediums that Wolfgang Tillmans uses to communicate his ideas:

Wolfgang Tillmans uses photography to show that life may be made of real surfaces but abstraction has liberated and illuminated the innate enigma of individual components. His photography is also the communication of the idea and reflection that he cannot control everything. Tillmans also looks at the intimacy between things, especially the detail that people take for granted or ‘forget’ to look at. This can be both comforting and disturbing.
The non-definitive answer of the division between wanting to control everything the acceptance of what actually is is shown through the materials and physical developing process that Tillmans uses. The methods of translating and developing include exposing to different coloured light sources, folding, making in reverse, and the suggestion of a fold (Frieze, 2013). Photographs crease and buckle when they are too dry, curl up in humidity and become rigid and vulnerable when mounted, and therefore loses flexibility (Artspace, 2015).
Photographs, much like the real world, are always in a state of fluctuation, and this inspires the different angles that appear within the materiality of the photograph, and the way in which these are pointed against each other in Tillmans works. The way, in which he manipulates the works reinforced that he cannot control everything, Tillmans has previously mentioned that he can only photograph that which he can relate to (Frieze, 2017).
The way in which Tillmans exhibits, without the use of nails which ruins edges, allows a partial control over layout and the fluidity of exhibitions. Occasionally, his exhibitions are arranged in an unstoppable sprawl which is juxtapositioned throughout the space, reinforcing the idea of uncontrolability.
Photographs make objects appear perfect and controlled when in reality, they are mechanically unsophisticated. Where photographs are not permanent, it is a reminder of our condition and showing their vulnerability protects our disappointment of seeing them fade (Artspace, 2015).
 
(298 words)
 
Bibliography
Artspace. (2015). Wolfgang Tillmans Opens Up on His Art, His Influences, and His Personal Tragedy. [online] Available at: http://www.artspace.com/magazine/art_101/book_report/wolfgang-tillmans-peter-halley-interview-53106 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].
Dercon, C., Sainsbury, H., Tillmans, W., Godfrey, M. and Holert, T. (2017). Wolfgang Tillmans 2017. London: Tate Publishing.
Frieze.com. (2013). Still Lifes. [online] Available at: https://frieze.com/article/still-lifes [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].
Frieze.com. (2017). Wolfgang Tillmans. [online] Available at: https://frieze.com/article/wolfgang-tillmans-2 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].
Lange, C. (2017). Crossing Over. [online] Frieze.com. Available at: https://frieze.com/article/crossing-over [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].
Maureenpaley.com. (2017). Maureen Paley | Wolfgang Tillmans. [online] Available at: http://www.maureenpaley.com/artists/wolfgang-tillmans?image=1 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].
Ostgut Ton | Zehn, c. (2017). Home. [online] Tillmans.co.uk. Available at: http://tillmans.co.uk/ [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].
Tillmans, W. (2011). Wolfgang Tillmans: Darkroom. [online] Frieze.com. Available at: https://frieze.com/article/wolfgang-tillmans-darkroom [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].
Tillmans, W. (2015). Wolfgang Tillmans. What’s wrong with redistribution?. Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König.
Tillmans, W., Donlon, C. and Stahl, V. (2003). If one thing matters, everything matters. London: Tate Publishing.
Tillmans, W., O’Brien, S. and Larner, M. (2010). Wolfgang Tillmans. London: Serpentine Gallery.
Tillmans.co.uk. (2016). Bibliography (english/deutsch). [online] Available at: http://tillmans.co.uk/biographybibliography-menu3-6-sp-1609089096/6-bibliography-englishdeutsch [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].
Vicenta Aliaga, J. (1999). Hypertronix. [online] Frieze.com. Available at: https://frieze.com/article/hypertronix [Accessed 11 Sep. 2017].

 

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