Artist - Robert Ryman
Robert Ryman (born May 30, 1930) is an American painter identified with the movements of monochrome painting, minimalism, and conceptual art. He is best known for abstract, white-on-white paintings. He lives and works in New York.
"Even the most abstract painting uses a picturebased approach. The painting I make is based on a different approach. "
Ryman’s painting is about the process. He varies the sizes, ways of apply the white paint, the type of the paint (matte or shinny). He uses oil paint and water based paint, tries out how can the result present differently.
Untitled 1961 Oil on unstretched linen
27.3 x 26 cm
Untitled 1965 Oil on linen
28.4 x 28.2 cm
Just simply comparing the two paintings above, they are both oil on linen in similar sizes. However, they have different pattern and thickness of the paint. The paint that used in the first piece probably contained more water, so it looks wet. It has multiple layers of paint on it and a little bit of green hidden inside. To me, the first piece conveys anxiety, heaviness and complexity by having messy paint mark strokes. The pattern in the second piece is quite ordered and clean, without any extra thickness. It looks light, gentle and peaceful. Ryman created different emotions by the same media successfully.
Ryman is often classified as a minimalist, but he prefers to be known as a "realist" because he is not interested in creating illusions, but only in presenting the materials he has used in compositions at their face value. He creates real mark on canvas by paint, but not drawing any images. Inspired by Ryman, I realised that realism is not only about documenting the truth, but also focusing on the present.
( Reflection of Robert Ryman's interview is on the next page. )
Artist - Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter is a German visual artist. Richter has produced abstract as well as photorealistic paintings, and also photographs and glass pieces.
Richter really creates a totally new concept about the interaction between photography and painting. Although painting is a method of creativity, he tried to portrait a photograph with calm and restrain rather than using his creativity to add more values inside the picture. Actually, Richter does not take photo as the reference of realism, oppositely, he thinks that it is the realism. He chooses some theme that has no relationship with himself to draw on, such as photographs on the newspaper; advertisement from the magazine. After he finishes his work, he twists the work, sometimes blurs the work, sometimes break the balance with big brushes. Richter explained that, “I draw the picture really in a realistic style, but it turns out that they looks like the same. You are not able to draw like this, and you cannot bear it anymore.”
90 cm x 113 cm
Oil on canvas
In 1962, Richter started his first painting Table. One original table stands on the grey ground, on the surface of the table is the rugged circle drawing by the brush, this presentation really pushes the me want to see what is behind the rugged circle. Richter thinks that he does not intend to portrait a photograph, but he wants to create a photography by the method of drawing.
Artist - Becky Beasley
"Becky Beasley (b. 1975) is an artist who lives and works in Hastings, England. Beasley’s “sculptures and photographs, as mute and minimal as they appear, unexpectedly open onto literary worlds.”(Christy Lange, Frieze Focus). Beasley produces objects, photographs and texts which are typically informed by a deep engagement with literature. She is interested in the ethics of dialogue and how to inhabit the spaces, works and lives of others in tandem with ones own through art."
Becky Beasley, Alicja Kwade at Lisa Cooley
The way Beasley and Kwade's way of exhibiting the photographs was particularly inspiring for me. The shelf is similar with the ones in shops selling postcards, which make me feel curious: Can I take one photograph from the shelf? All the photographs for selling? This piece of work reminded me that the displaying of photography can be three dimensional, which also leaded me think of the possibilities of movement and sound. What if the shelf is able to revolve? It might be easier to achieve if the work is hanging, so what if my work is hanging on the ceiling and rotating? People can see different photographs passing their eyes by standing on one point statically.
Artist - Katsumi Omori
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 2011
Iwaki-shi, Fukashima 2011
Iwaki-shi, Fukashima 2011
Minami Soma-shi, Fukushima 2011
Iwaki-shi, Fukashima 2011
In the spring of 2011, Katsumi Omori made a road trip from Tokyo to Fukushima and produced “Subete wa hajimete okoru” (Everything happens for the first time). It is a conceptual series about the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster, and the blossoming of cherry trees in Japan.
The way Katsumi took the photographs is pretty clear: putting cherry petals in front of the camera lens. Soft and pastel colour shows a fragileness and sentiment. Katsumi photographed the remains after the earthquake. I found the photographs warm and healing, even when a photograph is about ruins. The reason I had this feeling is because pink cherry petals brought in the theme of love. It units all the photographs together and establishes the main emotion of those photographs.
Katsumi's work showed me how the "extra bit" of a photograph, or a series of photographs, makes a different. For the unwanted films that I collected, they all have the ghosty leaked light effect.
Artist - Jake and Dinos Chapman
Iakovos "Jake" (born 1966) and Konstantinos "Dinos" (born 1962) are British visual artists, often known as the Chapman Brothers. Their subject matter tries to be deliberately shocking, including, in 2008, a series of works that appropriated original watercolours by Adolf Hitler.
Jake and Dinos both graduated from the Royal College of Art, in 1990 and began working together shortly afterwards. Together they have created an exceptional body of work which draws from all areas of culture including art history, philosophy, artificial intelligence and cybernetic theory. The Chapmans often restructure human bodies and question the aesthetic values with their basis of knowledge. They displace usually concealed or hidden parts of the human body onto their mannequins’ faces. This implies a release of human’s hidden desire.
Token Pole 1997
Fibre glass, resin, paint and wigs
1350 x 650 x 650 mm
Fiberglass, resin, pigment, wigs and sneakers
140 x 100 x 60 cm
“These works play with notions of taste and kitsch… evidence of the depths of banality to which culture has plummeted, are lampooned as facile by the various mutations performed on them and through titles that employ clichéd sexual terms and lewd innuendo.”
I found the pieces of sculpture above creepy, fun and humorous. They have a symmetrical beauty, but also tease at the aestheticity of dolls with “perfect body”. I can read the conflict from it. Restructuring human bodies is not preceding nowadays, but the body forms of Chapmans’ sculptures are still very inspiring for many other media such as photography. I can use sight illusion to let models do the posing which makes the image looks like Jake and Dino’s restructured body pieces.
Red artwork - Visual
Yet to be titled, 2005,
Oil on canvas
317.5 × 468.6 cm
Messy and free.
Earth, pigment and mechanical digger
This piece of work is surreal to me, and reminds me of Yves Klein's use of monochrome blue immediately. Huge amount of red substance seems powerful and strong, and makes a good combination with deep blue pushdozer. As an immersive installation, it brings the audience into a surreal environment and break the day-to-day appearance in the gallery by its large scale.
Vir Heroicus Sublimis,1950-51
Oil on canvas
Red Studio, 1911
Oil on Canvas
Red Room, 2000-7
Organ, radio, telephone, wall clock, grill, kitchen utensils, clothes, shoes and other materials
Red Panel, 1936
Plywood, sheet metal, tubing, wire, string, and paint
crystal glass, mirrored glass, colored plastic interlayer, stainless steel
Red Tilt, 2002
Double-sided electronic signs with stainless steel housing, in 6 parts
Nov 17 2018 Dara Birnbaum - Marian Goodman Gallery
The environment of the whole exhibition was noisy. Both image quality and tone quality of the videos has a low definition, which reminds me of 80s and 90s. Birnbaum created an antique vibe successfully. The content resources in the videos immediately told me that the work is political related and discusses the society, although I didn’t recognise anyone in those videos.
Oppositely, inspired by Birnbaum, if I am producing a work which is about the future and technology, I will ensure that my image quality and tone quality has high definition. Silver will be a suitable colour to express any futuristic theme. Modeling and digital media can be used.
- Tiananmen Square: Break-In Transmission, 1990 Five-channel colour video, four-channels of stereo sound, surveillance switcher, custom-designed support system Dimensions variable
The work Tiananmen Square: Break-in Transmission surrounded me by five small screens playing different videos. Four speaker boxes create a stereo effect. It gave me an immersive feeling, and inspired me to think of different display methods. For example, a series of four painting work can be set in 4 sides in a room. This increases the atmosphere depending on what the artist what to convey.
It also reminds me of another exhibition that I went to. On May 16, I visited Tate Modern and went to a room which surrounded with Mark Rothko’s large scaled paintings. Colour of Rothko’s painting in that room was mainly black, dark red, and dark purple. Combining with the somber environment (lighting), I felt the compression and isolation.
- Transmission Tower: Sentinel, 1992 Eight-channel colour video (2:48 min), nine-channel stereo sound, three sections of steel transmission tower, custom-designed hardware and brackets, computer for synchronization Dimensions variable
Furthermore, the movement in Birnbaum’s work is very inspiring to me. The Transmission Tower: Sentinel, video moved up and down though eight screens. The image/video itself brings my sight up and down. The work attracted my attention from a distance away from it because of its movement and scale. It definitely attracts more attention comparing with a normal single screen playing one video.
Nov 21 2018 HOOKED – Science Gallery KCL
The HOOKED exhibition is developed in association with people who have a live experience of addiction.
Sugar Rush (2016-17)
Sugar, water, lemon juice
77 x 46 cm
This piece of work is called Sugar Rush. It is a sculpture of a coffee table made of sugar, a highly addictive substance. “On contact with any liquid they self-destruct. New tables may be re-created from the crumble crystals.”
The broken form of the table is quite dramatic, reminds me of the fragileness. Because the theme of the exhibition is about addiction, the topic of sugar addiction becomes more obvious. Small tea cups on the table and fallen from the table look even smaller comparing a table totally made of sugar. This made me feel curious about what if a person put this much sugar into his tea. Isn’t it the same as only eating the sugar? Isn’t is unhealthy?
Also, the work of reminds me of deceiving. The sugar table is a story built up by lies. So it is fragile, superficial, and cannot be weighed. Anything concrete (the tea) put on the sugar table can break it easily.
I like the broken look of the table because it expresses the vulnerable immediately. I will consider if it is better to be “broken” when I am producing my own work. Sometimes, even an accidentally cut on my work can make it more interesting and add more conceptual value to it. Further, the idea of using food as the material worked successfully. When I went to the CSM auction at King’s Cross, I saw a painting by a MA student was also made by sugar and salt. It was minimalistic and crystal-like. I want to learn the technique of consolidating the sugar, and how to retain the freshness when I use food as the material.
Dec 10 2018 - Black Mirror: Art as Social Satire
It's Hard To Make A Stand 2009
Fur coat, polyurethane, polythene, mirrored acrylic, wood
215 x 196 x 102 cm
The piece looks funny and dumb. The body of the sculpture looks like a horse, but a fur coat makes its head looks like a dog. Its body is naked without any hair, only covered by a little plastic wrap. I think it could be a satire of people fascinating with fur. Their eyes are blinded by the luxurious clothing which deprived from the animals. The plastic wrap, for me, symbolises the poor and superficial core of those people. The way Bishop combining the only three element together is worth learning. He created a interesting image by using daily items.
Dec 12 2018 Chiharu Shiota - Me Somewhere Else
Based in Berlin, Shiota (b. 1972, Osaka, Japan) is best known for her immersive installations, such as The Key in the Hand. Using thread to ‘draw’ in three dimensions, she weaves intricate networks of yarn into and across spaces. Personal experiences are the starting points for her works, which explore the relationships between the body, memory, life and death.
Me Somewhere Else 2018
Nets and sculpture
The large piece in the exhibition, Me Somewhere Else, perfectly showed me how does Shiota take control of the space. Red thread interlaces with each other and projects the shade magnificently on the white walls. The poetic environment conveys a Zen. All the thread extends from feet which was casted from Shiota herself, like nerve or blood vessel. The work of art provided me a idea of human's consciousness can be spread to the whole universe, or even out of the universe. The choice of using immersive media was definitely successful as Shiota brings the audience into her inner world. I felt curious about how did Shiota transport her work to the gallery. Thread can be put in a suitcase easily. However, it's hard to ensure the twined thread doesn't break or get knotted.
State of Being [Travel Guide] 2018
Aluminum frame, thread, travel guide
150 x 50 x 20 cm
Inspired by Shiota's work, I want to do more experiments on taking control of the space, and discovering varies effects of different scales of work. In my opinion, the poetic aura that Shiota has created is strongly related with her work's metaphorical concept and the fine sentiments. Her work takes time and the audience can see it and feel the emotion she put into the work.
Dec 22 2018 Louise Bourgeois - The Eternal Thread
Rocking to infinity
the red skein
It will never be
There is one eternal
thread and it
is you — Louise Bourgeois
Steel and marble
927.1 x 891.5 x 1023.6 cm
Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) was born in Paris. Although she live in New York from 1938 until her death, much of her inspiration derived from her early childhood in France. Using the body as a primary form, Bourgeois explored the full range of the human condition. From poetic drawings to room size installations, she was able to give her fears physical form in order to exorcise them. Memories, sexuality, love, and abandonment are at the core of her complex body of work.
Cloth, thread, steel, bone, and rubber
281.9 x 215.9 x 210.8 cm
The uncut thread is a main element in Bourgeois’s work. In her early paintings, thread usually symbolises hair and twisted time. Bourgeois’s hanging sculptures express a conflict and doubt of both firm and fragile, being fixed but also able to change. The whole exhibition showed me Bourgeoi’s sensitiveness and stubbornness. The way she concreted her childhood memories incentivise me to produce art relates to my childhood. For myself, I have kept avoiding the theme of childhood because I felt like there nothing special or dramatic happened during that period of time. But now, Bourgeois’s work reminds me that any small detail related with senses is a valuable personal experience. I walked around in the art museum, and thought of my childhood. Once I had a fever, my mother used alcohol wipes to clean my palm. I was lying on the bed. The sheet was white and had got black spot pattern on it. My head felt uncomfortable and dizzy. An ice-cold sense in my palm of my left hand. This is a feeling about my mother.
29 Dec 2018 - 12th Shanghai Biennale: Proregress
"Proregress, among the many language discoveries that emerged from E. E. Cummings’ experiment in poetry, introduced in the XIXth section of W ViVa (1931), is a word made of the condensation of progress and regress. As a word made from the combination of progress and regress, Proregress was used to teasingly criticize the Western enlightenment narratives that abide by progressivism, meanwhile suggesting the ambivalence and anxiety of the early 21st century provoked by the transformation and stagnation which firmly contradict both optimists and pessimists alike. "
Voluspa Jarpa, Monumental, 2018
Installation, Dimensions variable
Voluspa Jarpa's work is produced based on the analysis of declassified archives of foreign interventions happening in Latin American countries during the Cold War. The painful truths about these interventions are reflected on the nature of the archive, also showed an introspection of memory and trauma. The work Monumental was made from declassified documents from American intelligence agencies. Jarpa commented on the formalist abstract tradition which became a hegemonic aesthetic while the so-called Pax America was imposed in most of the underdeveloped world.
In my opinion, the Monumental was profound as Jarpa turned state secrets into sculptures and objects. A conflict of old secret document now all being displayed on transparent paper (acetate) to the public arises. Meanwhile, I am experimenting with amiss film photography printed on acetate. I combined each one with parts of a coat stand. There were some interesting visuals but the work keeps 2D on the wall. The piece of work really inspired me to be braver and convert the films into 3D.
Artist - Elmgreen and Dragset
“Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have worked together as an artist duo since 1995. Their work explores the relationship between art, architecture and design. Elmgreen & Dragset live and work in Berlin. They are known for art work that has wit and subversive humour, and also addresses social and cultural concerns.”
I had been to Elmgreen and Dragset’s current exhibition This is How We Bite Our Tongue at the Whitechapel Gallery. When I first walked into the exhibition, the big abandoned swimming pool and the whole mint green environment constructed a surreal experience. I didn’t feel like I was in a gallery. I felt a detachment. There was no water in the swimming pool, but accumulated sand. A light which looked like it supposed to be on the roof was placed on the floor of the pool. There were two urinals call “Gay Marriage” with their pipes connected. The changing room had door knobs on both sides, made it unable to open. The ladder had been cut from its middle tidily.
Everything in this room had lost its function, and that’s why this space made me feel so surreal. From this immersive space, I learnt a good way to make the audience feel curious, and even confused which is using small changes to make the daily objects unusable. The swimming pool attracted my attention the most because of its scale. The colour of the room unified all these items, increased a hint of narrative.
Prada Marfa 2005
Adobe, plaster, paint, glass panes, aluminum frames, MDF, carpet
4.6 X 7.6 m
“Prada Marfa is a permanently installed sculpture by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, situated 1.4 miles (2.3 km) northwest of Valentine, Texas, just off U.S. Highway 90 (US 90), and about 26 miles (42 km) northwest of the city of Marfa. The installation was inaugurated on October 1, 2005. The artists called the work a ‘pop architectural land art project.’”
This is another very famous piece produced by Elmgreen and Dragset, a surreal existence in the wasteland. Elmgreen and Dragset changed the daily scene, a Prada shop to abstract and poetical by changing the environment around it. They know really well about how to make people feel curious, which is don't be too specific. For me, I originally want to produce installation by a finished coat stand and unwanted films. Then I found that only using the parts of the coat stand make my piece more interesting.
Artist - Dain Tasker
X-Ray of Bearded Iris and X-Ray of Mistletoe (2 works) , ca. 1930–1939
26 x 20.3 cm
Desert candle , 1937
Gelatin silver print, mntd
40.6 x 33 cm
Dain Tasker (1872-1964) was born in Beloit, Wisconsin. He was the chief radiologist at Wilshire Hospital in Los Angeles when radiology was in its beginning stages. In the 1920’s Tasker became involved with pictorial photography, creating photographs based on genres such as landscape and portraiture. In the 1930’s, inspired by an x-ray photograph made by a fellow physician he began applying his knowledge of the x-ray image process to recording flowers.
In my opinion, Tasker's work is silent, mysterious, and even romantic. He combined art and science together, in order to produce the work. His work reminds me of taking x-ray film for plants. I feel like Tasker took the plants as human beings. When I saw these images, the appearance of x-ray film of a skeleton popped in my mind. I think this is why the x-ray can increase the ghosty feeling, no matter it's in Tasker's work or in the unwanted film that I collected.
Artist and exhibition - Yves Klein
I visited Yves Klein's exhibition at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Omitting the artist introduction, I think exhibiting Klein's sculpture pieces in the palace enlarges the visual impact of monochrome blue. Seems the blue is invading the palace. It creates an effect which is similar with covering the shape a "normal" plaster sculpture by Klein's blue on Photoshop. It looks like overpainting a lot.