GALLERY VISIT || Age of Terror - Francis Alÿs
Francis Alÿs was another artist I have always admired- his work 'Sometimes Doing is Undoing and Sometimes Undoing is Doing' was exhibited in the 'Age of Terror' exhibition. Alÿs made several visits to Afghanistan producing numerous pieces of artwork, including this one. One half of his work was footage of a soldier from the British Armed Forces, the other half was footage of an Afghan anti-government fighter, both of them disassembling their assault rifles. I found this piece interesting- although they are both doing the same actions at the same time, I found myself more drawn to the footage of the Afghan anti-government fighter. In one part of the video, a call to prayer is heard. This really spoke to me; the beauty of the call to prayer juxtaposed by the image of war, and the connection I feel between myself and a Muslim country.
I was more intrigued by the layout and presentation the piece, rather than the content of the piece; the way that the work was displayed was in a corner, where two videos meet at an edge. I feel that the way he incorporated two screens into one piece was really clever- the fact that the two people in the two videos are from completely different backgrounds and are fighting for different things, yet they are interconnected with each other by their intentions and actions. I also found it interesting that the two people in each video are doing the same actions, and are essentially reflecting each other, but are filmed from different locations and interpreted from completely different standpoints. As I was watching the videos in the gallery, I found myself focusing more on the video on the right- the footage of the Afghan anti-government fighter. I asked my boyfriend which footage he paid more attention to, and he too focused more on the footage of the Afghan anti-government fighter. I feel that this reflects society's general perception of war and the ignorance and oblivion of the general public- we are so sheltered and under-exposed to scenes like the footage of the Afghan anti-government fighter, thus we focus more on the video on the right because we are overwhelmed by curiosity.
I found myself to really appreciate the layout of this piece- not only how it was displayed in the gallery, but also how it was designed to be presented. Through a deeper exploration of this piece of artwork, and the realisation of the effect of having two screens showing two videos simultaneously that interconnect with each other seamlessly, I found that I have gained more inspiration for the composition of my final outcome as well as how I will present my final outcome.
The Tao Te Ching
As I continued to work on and develop my final outcome, I found myself thinking about how I could send the same message, but in different ways, with different outcomes. How do I deliver the same message in a positive way and a negative way? I then remembered a religious text I once read: The Tao Te Ching.
The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic text that was written by a sage called Lao Tzu in 6th-century BC. It is a fundamental text for philosophical and religious Taoism. It also strongly influenced other schools of Chinese philosophy and religion, including Legalism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. The Tao talks about the right way of life and the philosophy of life. The Tao talks about many aspects of life, explaining the flow of nature and how we should adapt to it. The text is written in classical Chinese, so it took some time to understand.
In a few sections, the Tao touches on the theme of 'Leadership'. Here are some notes I took from it, translated into English:
If the leader is not trustworthy, people will naturally not trust him. The highest leader will not publicize himself, will not ask for recognition, will not use intimidation. Good leaders are not too dominant or dictatorial.
The highest leaders are respected.
The second highest leaders are loved and praised.
The second lowest leaders are feared.
The lowest leaders are despised.
Weaponry is a sign of misfortune; to rule with greatness is to rule without violence or war. Leaders who view the use of violence/wars as successful or victorious will fail to achieve their ambitions. Good leaders do not view the victory of a war glorious; they do not fight out of anger or hatred. To rule successfully, leaders must avoid war. Victory in war is a failure. The victory march after a war is a funeral march; even if we win the war, we have lost thousands of lives.
Integrity is the most important. Non-interference is the best approach. Implementing too many rules itself creates problems. We should trust in the good of people. The more rules there are, the more rules will be broken; this only weakens a leader’s position
Leadership with Wu-Wei
Simplicity is the key to everything. Lao Tzu encouraged those who followed him to observe and seek to understand the laws of nature. We should develop intuition and build up personal power to lead a life with love and force. Straining and striving are not only useless, but counterproductive. We should venture to do nothing in the sense of discerning and following the natural forces.
Rule with honesty, rule without ego, rule without a desire for power. Maximise freedom, and avoid opposing arbitrary values.
I found that this was very relevant to the differences between the ruling in the West and ruling in the East. In the western world, leaders are portrayed to lead their nationals and citizens in a loving and praising way, whereas in the east, many leaders use fear as the driving factor to rule. I found that this idea resonates with my work; the idea of using both Chinese text and English text, but not directly translating the Chinese text to the English text; rephrasing the English text to sound loving and understanding, when in actuality, the Chinese text is aggressive, unloving, and cold.
I also found it really ironic that the Tao Te Ching is a Chinese text that had so much influence on ancient China; its original purpose was to help shape a just, fair, and nonviolent country- but look how modern China has turned out to be.
The Tao Te Ching
Black Mirror || Nosedive + China's Social Credit System
'Black Mirror' is a science fiction anthology TV series which examines modern society and technology's negative influence on our present and future. The first episode I have ever watched was called 'Nosedive', which was introduced to me by my philosophy teacher in year 13. The episode was set in the future, where society uses a technology where, through eye implants and mobile devices, everyone shares their daily activities and rates their interactions with others on a one-to-five star scale. This scale affects the individual's overall rating, which ultimately has a significant influence on their socioeconomic status. The scale can be seen by everyone; the higher the rating, the higher your social status, the better your treatments are.
After watching this episode, I wasn't shocked that this could be our reality in the near future. Just as I had anticipated, I then found out soon after that China was implementing a social credit system in the country. I was more interested in how they will make this work.
The government is building a social credit system to rate the trustworthiness of every Chinese citizen. There are plans to carry out the system by 2020. using data from government departments, financial institutions, and the internet, the system will create credit records to track individual’s behaviours and assign a rating to each citizen.
Every citizen is rated with 'sesame credit'; do something bad, such as jaywalking, falling behind on bills, or even befriending someone else with a low rating, your credit falls; do something good, such as volunteering, donating blood, or spreading positive messages about the country, your rating goes up. Those with low ratings will find it harder to survive- it will be more difficult for them to take out loans, travel abroad, get their children admitted to a desirable school, etc. etc.. Those with higher ratings will get things such as free gym membership, cheaper public transport, shorter wait times at hospitals, etc.. The Chinese government says that this system is absolutely necessary in order to build trust between people, businesses, and the government. So far, the Chinese people seem not too bothered by the implementation of the social credit system. In fact, nobody has really shown obvious interest or concern regarding this dehumanising system.
I found that this is very relevant to my current work; obviously, because it is research about the current political situation in China, but also because it highlights the Chinese government's increasingly authoritarian rule; the extent of transparency expected from their people requires them to give up their entire personal lives- everything will be under state control, and the private and public spheres are essentially merged together. The country will essentially and officially be running under an extreme totalitarian system. This raises the question of whether or not an individual who lives under such system still has an identity- if one is forced to live strictly the way the state requires them to, are they still 'them'? The idea of 'free will' is thrown entirely out the window, and the moral agency no longer exists, as one does not act out of one's belief of a 'morally correct motive', but rather the consequences of one's actions.
China's Social Credit System
The Experience Machine + Beyond Good and Evil
The 'Experience Machine' is a thought experiment proposed by philosopher Robert Nozick. The primary objective of this thought experiment was to disprove the theory of ethical hedonism: If one could choose between living in a simulated world free from pain and suffering, or continue living in reality and suffer, what would one choose? Many would choose to continue to live in reality- this proves that humans do not only seek pleasure, but also value truth. But why do people choose pain over ignorance? Why do people value truth? This reminded me of Part 1 and 2 of Freidrich Nietzsche's book, Beyond Good and Evil: On the Prejudices of Philosophers, The Free Spirit
I found the point that Nietzsche raised to be very interesting, and worth truly thinking about: Why do we want truth? Why not the untruth? Might not the untruth be just as important as the truth? Nietzsche accuses many philosophers of dogmatism- believing that behind every philosophy is a personal confession of the philosopher veneered by complex explanations and analyses. We need new, undogmatic, philosophers, free-spirited enough to overcome old prejudices. Nietzsche believed that the true 'free spirit' and real independence of thought is difficult to achieve- in order to overcome this, we must overcome accepted morality. Things are not 'true' just because they are favourable. Although Nietzsche's notion is not necessarily written in relation to politics, I believe that they are interconnected with each other; every government/leader of a nation has their own political philosophy/beliefs- they indoctrinate their people with their political beliefs by justifying them with favourable conditions. 'Old prejudices' could be compared to the conventional system a certain country has always been running under, and 'accepted morality' may be compared to the set of rules that the government has set out for their people. Either way, the 'truth' is always veneered- it is something that can be twisted and changed depending on people and situations.
However, going back to Nozick's Experience Machine theory, I found this experiment to be circumstantial- it is not applicable to one if one is not aware that one is living in a simulated world, to begin with. Also, it is arguable that pain and suffering are both subjective and is interpreted differently by every person; the notion 'free from pain and suffering' is slightly misleading in a sense where it is not specified whether the pain and suffering is happening in the individual's life or the world around the individual. An individual may live a smooth-running, successful life, experiencing no failures or mistakes at all- however, due to the fact that they are living in such favourable conditions, they are oblivious to the fact that the world around them is descending into chaos. This individual may persist to believe that they are living in a perfect world, based solely on the fact that they are not directly affected by the chaos happening in the world around them.
I found that this thought experiment resonates with my current work, because of my exploration of deception from and dishonesty of our government and the media. We are quite possibly all being lied to right this moment; we may be living in a simulated world where our reality is fake, and everything around us, without our knowledge, is being controlled by the authority. Free will may just be an illusion- it is nothing but an imaginary concept that we so ignorantly take for granted and believe that we have.
When I had this thought, I had another realisation; I found that to have the awareness to know that this may be happening to us, that we may be being lied to, that we may be living in a simulated reality- this awareness is a luxury. There are millions of Mainland Chinese and North Koreans who don't know this- they have not the slightest clue that they are being lied to; they are bred, born, and raised in a cage, where they are indoctrinated by false claims made by their governments.
Beyond Good and Evil || Part I : On the Prejudices of Philosophers, Part II : The Free Spirit
The Experience Machine || Anarchy, State, and Utopia (Pg 42-45)
V for Vendetta
'V for Vendetta' is a dystopian political thriller film set in an alternative future where a Nordic supremacist and neo-fascist regime has subjugated the United Kingdom following a world war. London is a police state occupied by a fascist government, and a vigilante known as 'V' uses terrorist tactics to fight against the oppressors of the world in which he now lives in.
1984 || George Orwell
GALLERY VISIT || House of Illustration - Made in North Korea
I visited the House of Illustration to see the Made in North Korea exhibition. I was especially excited to see this exhibition, as it correlates strongly with what I am focusing on right now in my work. I wanted to see the differences and similarities between the two countries, DPRK (North Korea) and China, that are running under the same governmental system. Objects such as North Korean propaganda posters, magazines, books, food packaging, etc. could be found in the exhibition.
DPRK is the most closed-off country in the world- nobody knows what is truly going on. However, rumours such as famine and exploitation of their people can be found in the news on multiple occasions. People who have successfully fled the country compared North Korea to 'hell'. However, as I was looking at the propaganda posters, I found myself questioning the true state of the country: DPRK is portrayed as such a prosperous country, is there really so much unjust and misfortunes happening in the country?
A second after having that thought, I realised that that was exactly what the North Korean government wants the world to believe: that the DPRK is the greatest country in the world, that it is thriving without the help of other countries.
I found that the messages that the DPRK government is sending to their people are similar to the Chinese government's intentions. For example, on one of the posters, there was text that read 'More consumer goods for the people!' Obviously, this was ironic and undoubtedly a false statement, as such thing as 'consumer goods' does not exist in a country that is running under a communist system. By indoctrinating their people with ideas of 'freedom' and 'hard work pays off', their people won't realise that their government is running under an unfavourable system, where the people are constantly being exploited, and instead will give their everything to produce and work for their country, without questioning anything.
I found this exhibition to be really helpful with the development of my current work; this exhibition relates to my project, as I am also exploring the many tactics and strategies governments use in order to keep control of their people's minds. Although I was very appreciative of the fact that I had the opportunity to witness DPRK exported goods in the flesh, I did not particularly like the concept behind the exhibition- it glorified the DPRK and showed only the pleasant side of the country; it was interesting to gain a deeper understanding of the commodities of the DPRK, but the exhibition was far too superficial. In fact, it was more like a museum, rather than an exhibition.
Furthermore, the goods shown in the exhibition was from a collection of a man named Nicholas Bonner, who was the founder of the Koryo Tours, the only independent travel company based in Beijing, specialising in group and independent tourism to the DPRK. The book he put together, Made in North Korea: Graphics from Everyday Life, as well as this exhibition, only showed life in Pyongyang, the capital of the DPRK. I find it rather naive of him to attempt to summarise the lives of North Koreans based only on his personal experiences in the country, especially when he is based in Pyongyang, which is believed to be made to look like an incredibly flamboyant city filled with beautiful sceneries and futuristic architectural structures for the sole purpose of creating a fake image of the DPRK as a flourishing nation for the outside world. It is a known fact that the country has restricted tourists and foreigners from visiting most areas in the DPRK- reasons behind this are unconfirmed, but there are many instances where refugees of the DPRK have described their lives in the country as 'worse than hell'. Mass surveillance is prevalent in the country, where surveillance has extended beyond wired microphones and wiretapping of fixed-line and mobile phones. Microphones are installed outdoors to pick up conversations that may involve serious conversations about sensitive topics. Every citizen's life is under constant surveillance. Pyongyang can be compared to a massive theatre for North Koreans to act in, and the consequences of not following the script are jail time and death penalties.
Are these facts not enough to prove that Pyongyang is an inaccurate, false, and untrue representation of the DPRK?
Corporate Jargon and Equivocation
Corporate Jargon, also known as 'Corporatese', is the over-complication of a simple piece of text- it is the rephrasing of a text with the intention to make it sound flowery and indirect, creating the impression of sophistication, skill, and technical knowledge through the use of indirect speech and accentuated complexity of a piece of text. By doing so, the meaning of the text becomes unclear, making it's intention opaque and understanding difficult. The use of this is to 'spin' a certain situation around, to make a negative situation sound positive. By playing with the audience's mind, deception is easier to achieve through such techniques.
As I explored more into corporate jargon, I found that 'equivocation' holds a highly similar idea. Equivocation is the use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth or to avoid committing oneself. By using an ambiguous term in more than one sense, the argument is made misleading and difficult to comprehend.
I found that corporate jargon is prevalent throughout The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. As I was reading the basic law, I found that there were several laws that I had to read over a few times to understand entirely the meaning behind the law; for example, in article 159: 'No amendment to this Law shall contravene the established basic policies of the People's Republic of China regarding Hong Kong. The power of amendment of this Law shall be vested in the National People's Congress.' This essentially states that the Chinese government can change our laws and policies under any circumstances without our (citizens of Hong Kong) or the Hong Kong government's agreement. By phrasing the law in a way that sounds 'fair' and 'unbiased', the audience will be more likely to accept what is being said and will move on without questioning.
Corporate Jargon Phrases - The Independent
Perception Management is a propaganda technique that involves carefully altering the perceptions of a target audience to suit the objectives of the sponsor. The term originated within the U.S. Military, where they provide or deny selective information to a target audience to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning in order to promote a change in behaviour that is favourable to the sponsor.
I found this resonates strongly with what I am currently exploring; the Chinese government, along with other totalitarian states, use this technique to persuade their people and to promote their governmental system. One of the obvious examples of this is the use of propaganda posters in modern China; the content of the posters promote favourable lifestyles to the citizens, so long as they support the governmental system and the Communist party. Ideas such as 'equality', 'riches', and 'freedom' are words found frequently on propaganda posters in 21st-century China, appealing to the modern audience and citizens of China- this is a form of perception management; by indoctrinating the Chinese with false perceptions of democracy, freedom, and equality, the Chinese are easily brainwashed by the government and will unquestioningly follow what the Communist party wants and tells them to do.
GALLERY VISIT || Age of Terror - Alfredo Jaar
Alfredo Jaar- 1 May, 2011
I visited the Imperial War Museum to see the Age of Terror exhibition. The exhibition was of several artists' responses to war and conflict since the 9/11 terrorist attack. I found this exhibition incredibly emotive and touching; the differences in perspectives of each artist, how they viewed the attack, and how they opened alternative viewpoints of the event for the audience to see- I was in awe. I found this exhibition relevant to the underlying theme of my current work and recent projects; they were all responses to a political event, and some pieces were stories told from the first-hand experience of the artist.
This was my favourite piece in the exhibition. I found the layout of the piece very interesting- I like keeping work tidy and minimalistic, and the way the work is laid out makes everything look really clean and sleek. This piece highlights the fact that the assassination of Osama Bin Laden was never publicized. Instead, the image that entered the collective memory was of Barack Obama and his National Security Council watching the operation to kill Bin Laden. The white screen on the left juxtaposes the image of Obama and the NSC, signifying the absent images of the assassination. Jaar's work questions how images are used by the media to shape public perception. I found this piece incredibly clever; the fact that this piece questions mainstream media and is exhibited through the use of two digital screens creates a connection between the physical artwork and the concept behind it. I also found the positioning of the screens very cleverly done too- it looks as if Obama and the NSC are watching Bin Laden's assassination on the left, but all we, the general public, can see, is a blank screen.
I feel that this piece really resonates with my work because of the idea of 'truth' in the artwork. People are fed lies and given very limited information from the media and the government, yet we form erroneous conclusions that influences and changes our views of the world around us. We never question the media, we never question what they show us and how much they show us. We always willingly accept the information being fed to us without doubting anyone or anything, even when it is clear that the truth is hidden from us. I found this very interesting; after exploring more about this notion, I discovered something called 'perception management', a propaganda technique that involves carefully altering the perceptions of a target audience to suit the objectives of the sponsor.
Never Back Down
Francis Alÿs is an artist I was introduced to throughout the foundation course- I found that I was really interested in the way he creates his work, where he derives his inspirations from, the medium he uses for his works, and his ideas and contexts within his work. I believe that his work really resonates with my current work.
Alÿs takes into account social practice, architecture, and space, in most of his works. His works are very spontaneous and experimental. The results are always unpredictable- he is driven by passion and curiosity, and that is what I admire so much about him. His willingness to take risks is so fascinating- I fell in love with him and his artwork.
Alÿs' works challenge social norms, and questions human morality. The philosophy of man is a prevalent theme in his works- similar to Alÿs, I find myself basing my work on a lot of personal issues that may be considered 'taboo', and through my artwork, discuss topics that are usually avoided in conversations. To uncover the ugliness of humanity, to question human morality- no matter how trivial my issues may seem to be, this was something I aimed to achieve in my work.
In Alÿs' 'The Green Line', Alÿs explored the tension between politics and poetics. I was in love with this piece- the exploration of how beauty and pain interconnect is a prevalent theme in all my artwork; just like 'The Green Line', the poeticism of the piece combined with the strong political context gave the piece a sense of bittersweetness and juxtaposition.
Alÿs' work is based around performance art, and many of his works involve the participation and presence of an audience and people other than him. I found this inspiring and interesting- influenced by Alÿs, participants are essential to my final project- the audience is one of the most important components of my piece. I wanted my presence in my final outcome to be subtle and unobtrusive- like Alÿs' work.
Alÿs' work is also location-based and site-specific- this relates to my artwork for this project, as the location of where I will display my final outcome is essential to the concept of my piece; the idea of site-specificity through the use of language and text (Chinese VS. English).
Alÿs gave me the impression that many of his works revolve around a romanticised perception of tragic things in life. There was a sort of bittersweet sensation when looking at/watching his pieces, such as 'Children's Games'. 'Romanticised tragedy' is a key element to a lot of my works, such as my current project- the beautifying of an ugly subject. I found a unique connection between Alÿs' work and mine- I am in awe and in love.
Bannedbook.org is a website I came across while I was researching banned books in China. The website is run by Mainland Chinese, and PDF files of most of the banned books and films in China can be found and downloaded from the website. I found this mind-blowing- I did not expect to find a website dedicated to the banned books, especially when the extent of censorship in China is so intense. I found many controversial books and articles that questioned the Chinese government and encouraged a democratic system to be implemented in China. I found several books and articles I have always wanted to read but was unable to gain access to, such as 《中國六四真相》(The truth about June 6th) and 《九評共產黨》(Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party), both of which comment on the communist party of China and reveals truths about the country that the government has always been trying to conceal from their people, such as the flaws of communism, the truth behind historical events such as the Tiananmen massacre, and scandals of the Chinese leaders (Deng Xiaoping, Xi Jinping, Mao Zedong etc.)
GALLERY VISIT || UAL Olympus Photography Award
I visited a small exhibition called UAL Olympus Photography Award, which featured photography work from a number of UAL students. As a 4D student, I have always been interested in photography. I found that several works were exhibited and presented in very innovative and interesting ways; there were certain pieces that were quite interactive, requiring the viewer to walk around the sculpture in order to view the entire piece. In doing so, the artist gives the viewer a physical element to the photograph. All of the works were conceptual, and some required a lot of attention to notice the details of the photograph. There was also a showreel in the exhibition, and I found that the video pieces were very well-made. Although the artist is unknown, there was a video piece that involved the use of writing in site-specific locations, altering the interpretation of where the location is and what it's used for by changing the writing on the signs in the location. I found this idea very interesting; the fact that just one word can change the entire context of something.
Ten Years 十年
Ten Years is a movie directed, filmed, and produced in Hong Kong. It received several awards but was banned in Mainland China. The movie was released in 2015, and is a Hong Kong dystopian speculative fiction anthology film. The entire film is made up of 5 short films, offers a vision of the semi-autonomous territory in the year 2025, hence the name of the film '10 Years', with human rights and freedoms gradually diminishing as the Mainland Chinese government exerts increasing influence in Hong Kong.
I first watched this film when it was screened to the public free of charge, outside of Sha Tin park in April 2015. Due to the fact that the film was very political and encouraged Hong Kong independence, it was banned from screening in all theatres except one. The event was called '同步', meaning ‘Synchronised steps', as the film was screened to the public free of charge, all at the same time, in all parts of Hong Kong.
The underlying theme of the film is the tension between Mainland China and Hong Kong- each short film conveyed the theme in different ways, from humour to horror. This is also relevant to my recent works, as I have had a growing interest in political art and will continue to make artwork that highlights the conflict between China and Hong Kong. I find it intriguing how although the ways the message is conveyed are very different, they are all presented as narrative pieces. Although so far I am unsure of how I will develop my final outcome, I wish to also incorporate a narrative into my final piece. This is similar to my previous project, 280914, which is a narrative of my experience in a protest back in 2014 in Hong Kong. I found that by using a first-person narrative to convey my underlying theme, I can successfully put the audience into my perspective. I found that many people like to understand the backstory of a piece of artwork in order to interpret the piece clearly; in group critiques, the first question people usually ask is 'What is the meaning behind this piece?'. I believe that the best way to tackle that is to show the viewer the entire backstory through a narrative.
I find the idea of a dystopian vision of such a familiar place, especially to me, very interesting; the theme of dystopia may be something I will incorporate into this project. Although it was incredibly heartbreaking to watch the movie, there was an undeniable truth to everything within the movie. The theme of poeticism is prevalent throughout the entire film- although the message behind the movie was terrifying to Hong Kongers and is something that is incredibly undesirable to us, the entire political situation of Hong Kong was presented as a romanticised tragedy. This is an aspect I include in many of my works, and aim to include in my future works too; sentimentalising things the majority may consider ugly.
GALLERY VISIT || Acts of Disruption - None Futbol Club & Louise Ashcroft
As well as visiting the White Cube, I also visited The Concept Space- they had an exhibition called 'Acts of Disruption', which is an exhibition of eight international artists addressing socio-political issues. I found this exhibition very relevant to the work I am creating now, as I am currently focusing on the political situation of Hong Kong, China, and the conflicts between the two.
During my visit, I found the works of a group of artists called None Futbol Club very intriguing. None Futbol Club uses poetry and philosophy to raise questions about our current habits and demonstrates that through resistance and disruption, we can begin to build an alternative society. Their works Keep Warm Burnout The Rich and Hot Wheels were featured in the exhibition; I really admired their combination of performance, poetry, and sculpture work- I also noticed that site specificity was one of the key features of their works. I found that these were all components of my work too; poetry has always been a prevalent component of my artwork, and site specificity also had relation to my art, as I must make my work accessible to a Western audience while focusing on the theme of Eastern politics.
Another artist I found interesting in the exhibition was Louise Ashcroft. Ashcroft is a video, sculpture, installation artist, as well as a writer and a voiceover artist. Her works Mallopoly and Investopedia -v- Urban Dictionary were featured in the exhibition. I found it very compelling that she addresses such serious political issues as well as the ignorance of human beings through humour- a light-hearted take on serious issues is something I admire deeply, as many of my works address thought-provoking issues and questions human morality through a romanticised perspective of the issues. Literature is a very prevalent theme in Ashcroft's work. One of her pieces called Masks is an incredibly personal piece that reveals her inner emotions and perspectives of several subjects through writing. As aforementioned, I enjoy combining poetry with my work; I find that literature allows me to articulate themes such as the relation between beauty and pain and the questioning of human morality clearly.
GALLERY VISIT || Concrete Pitch - Eddie Peake
During my visit to the White Cube, I saw an exhibition called 'Concrete Pitch' by Eddie Peake, a 21st-century contemporary artist.
Eddie Peake's use of gallery space intrigued me- there was a mix of all mediums of art, such as 2D paintings, 3D sculptures, video art, and performance pieces. The exhibition was very interactive, and had spaces that viewers had to explore for themselves to truly understand the nature of the entire gallery, as well as the idea that Peake wanted to convey. His work was presented in an immersive and constructed environment, and weave autobiographical elements and an examination of self-identity in an urban landscape. In Concrete Pitch, Peake chose the theme of childhood and adolescence- all the works presented in the gallery were of relevance to Finsbury Park, the place he grew up in, which is also coincidentally where I currently live. I found this exhibition one of the most significant exhibitions I've visited; unlike many artists who convey the theme of childhood through usual objects found in adolescence, such as childhood toys, games, or subjects that relate to children, the theme of adolescence in Peake's exhibition is subtle and non-cliche; I found this incredibly admirable, as the concept behind his work was executed unconventionally but clearly.
After visiting this exhibition, I found myself wanting to develop my work through a combination of different mediums; similar to Peake’s exhibition, I wish to create multiple pieces of work that complement and seamlessly interconnect with each other, combining together to create one final piece that ultimately conveys my main idea.