Unfolded, refolded & unfolded again

Yesterday when I placed my pieces on the table I had to put them very near to each other because there was no space enough on the table, but is my belive that everything happens for a reason and for this reason mentioned above I saw a fantastic composition with the pieces that I did for investigator project, from the top angel I did this photo, I could see from the beginning of that composition that I was creating new shapes from a completely new view, new angle new perspective.

(It is important to say that some of my prototypes have been destroyed because I used them to do a new artwork, or from the 2 D collages a new object, is a back and foward process, but my process of destroying pieces or decomposing and re-do it can be seen on my blog.)

Going back to the photo I took yesterday I would like to mention Barlow’s writing. She says that the curiosity in sculpture is that walking around the sculpture, we realize, things can disappear and reappear, holding on to the totality is complex. The fact that a sculpture is a constantly changing phenomenon which unfolds, refolds again, you can find it extremely restless. A sculpture comes alive when it is activated by the viewer. If we go around or stop randomly beside a sculpture, we can look up or down even on occasion through to the other side, and as we do so, something massive can come up and from another angle, it can suddenly disappear. Solidity is more illusory than we might think.

Kandinsky anticipates the emergence of abstract art as a purest form of influence on the human soul. The work of the viewer is to find within him or herself the purity of perception, which at this level, does not relate to the beauty of nature. The emotions of expressionist, the experiments of cubist, all these stages have long been passed, and now the task of the viewer is to see the beauty of pure colour and pure shape.

Kandins

Exploring materials for the Evolve publication

I was exploring materials left in the studio, and I also had many photocopies of images from the evolve publication and I decided to make more versions of the publication with those materials and the photocopies.

I was doing collage with different shapes of the same image, I limited my palette using the same image that I had in some photocopies, the same process was for the rest of the publication.

Material, gouashe, maskintape, staples, photocopies

the content leads to process and the process leads to content.

Yestarday while I was collecting my collages from project 4 and 5 i saw one of my art work on top of the other one, I realized it was a better composition if i overlap them, I allowed mistake to occur.

Each collage has own process, and own identity, it came into my mind the poem of ‘ a Rose is a Rose is a Rose’ of Gertrude Stein, interpreted as a meaning ‘things are what they are’ a statement of the law of identity, so a collage is a collage and each collage has its own identiy, own material, own process, own colour, own story but all are collages and each one has its own identiy.

Critical reflection of my journey at the RCA.

Joining this course undoubtedly helped me to approach my practice in a completely different way , going deeper into contemporary art research and methods. Through combining reading, writing and making I became more confident expressing and articulating my ideas and my artistic outcome. Lastly, I believe I improved my visual language challenging at the same time the hegemony of the two-dimensional art disciplines that dominated my practice in the past.

At this point of my life and my creative practice, interaction with other artists is very important for my development as an artist as I perceive making as an organic and collaborative process that is based on neverending learning and sharing. During the course I found particularly interesting how for me the most effective way of working was to do it with other people but using my idea as the leading force. I really benefited from working with other inspiring artists but found it difficult to give appropriate feedback when we were working on a shared project. As the course comes to an end I would like to continuously strive to be surrounded by other artists and maintain a studio in a thriving environment for the same reason.

Another thing that the course taught me is the significance of having a flexible approach and also how important it is to constantly develop your skills. The Grad Dip’s structure nurtured the idea inside me that I have to aim for a multidisciplinary practice and always aim to discover and evolve. It was challenging for me to come across my weaknesses through the various assignments but at the same time it was empowering to be able to understand my strengths. As I was and I am primarily a maker, in terms of production, it really took me off my comfort zone to have to write essays and follow specific academic requirements. However, paradoxically the reading and writing really shaped my way of making and since I finished my main essay I felt more confident with my own work.

One more important chapter during my time in the RCA was the exploration of materiality and how vital it proved to be for my work. Inspired by fellow students, members of staff but also the amazing facilities, I was constantly seeking to integrate new materials and techniques in my making. I experimented with wood, metal, photography and more recently video disciplines that I have not previously used in my work.

In the future I am planning to start working with the prints on a much larger scope. I would like to incorporate the idea of scale in my work and make combinations of etchings and three-dimensional elements in order to transform my pieces into installations that will have haptic and sculptural qualities. I want to grasp on the opportunity that the Graduate Diploma gave me, to re-approach my practice and become more professional about it, and aim to incorporate what I’ve learned into realised exhibitions. I also want to research deeper and find the time and space to do it by applying for artist residencies in the UK and abroad. I hope that I will be able to successfully continue the new phase that just started for me in the RCA and enjoy the benefits of leading a creative life. 

Despite the Project has arrived to an end in my mind I continue obsess with the Project investigator.

In front of Henry Moore sculpture again after the 3 montha when I first saw it. today I see it with a different mind. ANd of course different mind new eyes, another perception and from an other angel.
´the Arch´sculpture.

Despite the project has arrived to an end I continue obsess with the project investigator.

The project investigator and realise will remain with me as I perceive art as a non ending process, Today I was again in front of the sculpture of Henry Moore with a different perception than I had two months ago when I fist saw it.

As a consequence of my research about Fhyllida Barlow and many other artist during the Graduate diploma today I saw the sculpture of Henry Moore with a new perspective in terms of Volum, shapes, textures. Henry Moore was responding to the human form,bones, helments and organic shapes, similarly I experience the same process and ideas responding from my 2D collages to 3D objects, it is a call and respond outcome.

Today at the Picasso exhibition at RA

Today I also visited the Picasso exhibition,He was fascinated with paper and a desire to manipulate diverse materials. Nowhere is his protean spirit more evident tan in his relentless exploration of working on and with paper. he draw on a wide range of papers. He assembled collages of cut and pasted papers créate sculptures from pieces of torn and burnt paper, and spent decades investigatin an array of printmaking techniques on paper supports.The exhibition of Picasso present a broad overview of Picasso´s engagement with hpaper.

Objects with a range and diversity of his use of paper.

the paper Works are related with the paintings, Picasso invented a universo of art involving varios types of paper in different formats and context.

Phyllida Barlow-critical writing.

Introduction

Phyllida Barlow is a British artist, born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1944. She studied

at Chelsea College of Art (1960-63) and Slade School of Art (1963-66) . She went on to 1

teach at the Slade School of Fine Art for more than twenty years, while raising a

family that eventually encompassed five children. It is remarkable how she

maintained an academic career and an artistic practice within an almost hostile

environment for a woman. Her era was characterized by discrimination against

women, sexism and bigotry. The manifestation of all of the above was the extreme

lack of opportunities for a woman to succeed in most social, professional, creative

and academic fields up to recent years. Barlow went through the obstacles and

managed to be a very successful artist and at the same time maintain a family.

From a young age she was fascinated with animals and anthropology and ever since

this has been a major influence in her work. Barlow started out at Chelsea as an

easel painter but soon one tutor noticed that her use of paint was more tactile than

pictorial and George Fullard (British, 1923-1973), suggested that she should start

using clay . She followed the suggestion and discovered a visceral thrill in clay’s 2

messy, malleable nature. At this same period Germaine Richier’s (French, 1902-1959)

post-war bronzes with their agitated surfaces representing animals and plants, were

an important early influence for Barlow. According to her, in her art there are two

predominant forces fused together. One is the process of making, which is related to

the notions of construction and deconstruction, damage and repair, perhaps on a

deeper level, with her own psyche too. The other force is closely connected with her

way of perceiving the world and her numerous observations regarding the

ever-present another word fragility of it. In this short essay I will focus on these forces

and connect them with elements from her actual work, referencing at the same

time other artists that according to me relate to her artistically and conceptually.

Analysis

Installation view, British Pavilion, Venice biennale (2017)

1 Source : http://www.royalacademy.org.uk (2019)

2 Alastair Sooke , Phyllida Barlow : Nothing Fixed, Phylida Barlow : Cul-de-sac (Royal Academy of Arts,

2019), p.11

Folly was Barlow’s contribution to Venice Biennale and her major work for the British

Pavilion. The expanded installation challenged the viewer’s perspective of space,

materiality and playfulness. She created a different state of reality using discarded

objects, everyday materials and superficially insignificant elements.

Her work instinctively brought to my mind the movement of Arte Povera. Some of

the group’s most important works come from the contrast of unprocessed materials

with references to the then emergence of consumer culture . 3 The artists of the

group wanted to diverge the new from the old in order to distract the audience and

complicate its sense of space and time. As Barlow did in Folly , the Arte Povera

members, presented absurd, harsh and one would say comical juxtapositions. They

did that in order to challenge the established value and propriety, critiques evident

in Barlow’s work too.

Her sculptures invite you to explore the physicality of things. Through pieces bigger

than humans, Barlow adopts a dominant approach over space. She triggers almost

theatrical encounters of large proportion, a play into a play, and questions the idea of

the viewing position.

Installation view, Tate Britain (2014)

In Dock, a colossal installation commissioned by Tate Britain in 2014, Barlow

showcased her ambivalence about the purpose of sculpture through formal tensions

that dominated the work and are visible through the process of making4. On one

hand the installation, made of several pieces, is monumental but on the other hand

it seems ready to collapse. The pieces are primarily made out of timber, polystyrene,

cardboard, discarded metal and rope and again here we see a very dedicated

relationship that Barlow has with materiality and the fragility of it. I believe the

installation is reflecting very successfully the representation of the river with the

3Source : https://www.theartstory.org/movement/arte-povera/

4 Source

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/tate-britain-commission-2014-phyllida-barlow/exhibi

tion-catalogue/essay

wood resembling shipyards with boats under construction. Another challenging

element of this work is the contradiction between the nature of it (unfinished,

de-formed, distorted) with the classical architecture and the formality of the

building. It’s like being inside a giant theatrical scenario, or maybe a 2D collage in a

piece of paper that you zoomed into and suddenly you found yourself there. Looking

up at all the suspended pieces offers the sensation of being part of the installation

and activates the space above the viewer.

In that way the spectator becomes a collaborator in a symbiotic relationship with

Barlow. The sculptures evoke stillness and the audience becomes a figure moving

through the space, cutting through it, triggering a physical sensation.

Dock brings to my mind some of the early influences of Barlow, Eva Hesse, Bruce

Nauman, Richard Serra and Robert Smithson, whose work was also very much

related to process and drew from unconventional materials with a malleable nature.

In some cases many of these artists abandoned the studio, something that I notice

in Barlow’s practice too. Suspended, collapsed, wrapped and unfolded the works on

this exhibition come from an investigation of the most fundamental aspects of

sculpture : its physical qualities and its spatial characteristics.

Installation view, Royal Academy (2019 )

In the Cul De Sac exhibition, Barlow continued with her signature usage of

materials but this time interacted with the audience in a very interesting, for me,

way. She “forced” the public to view her exhibition twice but through different

directions, by literally shutting the back door of the RA leading everyone to go back

through the pieces they’ve just seen. That’s why she called Cul De Sac.

She wanted to challenge the perception of the viewers regarding space continued

as in this installation she invited them to experience it in an “informal way”. Using as

a starting point Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) sculpture The Kiss, she illustrated an

epiphany about sculpture that she had early on in her life . Rodin’s 5 piece shifts the

viewers’ idea of how an act like kissing can be approached and seen, same with

Barlow’s installation. It was a groundbreaking work that put the audience in a

position to see the various shapes from unexpected angles and she did this, I believe,

5 Alastair Sooke, Phyllida Barlow : Nothing Fixed, Phylida Barlow : Cul-de-sac (Royal Academy of Arts,

2019), p.15

successfully. According to her too, the installation works quite extraordinarily

because at a stroke the sculpture’s legibility is lost, it becomes nothing but a

succession of folded forms.6

Conclusion

After researching Barlow’s work for a while I concluded that her work connects

(consciously or perhaps subconsciously) with the movement of Informalism.

Informalism was a mainly pictorial movement that developed in the 1940’s in the US

and challenged the idea of abstraction, pioneering at the same time radical gestural

movements. Barlow adopts some of the principals of Informalism in her work such

as the non geometric shapes, the lack of form in her figures and the importance of

the presence of the artist in the work. However, Barlow goes further than the

Informalists did and expands her practice into space, manipulates it and gives the

chance to the public to be part of her work (as we’ve seen before in the text). Barlow

also overcomes limitations regarding materiality by using inexpensive elements,

industrial offcuts and discarded objects to assemble her installations. She questions

the preciousness of an art piece and the traditional methods or means to make

and/or experience it. Barlow treats her work mostly as an on-going project and does

not separate it between pieces but only seeing it as a whole.

Barlow’s anti-establishment approach is informed also by her lack of affiliation with

British art. She herself denounced her role in it claiming that “ I don’t want to belong

to this British tradition” , which for her seems so moral. Moral is a word she often

uses in interviews or talks to describe attitudes that as an artist she only wishes to

avoid. This strong position against British art, as a term, led her to move away from

the work of “giants” such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth unlike most of her

contemporaries.

Barlow’s work has been a major influence in my practice so far. The lack of dictation

by traditional and conventional means and the importance of forms and textures is

something very inspiring for me. At the same time the combination of sculpture,

performance and drawing in her work is something that deeply affects my

printmaking techniques. Her work symbolises for me a very raw and unpretentious

approach that is purely based on the artist’s intuition and emotion.

6 Louise Long, Phyllida Barlow On Her Landmark New Exhibition At The Royal Academy,

https://www.vogue.co.uk (2019)

Bibliography

Hore, Rosie, Phyllida Barlow : Cul-de-sac, Royal academy of Arts, London, 2019

Burri Alberto, Burri grafica opera completa , edited by Petruzzi, Citta di Castello,

Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini, 2003

Afro Basaldella, AFRO, Edited by R.L Stamperia d’arte( Museo Nationale San vitale e

Casa Farini 1991)

Filmography

The sculptor taking over the art world , Phyllida Barlow – BBC ,

https://youtu.be/ObbVKPnNSOI – 1 Mar 2019, (Accessed 23 Nov 2019)

An Age of Fallen Monuments Phyllida Barlow- https://youtu.be/e86iiVjPDsY- 20 May

2014,(Accessed 15 Jan 2020)

Phyllida Barlow in conversation with Francis Morris , 30 Sep 2014,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew0rXCg-tBM (accessed 3 Jan 2020)