To begin with, on the Friday of week 3 we looked through the second part of the everyday lecture during which we were encouraged to create notes however we saw fit, with the focus being put on the presentation and not our papers, which we then stuck on the wall. On my paper, I included keywords and drawings relating to what I was viewing that allowed me to work in a time-efficient manner and keep me focused on the presentation instead of writing out more detailed notes. As seen below the paper does appear chaotic however a lot of these keywords and images link together often in reference to the same artists and allow me to expand mentally upon viewing.
For example, the drawing of the glass pouring water is referencing a video we watched and then an exercise conducted during which you take a cup/glass of water relax, drown out any distractions and solely focus on yourself, the cup and the water in it as if it was our first time experiencing it. Truly, I found the experience incredibly uncomfortable. I felt weighted down by the cup and my body felt heavy becoming far too aware of my clothes and breathing leading to the water tasting stale and thick as a result of the negative mindset I’d been placed in. Overall, I found it unpleasant and I attempted to reflect that in my response piece with the said cup this week.
I wanted to show the cup being weighed down with it protruding uncomfortably as if trying to escape, to do so I incorporated my project into it by having the objects holding the cup down be the spray paint I plan to use within my piece.
This week I was also given an exact knife allowing me to do cleaner cuts meaning I could improve my stencils. With this, I chose to focus on text and my favourite image from my previous stencils and make them bigger.
In doing so I’ve improved the durability of the stencils throughout repeated use and allowed a cleaner image that will require less touching up. I also created two versions of the stencils to allow layering and space for experimentation and difference with a single base design.
Now that these are completed I can fully move into practical work as previously mentioned, which I’ve emailed Phil about in the hopes a space is available for me to work in. With my canvas being boxes I plan to experiment with creating an installation piece.
In response to last week’s comment I’ve chosen to go into more detail about derealisation, what it is and my experience.
“Derealisation is where you feel the world around is unreal. People and things around you may seem “lifeless” or “foggy”. You can have depersonalisation or derealisation, or both together. It may last only a few moments or come and go over many years.” (1)
For me, derealisation seemed to be triggered when struggling with anxiety, stress and/or experiencing emotional fatigue, I would begin to feel disconnected from my surroundings feeling both as if I was floating along while also feeling weighted down at the same time, sounds would seem distant and I’d struggle to focus. In these moments I would become incredibly aware of my surrounding in the sense that they felt wrong whether it be the colours or shape of a room with areas often feeling far too spacious and large/tall, or most commonly I’d believe windows that were there didn’t use to be, that there were far too many, a sign I took to believe I was dreaming. This could often act the opposite as well if I were to feel out of place or uncomfortable in a room it could trigger derealisation.
As time passed I became more conscious in the moment of what was happening but still felt that it was a battle with my logical and illogical side to help me understand the derealisation and move out of it often leading to me finding myself in and out of these states for weeks on end till the feeling eventually fully passed. It was during this I learnt to rest and not push myself too much in any way that could be emotionally, mentally or physically draining.
Thankfully I’ve now reached a stage where I rarely get like this and even if I find myself entering it my logical side has full control to curb it quickly, which is why it’s so important for me to do this piece, in a way it’s therapeutic, a way of reflecting back on it, letting go of those feelings that used to plague me and moving on.
Wayne Thiebaud (November 15, 1920 – December 25, 2021)
Thiebaud was an American painter known for his colourful works depicting commonplace objects – pies, lipsticks, paint cans, ice cream cones, pasties and hot dogs; reflective of his youth in regard to his old service jobs. These subjects came about in response to being told to find something that spoke to him, that meant something, rather than copy other artists.
This brings forth a point of interest for me in response to Thiebaud’s upbringing that it’s the colourful images of the food from his service jobs that he chose. He and his family were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with his father being a bishop there when Thiebaud was a teenager.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints considers itself to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ with their theology including the Christian doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ,(2) and his substitutionary atonement on behalf of mankind. (3) Other than the Bible, the majority of the church’s canon consists of material the church’s members believe to have been revealed by God to Joseph Smith; these include commentary and explanation about the Bible, texts described as lost parts of the bible and other works believed to be written by ancient prophets including the Book of Mormon. Because of doctrinal differences, Catholic, Orthodox and many Protestant churches consider the church to be distinct and separate from mainstream Christianity.
The church has become a strong proponent of the nuclear family and at times played a prominent role in political matters, including opposition to MX Peacekeeper missile bases in Utah and Nevada,(4) the Equal Rights Amendment(4) legalized gambling,(5)same-sex marriage,(6) and physician-assisted death. (7) Despite this the church maintains a position of political neutrality however a conservative lean is obvious.
It is with this in mind and his father’s position that one could assume Thiebaud didn’t have the most positive upbringing and therefore we can see why he may find comfort instead in his previous career, heightened through his imagination as shown with the bright cartoonish colours.
Thiebaud’s life is composed of ‘alternate universes’ — abstractions inspired by syncopation in music, and a desire to capture human touch. They are works ‘from memory, from imagination, all based on the audacious notion of being omnipotent. I’m a God,’ the artist laughs ‘This, for you, is my world to look at. Isn’t that great?’ (8)
Meret Openheim (6 October 1913 – 15 November 1985) – ‘Object’ Breakfast in Fur 1936
Named after Meretlein, a wild child who lives in the woods, from the novel Green Henry by Gottfried Keller. A name most fitting as her originality and audacity established her as a leading figure in the Surrealist movement. In Oppenheim: Object she was described as having embodied and “personified male Surrealism’s ideal of the ‘femme-enfant.'(9)
Oppenheim fit in with the Surrealists because she was seeking “acceptance and approval for the way she was living her life.”(9)She was skeptical of any concrete ideology, and Surrealism allowed her to experiment within her art(9) with diverse styles throughout her career. She experimented with “veristic surrealism” and had a quality of openness that allowed her work to maintain relevance,(10) as unlike other Surrealists that viewed dreams as a way to unlock the subconscious. Therefore, Oppenheim used painting and her dreams as an “analogy to its (the subconsciousness’) forms“. Furthermore, she used versatile symbols, partly influenced by Carl Jung, that provided mystery and ambiguity and symbols with a “fluid and changeable impact”. This allowed her to produce works that were cohesive through frequent and organized ideas rather than formal language.
There are multiple factors that led her down this path such as the writings of Carl Jung introduced through her father and was inspired to record her dreams.(11) Oppenheim was interested in Jung’s analytical approach, particularly his animus-anima theory, leading her to carefully analyse her own dreams and transcribed them in detail in her writings as an attempt to use them when addressing “fundamental life questions.”
Oppenheim used iconography and motifs from Jung’s archetypes within her work throughout the years; typical motifs she used were spirals and snakes.(12)
Despite how many tried to label her, Oppenheim renounced the term “feminine art” and adopted Jung’s ideal androgynous creativity in her own art(10)
Furthermore, the work of Paul Klee, the focus of a retrospective at the Kunsthalle Basel in 1929, provided another strong influence on Oppenheim, arousing her to the possibilities of abstraction.
In 1937, upon Oppenheim’s return to Basel, the start of her artistic block began. Due to her success, she became worried about her development as an artist, leading her to take a hiatus from her artistic career in 1939 after an exhibition at the Galerie Rene Drouin in Paris. In the exhibition, she was featured alongside many artists, including Leonor Fini and Max Ernst.
She didn’t share any art with the public again until the 1950s. Oppenheim then reverted to her “original style” and based her new artworks on old sketches and earlier works and creations.(13)
Our previous lecture, we looked at one of her artworks named ‘Object’ Breakfast in Fur. It consists of a teacup, saucer and spoon that she covered with fur from a Chinese gazelle. The fur represents an affluent woman; the cup, hollow yet round, can evoke female genitalia; the spoon, with its phallic shape, further eroticizes the hairy object.(14) Originally formed from a conversation Oppenheim had with Pablo Picasso and his lover Dora Maar in café Deux Magots about a fur bracelet she was wearing, Oppenheim created Object to liberate the saucer, spoon, and teacup from their original functions as consumer objects.(15) The audience therefore should be able to feel emotions of joy and wonder when observing Object while also questioning the functionality of each of its components.
Oppenheim’s Object would be one of the main forces that led to her lengthy artistic crisis due to its spiking increase in popularity after being displayed by Barr in New York. As even though, it brought Oppenheim a large amount of fame, Object reinforced the public’s belief that Oppenheim only practiced Surrealism which she found hindered her freedom of artistic expression and exploration of other artistic styles.(16) In fact, Object became so widely known that many misconceptions about Oppenheim and her art were created because of it,(16) such as that Oppenheim mainly created objects in fur.(16) Decades later, in 1972, she artistically commented on its dominance of her career by producing a number of “souvenirs” of Le Déjeuner en fourrure.(17)
Nonetheless, Oppenheim’s Object persists as an example of “Surrealist fetishism,” as its function follows its form; the fur on the cup renders it not functional.(11)
(1)https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/dissociative-disorders/ Page last reviewed: 10 August 2020
(2)”For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:12
(5) “Utah’s Gambling Referendum Sparks Emotional Debate in Mormon ‘Zion'”. The Washington Post. August 19, 1992.
(8)Artist Wayne Thiebaud: ‘I Knew This Was Not a Good Career Choice’ | Christie’s : 2/09/2016
(9) Lanchner, Carolyn (2017). Oppenheim: Object. Museum of Modern Art. p. 7.
(11) Mifflin, Margot (September 1986). “An Interview with Meret Oppenheim”. Women Artist News. 11: 30–32.
(13) Whitney Chadwick, Grove Art Online
(14) Riese Hubert, Renee (1993). Caws (ed.). “From Dejeuner en fourrure to Caroline: Meret Oppenheim’s Chronicle of Surrealism” Surrealism and Women. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p. 39.
(16)Burckhardt, Jacqueline; Curiger, Bice (1996). Capp, Robbie (ed.). Meret Oppenheim: Beyond the Teacup. New York, NY: Independent Curators Incorporated. p. 29.