To begin this weeks development I want to acknowledge the recent events in my life and how they have influenced my idea of what home is. On the 6th of February my girlfriends granny Lindsey passed away in their home, it has been really devastating and heart-breaking for everyone. This horrific situation has solidified my ideas that home serves many functions, including a place of comfort in which we can be surrounded by the people we love and cherish even in the shadow of loss.
Free mind exercise class.
For this class we viewed a variety of material and responded by drawing or writing. Ill be sharing a slideshow of my worksheets and breaking down what the themes are for each. The workshop itself was set in a comfortable environment with sofas to mimic a feeling of home.
From our class i then have conducted my own research on some of the material shown.
Below the salt (2021) – Catherine Bertola
This piece was an installation which explored the site and situation of Temple Newsam House in Leeds. The house was built over 500 years ago and housed a powerful nobleman and his staff. In 1520 an inventory of everything in the house was documented, using this alongside the current staffs voices , Bertola created a sound piece reading through the list therefor bringing it to life. – I find this aspect of the piece an intresting contrast as it creates a sense of importance for the object over the staff.
Developing on my first point we can see this theme of class inequality through below the salt. Using 42kg of table salt Bertola recreated the pattern of an early 17th Century woven linen tablecloth in Temple Newsam’s collection. The work referenced the original 16th century use of the Great Hall as a dining room. During this period, salt was a valuable commodity and not accessible to those of a supposedly lower social status, giving rise to the phrase ‘to be below the salt’.
I was drawn to this project in reference to my own ideas of home. Though never to the extent of the servants in Temple Newsam House, I grew up in a financially unstable household and saw many differences between myself and the people around me as I grew up. Many issues I faced such as not having heating and watching my father face homelessness, made what others was consider a necessity (having a phone, new clothes, having three meals a day) seem so other worldly to me. This is why i am drawn to this installation as it tells an untold narrative which reflects contemporary inequality.
The Cells (1986-2008) – Louise Bourgeois
Louise Bourgeois`s The Cells is a complex piece with many layers and faces all used to represent a psychological microcosms.
“This exhibition, the first solely devoted to analysing the Cells series, contains the largest number of Cells ever presented together. It also includes important works from previous decades that led to the development of the series. This comprehensive survey brings to light key aspects of Bourgeois’s thinking about space and memory, the body and architecture, and the conscious and the unconscious.”https://www.guggenheim.org
The entire installation is very striking, both as individual sculptures but from a curation point of view this installation is the most beautifully complex prison. Developing on this in relation to my own thoughts there are many times I have felt like my room is a cell, not because someone else has locked me in there literally but more how I have psychologically imprisoned myself in the home though anxiety.
Breakdown (2001) – Michael Landy
Michal Landy destroyed everything in his life, every boo, every piece of work , his clothes, his car ..everything. In total he catalogued an impressive list of 7,227 items which took over a year to compose.
“I see this as the ultimate consumer choice. Once Break Down has finished, a more personal ‘break down’ will commence, life without my self-defining belongings… One way or other I’m trying to get rid of myself, so it’s kind of the ultimate way without actually dispensing of me.” – Michael Landyinterview can be found on YouTube.
This piece I felt to be an interesting contrast to the themes of Below the salt, the ideas behind breakdown are anti consumerism and highlights the value of the person stripped back. The work also brings questions about Landy’s welfare and the state of his mental health, however I find there’s something oddly familiar and freeing about destroying everything.
I feel this work links to the questions I have been asking myself about the importance of the objects in my life and how much they make up my identity. Who really am I? this is something I don’t really know and I doubt I ever will know, however I don’t think I will be destroying everything I own anytime soon to find out.
The House of Books Has No Windows (2008) – Janet Cardiff and Georges Burres Miller
For this work I am focusing on the house of books sculpture. The house is 200 x 175 x 110 cm and made up of approximately 5000 second hand books, the majority being antique English literature.
What I particularly enjoy about the piece is the symbolism. Personally I find that the home is a place full of stories and memories, though not all happy and like that of a fairy-tale. I also think about how my mum loves to read and shed often lend me books that she loved.
I haven’t worked with sculpture much in my work but my research including this piece has really brought it to the fore-front of my mind. How can i use materials to give a deeper meaning? Where will i gather these materials?
Outside of the research from the class I came across a piece which really struck me. Robert Gober, Half Stone House (1979–80) and Burnt House (1980)
His work explores deeper themes such as sexuality, identity, childhood ect through sculpture. Half stone house was built from materials found on the streets, I find the choice in material to be very symbolic of the home and the building process, this is reflecting in Gober`s commentary about hegemonic gender roles. A year later Burnt house was created to discuss more unsettling and sinister domestic ideals, I can see a clear links to the Unheimlich feeling I had discussed last week.
Building on my research i want to explore the idea of construction/deconstruction. In particular what would this look like? what possibilities do i have? I have experimented by sketching out different ideas.
To develop on my ideas I have been researching where I could get a doll house, I have been looking on amazon, Esty, charity shops and Facebook marketplace. I would prefer a dollhouse that was second hand or unwanted as i feel this would add character to the house but also better from an environmental standpoint. I have attached some photos below showing how my search has been online, overall it seems that they are out of my price range, unpractical or not as I envisioned for my project.
In further reflection to my previous work the artists I have research and themes present seem to flow with my creative process. Following on from last semester, In which I investigated the journey of memory using objects of importance to me which I reflected key parts of who I am as a person, i wish to explore deeper into my previous works in this new project. This semester I seem to be deconstructing these previous ideas of selfhood, how I will reconstruct these ideas or even why should reconstruct them is still in question.