Poster Design

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Why those artists?

Polly Morgan:

Do you have reoccurring dreams or nightmares?

I do dream often – it depends. When we’ve been skinning birds, taking their wings off and de-fleshing them, something repetitive like that, I dream of it. I’ve had classic dreams that I’m working on a bird and that it comes to life and attacks me! Most of my interns and assistants say the same thing; we talk to each other in the studio about our dreams. Kim my assistant told me about one in particular. When you skin a bird there‘s all these fat globules underneath the feathers follicles, you have to make tiny incisions and cut it out. It’s boring and can be disgusting if the bird is smelly. And Kim had this dream where she was decorating her room and instead of putting up wallpaper she was scraping fat off the walls. And another one that she was scraping fat but it was off her arms, from pustules all along it!

Do the forms for new sculptures come to you in dreams?

Kind of, I’ve had dreams about work. Sometimes it’s more like a sense of something, or a specific bird. I dreamt of a whole show once that I never made, it was surreal.

Cathy Wilkes: 

Source: http://www.themoderninstitute.com/exhibitions/3882/press-release

The artistic vocabulary of Cathy Wilkes is unapologetic and features the most abject and awkward of domestic, everyday objects. These constellations of sculptures and paintings slowly emerge from the most intimate of personal experiences, coupled with a precise and liberated formal language. In an interview with Bart van der Heide, published as part of the exhibition, she mentions:

“I know that it’s impossible to be objective – I have concluded that over time. And being nonobjective brings all the mysteries of my mind into my work. I think these parts are very important to any artwork: not knowing why something is exactly as it is or why it’s there at all. I want to show these mysteries in an expanded way, but I am not interested in being confessional. I don’t want to share my story or something. I can see and feel that my work shows loss and sadness and I know that my work is brought about by these experiences to an extent.”

Marco Sanges:

A: Your portraits are often imaginative and unconventional, how do you approach a portrait subject?
MS: I am thinking about the identity or the multitude of figures portrayed, large collections of human passions that are heavily tinted and sometimes grotesque and decadent. There is also an enchanting, yet dark side to the characters an intriguing depth that appears to be destined to highlight the drama of life and capture the sincerity of the journey, the scenes of intimacy that confront human vulnerability, challenging our own fragility.

A: Is there a particular type of photograph you prefer taking?
MS: I strongly believe in the immortality of film, the real essence of photography! For me the most important is to tell a narrative trough the pictures, regardless whether it’s a portrait, nude or a composition of characters.

A: What do you want your viewers to take from your photographs?
MS: I want the viewers to stop in front of my composition and start “traveling” into a mental journey, reading my characters and suggesting the story to their own interpretation. This is the significance or the advantages of the escapist nature of the photograph itself. I want the viewers to be taken by fresh impressions of scenes of dreams and fantasies, to be lured mysteriously into their own unconsciousness.

A: Your Big Scenes Series is quite theatrical, do you like to tell stories through your images?
MS: Since I remember I have been fascinated by films and I wanted my photographs to “talk” in cinematic style. I developed my style of photography based entirely on the dream imagery of an evolving multilayered story- creating a highly personal, imaginary cinema. Magnifying imagination beyond imagination, there is dedication to the often elaborate projects that are staged as a live theatrical performance.

The three artists link together through their approach to their work, all three of their works have a personal and imaginary aspect to them. There is a ambiguiety that questions the viewer exactly what their work is about. Cathy Wilkes targeting personal experiences in her life and expressing them through installation, explains that it is ‘very important to any artwork: not knowing why something is exactly as it is or why it’s there at all.’ She wants a mystery to her work to provoke feeling, that she is fully aware is mostly sadness. Her work, containing various objects including a mannequin, creating a sinister and surreal world which could be portrayed as a nightmare. Polly Morgans work is often mistaken to be about death, however she explains that it is the complete opposite, it is a celebration of life. Her work, sometimes conceptual but always about the skill required for taxidermy shows animals in a new environment, a surreal setting that seems similar yet it doesn’t exist. The particular works I have choose for the exhibition use balloons, for me these works have a huge contrast between life and death. The bird is limb and lifeless instantly referencing death and the balloon symbolises life and the ability to float away.  The balloons varying in colour, are fun and playful and a common object amongst us all, associated with celebration. Both Cathy Wilkes and Polly Morgan have a similar aesthetic to their work. Polly Morgan has a delicate touch to her work showing the beauty of a bird and the fragility of it. Likewise, there is a delicacy to Cathy Wilkes work which is destroyed by the placement and destruction of the items, though these works are both similar they also contrast. The combination of the two artists highlight life and death and all that comes in between. The works are both beautiful and sinister, surreal and familiar. The work speaks out to the viewer and makes us think about the experiences in life and how easily life can end. Marco Sanges has a imaginative cinema like quality to his work which allows its viewer to take a ‘mental journey’. The video Circumstances by the artist has a sinister and shocking vibe to it, jumping between images from various scenes.  Marco Sanges quotes that “identity or the multitude of figures portrayed, large collections of human passions that are heavily tinted and sometimes grotesque and decadent. There is also an enchanting, yet dark side to the characters an intriguing depth that appears to be destined to highlight the drama of life and capture the sincerity of the journey, the scenes of intimacy that confront human vulnerability, challenging our own fragility.” Similarly to the other artists, Sanges work has a balance of contrast between life and death as well as a vulnerability to his work which is portrayed through the characters of his photographs. His work also seems surreal yet familiar, confusing, intriguing and questioning its viewer.

Selected Artists

Cathy Wilkes, (We Are) Pro Choice (2008)  

Medium:

3 glass bell ornaments, 1 china bell, 1 broken green glass, 2 china cups, 2 glasses, 1 broken plastic glass, 1 broken clock face, 4 clock hands, staples, 2 latex casts of ladder steps with wooden/ wire/metal hanging device, 40cm metal bar. 1 cloth, dried.

Dimensions vary

cathy wilkes full

CathyWilkes

Polly Morgan, Still Birth (2010)

Materials:

Glass dome, resin-cast blood-red balloon, taxidermy quail chick.

26(w) x 52(h) cm

polly_morgan_still_birth2

Polly Morgan, Atrial Flutter (2010)

Materials:

Taxidermy cardinal, resin, plastic, wire.

85cm x 27cm x 22cm

atrial flutter 2010

http://www.dontpaniconline.com/magazine/arts/polly-morgan

Marco Sanges, Circumstances (2008)

Video

Domensions vary

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e5kxmXlA8Q

John Flaxman / Timur Novikov

John Flaxman (1755-1826) was a traditional artist  renowned during his time for his minimal illustrations of stories from ancient Greece. His illustrations show an interest in the human figure and shape, this also reflected in his sculptures. Ikon, very much known as a contemporary gallery tends to show modern present works, John Flaxman of course, doesn’t fit into this category. There is a gallery dedicated to John Flaxman  at UCL (University College, London) showcasing his sculptures, drawings and prints. This gallery was open to the public in 1851, today, the entrance to the gallery is through UCL’s main library. When visiting Ikon in Birmingham, knowing that Flaxman wasn’t a contemporary artist, I couldn’t help but think that there was a greater reason as to why Ikon were showing his work. Ikon often shows work with political reference and social issues as well as other contemporary themes. For example the work of Timur Novikov, whos work was created in Russia before the break up of the Soviet Union as part of a underground collective known as the ‘Fellowship of Experimental Fine Art’ (1981). He began combining fine art with music, costume design, cinema and performance, associated in particular with the band Kino for which Novikov was a designer. Timur Novikov seemed to me as something expected at Ikon, whereas I felt Flaxman was saying something more. As art has developed over the years, traditions have faded and the way art once was has changed. John Berger talks about the use of  woman in ‘ways of seeing’ and her presence within a painting which is shown in John Flaxman’s illustrations. The critic also talks about the way art is seen in the past and present. Traditional art of Flaxmans time would be displayed in a different way to which art is displayed today, particular in a gallery such as Ikon. For example ‘Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Gallery’ by Teniers, David the younger in which paintings are hung touching each other, covering all area’s of the room. By placing John Flaxman’s work into a space such as Ikon, there is automatically thoughts of the differences between how this traditional art would have been displayed and how it is being displayed today.

John Flaxman2

John Flaxman

Timur Novikov, a Russian influential artist of the 1980’s and 1990’s known for his distinct applicant of motifs sewn onto larger pieces of cloth. Novikov, who created his work before the break up of the soviet union as part of a underground collective known as the ‘Fellowship of Experimental Fine Art’ (1981) combined fine art with music, costume design, cinema and performance, associated in particular with the band Kino who he designed for. His art of the 1980’s had a ‘youthful pop optimism’ which gained him international recognition due to them being flag like, conveying ecological and anti-war sentiments with subtle humour. In the late 1990’s, the artist lost his sight due to illness, at this point he continued to develop his aesthetic propositions developed from interest in the far east. His seven ‘Pictures of Rice Paper’ (2002) that clearly reference Chinese landscapes from images in his mind as well as his imagination particularly interested me as the ‘automatic’ application and process of the work became more important than the final product. The process reminded me of the previous avant garde movement, Abstract Expressionists who accessed the unconscious part of their minds by various substances and techniques such as chance to produce ‘automatic’ drawing and painting. The exhibition itself varied in medium, involving fabric, paint and video. The artist had been videos painting his ‘automatic’ drawings showing the process which is so important due to the artist being blind. The variation made the exhibition interactive and engaging, unlike the work of Flaxman.

timur novikov2

Timur Novikov

Press Releases:

http://www.ikon-gallery.co.uk/programme/current/event/675/line_to_contour/

http://www.ikon-gallery.co.uk/Repository/events/674/eb2bd7a5-21ad-4388-bffb-fdcb3189f644.pdf

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

John Flaxman – ‘Line to Contour’

John Flaxman

Ikon presents the work of John Flaxman (1755–1826), a leading exponent of British Neoclassicism, renowned during his lifetime for minimally drawn
illustrations of stories from ancient Greece. Curated by eminent art historian David Bindman, this exhibition consists almost entirely of drawings and plaster models for sculpture from UCL Art Museum at University College London.

Having learnt the techniques of sculpting in his father’s plaster-cast workshop, Flaxman began his own career as a designer for Josiah Wedgwood’s world-famous pottery. Two medals were manufactured at the Soho Mint in Birmingham during this time, which also saw the unveiling of his monument to influential industrialist Matthew Boulton in Handsworth Church. His impact on British manufacture continued for some decades, with many of his outline designs from the 1770s and 1780s continuing to be used throughout the Victorian period.

In 1787 Flaxman travelled to Rome where he stayed for seven years, producing his most famous works including engravings for publications of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Dante’s Divine Comedy and The Tragedies of Aeschylus. Instantly successful, they were universally acknowledged to have captured the very essence of Homeric Greece and medieval Italy. Line to Contour includes preliminary drawings for these works, alongside later illustrations modelled on Roman street scenes. Outline studies of male figures in cloaks and a famous sketch of a woman shaking a cloth out of a window are distinctive in their stylistic purity, reduced to a few essential lines.

On returning to London, Flaxman worked on numerous sculptural commissions for major public monuments as well as smaller funerary monuments produced for churches including St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. His workshop was extensive, with the artist often confining himself to drawings and plaster models, leaving others to create the final marbles. These often commemorated the dead with affecting simplicity, placing emphasis on feelings of loss rather than a celebration of lifetimes’ achievements. Plaster models, representing the first or second stage in the process of production, sometimes preceded by sketches, feature in the exhibition. Like most of the drawings they have rarely been seen and give us an extraordinary insight into the thinking that led to the artist’s more formal output.

Timur Novikov

timur novikov

This is a comprehensive exhibition of work by Russian artist Timur Novikov (1958–2002), co-curated by his step-daughter Masha Novikova-Savelyeva. Very influential in Russia during the 1980s and 1990s, Novikov is best known for his distinct style of appliqué – whereby fabric motifs are sewn onto larger pieces of cloth – at once formally simple and beguiling.

Like many progressive artists of his generation in Russia before the break-up of the Soviet Union, Novikov worked underground, first with a collective known as the Fellowship of Experimental Fine Art (1981) and then in his own group, the New Artists. They were postmodern in many ways, combining fine art with music, costume design, cinema and performance, associated in particular with the band Kino for which Novikov was a designer.

Coinciding with the Perestroika years (1980s), Novikov’s textiles at this time reflect a youthful pop optimism which gained him international recognition: a large scale series of them were exhibited at the World Financial Center in New York in 1997. Flaglike, they convey ecological and antiwar sentiments with subtle humour often derived from his response to the sewing and patterns in the fabric. Two tractors make their way along diagonal stripes, while three kayaks negotiate the rapids of all-over paisley curves. Novikov often makes explicit reference to an horizon, using the line formed by the seam of the two main pieces of cloth as basis, for example, for the sun setting or a city skyline.

In 1989 Novikov invented ‘New Russian Classicism’; an artistic movement that set itself on a course against popular culture, preferring to follow old masters such as Raphael and da Vinci and searching out classical music and rare books. Dressed as dandies, with frock coats and velvet dresses, the artists’ commitment to the movement was total and achieved international acclaim. It gave rise to the New Academy which organised many exhibitions during the 1990s featuring the work of like-minded St Petersburg artists with Novikov as the pivotal figure.

From the late 1990s, with his sight lost due to illness, Novikov continued to develop his aesthetic propositions. His interest in art from the Far East is evident in his Euro-China series (2002), 13 works which combine embroidered thread and beads with Western old-master reproductions on tasselled satin. Similarly, Seven Pictures on Rice Paper (2002) were drawn in Chinese ink to convey trees, houses and boats against mountainous Chinese landscape. They are the output of an artist at the end of his life yet still at the height of his imaginative powers.

http://www.ikon-gallery.co.uk/

Marco Sanges

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e5kxmXlA8Q

Photographer Marco Sanges from Ostia, Rome is attracted to luminous black and white films of the silent era, he creates photograph sequences that are narrative based evoking a feeling of mystery and a grasp of the uncanny world that is out of reach. His world is reminiscent of surrealism, using his imagination liberating the unconscious and pushing the boundaries of modern culture. His world reflects the 20’s/30’s visual and performance giving his world a traditional vibe with a twist. The artist has worked for Vogue Italia, Dolce and Gabbana and several other art and fashion magazines showing that although his work has a surreal, dream like quality, there is something quite beautiful about his work. In 2008, the artist won ‘Best Art Film’ at the Portobello film festival for his video ‘Circumstances’ (above) which was developed from a photographic book of his.

Interview with Photographer Marco Sanges

Photographer Marco Sanges shoots a cinematic world of dreams and drama. Exhibited worldwide, Sange’s clients include Agent Provocateur, Vogue, Sunday Telegraph, Photo, Katalog, Dolce&Gabbana and Eyemazing. He has published three books, Circumstances, Venus, Wild, and Erotic Photography, besides winning several awards for his art  films, The Best Experimental Art Film at the Open Cinema Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia 2009 and Best Art Film at the Portobello Film Festival London, UK, 2008 for the short Circumstances. Currently exhibiting at Eduard Planting Fine Art Photographs at the Rotterdam Art Warehouse, Aesthetica speaks to Sanges about his unique approach to photography.

A: What was the first photograph you ever took?
MS: At an early age I worked at my uncle’s lab and I became fascinated by the craft and the process of developing and printing black and white photography. My Uncle was my first mentor and the inspiration to grab the camera and take my first shots. I started to take pictures of the cinematic Ostian seaside where Fellini and Pasolini were shooting their neorealistic films.

A: Your portraits are often imaginative and unconventional, how do you approach a portrait subject?
MS: I am thinking about the identity or the multitude of figures portrayed, large collections of human passions that are heavily tinted and sometimes grotesque and decadent. There is also an enchanting, yet dark side to the characters an intriguing depth that appears to be destined to highlight the drama of life and capture the sincerity of the journey, the scenes of intimacy that confront human vulnerability, challenging our own fragility.

A: Is there a particular type of photograph you prefer taking?
MS: I strongly believe in the immortality of film, the real essence of photography! For me the most important is to tell a narrative trough the pictures, regardless whether it’s a portrait, nude or a composition of characters.

A: What do you want your viewers to take from your photographs?
MS: I want the viewers to stop in front of my composition and start “traveling” into a mental journey, reading my characters and suggesting the story to their own interpretation. This is the significance or the advantages of the escapist nature of the photograph itself. I want the viewers to be taken by fresh impressions of scenes of dreams and fantasies, to be lured mysteriously into their own unconsciousness.

A: Your Big Scenes Series is quite theatrical, do you like to tell stories through your images?
MS: Since I remember I have been fascinated by films and I wanted my photographs to “talk” in cinematic style. I developed my style of photography based entirely on the dream imageary of an evolving multilayered story- creating a highly personal, imaginary cinema. Magnifying imagination beyond imagination, there is dedication to the often elaborate projects that are staged as a live theatrical performance

A: How do you find your film work and your photographs interact?
MS: Films are an extension of my photography.

A: What do you have planned for the future?
MS: My next exhibition is with the Eduard Planting Fine Art Photographs at the Rotterdam Art Warehouse running until 10 February.

A: Are there any artists/directors/photographers that you’d love to collaborate with?
MS: My gallery of inspiration is endless, but unfortunately most of them have passed away. I find the contemporary world bland and in lack of individualism, but there are few exceptional geniuses. I would love to collaborate with Vittorio Storaro and to twist this collaboration with the involvement of one of the last surrealistic artists alive Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Marco Sanges, Until 10 February, Eduard Planting Fine Art Photographs, Rotterdam Art Warehouse, Stichting Ondersteuning Culturele Initiatieven (SOCI) Postbus 1739, 3000 BS Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

http://www.aestheticamagazine.com/blog/interview-with-photographer-marco-sanges/

http://sangesstudio.com/

Polly Morgan

polly morgan

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rjr2k/What_Do_Artists_Do_All_Day_Polly_Morgan/

Polly Morgan is a taxidermist artist working in London, she executes both craft and conceptual ideas through her work. Considering herself as a surrealist, she conveys a idea, atmosphere or even just humour through the animal in a way that hadn’t been done before. The artist has brought taxidermy away from the Victorian era and brought it up to date. Polly Morgan explains that she would always spend time with animals, seeing how they move and how they look best, imagining how she could recreate them in a environment that wasn’t their natural habitat.

carior call 2009

Polly Morgan – Carrion Call, 2009

polly-morgan-still-birth-

Polly Morgan – Still Life, 2010

hide and fight

hide and fight inside

Polly Morgan – Hide and Fight, 2012

There is something about Polly Morgan’s work that is peaceful yet terryfing. In ‘Hide and Fight’ Polly Morgan has combined a stag and bats, she opened up the animal and placed a group of bats hanging from the ribcage. She says that there is “something quite peaceful yet there’s a potential about bats” they could just fly out at any point. At each end of the animal, the artist placed a camera to create the feel of a endless interior filled with bats. Similar to the Surrealists of the 1940s, Polly Morgan would take inspiration from things around her and create something that was familiar yet it didn’t exist. All of the animals that she uses for her work have died from natural, unpreventable deaths, when Polly Morgan transforms them she and all viewers of her work are reminded of the vulnerability of all animals including ourselves. Although one of the first things that come to mind when seeing Polly Morgans work is death, she explains that her work is more about a celebration of life.

departures

Polly Morgan – Departures, 2013

Departures, pictured above, was developed from a series of older drawings combining animals and a structure. Polly Morgan has taken the ornamental side of taxidermy and transformed it into the monumental. She has taken over the space with the piece, referencing desires of flying.

foundations remain

Polly Morgan – Foundations Remain, 2013

One of Polly Morgan’s most recent pieces is ‘Foundations Remain’ in which he has used hundreds of legs of a bird, each of which were hand painted by the artist. They then have been placed together to form a structure of what looks like a building.

There is something disturbing and beautiful about Polly Morgan’s work, there is a fine line between a dream and a nightmare. The artist has created work that opens up the unconscious part of our mind, of what is really there and what isn’t. Something familiar is being created with a familiar subject yet what is being created doesn’t really exist.