City Language Berlin - Christoph Mangler
'Everywhere people are working away in public at their 'art', however abstract or incomprehensible it is to others. All that comes together with typical Berlin flair, making the capital the exciting and inspiring melting pot that so many creative people treasure. I began to see the city with different eyes and learnt to 'read its language'. From then on I kept a lookout for the recurring symbols, elements and hands so as to be able to record and categorise them.'
What really interested me with this collection of Berlin’s street art was the way that one image such as a a smiley face or the object of a dismantled bicycle can appear in so many different contexts within one city. Each new site adds a wholly new dimension to the work and can sometimes almost completely change the way we read the image. Despite this there is a visual language being built up with each appearance of the image, almost a narrative of the artist travels around the city telling us how they are engaging with the environment around them.
Fundamental aspects of installation artwork are its agitation of physical site, its connection to real conditions - be they visual, historical, or social - and often, its bridging of traditional art boundaries: public and private, individual and communal, high style and vernacular. The aesthetic power of installation art does not reside in the singular, commodified object but in an ability to become, rather than merely represent, the continuum of real experience by responding to specific situations.
—Blurring the Boundaries : Installation art 1969-1996 , Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
An installation may be defined as anything the artist wants to do when given a room in which to work, a definition that deliberately creates a broad swathe of possibilities. In an installation there is unlikely to be a single object, but an assemblage, attached or not. Conversely, an installation may consist of no objects at all but a spacial experience, not unlike an architectural manifestation. Regardless, the viewer is usually in an enclosed space, swept up in a work of art much larger in expanse than an individual object can normally create. As with the term composition in the traditionally understood context of art, the artist has created an arrangement that is an integrated, cohesive, carefully contrived whole.
—Understanding Installation Art - Mark Rosenthal
I really had no starting points for my research and development stage as of yet besides the vague interest in how the moving of an artwork can affect the reading of and meaning that we draw from the image.
After this tutorial I now have a few more ideas to add body to this line of research such as the themes of :
- Random Narrative - How the joining of random text and imagery can create new narratives for work
- Context - How changing the context or adding new context can affect the imagery/work
- Materials and processes - How these can influence the context/narrative/ideas of the work
- Space Specific Art - Research into what forms of art are already reliant on specific spaces or are already challenging the idea of being able to transcend spaces and sites.
I was also told to look at the book ‘Visible Signs’ by David Crowe.
Overall I think I have a decent starting point for my research now.
This term has centred a lot on developing my own practice as an illustrator, something that I really started to do in the first half of the second year. I’ve worked hard to expand on the discoveries I made in that first term and feel like I’m actually starting to pin down my practice and my aims for the kind of work that I want to produce.
I think I’m now beginning to develop my own style as an illustrator in regards to the consistent imagery that I’m producing, a lot of which is focused on working with the materials and exploring what they can do rather than trying to force them to create the perfect image that is in my head. I find that if I do create the exact picture of what I imagine in the first instance the illustration often looks static and lifeless; something that I don’t find particularly appealing in regards to the type of illustration I enjoy creating. To achieve this I have had to battle a lot with my own expectations of where I saw my career going and the type of work I thought I would be producing when I started university as opposed to what I actually find inspiration and enjoyment in.
What has helped a lot with that this term are the professional practice lectures we’ve had. These have helped me to understand that there are a lot of opportunities for my work out there and how I can go about getting them. Most of all however it helped me realise that if I want to pursue a career, I have to actually get excited about my work otherwise on a personal level I’m just not going to be interested enough to work very hard.
On a practical level I feel I’ve expanded my knowledge of the materials I’ve been using further than before and have increased my skill set in a lot of new ways by working a lot with computer based programmes such as the adobe suite which has allowed me to develop my work in ways I would never have been able to before as I did with the patterns for the 3M commission. I have also developed a better critical understanding of my work as well which I think has been helped a lot by the completion of the live commission and knowing that I had to produce work to a professional standard. Understanding how to approach the brief given and meeting the deadlines and time frame have been good insight into what I can expect in my professional practice and how well I can cope with that.
My aims now are to solidify my practice as an illustrator and over the next year establish a professional presence and start to really push myself to enter more competitions and find placements that interest me. I want to really try to gain an idea of where I would place myself within the illustration industry whilst still producing the work I want to and developing my style.