8000 sõnalise essee esimene osa. Kaks lemmik kunstniku, kelle töödele põhineb minu kogu selle aasta art&design töö ning muidugi kaasneb sellega ka tore vähemalt 8000 sõnaline essee. Siin selle esimene osa. Seda lugedes peaks idee järgi aru saama neist kuntnikest ja nende töödest pmst kõike mida vaja teada, isegi inimene kes sellest kõigest midagi ei jaga. Ja seda igavusest magama mitte jäädes. Hope u enjoy it:)
(viimastel päevadel olen lugenud päris mitut blogi, kus paari sõnaga mainitakse minu armast kallist blogi või öeldakse paar julgustavat sõna selle kohta, mis ma teen/teha üritan. suur aitäh teile! see tõesti tähendab mulle palju)
My essay is based on two artist’s work-Robert Rauschenberg and Christian Boltanski, who have both used photograhy as a part of their artwork. Both artists have made links between art and their ideas, using photographs, but in a very different ways. Through this essay, I will try to understand their artwork and look at different aspects of it. I will try to link my ideas with their techniques.
Christian Boltanski’s art is all about death. It’s shocking and full of cheap tricks, which makes his artwork so unforgettable for us, who look at it. He said once, that all he wants to do, is to make people cry. Simple as it is.
His biggest inspiration is his childhood- he was a young Jewish boy(father from Ukraine and mother from Corsica), who had to hide rom Nazis during World War II, which already explains quite a lot about his work. His work should make us sad, but sometimes it looks like he wants to make a big joke out of it first, before he makes us think again and question ourselves about more serious subjects.
Boltanski never takes photographs himself. He gets them from newspapers, magazines and other sources. Sometimes unknown people send them to him and sometimes he goes to the lost-property office to get more inspiration. He works with phtoographs: makes them close-cropped, so you would get a better feel for it. Sometimes his prints are out of focus, which removes all details and takes away idenitity from the picture. There is just a photograph and a „ghost“ on it, with no soul, no future, no past, no identity. Looking at his installations you can not identify people, you can’t say who is good and who is bad, by just looking at it. Once he said, that he does it to make a point that the same person that saves your life today has the ability to murder you tomorrow. Everyone’s the same.
Boltanski claims not to be a photographer, „ more a recycler“, because as I already mentioned, he never takes photographs himself, he rather gives a new life to an existing image. Sometimes he likes to choose certain other objects that people have once possessed and tries to make imaginery links between them, their owners and someone who is looking at final installation.
He uses different materials such as fabric, canvas, clothes, random items like tins etc. And I think that this makes his work even more exciting and interesting to look at. You’ll never know what to expect from his next installation.
The technique that he uses with almost every photograph is actually very simple, but it works. He loves using old group photographs. He chooses some faces, which he finds most inresting and cuts them out. Boltanski resizes portraits and makes them as big as he can, so the faces go blurry and look more like sculptures than photographs. After that, he gives them a very high contrast and adds a warm, yellow tone.
Christian Boltanski uses photographs of people who are dead or going to die soon. By doing that he makes us think about life and death in general and about people on the photographs. They are dead and that’s a fact. But who are they, how did they die, when, why etc? We could ask so many questions, but the fact is that no one knows the answers. Not us, not Boltanski. And who knows, maybe it’s all just a big joke, illusion? Like his project „All that remains of my childhood“, where he showed 10 portraits, which he claimed to be his selfportraits as a child. Later on it was revealed that all of them were photographs taken of random children( age 2-20). This shows us that no one’s past is actually 100% recoverable and no one’s identity 100% identifiable. We can not actually be sure that all these people are dead or going to die and his work is actually as negative as it looks like. He may want us just to believe it this way. And we do believe him and his artwork. Like his installation, where he used piles of tins made into a pyramid and labelled with photographs(of dead people of course). Tins represented piles of dead and we imagine that every tin hides a person, who is on the photograph. Hides their history, backround, identity, fears and emotions. The fact is that these tins are, of course, empty. But he likes us to believe this way, because this is what makes his work so intresting.
One of the most talked about installations of his is „ The dead Swiss“. Speaking about this photo installation, he said „ Dead and Jew go too well together. It is too obvious. There is nothing more normal than the Swiss. There is no reason for them to die, so they are more terrifying in a way“. This is strange remark indeed and I think that one of the explanations may be in a fact that Swiss have been neutral during Holocaust and have less history in it than German, Jews or any other nation. For Christian Boltanski they represent ultimate hapiness, neutrality and what everyone wants to be. Knowing that, we understand, why these two words, „dead“ and „swiss“ sound so wrong to him when put together. All photographs he used, were sent to him from people who were intrested in his work or Switzerland and he received over 60-70 images per week, which is quite a good amount of material for a start of an installation. At the same time, if we believe all his previous statements about his own work in general, nationality shouldn’t mean anything, because there is no idenitity in his work and photographs are all that counts. Not who is on them, what is their past or what is history behind them. Now, they are all just faces, which are hung on the wall or stuck on a tin, because when the end comes, all that is left is a photograph or an image of a person, but never the person himself. By knowing that, we can tell for sure, that with The Dead Swiss“ he went more personal and into the subject than usually and I think that this is one of the reasons why „The Dead Swiss“ installation is so interesting and special.
I find Christian Boltanski’s artwork very intresting, because I enjoy looking and analysing art, which has some depth and „a darker side“. For most people, his work can be both disturbing and negative, but Boltanski sees it in a completely different way. He sees death as a good thing, as a form of enlightenment. He believes that death is the only true human experience, that binds us and pulls us apart. In some ways he might be right and I think, that to understand his artwork completely, we need to look at it from his point of view.
Robert Rauschenberg was born in 1925 in Texas and after serving in U.S. Marines, he discovered his aptitue for drawing. After studying for a year in Kansas City Art Institute, he attended Academie Julian in Paris and Black Mountain College later on. He had his first one-man exhibiton in 1951 and after that, in 1953, moved to his new studio in NYC and started painting his „red paintings“ and erased a drawing by Williem de Kooning. His white, black and red paintings were inspired by Zen Buddhism. His artwork on late 50’s influenced the artworld a lot and helped develop Pop Art as it is these days. 1962 was an important year for him, because he started using the silkscreen technique on canvas for the first time then. He mixed it with a paint(overpainting), collage and random found objects and this is how „combines“ were born. His work were shown on many exhibitons around the world from 1960’s to 1990’s. Rauschenberg died on May 12th, 2008, when he decided to take himself off life support after heart failure.
When we talk about Rauschenberg’s artwork, it’s important to know that he, like a Picasso, had different „art eras“ . Rauchenberg created his white paintings, black paintings and red paintings first and they were all single colour works, which were all forerunners for his „combines“.
When Rauschenberg was 26 years old, he created his „White Paintings“, which were exactly what it sounds. Big white canvases covered with thick white paint. As Rauschenberg said himself, he wanted to „lead to the possibility of pure experience“ with these paintings. They were seen as airports of the lights, shadows and particles. When looking at them, you see that any movement, light or shadows leaves their mark on their surface.
Rauschenberg started using different materials, like old newspapers, in his „Black Paintings“. He used quite a lot of over painting, so the newspaper could be see through the paint in some places. In 1954 he moved on and started painting „Red Paintings“ which started to look more intresting than previous „White and Black paintings“. He added wood, newspapers,fabric and other materials to the red paint and created large paintings with complex surfaces.
„Red Paintings“ were forerunners for his „combines“, which he is most famous for and which I personally, find most interesting. He used stuffed animals, pillows, clothes, blood, electric wires and other most random things, he found on the streets of New York. He explained his ideas for combines by saying that he „wanted something other than what I could make myself and I wanted to use the suprise and the collectivness and the generosity of finding suprises. And if it wasn’t a suprise at first , by the time I got through with it, it was. So the object itself was changed by it’s context and therefore became a new thing. And yes, it did became a new thing ideed. Like his one of the first combines „Monogram“, which consisted of a stuffed Angora goat, a tire, the heel of a shoe, a tennis ball and a police barrier. Or a „Bed“ where he used sheet and a pillow and a paint, which made it look as it was soaked in blood and framed on the wall. His later combines include clocks, which tell us the right time maybe once or twice a day or neon traffic signs. He is using all types of things, techniques, science and everyday objects in his work. All of his „combines“ are very strong pieces of artwork, with a strong statement behind them. With „combines“ he pushed the boundries between art and sculpture and created a whole new art form. He used lot of screen printing in „combines“, either printing photographs which were found or taken by himself. His paintings look abstract from far away, but if you take your time and take another look, from much closer, you understand the connections between different images and all of it starts to make some sense.
He’s artwork touched people who might not even be intrested in art. For example in 1986 he painted a full size BMW as part of the famed BMW Art Car Project and won a Grammy award for his album design of Talking Heads’ album. Through 1970’s he experimented with different materials and silkscreen printing, using alluminium, clothes and moving discs. He also created many perfomance pieces, which were filmed.( for example „Open Score“)
His artwork was often labelled under „Neo-Dada“, which describes artwork which has similarities with earlier Data artwork. Rauschenberg said,that in Black Mountain College, he leared to do exactly the opposite of what he was told to and this is what Neo-Dada is about. It denies traditional consepts of aesthetics and is all about modern materials and absurd contrasts, which is exactly what Rauschenberg’s work is.
Robert Rauschenberg broke the lines between a painter, set designer, composer, printmaker, photographer and choreographer and challenged our mind for decades. He influenced so many artists and was a forerunner of Pop Art and the Andy Warhol era.
Together Robert Rauschenberg and Christian Boltanski have had a major influence on my artwork. Both have used photography in very different ways and inspired so many people by doing that. Attending an eight week screen printing workshop helped me to understand Rauschenberg’s way of doing things and let me do an even more in-depth study on him. I studied his red paintings first, but got even more into it after starting copying some of his combines. I just love texture of his work and muted dark and brown colours. There is nothing to cheesey, nothing too pop-arty about his work. When looking at Christian Boltanski’s work, I love serious topics and the fact that he is sharing them in such understandable and easy way. Photographs, black and white, people, probably dead. Both artist’s work is quite complicated and needs time and effort to understand it. Their artwork made me question myself in different topics and challanged my mind and for me personaly, this is what good art is about.