Sunday, 30 January 2011

Amsterdam Trip and Tate Britain Archives.

I haven't been making physical work for the past couple of weeks, whilst assessment has been happening in University I have been to Amsterdam and also taken a trip to the archives and print room at the Tate Britain.

The photograph above is by W. Eugene Smith. I saw it at the FOAM museum in Amsterdam. It was my favourite piece that I saw whilst there. Not only did it evoke emotion in me the instant I looked at it, but I went back to see it again.

The photograph is of a doctor following the loss of a mother and child at childbirth.

I plan to write more soon about the other artwork I saw in Amsterdam and also about the Tate Britain archives.

I have to say, I have no idea what I am going to do work wise when i go back to university, but I have several trains of thought to follow. The last two weeks have been very inspiring.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Death Mask Video

Here is the video footage I took of my death mask melting. This was the first mask I made and was made from natural wax. I suspended it over a candle and filmed the process of it melting. I then removed the sound and sped up the footage by x800 so that the video is no longer an hour long, just a few minutes. The video is not very good quality, not helped by the low lighting, but you can see the mask start to drip and then the mouth melt away. The concept of this was the death mask idea but with the idea that the mask represents a person's body, which is slowly dying.

I was thinking of expanding this, to have many death masks, which would all have different height candles, this would show that people degrade at varying rates. I have so far made 3 new death masks.

Small Installation. Flowers.

Looking back over my blog the other day I came up with an idea. Seeing the pictures by Ellen Rogers made me think about the use of symbols, such as flowers, to communicate meaning. Flowers are often associated with death, left at roadsides, given at funerals etc.

It was only a few months ago that i threw away a couple of disintegrating flowers that I had from a funeral 5 years ago. I still have all of the cards people left though and am considering doing something with them.

After thinking this I decided to set about creating some photographs of my death masks with symbols to communicate further the idea of death, make it more theatrical. I have had a couple of crit-groups where they have told me to use more theatre and drama so I don't know how it took so long to sink in.

So i took these and I really like how they turned out. I used an Olympus Trip 35 to take them and I used film from a company called Revolog, which produces special effect films. This film is the 'color' film. I then edited the pictures in photoshop to make them clearer. I really like the whole concept and the way they turned out.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Death Masks

Joseph Mallord William Turner
attributed to Thomas Woolner
George Moore
by L. Godon

Sir Isaac Newton
possibly after John Michael Rysbrack
after 1727

Sir Thomas Lawrence
by Unknown artist

Oliver Cromwell
by Unknown artist
possibly late 17th century

Here are some pictures of death masks from the National Portrait Gallery. I plan to go and see them in the assessment period, along with the famous one at the st.johns hospital of the girl from the river seine.

All Images are © National Portrait Gallery, London


We had a lot of snow down in Winchester shortly before Christmas. I took some photos on my Yashica FX-3. Not part of my main artistic practice, but I like to take photos often as that way I can practice and pick up skills to help my artwork.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Nick Reynolds - Death mask artist

Death Mask Art
Uploaded by Stuffem. - Explore more music videos.

Found this interesting video about a musician who also makes death masks. I find it interesting that he mentions the aspect of not having photographs when death masks were used, however he is still drawn to make them now.
The stories we tell ourselves to get over things can have nothing to do with what really happened. - Walid Raad

I thought this quote was a good one, I am currently writing an essay on the artwork of Walid Raad and I saw this quote and thought it fit into my practice, especially with the personal context of death and loss.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Perfect binding

Before Christmas I did a book binding workshop in 'Perfect Binding' with Artist Denise Hawrysio.

I made my book from a chapter in a book called "National Index of Parish Registers II by D.J. Steel"

The idea was to choose some material that was very focused on Tradition and ceremony surrounding burial, so that i could make a book to fit in with my practice.

I now plan to work into this book. I would like to incorporate the personal material that I wrote a couple of blog posts ago regarding my personal experience with death and burial.

I first thought of writing over the records, as a way to juxtaposition the very formal parish records with my own personal experience. However, when i trialed this, the personal, written text was hard to read, so I need to consider whether this is good or bad. I think part of my work is about me being ready to understand and accept everything and therefore perhaps I should make my text readable, if i am ready to share it.

I have quite a few end pages in the book, so the text could go there.

I really like book binding and want to do more books next semester.

Sorry about the pictures, they're not that good but my scanner is still broken.