Neil Cummings: artist and professor at Chelsea
Political economies of art
Moved away for autonomous objects as art..
Moved into spaces that produce the space and are encountered in Banks art schools department stores in-spaces where artwork in institutions desolves into world like social media gift shop, funding political implications like regeneration and well being. Institutional networks. These are his materials. Working within institutional criting
Tate Modern commission and its opening to think about how it would fit into its new environment. Realising that exhibition is just a slither of Tate’s activities. It could be considered that maybe the Tate functions like commercial bank? Looked at links between Tate and Bank if England. Was stunned by the function of the Bank of England. It is the last port of call in desperate debt. It raises and lowers the cost of debt. In 1694 Bank of England was founded on a debt. I,t was set up to bail out the government that has never been paid back. It runs in the promise to pay. There is no gold. Symbolic structure.
The Tate was founded on a gift. A gift is an anthropological structure but still symbolic.
To commemorate this a Limited edition print that was given away by people who worked in the Bank of England to random visitors in the Tate. Became quite powerful moment between the givers and the receivers. It demonstrated that gift is a powerful social structure and demonstrates a powerful new future model. “The enthusiast to capital as the gift to commodity”
Frieze art fair 2006 growth began to build a new powerful art market. Collectors would come to students degree shows to special breakfasts. Power and influence was growing. Questions grew. What is this art market? Started research: two markets for art. The primary market, dominated by commercial galleries working with artists, building a market. Galleries assume the risk for artists. Trying to place artwork in places like the Tate. Artist gets a percentage. But the elephant in the room is the second market, the auction house market which dwarfs the primary market. Sotherby’s etc. Primary market hates the secondary market. No money goes back to the primary source. Cummings and Lewandowska launched an artist in residency at Sotherby’s to launch and make a film over a year, that would then be auctioned. But the artists had no market presence so no one would buy. Selling a film at auction was nuts..
This model of priceless artworks, removed from circulation by purchasers alongside the artworks in institutions proposed by Ruskin in the 18800’s was now truly coining into
Moderna Museum Sweden 2007
Celebrating 50th anniversary.
Did same thing as at the Tate, but it was a really sad experience as they were celebrating all they had done all they had done 20 years ago in the 60’s. So asked imaging it’s your centenary, what would you do, they were universally hopeless! So started series of informal interviews to think about these things. Interviews everyone. From directors to cafe staff. They wanted to be like Tate but no one imagined anything different accept technology. They didn’t imagine a different culture or climate. Began to imagine a different culture/future for them. Began building timelines, complicated and visually exciting.
Timelines found a form at Arnofini Galley 2011 50th anniversary. Fed the time lines through the stair well. Beautiful shapes as nano narrative. Different time lines interlocking.
Proposal that the future is a strange ecology. A time line like a map to help us navigate as yet known territories. Creative institutions need scenario building that is aspirational. Cultural institutions live in very shallow spaces. Possibly with a lack of ambition. They are scrabbling round trying to find money for the next projects so to think 50 years ahead is very hard. We are living in very urgent times... It is easier to imagine our own extinction than the collapse of capitalism. We can now see the scenario of our own extinction. So we need to engage more effectively in the present!
Do we have to have a big disaster to effect a big enough change?
Artists have long used their voice or others to tell a narrative. More recently there seems a greater consideration of the position of the ear or listener often in an intimate way though podcasts or audio through earphones, more like a confessional..
Laure Prouvost It, Hit, Heart 2010 is suggestive of a story. She constructs and compels the story through editing. She is playing with what can be put into the head of the listener. Winner of the Turner prize in 2013 she will represent France in the 2019 French Biennale. Her practice is strongly around story and playfully engaging the viewer/audience/listener.
We are in an age where we no longer trust the story teller but we also mistrust the unreliable story teller. In the essay by Chris Fite-Wass Keep talking: the death of the unreliable narrator” he considered the death of the author comparing his reliability to that of the wizard in The Wizard of Oz. Action and meaning are not prescribe by the author. In looking at the work of artist Ed Atkins there is a sense he suggests of the bogging culture but it is a monologue, you are being told what to think, what to feel.
Within the culture of the Internet there is a distance between the artist and the listener. It may or may not be read or heard.
When we hear fairy tails we know the structure we know from our cultural background how it will go. We have a knowledge and a belief. The unreliable story teller critiques the reliable story teller. Questions can be asked, who has the right to tell the story? Can we tell a story that is not our own? For a while artists strive to have no story and no monologue, kicking against the author active story teller but now even their unreliable story telling is not needed. We have moved from this to a stream of verifiable knowledge and story telling. We expect most things to be unreliable.
Artists like Provost chose a more playful, authoritative and at times bossy from of storytelling. Within literature there is an advent of auto fiction, novelist like Rachel Cusk who travels and tells others stories and gives them voice as the travel writings unfold. She is perhaps developing a fictional version of her self as author.
There is a return to the authorial. The resuscitated narrator with a trusted voice. The audience becomes interpolated. But if everyone is unreliable we become less passive as listeners. As we have so many reliable narrators telling their story form their perspective, with all, these voices we can become sometimes the critics.
Walter Benjamin’s essay the Story teller 1939 looks at the history of story telling. The first story tellers were also travellers who told the tale of their journey. Their lived experience being embodied in others through story retold by others and retold again become other tales.
Once strories could be written down and then printed we have the birth of the novel and the story telling became the “proof and perplexity of the living” Walter Benjamin
Storytelling or information has become sending information and Benjamin feels that it is no longer compatible with true story telling. Information has become a commodity. It was at this point we have time based works and performance which can not be owned or held but must be experienced.
Story telling in painting has a long tradition manifest in artist like Paula Rego. A long tradition of myth, tableau, fairytale.
Something shifted in the Twentieth Century, a doubt of all stories. Benjamin writes “boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience” is this what Happened?
Today we struggle to have a world view. every stand point is challenged. It is impossible to stick to an idea unchanged, unless we shut our ears to all around. Benjamin seems to mourn the loss of the passive listener who once opened up to the magic of the storyteller.
We have assimilation of the story verses information. Information which is distant and unrealtional.
Ursula K Le Guin uses story to introduce polictical ideas. Her essays and diagrams encourage a different view of telling and listening. Her book The Wave in the Mind develops ideas of listening as an action, not passive. Talking and listening are the same. The diagram of Ameba procreating is a perfect diagram of how talking and listening might be.
Laure Prouvosts film Swallow harks back to the intimacy of story telling it encourages the embodiment of touch, taste, sound, whisper. There is a sense of seduction. Virginia Wolf played with these ideas in her book Waves. The reader has to be active to build the story. Listen from a distance is not relational. There is a strange vulnerability to just casting your story out into the internet.
Tutorial; Tabatha Andrews.
When dealing with the birth paintings it seems to connect to every mother i talk to, each has her own story too they seem to want to tell me as I have told mine. just a snippets sometimes maybe but even as we talk Tabatha tells me she has twins.... we are suddenly no longer tutor and student for a moment we are two mothers with a shared experience, we as women share this and it’s ok to do so. Unlike the massive Damien Hurst’s foetus sculptures there is something intimate about what I am doing, something more than the science of it all. I’m interested in the story. The work is increasingly becoming about the beginning of motherhood but the journey to acceptance of how motherhood is now for me, acceptance of a time past.
Mary Kelly’s Post Partum document.
D W Winnnicott: transitional object
Could the work have all the possibility and meaning of participation without people actually being participatory. There is no need for instructions. No need to tell everything.
Rather than giving all the answers pose questions.
With the 3D “icon” pieces, how does the image relate to the object? Inside/ outside....
Find the strength and power in the things themselves. It might be important to avoid being garrulous!
Powerful subject that does not need to be instant access. Invite and enquiry and deal with things that are difficult.
Consider: Loss -transition -ritual -acquisition of language
It might help to read James Elikin’s ; Painting and Tears
Deal with more singular images like womb...
Distil the images maybe one co
Click here Image | Writing Task
How could you decide to keep these photos hidden? We discover them all as we pull apart your home. We’re making choices about what to keep, what to share, what to throw away when a box of photos is brought down from the loft. The box you so often mentioned, the one you said you would sort for us all so we’d all have our share. But the box is a chaos of images. Outstanding in their order, is an album for each of us of our weddings. How can this be? How can we not have seen these before? Ours is lovely and full of pictures from engagement to the party a week after our wedding, before we headed back to India and our lives there.
One image is jumping out in this red album with black pages. In amongst the photos so carefully placed is a “poor image”. Bad lighting, a strange composition showing tubs of rice salads and other food balanced on a large chest freezer. It is a shiny gloss print. A Truprint special, sent back with two other slightly smaller copies for sharing. A concrete form of sharing; handed over or sent in the post. Did you send them to us in the post to India and I have forgotten? Did they get lost in the post? Why didn’t we look at this album on one of our visits home?
You took the photo to show all your hard work towards our wedding breakfast. I’m not sure that I knew you had done all this or ever seen this photo, and now I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this or that I’m sorry if I didn’t really thank you.
You are not really sure you know who I am when I visit but you are kind and and polite. I can’t say we have found the album. It is too much to see you in such a reduced state, no longer taking photos or really gathering much from your surroundings.... How often have we been annoyed about always having to pose for photos over the years? Now I hold this precious album and this image is there. Showing your house, dated even then, looking like it is still the 1970’s; lots of orange, brown and patterns. A huge chest freezer is piled high with food; ready meals and things frozen from the garden; raspberries from the garden ready for Christmas Day.
We never spent Christmas day with you, we had family Christmases on another day, peeling sprouts under your instruction the night before. In another orange and brown house. We have cleared the orange and brown flat, your last independent home.
And I can’t really get this image out of my head and how it is a declaration of so much around your life; how you took on three boys, not your own, left two girls who were yours and somehow we have become a family, centred around family moments and food; food you have made, meals out you paid for. Now that time is gone. We still meet, we are still strongly family, in a tender time.
“Artist Benoît Maire might be described as a visual philosopher” this exhibition of film installation, paintings sculptures, furniture and everyday objects, demonstrating an enquiry into the origin of humankind and the objects that inhabit our lives. Maire questions the status of objects and how we categorise form I Art, culture and nature.
The exhibition felt at first somewhat pretentious. Possibly the best aspect was a wonderful discussion that developed with two of the volunteers who were themselves artists. We talked about objects and the notions around the exhibition and how might those not well versed in the ontologies of objects.
I am continuing to explore the birth paintings and think about scale and materials. The larger painting does not feel right somehow, the newly born infant feels like he is much too old and much of this is about the scale of him. Alongside this painting I have been working on the slide box Museum of Memories and the painting’s feel more interesting and are devolving a different feel as the scale is only 5cm square. Though I have started another Lost Boy painting it feels a little bit like a distraction.
Deborah Last Proposal 703/704