Camberwell College of Art and Design

Criticism and Interpretation
Level 2 Elective
October 2010-January 2011
Tutor: Adrian Holme

October 8, 2010
1. Criticism and Interpretation – an introduction.
Camberwell, Small Seminar, Wilson Road, 11.00 to 13.00
This first session will introduce the elective programme, discuss its aims and ways of working, and explore some of the basic terms used – terms such as ‘criticism,’ ‘interpretation,’ ‘aesthetics,’ ‘taste,’ and ‘judgement.’

Please bring along an object of your choice (any object).
  • Workshop exercise on criticism and interpretation of objects Questions of aesthetics, design, and curation.

October 15, 2010
2. VISIT to the National GalleryBecoming real – the invention of dimension:
Space and time from the Mediaeval to the Renaissance
Colin Wiggins & Karly Allen of the National Gallery present seminars in front of selected works
Meet: National Gallery, 13.45 sharp

Changing concepts of time and space revealed in the transition from Mediaeval to Rennaisance art.
The understanding and representation of space and time changed dramatically as the Mediaeval world gave way to the Renaissance – that ‘rebirth’ of classical learning. To the Mediaeval mind, space existed by virtue of objects existing, but there was no notion of a continuous space in which objects might relate. Writing in the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan, related perspective to the birth of print culture.
An example of interpretation applied art historically.

October 22, 2010 3. VISIT. The London Metropolitan Archive and the Guildhall Art Gallery
  • Visit to the London Metropolitan ArchiveThe archive has a collection of materials dating from 1067, and inclluding '250,000 prints, watercolours, etchings and photographs showing the changing face of London over the last 300 years.' The archive's curators will introduce us to a range of orginal archival material. Meet at 9.45 sharp at The London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northamptom Road, London EC1R 0HB (nearest tube Faringdon).

  • Followed by a tour of the Guildhall Art Gallery, including the remains of the Roman amphitheatre discovered during the rebuilding.

"The archive of the City of London is one of the oldest, most complete and wide ranging civic archives in the world. Dating from 1067, with a Charter of William I, the collection traces the history of the City through a thousand years of governing the square mile, encompassing periods of civil war and national unrest, the Great Fire of London, and the growth of metropolitan London. The City’s unique role in national life with its traditional ceremonial role and emergence in the twentieth century as a leading local authority is documented here."

October 29, 2010
4. Group presentations
Camberwell, Small Seminar, Wilson Road, 11.00 - 13.00Followed by a VISIT to the British Museum to see the Elgin Marbles, with Jim Pearson and Adrian Holme 14.00-16.00The group presentations are an opportunity for collaborative groups (or individuals) to present and discuss work they have seem or made. Studio visits to discuss your work are also possible. You may also want to discuss writings from the reading list, or even bring in a short film to show to the group for discussion.

Plus an opportunity to:
  • Discuss responses to weeks 2 and 3.
  • Discuss progress of any collaborative or individual work.

The Elgin Marbles
The Elgin Marbles were removed from the Parthenon in Athens and acquired by Lord Elgin in 1801-1805. These scuplutural freizes, removed from the 2,500 year old temple to Athena, are among key classical Greek and Roman works given a foundational status in Western culture. The sculptures themselves formed the basis for further works in the Renaissance, including by Michelangelo. How do we criticise and interpret such works of classical sculpture, eroded over time, removed from a building, transported, and displayed in a museum at the other end of Europe? Today, a further dimension to consider is the political controversy relating to the request of the Greek government for their return and the construction of a new museum by the Parthenon in Athens intended for their display - currently displaying casts.

November 5, 2010
5. Visit: In search of allegory
National Gallery visit – seminars in front of allegorical paintings by
Colin Wiggins & Karly Allen of the National Gallery
National Gallery, 13.45 sharp
One way in which works of art can carry intentional meaning is through allegory. Meaning literally ‘speaking otherwise’ allegory (emblematic works, extended metaphors), with a relationship to shared texts, have been an important genre in Western Art since the Renaissance. An opportunity to experience seminars in front of the allegorical works themselves, presented by art historians from the National Gallery.

But why use visual allegory to convey a text? What does the visual do that a text does not? Why did allegory decline, and what has happened to allegory and symbolism in art and design since?

November 12, 2010
6. The construction of space
Psychogeography – interpretation of a city?
Talk by Gareth Polmeer / plus group presentations
Camberwell, Ground Seminar, Wilson Road, 11.00-13.00

Followed after lunch at 14.00 by a Walk around Camberwell with Adrian and Gareth
‘All space is occupied by the enemy. We are living under a permanent curfew. Not just the cops – the geometry.’ (Gray C, 1998, p26).
We may think that we live in mathematical and dimensional space. But do we experience the world in this way? Psychogeography draws upon diverse sources such as the writings of visionaries like William Blake who mapped the spiritual city of Jerusalem onto London, Baudelair’s nation of the ‘flaneur’ wandering the city, and the writings of the Situationist International in the second half of the 20th Century with their ideas of the drift (dérive) and of urban resistance.
Acting course leader in Film and Video at UCA Maidstone, Gareth utilises a wide range of media, including film, photography, video, sound, and text, to explore aspects of landscape, psychogeography and documentary.

Gray, Christopher, editor, Leaving the 20th Century: the Incomplete Work of the Situationist International, London: Rebel P, 1998. p26

November 19, 2010
7. Group presentations at Wilson Road, Small Seminar, 11.00-13.00
  • Feedback on psychogeography session

VISIT Followed by a walk to nearby Flat Time House, Bellenden Road for a tour of the space and a talk by curator Elisa Kay on the work of John Latham (14.00)
Alternative views of space and time from John Latham:John Latham famously (aided by his students) chewed up and spat out a library book of Greenberg’s critical writings ‘Art and Culture’for which he was relieved of his teaching post at St Martins – the regurgitated and distilled remains, installed in a travelling case, now reside in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
A radical view of space and time from this conceptual artist, sculptor, filmmaker - criticism and interpretation of conceptual art, sculpture, film

November 26, 2009
8. Peter Nencini - questions of art, design and aesthetics
Further group presentations followed by a talk and showing of work by Peter Nencini, Senior Lecuter on Illustration at Camberwell
Camberwell, Small Seminar, Wilson Road, 11.00-13.00
Peter Nencini has recently showed his work in Berlin and New York. His throws into question the boundaries between disciplines such as illustration, art and design. He will bring examples of his three dimensional work to the seminar

  • Feedback on Flat Time House
  • Review of work / visits / writings

December 3, 2010
9. Group Presentations / studio visit
Camberwell, Small Seminar, Wilson Road, 11.00-13.00Further presentations by groups or individuals at Wilson Road or in studio visits at Camberwell on criticism and interpretation of work seen, work made or critical works read.
  • Feedback on progress of work and thoughts on the Event in January

December 10, 2010
10. Group presentations or studio visits followed by a visit to The Turner Prize, Tate Britain
Camberwell, Small Seminar, Wilson Road, 11.00-13.00
Plus feedback on progress of work in general (including written element) and plans for the Event
January 14, 201111. Group presentations and review of progress and plans for the Elective Event (21-22 January)
Hand in of project/journal and evaluative report
Camberwell, Small Seminar, Wilson Road, 11.00-13.00

January 14 2011 is project/journal plus evaluative report hand-in deadline (to Adrian, or via administration)

January 20-21, 2011
Afternoon / evening of Thursday January 20 and all day Friday January 21
Venues and details to be decided (will include Wilson Road)

January 28, 2011
13. Assessment feedback session
Written feedback and all work returned
Camberwell, Small Seminar, Wilson Road, 11.00-13.00