Week 06
November 12 2010
Presentations plus Gareth Polmeer, and a walk around Camberwell (in the rain)
Two excellent group presentations were made at this week's session.

First presentation - some questions of 'truth'
The first group (Jacob, Juan, Anne, Katie and Trevor) raised some questions about the nature of 'truth' in art and its relationship to the 'real' using examples from photography, painting and scupture. The use of examples from a range of media was unusual, and reflects something so valuable about an elective that integrates people from different disciplines.

Joel Sternfield - Exhausted renegade elephant. Source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UxkK1iwdUeI/S6yZhCzHUNI/AAAAAAAAABI/EChNtm90zt0/s400/b889f51c.jpg
Joel Sternfield - Exhausted renegade elephant. Source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UxkK1iwdUeI/S6yZhCzHUNI/AAAAAAAAABI/EChNtm90zt0/s400/b889f51c.jpg

Joel Sternfield. McLean, Virginia, 1978. Source http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UxkK1iwdUeI/S6yZCw-QjkI/AAAAAAAAABA/aUd8qzydXUM/s1600/dcd14e6f
Joel Sternfield. McLean, Virginia, 1978. Source http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UxkK1iwdUeI/S6yZCw-QjkI/AAAAAAAAABA/aUd8qzydXUM/s1600/dcd14e6f


Jeff Wall (1993) A sudden gust of wind (after Hokusai). Source: http://images.nymag.com/arts/art/reviews/jeffwall070305_560.jpg
Jeff Wall (1993) A sudden gust of wind (after Hokusai). Source: http://images.nymag.com/arts/art/reviews/jeffwall070305_560.jpg


One comparison made was between the work of Joel Sternfield, whose photographs rely upon being in the right place at the right time, and Jeff Wall, whose work is elaborately constructed. The above work is crafted by manipulating a number of images, and the work itself, as the title makes clear, is closely based upon a print by the Japanese artist / printmaker Hokusai.

According to the Tate.org website, the Jeff Wall image 'required over 100 photographs, taken over the course of more than a year, to achieve a seamless montage that gives the illusion of capturing a real moment in time.'

Jacob poses the following questions:
'As a presentation of truth, the Sternfeld is the truth of one instance and the Jeff Wall is the truth of many instances – does this make the Jeff Wall image more “true” than the Sternfeld?
Where the Sternfeld is a record of the visit to that instance in time, the Jeff Wall is the record of his relationship and involvement with the place as well as what he is trying to deliver through the construction of the image.
In the role of camera / photographer as archivist / documentarian, does this make the Jeff Wall more valuable in terms of record than the Sternfeld?
Does this mean Jeff Wall is more involved or has more invested in his work than Sternfeld does? Can a work, which is a “snapshot”, be more involved than a “constructed” image?'

sudden_gust_of_wind_-_hokusai.jpg
Hokusai. A sudden gust of wind

Other works discussed were Cherie Levine's 1980 re-photographing of a photo by Robert Weston; Charles Ray's intricate and faithful cast, in wood, of a massive tree trunk; Michael Craig-Martin's conceptual work 'Oak Tree' (appearing as a glass of water on a shelf with explanatory text); and staged works by Cartier Bresson.

What is the difference between the 'real' and the 'true' in the context of art? Before the advent of photography, truth tended to mean that which was reasonable, but subsequently people tended to equate truth with what could be photographed.


Second presentation - Louise Bourgeois, Fabric Works
An excellent review and discussion of the Louise Bourgeois Fabric Works exhibition at Hauser and Wirth, London (to December 18, 2010).

An interesting aspect raised was the degree to which one might interpret Louise Bourgeois' s works (in modernist fashion) in terms of her own experience or her own psyche, or whether one might put such aspects aside and look at questions of the function or the reception of the work, without regard to the author's intention or psychology (or psychopathology even).

Gareth Polmeer
Gareth presented on a range of ideas around his own work - psychogeography, Neo-Palladianism, Guy Debord and Situationism, questions of landscape, and even the slogan found on building sites 'Improving the image of construction'.
His presentation culminated in a preview of his most recent film, an exploration of the Queen's House at Greenwich (Inigo Jones) achieved by filming from a fixed point, with a regime alterations to camera settings. It was a mesmerising film - a meditation on time and space in relation to architecture and landscape - with the viewer aware of seeing as a conscious act.

A walk around Camberwell
(See also Camberwell - exploration)
Wilson_Road.jpg
Braving the rain for a walk around Camberwell - Wilson Road site - a former Grammar School

The walk around Camberwell took place in spite of the rain...
The Wilson Road site was formerly a grammar school, which Jim Pearson informed us, was attended by film star Michael Cain. A school had been established in Wilson Road long before by the church of Saint Giles. (Note the ionic pillasters framing the entrance).
DSC08211.JPG
Former public baths, Artichoke Place



camberwell_church_st.jpg
Camberwell Church Street - oddly restored (Art Deco) element in Victorian facade above United Super Store


Camberwell_Grove_-.jpg
Camberwell Grove - new neo-Georgian development with faux bricked up windows


Camberwell_grove_new_building_with_door_handle.jpg
Security door handle set into image of new development, Camberwell Grove


camberwell_grove_flats_with_unusual_feature.jpg
Camberwell Grove modernist Local Authority flats with unusual feature - functional yet decorative


pineapple_camberwell_grove.jpg
Camberwell Grove - pineaple, emblem of wealth, mounted outside Georgian house


Home