Thursday, 31 March 2011

12-Pages Online Project Space Call for Submissions - Issue 6

TBC Artists' Collective has announced the 6th Issue of the 12-PAGES online project space under the theme:


Edited by Charley Peters and Paul Mendez, this issue aims to capture the state of movement, form and gesture in contemporary art practice.

MOVEMENT is the title of New Order's 1981 debut album. Released just eighteen months after the suicide of Ian Curtis, it represented the action of the remaining band members to regroup and evolve, capturing both the detritus of what had occurred and the seeds of what was forthcoming.

MOVEMENT implies performativity. Whether it incorporates the whole body, as in the case of dance, or just part(s) of it, artists have investigated the effects of movement in their works since natural dyes were first used on cave walls. The drawings of Henri Matisse, for example, uncover a lifetime's approach to his stated desire to 'reconceive in simplicity'. The direct and honest marks left by him are a testament to his belief that drawing is the most intimate means of artistic activity - that it is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence.'

The need to make marks, record our experiences visually or indulge our desires to leave a physical impression on the world is part of our makeup as human beings. The simple movement of mark-making instruments across a surface and the traces left behind is as old as humanity itself, and will endure forever as a record of what has been and an anticipation of what is to come next.

MOVEMENT (Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus) NOUN 1 an act or the process of moving. 2 a group of people who share the same aims and ideas: the women's movement. 3 a trend or development. 4 (movements) a person's activities during a particular period of time. 5 a main division of a musical work. 6 the moving parts of a mechanism, especially a clock or watch.

SYNONYMS 1 motion, move; gesture, sign, signal; acton, activity. 2 transportation, shifting, conveyance, moving, transfer. 3 group, party, faction, wing, lobby, camp; division, sect, cult. 4 campaign, crusade, drive, push, initiative. 5 development, change, fluctuaion, variation. 6 trend, tendency, drift, swing, shift; march. 7 progress, development, change, advance, improvement. 8 part, section, division; act.

relating to movement - kinetic
fear of movement - kinetophobia

Please submit all works related to MOVEMENT to View the submission guidelines here.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Economy

J.M.W. Turner's Boats at Sea, photo courtesy of Tate

One of the best paintings at Tate's Watercolour show was Turner's Boats at Sea, a ruthless, elementary yet evocative dash-off that nevertheless perfectly captured the architecture and tone of ships sailing as the sun began to set.

It is usually more difficult to express an idea in the simplest of terms than it is to 'throw the kitchen sink' at it - one need only listen to a politician or curator ad-libbing for confirmation of that. The great challenge of abstraction is to create real meaning from the least possible resources; what can be achieved with a precisely chosen word, a strategic fold or perfectly weighted brush stroke?

Turner provides a surprising, and surprisingly contemporary, example.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Natural Disaster

Automobiles caught up in the March 2011 Japanese tsunami are flung about like empty crisp packets on a high wind
Natural disasters do not wait for TV cameras. Like a child or animal Hamlet they clear their lungs and begin their grand soliloquies "with feeling" in one profound, unique take, often when the crew is still asleep.

Once the cameras start rolling, however, affected voyeurs shed tears, as if at a movie. As arresting as the images are, we've seen them all before on the big screen. We are desensitised to violence and destruction, and almost revel in the live action. "The BBC has an incredible video..." Only in the real light of day can such disasters profoundly affect us. Twenty-four-hour TV coverage and analysis of such events is the armchair version of crowds gathering in the immediate aftermath of a car crash, hoping for a glimpse of a severed arm, broken leg or charred face. We condescend to appraise others' pity, knowing we can do nothing to help, as if watching every move is somehow to "be there" for an old friend.

We want an apocalypse, for the spectacle of it, and it will be televised.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

An Immersive Journey

Douglas Gordon k.364 installation view, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

I walked into a mirror on my way into the space, but was mesmerised until a group of shrill American teenage girls bounded in hysterically, as only shrill American teenage girls can, and do. Otherwise, the Mozart concerto is exquisite, and one finds oneself sharing with the two violinists the beauty of performance and observation. The alternate expressions of glee and intense concentration on their faces is affecting.

It is rare to experience such an intimate perspective on an orchestral performance, unless a musician buried in the orchestral pit, but even then one is too entirely preoccupied with the nuances of one's own sheet music to worry about the fit of a violinist's trousers at the ankle. The conductress looks like Iris Murdoch.

k.364 is as dissonant as it is harmonious, a document of two journeys happening simultaneously, each with the same end. The entire film is a diptych, a duet. The first part of the film - detailing ethereally the journeys of two Jewish violinists as they make their way by train to perform in Warsaw - is free of music but not of sound, and even then, two soundtracks are layered over one another to denote the performance of a duet.

Music only exists when it reaches our ears, the subtitles say. Otherwise it is written notation, or drawing, or maybe even less: Gordon sets fire to the score, yet still sees fit to frame it. There is destruction elsewhere - the November 2006 issue cover of Awake! magazine, published by Jehovah's Witnesses, makes an appearance amongst the adjoining miscellany: '"Why?" Answering the Hardest of Questions' is its title. References to the Holocaust abound, clumsily or tastelessly according to some critics. Perhaps the allusion is a little trite, but as an expression of eulogy this exhibition is triumphant, mourning the great lost whether profound or trivial, whether lives of the great and good or the ephemera we collect, into which our identities bleed indelibly when we die.

Douglas Gordon k.364, Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Row, London WC1X, until 26 March 2011