With my final piece more or less finished I thought I would fill in the missing gaps on this blog in regards to this particular project as concisely as possible…
From researching artists who have made use of the readymade such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Picasso, what appealed to me most was the idea that by simply using a real object next to an image like a painting, the image is shown to be a fake. A dialogue about images is created. Everything got fairly pretentious at this point. I also liked the idea of making a hybrid piece of painting and 3D readymade elements.
Pablo Picasso- Still Life 1912
Then we made the vinamolds with ready made objects. The objects we chose pretty much dictated the project so I tried to find something in my house that would have the most potential, and which looked interesting. Eventually I settled on a bust of Lenin which I found in my loft.
I thought about ideas regarding material transformations and what would be interesting with the idea of a bust and with the figure of Lenin. The turning point was when I did some research into Lenin and found that his embalmed body is kept in a mausoleum; I thought this could be the basis of a piece about materials. I also discovered that after his death he became the centre of an unwanted cult of personality via propaganda. I thought this could relate to my research into Johns and Picasso, with Lenin being an example of the weirdness of images, and his readymade counterpart being part of a project combining a flat visual piece and a 3D element.
Eventually I decided the material transformation would be into wax, which I would melt slightly to show the distortion of the image of Lenin. I kept the idea of making a hybrid piece, making a collage of various images of Lenin next to each other. Helen suggested from my looking at Johns and Joseph Cornell the idea of a box. Anyway this is all in the other posts.
Now I’m done the piece had a few changes made. It was originally intended to be wall mounted, but I prefer the idea of the box sitting on a shelf like some of Cornell’s work does, and because I also added a fabric element which imitates the cloth in Lenin’s Moscow Mausoleum, which sits in part under the box, reducing the practicality of wall mounting.
Joseph Cornell- Naples 1942
And I think that’s everything.
I think overall this project was quite successful, with the research, development and final piece phases flowing very easily and naturally into one another. I found the subject and concept of the readymade interesting throughout and found it easy to come up with ideas in regards to it. I also really liked discovering new processes which I think will be really useful in future, such as the transfer drawings and the casting using vinamold.
While I’m pleased with final piece I think the ideas are fairly muddled and with a little more time I would have refined these and made a clearer piece. However the construction of the piece went very smoothly and on an aesthetic level at least I am pleased with the box. The melting wax figure at the bottom surveyed by multiplying images is quite creepy and the use of a box has a slightly morbid coffin association.
This project was also really fun to work on because my final piece is pretty much the opposite to the kind of art I usually make; little use of drawing, lots of found images, lots of printing, 3D elements, a political theme and a slightly morbid edge are all things I have more or less never looked at before in any depth. So it was very nice to leave the comfort zone and go into the weird creepy political art zone.