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.
On Wednesday I continued to draft out ideas for the final project on my A1 sheet.
I mostly focussed on the collage element which features at the back of the box. I experimented more with the transfer drawings, trying combinations of transfers and creating superimpositions of images over each other.
I became drawn to two more images, that of the parade at Lenin’s death, and in particular the detail of large flags that appear black in the old print; these are very menacing angular forms which I thought would be interesting to isolate. Also this was probably one of the main points at which Lenin’s image changed to the cult of personality.
I was also drawn to a famous pair of photographs, in which Stalin stands by one of his lieutenants, who is then absent in the second photograph despite them being the same image. He was doctored out following a purge. I thought this fit well with the theme of the piece.
In order to show the propaganda element that became Lenin’s image following his death I chose an old Soviet poster which shows Lenin pointing aggressively. I abstracted this into a simple design reducing the colours to black, white and red, and the shapes to simple angles, in imitation of the Russian abstract artists of the 1920s, like El Lissitzky.
Today I continued work on the development of my final piece for this project. I started planning out ideas on a large A1 sheet of paper.
Initially my idea was to create a hybrid collage of painting and casts. Helen suggested to me from my research into Jasper Johns and Joseph Cornell that I create a box or vitrine, an idea which I really liked because it would still incorporate my original idea of mixed media.
Jasper Johns- Target With Four Faces
From making drawings and plans on my sheet my final piece will be a wooden box with a flat collage on the back, with a wax cast resting at the bottom and possibly melting over the edge. I also decided to investigate incorporating other 3D elements such as fabric.
As mentioned in a previous post my piece will aim to explore visually the nature of images, using the example of the way the historical figure of Lenin has been portrayed in images.
I collected from the internet a large bank of images of Lenin and picked the ones I found most striking or most suitable. Immediately I hit upon using a photograph of Lenin disguised as a peasant while in hiding. I liked this because the image has a realistic element, as it is a photograph, and a fake element, namely that Lenin is in disguise. On top of this the image is probably one of those that Lenin himself would have approved of as a portrayal of himself- as a man of the people.
I decided this would be a good image to use as the background collage, located at the top as the image of a sly Lenin viewing the more abstracted images below. I tried several materials, firstly simply gluing the photograph down, and then using a technique Helen showed me wherein the image is printed on to paper by using white spirit as a release agent.
Andy Warhol- Three Elvises
I quickly became quite obsessed with this process for several reasons. Firstly it occupies a space in between photography and drawing which are probably the two areas of art I feel best at. Secondly the aesthetics of the prints are very interesting as the print is always very imperfect, and a large number of prints can be made very quickly. Lastly I felt the results were similar to many pop art pieces I have seen, for example Warhol’s Elvis, which fits into the theme of the ready made in art and the dialogue about visual culture. Also by pressing the image into the paper using a pencil or pen an effect like some of Rauschenberg’s work on paper can be created, and Rauschenberg is one of my favourite artists and a great inspiration on this particular project.
Thusly for the rest of the day I became preoccupied with printing experiments, using different methods of pressing the image into the paper and onto different materials, such as cardboard or a ground of paint. I may even use this method for the whole collage, rather than a mix of printing, drawing and painting as I originally intended.