Yesterday was my first tryst with CO2- the project space and despite of the amount of criticism I received, I still think it was a success. But success is subjective to the goal itself. My goal for the project space was set in accordance to my understanding of CO2 as an experimental space and that is what I did by deciding to show an assemblage instead of the drawings I developed throughout the semester. This change of decision was made very close to the project space opening. Time was short and the territory of installation unfamiliar. How brave or foolish it was to choose upon a medium in which I had never worked earlier is hard to say, but I surely got where I wanted to be i.e. a little closer to understanding the metaphorical value of images and more importantly the distance between my (as artist) and others (as audience) reading of imagery.
Where you come from, Where you go to?
Firstly, I realized that source of objects in an installation is important. For instance, there was speculation about the source of the metal goblet, and its Asian appearance due to brass and engraved patterns. The two mirrors, and the meat were likewise questioned. There were speculations over why the meat was sourced from supermarket and not from a deli. The appearance, history and manufacturing affects the reading of objects’ meanings a great deal. This was one major lesson learned. It has given me an insight to the plates I am painting this semester. I have understood that the source of my plates, vintage or Ikea, have to play important role in negotiating what is painted upon them e.g. a vintage plate with an image of pig or sheep might be more fitting and the Ikea plate is the right choice for painting objects I am deterring from buying (365 days of with or without) because both represent the same era of mad consumerist behavior. These decisions would go long way in the making of these art works.
Do you see what I see?
The second major criticism that I faced was the obviousness of things. This is the most challenging part of making art for me as I have realized that very often what is obvious to me is not obvious to others and vice-versa. The pig sculpture in the goblet was one part of installation that incurred questioning as to why it had to be there when the meat on the tray was already pork. Most people felt it was unnecessary and “overdone”. This is the exact point of negotiation which I find most particularly challenging- what to throw and what to keep? and yet I know this is what distinguishes mediocre to brilliant. while I understood the audience point of view regarding the unnecessary elements for this particular installation, I also understood that the I need to focus more energies on developing an understanding towards obvious/non-obvious. Whether I will discover a method or simply develop my intuition is yet to be seen.
Right things and things that could be better.
The decision to hang the round mirror on the wall in allignment to the center of drawing on the opposite wall was a decision that I am proud of. This mirror was the only point of contact between the two works and the composition of drawing table and mirror made as much sense to others as it did to me. The meat on the mirror was the main point of discussion for me and so it remained.
My overriding thought of a huge mirror with a huge amount of pork salamis turned out to be right when a tutor mentioned the same. There were little details- the tongs instead of cake knife, finishing of the table cover and goblet- were the right instincts which were picked on later and therefore proved to be important details.
I would stand by the choice of displaying the goblet and the pig, at least until I resolve the issue of obvious/non-obvious in my head. A tutor asked me why the pig was in the cup? I was buckling under pressure by then and therefore staggered in answering. But I know why the pig was in the cup. The cup reminds me of medieval ages and the royal food and drinking orgies. The kings and his counsel drinking and eating incessantly seemed to embody the pig himself. so the answer is, the pig was swimming in the cup.
Joanna’s observation of the installation giving an ethnic Indian origin vibe was somewhat disturbing and takes me back to a text by Arnd Schnieder, “On Appropriation” about how cultural cross pollination negates an artist representing a culture or ethnicity and how artists should not be seen as representatives of culture. The Indian element was not intentional, was it intuitive or imagined?
The placement of an image on an object and the placement of the object itself- I seem to have resolved this to a certain degree.
I know now which images to go on which plates and which plates to go where. Whether my deductions from the crit this week are right or wrong, I shall find out in the portfolio assessment for next week.