Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Friday, June 26 2009: summary from this morning

I love the way my friend Este puts narrative into perspective. Este has a very excellent way with words. "The narrative is the thread that weaves events together to form the story. and then : "Of course we can find stories everywhere, they can belong to a collective group - our family or nation or country or just us - about our past, present or future."

  • The historical and the mere aspect of intaglio printing, creating duplicates, the act of duplicating naturally lends itself to storytelling
  • William Hogarth looks specifically at the degredation of morals in 18th Century

  • Hogarth's work is relatively light-hearted, but the criticism is cleary evident

  • sequential narratives that mock society's ways - the upper class wastefulness, laziness, cruelty and over-consumption of spirits

  • example of the Marriage a la Mode Series (no. 1-6)

  • Daughter of wealthy merchant forced arranged marriage with bankrupt Earl Squanderfield, parties, squander, adultery, syphillis, degradation of values and home, physically, mentally, financially

  • Goya (1746 – 1828). - born in Spain, quick background of when and where he lived

  • 18th C Spain - social and political system dominated by Church

  • 3 estates, clergy, nobility and the "rest"- who were heavily taxed

  • pics of royalty (7,8,9)

  • france - king louis xiv, marie antoinette, squandered taxes on wars

  • embittered french citizens led to french revolution - overthrow of monarchy

  • goya reached height of popularity in late 1700's

  • painter to king

  • saw things for what they are - mockery on royalty

  • sudden decline for goya as well with illness leaves him deaf

  • introspective - reads on philosophies of the french revolution

  • bitter and satirical aquatinted series made during 1790's title

  • caprichos

  • dark prints - withdrawn - sleep of reason produces monsters (n0.10)

  • goya feels trapped and locked in in his mind

  • causes pain by rememberance and thinking - can't sleep and distinguish - reason is put to sleep in himself and society - produces monsters

  • hearing all but a memory

  • withdrawn and mocks society - degredation of morals, superstition, ignorance and inabilities of ruling calss, marital mistakes, decline of rationality

  • informal style, as well as the depiction of contemporary society

  • prints (11-18)

  • overthrow of french, death of king louis xiv, marie antoinette beheaded, spain royalty tries to save louis xiv (shows royalty weren't against lifestyle of the french monarchy)

  • napoleonic takes control, napoleonic wars of the peninsula of spain (ally england & portugal

  • peninsula war lasts 6 years, - 1808-1814 goya absolute low

  • disasters of war series (scened from the Peninsula war)

  • show prints (19-28) Titles such as: third of may 1808, The same_thing, And are like wild beasts, They do not want to, What courage, With or without reason, Saturn_Devouring_son (greek myth children would supplant him).

  • then sa art -

  • like the sequential narrative work of hogarth and then goya who comment on society and its follies

  • so too does, the bittercomix artists Intro to history a bit with work of kannemeyer (fear of a black planet) and botes

  • bittercomix is started by conrad botes, anton kannemeyer

  • raised a storm of controversy through their assault on the Afrikaner cultural mainstream, which they have developed into a broader critique of South African society. kannemeyer and botes grew up apartheid -In the repressive and dangerous climate, it was only via underground channels that any creator-driven expression could eventually be attempted. 1992 found their fiercely critical and controversial Bitterkomix publication in Afrikaans. Their furious, no-nonsense clarity and uncensored gall poked and prodded at the politicos and racists. privately printed and secretly circulated. referencing numerous loaded sources from the colonialist trappings of Tintin - cannot escape his colonial past, regardless of his political conviction (just because he may be white, does not mean he represents...).

  • show examples (30-42)
  • Goya is critical of socio political morals of his time, so too Botes and Kannemeyer of society, and even they hypocrisy of the Church/religion
  • after aparth. became clear that they were going to continue to expose hypocrisy and corruption under the new democracy wherever it might be lurking - perceived once again as seditious undesirables. Ten years (2004) since the release of Mandela, Botes and Dog remain as critical and uncompromising of the system and of themselves. see no reason to stop antagonising anyone in power and dissecting the most sacred of cows. As Dog puts it, "You brought me up and taught me to fear, to discriminate and hate. And now I must forgive you? No, fuck that."

  • investigation of the fear and anxiety that underlie South Africa's fragile democracy - like goya who reads philosophies of french revolution, parallel to SA's Truth and Reconciliation Stories
  • "Fear of a black Planet"

  • Other Artists where Fear and Anxiety: Colbert Mashile (cultural norms circumcision) print 43

  • 44.Kentridge_Massacre of the Innocents_sugar_lift and aquatint

  • 46.Mal d Afrika(African Sickness)_sugar_lift and aquatint

  • "More broadly Mr. Kentridge, 53, said he sees the nose as a metaphor for those parts of our selves in conflict, those impulses that stir up trouble because they have a mind of their own" references below.

  • Mr. Kentridge made his name as an artist willing to confront political complexities in subtle, even personal ways

  • Mining imagery - harsh, source of pain, source of money, industrial backbone of SA economy, especially the JHB (Egoli - city of Gold) / Gauteng area of SA
  • then the artist diane victor her series "disasters of peace"
  • "The images I am working with are taken from our daily media coverage of recent and almost commonplace happenings in newspapers, on TV and on radio of social and criminal acts of violence and ongoing unnecessary deathes - occurrences so frequently that they no longer raise an outcry from our public, yet they still constitute disaster in peacetime". Diane Victor
  • We all have stories to tell, some may not be as direct as others, all live with some fear of anxiety, contrast in our lives, draw upon that, may be in your dreams, put together arbitrary image that may or may not relate - contrast big, small and the absurd to create new work, new meaning, you may not know what you want to create, at first, so just put things/symbols together that contrast and form part of your lives. - to tell your story!




http://www.davidkrut.com/artists.php (colbert mashile and kentridge)



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kiki Smith and Tension

What I am most drawn to the work of Kiki Smith is the tension she creates in her narrative etchings. As a youth she was exposed to many cultural stories and rituals. These transcend into her work - she explores especially the tension experienced during puberty. I remember viewing a image Smith creates of the Alice Wonderland story by Lewis Carroll _ A Pool of Tears. A seemingly innocent scene has been reworked by Smith to create an innocent Alice drowing in water, a metaphor of innocence lost. I especially enjoy her continual process in the etching medium. She reworks and reworks plate, layer upon layer, history upon history. The very valuable Moma interactive website about Kiki Smith is worth a look:

ps. I have previously mentioned Smith in my blog: in reference to Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Is she trying to tell us something? Def. worth reading more on her.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


So a few weeks ago my contract to teach 1.5 units of the Printmaking 334 class at UVic came through. Same one as last year. It is going to be good and I have been doing quite a bit of research over the last while. I have put together a word document with a list of printmaking workshops throughout the world. I am busy including these as links on the right-hand column of this blog. Over the next week, I thought it would also be a good idea to list some contemporary artists who are practising in this medium.