Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Rachel Whiteread Embankment - Installation Tate Modern 2005

Although the inspiration for EMBANKMENT came from the single box she found in her mother's house, Whiteread selected a number of differently-shaped old boxes to construct the installation for the Turbine Hall. She filled them with plaster, peeled away the exteriors and was left with perfect casts, each recording and preserving all the bumps and indentations on the inside. They are ghosts of interior spaces or, if you like, positive impressions of negative spaces. Yet Whiteread wanted to retain their quality as containers, so she had them re-fabricated in a translucent polyethylene which reveals a sense of an interior. And rather than make precious objects of them, she constructed thousands.

Around the time Whiteread began to work on this project she was preoccupied by the final scene of Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), in which the fabled Ark of the Covenant is stored away. After being gently lowered into a crate and the top nailed down, it is wheeled off on a trolley. As the camera pans away we see that when it takes its place it will be just one in a gargantuan warehouse full of crates filled with heaven knows what. Whiteread has spoken of wanting to make the Turbine Hall into a kind of warehouse, and this is an intriguing response to a space which was once industrial but is now a museum. For what is a museum, after all, but a storage depot for art?

Whiteread's work, EMBANKMENT also makes reference to the legacy of American Minimalism. Artists like Donald Judd were drawn to the look of pristine, industrially fabricated cubes, and they used them to explore issues of repetition, the impersonality of mass production, and the relationship of the viewer's body to the space occupied by objects. However, the cubes that make up Whiteread's EMBANKMENT depart radically from these themes. Rather than impersonality, they maintain the imprints of human use; they are stacked up in both ordered and disordered piles; and whilst they encourage us to think about the space they inhabit, en masse they are also a spectacle, an unforgettable image that reveals itself slowly as the viewer approaches.

At one stage, Whiteread had considered making a single vast monumental sculpture for the Turbine Hall. Ironically, what she finally came up with is an anti-monument, a form collapsed back into a landscape. The title refers not only to its riverside location, close to the Thames embankment, but to the nature of its construction with the piles of individual boxes forming a series of barriers.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Carsten Holler - Helter Skelter Sculpture

For Carsten Höller, the experience of sliding is best summed up in a phrase by the French writer Roger Caillois as a 'voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind'. The slides are impressive sculptures in their own right, and you don't have to hurtle down them to appreciate this artwork. What interests Höller, however, is both the visual spectacle of watching people sliding and the 'inner spectacle' experienced by the sliders themselves, the state of simultaneous delight and anxiety that you enter as you descend.

To date Höller has installed six smaller slides in other galleries and museums, but the cavernous space of the Turbine Hall offers a unique setting in which to extend his vision. Yet, as the title implies, he sees it as a prototype for an even larger enterprise, in which slides could be introduced across London, or indeed, in any city. How might a daily dose of sliding affect the way we perceive the world? Can slides become part of our experiential and architectural life?
Höller has undertaken many projects that invite visitor interaction, such as Flying Machine (1996) that hoists the user through the air,Upside-Down Goggles (1994/2001) that modify vision, and Frisbee House (2000) - a room full of Frisbees. The slides, like these earlier works, question human behaviour, perception and logic, offering the possibility for self-exploration in the process.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Gaudi Architecture

Look at the way the stairs wraps around the inside of the tower

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

MC Escher face wrap and repeating images

MC Escher Graphical Artist whose work looked at maths in Art. He used repeating images. here a head is suggested with negative space by the form of the skin 'wrapping' around the outside.

Bridget Riley Paintings that look like wrapped fabric

Superb UK Abstract painter, creates paintings that actually look like they move




Sunday, 21 January 2007

Andy Warhol