Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Julie Dodd
The day to day life of a struggling artist.
# 157 [18 February 2012]
I'm very nervous for tonight as I haven't seen my work up at all. I left instructions so hopefully it's not far off what I've planned. I forgot to give Matthew any business cards so I'll have to remember to take some with me this evening. I'm mostly concerned that my reaction wont be good if I'm not happy, I'm not very good at hiding how I feel.
# 156 [17 February 2012]
Just back on British soil and it feels good. Exhausted but need to blog as I've just seen photographs of our work at the Stockholm art fair through facebook. Exciting stuff. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/SCI/170190669682733
# 155 [17 February 2012]
We're all packed up and ready for home, sitting in McDonalds with a coffee so I can blog. Just climbed up too many steps to count to the Sacré-Coeur which over looks Paris. Many shops, cafes and galleries sit in back streets on the hill too and we have spent the morning visiting them. There is a square filled with artists painting various areas of Paris and others drawing portraits or caricatures. I was tempted to buy something but decided I couldn't afford anything. It was really pleasant to sitting outside a cafe though people watching but it was short lived with the kids in tow.
# 154 [16 February 2012]
Just a quick post on the other artwork at the Pompidou.
Oedipus by Jan Mancuska is a text based piece which spans from two corners of the room to the corners crossing in the middle. Two versions of the same story are being told and its these different contexts paths crossing that make up the work. But the simplicity of the installation is stunning too.
Zilvinas Kempinas 'Flux' had the kids mesmerised and us all flummoxed to how the artist had been able to get the tape moving in the air without suspending it and we couldn't figure out how the fan was keeping the tape from wandering from above the plinth.
It's the Professional Preview at the Stockholm Art Fair tonight. I'm still gutted I couldn't go. Paris is a good consolation though.
# 153 [16 February 2012]
Just got back from a very tiring day of trying to get everything done. I'm feeling very nervous for my work being on show at Fixation tonight on the p.v. of the exhibition, I hope there's a good turn out and that none of my work has fallen down.
Today we visited the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame and the Pompidou centre. This was what i'd been waiting for, having been before whilst in the third year of my degree with other art students I was so excited to be going back. It cost 26 euros for us to get in and I had to persuade the family to go in with me because all they wanted to do was ride the escalators to the roof to see the view over Paris. So that was what we had to do first. Even with the best view over Paris I really didn't want to do this as the escalators are on the outside of the building and I find it terrifying and can't enjoy the view knowing that I have to get back down at some stage, but with that done we went exploring...
There was a lot of closed off areas and a huge amount of space given to 'manga' which doesn't interest any of us. The kids in school study manga and can follow their studies up with a continuation for their gcse exam. It's very popular but I just can't find any appreciation for it. So this time the Pompidou was dissapointing for me.
There where a few really interesting pieces that we all stopped to take in but for most of our time there I was rushed along because the others weren't interested.
I had seen 'Sasa' by El Anatsui on my previous visit but it's so beautiful and breath taking that I was pleased to get the chance to see it again and show it to the family. What appears to be a huge draping cloth of rich fabrics resembling Gustav Klimts work or something once belonging to an Egyptian pharaoh was in fact made from recycled bottle tops sewn together with copper wire.
The most exciting piece of work for me was one of the 'Abakan' pieces by Magdalena Abakanowicz. I studied her for my dissertation on: Motivation and reasoning behind installations of single type objects in mass quantity using repetitive processes.
It was fantastic being able to see it in the flesh, get up close to see the detail. But I would really love to see it amongst the others, somehow it didn't seem complete.
I think I was spoilt seeing 'Embryology' at the Tate Liverpool which was shown as part of the Liverpool Biennial a couple of years ago. An organic looking installation made up of hundreds of hand-sewn objects scattered all over the floor. You could walk amongst them and I can remember who tempting it was to touch them as they are such tactile objects. I think for me no other work would compare! Appealing but repelling too, right up my street.
I'll write more later.
Added 19th Feb
Thought you might like to read more about Magdelenas Abakans, this is from my disseration.
Motivation and reasoning behind installations of single type objects in mass quantity using repetitive processes
'Her initial works are abstract but contain noticeable figurative elements. The first internationally recognised works being Abakans. These organic looking pieces differ significantly to one another, but in sharing similar qualities are grouped together. They are made from woven wool, with unusual materials such as horse hair incorporated into the weave. All the pieces are individual, possessing variations of colour, shape, or detail. All of them have connections to nature, and are characteristic of the human body, resembling skin, veins and organs. The properties of the weave enable the pieces to expand and contract, adding to the illusion of human qualities. At this early stage in her career Abakanowicz hadn’t worked in sculptural multiples but familiar traits of latter years were developing'.
# 152 [16 February 2012]
I can get wi-fi in the dining room so can blog at breakfast.
I was too tired to write more last night but I want to tell you about another installation we saw yesterday at Le 104. 'Le Labyrinthe' by Michelangelo Pistoletto was free to enter beneath the dance areas I talked about last night. Unfortunately I dropped french as soon as I could and although I regret it now I was terrible at it, so with no English statements I have no idea what this work was about. But I can tell that it's a site specific installation made up of lengths and lengths of corrugated cardboard and I think it has been arranged to resemble ripples from above. This might have been done to resemble disturbed water mimicking how you feel walking through these disorientating, tight spaces with the mirror in the centre being a calm water where you can reflect on your journey through the maze. But really I haven't got a clue.
I remember when I did my art and design foundation course our tutor Vincent Lavell told us not to rely on statements, to decide what the work was about before reading them but I still often struggle.
I enjoyed the experience though, as did the kids. Moving through it my son James had to be told to be careful not to move the cardboard out of shape as he moved through the tighter spaces, when it occured to us that the shape may have been taking on different forms through the interaction of the public.
# 151 [15 February 2012]
Added 19th Feb
I've had to wait to upload photographs and video etc so sorry I'm publishing the posts all at once.
We're in Paris! Our room reminds me of Van Goughs bedroom! The walls, ceiling and floor are all wonky and things roll to the corner. We're not here long and we have planned to cram in as much as we possibly can for the kids. We warned them that they'll be tired and they are already!
If you're going to Paris before 4th March Le 104 is worth a visit. An impressive building stands in a less desirable area of Paris housing the arts. Various visual and performing arts, music and even magic. To get there we walked through quite deprived run down streets and a lot of the time we felt uneasy, but it was worth it.
'Bâtiment' is a large interactive installation by LeandroErich and is a reasonable 5 euros for an adult and 3 euros for under 30s, I know strange. But it was every bit worth the money. A building façade lays flat on the floor with a mirror reflecting the actions of the visitors who appear to be hanging from the building in death defying and impossible positions. The participants became more and more inventive in their positioning, composing themselves in believable situations making the illusion more exciting and creating anxious moments for the viewer before true perception returned! An entertaining piece of work for participant and viewer alike. I've taken loads of photos and video too so I'll add them when I get home.
We found from entering another part of Le 104 a huge central area for the public to use which was surrounded by shops. Split into sections, different activities were going on in each with people sat in deckchairs around the edge watching what seem to be impromptu performances. We've never seen anything like this before and it seemed unreal, we felt like we were on the set of Fame! There were young people that would suddenly stand up and start performing seeming unaware of the audiences and not the least bit uncomfortable when they got it wrong and started again.
A huge blanket covered one area that was scatted with books, Children and mothers sat reading together. And next door teens where dancing in various styles to accompanying music. We stood and watched trying to absorb everything and briefly discussed how this centre would be received in inner city areas of Britain. It's fantastic that the youths at the centre have embraced the opportunity to use this facility to express themselves.
# 150 [14 February 2012]
Joe opened up early as promised and what a good job he did. Five hours later we had almost finished. My daughter Jade was a star, usually very shy, she carried on working whilst I went out for extra white tack not once but twice! Five extra packs did the trick. The walls really make the work stand out but they are a little chalky and the tack didn't like it so I had to apply a lot more than at Arena to get it to stick. Also one wall was a little damp so I don't know if they'll stay up on it but I warned Joe so he's going to keep an eye on it and I gave him some extra tack and uhu just in case. I'm really pleased with the installation, it looks even better than I'd hoped, just hope everyone else feels the same about it. Joe seemed happy with it, can't wait to see it with all the other artwork up too. Got home to quite a tidy, sparse living room but didn't have time to enjoy it because I had to do last minute packing. Going to draw! I know it's unbelievable but it's really the only artwork I can do while I'm travelling and if I don't do something arty I won't know what to do with myself. If I can get onto wifi somewhere I'll post about the galleries I visit, otherwise I'll update when I return.
# 149 [13 February 2012]
Delivered all the work to Mello Mello. Just need to send some images to Matthew alongside the statements so he knows which pieces to place them by. He was a lot calmer about the whole thing than me, haha. He seemed happy with it all and knows what he's doing so I don't know why I'm stressing!
Tomorrow I'm installing 'Inner Beauty' at Wolstenholme. Joe is kindly opening up at 8am so I can get on with it. I need to be home at the latest by 2 and then it's off to Folkestone for the evening before heading to Paris the following morning. I'm going to miss the 'Fixation' opening, I'm gutted. But I am back on Saturday morning so can get over to Liverpool to Mello Mello if anything goes wrong with the solo show and get it sorted in time for the opening.
# 148 [12 February 2012]
I'm going to drop off the work for mello mello tomorrow. I'm feeling a little nervous about it now, Matthew hasn't seen it all yet and I'm worried that it'll be to late to make any changes if its not all alright. I'm also worried in case he has any problems installing it because I'll be away whilst its being put up and I don't get back until the opening night. Fingeres crossed it'll all be ok.
Here's the description I've given for the recycling workshop for publicity, I hope it's not to much:
Workshop with Julie Dodd on 11th of March
Recycling plastic milk containers to create flower garlands
Learn how to transform plastic milk containers into beautiful flower garlands just using a pair of scissors. These garlands make unusual décor for any room as an eye catching feature and a hanging addition to an existing frame or mirror.
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I graduated from a fine art degree course at Wirral Metropolitan College in 2009 , continuing my practice through a fellowship course during 2009-2010 also at Wirral Metropolitan College. I work as an art technician in a high school three days a week. My art practice is based in printmaking, bookmaking and installation work.