19 Jun 2013

A Portrait I Never Sat For – Photographs are never late!

Discovered this painting at Tate Britain looking at the currently rehung collection.
Walter Richard Sickert
Miss Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as Isabella of France
Oil on canvas

A small inscription in the bottom right corner catches the eye, stating 'Bertram Park phot.' and indicating a photographic connection. An article on the Tate website confirms this thought.

Apparently, Sickert was a huge fan of using photographs as 'templates' for his paintings and was never secretive about it:

"I have made it quite clear by painting ‘Bertram Park Photo’ in a corner of the canvas that the portrait was copied from a photograph. The photographer has done all the ground work for me. He has caught the life and movement of the pose. So he deserves his name in a prominent position. Painting a portrait is like catching a butterfly. I have painted portraits with my subject before me. But it is seldom absolutely satisfactory. Your sitter, particularly if she is a lady, dislikes keeping regular appointments. She is often late. The artist resents his time being wasted. When his subject does arrive she finds it difficult to sit perfectly still for long intervals. Her irritation shows in her face. That expression very often steals into the portrait. I find a document from which to copy a satisfactory way of painting a portrait." (‘A Portrait I Never Sat For – Miss Ffrangcon-Davies’, Manchester Evening News, 6 September 1932)

Overlooking the misogynist remarks, I think the point he makes about portraits painted 'from life' is very interesting. The fact that the subject has to sit still for quite a length of time, causing the sitter to be irritated which again will be reflected in their expression and therefore causing the portrait to be a distorted image of the subject. 

In another section of the article, Sickert is quoted once again on the use of photographs:

"A photograph is the most precious document obtainable by a sculptor, a painter, or a draughtsman. Canaletto based his work on tracings made with the camera lucida. Turner’s studio was crammed with negatives. Moreau-Néalton’s biography of Millet contains documentary evidence that Millet found photographs of use. Degas took photographs. Lenbach photographed his sitters. To forbid the artist the use of available documents of which the photograph is the most valuable, is to deny to a historian the study of contemporary shorthand reports. The facts remain at the disposition of the artist. I am for the lean ‘war’ horse. (Walter Richard Sickert, ‘Artists and the Camera’, Times, 15 August 1929, in Robins (ed.) 2000, p.591.)

The full article can be read here:


21 Feb 2013

Market Project

I just discovered the fabulous website of 'Market Project – Economic and professional research by artists', an initiative by 8 artists working in the East of England.

One of the posts had the ready made answer I wish I had at hand when I got slapped in the face by a huge paw of capitalism criticism as an answer to my questions how to make money as an artist...

Between a stoke and a smack

November 16, 2012

Extract from a conversation between Ronnie Simpson and Phyllida Barlow in a catalogue produced for her exhibition, STINT at the Mead Gallery, 2008;

RS:  one of the myths surrounding your work is your reluctance to have anything to do with the commercial art world?

PB:  I’m having a whole change of mind about this.  Also, I don’t know if that is accurate.  There’s nothing wrong with selling work.  I’ve never had a problem with that.  I think we don’t know how to resist capitalism – we’re not equipped to do it.  Where we’ve placed ourselves within an art world means we’ve signed up for capitalism whether we like it or not.  If we want to disenfranchise ourselves from capitalism, I think it means an absolutely radical shift in so many ways, where art and life perhaps have to be absolutely entwined – where art and life are one and the same thing.
I want to think more about this, but I’m suggesting that to exist without any relationship to the art world demands making your art outside of it – and what does that mean, in reality, and what does that entail?  Of course, it’s possible.  But the art world is voracious, and has the capacity to devour anything and everything.  An ‘outsider’ becomes just as devourable as an ‘insider’.  Such is the success of this capitalist art world we’re all having to live with.
I don’t think about my work in relation to any commercially driven incentives.  It has to be about the urge to do it, first and foremost.  And to reveal something, to be surprised, to let the work lead into uncharted waters, to let go.  Not for selling to be the prime motive.  However, fees and contracts for commissions etc. are becoming increasingly important.  They are an economic incentive, very much so.

24 Jan 2013

artifact / object:error

I had a studio visit from the Wysing Corporate Collective today...having people come to see work is always a good chance to review my work and get some sense of what I have been doing. The term 'artifact' made its way through my brain and somehow stuck.
Wikipedia provides an interesting view on two of the 'categories' artifacts can describe ... and it somehow made a lot of sense, that in my work I seem to deal with both of these aspects: the objects and the errors.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Artifact(s), or artefact(s), may refer to:


Artifact (archaeology), an object formed by humans, particularly one of interest to archaeologists
Artifact (software development), one of many kinds of tangible byproducts produced during the development of software.
Cultural artifact, anything created by humans which gives information about the culture of its creator and users.
Social artifact, a product of individuals or groups (social beings) or of their social behavior.
Virtual artifact, an object in a digital environment.
Artifact (UML), a term in the Unified Modeling Language.


Artifact (error), undesired alteration in data, introduced by a technique and/or technology.

Compression artifact, when the data compression of an image, audio, or video is too complex, resulting in a loss of clarity 
Digital artifact, any undesired alteration in data introduced during its digital processing.
Iatrogenic artifact, a medical problem created by medical treatment 
Visual artifact, anomalies during visual representation of digital graphics and imagery.
Visual artifact, anomalies during visual representation of digital graphics and imagery.

21 Jan 2013

Drawing workshop with Kate Davis

This weekend I took part in a workshop called 'I Wish I Could Draw' at the Drawing Room London, hosted by artist Kate Davis.

Davis currently has a solo show at the Drawing Room called 'Not Just the Perfect Moments' in which she addresses her relationship with drawing referencing the work and practice of late artist Jo Spence in an attempt to investigate some of the ways in which a representational practice, such as drawing, has constructed perceptions of the individual and in particular the body.

The forum and workshop explored and questioned the practice of delineating, performing and undoing representational figure drawing revealing how drawing has constructed and complicated perceptions of the body? In addition to Kate Davis, artist Jimmy Robert and curator and writer Stacy Boldrick contributed to the workshop.

Outlining their practices and interest of research, Stacy Boldricks initial comment about how the holding of an image can be described as two bodies touching each other, relating to the image as body even if it is inanimate and representative. This concept reminded me of my research and practice during the MA where the image as object had become of interest to me in an attempt to expand the notion of image as representational surface. However, I had never before made the link to the body. Thinking about it, I realised that the aspect of the body as subject of investigation or concern has not been present in my work, at least consciously. The body has been always something highly subjective to me and its existence is eminently ankered in the present and connected to its physical reality.
But the body in representational figure drawings is becoming a different body, an image body.

Kate Davis introduced her work explaining her research background and link to the work of Jo Spence whose work I had not been familiar with. Without going too much into detail on Jo Spence's work, what was really interesting was her approach of reclaiming existing images based on careful observation and through means of reconsruction using the own body and photography. Davis used this method for one of the exercises in the practical workshop, providing photocopies of instructional drawings she found at Glasgow school of Art. Trying to reconstruct the hand poses and gestures with our own hands and taking a photograph in order evaluate the result lead to the realization that the drawings showed highly stylized anatomical proportions and articifially mannerised poses.

In this approach, I can see parallels to my own practice, in which I reconstruct images through observation using drawing instead of photography. Maybe the physical process of drawing, the attempt to translate the seen into something revised has a similar aim, that to reveal a different layer of the image, which otherwise would stay invisible.

25 Sep 2012

surface content

The process of drawing seems to be a thinking about the photograph, less regarding its content but more about its surface? ... I said I would come back to this.

Maybe what needs consideration is what else the photograph is other than its surface.
And in this context, what else is a drawing other than its surface. Given that we are talking about figurative/naturalistic photography/drawing, not abstract, in both cases the surface in its different shadings, shapes, contrasts creates a resemblance of something we 'know' or we can 'recognize' and relate to our experience of reality.
Therefore, the surface would be the key to the content. Linking surface and content creates a duality within imagery that is physical - in the form of the image/object (may it be as photograph, drawing or image on a computer screen) and conceptual/disembodied - in terms of the context/idea.
The term 'form follows function' comes to mind, contrasted with a sentence I once heard from a professors 'the interpretation always comes afterwards / Die Sinngebung erfolgt immer hinterher'. In both cases, there is a sequential aspect, first one then the other.
This habit of splitting something into its different components seems to be rather typical, almost notorious when thinking in the form of analysis comes into the game.
In the process of making work, surface and context/content seem to happen and matter simultaneously. After the process has ended, the surface is finished, the context/content however seems to develop, change, can even transgres depending on who looks at it.
The surface stays passive, the content evolves.

13 Sep 2012

Back to reading

I found an interesting essay in 'Writing on Drawing: Essays on drawing practice and research.' The essay is called 'New beginnings and monstrous births: notes towards an appreciation of ideational drawing' by Terry Rosenberg (Head of Design at Goldsmiths College)
He defines 'ideational drawings' as 'types of drawing, and indeed, drawing processes, where one thinks with and through drawing to make discoveries, find new possibilities that give course to ideas and help fashion their eventual form' (p.109)

The term thinking is described as a state of not-yet knowing...a transient, scintillating state which [here] only exists during the process of drawing.
Whilst using a few examples of a designer who works for Nokia who scribbles away during board meetings, Rosenberg concludes that the drawing themself changes remarkably when its read post-process. He states 'Ideational drawing is only potent in 'action'.' The drawing after it is finished is merely a document of the process of thinking.
Even more importantly he says 'ideational drawing is not a form of communication. The drawing is rather, a denkraum - a space where an individual thinks. The drawing does not need to make sense to anyone else apart from the person drawing - and to themselves only when they are ideating.' (p. 123)

I asked myself how this relates to my own practice of drawing.
Which, in my case is strongly connected to the observation of photographs and their transformation when transcribed into drawing.
I don't doodle around, never actually make any sketches.
The post-process drawing could possibly be seen as a copy of the photograph in the sense that it resembles the photograph in its different components (contrasts, figures, composition), the experience of the making itself however is interesting for another aspect. The initial aspects which made me choose a photo (Barthes described that as puncture) often become unimportant during the process of drawing...they only emerge again after the drawing is finished. During the process of drawing however, the attention is often focussed on shapes, forms, directions, the so-called surface.
The photographs I use are often reproductions in old text books or generally have existed for a number of years, so traces of material failures, dispursing ink, over/under exposure play a role in the existance of the image that lays in front of me.
The process of drawing seems to be a thinking about the photograph, less regarding its content but more about its surface?
I have to come back to this...

8 May 2012

Drawing Week I

I have finally moved into a new studio space, this time at Wysing Arts centre. It's an amazing space and a great location, just outside Bourn near Cambridge. Having been without a space I had lots of idea accumulated over the past 6 month when I was looking for a space to work.
As I am still working part-time and my studio days are quite dispursed, I have also started dividing my time into drawing and reading weeks, in a ratio 3:1, trying to make sure I get my theoretical input without disturbing the workflow. Coming to the studio in the morning knowing exactly what to do is crucial when time is tight.

As I don't have a printing workshop available at the moment, I have decided to simply start drawing, currently with pastell. 
I have now started working on a series of drawings that I had been thinking about for a while. It is a series of drawings based on photographs published by the guardian when e-mail by the Assad family were leaked. 'Madame' Assad had been quite busy shopping on Amazon, etc. whilst the Siege of Homs which her husband had ordered was in full swing. The news about the families trivial conversations and occupation with everyday topics such as online shopping felt bewildering.

what does it mean to know about they items bought?
what does it mean to see the images in the guardian's flick-through gallery?
how do images of the siege of homs relate to the images of items bought? do they relate at all or are they simply incompatible?

Observations during drawing:
- whilst drawing, the connection of the image to the item and context is often lost, forgotten about.
- the construction of the drawing by adding layer on layer creates a physicality of the drawn image that intensifies the perception of the drawn object as object itself.
- the time spent whilst drawing and constructing the drawing (proportions, lights, shades) leads to an internalization of the image of the photograph.

1 Dec 2011

MOMA End of November

Exhibitions seen:
Willem de Kooning Retrospective
New Photography 2011
Harun Farocki - serious games
Haris Epaminonda - projects 96

Willem de Kooning:
Starts with two paintings that have amazing colours, a man and a woman in pink and olive green.
Then there are about 5 rooms which are completely boring and then all of a sudden there are these massive abstract colour explosions (picture above)...
I somehow wished there weren't so many pictures in the show...I never know how important it is to see ALL works in one show...it would be great to be able to see maybe 3 or 4...

New Photography 2011
I saw the 2010 version of this selection and back then really really impressed me.
This years selection again shows really interesting works by photographers who rather question photography as a medium. And finally: I found a publication which shoes works of these artists. The title is already very promising: The Anxiety of Photography which seems to be an exhibition catalogue of a same named show.

Harun Farocki's 'Serious Games'
Very good installation by german/hungarian film maker/film essayist...
Farocki documents the use of computer games/simulations by the U.S military to train soldiers for their assignment in Afghanistan (apparently that's were computer games were invented for in the first place?)...The systems are also used for therapeutic sessions, where soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrom caused by their experience during the war get confronted with the traumatic situation in the simulation and by doing so are supposed to be able to handle their condition better. Farocki makes an interesting point: the system for remembering is a little bit cheaper than the one for training. The simulation for training for example renders the shadow thrown by the virtual sun. The simulation for therapy doesn't.
Installed in a dark room, the whole situation is quite depressing, the sound of people talking, music, heavy breathing, gun shots...
Another part of it shows the softwear people creating the simulations, choosing light situations or clothing for possible terrorists/enemies...very strange and detached.

I have noticed Farocki's work a couple of times before, at the frieze and in another exhibition at the Tate I think...and it always drew me in. There is something about his simplicity to use film or moving images to indicate fundamental developments or events. not sure I am making myself clear here...

The contemporary gallery showed new works 1980 - now...
i went through it twice to see if I can identify some kind of style or direction...but don't think I could.
Haris Epaminonda labyrinth impressed me! a corridor leading towards a dark room showing 3 video projections from his 2010 series 'Chronicles'...the corridors had little alcoves with white plinths in geometric disections displaying small ceramic vases or vessels often combined with a reproduction from 1950s travel catalogues of Agaeian regions...people looking at statues or objects. Many of the nicely framed images are placed on the floor leaning against the wall, being hidden behind a plinth...
I don't know what it was but it visually made absolute sense! one of the guards started talking to me interpreting the meaning of aphrodite and apollo etc...but I am not sure I could actually understand it like that. It also made me aware how much I am conditioned to just use my eyes to understand art. Or better: how much I refuse to try and understand it conceptually/rationally?

28 Oct 2011


To Emma
To the woman I met on the street
To my parents
To my father
To my mother
To Audrey
To my wife
To you
To myself
To those who never gave up
To my dog
To my lover
To those who died
To those who believe

17 Oct 2011

Chinese Portraiture

I found an interesting publication in the University Libary in Cambridge.
Eli Lancam, Chinese Portraiture, 1966, Tuttle, Tokyo

Lancam writes:
'To the Chinese, a protrait is not merely a picture which happens to take as its plastic basis the form of a particular human being. The discovery that a human figure may be treated as impartially as a sack of potatoes was never made by the Chinese. They never dientangled the forms they depicted from the human association with which these forms were enveloped. They looked upon portraiture as a composite art, an amalgamation of picture-making and biography. The Chinese held that literal reproduction of the features never fully revealed the character of the subject, but that the painter must use what today would be called 'psychological clairvoyance' in order to reveal his subject's sould. Thus, Ku K'ai-chih, the first named Chinese painter, speaks of chuan-shen, (showing the soul of the sitter), and to obtain this result, literal representation must often be sacrificed.
Consequently, Chinese portraits were never merely a transcription of the features of the subject but rather a composite of what the painter thought the essence of the man to be, founded on his knowledge of his life and lit by his imaginative insight. This theory assumes that man's features and pose do not fully reveal his character, for if they did so, an accurate representation of the body would at the same time depict the inner qualities of mind.' (pp34-35)

It is interesting how Lancam describes the Chinese's 'disbelieve' in a connection between mind and body and I got very exhited about the possibility of an ancient old culture supporting my claims. In the next paragraph however, he writes:

'The ancients used only a few outline strokes, yet they could capture the spirit of heroism and elegance: "Ku K'ai-chih added three hairs to the chin to bring out a sense of dignity." Sometimes the spirit of the sitter is centered in one feature, perhaps the mouth or eyes, and sometimes in the skin texture or complexion, and by emphasizing that particular point the artists could bring out the spirit of his subject.' (p.35)
So, what Lancam does is weighing one style of painting over the other without questioning the conclusion: that the 'spirit' of a person can be transcribed in a visual representation of its figural aspects.

And then Lancam gives this description for the image below called Li T'ai-po by Liang K'ai:
'This picture, which looks so simple, is the best of the painter's works and is considered the ultimate achievement of the abbreviated style of monochrome ink-painting. It reduces to the bare essentials a man in a wide robe which covers him completely from neck to feet, in profile against an empty background. Although thre is no realism in the plastic folds of modeling in light and shade, his form is full of grandeur, breadth, and strength. Li T'ai-po is walking slowly, and the proud backward jerk of his neck gives him an air of self-absorbed happines. the smile on his libs while he is walking reciting a new poem thus captures fully the spirit of the T'ang poet.' (p.112)

Lancam basically constructs an interpretation, possibly based on the visual code of chinese painting/representation. Without his written interpretation, non of his conclusions would have occured to me.
Similar to the claim of forensic face reconstruction, the mentioning of attributes of likeness, the metnioning of certain character qualities influences the viewers own interpretation.

Lancam often bases his description and sources on written artefacts from the time the portraited had lived in. However, if the level of literacy was similar in China as it was in Europe around 1100 A.D not many common people might have written down something about a person. And if it was some kind of Ruler or Dictator, I would assume that he would make sure that only the things he want to hear himself would be written down.

12 Oct 2011

What's in the face?

Interesting article in the guardian about the readablitiy of faces and the possibility to tell if somebody is guilty or not based on their facial expression based on the Knox case.
'The eyes, it is said, are windows to the soul. They are not. They are organs for converting light into electro-magnetic impulses. But this has never stopped us dreaming of them that way.'
'What does it stem from, this over-confidence in facile intuitions about what other people are thinking? It probably has something to do with our innate difficulty in recognising that other people are as fully rounded and complex as we are. Emily Pronin, a psychologist at Princeton University, points out that there is a fundamental asymmetry about the way two human beings relate to one another in person. When you meet someone, there are at least two things more prominent in your mind than in theirs – your thoughts, and their face. As a result we tend to judge others on what we see, and ourselves by what we feel. Pronin calls this "the illusion of asymmetric insight".'
and this part just made me cringe:
"We were able to establish guilt," said Edgardo Giobbi, the lead investigator, "by closely observing the suspect's psychological and behavioural reaction during the interrogation. We don't need to rely on other kinds of investigation." Giobbi said that his suspicions were first raised just hours after the murder, at the crime scene, when he watched Knox execute a provocative swivel of her hips as she put on a pair of shoe covers."
If that's the way they do it in Italy, why is Berlusconi still out there?
anyways, here is the full article:

Written feedback MA Printmaking

Congratulations on a powerful series of prints. Over the period of the course your practice has developed in its maturity and sophisitcation. You have mastered stone litho and used it sensitively and effectively in these works. The choice of letterpress is also appropiate and the way in which the text is used enhances the complexity of the pieces and asks more questions of the audience. The framing and the willingness to change the hang at the last minute were good decisions. In some way the work transcends its media without denying it (of course the viewers knowledge and constructs inform this) it seems stone lithography is alive and well in your hands.
The research and writing was also important to your progress and should be maintained as part of your practice.
Thank you for your role as student rep and your help and engagement with the course. Well done.
Thank you!

Mark: 85 (out of 100) = Distinction

9 Oct 2011

Vermeer in Cambridge

A really nice exhibition is on at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge showing a few Vermeers and other contemporary companions of his. Vermeers paintings are almost all really really small, maybe 15 x 20 cm...but they are incredibly detailed and they actually almost made me cry (If I wasn't surrounded by old pushy people who think they have more of a right to stare at the paintings then I do, ridiculous).
They also seem to be incredibly intimate and tender, as if they actually weren't meant for others to see but only for the painters pleasure to paint...

21 Sep 2011

Palais de Tokyo

Spent a few days in Paris and we accidentally ended up at the Palais de Tokyo (thought it was the Musee d'art moderne). What a bizarre place. We arrived and a hord of skater kids had taken over the big marble square in front of the building and it all reminded us a bit of a futuristic apocalyptica scene a la madmax... But they had two really good exhibitions on:
Off Modern - featuring one work each by Théodore Fivel and the other by Mirka Lugosi.
Especially the latter one I found really really interesting (less because of the work/image itself). The way the work was displayed though was kind of enlighting.
Her work consisted of a medium size pencil drawing of a pre-historian swamp landscape with a surreal structure/sculpture/growth in the centre. The framed drawing was installed on the end of a long and dark corridor creating a secrative and at the same time calming atmosphere.

Enabling a total focuss on the image, the viewer got a feeling of exclusivity, almost being embraced by the surrounding black curtain. The image became a grail, the light at the end of a tunnel. It also, in a strange way, resembled something I saw whilst riding the metro: neon lights every 50 metre or so illumintated a small patch of wall, often filled with graffitti, highlighting a random selection. I felt that that was the way I wanted the back of the head print, or maybe even all my prints to be displayed: in a room of total darkness with a cold neon tube on top. I could even imagine to have a few prints to illuminated, or have a changing order of illumination...hhmmm exciting. thanks Mirka!
(I only later found out that Mirka Lugosi is well known for erotic/adult graphic novels/s&m drawings, which kind of makes sense now, thinking about the secrative atmosphere hinting on taboos and dark rooms...)


The MA is over, wow! And I received a Distinction which - of course - I am very pleased with. I haven't received the transcript yet but will post it as soon as I get it.
The degree show and PV went well apart from a small hickup with the catalogues.
Again, I realized how uncomfortable I feel when I need to 'network', stand next to my work and talk to people who 'look' interested. I'd rather shoot myself. I got really good feedback in general, but I also felt that some people didn't necessarily connect to the work...maybe too explosive topic at the moment? I am going to submit it for the future map and see what happens.

23 Aug 2011

all lined up

If only I had a REALLY big wall...it actually makes such a difference to have the images lined up in a row, compared to the grid. For the first time in probably 6 weeks i am getting excited about the images and ideas again. They seem to come back to me and I start to actually SEE them instead of just noticing them.
It's something I find one of the most difficult things as a maker of images: to be able to look at them and actually SEE them as the images they are and not connect to them as something you've made. The process behind it has to disappear in order to recognize them – again. maybe it should be called cognize, so it is not something that is recognized but it is something the brain perceives for the first time.
But then it raises the questions if there is anything that is perceived for the first time, or if it is just a refiguration of already existing modules...which is also what my work is playing with, using something that resembles something else, a simulacrum...

16 Aug 2011

A quiet revolution

An interesting book review in the guardian of A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence from the Middle East to America by Leila Ahmed (Harvard divinity professor) http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/may/20/quiet-revolution-leila-ahmed-review summarizing the long struggle and describing both sides.
It really seems that the wearing of the veil is never really seen as a very personal decision, it is always seen and argued about in a political and/or religious context.
'a timely reminder that the veil today is a symptom less of an alien fanaticism than of a long political and cultural entanglement with the unveiled west.'
I am trying to relate all this to my work. the sentences I chose seem to have a sandwich structure:

One thing's for sure: I am not taking it off.

I never covered my face when i was young.
Before, I had felt something was missing.
I put it on and I felt serene and complete.
It pleased me and it has become a part of me.

This i about basic fundamental human rights and freedoms.

It goes from an obvious defence statment towards a quite personal and emotional tone to then end with a policital statement.
I am not doubting that the 4 sentences in the middle have a religious background and that they are tainted by the believe that the covering of the face leads to calmness because the person believes that this is a 'tribute' to Allah and therefore will guarantee her a happy afterlive in heaven (do muslims believe in heaven and hell or is it called something else? should find out really!)
I am just wondering if there is not a difference between the politcal/religious aspects applied from outside and the actual physical experience of being covered. And how important that difference is?
I am realizing how I am getting kind of warm with the idea that it should be left to the women themselves to decide if they want to wear it...but then I wake up and become aware that it is worn by women 'serve' or to proof their faith in a god, which I absolutely don't believe in and even think it is wrong.
I went to East street market the other day and there was a stand that sells Burkhas and Niqabs...maybe I should really buy one or just try one on to see what it feels like. But I feel that I am not really wanting to get myself too much caught up in it...but rather want to find out what the 'random' combination of an image from the 1940s/50s showing a covered head with sentences about the burkha ban activates...

Does something happen, and what? and why? I realize that it is quite a risky endeavour...but maybe...hopefully its worth it. I can only go wrong :-)

14 Aug 2011

Shortlisted for Future Map 2011

Future Map is an annual survey show exhibiting the best cutting edge talent from the graduating year at University of the Arts London. Reviewing all the graduate and postgraduate courses in art, design, fashion and communications, an illustrious panel of industry experts chose works they feel best represent the next generation of creativity.

Now in its 14th year, Future Map is a strong brand, with a reputation for being the first to showcase the most hotly tipped rising stars of the future. Because of the talent scouting nature of this exhibit, Future Map has a steady following of industry insiders including top UK and international gallerists, curators, collectors and critics.


7 Aug 2011

camouflage burkha / bottle burkha


Novelty. Great for covering bottles.

Colors Available: Black, Gold, Pink, Red and Blue.

Price: $14.99
Product ID: 3000
Availability: In Stock

this is not a scam...you can buy a bottle burkha to cover a bottle. Can anybody explain that to me, please!?

3 Aug 2011

Italy passes draft law to ban face covering in public


28 Jul 2011

degree show thoughts

I have finished printing today! at least in lithography. I have the 3 images in editions of 8-10. They make 3 series, each in a different order. Each of the images in every series will have a sentence allocated. There are 6 different sentences.

Ramon just saw them...he doesn't like the image very much, he says he doesn't see anything of 'me' in it...which I think is perfect. The images themselves are completely impenetrable, there is nothing behind it. Julia mentioned it before as well...that the image seems to be flat. I quite like that. It is obviously a 2d image, nothing that pretends to be something else.

It's going to be really interesting when the text is on the images, as it will change the perception of the images and the content drastically! All of a sudden, the images will become very personal...they will have a very personal voice, with sentences written in first person...I am now really looking forward to it...
you get so used to the images, when you work with them in the workshop. Concerns evolve around getting the prints right, placing them straight on the paper, etc. Content/context vanishes...doesn't access the workshop it

26 Jul 2011


These are drypoints I have printed last week. They will be published as 'illustrations' in a poetry book which will come out end of september in Germany. The writer has written a piece to one of my prints before and I really liked her work. The book is called HORAE (goddesses of seasons). I always have diffculties reading poetry...often it doesn't do anything to me, or I have the feeling I don't really understand it. Doing the illustrations was interesting though...I tried to get away from the text at one point...and rather try to find images which match the feeling/mood I have when I read them, instead of illustrating the content or picking up exact replications of objects/scenes...don't know. will be very interesting to see it printed, with the text...if they actually like them, that is.

23 Jul 2011

sore-eyed scopophillac oxymorons

Jake and Dinos Chapman at White Cube Mason's Yard and Hoxton Square.

The brothers apparently worked for years in seperate studios not knowing what the other produces. And the people in both galleries didn't know who's was who's...the leaflet says: Dino stated that 'Jake and I only make things that amuse us... So I make things for Jake and he makes things for me.' Jake responded by saying that they were 'not trying to produce a unified sovereignity. We're not interested in the similarities between our interests, but the divergences. This show will be an exemplar of that. Catastrophic, maybe, but we'll see.'
There is also a nice summary about their work by Christoph Grunenberg, who described their work as existing between that which repulese and that which attracts the viewer. Furthermore, he said that what becomes really disturbing is 'the underlying psychological meanings – the attacks on the whole body, the blurring of gender lines, the revulsions of the abject, the insinuations of sadism and moral offences. While their sculptures, paintings and prints function perfectly on a visceral (eingeweide) level without theoretical superstructure, particular figures, motifs and images can always be traced to specific textual and visual references.'

I really liked the shows...both probably for different reasons. The one at Mason's Yard has these amazing etchings...i think they must be softground and then just drawn onto it with a very soft pencil? the lines have the qualities of old, like 1950s 1960s coarse lines from children colouring books printed on cheap paper...absolutely amazing. And I think their skillfullness actually is the thing that leads me into their work. I would probably not spend a second in a room if the work would look crap, or wouldn't be 'made' well. They are both absolutely fantastic draftsmen. And the longer I think about it, I thing my favorite sculpture in both shows is the small room at Mason's Yard where a kluklux-clan figure stands in front of a Breughel painting (or student of Breughel..something like that). the kluklux clan guys tunic's fringe is dyed in rainbow colour batik style and he is wearing rainbow coloured woolen socks and birkenstock sandals...kind of a eco-fascist. The painting has been over-painted by one of the Chapmans, which initially really shocked me, but then thought it to be quite genial

12 Jul 2011

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

an amazing show produced by the bbc. It is the second episode I watched and it is so garstly educating that I always kind of want to re-invent myself and the world afterwards. This is the purpose of television: education!

4 Jul 2011

Laurie Simmons at Wilkinson Gallery

The Love Doll: Days 1 -30 (2009 - 2011)
Early Black and White Interiors (1976 - 1978)

I went to see the Laurie Simmons exhibition at the Wilkinson Gallery today.
I hadn't read anything about it and the room downstairs shows a series of small scale b&w photographs depicting a doll house scenery with only one female doll placed in it. It felt incredibly outdated. I was hoping that it was kind of old (which it was) otherwise it would have looked like a bad BA attempt. The press text writes about how Simmons thought that people would think this could be real interiors, and how the camera is able to lie – which I couldn't really believe, maybe the lying of the camera became so advanced and sophisticated that we are very much trained to recognize that this is a doll house and not real.
Other with the upstairs gallery, which shows 6 large scale colour photo prints, huge! they show a japanese 'love doll' made of latex in various 'domestic' situations. One of them shows the doll 'naked' kneeling down with a puppy. the press release discribes how the Simmons ordered the doll and it arrived in a box, wrapped in plastic, accompanied with an engagement ring and female genitalia. I can't really describe what happened when I read this...I think I kind of imploded. It is so wrong and again so normal on so many levels that I didn't really know what to think.

I had the essays I read in the book about veils in the back of my head, and how this culture, my culture must look from the perspective of the middle east/islam countries. I can't really create a logic link here...but it seemed like matter and anit-matter meeting each other ... leading to some kind of super-nothingness.

3 Jul 2011

Royal Academy schools show 2011

Went to see the degree show at the royal academy today with Alfi and Julia. We all were in awe about the space each artist gets...a room each...pretty amazing, compared to 27 students at Camberwell sharing two rooms :-( makes you wonder how much Camberwell values their students...pffff.
I really liked the works of Inez de Coo, Sara Knowland, Ella McCartney and John Vickers. All students work seemed to be very conceptual but there was no writing at all around, even the catalogue didn't have anything. It had a good piece of writing though by Brian Dillon with the title 'Culture and Curiosity' basically explaining the current strategy within higher education within the arts being quite scientific and research based. And how contemporary art is a massive factor to generate knowledge ' To but it very crudely, we seem to learn more about the world from contemporary artists than we do from the average novelist, or filmmaker or 'public intelectual'. To put it facetiously, artists seem to want to tell us stuff – they are determinedly curious individuals'
Hear, hear!

29 Jun 2011

Symposium II

Below you will find my 5min talk we were required to give today.
The images were shown as powerpoint slideshow.

My work is based on old photographic material which I find in online databases. Using the image as template I create drawn images on lithographic stones which I then print.

During the course I have engaged with the theme of portraiture and its limitations and possibilities in contemporary art.

Dating back to the ancient Egyptian kings and queens, in the form of sculptures and painted sarcophagi the genre of portraiture has experienced a substantial development from being displays of power towards the attempt to capture and reveal a subject’s personality in modern times. Underlying this attempt is the assumption that the external appearance of a subject is linked to its inner world. With the western concept of the head being the centre of character and individuality, a person’s face has become the interface of identification and characterization.
The invention of photography in the early 19th century claimed to have solved the problem of creating an objective visual representation of a subject through a mechanical process. However, the achievement of seemingly absolute objectivity has lead to questioning the general possibility of representation of a person’s essence through an image.

An artist who is addressing this question and in general the question of representation is belgian painter Luc Tuymans. The image shown here is from his series called Der Diagnostische Blick / the diagnostic view. The painting was created on the basis of a photograph found in a medical textbook with the same name. Using images that have been specifically produced and published for medical purposes, Tuymans changes the focus of portraiture from the individual’s interpretation towards that of the dissection of illness. He explaines

‘that in order to paint portraits, I needed illness as a pretext. Illness means that I don’t have to paint the portrait for its own sake, as the expression of personality or the re-visualisation of a memory, which would lead once more to the failure of representation.’

The failure of representation is something I am very interested in and decided to make it my focus of investigation within the genre of portraiture.

The portraits I create conform with formal aspects of portraiture showing head and shoulders but contradict the conceptual aspect as facial features are hidden. The deviation between the portrayed and the given title bereaves the image from its comfortable conventions creating an impossibility. Prevented portraits: Portraits that do not portray.

An aspect I investigated throughout my research is the perception of the image as object it. I claim that a print is an object that carries the image of somebody, as much as a photograph is an object, which carries an image but cannot make a statement about reality or truth.

The litho stones themselves carrying the image became more and more important as object behind the image and I decided to exhibit the stones rather than the prints to test their impact as objects of representation.

Using the whole surface of the stone, the image carrier itself is reflected in the print creating a proof of its existance. After taking the prints from the exhibited stones, I decided to introduce the aspect of the stone not only as shape on the paper but as actual shape and physical border of the image.

The titles indicate a categorization. The neatest body, the fire fighter, the bee-master. August Sander’s Face of the time from the 1920s comes to mind, attempting to create stereotypes of each profession, the buther, the boxer, the dentist, based on their physcial and physignomic appearance.

But the prevented portraits only provide masks as surface of identification and categorization.

The latest experiment I undertook was the deconstruction of the portrait by fragmentizing its physical image surface using 4 seperate stones carrying the image.
Considering the often described metaphore of the eyes being the window to the soul, this portrait clearly is soul-less. Each panel becomes its one image, distancing itself from one another. An affect that is enhanced by the use of differently coloured paper.

For my final piece I am currently investigating the political aspects of identity and facial recognition as well as facial disguise addressing concepts of freedom of expression in modern societies.

Thank you very much!

28 Jun 2011

Is Utopianism Dead?

asks Simon Critchley in his essay published in 'touched' - liverpool biennal.

'Allow me one final word on the future. I'm against it. I think we have to resist the future, I mean resist the idea of the future, which is the ultimate ideological trump card of capitalist narratives of progress. I think we have to resist the future and the ideology of the future. But in the name of what? In the same name of sheer potentiality of the radical past and the way that past can shape the creativity and imagination of the present. The future of radical, creative thought is its past, and radicalism has always driven a car whose driver is constantly looking in the rear-view mirror. Some objects may appear bigger, some smaller.'

19 Jun 2011

Colonizers and veiled women

"This woman who sees without being seen frustrates the colonizer. There is no reciprocity. She does not yield herself, does not give herself, does not offer herself.... The European faced with an Algerian woman wants to see. He reacts in an aggressive way before this limitation of his perception. Frustration and aggressiveness, here too, evolve apace..." (Frantz Fanon, Algeria Unveiled in Veil: Veiling, Representation and Contemporary Art.)


The Lovers by Magritte.

17 Jun 2011

The getting rid of [the image] - my video piece for the protest show

Stills from the video I made grinding down the stone I had drawn the 'Deceased' Osama Bin Laden image on. It was something I had wanted to do from the day I grinded (ground?) down a stone for the first time. The action of 'erasing' an image I thought was quite powerful and much more exhausting then any other method of erasing or destroying an image (press 'delete' on a computer, ctrl. + x, burn an image, tear appart a photograph, using an erasor...)