Photos by myself
“Dirk Braeckman was invited to the 57th Biennale di Venezia, where he showed a selection of monumental works in the Belgian pavilion. His black-and-white photographs convey a sense of stillness, and combine intimacy and distance to create a private, secluded world whose meaning remains undefined. For BOZAR, Braeckman adapts the project to the architecture of Victor Horta. From Venice to Brussels, from one iconic interbellum building to another.
In parallel, the M-Museum Leuven presents a complementary exhibition on Dirk Braeckman from 02/02 to 29/04/2018. The starting point of this double project was the exhibition of Dirk Braeckman at the Belgian Pavilion during the Venice Biennale 2017.” –https://www.bozar.be/en/activities/128185-dirk-braeckman
Whilst in Brussels this Spring break I came across an exhibition of work by Dirk Braeckman. I had not heard of him before, and after seeing this exhibition I can say I am definitely a fan of his work.
the photos I took don’t really do the works justice- they were huge, and despite being under or over exposed had a lot of detail that could be seen close up. His work had a voyeuristic feel, like peering in and getting glimpses of a strangers life, and the subjects felt both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, like a distortion of every day life and reality. Whilst at the exhibition I wrote in my notebook:
“haunting, each image is both familiar and unfamiliar, a distortion of reality and the everyday”
“the sea prints are calming and serene”
“The women, with their obscured bodies, seem like ghosts, not wholly present, but a faint memory”
and “The mundane shifts, becoming almost unrecognisable to the viewer”
I often find myself drawn to works that take everyday subject matter and transform them, or shows them from a different perspective, and I felt that connection to his work and my own, even though the mediums are different.
- this room really got me thinking about white, and how it can be used IN art, rather than as a blank space in which to display art
- by choosing not to use colour the artists featured in this room at the Tate Modern were deliberately choosing to subvert the idea of the white cube space, and of what art could be
- I used to find monochrome paintings and artworks to be quite dull, but I think now I appreciate how big of a rebellion it can be to choose less colour, especially now, in a world where you can access hundreds of hues and use almost every colour imaginable
- Discuss my own work- why I chose white, and how the audience’s perceptions would be different if I had presented the original objects in the gallery space (photos of my work in the gallery space
- Rachel Whiteread’s use of white concrete and other white materials in her work (photos from the Tate Britain retrospective)
- ‘The Whiteness of the Whale; Moby Dick’ discuss this chapter and quote how it describes white:
-‘In many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own’
-‘This same hue is made the emblem of many touching, noble things- the innocence of brides, the benignity of age’
-Native Americans are described as “Red Men of America” – this is an old work of fiction, and is impacted by the racism of the time
-He also acknowledges that white has negative connotations- ‘Witness the white bear of the poles, and the white shark of the tropics; what but their smooth, flaky whiteness makes them the transcendent horrors they are? That ghastly whiteness it is which imparts such an abhorrent mildness, even more loathsome than terrific’
-‘The common, hereditary experience of all mankind fail to bear witness to the supernaturalism of this hue. It cannot be well doubted, that the one visible quality in the aspect of the dead which most appals the gazer, is the marble pallor lingering there’ – white has a deep link to death
-‘Or is it that as in essence whiteness is not so much a colour as the visible absence of colour, and at the same time the concrete of all colours’
- Adolf Loos- ‘Ornament and Crime’
-The racism- comparing Papua New Guinean tribes to children and criminals, and later ‘Are we alone, the people of the nineteenth century, supposed to be unable to do what any Negroe. All the races and periods before us have been able to do?’ (Speaking of the apparent realization that the people (meaning white people) of the nineteenth century found themselves unable to produce ornamental designs. (The lecture was originally given in 1908)
-‘The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects.’ The idea that plain things are better definitely arose during the industrial revolution- everyone needed things faster, and objects with no ornament could be produced even more quickly. But he also talks of ‘peasants’ ‘in the country’ as holding on to objects of past centuries, I would argue because they cannot afford new things- he shows disdain for lower classes as well as people of colour
-‘We have art, which has taken the place of ornament. After the toils and troubles of the day we go to Beethoven or to Tristan. This my shoemaker cannot do. I mustn’t deprive him of his joy, since I have nothing else to put in its place.’ Here we see him discussing his shoemaker, and how the shoemakers’ only joy comes from ornamenting his shoes with decorative patterns- it is incredibly patronising to the working class, as he is stating that they cannot enjoy art, they can only derive enjoyment from the job they perform for the upper class
-‘Absence of ornament has brought the other arts to unsuspected heights’
-‘Freedom from ornament is a sign of spiritual strength. Modern man uses the ornaments of earlier or alien cultures as he sees fit. He concentrates his own inventiveness on other things’
EDIT- References looked at Summer 2018
“One of Britain’s leading contemporary artists, Whiteread uses industrial materials such as plaster, concrete, resin, rubber and metal to cast everyday objects and architectural space. Her evocative sculptures range from the intimate to the monumental.
Born in London in 1963, Whiteread was the first woman to win the Turner Prize in 1993. The same year she made House 1993–1994, a life-sized cast of the interior of a condemned terraced house in London’s East End, which existed for a few months before it was controversially demolished.
This momentous show tracks Whiteread’s career and brings together well-known works such as Untitled (100 Spaces) 1995 and Untitled (Stairs) 2001 alongside new pieces that have never been previously exhibited.” – https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/rachel-whiteread
In preparation for joining the course, and because I have been a fan of Whitereads’ work for quite a while, i visited the Rachel Whiteread exhibition at the Tate. I am particularly interested in the way she alters the viewers perspective on the everyday objects she casts- this is something that inspires my own work quite heavily. It was amazing to see the bookcase casts and staircase in particular in person, as the size and scale can be hard to grasp from pictures, although I wish we had been able to walk between the bookcases, as I feel that would have added something to the piece. I am also interested in the materials she uses in her work- plaster, concrete, and resin, for example. These are materials I hope I will get the opportunity to work with in future, particularly on this MA.
All photos pictured are my own.