Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Started my project the other day.
Found an old bedsheet to use for fabric.

The transfer of the text was succesful so I was able to start stitiching it yesterday. Hopefully it will be succesful!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Annette Messager

A friend of mine shared with me the French artist Annette Messager. I am particularly interested in her sewn works as it relates to my own. Her portfolio is extensive ranging from sewing and knitting, drawing, sculpture, and installation. I have literally just learned about her work so my knowledge of her is very small. Her is an article from the telegraph magazine that I found quit useful:

Annette MessagerIs Britain ready for Annette Messager? As a nation, we don't readily embrace French artists and thinkers, whom we like to stereotype as pretentious poseurs.  

So what chance does Messager, the 65-year-old contemporary artist, who is about to enjoy her first major retrospective in this country at the Hayward Gallery in London, have of winning the affection of Britain's art-going public?

She is no stranger to the enigmatic statement, uttered with typically Gallic sangfroid. "I am the peddler of chimeras," she told an interviewer back in 1989, "the peddler of simian dreams, Arachnean delirium."

Perhaps such wilful obscurity explains why she has exhibited so infrequently in this country (her solo show Telling Tales toured London and Bristol in 1992, but that's pretty much it), and why next to nothing has been written about her in the mainstream British press.

And yet Messager is probably the most important European contemporary artist you've never heard of.

She is taken seriously not only across the Channel, but around the world. In 1995, New York's Museum of Modern Art mounted a retrospective of her work.
Ten years later, she became the first woman to represent France at the Venice Biennale ("It was an honour for art to have a woman at the French pavilion," she says), and won a Golden Lion for her sumptuous three-room installation based loosely on the story of Pinocchio (puppets and automata feature prominently in her work).
The exhibition coming to the Hayward has already been seen in Finland, Korea and Japan, as well as at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
When we meet in a café around the corner from the Hayward on London's South Bank, Messager comes across as modest, almost shy.
In tentative English spoken with a heavy French accent, she explains how her work has changed – "It is less about my identity, and more about the identity of the world" – before breaking off with a self-conscious shrug: "Mais… that's a little bit pretentious."
Born in 1943 in the small seaside town of Berck-sur-Mer in northern France, Messager grew up wanting to become a ballerina or a nun.
"I was a little bit mystical when I was younger," she says. "But my father, who was an architect, gave me a paintbrush and soon I was always doing painting."
In 1962, she enrolled at art school in Paris, but she spent most of her time at the movies, which have been a big influence on her work. "I am a fan of Hitchcock," she says. "I particularly like his use of close-ups."
After travelling in the mid-Sixties (she won a round-the-world airline ticket in a photography competition), she was swept up in the student riots that raged across Paris in 1968. "Everybody was saying that we should destroy the museums," she recalls, a mischievous glint flashing across her hazel eyes.
"There was a sense of new possibilities, of something new, for everybody, but especially for women. Previously, it had been very difficult to be a woman artist in France. Painting was a male occupation. To begin with, they ignored me. In a way, that wasn't so bad, because I could continue with my work and there was no pressure on me. Soon it was changing."
This awareness of the roles that French society prescribed for women permeated both the content and the form of her early work. In her ironic sampler My Collection of Proverbs (1974), for instance, Messager embroidered hundreds of misogynistic proverbs from all over the world in red, blue and green thread on white cloth.
Around this time, she made a lot of work that involved sewing and knitting – techniques that were inextricably associated with womanhood, and which had not previously been part of the province of high art.
"An artist must be brave," she tells me. "It's not worth working otherwise. You always have to break the rules a little bit.
"When I started out, I wanted to do many different things – drawing, photography, embroidery. And at that moment, the big thing was conceptual art, minimal art, which was the opposite of this. It was not me."
Another piece from the early Seventies, Voluntary Tortures, which will be shown at the Hayward, presents more than 50 clippings from newspapers and magazines in which women are pictured undergoing all sorts of grisly procedures to beautify themselves: smothering their bodies with depilatory lotions, applying suction pumps to their breasts, and squeezing their faces into menacing mechanical devices that look like medieval torture implements.
So is Messager a feminist? "I don't know what that word means," she says. "I am a woman. I am not against this kind of torture, I just show it."
In the Eighties, Messager entered a new phase as an artist. Whereas her earlier work had been intimate ("At the beginning," she recalls, "I was very shy"), slowly she began to construct installations that were less about her own identity, and more about the world around her.
In 1988, for the first time, she began to incorporate into her work stuffed toy animals and eerie taxidermy specimens of birds that she had bought at flea markets.
Over the next two decades, she presented these in an increasingly violent fashion: disembowelled, dismembered, impaled on pikes. She filled galleries with pelts and paws and suspended body parts, as though these creatures had been ripped to shreds in a toytown massacre.
These installations, several of which will be included in the Hayward retrospective, have a peculiar tone that is at once macabre and darkly funny, and is now seen as quintessentially her own.
"A lot of people say, 'Your work, oh it's so fun'," she says. "And others say, 'It's so dark, it's about death'. But it is both: it is funny and cruel at the same time. Life is like that. One moment, it's raining, and after that, there is sunshine.
"We are sad; then we are in dizzy spirits. We are in love. All the time, we are different."
She pauses, to order an espresso. "The only good thing about getting older is that you are more free. You don't care about people, about what they think, what art should be, must be; you don't care about fashion and art. And maybe, as a result, you are more yourself.
"The older I am, the more I want to play. Art shouldn't be fashionable at all. If just a few people can be moved or touched by an exhibition, that's already not so bad, that's fine."
Does this mean that her work can be difficult, that it appeals only to a minority? "What is contemporary is always difficult," she says. "The Impressionists were difficult."
Maybe that accounts for why she has shown so rarely in Britain?
"I don't know – you'll have to ask the English. In general, though, I like English culture, because it's so different. I love Blake, because he mixed drawings and writing together.
"The English are very bizarre," she concludes with a puckish grin, "and I like that."
  • 'Annette Messager: The Messengers' is at the Hayward, London SE1 (0871 663 2519), from March 4

Ma collection de proverbes is one of these collections that Annette Messager has compiled over a long period of time and that consists of a series of “misogynist” proverbs. The artist has laboriously embroidered them on pieces of white fabric, revealing them in an incisive and ironic perspective. mfc-michèle didier gathers the proverbs for the very first time.
Set consisting of 15 pieces of embroidered fabric

Artist-collector and handywoman, Annette Messager has made nearly sixty “collection albums” between 1972 and 1974. Inspired by words, writings and images, the artist has created her albums from an accumulation of texts, photographs, notes and miscellaneous items, cautiously collected and sorted. Sometimes carefully glued in notebooks, sometimes gathered in bulk folders, Annette Messager’s albums all have a title, handwritten by the artist.

The albums are organized according to various themes, such as love life, encounters or domestic life and resemble sometimes a diary, a photo album or a recipe book. Les hommes que j’aime, Ma vie illustrée or Mon livre de cuisine are a few examples. Annette Messager assembles common, everyday items to create a work that is subtly both poetic and feminist.

Although the use of the personal pronoun suggests that the albums are autobiographical, they are works of fiction. They reveal the ironic fantasy life of a young woman embodying the archetype of the 60's housewife. This woman is not Annette Messager.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nick Cave

Here is some work by the performance artist Nick Cave. These works are part of a large body of work called 'Soundsuits.'
This artist as well some of the last few posts I have put up, were all found in a book I got from the library called 'Doppelganger, Images of the Human Being.'
Untitled, Soundsuit 2009.
Knit material, wire, twigs
'Untitled. Soundsuit, 2009'
Found knit material, buttons, metal armature, and found vintage abacus.

Soundsuit, 2009.
Found, vintage, and knit material with hot pads, beaded appliques,
metal armature, noisemakers, and found metal toys.



Gregor Gaida

Gregor Gaida is a unique Polish artist that lives and works in Bremen, Germany and admits to be crazy about the smell of the wood! It comes of no surprise that he uses wood (often combined with aluminium, polyester and acrylic resin) in a very personal way, converting it to a strong narrative element that leaves the spectator open mouthed.


Estelle Hanania and Phyllis Galembo

Photographer Estelle Hanania

Photographer Phyllis Galembo

Phyllis Galembo's fascination with costume began as a child, when she would go trick-or-treating near her home in Long Island, New York, often alone, dressed in a variety of ensembles made by her mother.

'I still remember the bric-a-brac that she used to fashion my outfits,' Galembo says. 'This is where my lifelong obsession began. I collected Hallowe'en costumes for over 15 years.'

After studying photography and printmaking at the University of Wisconsin, in the 1970s she began photographing subjects wearing festival costumes. 'I have a lot of pictures of my friends as upside-down Easter baskets,' she says.

Then, in 1985, she travelled to Nigeria to photograph priests and priestesses with their traditional costumes and ceremonial objects. 'I was fascinated by the idea of ritual clothes that had spiritual, transforming power. I followed the story to Haiti, where the priests and priestesses of voodoo are believed to transform via their clothing into magical beings. Once I discovered the Jacmel Kanaval [Haiti's pre-Lenten festival], I felt I had found my metier in the masquerade.'

Kimiko Yoshida

Artist Kimiko Yoshida was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1963 and left her home country, as a result of feeling the oppression against women. She now lives in Europe and has since 1995. The prolific artist has been transforming herself into various representations of herself and others in several series of self portraits (painting herself and then photographing it) since she began her career. She has turned herself into famous painters, Brides from all over the world, Blown glass letters and symbols and much much more. Over 330 different self-portraits in the last decade.

STATEMENT by Kimiko Yoshida, 2009

Since I fled my homeland to escape the mortifying servitude and humiliating fate of Japanese women, I amplified, through my art, a feminist stance of protest against contemporary cliches of seduction, against voluntary servitude of women, against “identity” defined by appurtenances and “communities”, against the stereotypes of “gender” and the determinism of heredity.

Art is above all the experience of transformation. Transformation is, it seems to me, the ultimate value of the work. Art for me has become a space of shifting metamorphosis. My Self-portraits, or what go by that name, are only the place and the formula of the mutation. The only raison d’être of art is to transform what art alone can transform. All that’s not me, that’s what interests me. To be there where I think I am not, to disappear where I think I am, that is what matters.

The representation of myself as a fiction mixing my Asian culture in references to Western art history is yearning for monochromy as a metaphor of effacement and disappearance, a mark of virtuality and intangibility, a symbol of infiniteness. The monochrome is a pure figure of duration wherein all imagery and all narrative are dissolved. Here, before the infinite colour, the gaze is exposed to the infiniteness of Time. This paradoxical representation is presented each time like an impossibility, a powerlessness, and a precariousness. It is this effect of incompleteness which gives the idea of a rigorous unrepresentable, unlocatable space, the idea of a space beyond the image where representation exceeds the space of representation.

My Self-portraits represent the attempt to render representation possible by seizing it at the point where what is present is the invisible absence at the heart of the image, that absence that the image makes a point of honour of making visible. The state of invisibility isn’t the point where I put myself on display, it is the point that I put on display. The state of invisibility I put on display is connected with the radical demand of art.

By giving the immaterial (the immaterial as the unnamed) an image in a series of portraits, the work of art represents what is invisible in a figure, its immateriality, before figuring itself as a figure of disappearance.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stacey Page

Some interesting work by Stacey Page. I have seen other artists stitch onto photographs before, usually there more geometrical shapes. She is almost playing dress-up with her subjects.

"It is a resurrection, perhaps allowing a little fame to a discarded identity.”
- Stacey Page



-2011, 6 x 8.5 inches
 - 2011, 3.125 x 4.375 inches



“Thistle” by Hundred Waters. A whimsical little stop-motion animation by Martin Allais

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bridget Collins

I seem to be on a role here with finding artists I like. It all seems to happen at once, here is another one. A lady called Bridget Collins. I love her photography. They look like snapshots or photos gone wrong. Something that wasn't quiet planned. They are a lot of fun really.
She describes her work as,
'Trying to stitch together sensual experiences with learned paradigms in a meandering attempt to feel closer with the world.'
The photos below are from a series titled, 'Oly Oly Oxen Free.'

Here is a link to her blog,

and her website,


Akino Kondoh

Born in Chiba, Japan, in 1980, Akino Kondoh is an artist and animator known for her striking, minimalist compositions, often executed with nothing more than graphite and watercolor. Kondoh graduated from Tama Art University with a BA in Graphic Design in 2003. Kondoh has exhibited internationally, earning fundings from the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (Bunka-cho), the Pola Art Foundation. She was also awarded a residency in New York and received the support and collaboration of jazz musician John Zorn, who has used her art on his album covers.
In 2010, the digest version of her animation“Ladybirds' Requiem” made to the top 25 list in the biennial showcase, “YouTube Play - A Biennial of Creative Video,” Guggenheim Museum, New York. In 2000, Kondoh won the second AX Manga Newcomer's Award; and in 2002, her animation“The Evening Traveling,” in which girls dance rhythmically on a music by Toshiaki Chiku, earned her the DIGISTA Awards' Animation Division Grand Prix.

'Ladybirds Requiem'
-Pencil, and pastel  on gesso mounted on canvas

'Ladybirds Requiem'
-Pencil, pastel and acrylic on gesso mounted on canvas

'Ladybirds Requiem'
 - Pencil and pastel on gesso mounted on canvas 380x260mm



Eiko Borcherding

I found this artist called Eiko Borcherding, unfortunately his web-site is in German, but thankfully there is google translate, which is a big help.
His work is very dark and interesting. The image below is my favorite.

Photo etching and drypoint, 27.7x19 cm 2007


The image on the left is only a small part of what I was working on over the weekend. I thought I'd just give a snippet rather than the whole thing. Hopefully I will transfer it onto a plate for an etching. When this is complete then I will show the whole sketch.
I find some artists do that now with instagram on their facebook pages,

it can be incredibly annoying, which is something the artist probably enjoys.
We had a talk today in class were we had to present artists we are interested in, everybody had somebody different.
I was amazed, (and slightly annoyed), at how may people were doing dream or memory.
 These are themes which I work with a lot, whether it is unconsciously or consciously. The majority seemed to be working with images, photos, est. It got me desperately thinking on what I can do to make myself more unique.
So I am thinking about going back to an idea which I have pondered on before.
Simplicity. A simple way of presenting a surreal image or idea. I will use text and only text. Writing a short narrative, whether it is typed or hand written and then eventually, maybe screened.
I am inspired by text, and during my first year print project that's what I worked with, so why not.
Part of me really wants to accompany the text with an image, but I feel this could be to much.
Maybe I can run two or three different projects together, different but similar. My drawings, photography and the text.
I also like the idea of forgetting, the absence of memory, or false memory, when you create a memory after seeing an old photo even though you really don't remember the event, or when you confuse a memory with a dream and the two become entangled.
This should be interesting. It is almost to simple that it could be boring, we shall have to see. I have a tutorial on Thursday, hopefully my tutor wont be to against it.
A lot of artists use text in there work, my favorite of course would be Tracey Emin. Kiki Smith and Louise Bourgeois also use text in a more subtle way.

 May Dodge, my Nan, 1963 -93, - Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin’s family and friends are celebrated in many of her works. They often feature in assemblages that combine objects and ephemera along with handwritten texts. These narratives speak directly about their subjects – her maternal grandmother, her father – and the relics displayed. The earliest of them formed a ‘Wall of Memorabilia’ in her first solo exhibition, My Major Retrospective, in 1993. In 2003, Emin returned to using memorabilia in her art. Her exhibition Menphis featured framed ephemera and text memorialising different moments in her life, from childhood to adulthood.

Mick Found, 1995-2003,
-Tracey Enim
Tracey Emin has said that writing is the backbone of everything she does. ‘I’m not known as a text-based artist, but I should be really,’ she points out. ‘It’s my words that actually make my art quite unique.’ Lettering and handwritten texts take centre stage in her blankets, neons and memorabilia works and act as voice overs in her graphic art, while spoken narratives are a feature of her films and videos. A published author and newspaper columnist, Emin makes direct and powerful statements and observations, tells stories, plays with language, and writes poems and love letters.

'I had a flashback of something that never existed'
-Louise Bourgeois
'Hell and Back'
-Louise Bourgeois


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Car Sticker

I added a new sticker to the rear end of my car. A little bit of cynical humor for the art college,
and its student's......

Friday, September 14, 2012


A new sketchbook.
How over whelming.

I want to be more relaxed about my work this year, I want to just draw and not worry to much about how 'realistic' it looks. I spend to much time on one drawing or on half ideas that end up going nowhere.
I've spent the last two days trying to over come the fear and loathing I have with blank pages and drawing, with no success.

Of course there are distractions everywhere, including on the chair right behind me!