‘Pets’ installation / summer 2016
The main focus within my current body of work is how thin the line between war and peace, disruption and repair, hope and loss is. My current works explore the horrors of socio-political problems that our society is facing, particularly I am interested in Environmental Ethics. The problem highlighted within my current piece is the corruption of nature by humans.
During autumn and spring term my knowledge of technology has developed significantly. I was impelled to learn more about kinetic technology in order to develop the effects I wanted in my sculptural practice. In this summer exhibition I am exhibiting two disasters encased within a display cabinet. The Tornado installation was easier for me to create, as it included more physics rather than engineering, but with the Tsunami, I have collaborated with Dr Steven Gould from Systems Engineering Department to help to build the wiring of the machine to make it work effectively.
Over the past year I have been tracking the formation of storms, the impact they have on the environment and our capacity as a species to cope with them. I learned about their affects, their frequency and the areas where they are prone occur. I tracked live satellite imagery, weather patterns and hurricanes and this broadened my understanding of what influences the weather and occurrences of disasters.
It became clear to me that we are unaware of the effects we are having on nature. By domesticating animals we thus change the species numbers which influences the biodiversity and balance on Earth. I’ve became interested in how nature becomes corrupted by humans in various ways and how it tries to fight back. In general I have seen that humans don’t realize the effects of their actions. I developed an installation to draw attention to the absurdity of our anthropocentrism by encasing the most powerful disasters within a closed space. In effect I am attempting to create a ‘pet storm’, a disaster transformed into a household ornament. This in many ways is a reflection of the way in which we temper and tame nature. This also can be seen in Isabelle’s Stengers book ‘In Catastrophic Times Resisting the coming Barbarism’(2009), she says: ‘Today a new word has been created to characterize our situation: our epoch would be the epoch of the anthropocene.’
My piece consists of a Tornado and a Tsunami within a display cabinet, encaged and seeking for freedom. This installation is not only about environmentalism it is the power that people employ by ‘playing God’. When we are scared of something we want to control it. Disasters such as Hurricane Katrina (2005), Haiti Earthquake (2010), Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami (2011), Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami (2004) left unbearable results for humanity, but in some sense it also gave a new start, a ground of ‘Zero’.
Throughout two years I have been influenced by Zero Art Movement, the group of artists that was founded by Heinz Mack in 1957. For me, this movement illustrates the purity of art, it helps purify the horror of wars, disasters and conflicts:
“a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning.”– Otto Piene
I also looked at Agnes Martins minimalistic paintings, as well as Fiona’s Tan ‘Ghost Dwellings, these two artists are completely contrasting but in the same time for me they become an illustration of what I am trying to comply within my practice. Francis Alys with his video art piece ‘Tornado’ unveils the wild power of nature, when he reaches the center of the tornado there is the momentum of nothing, ‘0’, the power that wipes everything on it’s way, in some way it illustrates a peaceful moment, purity and eternity of nature through destruction.
The display cases are white, pure and really minimalistic, they purify the horror that is happening inside of them. The three painted photographs on the walls around Tornado and the Tsunami, depict the aftermaths of the disasters, the painted white stripes are purifying the images, in some way they are censoring the horror. The viewer is not able to see the full image, so he sees it as a minimalistic image, but when the viewer comes closer he is able to see the details and realize what is happening behind the white strips. The viewer is the one who makes a decision of what he sees. Either a ‘nice picture’, or the reality within that.
My current research practice is based on the pilot study project developed last year titled ‘The Museum of Rare Animals’. This study highlighted the idea of human dominance over nature. This lead to an interest in investigating the human potential to create extreme forms of power and control.
This current body of work will focus on corruption of nature by humans. Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, are the only things that can not be controlled or changed and enhanced by humans. Humans have a long history of domesticating wild animals. Starting from domesticated animals that we take fore granted, e.g. dogs, cats, cows and horses to huge animals such as elephants, tigers and panthers and natural environment itself. It became normal for rich people to use tigers and panthers as pets and keep them caged in human homes. I want to develop a series of works that draw attention to the absurdity of our anthropocentrism by encaging the most powerful disasters within the closed space.
Can you imagine a pet tornado in your living room? Or a tsunami?
This installation is not only about environmentalism it is the power that people employ on themselves ‘playing God’. The presence and disappearance of the tornado in the display case emphasize that nothing is eternal, as because of our power we tend to destroy. The tornado itself within a display case tends to spread in to the room, as the power of something that vast could not be controlled. It gives the viewer and understanding the lose of control by the humans within nature. This piece was influenced by environmentalism and human role in changes on Earth, as well as Eduardo Kac’s ‘GFP’ bunny that highlights the issues of egocentrism of humans and our abilities to control and create.
My art piece is interactive through the wireless control that controls tornado. The interaction of the viewer is essential, as it gives them the power of controlling something that should not be controlled and enhanced, which becomes one of the main aims of this piece.
During this term I have researched the catastrophes around the globe, the climate change, and influence of humans not only on nature but also on humans themselves. Tornado is a powerful weather condition that destroys everything on its way and it can not be prevented. Francis Alys with his video art piece ‘Tornado’ unveils the wild power of nature, when he reaches the center of the tornado there is the momentum of nothing, ‘0’, the power that wipes everything on it’s way, in some way it illustrates a peaceful moment, purity and eternity of nature through destruction.
Next term I want to continue with this practice, as I want to develop a series of installations exploring the idea of domestication of nature, and the relationship between humans and nature.
51° 28′ 40.12″ N, 0° 0′ 5.31″ W
This term I have had a great opportunity to undertake an internship at Christie’s auction house as well as to develop my art project. Within my installation I am focusing on the idea of disruption, purity and grief illustrated by war and nuclear power. With this I want to draw how thin is the line between war and peace, disruption and repair, hope and loss. Previously, during Autumn term I have also worked within the idea of purity. However I have changed the media, as it was quite restrictive and it did not allow me to explore my subject of interest.
I have researched Hiroshima and Nagasaki events of 1942, as these two cities were destroyed within minutes and consequences are still present today. This is what brought me to the famous story of Sadako Sasaki, the girl who became a victim of nuclear bomb explosion in Hiroshima, after a decade she was diagnosed with leukemia. However, she wanted to live, so she turned to Japanese belief about ‘Senbazuru’ (‘Tsuru’), origami paper cranes. The legend was that if she would complete 1000 paper cranes her dream would come true. Even today in primary schools children learn how to assemble origami. Paper cranes emphasize the idea of dreams, hope, peace, innocence within my piece.
During this project I was experimenting mostly with Photoshop. However, the most important experiments that were crucial in forming of my work, were experiments with studio space and sound, as it becomes an important issue within my piece. Sound and Space allows audience to get absorbed within installation. I wanted to address the issue directly, because the idea is to make audience feel disturbed under the influence of sound, video and paper cranes. I have also played with light and shadow as I have done in my autumn piece, but it works differently. The shadows from paper cranes make video footage like a broken mirror with lots of pieces, it disturbs the completeness of the pictures, and illustrates aggression and malevolence.
My work was influenced by works of Anna Lewis, Wolgang Leib,Takashi Murakami and Charles Ledray in the way that I tried to look on how many can form the one, as well as symbolism, memories and history.Throughout the project you can see the echo of politics, as there would be no war and nuclear conflicts without politics. However, it was not my main intention, as I wanted to focus on how entire countries could be wiped out in a minute. My primary idea was to illustrate how war brings disruption and disappearance. Paper cranes are white, pure and with the organic form of a bird. However, with the disturbance of video they become one of the main elements that bring grief, and disturbance, they bring the dialogue between presence and disappearance. The beauty of the paper cranes transforms into the image of aggression and evil.
The pictures in the footage are pictures of kids that have been suffering during Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl, as well as the contrast images of happy children. The images of happy kids will be pictures of USSR pioneers during their summer holidays in international summer camps. This links to the film that have inspired me towards the project -‘Здравствуйте Дети!!’, as USSR pioneer came together in order to safe a life of a Japanese girl. The music will be layered on to the footage, it will be one of the pioneer songs (propaganda), that symbolizes happiness and peace. It will have a heavy contrast with the images, as they are shocking and horrifying.The music track was specifically edited, as I have done a lot of research on II World War, and I wanted to make an effect of an isolated place, that has been wiped out with nuclear power to a ground of 0. It will well illustrate the tension of war and suffering, and highlight the idea of peace. Within this I tried to depict the idea that everything in the world is cyclical, everything changes through time, and the constant images are only there for the short period of time.
Artist Statement ‘The Process of Purity’
During this term we have been given a range of group projects to participate and as a final art piece for the autumn term, we have been given the opportunity to explore our own ideas. During this term I have visited Sotheby’s Italian Art Sale Auction in London. There I have discovered such artists as Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni. I have explored and looked at works of Zero Art Movement (which was first established by Otto Piene and Heinz Mack).
“a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning.” Otto Piene
I was really inspired by these artists and the whole idea of post war modern minimalism art. In Sotheby’s when you look at ‘Superficie Bianca’ by Castelanni and ‘Spatial Concept’ by Fontana, you just feel its complexity, purity and intimacy. I also looked at works of Robert Brennan and his shaped canvases, as well as Molly Gochman who have done series of fabric sculptures.
This became an influence and the starting point for my current art project. I have decided to explore sculpture within the canvas, and the whole idea of using canvas and other textiles as a pure medium for artists expression. Canvas and textiles without being cut or manipulated in any other way (painted in colors) become pure and organic.
My theme for this project became purity through destruction, which is perfectly depicted by Zero Art Movement. The recent protests in February 2014 and civil war in Ukraine, which have taken thousands of lives, will eventually lead to peace, changes and prosperity of the country in future. Euromaidan and the events of winter 2014 in Kiev, really changed lives of millions of people and me.
This project becomes a reflection of changes that happened in my country. Within these three art pieces visual language illustrates the movement and the peaceful state by manipulation of fabric. The light becomes a major factor for the image that the viewer will see. Shapes and folds come to life with lights on. The work itself changes as the direction of light changes. White color not only emphasizes purity, but allows to show contrasts between white and black, life and death, war and peace. It helps to bring a piece closer to sculpture and shape, rather than the image depicted. It was also interesting in the way that piece changes through making, with having a clear idea of the outcome, it’s still unpredictable how it will look at the end.
To bring my idea to life, I faced quite few difficulties as I needed to find a medium which will make the fabric stiff as plastic but not as plaster. I have tried starch, glues on canvases and it just did not work, than I’ve made a decision to use cotton as it will be more flexible, organic, because even canvas boiled did not give the results I wanted. I found a solution in order to make fabric flexible but stiff at the end. I have used aerosol matte finish spray, and then covered the fabric in white paint to make it whiter. The fabric was stretched onto the frame as canvas would.
I would like this idea to evolve in the next few months, as I would like to make a large-scale piece. I will probably change my making process by finding even better solution to express my ideas with stretched fabric and canvases. Through this project I have learned that without trying and failing you can not create art and that the process will lead the idea, but not reversely. This project becomes one of my most influential for my practice, and becomes the first that I really like, and want to continue creating.