I started Creative Arts Today prepared to have a more open mind and knowing I would find this initial section on Contemporary Art hard. It has been a struggle trying to keep questioning and find understanding for things which I see as grandstanding. The finest example of this is Damian Hirsts shark in formaldehyde, I’ve read several essays on that now all explaining to me how many layers of meaning there are but I just can’t take it seriously. What surprised me most about my responses to this module is that even when I really looked deeply into it, I could find nothing that appealed to me. If that means I’m doomed to be a cultural peasant for the rest of my life at least I’ll know I’ve tried!
I haven’t felt inspired by any of the works that I’ve looked at, that’s quite a strong word. There are several Illustrators and Photographers that inspire me but nothing from this module has stood out. The most interesting installation for me was the illuminated lettering ‘A Place Beyond Belief’ by Nathan Coley. Initially I was hopeful that this might prove to be a Contemporary Artist that I could get behind but these hopes were swiftly dashed when I started to explore the rest of his work. What really put me off his work was the Dundee based housing block in the Bristol church yard in response to Bristollian history. I’ve searched the internet out of sheer curiosity looking for any reasoning behind it, any sense, but am still bemused.
I have discovered one artist that I am interested in. Doug Aitken and his use of large letters containing photographic imagery. It reminded me of an exercise in Illustration One where we had to use mixed media to illustrate pairs of words, ie FAT would be bulbous and composed of McDonalds labels. He is one artist which I would like to look at further.
What has changed for me is my definition of Art, or maybe rather, my understanding of what Art is for other people. I still prefer my physical image depicting something, these images often prove to be thought provoking/stimulating for me. I better understand now that other people don’t want or need that physical image, they are happy just to be stimulated in a particular direction and fill in the blanks for themselves.