Thursday, 1 September 2011

Week 6- Anish Kapoor Sculpture

Celebrated for his gigantic, stainless steel Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Anish Kapoor is changing the cultural environment with his public works.

Cloud Gate (2004), Millennium Park, Chicago
Celebrated for his gigantic, stainless steel Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Anish Kapoor is changing the cultural environment with his public works.
1. Research Kapoor's work in order to discuss whether it is conceptual art or not. Explain your answer, using a definition of conceptual art.
 ’Conceptual Art’ is a contemporary form of artistic representation, in which a specific concept or idea, often personal, complex and inclusive, takes shape in an abstract, nonconforming manner, based upon a negation of aesthetic principles (‘Conceptual Art,’ 2011). Artists do not set out to paint or make a certain thing with a particular form but to use mediums to express a concept or idea. I have seen this work before when looking at out studio special brief and think that Kapoor’s work is conceptual sculpture art as well as playing on architecture and visual in the use of the reflective material.  Its dramatic size draws attention to it and viewers can see it and be a part of it in the same instant by looking at their reflections in the shiny surface.  I think it would look awesome from above in one of the Chicago office buildings seeing the mirror image of the sky and buildings around it from above.

2. Research 3 quite different works by Kapoor from countries outside New Zealand to discuss the ideas behind the work. Include images of each work on your blog.

Tall Tree & the Eye, 2009, Stainless steel and carbon steel
Tall Tree and The Eye is a sculpture made of 80 spheres around 3 axes. The polished mirror-like surfaces of “each sphere simultaneously reflects itself, its neighbours and all the components that make up the tower” (“Tall Tree and the Eye,” 2011). I really like the reflective qualities of Kapoor’s artworks and the scale of them. The idea of nature and how things appear is shown and how they have been arranged to reflect themselves, the viewer and their surroundings is amazing and thoroughly planned. It reminds me of science and chemistry particles and at the same time makes me think of balloons at a fair. “Though it is a very large piece of sculpture it comes across as somehow weightless and ephemeral” (“Tall Tree and the Eye,” 2011).

Yellow, 1999, Fibreglass and pigment
Yellow is “a six-square-meter disc made from fiberglass and covered in 12 coats of yellow paint” (“Anish Kapoor...Academy,” 2011). It tricks the eye at first appearing to be a smooth surface that is actually in fact a concave void at the center. Kapoor says his work as an artist is to make discoveries (Youtube).His works are always different but have similar ideas and he often plays with color as not just the surface but as ‘stuff’ like a material in itself. To him Yellow is like a monochromatic painting. Our entire field of vision is taken up with the singular experience of colour. As we look at this work the boundaries are blurred between what we know and what we perceive. It seems to go deeper and stretch beyond its sculptural confines (“Yellow,” 2011). I like the trick on the depth of this artwork and the use of such a bright colour as a material not just a substance applied and the varying tones he uses.

Greyman Cries, Shaman Dies, Billowing Smoke, Beauty Evoked.
This set of sculptures follow Kapoor’s ideas of art without the use of the human hand to make art the goes “beyond expression” (Luca, 2009). The works were made using CAD and never touched/moulded by the human hand meeting Kapoor’s idea for this series of artworks. They crowd the room almost completely forcing the viewer to slide beside them.  They appear as coils of snakes, intestines, spaghetti and other piled up thin strings. I like that they have never been touched by the human hand and the contrast of the folds and creases in the material.

3. Discuss the large scale 'site specific' work that has been installed on a private site in New Zealand.
4. Where is the Kapoor's work in New Zealand? What are its form and materials? What are the ideas behind the work?

This work is an installation for “The Farm”, a private outdoor art gallery in Kaipara Bay, north of Auckland. Kapoor often creates outdoor sculptures as with the case with his first outdoor fabric sculpture. “it is designed to withstand the high winds that blow inland from the Tasman Sea off the northwest coast of New Zealand’s North Island” (“Anish Kapoor...New Zealand,” 2011).  It is 85metres long and consists of two elliptical steel rings (one vertical, one horizontal), 27 metres across with 32 cables providing displacement and deflection resistance to the wind loads. It is covered in a custom deep red PVC-coated polyester fabric by Ferrari Textiles that weighs 7,200kg alone (Kapoor Sculpture,” 2009). It was created with the idea of enhancing views of the harbour to the west and mountains to the east channelling the forces of water, air and rock (Garrett, 2009). It reminds me of red blood cells and veins with a membrane like quality to it that Kapoor describes as being “rather like flayed skin” (Garrett, 2009).

5. Comment on which work by Kapoor is your favourite, and explain why. Are you personally attracted more by the ideas or the aesthetics of the work?I am personally attracted to the aesthetic of Kapoor’s works, specifically the ones with reflective surfaces and shiny properties to the materials he uses. I think my favourite would have to be the sky mirrors. The scale of the 35-foot-diameter concave mirror of polished stainless steel is breathtaking. I like the idea of the concave side reflecting upwards and showing the sky and clouds and the convex side angled down showing people and viewers around it. The idea of it changing throughout the day and night is intriguing as the artwork will never look the same twice reflecting the changing environment from season to season. I love the fact that this sculpture isn’t permanent and can move around and be placed just about anywhere.

·         Conceptual Art (retrieved 31August 2011).
·         Anish Kapoor retrospective at the Royal Academy. (retrieved 1 September 2011).
·         Luca. 2009, 18 Novemeber.  Anish Kapoor – Royal Academy of Arts.
·         Anish Kapoor sculpture blends fabric and steel in New Zealand. (retrieved 1 Sep. 11).
·         Kapoor Sculpture, Kaipara Harbour, NZ. 2009.
·          Garret, R. 2009. The Farm: Alan Gibbs – businessman, collector and artists’ accomplice.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Pluralism and the Treaty of Waitangi

In teaching week 5, you will discuss pluralism and the Treaty of Waitangi in your tutorials. Use this discussion, the notes in your ALVC book and the internet to respond to the following questions;

1. Define the term 'pluralism' using APA referencing.
a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain an autonomous participation in and development of their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization”
Pluralism (retrieved 24 August 2011).

“Inclusion of individuals of differing ethnicities, genders, ideologies, abilities, ages, religions, economic status and educational levels is valued. Pluralism honours differences within and between equitable groups while seeing their commonalities.”
Cultural Context: Pluralism in Art (retrieved 24 August 11).

2. How would you describe New Zealand's current dominant culture?
I think New Zealand’s current dominant culture is varied though mainly considered to be white European/Pakeha. There are many immigrants in New Zealand from other countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. The Maori Tangata Whenua culture is used for tourism purposes and in advertising and promoting New Zealand to other countries but this does not really reflect the culture of New Zaealand today.

3. Before 1840, what was New Zealand's dominant culture?
As we discussed in class, before 1840, Maoris were the dominant culture and people of New Zealand, with a population near 100,000 compared to the European settlers with around 200 people. Comparing this to today, the changes to the culture and way of life in New Zealand have been dramatic, greatly affected by the settlement of land and wars caused by new te4chnologies like the muskets that were introduced estimating to have killed 20000 Maoris due to the land disputes.

4. How does the Treaty of Waitangi relate to us all as artists and designers working in New Zealand?
It relates to us in what we call Kiwi or can associate with New Zealand and our works. We can relate to the treaty through the use of the New Zealand/Maori culture as a part of our reputation and creative process. The Maori culture is protected by the treaty yet it is used openly around the world without consideration from many. As designers and artists working in New Zealand we should be aware of what is right and wrong to use and produce in terms of abusing the Maori culture and traditions for the sake of art.

5. How can globalization be seen as having a negative effect on regional diversity in New Zealand in particular?
Globalisation according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as “the act or process of globalizing : the state of being globalized; especially : the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labour markets”.
For regional diversity within New Zealand globalisation can have a negative effect in limiting regional cultures and traditions and altering them permanently, resulting in the loss of diversity. Art and design within in New Zealand differs due to available materials and inspirations in different environments but with globalisation any material wanted can be found and inspiration from environments via travel can affect ideas and works. This results in a loss of diversity and works that are identifiable with a region or area.

6. Shane Cotton's paintings are said to examine the cultural landscape. Research Cotton's work 'Welcome'(2004) and 'Forked Tongue' (2011) to analyze what he is saying about colonialization and the Treaty of Waitangi. 
'Welcome' (2004) Shane Cotton 

'Forked Tongue'(2011) Shane Cotton

With his works, Shane Cottons weaves and obvious enquiry into the nature of entwined Maori and Pakeha cultures (Daly, 2010). He tries to combine Maori and Pakeha sources to form a hybrid poetic painting that shows the shared experience of the two cultures within New Zealand.  He questions the notion of cultural identity and the space between Maori and Pakeha perspectives. His work “has addressed historical contact” and “transitional cultural episodes” where the Maori culture has been introduced to the new settling European migrants (“Flight Paths,” 2007). Through his art Cotton reflects the changing times in New Zealand cultural landscape showing the “shift in the hierarchy of image” (“Flight Paths,” 2007) that was brought about through the colonisation. “Cotton's imagery usually carries heavy cultural weight, collapsing a lot of history into an image - a severed head means a great deal for a maoru artist whose work negotiates with colonial art and museum practices" (Mathews, 2005).

7. Tony Albert's installation 'Sorry' (2008) reflects the effects of colonization on the aboriginal people of Australia. Research the work and comment on what Albert is communicating through his work, and what he is referring to. Describe the materials that Albert uses on this installation and say what he hopes his work can achieve. Define the term 'kitsch'.

Tony Albert’s installation ‘Sorry’ commemorates the apology on 13th February 2008 by the former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, to Indigenous Australians for the pain they have suffered as a result of ‘past mistreatment’ by the Government of Australia (“Sorry,” 2010). In this work Albert captures the emotion of the moment with a forest of faces from Australian history showing those who had stolen from them family, land and culture. the images that make up the word ‘sorry’ show aboriginals as the white society  saw them; a part of the Australian outback and ‘landscape’ but they didn’t have to interact with. “Each represents a false identity, manufactured black faces made to fit white society” (“Tony Albert Sorry,” 2011). The installation is simply a word though, a symbolic gesture, this word taken on “face value until real change is observed” (“Sorry,” 2010). Through the work Albert wished to give imagery life, to empower the aboriginals and in a way reverse racism turn it in a positive light to remain hopeful and strong for change and a better future.

Kitsch is art (whether or not it is good art) that is deliberately designed to move us, by presenting a well-selected and perhaps much-edited version of some particularly and predictably moving aspect of our shared experience...."
Solomon, R. "On Kitsch and Sentimentality." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 49 (Winter 1991): 1-14. Retrieved from:

8. Explain how the work of both artists relates to pluralism.
Both works relate to pluralism showing not just the dominant culture of their respective countries but the indigenous native peoples and some of their ways of life, traditions and culture. Both reflect on the past and history and how we can still see some of these elements in today’s society.
·         Flight Paths. (July 14, 2007). The Listener, issue 3505. Retrieved from:
·         Mathews, P. (August 6, 2005). Cover Story. The Listener, issue 3404. Retrieved from:
·         Daly, J. (20 July 2010). Shane Cotton paintings examine the cultural landscape.
·         Sorry. (10th September 2010).,
·         Tony Albert Sorry. Retrieved 25/8/11. Retrieved from:,

Friday, 19 August 2011

Kehinde Wiley's Intertextuality

This week’s ALVC class focuses on the postmodern theme "INTERTEXTUALITY", re-read Extract 1 the death of the author on page 39 of your ALVC books and respond to the oil paintings of Kehinde Wiley.

1. Find a clear definition of Intertextuality and quote it accurately on your blog using the APA referencing system. Use your own words to explain the definition more thoroughly.

Intertextuality is ‘a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of another”
Kristeva. (1969). Word, Dialogue, Novel.  Chapter 4: Semeiotike. Paris: France.
 Sourced from: Orr, M. (2003). Intertextuality: Debates and contexts. Cambridge, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

“The fundamental and inescapable interdependence of all textual meaning upon the structures of meaning proposed by other texts”
Gray, J. (2006).Watching the Simpsons: television, parody and intertextuality. NY, USA: Taylor & Francis

Intertextuality is the idea that everything is made up of and given meaning from what has been before regardless of real influence. Nothing is completely new and alone as everything is made up and shaped by previous texts. Meaning is derived from the reader’s referencing of texts seen before in reading a new text. Intertextuality credits the audience with the necessary experience/knowledge to make sense of the allusions in a text to other texts, offering them the pleasure of recognition. Regardless of the text having been influenced by something specific, texts or things seen or experienced by the viewer beforehand will influence them towards the new text, its meaning and their response. 

2. Research Wiley's work and write a paragraph that analyzes how we might make sense of his work. Identify intertextuality in Wiley's work.
Kehinde Wiley creates large, colourful, ornate paintings of young African-American men in theatrical poses based on well-known images of powerful figures from European portraiture. Through his work, Wiley addresses the image and status of African-American men in contemporary culture.  He mixes techniques of renaissance paintings with hip hop subject matters, “lifting his subjects straight from the street and rendering them-complete with sneakers, track pants, tank tops, and team caps-in the visual language of classic European portraiture” (M.I.A, 2011). Pictorially, Wiley gives the authority of the historical sitters to his 21st century subjects collating modern culture with the influence of Old Masters. His large scale figurative paintings are often adorned with ornate gilded frames and illuminated with a barrage of baroque or rococo decorative patterns intermingling with the figures (“Painting: Kehinde Wiley,” 2011) . He also plays around with the traditional ideas of portraying masculinity and physicality whilst blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation (“Kehinde Wiley,” 2011).
His work shows intertextuality through its similarities to Renaissance portraiture. In the Renaissance, portraits were done to show the power and wealth a person had and we get this sense of power through Wiley’s works. The flag in the red and black work references old Latin script at the same time as graffiti in the situation it is in.

The casual clothing we see on the figures makes us picture them on the street not in a painting. Some aspects appear older renaissance influenced as in the Count Potocki piece where the horse especially around its head and mane appear very 2D and flat compared to the rider who seems more 3D. This shows the influence of the old style of painting technique in Wiley’s works.

I personally can see intertextuality in very clearly and for me specifically in the portrait of Ice T which reminds me of many of the portraits of Cosimo de Medici. It also reminds me of parodies of this painting I have seen before so I recognised the influence when I saw Wiley’s version of Napoleon by Ingres.

 I also get a feeling of modernity from Wiley’s work especially after I read that he likes to “throw away the old rules. This is something that, as artists, we constantly deal with-throwing away the past, slaying the father, and creating the new” (M.I.A, 2011). Intertextuality is also seen in his works Colonel Platoff on his charger (2008) in its allusion to the romantic portraiture of James Ward and Jacque-Louis David’s Napoleon on Horseback (1801. The work Sleep (2008) also alludes to Caravaggio’s Entombment of Christ (1602-03) through its use of the renaissance artist’s legendary chiarscuro lighting. Noticeably connections can also be drawn between rococo ornamentation and the hip hop industry’s flare for colour, ornamentation, theatrics and excess (New Museum, 2011). The intertextuality is easily identified in Wiley’s works and shows how the audience relies on previous knowledge and experience to read a work and give it meaning for themselves as well as the idea of pleasure in recognising ideas they have been exposed to before.
3. Wiley's work relates to next week’s postmodern theme "PLURALISM". Read page 46 and discuss how the work relates to this theme.
Through his work Wiley shows pluralism by not showing the ‘dominant’ culture of the white middle class citizen, instead portraying black males in their place. He has put the African American men into the place of their white counterparts showing them posed and regal instead of the expected tough dangerous exterior usually portrayed by artists depicting black men.
Wiley’s work contrasts the grandiose past of the 18th century European leisure class with the excess found in hip hop culture where the iced out platinum chain reigns as the royal crest and the luxury SUV is the horse and carriage (Jackson, 2003). He has made his work depicting a different ethnicity than the norm and of subjects with different economic and educational backgrounds. He has made his work pluralist overlapping cultures - that of the European poses and backgrounds, combined with the African American figures - making his works able to communicate multiple identities in the one work. Wiley talks about walking into the LACMA to see Kerry James Marshall’s barbershop painting and how he noticed the absence of other black images in the Museum; he said there was something absolutely heroic and fascinating about being able to feel a certain relationship to the institution through the fact that these people happen to look like him on some level (Williams, 2011). Through his works Wiley has done this, his work connecting to people and as he says “that’s partly the success of my work – the ability to have a young black girl walk into the Brooklyn Museum and see paintings she recognizes not because of their art or historical influence but because of their inflection” (M.I.A, 2011).

4. Comment on how Wiley's work raises questions around social/cultural hierarchies, colonisation, globalisation, stereotypes and the politics which govern a western worldview. 
Renaissance portraits were done to show someone’s wealth and power in society and Wiley has used his portraits in a similar way to make a statement about African American people in contemporary society. He is a rarity in the fine-art world portraying black figures over the usual white ones. He challenges the public perception of black males and strong American views on being overly fixated towards racial identity and identity in general (M.I.A, 2011). As an artist Wiley has always remained committed to showcasing thorny issues of how gender and identity is presented against the backdrop of art history he interrogates the notions of race, privilege and class through his works commenting on the absence of the black figure not only from art history but also from a white patriarchal society (New Museum, 2011). “The absence of young black urban men in paintings says something about our society” (Jackson, 2003). Wiley says that there is a constant state for people of colour working in the fine arts, that regardless of what you do with the subject matter it always comes down to something so essential about skin colour, but the dream of the artist is always to go beyond that. To transcend expectations, to transcend class, race, gender, sexuality, class (Indrisek, 2008).  “The portraits [Wiley creates] examine not only how African American males are viewed by others, but also how they see themselves. Wiley hones in on their desire to pose, to be seen, to keep it real, to be faux, but above all, to represent” (Jackson, 2003).
He addressed the issue of colonisation by using decorative patterning as a mode of inscribing African American figures into histories of art (Galt, 2011). His works show multicultural identities challenging the preconceived ideas of social hierarchy and racial stereotypes. He also challenges previous African American art, much having been a political type of art, “very didactic and based on the ‘60’s” and makes his art not constrained by the expectations that his work should be solely political (M.I.A, 2003)

5. Add some reflective comments of your own, which may add more information that you have read during your research.
I love Kehinde Wiley’s works and the overlapping he does of the background decoration with his figures and subject matter. I like that he has challenged the social status of African American men putting them into poses and referencing European art making a statement but in a beautiful aesthetically pleasing not jus blatant ‘here is my point’ way. I love his painting technique and its similarities to Renaissance works as I think that time period has some of the most beautifully painted works.

·         M.I.A. (retrieved 18th August 2011). Kehinde Wiley.
·         Painting: Kehinde Wiley (retrieved 18th August 2011).,
·         Kehinde Wiley (retrieved 17th August 2011).
·         New Museum. (2011). Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education. New York, USA: Routledge.
·         Jackson, B. K. (2003, August). Visualise: B-Boy Stance. Vibe Magazine, 117
·         Williams, M. (retrieved 17th August 2011). The Transcontinental Breadth of a Contemporary Master.,
·         Indrisek, S.  (12/10/08). Q&A with Kehinde WileY.
·         Galt, R. (2011). Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image. New York, USA : Columbia University.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Chalayan Art

Chalayan is an artist and designer, working in film, dress and installation art. Research Chalayan’s work, and then consider these questions in some thoughtful reflective writing.

1. Chalayan’s works in clothing, like Afterwords (2000) and Burka (1996) are often challenging to both the viewer and the wearer. What are your personal responses to these works? Are Afterwords and Burka fashion, or are they art? What is the difference?
Not all clothing is fashion, so what makes fashion fashion?

I think the nudity of Chalayan’s work Burka could offend some due to the cultural issues it challenges. The idea of a burka is to cover and conceal as a religious view and in what Chalayan has done, he has almost mocked it, reversing the concept and instead revealing more and more of the models in succession as they are seen. I personally love burkas and their cultural meanings and fabrics and how dedicated people are to their religious views in that they will even in other countries where wearing one is not required, they will still wear a burka as a sign of the morals and religious views. I like the idea of the Afterwords collection and the ideas around turning architecture into fashion. I think it is unique to create metamorphosing objects/garments that have multiple functions. Chalayan explores the “concept of portable architecture, and was inspired by the necessity for people displaced by war and invasion to carry their homes when fleeing a country and becoming nomadic” (Fogg, 2007). I think it shows many of the aspects we have discussed about post modernism and playing with art and crossing the line between many different genres of art – architecture, fashion, product, etc. However, I also think it employs many aspects of modernism in that his works in fashion are futuristic and consider what is to become of fashion not just in the here and now though his works address issues in the here and now – e.g. taking household items with you whilst you wear them for those moving around constantly i.e. during war.  I think that the works are both fashion and art. They make statements in the way that fashion does through what someone wears and how they wear it as well as a having a meaning in an artistic sense that they question our previous methods of thinking about art and fashion.
We talked about earlier in the year how art is any creative process with development and ideas behind it and fashion meets this ‘definition’. The difference between fashion and art is minimal as fashion often has an artistic meaning behind it, whether it is the print from a t-shirt that is art in fashion or a patterned fabric that has art (print design)built literally into the fabric.
Not all clothing is fashion in a sense is an odd statement as all clothing is made with a purpose and people will have their own taste in fashion and choose one thing over another according to their fashion taste, making it a fashion decision and therefore of fashion.  Pyjamas, for example, are not thought of as fashion to some but are still designed in a fashionable way that are functional and practical at the same time look good and so people wouldn’t be horrified to be seen in them. In this sense even pj’s make a fashion statement about that person though they may not generally considered fashion.

2. Chalayan has strong links to industry. Pieces like The Level Tunnel (2006) and Repose (2006) are made in collaboration with, and paid for by, commercial business; in these cases, a vodka company and a crystal manufacturer. How does this impact on the nature of Chalayan’s work? Does the meaning of art change when it is used to sell products? Is it still art?

Chalayan’s work ‘The Level Tunnel’ is a collaboration with Level Vodka which resulted in “a 15m long, 5m high installation that can be experienced from the exterior or [from being] blindfolded on the inside” (“level tunnel installation,” 5/12/08). In the piece he plays with the experience of the sense. “The viewer is blindfolded and led into the installation, where they are confronted with sound created by a flute made from a vodka bottle...

“Further on, a breeze carries the scent of lemon and cedar as the visitors moves along the leather coated railings. A heart monitor is fitted onto the visitor and a display on the outside projects their heartbeat to external viewers” (“level tunnel installation,” 5/12/08). In the work people can directly experience it inside and others can indirectly experience it from the outside which adds a new dimension to the way in which people experience his art and through it Level Vodka.
I don’t think it impacted his work in too many ways other than that he had to incorporate the vodka bottle which he did as a flute and include the smell of one of the vodka flavours as he bumped it at the viewer. In a way the company has been incorporated into the artwork but it is still Chalayan’s. The patterns of the floor, ceiling and railings, remind me of the flow of liquid out of say a vodka bottle and is another way he has incorporated the company into his work. I think it is still art as advertising does include aspects of art and design which The Level Tunnel does do.

Repose, again, is a work in collaboration with a company, this time being Swarovski. The work was about chandelier design as the company makes these products and Chalayan was told to “push the boundaries of traditional chandelier design... [to] celebrate the theme of light...[to] reinterpret the chandelier aesthetic” (“Swarovski,” 2011). Chalayan has worked with Swarovski on many occasions and together  “have tried to create a new language which combines fashion, performance and design so that [they] can create something unique every time” (Aboutaleb, 2011). The piece created, Repose, comprised of 2 separate pieces in communication with each other. “The first being an aeroplane wing which balanced against a wall, the large flap of the wing moving slowly up and down to reveal a long strip of Swarovski Elements lit by LEDs...

“..This graceful movement was linked to the second piece in the installation – a digital clock set on a timed loop, indicating speed with the movement of the wing flap. The installation simultaneously encompassed the feeling of movement and stillness” (“Swarovski,” 2011). Chalayan has merged his aesthetic of architecture and technology with that of the Swarovski Crystals of jewels and chandeliers to create a piece that is distinctly him but also meeting the needs of the company. It is still his work and true to him again in my opinion only creating a piece that is influenced by the company’s product and not totally all about them. It changes the meaning slightly into advertising for the company too but is more of a material to be used as part of in this work to end up with a chandelier piece which isn’t only a chandelier with the inclusion of a digital clock. In my opinion Chalayan already challenges the concepts of art and design using architecture, technology and other areas in his works and so why not push further to change the meaning of his work to include advertising as well as all the other elements of his usual work. It is still a beautiful piece of art.

3. Chalayan’s film Absent Presence screened at the 2005 Venice Biennale. It features the process of caring for worn clothes, and retrieving and analysing the traces of the wearer, in the form of DNA. This work has been influenced by many different art movements; can you think of some, and in what ways they might have inspired Chalayan’s approach?


Hussein Chalayan, still from Absent Presence, 2005 (motion picture)
“The Absent Presence is an enigmatic story based on identity, geography, genetics, biology and anthropology” (“Hussein Chalayan,” 2011). “The film questions whether the extent to which identities can adapt to new environments” (“the absent Presence,” 2005).The film and work, Absent Presence, by Chalayan could have been influenced by the enlightenment through the use of science and technology that makes up the ‘story’ in the film. Chalayan says that he’s been making films for the last few years that have added a new dimension to his work (“Hussein Chalayan,” 2006). The idea of taking the DNA and analysing it is very scientific and technological and the process in doing so could be seen as humanistic in the understanding of the world through scientific methods in this case to learn more about the wearer. The use of film alone is an influence from this movement in that it without it Chalayan could not make and produce his work in the media it is in without the technological advances made. This all links to the period of the scientific revolution as well with the technology and science aspects of the film and the media used as with Pipilotti Rist’s work ‘Ever is All Over’ that we looked at earlier in the year. I guess that Chalayan could also have been influenced by the industrialist movement in the way our clothes are machine made and we discard them once worn and people retrieve them for DNA extraction.  He could be pointing out how our machines that make us things are making things that don’t last long but somehow we leave an everlasting impression on them in this case our DNA being left behind. With this impressionism could also have been an influence as with the DNA traces of our uses for the clothes and what we did in them are left on the garment giving an impression to the scientist about our lives in that moment at that time.

4. Many of Chalayan’s pieces are physically designed and constructed by someone else; for example, sculptor Lone Sigurdsson made some works from Chalayan’s Echoform (1999) and Before Minus Now (2000) fashion ranges. In fashion design this is standard practice, but in art it remains unexpected. Work by artists such as Jackson Pollock hold their value in the fact that he personally made the painting. Contrastingly, Andy Warhol’s pop art was largely produced in a New York collective called The Factory, and many of his silk-screened works were produced by assistants. Contemporarily, Damien Hirst doesn’t personally build his vitrines or preserve the sharks himself. So when and why is it important that the artist personally made the piece?
“Chalayan is
an internationally regarded fashion designer who is renowned for his innovative use of materials, meticulous pattern cutting and progressive attitude to new technology” (“Hussein Chalayan,” 2006). His designs being HIS designs are the important thing in my opinion. They are his unique and original designs and art and though he may not be the one to complete them they are still his thought, concepts and ideas. Many famous paintings were not completed by the artist they are acclaimed to. Verrocchio had his pupils and apprentices finish some of his works and sometimes more was done by them than him but they are still an artwork credited under his name and of his design. For the ideas Chalayan has behind his works like many artists and designers he cannot always pull off what he wants done and the final product to look like. This is when it is right for a artist to pull in another to do some work for them to create a final work that is the best possible and correct to the idea rather than subpar due to the artist lacking skills in an area unfamiliar to them in which they wanna work with. The parts of Chalayan’s work that implements fashion, it is usual to offhand some work to others and this idea has in the last few decades become more common in art practices. Some paintings have a specific technique and way to create a painting as with Jackson Pollock which requires only the artist to be involved to get it right. The medium used also makes certain things needing to be done by one person and others by many as with silk screen prints of Andy Warhol. He does not have the equipment or time to do all of his himself as they can be on larger scales and need precise application of paint that others more experience can handle better. Areas in which artists and designers need others assistance in to help create their works is personally fine in my opinion e.g. I’m not immune to asking others on how to do something to apply to my own work.

·         Fogg, M. (2007).Couture interiors living with fashion. Laurence King. London: UK
·         “Level Tunnel installation by Hussein Chalayan”. (5/12/08)
·         Aboutaleb, B. (2001, 30th June). Hussein Chalayan’s First Retrospective.
·         Hussein Chalayan. (2011).
·         Hussein Chalayan. (2006, 6th April).,
·         Absent Presence. (2005).