Here is a link to my intro to story presentation and my transcript along with it.
Neo Rauch, Schmerz, 2004
“Schmerz” is an oil on canvas painting created in 2004 by Neo Rauch (“Schmerz – Neo Rauch – The Athenaeum”). Rauch quickly became one of the key painters in figurative German art, with most of his work fitting into the contemporary arts movement, though a lot of his works have suggestions of surrealist style (“A Conversation with Neo Rauch | Ocula”).
“Schmerz” has a triangular composition and is composed of various subjects preforming various tasks. In the foreground a general with a drawn sword leans over a woman crouched on the ground appearing to tend to a vase resting on a wood base with a curling entity emerging from the top. In the background, there are more woman walking toward a group of soldiers who are walking in their direction. Fading into the distance behind this is a line of houses and greenery you would typically see in a quiet village or in the country side. The combination of these figures creates a nearly dreamlike feel to the piece. Overall the colours in “Schmerz” are quite dull with bright yellows and reds used on and around the woman to draw the attention of the viewer in that direction. In my opinion the use of the yellow for the woman and the blue for the men in uniform helps to create the distinction between an idea that is ridged and regulated and people who are supposedly ‘free’. Rauch typically is known for using strong contemporary colours throughout his works. (“Neo Rauch Biography”). The scale of the work is one that is played with freely. Rauch makes things much bigger or smaller than they would be and places these items in places where they do not quite work with a conventional scale. This method adds to the surrealist abstraction element of his work. This work, along with many others of Rauch’s work plays with the idea of narrative. (“Neo Rauch at David Zwirner Gallery, London — Interview”). Looking at this work the viewer has the impression of a clear narrative. However, on further inspection the painting is composed of many familiar images in a jumbled and non-distinctive manner, that create nearly a collaged and perhaps surrealist style of art. Rauch’s work is mainly considered to be heavily in the style of East Germany art with small inputs of Western style. This is mainly because of the similarities between his work and the socialist realism work that was previously the only approved style in that area of Germany. (“Paintings for Now”)
I chose this work to study because it is not a piece of art that appeals to me. I admire the skill with which Rauch handles his medium, and it was not something I was particularly aware of until I started to study the piece. His paint handling in many of his works holds a lot of skill and is very impressive. However, I find the colours in the piece a strange mix between dull and garish and the collaged effect of all the different images creates more of a jumble to me than a refined figurative art piece. After researching this piece, I understand why Rauch is one of the biggest figurative painters in Germany. In my opinion it is an art piece that is not to my taste. I feel as though the emotions “Schmerz” delivers are sad and angry and dull and I often find art that conveys those emotions unappealing. I also feel as though the objects in the image do not mix and where never intended to be put together, while I can see why this would appeal to people as a style, for me it conveys more of a misplaced sense and one that is not meant to be there.
Overall I find “Schmerz” to be something that I as a viewer do not quite understand and is a piece of art that does not appeal to me in many ways. However, I do also acknowledge the style where he gets his influence from and think Rauch uses an interesting mix of realism and abstract surrealism to create his works.
“A Conversation with Neo Rauch | Ocula.” N.p., 14 May 2017. Web. 20 May 2017.
“BOMB Magazine — Neo Rauch by Sabine Russ.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Neo Rauch | Contemporary Art | Hatje Cantz.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Neo Rauch – Magazine – Art in America.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Neo Rauch at David Zwirner Gallery, London — Interview.” Financial Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Neo Rauch Biography.” David Zwirner. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Paintings for Now.” The New Yorker. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.
Piepenbring, Dan. “The Paris Review.” “At the Well”: Four Paintings by Neo Rauch. N.p., 11 June 2014. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Schmerz – Neo Rauch – The Athenaeum.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.
“This New Documentary Gets Inside the Mind of Neo Rauch.” artnet News. N.p., 5 Jan. 2017. Web. 20 May 2017.
Anish Kapoor, Marsyas, 2002.
Marsyas was installed in the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern, it is 150 m long and ten stories high. The huge sculpture is made from a steel framework which has then had a single piece of dark red PVC membrane stretched over the steel (Marsyas: An Extraordinary Sculpture). Marsyas occupies nearly the entire hall, with the scale being a nearly overwhelming factor of the work. Constructed in the hall, Kapoor intentionally used every bit of length he could obtain from the room to create a piece that challenged the space. The sculpture has a tunnel like structure that fills the entire Turbine hall, with three circle ends forming a straight tunnel ending at each side of the hall and the third opening pointing down at the viewers’ heads as they cross a bridge in the centre of the room. The scale of Marsyas is so vast that it is intended for the viewer to only view in pieces as you cannot see the entire structure at once.
Marsyas was produced in 2002 and fits into the Neo-Expressionist movement of sculpture which started in the late 1970’s. The title ‘Marsyas’ refers to the satyr in Greek mythology who was flayed alive by Apollo. Specifically, Kapoor is referring to the painting ‘Punishment of Marsyas’ by Titian, painted during the Renaissance period and considered one of the greatest pieces in the Western Canon (Marsyas) (Tate). This reference and inspiration shows itself through the dark red colour of the PVC material which has been compared to flayed skin by critics and Kapoor. Kapoor does not usually examine or produce work that studies the human form, however with this work taking inspiration and context from the flaying of Marsyas, Kapoor does examine the human body. Kapoor wanted to take human scale and a relationship to the viewer into the highest consideration and has aimed to create something that turns the body into something else, something unknown. Kapoor commented that he wanted to ‘Make body into sky’ (Tate). He has done this by creating an organic shape and form that resembles something anatomical with one field of colour that aids the viewer to make connections in their mind while creating an overwhelming experience as one struggles to grasp the scale of the work. The Turbine Hall itself has influenced how the work was created and formed as Kapoor created the work to be a site-specific piece, a similarity that a lot of his works share. The work purposely uses every available piece of space the hall provides to create an overwhelming and engaging experience to the viewer.
I chose this work as a piece because I felt that it was overwhelming and purposely unnerved me when viewing it. I found the sheer scale of Kapoor’s sculpture compelling and it fascinated me that the entire space was purposely used so to view the work piece by piece. I think that this piece, with its endless, taught fabric of one engaging colour hits the senses with a very confronting manner. Marsyas creates a mystery of never quite knowing the entire story of the piece, or where it goes. I found the comparison to a flayed body a very realistic one, with Marsyas looking as though a huge body is stretched through the sky above your head. Kapoor often deals with questions such as the influence of colour, human interaction and the idea that objects themselves convey their own language. In my opinion these ideas and questions appear to have had and influence on Marsyas and how the process has been undertaken. I think Kapoor has used the space in an unusual way, which allows for a unique and different viewing experience of an object that you would otherwise never see. I feel as though it leaves the viewer questioning and that its context renders very clearly what the object is stating.
Kapoor, Anish, Marco Livingstone, and Lisson Gallery. Anish Kapoor. Kyoto, Japan: Kyoto Shoin, 1990. Print. Art Random ; 28.
Kapoor, Anish, Gianni. Mercurio, Demetrio. Paparoni, Fabbrica Del Vapore, and Rotonda Di via Besana. Anish Kapoor : Dirty Corner. Milano: Skira, 2011. Print.
Kapoor, Anish, Michael Bracewell, Andrew Renton, Southbank Centre, and Hayward Touring. Anish Kapoor : Flashback. London : New York: Hayward : Southbank Centre ; Distributed in North America by D.A. P., 2011. Print.
Furlong, William, and Mel. Gooding. Speaking of Art : Four Decades of Art in Conversation. London: Phaidon, 2010. Print.
Harper, Glenn, and Twylene. Moyer. A Sculpture Reader : Contemporary Sculpture since 1980. Hamilton : Seattle: ISC ; U of Washington, 2006. Print.
Harper, Glenn, and Twylene. Moyer. Conversations on Sculpture. Hamilton, N. J. : Seattle, Wash.: Isc ; U of Washington [distributor], 2007. Print. Perspectives on Contemporary Sculpture ; 2. Bk.
Tate. “The Unilever Series: Anish Kapoor: Marsyas.” Tate. Accessed May 2, 2017. http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/unilever-series-anish-kapoor-marsyas.
“Marsyas.” Accessed May 10, 2017. http://anishkapoor.com/156/marsyas-3.
Illuminations Media. theEYE – Anish Kapoor – Marsyas. Accessed May 2, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1Ouyhjx06k.
“Marsyas: An Extraordinary Sculpture.” Serge Ferrari, June 21, 2013. http://en.sergeferrari.com/lightweight-architecture/marsyas-an-extraordinary-sculpture/.
“formpig_ARUP Marsyas_kapoor.pdf.” Accessed May 10, 2017. http://www.formpig.com/pdf/formpig_ARUP%20marsyas_kapoor.pdf.
(The Lovers I, 1928, Rene Magritte.)
Rene Magritte was one of the most prominent Surrealist painters. He lived from 1898 to 1967. Magritte resided in Brussels, Belgium, for most of his life. His work mainly consisted of Cubist and Surrealism paintings. However, it wasn’t until in his fifties Magrittes’ work was recognized and he started gaining fame from his work. ‘The Lovers I’ is part of a small series of paintings Magritte created between 1927 and 1928. This work was created a year after Magritte’s first solo show, which was heavily criticized. At this time Magritte was creating a large volume of work, with nearly one piece of work produced each day. This gave the viewers of his solo show a large and varied collection of work to view.
‘The Lovers I’ is a painting that shows Magrittes’ perfected Surrealist style. The work has a central, triangular composition which draws the eye inward to focus on the two faces in a figure-ground composition. The colors of the work are muted and cold, creating a lightly quiet and eerie mood. Magritte uses textured brushstrokes and a realistic style of painting to create a prominent surreal effect. The subjects themselves lean in toward each other as if in an happy embrace. However, the sheets wrapping around each figures head transforms the work, seeming to be pressed to their faces as if blown by a breeze. This showcases a feeling of alienation and suffocation, while the overall work has a juxtaposing sense of harmony and serenity
Magritte was not an Artist who liked his viewers to read personal background into his work. He preferred for his work to have an unknown meaning that played on the mind. The 1920’s was heavily influenced by the writings’ of Sigmund Freud and the Surrealist movement, in which Magritte was one of the leading painters. The painting has been suggested to have links with Magrittes’ memories of his mothers suicide in 1912. When he was thirteen years of age, Magrittes’ mother drowned in the river Sambre. She was found with Her dress had blown up around Her body, creating a surreal shroud.
This work is part of some of Magrittes’ major works in his first few years of Surrealism.
Unknown. (2009). Rene Magritte- Biography, Paintings and Quotes. Retrieved from http://www.renemagritte.org/.
Unknown. (2009). The Lovers, 1928 by Rene Magritte. Retrieved from http://www.renemagritte.org/the-lovers-1.jsp.
Disney’s production of Moana has come under a lot of fire from critics. Particularly for their representation of Maui. In the article ‘Fat Maui: how he broke the internet’ on #500 words by Louisa Afoa, she highlights some of this criticism while showcasing her own opinion. Afoa makes the point that nearly all of the criticism on Moana stems from how Disney have chosen to portray Maui as a big bodied character and how this has been interpreted on social platforms. Afoa states ‘When people started comparing Disney’s Maui to The Rock and Jason Momoa, they were no longer just talking about the demigod – they were talking about actors in Hollywood.‘ In my opinion this double standard that came with the interpretation of Maui is ridiculous. Yes, he is a larger character, however, I agree with Afoa that in my eyes he does not appear obese. Maui is definitely not a buff character like these stars from Hollywood, He may not represent the figure he had in legends, but is he more representational to the pacific culture?
Afoa also makes the point that this is a Disney movie, aimed at a young audience. She makes the point of ‘There’s enough pressure on youth to look a certain way. I’m so okay with Maui not represented as a hyper-athletic sexual object. Calling Disney’s Maui a hippo while calling Dwayne Johnson handsome is sending a message that those whose rolls sit outside of western beauty standards should not be visible.’ Again, I agree with her. Our youth, no matter what culture they’re from, should not be told they have to look a certain way from as young an age as what they understand from watching a Disney movie. Maui being this larger than life character who lives up to the standards of the legend should be what matters. Not how people think he should look in order to conform with every bodies idea of a demigod.
I think Afoa’s point that every culture has different representation and beauty standards is accurate. I’m not the most knowledgeable person on pacific culture, I will admit that, however, I can still see areas in Moana that I’m not surprised were offensive to people, and fat-shaming Maui because he’s not quite what you expected on top of all of that isn’t quite right in my eyes. To me, Maui lived up to his representation in the movie and I think his personality should count more than his size.
Auckland, New Zealand is where I’ve lived my entire life. West Auckland has been my home since I was five, with its rolling hills and wild beaches. The forests and the country have breathed life and energy into me, always bringing me back no matter where I go. The CBD, with its endless glass facades towering in the air and chattering streets has always been sitting at the edge of my doorstep.
However, my true home has always been the people I’m closest too. For me home is one of the most important things in my life. I relish having a space that feels serene, somewhere that the people I care about are close to me. Home is coffee with my dad. Exploring beaches with my dogs. Wild nights with my friends.
Auckland has given me so many experiences. It has been the reason I find myself in a crowd with my friends by my side lost in music that consumes you. Road trips, where the only thing ahead of you is the open road and the beams of light that are your guide. Beaches that fade into the water in the darkest parts of the night and the chill of the air weaving through my hair. When the only thing that matters is that moment and those moments that will continue. These are the experiences that have and will continue to shape me.
Throughout my life the most important thing to me has been living. To live healthily and to live well. As a sick child for many years my health has become one of my most treasured possessions. Knowing how valuable your health is means you never forget that it is worth your life. My childhood shaped who I am and without losing and gaining my health I would not be who I am today.
These attributes and more make up my identity. Art and music are huge influences to me. I’m a hugely identity based person, constantly thinking of who I am and what makes me, me. I am my home, the people I’m with, the experiences I’ve had and how I’ve lived.
Key Words: Identity, Home, Living/ health, Auckland, Experience.