Development continues with painted figurines, more plinth painting (extremely bright pink) and more casting, using resin this time, pink to match the plinth!
Finally finished the long awaited mould! Silicone eventually came back into the workshop and I was able to add the last two layers and complete my first two part mould! The first image on the left is the thicker silicone layer and the second is the plaster jacket used to hold the mould firm when making a cast. Next step is to choose the material I want to cast the long forgotten figurine in. I’m considering using a clear resin, so the figurine will look like solid clear plastic. I’m also thinking about using a coloured resin which I used way back in first year- the house below. The detail of the figurine I hope will be captured beautifully. I’ve also just start to think about casting the figurine in plaster to encourage the viewer to think about the fragility of our objects? All ideas to play with next week!
I had a breakthrough 121 tutorial with my tutor Ben Judd this week, we began by discussing my disappointment and my struggle to continue forward since the Show and Expose. I explained how I felt that the title was too explicit and was forcing an opinion of the British class system upon my viewer. As I spoke Ben informed me that it wasn’t just the title he could sense I had a problem with being too explicit, it was the work itself too- Ben confirming that- “The work itself felt too literal.”
The discussion lead to where I am now with the work- casting some of these figurines, I explained I wasn’t completely sure why I was developing the work in this way but felt it had some relevance to the work of Jeff Koons and his casts of “proletarian luxury” objects. We then began discussing the strengths of previous work- the way in which I transform the objects. This is a key aspect of the work, the way I have transformed the objects in the past using magnolia paint and transforming them by re-contextualising them in an art space is a real strength of the work. Ben felt that casting could be another element where I can transform the objects. Suggesting matching resin dyes to colour choices of plinths.
This is when Ben had a sudden realisation towards the work. Explaining that it is the process of my making, the transformation of the object, that’s interesting to the viewer. Previous works where I have included the processes of my work- when I left traces of wallpaper on the plinths for example, they were a huge success. Why then can I not combine these different approaches to make one collection? A collection of my making. A lot of different elements and concepts have evolved from different works, so by compiling all my making methods I hope this will encourage the audience to talk about all the notions of my work not just directing them to think about one aspect. I don’t need to push ideas of nostalgia, class, and traces of time, explicitly to my viewer. By touching on all aspects of these through my making, the viewer can make their own opinions of the work.
I am really intrigued and excited about this new idea! It seems this could be the missing link- a collection, or humorously as Ben referred to it as “a greatest hits”, of my making. This idea of the collection also fits in with the notion of the home as a space to collect. Through time we accumulate things. Through my making process I have made a collection. The Show and Expose piece was focused, but it was limiting my thinking- transferring only one element of the works content.
The mould is coming along slowly but surely! Been going into the studio each day I can to add more layers, wait for that silicone to dry (a thicker silicone this time with thixotropic added to it) and then adding another layer. The next layer being the plaster jacket which is used to hold the mould firmly in place made whilst making casts later on. Yesterday after the plaster had dried, I then flipped the mould, removed the clay, cleaned the excess clay and began preparation for the 2nd half of the mould. Vaseline was applied to the silicone to avoid the moulds sticking to each other and then the first thin layer of silcone I mixed was poured onto the mould. So I’m getting there! And the good news is that I’ve got the go head for the big idea, the degree show big idea, including these casts so more motivation to crack on!
Following my own advice, and the encouragement of Pil Kollectiv, I began work in the casting room today! I wasn’t feeling very productive at all this morning, I knew I needed to start casting but I didn’t have a clear purpose as to why and what I wanted to make. I decided to just go for it and see what comes out of the process. So far the experience has already meant that I’ve learnt some of the manufacturing methods that are used to make these figurines in factories; they are mass produced in a mould made just like the one I began making today. The technician Richard explained that you could see the outline of the two part mould they used on the shape; that’s the orange line we marked out and then I began moulding around with clay. The figure was then effectively in a bed of clay ready to pour on the first skin of silicone; the green stuff. The clay needed to be at a direct right angle to the line made on the figure; this required a lot of my patience as I scraped around the figure to level out the correct alignment of the clay. Once this task was done I poured a mix of silicone onto the figure leaving this to dry overnight to see what happens tomorrow!
Following last weeks live lecture; I decided to get my very first tutorial with one of the guest speakers. The pair; Pil and Galia Kollectiv gave an enchanting talk about the capitalist world which we live; reiterating the comment: “We find it easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.”- A rather interesting quote regarding my practice. I had a tutorial with Pil the following day. I found the experience really rewarding getting an outside perspective on my practice; which meant new references and new research.
Pil’s reactions to the piece; Aspiration Between the Classes, lead to an immediate discussion regarding the earlier work of Jeff Koons. I’d seen his work previously, even seeing his famous Puppy outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao (shown in the photo), but I’d never made the connection to my current practice. Pil showed me the particular works he was thinking of- Louis XIV and a really relevant article which he sourced for me: http://www.flashartonline.com/interno.php?pagina=articolo_det&id_art=348&det=ok&title=JEFF-KOONS In the article, Koons has a fascinating way of describing the objects which he casts as: “proletarian luxury?” A term which I feel really complements my practice! Pil explained that Koons casts these forms of kitsch objects with luxury materials. Therefore there is an element of transformation towards the objects. Since my experimentation with the figurines in magnolia paint, this is something I feel my practice has been missing. It seems this could be the right time to get back into casting! – Something which I really enjoy.
Pil was encouraging of the work, but felt I needed to be bolder with it. I’m on to something but there is something missing. I need to emphasize the irony I’m putting forward that these figurines are now involved in the art world. Make more fun of the art world and its customs. Pil mentioned that what I was touching on here was something that the pop art movement was suggesting- bringing popular culture into the art world. But like them the work is starting that discussion but then it is closing up to quickly for the audience. Pil encouraged me to find a way to critique not just the working class taste- but also critique the art world.
Unfortunately the 2nd cast didn’t work too well, so I’ve buffed up the first one and made it look 10 times better. The small one came out really well this time though. I Started forming the cuboid shape of the cage yesterday too! Felt like I was getting somewhere.