So I subscribe to the FAD newsletter, which sends me a daily update of random things going on in the art world. This morning there was a video interview with D*Face about street art, and a link about Antony Gormely (who I've mentioned before) whose Domain Fields is at The Garage Space for Contemporary Culture in Moscow.It is reportedly "a huge installation of 287 sculptures made from the body moulds of 200 volunteers." Gormley loves his multiples! I really like the ephemeral quality of this work. The space in and around the figures, but how long did this take to make? and how many assistants!?
The mind boggles.
But perhaps more importantly, the FAD post about Gormley linked back to Art Observed, which has news about contemporary and modern art exhibitions, mostly based in New York... it seems pretty similar to Daily Serving well, at least in format, and both can be found in my links bar as well.
I also found on my meanderings (on a Russian Art News site) reference to a recently discovered Venus figure in Germany.
This "Venus" - Venus of Hohle Fel-is reportedly 35000 years old. As with most of the other ancient 'Venus' figurines that have been found, the most emphasised areas are the breasts and genitalia, and the ring carved above its shoulders suggests it was worn as a pendant.
I've been researching the Venus figurines for quite a while now, and have found many conflicting view points as to what they were for. One Dr has even suggested they were carved in the shape of psychedelic mushrooms. Others have suggested they were self portraits, although I'm not sure how much clout this argument has, because even if you're looking down at your own body, you know what other women look like!
The most realistic options in my opinion, are either the 'earth mother/goddess' theories - where the land was looked on as a plentiful 'mother' and worshiped as such, or as a fertility symbol, why else would you emphasise the breasts/stomach/genitalia? It's hard to discount or agree with any theory though, because the best we have are guesses, and we can't but help project our modern day perspective onto things from the past.
Having said that, from what research/archeology has shown us, the climate at the time of the creation of these figurines was pretty harsh, and human technology was still evolving,
people of that time would have been living on the edge - so if they had women as large as that, it meant that they'd had plentiful food for quite some time.
Although, a friend recently pointed out, it may have just been a depiction of a particular woman by someone who was fond of her, I'm not sure they would have found so many with similar features if that was the case.
This paper, has interesting analysis of the Willendorf Venus, and ponders whether it was carved by a male or female. (The Willendorf Venus is perhaps the most universally recognised of all the Venus figurines, and it's the one I'm using in a piece currently.)
Whatever the Venus figurines were used for then, in a modern context, they come to mean something else entirely. Obesity of the developed world, greed, capitalism, the time of waste...dying from hunger,
and dying from hunger....
makes mapping my research seem pretty insignificant! Some how justifying my existence by getting an education and making artwork that speaks to the current global instability, most days I feel like it's a worthwhile thing to do. Not every day though. And what can I possibly know, what perspective can I bring from my middle-class upbringing, that can change the perspective of those around me?
when the media sensationalises things, and you feel like you're helpless to do anything, I think the only thing you can do is change yourself, and those in your immediate circle if you can. We've been encouraging recycling and turning things off at wall at my house, it's not much, but it's a start. I've been trying to get one 'vegetarian' night a week, but separating the men from their meat is quite tricky!
We were told recently to make art that speaks to other things, not just self referential art. I'm not sure where my Venus will sit in that, it speaks to lots of things, but it requires knowledge of the Venus figurines... so is it self referential?
I remember my Mother knew about the Willendorf Venus, and she's my Joe-Public meter: if she gets it, then most people will be able to relate to it on some level, if she goes "huh?" I'm pitching too high, and it's too much of an 'in-joke' for the art institution. So hopefully, it'll sit right.
The longer I wait to do this waiora thing the less confident I am in the art piece. I mean, the concept is ok. I just feel like.. it could have been more, maybe.
Ah well. Moving on to better things. (end ramble)