A walk around the park.

The final part of our dOCUMENTA (13) tour was a walk around the park at Kassel. The park featured installations of various types from giant carrots to timebanks to a life-size bronze tree.

Karlsaue Park

The photo below shows a full sized bronze tree, with a boulder balanced in the branches. I think this must have been cast from a real tree. It was hollow and looked completely real. It was only when you got up close and could see the bronze glinting that you realised it wasn’t.

Bronze tree.

Tree carrots…a little bit of light relief.

The wooden hut below housed the time bank. It featured an exhibition on time and money. It posed some interesting questions on the value of money, but felt more like an historical exhibition that art.

Time bank.

I really enjoyed my trip to dOCUMENTA (13), it is a shame that I am not here for longer as I barely scratched the surface on what the festival has to offer. If you are planning a visit, I was told that the Neue Galerie is really worth stopping at, but I didn’t get the chance to confirm this.

The weekend with my sister finished with a little baking. These date and walnut cookies from treatsandfeasts are really yummy!

Date and walnut cookies.

Is this art?

Along with the video installation, we also went to the exhibition at the Fridericianum at dOCUMENTA (13).

The exhibition at Friedrichsplatz was…interesting? – unless you have a passion for obscure modern art, you might find it a bit difficult. The most common comment I heard while walking around was “Is this art?” The ground floor featured beautiful, large open rooms, with light flowing in from all sides and double height ceilings. Each room contained one thing. One room had a single penny balanced on its edge, one nothing but wind, one had a letter displayed in a glass case declaring the artists intention not to exhibit and one was filled with music described as a ‘vocal illustration’. I felt the space was slightly wasted.

Ryan Gander

Although there was nothing to support my theory, I hope that there were hidden cameras in the various rooms, particularly the one containing the penny. I feel that people’s reactions to the exhibit made better art that the exhibit itself!

While a lot of the art was not to my taste, there were a couple of artists that I would seek to see again. Doreen Reid Nakamarra and Warlimpirrnga Tjapaljarri were two such artists. Their work featured optical illusion paintings. Each of the lines is made up of hundreds of dots joined together. Most of Doreen’s work was laid out on a raised section of the floor. The paintings made me think of sand dunes and the Sahara desert. They also gave me an interesting idea for some work of my own!

Doreen Reid Nakamarra

Doreen Reid Nakamarra

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri

The other artist I particularly liked was Hannah Ryggen. In a room filled with some strange work by Charlotte Salomon that left me cold, bored and indifferent, this piece by Hannah was a refreshing burst of colour and bold expression.

Hannah Ryggen

Wake up and pay attention!

Yesterday I visited dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel Germany. dOCUMENTA (13) is an international art festival, featuring contemporary art. It aims to reflect the ‘relationship between art and society’ and often has a political message associated with it. This years theme is space and paradox: “a space of many secrets, a space of violence and a space of potential healing”. The festival takes place every five years and runs from June to September.

After buying our tickets at Kassel Hauptbahnof (main train station), we went to the first exhibit – an interactive video installation by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. We were each given an iPod and headphones. On the iPod was the artist’s work. The piece took us on a walk around the train station. I don’t want to spoil it too much for anyone planning to go, but let me say the experience is far better than any description I could give and I would reccomend that anyone attending dOCUMENTA (13) starts their day this way. I am not normally a fan of video art. Had it not been for a friend who had already attended the festival, I would not have done it and I would really have missed out.

The exhibit really makes you think about your surroundings and how little you normally pay attention to the things going on around you. It is interesting to see the world from someone elses eyes and point of view. At times the boundaries between reality and what is happening in the video blur, leaving you feeling very confused and foolish! By the end of the video, you start to think that the ordinary people going about their everyday business in the train station are putting on a private performance just for you.

Icy art in Amsterdam.

Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo, together with the World Wildlife Fund, staged an installation art piece at Berlin’s concert hall back in 2009 consisting of one thousand ice men sitting on the steps outside. The event was put on to raise attention to the melting of the Earth’s polar ice regions due to global warming. A smaller version of this was being staged  in Amsterdam when I visited last month. It was truly beautiful to just sit and watch the little men and women as they slowly melted  in the sunlight.

Unfortunately, I don’t currently have the photos I took in Amsterdam – we all shared a camera and I haven’t managed to copy the memory card yet. The images below are taken from the web. I have given the appropriate credits where relevant.

JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

As well as visiting the dripping sculpture, we also went to the art market. It has a great atmosphere, especially when the sun is out. There are many treasures to be found on display, including the work of the engraver Wim van der Meij. According to Win, it takes him up to three months to make one of his engraving plates. After seeing the plates and images close up I can totally believe it. The plates are so intricate and delicate – lino cutting takes patience, these engravings must have required nerves of steel! I don’t know how he managed it. If I had had more luggage space I would definitely have bought one to take home. As it was I had to settle for the postcards instead.
if I had more than hand luggage I would have had one to take home.

Thelinoprinter ‘how to’ poster.

First, I want to apologise for my lack of blog posts over the last month. I have been away on holiday and I started a new job! My holiday was in Amsterdam and very art orientated. As soon as the pictures have been sorted out, I will blog about my trip and share the sketches and the art work I saw. I also have a few new pieces in the pipeline… In the mean time, I wanted to share this with you. I have been working on it, on and off, with my sister for a while.

I wanted to create a poster to show, step-by-step, how the reduction lino printing process works. The poster can then be put up at any exhibitions or shows, so that those visiting can get more of an idea of how my art works – especially if I am not there to explain it myself. Since I had all the images available from my blogs on the Christmas Robin, it seemed like the obvious piece to put on the poster. Anyway here it is. I haven’t printed it out yet, so if anyone has any comments or suggestions then feel free to share them. (The size of the poster will be A1). If you click here the poster should open as a pdf in a  new window – with much better resolution! Poster

ArtistPublishers competition.

ArtistPublishers have launched a new competition ‘Oxfordshire Artweeks’. It features 30 artworks by 30 Oxfordshire artists. Each artist has submitted an image, which captures the spirit of Oxfordshire and they want us to vote for our favourite image. If you vote, you are in with a chance of getting a print of the winning image and you also get a 10% discount code for ArtistPublishers – so you can stock up on their cool cards!

Oxforshire ArtWeeks runs from the 5th to the 12th of May. Information on the studios and artists who will be exhibiting can be found here.