Abraham Cruzvillegas

When flicking through an old edition of Aesthetica magazine, I came across the work of Abraham Cruzvillegas, a Mexican artist (born 1968), who was a student and friend of Gabriel Orozco. He is a conceptual artist who works in sculpture, installation, video and performance, but is best known for his sculptures/installations which use found objects, and his long term project entitled Autoconstrucción. Influenced by the changing urban landscape where he grew up in Mexico City, this work is ever changing and transforming, which is a metaphor for the environment and personal identity being in a state of flux.

I feel inspired by this clip of the artist talking about the way that objects can take on a different use, and adapt to the needs of those in a particular environment. He uses objects which he finds  in both the urban and natural landscape.

MuseoMagazine-AbrahamCruzvillegas-ACMobile-2008-1

AC mobile” 2008, customized bicycle, steel pipes, wood, cardboard, cables, car battery, speakers, mirrors, car stereo, video projector, dvd player, tea flask, bell, horn.

I admire the fact that he also encourages the viewer to interact with his pieces, such as his “AC mobile” 2008, which he allowed his audience to ride on the “bicycle” and project video onto the walls around the gallery whilst playing music. I think any viewer would find it difficult to resist climbing aboard this weird and wonderful contraption.

 

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Chicken wire?

I’m beginning to think that I will use chicken wire to sculpt the sheep’s head. I have used it in the past, and found it relatively simple, but have always tended to use it as a frame with which to cover another material. I like the fact that it has a cellular appearance, and that is swaying my concept ever so slightly towards Dolly the Sheep, and cloning.

My initial worry was that the finished piece may look a bit like a poorly rendered school project, so I did some research to find out if other artists actually used it seriously as a material to sculpt exhibits.  I found quite a few artists whose work and style was very diverse, despite having the common factor of the use of chicken wire.

P1020094-1024x768-1  1

My favourite (aesthetically) is Benedetta Mori Ubaldini, an Italian artist trained in London, who produces installations made from chicken wire, which have a very beautiful, minimalistic  appearance, and seem to use only one layer of wire and no apparent joins.

She says of her work:

“What I love is to to fill large spaces with narratives, creating three dimensional pictures and I like them to be evocative, symbolic and poetic. The sculptures I create in chicken wire have no internal structure at all, therefore the play between presence and absence becomes the magical element of the work and gives each piece the lightness of an apparition, a ghost-like quality like a trace from memory or images from a dream.”        

From http://www.benedetta.info/profile/

Another artist whose wire sculptures excite me is French artist Cédric Le Borgne. Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 13.32.13Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 13.27.58The subjects of his work range from human to animals and sea creatures.  He says of his work, “ I work with the real and from the real “. The images above are part of his Voyageurs project, sculptures of the human form which were installed in various locations around the world; Lyon, Durham, Geneva and Seoul (to name but a few). When illuminated, these sculptures take on a robotic, almost computer generated appearance. The placing of the pieces is also important; some appear to be flying, some sitting or kneeling, and the piece above which is suspended over water gives us an entrancing image through reflection.

http://www.cedricleborgne.com

Framing my fate!

It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny yet frosty morning, so I decided to walk the dog to clear my mind, and getting closer to nature always seems to have a positive effect on my stresses and worries. I walked up through the back of the village park, which leads out onto open fields and a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. As I walked up the hilly path, I glanced left towards the back of the nearby houses, where there always seems to be discarded belongings left in the woodland adjacent. It was then that I had a moment of inspiration….in the leaves lay the answer to all my problems…a bike frame! It was partly buried in fallen leaves, and as I approached it I could see that it was only the front forks and handlebars of an old Raleigh racing bike. Immediately, the image of a sheep came into my head, the racing handlebars being the curly rams horns, and I began to feel very excited, almost certain that fate had led me to this item of great potential.

handlebarold   handlebar2  badge1

Unfazed by the possible embarrassment of being sighted walking for another couple of miles carrying this bizarre object, I scooped it up, and strode on with a smile on my face. The sun was definitely smiling on me today!

When I got home to the studio, I decided that I would do some research connected with sheep + ecology, the environment etc, to see what I might base the concept of the piece around. I know that the emphasis of the project is not to produce a finished piece, but I feel that having a clear concept in my head of where I want to go with a piece makes me feel a bit more relaxed, even if the technical process is altered or evolves during the making of the piece.

I have decided on the order of FRAME, FORM, FRACTURE, as I think that the frame deserves to go first seeing as it lay waiting for me to discover it. I think I’ll probably try to create a sheep’s head to fit onto the frame, in between the “horns”, and then I’ll have to consider the fracture, whether I set the piece on fire, smash it up, hide it behind something, or project onto it…but that can wait for the time being.

So, as far as research, I made a mind map, and came up with a few ideas. These were what came to mind first:

  • Mythology: Sheep/ram – representations of the Devil, sometimes varying between sheep and goat
  • The God Aries
  • The “Black Sheep”:
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • A wolf in sheep’s clothing 
  • Counting Sheep
  • Dolly the sheep
  • Shaun the Sheep
  • Larry the Lamb
  • Lamb of God
  • Ca’ the Ewes (Robert Burns)
  • Shepherd
  • Flock
  • Ewe
  • Tup
  • Ram
  • Wool
  • Fleece – The Golden Fleece

I also researched some articles to do with ecology, the environment and sheep. Links to these are below:

Sheep: The greatest threat to the environment

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8920911/meet-the-greatest-threat-to-our-countryside-sheep/

Dolly the Sheep:

http://www.roslin.ed.ac.uk/public-interest/dolly-the-sheep/

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2003/feb/15/genetics.animalrights

Armenia: Do Iran’s Sheep Pose a Threat to National Security?

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/66760

UEFA threaten Shakhter Karagandy sanction if sheep slaughter continues

http://sport.stv.tv/football/clubs/celtic/237592-uefa-warn-shakhter-karagandy-further-sheep-slaughter-will-be-punished/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/23852624

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/aug/27/shakhter-manager-defends-sheep-sacrificing

Sheep deaths from severe snow conditions

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-22191343

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21933135

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/weather/article3724850.ece

http://iceagenow.info/2013/06/result-heavy-snowfall-2-thousand-sheep-died-northern-kyrgyzstan/

I am toying with the idea of either “Black Sheep” or Dolly the Sheep, although all the articles which I have noted above have the potential for inspiring a piece of art. I still like the idea of ice, which I mentioned in my last post, and the sheep dying from cold could link to this.

I looked at the definition of Black Sheep:

“In the English languageblack sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family. The term stems from the genetic effect in sheep whereby a recessive gene occasionally manifests in the birth of a sheep with black rather than white coloring; these sheep stand out in the flock.

The term has typically been given negative implications, implying waywardness.[1] It derived from the atypical and unwanted presence of other black individuals in flocks of white sheep.

In psychology, the black sheep effect refers to the tendency of group members to judge likeable ingroup members more positively and deviant ingroup member more negatively than comparable outgroup members.”

I found a beautiful, sad poem entitled “Black Sheep” by an English poet, Richard Frances Burton (1821-1890) :

Black Sheep

Fom their folded mates they wander far, 
Their ways seem harsh and wild: 
They follow the beck of a baleful star, 
Their paths are dream-beguiled. 

Yet haply they sought but a wider range, 
Some loftier mountain slope, 
And little recked of the country strange 
Beyond the gates of hope. 

And haply a bell with a luring call 
Summoned their feet to tread 
Midst the cruel rocks, where the deep pitfall 
And the lurking snare are spread. 

Maybe, in spite of their tameless days 
Of outcast liberty, 
They ’re sick at heart for the homely ways 
Where their gathered brothers be. 

And oft at night, when the plains fall dark 
And the hills loom large and dim, 
For the shepherd’s voice they mutely hark, 
And their souls go out to him.

Meanwhile, “Black sheep! black sheep!” we cry, 
Safe in the inner fold; 
And maybe they hear, and wonder why, 
And marvel, out in the cold. 

I think the next step will be to build a sheep’s head, so I need to think about what I will use for that. Perhaps wire, or papier mache, or shreds of wool found on barbed wire fences…I have a lot to think about! Perhaps the material which I choose to use will dictate the concept, which is a process that I don’t usually follow, but I feel confident that I will use one of the ideas I have mentioned above as a basis for this piece of work. I’m going to take a break from this for a short while, and try not to think about what I do next until later this evening.

Frame, Form Fracture – initial thoughts

I’m so excited by this brief, I think it will give me the scope to try something that is out of my comfort zone. My initial thoughts are to produce a time-based piece, which will disintegrate, and I really like the idea of doing something with ice, and perhaps incorporating a sea theme yet again. Maybe taking a mould of an octopus and filling it with ink, then freezing it and watching it melt/drip onto canvas or watercolour board? I’m not sure if I am being too ambitious with this, as I have never ever made a mould before, and would have to look into ordering materials online. I don’t want to think too much about this project yet, or I may start to panic! I have until the 16th December after all, so I want to keep an open mind about what I might do for a little while longer.

Frame, Form, Fracture – the brief

Start: 4 November 2013 Finish: 16 December 2013  

Upload images and 2 questions about the work by 24.00 UK GMT Sunday 15 December 2013 Group crit: 17.00-20.00 Monday 6 December 12.2013

Studio time 12 hours

Form, Frame Fracture

This second research task is intended to build on what you discovered in task 1. In the first task you were limited in your use of materials, in this task you have specific conceptual or process boundaries.

Activity

Take the words form, frame and fracture, as nouns or verbs, and use these to push your work further or to start a new piece of research. You need to use these words in sequence to guide a 12 hour period of making work in your studio or workplace.  Choose the sequence you want to use advance, i.e

  1. 1.    Form, frame fracture
  2. 2.    Form, fracture, frame
  3. 3.    Frame, form, fracture
  4. 4.    Frame, fracture, form
  5. 5.    Fracture, frame, form
  6. 6.    Fracture, form, frame

Each word has many different meanings as a noun and as a verb and you can exploit these in whatever way you want, see the examples below. Choose any definition you want. You may want to select particular meanings in advance or wait until you get to that stage. Be careful of getting caught up spending too much time trying to find the right definition, it is not that important, it’s just a way of structuring a task.

You can use the words literally – fracture something, or metaphorically reframe something conceptually.  You can divide the 12 hours into three equal periods of three hours or divide it unequally. You must however, follow the sequence you have chosen.

Again please treat this as a playful journey and don’t worry about producing finished pieces, pay attention to what you discover. Use your MA journal to record your progressDuring the task and/or after you have submitted the task you will be asked to share your experience, in a hangout conversation, with other people in the group.

Example definitions

FORM – VERB

to construct or frame, to make or produce.

to serve to make up; serve as; compose; constitute: The remaining members will form the program committee.

to place in order; arrange; organize.

to frame (ideas, opinions, etc.) in the mindto contract or develop (habits, friendships, etc.).

to give form or shape to; shape; fashion to give a particular form or shape to; fashion in a particular manner: Form the dough into squares.

to mould or develop by discipline or instructions: The sergeant’s job was to form boys into men.

Grammar : to make (a derivation) by some grammatical change: The suffix “-ly” forms adverbs from adjectives.

to have (a grammatical feature) represented in a particular shape: English forms plurals in “-s”.

Military . to draw up in lines or in formation.

FORM – NOUN

external appearance of a clearly defined area, as distinguished from color or material;the shape of a thing or person, a body, especially that of a human being.

a dummy having the same measurements as a human body, used for fitting or displaying clothing: a dressmaker’s form.

something that gives or determines shape; a mould.

a particular condition, character, or mode in which something appears: water in the form of ice.

the manner or style of arranging and coordinating parts for a pleasing or effective result, as in literary or musical composition: a unique form for the novel.

 Fine Arts .

the organization, placement, or relationship of basic elements, as lines and colors in a painting or volumes and voids in a sculpture, so as to produce a coherent image; the formal structure of a work of art.

three-dimensional quality or volume, as of a represented object or anatomical part.

an object, person, or part of the human body or the appearance of any of these, especially as seen in nature: His work is characterized by the radical distortion of the human form.

any assemblage of things of a similar kind constituting a component of a group, especially of a zoological group.

Crystallography . the combination of all the like faces possible on a crystal of given symmetry.

due or proper shape; orderly arrangement of parts; good order.

  • Philosophy .

 the structure, pattern, organization, or essential nature of anything.

 

  • structure or pattern as distinguished from matter.

 

  • Aristotelianism . that which places a thing in its particular species or kind.

 

  • Logic . the abstract relations of terms in a proposition, and of propositions to one another.

 

  • a set, prescribed, or customary order or method of doing something.

 

  • a set order of words, as for use in religious ritual or in a legal document: a form for initiating new members.

 

  • a document with blank spaces to be filled in with particulars before it is executed: a tax form.

 

  • a typical document to be used as a guide in framing others for like cases: a form for a deed.

 

  • a conventional method of procedure or behavior: society’s forms.

 

  • a formality or ceremony, often with implication of absence of real meaning: to go through the outward forms of a religious wedding.

 

  • procedure according to a set order or method.

 

  • conformity to the usages of society; formality; ceremony: the elaborate forms prevalent in the courts of renaissance kings.

 

  • procedure or conduct, as judged by social standards: Such behavior is very bad form. Good form demands that we go.

 

  • manner or method of performing something; technique: The violin soloist displayed tremendous form.

 

  • physical condition or fitness, as for performing: a tennis player in peak form.

 

  • Grammar  a word, part of a word, or group of words forming a construction that recurs in various contexts in a language with relatively constant meaning. Compare linguistic form.
  • Linguistics . the shape or pattern of a word or other construction ( distinguished from substance).

 

  • Building Trades . temporary boarding or sheeting of plywood or metal for giving a desired shape to poured concrete, rammed earth, etc.

 

  • a grade or class of pupils in a British secondary school or in certain U.S. private schools: boys in the fourth form.

 

  • British . a bench or long seat.

 

  • Also, British , forme. Printing . an assemblage of types, leads, etc., secured in a chase to print from.

FRAME – VERB

 

  • to form or make, as by fitting and uniting parts together; construct.

 

  • to contrive, devise, or compose, as a plan, law, or poem: to frame a new constitution.

 

  • to conceive or imagine, as an idea.

 

  • Informal . to incriminate (an innocent person) through the use of false evidence, information, etc.

 

  • to provide with or put into a frame, as a picture.

 

  • to give utterance to: Astonished, I attempted to frame adequate words of protest.

 

  • to form or seem to form (speech) with the lips, as if enunciating carefully.

 

  • to fashion or shape: to frame a bust from marble.

 

  • to shape or adapt to a particular purpose: to frame a reading list for ninth graders.

 

  • Informal . to contrive or prearrange fraudulently or falsely, as in a scheme or contest.

 

  • to adjust (film) in a motion-picture projector so as to secure exact correspondence of the outlines of the frame and aperture.

 

  • to line up visually in a viewfinder or sight.

FRAME – NOUN

  • a border or case for enclosing a picture, mirror, etc.

 

  • a rigid structure formed of relatively slender pieces, joined so as to surround sizable empty spaces or nonstructural panels, and generally used as a major support in building or engineering works, machinery, furniture, etc.

 

  • a body, especially a human body, with reference to its size or build; physique: He has a large frame.

 

  • a structure for admitting or enclosing something: a window frame.

 

  • Usually, frames. ( used with a plural verb ) the framework for a pair of eyeglasses.

 

  • form, constitution, or structure in general; system; order.

 

  • a particular state, as of the mind: an unhappy frame of mind.

 

  • Movies . one of the successive pictures on a strip of film.

 

  • Computers . the information or image on a screen or monitor at any one time.

 

  • Bowling .

 

  • one of the ten divisions of a game.

 

  • one of the squares on the scorecard, in which the score for a given frame is recorded.

 

  • Baseball . an inning.

 

  • Slang . a frame-up.

 

  • enclosing lines, usually forming a square or rectangle, to set off printed matter in a newspaper, magazine, or the like; a box.

 

  • the structural unit that supports the chassis of an automobile.

 

  • Nautical .

 

  • any of a number of transverse, rib-like members for supporting and stiffening the shell of each side of a hull.

 

  • any of a number of longitudinal members running between web frames to support and stiffen the shell plating of a metal hull.

 

  • a machine or part of a machine supported by a framework, especially as used in textile production: drawing frame; spinning frame.

 

  • Printing . the workbench of a compositor, consisting of a cabinet, cupboards, bins, and drawers, and having flat and sloping work surfaces on top.

 

  • Bookbinding . an ornamental border, similar to a picture frame, stamped on the front cover of some books.

 

  • in frame, Shipbuilding . (of a hull) with all frames erected and ready for planking or plating.

 

FRACTURE -VERB

  • to cause or to suffer a fracture in (a bone, etc.).
  • to break or crack.

 

  • Slang . to amuse highly or cause to laugh heartily; delight: The new comic really fractured the audience.

FRACTURE – NOUN

 

  • the act of breaking; state of being broken.

 

  • a break, breach, or split.

 

  • the characteristic manner of breaking: a material of unpredictable fracture.

 

  • the characteristic appearance of a broken surface, as of a mineral.