Monday, 23 January 2012

Welcome to Changing Spaces

Raw materials
Over the next few months I will be developing new visual art for the Cultural Olympiad 2012. This project is supported by Arts Council England and the Lee Valley Park Authority. This blog is an opportunity for people to engage in the creation of the project and to post comment and opinion. The series of completed works will go on display in June 2012 at the Waterworks Nature Reserve in Waltham Forest.

My aim is to produce art that is abstract and which makes people curious about the materials and how the work is constructed. I want to link this curiosity with the physical techniques and methods used in the regeneration of brownfield sites (the Olympic Park) and the revitalising of the Lee Valley Park. My interest in these practical, creative processes is partly a result of working on construction sites over many years. This experience informed my own interest in regeneration and all the things that go unseen by the public when regeneration projects are undertaken as well as their huge impact on our visual and cultural environment. 

Transformed
 
The Olympic Delivery Authority has provided me with access to the Olympic Park to inform the development of Changing Spaces. Additionally, the ODA and the Lee Valley Park Authority have provided me with recycled building materials and found objects for inclusion in the final artworks. This access will not only make this project feasible, but it will enable me to capture some of the more abstract yet intrinsic physical changes like those created by construction workers, park visitors and natural phenomena - the kind of minutiae that people walk by every day but never really notice.

10 comments:

  1. Good Luck Jonathan.... the artist - not the president of Nigeria. Will look forward to chainsaw pics...

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  2. Go J that's the first of those Olympic hoops you've jumped through...

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  3. Very interesting project. I'm looking forward to seeing how you take on viewers' feedback in your work. Seems like it could shed some light on how ordinary people feel about art - and that it could be potentially dangerous for the artist's ego. Have you thought about how you might deal with this?

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    1. In response to Cyd's great question and comment about public opinion and its impact on my ego. There are probably 2 ways of dealing with one's artistic ego: the first is to hide away and not show your artwork to anyone which means that there will be no public embarrassment to yourself or to your artwork; the second option is to take any comment on the chin and turn it around and use it to inform your work. At the end of the day I want my art to be shown to the public, to be present in public spaces, so I have to suffer the consequences of any negative criticism. Just the other day I had some one say to me that a piece of art that I created was 'pretty'. I was taken aback as I viewed this comment as negative, especially when the piece of art was meant to be a bit edgy. But I looked at the work again and I could see what this person meant, and now I am looking at how I could alter the piece to make it more edgy.

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    2. That brings up an interesting point about the vocabulary that people use around art. I'd suspect most of us (myself included) aren't really educated in how to express our appreciation and/or critique. "Pretty" might (and probably did) mean something completely quite different to this viewer, something that wasn't meant in a negative way. It'll be very interesting to see how this exercise widens both your audience's language and your own understanding of it, and hopefully how they grow closer together.

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    3. Yes, use of language within the art world is important and has its own meaning, maybe the wrong meaning. I don't think that the person who used the word Pretty to describe my work was trying to be offensive but was the turn of phrase which came to his mind at that moment. Sometimes the most honest and realistic comments are the once which comes out straight away. If we think about a particular piece of art to much we try and justify it and over intellectualise it.

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  4. wow jonathaN. VERY INTERESTING ART WORKS N VERY VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING. MATERIALS USED ,THE PROCESS OF CONSTRUCTION VERY INTRIGUING. WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT UNFOLDING FURTHER. REGARDING THE COMMENT 'PRETTY'AND YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT AGAIN IS VERY INTERESTING AS IT TOUCHES THE OLD DEBATE OF AESTHETICS N PHILOSOPHY OF ART.
    CONGRATULATIONS JONATHAN FOR GIVING US AN OPPORTUNITY TO VIEW YOUR WORKS N INVOLVE US IN THE PROCESS WHEN U R STILL ON IT.

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    1. Thanks Neena for the comment. If you have any further thoughts on the relationship between what I am trying to achieve through this project and its relationship to aesthetics, please feel free to post any comments.

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  5. I'd be interested to know where the works will be shown, how and for how long. Do you see them as remaining in the location for years ... eventually becoming as embedded and inexplicable as the found items you are using to make them?

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    1. Hi Rachel, The work will be shown at the Waterworks Nature Reserve in Waltham Forest in 3 week exhibition. The exhibition will be in June. I will bee announcing the dates within the next 2 weeks.

      The majority of the artwork will be wall mounted sculptures. However one of the artworks will be permanent site specific sculpture made from a 4 metre felled tree.

      After this project I will be developing a Legacy project working on your general thinking of producing art which is embedded into the local environment.

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