Friday, 23 January 2015

'The Process of Content' Readings/// Alex Hetherington's text Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis

On Saturday 29 November 2014, Cooper Gallery presented the Roundtable Discussion The Process of Content: on a temporality in contemporary artDrawn from the proposition that the work of Anna Oppermann acts as 'a practice of thinking', the roundtable discussion was a stimulating gathering of thoughts that elaborated and amplified the histories, politics and social reverberations of art practices in the 1970s and 80s, and the influence and impact they have on our thinking about art and culture today. ​The event included invited speakers Guy Brett (Curator and Critic, London), Lynda Morris (Curator and Art Historian, Norwich), Tobi Maier (Curator and Writer, São Paulo), Prof. Martin Warnke & Carmen Wedemeyer (Researchers, Leuphana University Lüneburg) and was chaired by Dr. Lisa Otty (Research Fellow, The University of Edinburgh). For more information please see here.

Accompanying the Roundtable Discussion was a series of readings from art writers in Scotland:Frances Davis, Kirsty Hendry, Alex Hetherington, Catherine Street & JL Williams, and Richard Taylor. This is the third in our series of blog posts on Cooper Gallery Notes to publish the texts from each of the writers who presented their readings at the event.

Alex Hetherington reading from his review on Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis.
Photo: Kathryn Rattray


Notes on the reading during the Roundtable discussion on Saturday 29 November 2014.

Alex Hetherington read to the audience his review of the exhibition 'Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis'. The review was previously published on Aesthetica.




You can watch a showreel of the readings by Frances Davis, Kirsty Hendry, Alex Hetherington, Catherine Street & JL Williams, and Richard Taylor via the video below:





Interested in critical art writing? Check out our developing collection of work by writers based in Scotland on the Studio Jamming Critical Writing Residency website. Group Critical Writing Residency, edited by Maria Fusco, was part of Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland curated by Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in June-August 2014.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

'The Process of Content' Readings/// Kirsty Hendry's text ~self~storage~

On Saturday 29 November 2014, Cooper Gallery presented the Roundtable Discussion The Process of Content: on a temporality in contemporary artDrawn from the proposition that the work of Anna Oppermann acts as 'a practice of thinking', the roundtable discussion was a stimulating gathering of thoughts that elaborated and amplified the histories, politics and social reverberations of art practices in the 1970s and 80s, and the influence and impact they have on our thinking about art and culture today. ​The event included invited speakers Guy Brett (Curator and Critic, London), Lynda Morris (Curator and Art Historian, Norwich), Tobi Maier (Curator and Writer, São Paulo), Prof. Martin Warnke & Carmen Wedemeyer (Researchers, Leuphana University Lüneburg) and was chaired by Dr. Lisa Otty (Research Fellow, The University of Edinburgh). For more information please see here.

Accompanying the Roundtable Discussion was a series of readings from art writers in Scotland:Frances Davis, Kirsty Hendry, Alex Hetherington, Catherine Street & JL Williams, and Richard Taylor. This is the second in our series of blog posts on Cooper Gallery Notes to publish the texts from each of the writers who presented their readings at the event.



Kirsty Hendry reading '~self~storage~'. Photo: Kathryn Rattray

Notes on the reading during the Roundtable discussion on Saturday 29 November 2014.

Kirsty Hendry presented her reading in front of the projection of a still image, which read '<body>'. This image remained for the entire reading.


--start--


~self~storage~

Structural and systemic conflation of being and body.
Falsely pinned down by the perceived solipsism of being a body - 

- as if being a body isn’t political
- as if being a body can ever be an individualistic pursuit
- as if ‘I’ must always  be confessional

For anything afflicted with such a filthy pronoun could never have socio-political resonance

The personal, performed politics of gesture is not a quantifiable data set, and as such, a  ‘useful tool’ for engraining P’olitics as something happening elsewhere. Beyond any-body but through the sprawling and expanded bodies of power. Corpulent forms grossly inflect the shape of social structures - their dominance derived from their agency to define (and thereby confine) others corporeally.

Ever suspecting of pseudonyms, anonymity, guises - for identity is useful collateral. Be yourself becomes a soft command that is both affective and linguistic, as if a knowing presentation of self can ever be authentic. Through a veneer of protecting and advocating authenticity, their carefully curated norms duplicitously govern the production of a subject - for the production of subjectivity is a lucrative commodity for the attention economy.

In the fallacious pursuit of authenticity, meaning is contingent on the complicity and coercion of time-sharing . . . recognising a piece of reality is engendering a piece of reality.

The body is resistant to these forms of templating - it distends its own edges by the very fact that its is incapable of rendering it’s own perimeters. It’s edges drawn by the spatial/temporal matrix that it can only ever fleetingly occupy - contributing to a rapidly changing entity.  

body, bodies, <body> ~ perspectival construction of space
A future self enmeshed in textual anatomy.

Placed into abyss; the body is not conductor but aggregate accumulation, a templum that reveals a social and political shape. Not total embodiment but captured dismemberment

~self~regulation~

Reassembled it defeatedly gestures ‘I am this thing’ . . . estranged by its own recursive entanglement of simultaneous resemblance/dissimilarity.

The consumption and regurgitation of narration serves to unbind the confessional ‘I’, admonishing its demands for urgent smoothness. Untethered from the individual accountability that the market so desired, in it’s place stands a reconstituted public ‘I’ - for any-body can masquerade as ‘I’. This public ‘I’ co-opts the structures that were intended to govern it. ‘I’ becomes an algorithmic aggregator concealed within a generic pronoun, through which collective public consciousness is performed


A roaming vector of selfhood


--end--



You can watch a showreel of the readings by Frances Davis, Kirsty Hendry, Alex Hetherington, Catherine Street & JL Williams, and Richard Taylor via the video below:



Interested in critical art writing? Check out our developing collection of work by writers based in Scotland on the Studio Jamming Critical Writing Residency website. Group Critical Writing Residency, edited by Maria Fusco, was part of Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland curated by Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in June-August 2014.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

'The Process of Content' Readings/// Richard Taylor's text 'Observer Singular'

On Saturday 29 November 2014, Cooper Gallery presented the Roundtable Discussion The Process of Content: on a temporality in contemporary artDrawn from the proposition that the work of Anna Oppermann acts as 'a practice of thinking', the roundtable discussion was a stimulating gathering of thoughts that elaborated and amplified the histories, politics and social reverberations of art practices in the 1970s and 80s, and the influence and impact they have on our thinking about art and culture today. ​The event included invited speakers Guy Brett (Curator and Critic, London), Lynda Morris (Curator and Art Historian, Norwich), Tobi Maier (Curator and Writer, São Paulo), Prof. Martin Warnke & Carmen Wedemeyer (Researchers, Leuphana University Lüneburg) and was chaired by Dr. Lisa Otty (Research Fellow, The University of Edinburgh). For more information please see here.

Accompanying the Roundtable Discussion was a series of readings from art writers in Scotland: Frances Davis, Kirsty Hendry, Alex Hetherington, Catherine Street & JL Williams, and Richard Taylor. This series of blog posts on Cooper Gallery Notes publishes the texts from each of the writers who presented their readings at the event.

Richard Taylor reading 'Observer Singular'. Photo: Kathryn Rattray

Notes on the reading during the Roundtable discussion on Saturday 29 November 2014.


Before starting his reading, Richard placed a small clay Peking Opera mask in the hand of an audience member. He asked them to pass the object around, after considering its size and importance, during the reading.

The ****** points below are a replacement or deletion of a given name or ‘person’. During the reading Richard closed his eyes in silence to momentarily fill the gab before continuing with the text. 


--start--

I am reminded of a very light touch made on the work of an artist I fail to…

A process to make    link

…the tableaux, it fails to be viewed from one point and is all-sided.
Setups that are precarious and destroyed when encountered, discussed, read or seen. The marionette dance from Escape to Witch Mountain was rendered squirming and tagged to ripped sound from YouTube videos of Peking Opera. A collection of opera masks, small, ceramic, entirely breakable. One falls to the floor, breaks, ceramic, small. Ends up pushed into a body of unfired clay, along with fake pearls and floral wrapping. Drenched in clove oil the encounter, it was ritualistic.

Observer - singular

They were surely eating the delicacy whilst ritualising times gone by – a rare treat filling the expanse made by years of different cuts,    fried,     baked     and pressure cooked. They took it from the newspaper wrapping     and ate it raw    in the living room,
 on
the patterned carpet
with
the television buzzing fuzzy documentaries behind
                                             – a frame for their delicate consuming.

******        was less than seven years old and quite small.
They thought he could not see, but it was gorgeous for him to observe the light from the screen play on the ridged silver-white meat, as it unfolded from his great aunt’s hands.

****** never met her husband, his great uncle, who died before he was born. But photographs did provide evidence of his looks and his name was Thomas. This guy, the tripe guy, he seemed familiar, he had a name that made ****** think of cigars.
The tripe did not smell.

****** had bathed and could only detect soap residue and talc under his nightgown. Now his clean skin stretched to see how long the stomach lining really was. Elongated to watch the ritual, ****** witnessed their smart living room enjoyment. The cigar man must have found the meat at a specialist store, its quite rare to get your hands on – in fact it is pretty much extinct. No one under the age of forty has much experience of it. The next day Violet and Cigar man aka Sid (…his great aunt preferred Vi instead of Violet) - would take ****** to the museum to study fossils. But first they would fill their bellies. ******, his toes started to feel cold.

Timber now cut with goggles on face
Cat wears perfect yellow rims to surround bottomless black pools that switch to slits next to the fire. The room fills with heat as each block of wood takes its place. The hearth offers depth from which to gather warmth, and its gold trim provides support for the cat’s head. Her eyes meet mine as I copy her posture to bask the same way she does, amongst the wave of energy, which happily meanders against skin or fur. This position, however momentary, is respite from a blanket of writing about another place. Gullan Sands wind surf timber soaked in sea foam, bright skies, bitter cold. To move forward now would be to burn. A reduction of hands to smouldering lumps unhinged from use. To retreat back is the only option. Back to shadow, back to cloth, back to the story of elsewhere.

A sculpture made by Taylor
featuring a broken ceramic opera mask
sits on the mantle piece in Strong’s front room.
This location is very specific, but the delivery of the sculpture was not so.

Taylor had an imperfect memory of the location of Strong’s house, and the sculpture was first deposited in a neighbouring back garden. After realising his mistake Taylor broke in to this garden again, retrieved the piece, found the correct location, and proceeded to jump the wall in to Strong’s driveway. He reached the back garden only to be highlighted by the security light – a perfect illumination for the heavy yet small mass to be placed carefully on the patio.

I am reminded of a very light touch made by the work of an artist… called….


--end--




You can watch a showreel of the readings by Frances Davis, Kirsty Hendry, Alex Hetherington, Catherine Street & JL Williams, and Richard Taylor via the video below:


Interested in critical art writing? Check out our developing collection of work by writers based in Scotland on the Studio Jamming Critical Writing Residency website. Group Critical Writing Residency, edited by Maria Fusco, was part of Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland curated by Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in June-August 2014.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

William Latham on the early inspiration that informs his pioneering work in Computer Art


William Latham's Mutator 2 (Triptych) is currently on display in Centrespace, VRC. This interactive video projection is inspired by the processes of evolution, and once activated by the viewer uses complex computer software to create fantastical forms that mutate and spin on the gallery walls.

William Latham: Mutator 2, Centrespace, VRC, DJCAD, 2014. Photo: Kathryn Rattray
In an interview with Central Station, Latham highlights one of the significant starting points of his practice; drawing utilising 'FormSynth' rules. These early drawing works hold a clear resonance with the computer art installation, Mutator 2 (Triptych):

While I studied at RCA I began to devise an evolutionary rule-based drawing system that would generate organic rather than geometric forms. I called the system FormSynth (short for Form Synthesis). This system uses transforms such as “Bulge”, “Beak”, “Stretch” and “Scoop,” which define how to distort or sculpt 3D forms starting from geometric primitives to evolve increasingly complex forms with each transform step recorded and laid out in large evolutionary tree drawings. Some of these early works are currently in the exhibition Mutator 2 in Centrespace, VRC.

William Latham: Mutator 2, Centrespace, VRC, 2014. Photo: Kathryn Rattray
I take inspiration from the natural world (including fungi, sea urchins, jelly fish, viruses, octopuses), sci-fi movies, paisley patterns, William Morris, heavy metal imagery, D’Arcy Thompson, and Surrealist Art (Dali, Magritte, Tanguy). Initially my work at RCA was heavily influenced by Russian Constructivism, Pop Art and Process Art and by contact with artists such as Kenneth Martin, Mary Kelly and Eduardo Paolozzi, who became a mentor for many years. I still find these areas of interest relevant today.


Catch William Latham: Mutator 2, at Centrespace, VRC, DJCAD which is located on the lower floors of the DCA, 152 Nethergate, Dundee, until 31 January 2015. The exhibition is open Mon-Sat 12-4pm but will be closed from 20 December - 7 January. 

For more information on the exhibition please see: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/djcad/exhibitions/exhibitions/william-latham/

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis - Save the date for The Process of Content, Roundtable Discussion

Composed of hundreds and often thousands of drawings, paintings, photographs, texts, slogans and objects, Oppermann’s distinctive art works lay bare the process of perception, awareness and the very practice of thinking itself.

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis, Cooper Gallery, 2014. Photo: Kathryn Rattray.
Anna Oppermann's ensemble 'Cotoneaster horizontalis (Anticommunication design)' is now show in Cooper Gallery, exhibited alongside drawings, archival material and a documentary film from the collection of the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, made by the experimental German film maker Michael Geißler which records Oppermann guiding her subject through the ensemble she produced in 1977 for documenta 6. 

SAVE THE DATE/// 29 November 2014, 2.00-4.30pm

Roundtable Discussion
The Process of Content: on a temporality in contemporary art

Speakers: Guy Brett (Curator and Critic, London), Lynda Morris (Curator and Art Historian, Norwich), Tobi Maier (Curator and Writer, São Paulo), Prof. Martin Warnke & Carmen Wedemeyer (Researchers, Leuphana University Lüneburg). Chaired by Dr. Lisa Otty (Lecturer, The University of Edinburgh).

Drawn from the proposition that the work of Anna Oppermann acts as a 'practice of thinking', the Roundtable Discussion is a stimulating gathering of thoughts that elaborates and amplifies the histories, politics and social reverberations of art practices in the 1970s and 80s, and the influence and impact they have on our thinking about art and culture today.

This event is free. If you would like attend please RSVP to exhibitions@dundee.ac.uk

For more information visit the webpage:
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/djcad/exhibitions/events/roundtable-discussion/


More info about the exhibition: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/djcad/exhibitions/exhibitions/anna-oppermann/

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

cotoneaster horizontalis


“Stretching and reaching from the corner of a room, a dizzying array of images, words and objects grasp the eye and the mind …”[1]
From a corner at the opposite end of the gallery the voice of the prematurely deceased artist rhythmically fills the space and evokes the ‘painter’s diagonal method’[2] – this is the result of a curatorial composition that involves a video playing of the artist, Anna Oppermann, telling us about her work. The documentary film dates from 1977. In it, Oppermann says she started creating ensembles because she was unable to paint a perfect painting that could be framed, shown in a gallery and be widely admired. Because of this critical self-reflection and her rich thought processes, she moved from painting to ensembles.
There is a lot to look at in this ensemble, Cotoneaster horizontalis, which is a recreation of the ensemble shown at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf in 1984.
The Cooper gallery offers the space and the time to look at it all – space and time were integral to Oppermann’s practice.
“Even if produced over a number of years, every ensemble does indeed have a surprisingly simple beginning in time and space.” Oppermann’s ensembles were all motivated by a specific ’starting object’ such as an everyday object, a plant or a phrase. As an artist, Oppermann dedicated time and energy to explaining herself; she made art from the depths of her thought processes, from recordings and sometimes by multiplying and reworking every stage of that process. As an academic, Oppermann struggled with the rigid system at Wuppertal University where she taught for eight years. Perhaps the name and the definition of the cotoneaster plant(see below) resemble the profile of a student of that time and we could argue that it also describes contemporary students, too.
 “Cotoneasters come in all shapes and sizes, raging from prostrate ground covers [German: bodembedecker] to 20 ft. trees. All cotoneaster are hardy and tolerant of poor conditions – they will grow almost anywhere and need no attention apart from cutting back if they start to get out of hand.”[3]
This exhibition at the Cooper gallery, which is just on the other side of the wall from the general foundation year studios at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, is visually rich and sure to be a potent source of inspiration for students who come to see it. Hopefully their future work will echo Oppermann’s reflective play and they will be provoked to ask themselves what it means to ‘be an artist’.



[1] From Against the Finite by Sophia Yadong Hao, p.1 Anna Oppermann Cotoneaster horizontalis publication, Cooper gallery, Dundee, 2014
[2] The Diagonal Method is a “method” of composition that was discovered accidentally in May 2006 by the Dutch photographer and teacher of photography Edwin Westhoff while doing research on a theory of composition called the “Rule of Thirds”, as it is known in photography. The Diagonal Method is different from existing theories of composition (e.g. the Rule of Thirds and the Golden Section) because it is not concerned with making “good” compositions but with finding details which are important to the artist in a psychological or emotional way. In this way the Diagonal Method is completely subjective. It has nothing to do with positioning lines or shapes in a certain location within a frame with the intention of getting a “better” composition. Hence we can use the Diagonal Method to find out what the artist’s interests were. The positioning of details is done in an unconscious manner. That’s why the Diagonal Method is so exact. https://sites.google.com/site/diagonalmethod/home
[3] From Hessayon, D. G., The Tree & Shrub Expert, pbi Publications, Herts, 1983