Summarising My Inspiration + Final Piece Exploration

I've completed a lot of contextual research and exploration throughout my exam project so far. I've decided to summarise everything I've looked at, in order to collate the inspiration that I've taken from the sources I've looked at, and to help come to some conclusions about possible final pieces, that I could do for this project. 

My first source of inspiration came from choosing the word flicker, as a stimulus from the exam paper. I put together a mind map in order to explore my stimulus and decide a course of action to take with my research, in which I decided to look at light and movement in relation to the word flicker. In order to find inspiration, I looked through a number of photography books, and in a book I own about contemporary photography, I came across a series of abstract work by Wolfgang Tillmans. I was instantly taken by this work as it is so abstract, but manages to convey so much emotion, by the powerful use of movement in the large luminograms. Looking at this work really made me think about movement and how it can be used in an image. It also made me think about the effectiveness that a more minimal style can have in a piece of work. 

In the same book I then came across Gary Schneider's head series. I found this work really unique and his conceptual ideas fascinated me. As his technique of taking his images is so different but really effective in conveying so much character and emotion from his subjects, despite being a still image. In the book it said that Schneider was very much influenced by Vito Acconci's conceptual work, which I decided to look at next. In particular I looked at Acconci's conceptual piece of work entitled blinks, where he walked down a street and took a photograph every time he blinked. I found this work the most inspiring that I'd looked at so far. As it really challenges what it means to be artistic, is so conceptually strong and the blinking to me really relates to this idea of flickering. It really made me think about what my images could possibly represent by the different techniques I use. Not just in my exam work but with my photography in general.

I then came across a book on Francis Bacon's portrait paintings. I decided to find out more about his self portraits in particular, as they are so raw and really show this use of distortion and movement that Bacon uses. These distortions are really quite powerful in these works, in conveying this psychological torment and despair that Bacon felt for much of his life. For me Bacon's self portraits inspired me to think about distortion in photographic imagery, and the use of smaller movements to communicate darker, more psychological themes in an image. The way Bacon has used triptychs so effectively to explore more that one side of his subject, is really making me consider using a triptych for my final piece of work as well, in order to explore the themes I'm looking at even further. 

After looking at Bacon's work I took my research online, and on an art blog I came across a really interesting series of work by Angelica Garcia, entitled emptiness. Like Bacon, Garcia used distortions in her hand treated photographs, which really communicated well her conceptual idea of representing how memories change of the people we once knew, and how tragic time can be over the course of our lives. Finding out about Garcia's intentions with this work, inspired me to think more about the possible social messages I could communicate with my work.

On another art website, I came across a series of paintings by Andy Denzler, where he used video tape effects, to create these glitch style paintings that I found really poetic and intriguing. They really made me think about the word flicker in relation to technology, such as computer and television screens, and they inspired me find inspiration relating to television distortions and darker themes. This led me to looking at stills from the 2002 remake of The Ring. As I remembered a photograph used in the film, that like Bacons paintings used distortion to communicate something very dark. Looking more at the photograph, and other stills from the cursed tape and film in general, inspired me to think about maybe using anonymity in my final piece. Which in the stills I looked at was very powerful in communicating something a lot darker and important, than the actual subject matter of the image itself. The film also inspired me to think about using more monochromatic colours in my work, and textures such as white noise to convey something more psychological and conceptual with an image.

I then looked at stills from Marilyn Manson's, "I don't like the drugs" music video, which through looking at the imagery and lyrics, really gave me some conceptual possibilities for my work. In terms of looking at social institutions and using my work to maybe challenge some of these structures that affect and control our everyday lives. In particular with mass media as it really relates to what I've looked at in terms of video tape imagery and white noise. 

Researching and looking at The Adventures of The Black Square exhibition, that is currently on at the White Chapel Gallery in London, has inspired me to look at this symbolism of the black square and geometrical obstruction. In particular in using it to communicate my thoughts about art and technology, now that a century of the black square is over. As the past century has seen so much change in terms of digital art, technology and mass media in general, which has effected art and everything around us.  

Through concluding all of the inspiration I have looked at so far and possible ideas I have thought about for my final piece. I decided that I would create a series of collages out of some of the iconic pieces, from the Adventures of the Black Square. I decided to replace some of the geometrical qualities of these images from the exhibition with white noise. In order to comment on this idea of the black square, in relation to what the next century holds for modern art. We are at a completely new place with art and technology than we were 100 years ago, and I would love for my work to effectively challenge and reflect this change and rise in technology, and really question whether this is good for us or not. Not just in our daily lives, but also in modern art with the development of digital photography and computer graphics, and whether this developing of our culture is good for us or not. 

I decided to create this effect with the pieces from the exhibition digitally, by covering specific areas of the artwork with the white noise effect, that I took with my camera from my own television. I made the images black and white, as this effect is more commonly associated with older imagery because of old means of photography and video. I also wanted to use this to challenge the idea that these are contemporary art pieces, when digital art and technology has grown so rapidly over the past century.

Overall I do like the result of these images, however for me they are not personal enough and really do not reflect the ideas I have looked at and gathered in this entire project. I also think this is too specific a response to The Adventures of the Black Square exhibition, for me to really use this as my own photographic response to my exam stimulus as a whole.   

I then decided to look at how I could personally interact with my pieces. To show a real personal response and reflection to the work and ideas that I have looked at in this project, in terms of art and technology. Above is a series of experiments I conducted inside, using the flash on my camera, where I held my edited pieces from the black square exhibition and also pieces of technology. I used the timer on my camera, with a remote and my tripod, in order to position myself in front of the frame before taking the photograph, so that I could better set up the composition of my images. Doing these experiments was really for me to test out what I could do with my collages, and technology such as phones and cameras. Dora Maurer's work such as Etude 4 and Seven Rotations, really inspired me to use my hands and try different positions of holding the objects, in order to represent my own reflection and personal response to the subject matter. Also to demonstrate this exploration I have undertaken, with the themes and ideas I have looked at in this project.

From conducting these experiments and exploring the theme of the black square as a stimulus for my final piece. I have decided to incorporate the ideas I have gathered throughout this project. Including time, technology, art, mass media, and this use of the black square. Which I think is the perfect symbol to represent and challenge the ideas I have, regarding time and the growth of technology and mass media, in relation to art and the everyday. I also want to include white noise, in a way that obstructs and challenges the black square in my image, to really make a powerful connection between where we are now and back 100 years ago, and to challenge whether these advancements and changes have been good for us or not.

I have now decided that inspired by introspective work such as Francis Bacon's, "Three Studies for a Self Portrait". That I will create a triptych of three images as part of my conceptual work. The subject matter of my photographs, will be three different positions of two hands or a single hand, holding up a black square, in front of a plain background. I will then digitally place a circular image of my white noise, in the middle of these black squares. Which being circles I think will help communicate this challenging and obstruction, of the idea and structural value of the black square, and this starting point of where we seem to be now, 100 years later. With the growth of technology and it's impact on modern day art.

For me using this more minimal approach, which I've really loved about a lot of the work I've looked at in this project. Is important in exploring this symbolism of the black square, and in using this surrounding negative space, to really emphasise my subject matter and really make my work more intriguing and thought provoking. Which I really felt my London images lacked, as I tried to make my work more accessible for anyone to look at, which really took away a lot of depth in the image and effectiveness of the use, of the symbolism in my opinion.

To prepare for my shoot I will be finding a subject to hold the square, that I will be cutting out of black card, a light coloured wall to take my photographs against, using natural lighting to make my subject's hands and the card look more raw. Which I think will really add to the more minimal aesthetic to my images. My images will also be completely black and white, to really emphasis the high contrast I would like to create, between the highlights and shadows in my photographs, which should really bring out this symbolic black square further.

In terms of the position of my subject and the way the square is held, ideally I would like to create this almost surreal, two dimensional effect with the square being held very much straight up, facing my camera which I will be positioning on a tripod. This is so I can better frame my images to perfect their composition.

To display my three chosen images for my triptych, I will be buying three small black frames. As I visited an exhibition at the Tate Liverpool a few weeks ago, where an exhibition of Gyorgy Kepe's photographic experiments were being displayed, and a lot of his work was displayed individually in small black frames. Which I think is a really effective way to display a series of work, as the pieces feel sequential, but also individually powerful. Which is a quality I'd really like to give to my three images.

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