Contemplating Constellation – PDP

This year for my constellation option I picked “Goddesses and Monsters” as it was directly related to elements and themes that I play with in my practice. I was so intrigued with the combination of studying the Epherial ‘goddess’ alongside the grotesque ‘monster’ and was surprised at how many similarities there where.

We started looking at the ‘glamorous’ and how inhuman the glamour models actually looked. The light and textures used in the photographs make the models look like they are made of porcelain or marble, a reference to classic sculpture.

Take for instant this image of Greta Garbo we looked at in the seminar. Her skin appears flawless and shines in the synthetic light which makes Garbo look ethereal and ‘out-of-this-world’.

Greta Garbo

This ethereal, out of this world-ness is emphasized by the almost surreal shooting of the image. The lighting of the image cuts her head and hand off and making them appear as floating, which again raises the impossibility of the image.

I feel it links a lot to this sculpture by Salvador Dali:


The sculpture is segmented and surreal, albeit more exaggerated, which references the segmentation in the Garbo picture.  The skin is marble reflecting the flawlessness of ‘the glamorous woman’ but here is contrasted with the texture of fur and feathers which gives it a visceral aspect, I want to touch the sculpture – another element of the glamorous woman.

Dali’s sculpture has an ‘oddness’ about it, something I would like to recreate in my subject project where I have to transform a ready-made object into something to do with our context of working – mine being sculpture, installation and intervention. I took a chair and wanted to transform it into something which isn’t entirely dysfunctional but still has still lost some of its original useful-ness.


Here is an experiment I conducted. I think It achieved the right level of ‘Odd-ness’ But its just getting the finish to a high enough level for it to be exhibitable. It was interesting to observe how people interacted with the object, some refusing to sit on it, and some realising the relation ship to the grass – something we would regularly sit on when outside. I decided as part of this project, to approach it from a more theoretical standpoint, I would write up my findings and exhibit this next to the original object. I think in this case a written documentation of the work is more appropriate that a visual one as you can describe reactions better than a still frame photograph and display it better than a long film.

We then moved on to exploring the grotesque or the monstrous. We boiled down the elements to the key concepts of the grotesque through analysing texts and then relating this to case studies. I found this technique really useful in understanding the complicated texts and will go on to use it when preparing for my dissertation.

One piece of work we looked at in the lectures was the self portraits of Francis Bacon.

This analysis was particularly useful for me as I was undergoing a self-portraiture project where I constructed Artist books that were representative of traits, identity and body parts. I started the project with a clear mind of what I wanted to create but started to doubt the outcomes I was creating because they weren’t conceptually strong. So I returned to theory and artist case studies. When analysing Bacon’s work it was the fragmentation and ghostliness of his face that made the pictures look monstrous and this made him look inhuman. The pictures implied an in-between state, you can recognise he is human yet you can see an element of the monster in him. I started to play with these concepts and thought that I would construct the same themes but actively morph my face and body rather than depict it in images. I would achieve this through the construction of wearable sculpture.

This project is what directly lead me to the topic I want to explore in my dissertation, the pairing of the grotesque and wearable sculpture. Its something that has always intrigued me but after undergoing to analysis of Bacon’s work and drawing that analysis into my own everything seemed to click together.

I look forward to researching this in further depth whilst preparing for my dissertation.

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Creating the structure

I had a great idea about how to create a less tent like structure which can still create enough of a shelter that it can still give a sense of escapism. I created a swooping structure which inside will house plush furniture which you can lounge on and take your lunch.

I think the inside of the structure should be blank and left for adults and children to draw and write messages on to spark this idea of creativity, this material could be provided within the structure. The outside I would like to lift imagery from the park.

Here is a snapshot of the model I created on sketch-up, I’m really proud of the way it turned out.

3d model

I then turned it into a physical model. I wanted to echo the materials I would actually use if the piece were to be made, so it graduated from textiles to the more sturdy BendyWood.



Maquette Making

I recently went to a workshop where I made a maquette of the site I want to create my piece on. I wanted to use the natural twigs to represent trees because it looked a lot more realistic.

I’ve started to create forms on the structure but they’ve become too tent-like for what I want to create so I will have to have a further play later in the week.



I guess there are a lot of worse things to do with your day than walk around a park exploring for a public art site and inspiration. Armed with my camera and a brain full of ideas I roamed Bute park with the aim to find a place that could be the base for this concept of childhood escapism within adults.

Even though the task was non-academic in many respects I wanted to approach it from a research and analytical standpoint. As I wandered through the park I took many pictures, videos and sound bites from different areas, I even did some primary responses in the form of quick gestural drawings and mappings and collected objects from the site. I did this because I thought it would be beneficial to capture both a direct/physical snapshot of possible sights and an emotional, subjective view.

During the visit I decided on a space I wanted to use. It was a group of trees not far from the main entrance to the park, but yet you could not hear any traffic – an important part of the ‘escapism’. It was crucial to me that the piece be site specific, so I highlighted 4 trees which I wanted to become part of the integral structure. Alongside this I wished to lift imagery from around the park to be placed on the structure however I don’t know what form this will take or the materials/techniques I want to use yet. I guess that’s the next step!

PublicRhelmMoodboard 1PublicRhelmMoodboard 2


Commission or Competition: Art in the public Realm

Our new 5 week brief started today, where we have to explore public art briefs that include commissions or competitions.

By the end of the option we will propose our plans for our public piece of art. We will have to consider factors such as budgeting, construction, visualising our concepts and the impact the piece has on the public.

After our briefing we were advised to look into other pieces of public art and what we can draw from them.

I found some very interesting projects.

A very recognised piece of work Claes Oldenburg’s “Spoonbridge and cherry” was my first stop. I choose to look at this piece because it is well known as a piece of public art and wanted to find out and enquire to why its so successful.

Spoonbridge and cherry


When looking at this image you see the piece in relation to the people beside it, the enormity and scale of it is fascinating. When viewing this piece in the flesh, I imagine, the viewer would feel a sense of the out-of-this-world due to the impossibility of the piece. It also has a child-like essence to it, as it is fantastical, colourful and large. For these reasons the work has similarities to the work of contemporary artist Jeff Koons an artist I also found interesting in relation to this task.

baloon dog

Again this work has a sense of  impossibility about it, the work looks as if it is constructed out of one massive balloon but is actual constructed of stainless steel. It is hard to recognise that a piece of work can look so buoyant and weightless when constructed out for such a contradictory material. both these pieces of public art are hard to miss, and this is something that I would like to include in my piece, its taken simple concepts executed in a magnificent way.


I then discovered a piece of art in Cardiff which I was really intrigued by which incorporated the surroundings to make them more mundane.  Pictures were placed inside the hollow bollards which a viewpoint so that you can glance into the work. I love the idea of breaking up the everyday routine, and this sense that something brightening your day even if for 5 seconds. Another thing I look to include in my work.

Here is an article about the piece.

I’m looking forward to working towards an ambitious piece of public art.


Why it isn’t working.

I’ve hit a wall.

Reflecting on feedback from my field formative assessment I have realised that the concept  behind my work is strong but it isn’t reflected and communicated in the work properly. If I am trying to communicate the taboo of written narratives then I why am I writing these narratives on the object? I have to some way transfer this idea into sound or suggested oral narratives.

It means a lot more fun with my friend Mr Arduino!


Evading written narratives…

Now that I am aware of the forms that I want to work within I researched into narratives that surround these forms.

I stumbled upon this narrative which has only been communicated by word of mouth and never written down. No-one really knows its origins and therefore knows if the story was from truth or fiction. I then want to put the narratives back onto the form of a diamond however when you go to read the story the narrative is taken from you. The object will therefore become a materialisation of this idea of the taboo of written narratives.

Here are some initial sketch ups of what  see the object looking like.

narrative diamond


I plan to view and hide the narrative through a dimming led hooked up to an Arduino. The electronics of the piece will be hidden when displayed. I plan to either have the diamond in a box inspired by the way things were displayed in the museum, or on a velvet cushion to convey a stronger narrative.


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