File Name: richard wentworth making do and getting by .zip
Wentworth was born in Samoa —then a province of New Zealand —in
Both Atget and Wentworth are authors of photographic compendia which describe the great cities of London and Paris poised at two very different moments of change - at the twentieth century's beginning and at its end. For both, the city is a vivid yet fugitive place, continually undergoing cycles of renovation, disintegration and renewal once more. Its pavements are a 'stage' for social activity, and its physical details, however fleeting, full of meaning about the nature of an urban society - and what the individuals within it, own, do, make and improvise. Over the next thirty years, he produced an inexhaustible stream of photographs documenting every corner of a Paris entering the new century.
The theme of the everyday has been widely explored and reflected on in contemporary art. The concept can still be seen as an inspiration for artists and curators, with its potential to unite art and life and to bring unnoticed aspects of life experiences to light. Giving some attention to the everyday draws the art world beyond itself, and stimulates a deep political sense even if this is not visible on the surface. The truth, Lefebvre states, is the awareness of alienation. As Lefebvre puts it, the everyday is a realm of contradictions; it is the intersection of repetition and creativity, familiarity and ambiguity.
In , Watkins curated the Iraq pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. The exhibition was supported and commissioned by the Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture, which is based in Iraq. The apartment was furnished with sofas covered with colourful cushions and rugs, and in the kitchen black tea with homemade Iraqi cookies were served.
This created an environment for the audience to stay as long as they wished, to lounge on the sofas, contemplate the artworks and explore Iraqi culture through a wide range of books and photographs, some of which were borrowed from the Iraq National Library and Archives. The question is whether curatorial and art-critical perspectives on the works fully integrate them into a broader discourse, and whether they could find their relationships with the past and present in a wider art-historical canon, on an international stage, and to what extent they could compete for a place in our long-term memories.
However, for Iraqi artists the logic behind praising chance is a matter of necessity regarding the choice of materials, media or artistic strategies. The necessity of unifying art and life not only undermines the idea of originality but also the distinction between amateur and professional art.
Hareth Alhomaam, still from Buzz , , courtesy of the artist and the Ruya Foundation The following is an edited transcript of a conversation that took place with Jonathan Watkins at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, in September You could see a manifestation of the proposition in Japan or somebody making reference to it in New York, but few people were making the connection internationally. The catalogue essay and the process of selection were a very useful way of organising my thoughts and organising the show.
The exhibitions I curated at the Serpentine Gallery and Chisenhale Gallery in London, before the Sydney Biennale, do suggest a kind of pragmatism. I was keen on counteracting the discourse in visual art arising out of early postmodernism that was characterised by an obsession with mediation or obscurantism. I ask this because of a lack of strong presence of Middle Eastern artists in that Biennale.
I was reflecting the geographic context. Likewise, therefore, there was a disproportionate number of Australian artists.
I would like to make a connection between the two exhibitions by referring to what you illustrated in the Sydney catalogue.
The exhibition highlights the dignity of the everyday in Iraq, presenting a form of familiarity or commonality for the international audience in order to avoid the monolithic images of Iraq that always emphasise war and chaos. So, I was positioning myself to some extent in relation to that. I had a very short time to organise everything. The Ruya Foundation approached me in December and needed the curator urgently to go to Iraq.
I had worked in Palestine and in Sharjah and they knew that I was interested in the Middle East and that I was sympathetic, which I think encouraged them. At the time, I was told that there were no good artists in Iraq, as they had all left and were living in the diaspora. That was a very easy thing to say, and it could also have rationalised the decision not to go.
I wanted, rather, to meet somebody in Baghdad who was making a chair out of bicycle parts and divine something meaningful in that, instead of somebody hitting me over the head with their observations on conflict. In the exhibition, the only artist who talked explicitly about the violence was the cartoonist Abdul Raheem Yassir, but he had an engagingly dark sense of humour about it.
Moreover, his cartoons obviated the need for any didactic interpretative material for the exhibition. They were very eloquent about the impact of the conflict — all those difficulties, the awful circumstances — on everyday life. Visitors were sometimes very moved, possibly due to the understated awfulness. In Buzz , Alhommam subtly represents the existence of boredom in the everyday life of Iraqi people as embodied in their conversations and body gestures.
In The Love of Butterflies , we can also see the experience of time and boredom in relation to gender practices in the way that the female protagonist experiences time wasting differently from her male counterpart. Moreover, these works can tell us how in an uncertain environment, individuals might even intentionally experience boredom as a form of disconnection from the future. This is what I think is ignored in the reviews of the exhibition.
I remember my father telling me about his time fighting in the Second World War. I asked what it was like and he said he was bored most of the time. But people forget this — especially now, due to the nature of news and current affairs. Also, they tend to be fixated on questions of national identity and on what has happened to their country since they left, heightening emotions about what it is like to be there.
But in Iraq then, children were still going to school, people were falling in love, watching TV, being bored, making films about everyday life Before I went there, I knew that was what I wanted to communicate, and that the awfulness, which affected everything, would be read between the lines.
For example, in Buzz , while Fouad, the male protagonist, is hanging around in the Baghdad streets with his friends, we can see a feeling of disinterest or separation between them and the ruined city full of rubbish everywhere. The piles of rubbish in the cartoons were even higher than the architecture, including the towers of the mosques!
Hareth Alhomaam, still from Buzz , , courtesy of the artist and the Ruya Foundation. You even showed two of the films on laptops. I liked the idea that the most comfortable place in Venice would be a kind of an artistic embassy for Iraq.
People used to organise meetings there, because they could sit and talk over free cups of tea. We had a kitchen in the middle of the show that also served Iraqi biscuits, and the recipe is in the catalogue!
Buzz and The Love of Butterflies were the kinds of films you could watch on your phone and not miss much. Not cinematic extravaganzas, they were like episodes from a sentimental soap opera on TV.
It seems that both series offer a form of defunctionalisation of the objects, WAMI with their minimalistic strategy and Ismaeel by personalisation of the ready-made objects connected to her memories and life experiences.
The artists put the materials and the objects in a wider communication landscape. Would you consider reading these artworks as a response to the binary of femininity and masculinity? How could you see these artworks within the history of feminism and art? All of a sudden, it was a cardboard bedroom. Interestingly, the Venetian woman who was brought up in that bedroom came to see the exhibition and her response was very emotional ….
The show overall was domestic — with or without gender politics. Cheeman Ismaeel certainly romanticised her relationship with her husband. I remember being with her at home in Sulaimaniyah and I saw the Clock on the kitchen wall and the heater, Warmth of an Eternal Embrace , nearby. These works could be seen as resulting from a compulsive desire to decorate. It was a gesture made as an expression of grief, not as an artwork. Cheeman Ismaeel, various works, courtesy of the artist and the Ruya Foundation.
Somebody making sculpture out of cardboard is as interesting to me as somebody making sculpture with bronze. The imposition of a dominant narrative can lead individuals to practise their personal daily activities stealthily — as an example, the film, Buzz , represents the everyday life of a young Iraqi couple who struggle with the religious and tribal restrictions on intimate relationships between an unmarried couple in Iraq.
The film shows the lack of communication between the young generation and the previous one, experiencing extraordinary isolation, boredom, depression and fear all at once. How did you see this fragmentation and the impact of the fates of these individuals on their artistic practices? It can be heroic to experience the everyday in the circumstances you describe. How do you define the practice of diversification in an institution such as Ikon? And do you apply different strategies in designing public engagements with non-Western artworks or those art works that are sensitive to the phenomenon of exoticism?
I like the idea of people encountering differences and imagining what is it like to be someone else, avoiding any tendency to exoticism along the way. We do our best to achieve this through learning activities and public relations. Azadeh Sarjoughian is a doctoral researcher in the history of art at the University of Birmingham in the UK where her focus is the representation of sexuality and gender identity in contemporary Middle Eastern art.
Her research interests include postcolonial theories, feminist theory and contemporary art. Interestingly, the Venetian woman who was brought up in that bedroom came to see the exhibition and her response was very emotional … The show overall was domestic — with or without gender politics.
Portable and easy to use, the modern photo and video cameras have presented themselves as ideal tools for practices inscribing themselves ever more seamlessly in the everyday life and lifestyles of artists. Thus British sculptor Richard Wentworth, while still a student at the Royal College of Art, started around to photograph various arrangements of objects and signs encountered in the street, Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. Don't already have an Oxford Academic account?
Secondly, his choice of subject is not only a very personal perspective of urban life but has been consistently and deeply explored for four decades. This in itself makes this series unusual, it has been created outside of and in parallel with the mainstream of photography history, uninfluenced and seemingly unaware that the mainstream exists; in the interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist that introduces the book 2 , he discuses sculptors, architects and writers; photographers are notable by their absence. He describes the thinking behind the photograph of a tomato in front of a car tyre as:. In essence it is the serendipitous nature of relationships between objects and of Wentworth noticing and photographing them that makes the series so compelling. The straight yellow no parking lines in parallel with the pavement creating visual tension with the half round table tops lent against the vertical black railings of an urban fence; the perfect asterisk formed by tyre tracks on a snowy street; or a bicycle saddle left at the exact centre of formica cafe chair.
The theme of the everyday has been widely explored and reflected on in contemporary art. The concept can still be seen as an inspiration for artists and curators, with its potential to unite art and life and to bring unnoticed aspects of life experiences to light. Giving some attention to the everyday draws the art world beyond itself, and stimulates a deep political sense even if this is not visible on the surface. The truth, Lefebvre states, is the awareness of alienation. As Lefebvre puts it, the everyday is a realm of contradictions; it is the intersection of repetition and creativity, familiarity and ambiguity. In , Watkins curated the Iraq pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. The exhibition was supported and commissioned by the Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture, which is based in Iraq.
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A leading figure in the New British Sculpture movement of the early s, Richard Wentworth born uses photography to register chance encounters of oddities and discrepancies in the modern landscape, expanding the possibilities of sculpture into the public realm. Documenting Wentworth's ongoing series Making Do and Getting By , the book's images document excess--a creativity beyond functionality, something transformative that lurks beneath the surface intention in acts of ordering and repair. In one image, a car door serves to mend a fence; in another, wooden crates are wedged into a doorway.
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