Search This Blog


Send Davina your news and comments

27 May 2012

May's Art Book of the Month: 'Raw + Material = Art'

Quickly, there's still time to squeeze in a book review before the rush of summer end of year exhibitions, open studios and fringe events happening in June (and I always thought 'art weeks' were busy enough!). This weeks post is going to be much gentler than the busy action packed posts of the last three weeks, so I am pleased to bring you  the 'Art book of the month' review for May!

This months book is the large (bit bigger than A3 sized) and very visual, 'Raw + Material = Art' put together and edited by Tristan Manco. As the title would suggest, this book features art work made from the rawest, weirdest, most imaginative and inventive materials that the world has to offer. If you've ever heard, 'the world is your art shop' then the art in this book is testament to that statement with everything from staples, beans, bags, buttons, cellophane, dirt, flip flops, paper, wool, string and skateboards and the phone book being either recycled, altered or transformed into works that make you think, work that makes you smile, work that has political or environmental undertones and work that just, quite honestly blows you away!Complain no more that you cannot afford art materials, when there is just so much 'stuff' waiting to be transformed into something new!

This isn't your normal, 'art made from recycled materials' kind of book, mainly because recycled art has come a long way from the perceived stereotype of taking empty glass bottles and using them to make stained glass tiles and even the increasingly popular scrap made sculptures, which are awesome in their own right, but there's a whole wealth of other materials to make art from that create totally different results. Some examples, Baptsite Debomberg uses staples to make drawings of figures on walls. He also uses the walls themselves, sometimes completely destroying and rebuilding them to make sculptures that are both part and burst put from the architecture of the space. Or take Klaus Dauven who does a form of 'anti-graffiti' where he draws by removing the dirt on, say a wall, to create an image (I really recommend a look at his website to see his work, some of it is on a mega ambitious scale! Where he used jet washers to draw onto a dam!) Zadok Ben-David, creates figures and botanical installations using left over bits of rust.  And there are many many more fantastic examples...
Haroshi - makes sculptures from old skateboards
Luzinterruptus - site specific work using LEDs and leaves/bags
Mia Pearlman - you've never seen paper used in such an ambitious way!

Artists have always been inventive, in a way the concept of this collection of artists and their work is nothing new but none-the-less it is one of the most refreshing books of its kind that I've seen in a while. I can only put this down to the ambitiousness of some of the work (as a lot of it is on an epic scale, or you can see how complicated the process of making it must have been) and how most of it takes the 'raw material' and really does turn it into something new (so its not the old Duchampian kind of mentality, of exhibiting 'ready-mades' or covering an object in a load of paint then sticking it in a collage, but at the same time also pays tribute and is as a result of Modernism). Each artist, it seems, really demonstrates an understanding and knowledge of their material which they adapt and explore in depth, so the question of 'what can I do with a piece of paper?' really looks at all the physical properties of paper, and how it can be manipulated and used for something other than, in paper's case, drawing/writing on. Re-purposing utilitarian objects so that the correlation between art and life has a renewed resonance for the 21st Century.

Tactile and inspiring this book definitely left me thinking, I wonder what I can do with those old tins...those tacks and things.... Its also very beautifully set out with over 50 artists and '400 colour images', with just enough info and text to answer questions of, 'How was that made?' and 'What does it mean?' without becoming too self congratulatory or pretentious in its art terminology. Good stuff! Take a look at the artists mentioned above and please check out the book if you can, its well worth a look!

That's all for this week, next week I am planning to write about the eight artists exhibition, 'Drawing Breath' in Langport and Barber Swindells' installation 'One to Twenty' at the Glove Factory in Yeovil (details of both can be found in the bar on right hand side of this blog). Looking forward to it!

No comments:

Post a Comment