Archives for posts with tag: Esther Teichmann

I have been working hard on my new piece everydaymatters.

Within an ordinary space are hidden the building blocks of the structure of the universe – intangible and unseen. I am exploring the similarities in our search for a spiritual encounter and the urge to understand the origins of our universe.

1502 Everydaymatters 6

The RCA Second Year MA interim show at Café Gallery Projects in Southwark Park was a chance to test out ideas to take forward for the upcoming final show.

It was also a chance to be in the park in early morning sunshine with the first hints of spring in the air and the sounds of waterfowl and birdsong.

1502 Everydaymatters 1

This bird is a bronze ornament seen in the antique shop at the corner of Paradise Walk in Chelsea, a bit of imported tropicalia. I used images taken around the various paradise locations I visit that I felt had some connection to an idea of paradise; exotic birds, palm trees, sunshine, plants, spiritual reflections.

It had been a marathon of screen printing to get my work ready in time for Café Gallery; 6 mirrored circles to print with 11 layers on each one.

1502 Everydaymatters 2

With no straight edges to register to and often printing black on black it felt impossible at times to line it all up. The mirrored surfaces are very vulnerable so I  became rather precious about the whole thing.

1502 Everydaymatters 5

The fear that the structures I had ready to hold the circles may just lean to one side or even topple over once the mirror was attached added to the stress and my heart was thumping when I finally slotted the circles over the steel upright. It was an exhausting experience and a huge relief to find they stood straight. (like sentinels – thanks Zoe)

1502 Everydaymatters 3

Placing the bowls with the disperse images at the base of the stands was a last minute decision but it suddenly seemed that they belonged there to complete the work. One image of the everyday scattered into matter, dark and otherwise, and one paradisiacal image hovering illusively, both are about looking for something, an aura, an understanding of origins.

1502 Everydaymatters 4

In my crit there were comments about the small punctum of colour being an entry point to the work, a little view of the world or another world. Of being drawn into the image, looking through the surface and finding yourself absorbed into the work. The slightly runic quality of the placement looking religious or ritualistic but also having a cinematic quality. Exploded moments of arrested movement. The idea of trying to solidify a glimmer of a partial thought.

1502 Everydaymatters 8

The Sarah Sze exhibition at Victoria Miro fully repaid the effort required to traipse over there in a bitter wind. The first gallery downstairs was all grids and space, a bit like Tron, creating mazes of perspective as line and depth moved as you circumnavigated.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

So much detail, held together by dashes of  repeating colour. The long studio where Siobhan Davies dancers used to limber up was strewn with lichen crusted boulders in vibrant shades.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

Some real, some not. Finally the grand arena upstairs laid out a response to all matter and all questions.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

The Times newspaper, the everyday, a record of time passing with every image scalpeled out, leaving a high definition replacement showing the real news; the elements, the forces of nature. Ice, fire, earth all spotlit in the grand experiment of life.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

Stripped back to basics, revealing the true beauty and complexity of the universe. Everyone who saw the show was awed and everyone felt it spoke to them and their practice.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

Back at school there was a general consensus that Sarah Sze has cracked it, should we even bother to continue our pursuits.

The French writer Xavier de Maistre suggested back in 1790 in his essay ‘Journey Around My Bedroom’ that is was possible to enjoy the thrill of discovery without having to embark on a long voyage, travel to foreign parts or even leave the confines of your own room. To look with tourists eyes upon the familiar would reveal hitherto unnoticed phenomena offering an equally rich experience.

I have recently been playing the tourist on my visits to Paradise Row in Bethnal Green and Paradise Passage which runs alongside Paradise Park in Holloway.

1502 Paradise Row 2

Delighted to discover an appropriate spiritual behest above a more direct pursuit of happiness in one frame

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and a personal reminder of old bosses from chefing days – Balls Brothers legacy

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Paradise Passage is worth a visit at dusk

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for the ethereal light of the sports pitches

1502 Paradise Passage 3

turning Holloway into holiday destination

1502 Paradise Passage 1

Any exhibition involving Esther Teichmann is going to be a sensual experience. We Come From the Water at Jonathan Miles new project space/gallery Lychee 1 submerses you in its dialogues like the water it speaks of in terms of a weight, an origin.

Esther Teichmann

Esther Teichmann

It was wonderful to encounter Chantal Faust’s work for the first time, her Plantlife series is stunning.

Chantal Faust

Chantal Faust

Carol Mavor weaves language and image to create weighted slippery moments.

Had the pleasure of attending Mark Ferelli’s Magic Lantern Show : Devil Daddy

1502 Ferelliweb

A ritual flame is brought to light the oil burner of a nineteenth century magic lantern.  A twist of fume travels out the painted tin chimney as a slow disc of warm, broad light illuminates on screen.  Within its orbit develops the image of a ruined chapel, alone, deep in the hills of a cruel heath-land landscape stricken by winter.

Weaving original film stills, contemporary location shots, bird song and spoken word, Ferelli re-imagines both time and setting of the ‘lost’ british folk horror film classic ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’ (g.b.1970) evoking, prompting, the ethereal return of the film’s central character, ‘Angel Blake’, seductress, priestess and idiot savant to the monstrous, blood-thirsty hunger of an old pagan god. The ritual operation of lantern image, sound and spoken text navigate uneasy layers of simultaneity, born of the past film location and ever present film story, a performance crossing this uncanny landscape.

This event was prefaced by a selection of Edison’s Black Maria films and an excerpt from Hans Jurgen Syberberg’s 1977 seven and a half hour epic, Hitler: A Film From Germany.

Hans Jürgen Syberberg Hitler - A film from Germany

Hans Jürgen Syberberg Hitler – A film from Germany

I may never get beyond the opening credits of this surreal film but was captivated by the romantic backdrop and the voiceover which sets the premise on which the film evolves as an investigation into evil and guilt stating that if man is offered any amount of material wealth or the paradise of the imagination he will always choose paradise even when he knows it is false.

Our relationship to nature is close to the heart of one of my classmates, Gloria Ceballos who has just had an impressive solo show – Nature: a cultural artefact open at the Instituto Cervantes. Her work explores our experiences of nature in an urban environment focusing on the idea of three natures. 

Gloria Ceballos The Three Natures

Gloria Ceballos The Three Natures

I was recently asked by a male visitor at an exhibition if spiritual concerns were predominantly a female pursuit.

For Ana Mendieta in the 1970’s when a lot of land art was being made by artists such as Robert Smithson she felt her works were more spiritual and in tune with nature as opposed to the brutality of the industrial spirit. She left little trace in the landscape unlike her male contemporaries who were interested in the earth as material. She was interested in the earth’s sensual qualities, exploring the primary relationship of humanity with the earth as mother.  Through tapping into the ancient spirits of a primordial age and using the same elements of earth, fire and blood in her art as her ancestors used in their rituals she hoped to infuse her work with power and magic. She was often aligned with feminist and goddess groups but held firm that her work should not be tethered to gender issues, it was more universal.

Exploring the complexity of the female perspective today Disturbance was an exhibition culminating on International Women’s Day featuring Hermione Allsop, Alexandra Drawbridge, AnnaMaria Kardos, Paula MacArthur, Kate Murdoch, Mitra Saboury, Wendy Saunders, Susan Sluglett and Geraldine Swayne at Atom Gallery in Finsbury Park.

Kate Murdoch

Kate Murdoch

Kate Murdoch’s silent gathering bears witness to those unheard voices from the past when a girl was not expected to speak out.

My time at the RCA will soon be over. It’s been an incredible experience that I never imagined I would participate in.

After spending last summer wholly immersed in writing my dissertation I have had the honour of receiving a distinction. It wasn’t an easy birth so it’s really rewarding to find my energies were worthwhile and I ended up with something I can be proud of that will be archived at the Royal College of Art.

1502 Cover dissertation

The visions of paradise that we conjure in our imaginations will be influenced by our culture, personal aspirations and spiritual beliefs but however paradise manifests itself in our consciousness it will symbolize the promise of bliss.

Formed from joining the ancient Iranian words pairi, ‘around’ and daêza, ‘wall’, paradise was first used to describe a walled enclosure. Over time its meaning expanded to include the landscaped parks local nobles created to hunt animals trapped within their walls. These royal parks were lavishly planted with beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers and so paradise came to refer to any delightful garden. Ultimately used as epithet for the Garden of Eden, imagined as the most exquisite garden of them all,  its meaning became ever more sacred, taking on the very idea of Heaven itself.

Also I have met some personal challenges so am feeling good about that too.

One of the reasons I initially hesitated over applying to the RCA was the knowledge that as part of the MA I would be sent on a teaching placement. This terrifying possibility is now in the past. I went to Manchester School of Art and was made very welcome.

1502 circle of influences

My fears were unfounded and I was able to give a talk and tutorials which although an intense and exhausting experience was not the horrific one I imagined it would be. So I feel ready now to set a new challenge.

I have been lucky enough to be assigned Esther Teichmann as my dissertation supervisor.
I fell in love with Esther’s work when I first saw it at the ArtSway Open 2008.

She was showing hand coloured photographs from the Mythologies series.

Esther Teichmann - Mythologies

Esther Teichmann – Mythologies

It has been inspiring to able to talk with her and discover a mutual interest in lightning and the remarkable Litchenberg Figures that are left by a strike on skin

Litchenberg Figure

Litchenberg Figure

Also inspiring to see her sensuous show Fractal Scars, Salt Water and Tears at Flowers Gallery.

Esther Teichmann installation view at Flowers Gallery

Esther Teichmann installation view at Flowers Gallery

In a gallery talk Carol Mavor, in response to Esther’s work, spoke of shells, grottoes, sleeping beauty (someone who has forgotten her clitoris) and the proposition to ‘Let your lids drop the fall is always worth it’ .

Esther Teichmann

Esther Teichmann

We are taken deep inside the grotto, the dark space of desire.

I have been re- reading through the journal of Sergio Vega who ends up in a grotto at the centre of Paradise as defined by the mapping of Don Antonio de Leon Pinelo undertaken in 1650.

Sergio Vega followed the ancient map to a location in Brazil and finds himself having a transcendental experience in the cool waters of a secluded cavern.

Sergio Vega Windows on the Sublime 1

Sergio Vega Windows on the Sublime 1

I have spent my first day in the British Library Reading Room soaking in the atmosphere of investigative minds.

My first enquiry has been to try and find out who decided to name Paradise Road, Paradise Walk etc with such aplomb.

Paradise Road SW4

Paradise Road SW4

One book cites a profusion of Paradise Rows springing up in Victorian times so named by mendatious developers to attract customers to their mews squatting in not so desirable locations such as along railway embankments. Another book dates the Paradises to the 1700’s. The Victorian’s maybe just ran with the theme, the advertisers sleight of hand to gloss over the facts with hyperbole. Paradise Road in Islington had previously been Named Love Walk – this usually meant where the prostitutes hung out.  A day can easily slip by in the library and maybe only one small paragraph might be gleaned for the dissertation.

I really like these drawings by Patrick Van Caeckenbergh. I have ancient forests in my head at the moment and I like his little interventions.

Patrick Van Caeckenbergh

Patrick Van Caeckenbergh


Patrick Van Caeckenbergh

Patrick Van Caeckenbergh

I think he has a sense of humour

Patrick Van Caekenbergh

Patrick Van Caekenbergh

Also obsessive as he lived in a piece of art for 4 years.

This is a link to the website of Cristobel Leon and Joaquin Cocina – they make amazing inventive films

In ‘Los Andes’, a restless primal spirit takes possession of an office room.

Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña Los Andes

Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña Los Andes



Well since I have been exploring those forgotten childhood terrors I have had a seriously terrifying supernatural dream.

Not a fear of tidal waves, ‘public’ toilet, large spider anxiety type of dream but a real chiller.

I guess a lot of those fears are dormant under the surface still. Those boxes really do have chinks.

Coming up to a deadline for a piece of work has its own anxieties. The procrastination caused by fear of it all going wrong – delaying that possibility of disaster against the need to take the plunge so if it does go wrong you have time to fix it.

And there have been problems – the polyester I was transferring images onto turned out to have diagonal lines running through the fabric which only become visible when a dark ink is applied.

heatpress action

Also the quality of the organza I bought was not great. Curse Fabric World.  I wasted an afternoon in vain searching for better quality white polyester glass organza. Trawling Berwick Street & surrounds I finally found a shop that had some stock only to discover it was £29 a metre.  This must be where Marilene Oliver got hers for her piece Dervishes. I did ask her such a banal question when she came and gave a talk at Ochre. I remember Cathy de Monchaux’s advice in a talk she gave at Goldsmiths – always use the best materials you can afford.  It was gorgeous – really like liquid glass. I know where to go when I am making something special. For ‘Syndrome’ I really doubt I will get any money back from this so must be circumspect. Oxford Street John Lewis fabric dept. no better than Kingston. Brick Lane my salvation. I am aware that I talk a lot about trying to save money. Obviously I want to produce high quality work but in reality I know I’m not going to make the money back on it so I have to have limits.

In the same vein – more time & money wasted – the paper roll ordered via eBay from the Swedish Army surplus was creped! and rather crumpled. Not to be defeated I spent about 3 hours ironing it – well it was for trees, a little texture would be good. All in vain though, the surface was just too rough to take the ink. So a whole day wasted as well as the expense of the paper and studio time. Off to Atlantis, via Hamar for Perspex and Brick Lane for organza, to buy a roll of Fabriano 120gsm paper only to find on arrival they were out of stock. Could’ve cried so tired, managed to track some down at Cass Art in Islington but so much walking with purchases bound to my wheelie hold all, heavy and unwieldy it didn’t quite make it home in one piece.

Having purchased the paper I finally got to print the trees for my haunted forest at Ochre Studio.  An exhausting day grappling with A0 screens, very gloopy sublimation inks and metres of paper.

Lightbox images transferred onto polyester and organza are put on stretchers.

Lining up the images on silky polyester and slippy organza tests my patience and concentration.

Getting it together at last. Busy sanding and staining stretchers, cutting holes in boxes for connector cables, fitting ledges fr the perspex to sit on, fitting the LED lights and testing connections.

Have had lots of low points through material frustrations but the most flattening was the much anticipated but ultimately disappointing Time Out review of Exhibit C.

I could just not mention this. Only 2 stars for the show. The main complaint does seem to be with the curation and selection but it still feels personal, comments about my own work were non committal/condescending.

So I checked out the credentials of reviewer Friere Barnes.  Turns out she really admires Esther Teichmann so we have that in common – she also shares a lot of connections with me on LinkedIn.

Cheering to find some visitors to the show have given it a 4/5 star rating online even if some are the artists themselves!

One good upshot of this was I watched Esther Teichmann’s film ‘In Search Of Lightning‘ which is really beautiful.

Shame Freire Barnes didn’t rate the show and it does feel a public shaming but have to think about the next piece because the next piece is always going to be the one.

Listened to Audrey Niffennegger one of the guests talking on radio 4 in relation to the Japanese artist Hokusai about the artist’s drive to produce that one piece that fulfills the urge to create.  That it is a lifetimes endeavour is summed up by Hokusai who felt nothing he did before the age of 70 had any merit and if he lived to 140 he might finally be able to create something truly divine.

The harshest critic must be oneself.