I am inspired by the work of Richard Hamilton, especially the way he manipulates interior space through his photomontage works. Interested in using a form of interior space in my own piece, I wanted to explore how photomontage could represent a room. Much like a person collects objects throughout their lives, the role of the photomontage artist is to collect images to collate an image of everyday life. I am inspired by this idea of collection and reappropriation, and I admire the way Hamilton uses items of cultural resonance in his work to draw the viewer in with the multitude of amalgamated references. I am also interested in the way Hamilton uses angles to represent the 3D nature of the space, however the act of collage creates a certain flatness which exposes the true form of the fictional room. I appreciate the look of this flatness, as it creates a veneer somewhat separating the image from a sense of reality, alienating the viewer, much like the overwhelming emotions of loss. I feel the themes of my piece would lend themselves well to an element of flatness in my work.
Here are some primary images I took as source inspiration, focusing on looking at objects of familiarity, whilst also trying to capture a sense of impersonality and uneasiness at dismantling someone’s life belongings, and therefore memories. I am interested in the sense of static in these images, alluding to a sense of mist, and creating a tone of emptiness and loss.
In response to these photographs, I created some quick drawings of striking objects and evaluated whether they would lend themselves to themes in my piece:
After the death of his father Tom Teodosijev began photographing drawers of his father’s belongings exactly as he left them, as mean of representing a person without a physical being. Teodosijev has created a series of very powerful, melancholy images which represent the personality of the deceased through the organisation of beloved items. I am interested in this link between man and the object, and similarly to Teodosijev’s work I would like to explore the representation of someone who cannot be there through material goods.
For further inspiration I looked to the work of Adriana Varejao, particularly works from her ‘Tounges and Incisions’ series. The conceptual writing from which my painting is based, although deeply upsetting, also paints a rather grotesque scene; I wanted to reference the human body within my work lending to this sense of gruesomeness, and I am interested in the disturbing nature of Varejao’s works which show the lucidity and rawness of the true human form void of pomp and fancy. Death is a homogonising force, and I wanted to create a visual que for the flesh in my work so the viewer could relate to the ugly and cruel nature of death in it most primal, attacking form. I feel that the sadness of the decaying flesh, lost with its objects will create a striking and thought-provoking work.
Vija Celmins’ work has inspired me through a clear sense of familiarity. As a viewer, I feel I can connect with the old fashioned, yet culturally resonant objects – I understand their nature and their purpose, and they connect multiple viewers to memories surrounding those particular objects. The atmosphere created in Celmin’s work also furthers the sense of memory, as in ‘Heater’ the warmth can be seen, almost grasped, heightening the senses. When thinking of objects surrounding death in my own work I will take inspiration from this sense of collective memory forged over familiar objects, thus creating a collective understanding of loss as these objects fade from social memory, much like a lost loved one.
I have been inspired by the way Philip Guston reveals the array of cluttered detritus in his paintings, as if letting the viewer in on the nature of his habitual lifestyle. I am interested in the symbolisms of objects, particularly the transient nature of everyday ‘commonplace’ items. Guston’s work reveals the nature of the human connection to objects, and this has furthered my thinking into exploring how the connection between man and their objects is fractured after a death. I want to explore the use of common detritus as a shrine to those who we have lost.
I have been inspired by the work of L’Atelier Populaire de Paris, an artists collective formed of students in France in the 1960s who protested against the social injustices of the French state, and their quick, artful turn around of prints which engage the viewer through simple imagery and resonating slogans. I am interested in the focus on text by using it as the primary aspect of the image, drawing the viewer in with quick, powerful phrases and bold typography. In my own work I am interested in the using text as the ultimate focus of my print, then using the image to highlight the dark wit of the subject matter which exposes the injustices and inaccuracies of the modern day.