PDP- Reflective Post

The constellation module this year has taught me a lot about my writing, and ways in which I can improve it. This area of the course is an area that I struggle with the most, and the chance to development of my writing skills and get feedback has helped me massively. To learn how to skim read pieces of text and analyse it correctly, and to then select relevant quotes and to reference them properly has helped me gain confidence throughout my second year of studying. Due to not having much experience or practice writing in this format, and also planning out the structure of an essay, this module has been extremely useful to me. It will continue to be useful in the future for my dissertation.

This academic year, in the constellation module, I have had the opportunity to study the subject of ‘Puzzling out Contemporary Art’ with John Clarkson. I chose to learn more about contemporary art and understanding it as it is something I am personally interested in, but at the same time didn’t know a great deal about. I also wanted to gain contemporary knowledge and inspiration for my practical work. Throughout the term there were a number of 8 weeks containing lectures about how and where contemporary art started and also a visit to London Galleries. These lectures taught us about The YBA’s and where it all began, popular groups of concepts and specific popular subjects in contemporary art such as; Post- Colonialism, Post- Feminism and contemporaneity.  We were also educated on popular mediums in contemporary art such as; New Forms: Installations, Video and Time and socially engaged practices. I found learning about Installations particularly interesting as I have chosen to create these in previous years. These lectures had contained a number of famous contemporary artists which helped with research and inspiration for my subject and also my field work. On the field trip to London a number of different galleries were visited for example; Serpentine Gallery, Marian Goodman Gallery and Tate Britain. The visit also included a visit to the Artes Mundi exhibition to see some contemporary art first hand. Artists like Helen Marten, Marc Camille Chaimowicz and Animality were seen. The aim of this trip was to go and look at and discuss significant examples of contemporary art, and to gain first hand experience.

Through Constellation I thoroughly enjoyed every single lecture, the lecture that was the most memorable and predominant to me was the one about post- feminism. This lecture challenged my thoughts about modernism and feminism, the relationship between men and women and questions of identity of which I specifically remember being shown Sarah Lucas’s works. From learning about specific historical moments of feminist and post- feminism such as; equal rights, advocacy of separate women’s culture and total re-evaluation of ideas of masculine and feminine. This has helped to develop my personal interests and knowledge of feminism and to inform the bases of my practice in both subject and field. Learning misconceptions of feminism is also something that helped to develop the ideas throughout my work this year. I learnt about women and power, bra burning lesbian separatism and questions of gender. These were supported by artists such as; Barbara Kruger, Judy Chicago, Jenny Saville, and the two that influenced me the most being Tracey Emin and Pipilotti Rist.

At the end of these lectures we were asked to select an artefact and analyse it in terms of an idea or theory that we had encountered in this constellation option, in this academic year. I chose to research and write about a Video created by Pipilotti Rist. We were shown this in the Video and Time lecture and also revisited in the post feminism lecture. The Video is titled ‘Ever is Over All’ 1997. This video consists of two projections projected on juxtaposing walls. One video was a slow revolving close up of a red flower in a field filled with the same type. The other video was of Pipilotti Rist herself, skipping merrily down a slightly busy street of people, and stopping to smash cars with the same large red flower as she goes. This piece of work inspired me by a number of ways. Firstly, The idea that the large red flower represented the femininity, complexity and the delicateness of a woman is something that I carried forward in to my subject work. Secondly, the act of Rist using the flower as a tool to smash these car windows while laughing and enjoying herself. This could be implying that she is smashing through the traditional views of women, this is an idea that I carried through to my field work after my visit to Marrakesh, Morocco and witnessing their cultural differences, and also the divide between men and women in their country. Rist is knocking down stereotypes of how women are traditionally mean to be, and this isn’t reckless or violent which how she is acting.  The car is said in my essay to represent males and the flowers to represent females.

I very much enjoyed all the constellation lectures on ‘Puzzling out Contemporary Art’, and also the writing of this short essay on Pipilotti Rist’s ‘Ever is Over All.’ My tutor for these lectures has taught me a lot about how to explore different ideas and concepts and how to begin writing about them in an educated manor. He also gave me great feedback in how to improve my work for future essays which I have taken in to account while writing my dissertation proposal and will continue to use while writing my final Dissertation. I’ve taken these concepts in to both other areas of my studies throughout my second year of Fine Art, being Subject and Field. This has helped to develop my knowledge and ideas and to provide depth and concepts behind my practical work. This constellation module has proved to be extremely useful and will continue to be for the duration of my time at this University.



Essay Ideas

“Select an artefact and analyse it in terms of an idea or theory that you have encountered in this option.”

Selected artefact: Pipliotti Rist- Ever is Overall

Ideas and theories to be discussed;

  • Feminist movement
  • Female Empowerment
  • Gender rolls
  • Traditional roles of women
  • Utopian and dystopian worlds


Pipilotti Rist- Ever is overall

I have expressed a lot of interest in this piece of art work since being introduced to it in my constellation lectures. I find the obvious message of female empowerment liberating and hugely influential to my Subject and Constellation work. This has influence some of my ideas for using flowers to represent power for women.

This art work has lots of hidden meanings of which challenge the traditional roll of a woman. The video is showing a woman skipping down the street holding a long stemmed flower. The way in which she held the flower was like a protest, was this meant to represent the feminist movement marches? In the film, using the flower as a hammer, she smashes car windows while smiling. The environment around her is very accepting of her actions and to me the smiling police woman would seem to be encouraging it buy smiling.

The holding of this tall flower is bringing much power to the woman and she is using this power in an disrupting way. Is this aggression bad or is it showing that women can now do what they want. She is dressed as though she is a 1950’s house wife, although their freedom was limited to what their husbands let them do.

The slow motion and dreamlike filming is hard to ignore. some would say that the music with the smashing of the car windows and the slow motion is nightmarish. But as the woman is wearing red slippers, which could be related to those of Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ, does this mean she’s not in Kansas anymore? The art work suggests ideas of Utopia and Dystopia.

Key Concept- Beauty

Beauty is an abstract concept, all beauty cannot be placed in the same category. It is easy to point to something beautiful, but almost impossible to say what its beauty consists of. This leads to suspicion of beauty. Beauty =

  • Prettiness
  • superficial
  • kitch
  • seduction
  • deception
  • cover for political manipulation

Is beauty objective or subjective?

Is it possible to identify an objective standard of beauty?

Beauty is a form of liking, are all forms of liking the same? Types of liking:

  • The agreeable- governed by desire, subjective, private
  • The Good- governed by reason, universal, public
  • The beautiful- not governed by either desire or reason, universal subjective.

how many things do we like without desire and without reason?

How can something be universal and subjective?

What’s the difference between natural beauty and beauty in art?

flowers have a function, but we don’t judge their beauty (or otherwise) on the basis of their efficiency. A painting of a flower is purposiveness without a purpose.

These questions have broadened my thoughts on beauty and if I think it is subjective or objective. I’ve decided to read up on this and write my dissertation about it. I’ve drawn this concept in to my practice as I find it very interesting and it works along side my interests in women and representing them.

Week 5- new identities: Post-feminism

Feminism and Post-Feminism

Katy Deepwell- 3 popular misconceptions about feminism:

  • Feminism= woman + power
  • Feminism= bra burning lesbian separatism
  • Feminism= only a question of gender

Julia Kresteva- 3 moments of feminism:

  • Equal rights
  • Advocacy of a separate women’s culture
  • total re-evaluation of ideas of masculine and feminine

Equal Rights

One strand of feminism art avoided images of the sexualised female body because in the past these had objectified and exploited women. In the 1990s, many artists started using highly sexualised images of women once again. The images divided opinion among feminists. Some saw these as feminists images, reclaiming the female body for women, others saw them as a return to the old objectification of women.


Post-feminism started to be used by people who for one reason or another, didn’t want to call themselves feminists. it is associated with laddish and raunchiness, both of which would have been problematic for an older generation of feminists. It also describes a feminist that has been fragmented by other forms of identity politics: disability, sexuality, ethnicity.

The label remains problematic. It can be used in several ways:

  1. Post-feminism comes after feminism because feminism has been successful; all its major goals have been achieved, at least in the west.
  2. Post-feminism comes after feminism because feminism failed; inequality and sexism remain embedded in society.
  3. Post- feminism comes after feminism because it is the antidote to feminism; it is funny and sexy where feminism was puritanical and joyless.
  4. Post-feminism is continuation of feminism; the battle post-feminists fight are not the same as those of earlier generations and they require new tactics.
  5. Post-feminism if the opposite of feminism; it is the re-assertion of traditional attitudes in fashionable language.

“Is the feminism of a piece of work there because of the attributes od the author […] because of certain attributes of the work itself […] or because the way its ‘read’?” – Annette Kunn in Deepwell p.157


Key Concept- Object

What is an object?

  • An object is not me

Therefore an object is something that resists my will. An object is something that is beyond my complete control. Therefore an object offers relief from the turmoil of desire.

  • An object is unknowable

Perception is always partial. We never perceive the whole object and we never perceive quite the same object as anyone else. What would count as complete knowledge of an object? Therefore even the dumbest object is a source of mystery.

  • I am an object (in a world of objects)

what is the difference between a subject and an object? subject and object are reversible, therefore I only come to knowledge of myself through a knowledge of objects.

How have artists’ attitudes to objects changed over the last century? what is the significance of this?

  1. The critique of the objet d’art- as bourgeois, as a separation of art and life. leads to an interest in disagreeable objects and to an interest in objects about which it is impossible to be neutral.
  2. The critique of easel painting as illusionistic- leads to the creation of objects that are neither painting nor sculpture. leads to an interest in environmental works.  leads to the creation of performance and other time-based forms. Leads to the idea that an object is not just a thing, but a thing in motion. Leads to conceptualism and the notion of a de-materialised art. But this doesn’t mean that the older notion of the objet d’art has disappeared. Is a painting an image or an object?

What is the significance of this change in attitude?

  1. The object is optional and essential in contemporary art
  2. The use of objects in contemporary art is deliberate and accidental

Week 3- Video and Time

Our every day model of time is linear, sometimes circular. But there is no reason why we shouldn’t use some other shape to describe the passage of time. In fact, some of these shapes might be closer to our experience of time.

We Like to think of ourselves as moving through time, while the world around us remains still. Artists have thought about the relationships between space and time for centuries. Art is an area where alterative ideas about time can be explored.

How do ideas of time enter works of art?

  1. Video in art – Wolf Vostell, German View, 1958-9
  2. Video recording – Nam June Paik’s first video tape, 1967
  3. From videos of art to videos as art – Gerry Schum, Television Gallery, 1968-9
  4. Video as intervention – David Hall, TV Interruptions, 1971
  5. The video projector -Tony Oursler, Hello, 1996
  6. Fast motion – Tehching Hsieh, one year performance, 1980-1
  7. Slow motion – Douglas Gordon, 24 hour psycho 1993
  8. Backwards – Mark Wallinger, Angel, 7 mins 30 secs, 1997
  9. Circularity – Pipilotti Rist, Be nice to me, 2008
  10. Repetition – Geore Barber, Following your heart can lead to wonderful things, 2008, 5 mins 35 secs
  11. Abstract time – Christian Marclay, the clock, 24 hours, 2010
  12. Fictitious time – Ragnar Kjatansson, The End, 31 minutes, 2009
  13. Multiple times – Kutlug Ataman, Twelve, Approx 1 hour, 2003