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.