Take 2 Influences : second thoughts

So, a couple of days have gone by and I’m not really gelling with this. I need to identify these influences and move on to making something. I mentioned Daido the other day, and to be honest, I can’t figure out how his work inspires me. My thoughts are refusing to crystallise about him at the moment, much as they are with my doubts about whether the MA is for me in general. That’s a blip I need to get over, otherwise it will consume me. I need to clear my thoughts and start making something for this first task, this first hurdle.

So, now I’m going to just put some thoughts down. It might not be pretty, but it’s necessary, even if this task isn’t to be overthought. If I think about where I am in terms of the work I’ve been producing recently, the images from
Some Unholy War, the obvious overarching influence is one of appropriation; I’m taking the visual material from the cinematic representation of war. I’ve being doing this as a way of questioning how the cinematic is becoming visually more historically accurate yet still with an unhealthy level of make-believe. It’s propaganda on many levels. If the script goes too far from the ideals of the military agenda of the relevant power, then there will be no backing, in terms of use of military hardware, troops on the ground as extras and the provision of advisors. There’s also the fact that the film is made for an audience; Hollywood produces films for a (predominantly) American audience, so the film will not paint the use of American military power in a bad light - there might be a “bad egg” in the film, but the protagonist will be an American, with the antagonist being “the enemy” (and there’s all sorts of ways to read any subtext). Even if the film is depicting an American invasion of another country, the given fact of the matter is that this is the right and proper thing to do. I’m not going to get into any heavy politics here, but merely want to question the truth of the events we are being presented with. There’s other stuff too...

Anyway, back to appropriation. There are a number of appropriation artists that I am aware of, with Richard Prince being the first I became aware of, even if I didn’t fully comprehend what he was doing at the time when I saw

Art & Today, by Eleanor Heartney (p26)

These rephotographs were purportedly to undermine the images and what they represented. It’s what I’m looking at doing with my own appropriation - make people look at a subject again, question what they think the image represents, what is real, what is make believe... There are others - Sherrie Levine is really quite audacious with After Walker Evans, and then the follow-on by Michael Mandiberg (After Sherrie Levine), there’s also those that move away from just photography such as Mike Bidlo (Prince does when he paints on images too).

There’s some mileage that can be had here, I just have to find a subject that I find relevant (I’m not thinking of using
Some Unholy War for this), and to bring in another influence. Since I’ve produced Speak My Language, I have a growing interest in words and pictures working together. I don’t mean this in terms of captions, which I often find somewhat restrictive - if I use captions they will generally be quite open. I actually mean as something that will work together with the artwork, that exist within the same frame as the artwork. With Speak My Language, the snippets of song lyrics occupied an empty space within the image mosaic, and were not tied with the adjacent images in any obvious way, much as the images were not tied to each other. Other uses of words have been seen in the work of Barbara Kruger, William Klein or Martin Stobich.

Art & Today, by Eleanor Heartney (p42)

William Klein, Foam #37 2013 (p106)

As I’ve written this, I have no Internet (an “incident” in the local area requires a repair which will be done by the 23rd at the earliest), so I will not be able to upload this until I have at least started to work on something. I won’t change this before it’s uploaded, although I might well come back and add some more...

[note - since the Internet recovered from the incident, I’ve added links to better versions of the images]

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