Unit 7

 

Clockwork Orange, a film by Stanley Kubrick, was made in 1971. This time also marks the beginning of punk. Due to its very drastic message it was banned in many countries, also in Poland. After seeing a number of books, including ,, The Art Of Punk,,- Russ Bestley&Alex Ogg, I noticed a similar type of expression in Kubrick’s film and punk subculture. 

 

Punk music is sharp, dynamic, and vocal is more like a scream then singing. On stage, musicians behave provocatively, are aggressive. These qualities also emanate from Clockwork Orange;expressive acting of main characters, frequent close-ups on their faces or eyes. Their actions put them outside the law, just as punks placed themselves outside satiating, orderly culture of the affluent society.

Alex, the main hero, firstly spreads evil and violence and after being subjected to treatment, he changes. But then, his victims start taking  revenge on him, using the same methods. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. 
In Kubrick’s film violence is in the foreground. 

 

One of the artists who openly promoted and participated in the punk movement was Andy Worhole. Numerous times he expressed himself with fascination and support for the movement. For almost two years his activities were associated with Velvet Underground, a band considered to be the avant-garde of experimental rock.

His works bring to my mind the use of large layers of colors on a fabric. At the very beginning of  my Foundation Year I made one project using screen printing. A thick layer of paint will stiffen the fabric and this will produce very interesting effect. When we crush this material, suggestive paint chips are created along bends. As I previously decided, my costume must be visually extremely strong. 

I think that I should take my new ideas into consideration. 

Lisson Gallery

 

It presents works of Tony Oursel, an American artist for whom the primary medium of expression is film. The exhibited works combine photography and video. The photographs show scaled up heads with eyes and mouths replaced by moving images -video films. The artist clearly points out which parts of face are the most expressive. On entering the showroom we are confronted with five enlarged heads in different colors and with different facial expression. Moving eyes and mouths are dominating and instantly catch the attention. 

My immediate feeling was clear: I was being observed. It increases when you hear whispers. We have the impression that we are in  the midst of large faces that observe and comment on our every move and reaction. To get such effect it was crucial to combine static and moving elements – which contradicts the nature of human face.

The faces, actually, were devoid of emotions. Each of them was subjected to mathematical analyzes, we can see on them connected points, which resemble constellations of stars. This procedure deprives human face of some natural characteristics and makes them to become fusion of man and robot.

I think, that the main goal of the artist was to create the atmosphere of anxiety and a sense of helplessness to the duality of human nature. It seems to me to be just essential in relation to The Clockwork Orange. When we see Alex face and his painted eye our reaction is similar. Even if we do not know what Alex and his gang are involved in.

 

 One of the most interesting artists I focused on in my research was Robert Rouchenberg. He worked in several areas, as a painter, sculptor, set and costume designer, but also as a theatre director.  What made him famous, however, were his,, combibatte,,, paintings.   They are combination of abstract painting, photography and real objects. In the contrast  to many (other) artists, for example Franz Kilen, his works are not  completely abstract. Through  collages of real objects with paintings or photos, (in some way) he indicated the direction for interpretation of his works. Mentioned earlier Fraz Klien or Jeckson Pollock claimed that the viewer should interpret their works completely alone, without any leads.

Viewers were left alone. 

 

Abstract artists thought that their works should be completely autonomic and  gives the freedom in interpretation. The interpretation should be very subjective and ,, individual,. Rouchenberg gives us big space for interpretation but always tries to direct us with one element in his work. 

Placing  real objects in the abstract, very expressive and unreal word, he gives them new meaning. These objects, taken away from their natural context, become strangely unreal and disturbing.

Punk culture inspired many fashion designers. They often used elements of this subculture literally. Ripped fabrics, leathers with slogans, accessories almost from the world of crime, like knuckles, nails, spikes. One of the distinctive characteristics was colorful irokez((hairstyle)?) and shoes strongly contrasting with black leather pants and jackets. The flagship idea of punk fashion was slogan DO IT YOURSELF. This claim did not only refer to sewing clothes from accidentally found materials, but also to everyday activities, such as for example repairing appliances. They had no skills but did it themselves to deny the existence of  problems , and express contempt to everything what was socially structured and organized.

 

As a result, they achieved quite opposite effect. Because of their indifferent and carefree life they became very provocative. Vivien Westwood, who started her career together with Malcolm McLaren defined punks as “too fast to live, to young to die”. I think, that the attempt to translate this expression into the language of fashion, a costume, could be very interesting. Vivien Westwood lived surrounded by this subculture. By bringing it into the world of fashion she spread it, but also commercialized – and thereby deprived it of its subversive nature. 

 

The final shape of pop art was strongly influenced by consumptive character of American society in 60s of the last century. The premise of this trend was to increase the involvement of middle class in art by exploring reality and subjects typical to this social class (like Campbell cans). The same dependence could be seen in fashion, with the difference that designers adopted already existing pop art works into the realm of cloths. Fashion, however, remained the art of wealthy and designer clothes were expensive, made with the view to the best-off. Regardless of its source of inspiration, fashion will always ennoble it. The best example here is the career of Vivien Westwood; inspired by anti-elitist punk subculture, she made elite the main customer of her designs.

 

Inspired by pop art, I would like to include in my project large plains covered by thick layer of paint. Its important element would be the use of clean and vibrant colors, also very characteristic to pop art.

 

Should Constructivism be included? 

Inspired by large and highly expressive plains of Andy Warhol, my mind involuntarily drifts in one more direction – Constructivism. It was an attempt to simplify, or rather transform reality into geometrical forms. Its essence was to create visual tension using geometrical figures and the relation to each other. Deliberately resigned from depicting reality. 

At some point I constructed a coherent conceptual base: starting from The Clockwork Orange, through Punk, down to Pop Art. I am not really sure if it is good idea to add one more, so dissimilar philosophical approach.

I think that “playing with geometrical forms in some way” may be an idea to consider.

 

 

 

 

In what way is your project proposal critical?

The main point of my project is to establish the link with the starting point of my inspiration, which is The Clockwork Orange. For me this is the next challenge. Last project had to comply with conditions of transformation, change. Now, The Clockwork Orange is the main area of exploitation for my project.

I set myself the task  to create costume which will refer to Anthony Burgesse novel through such art trends as; punk, pop art and constructivism. In my opinion every each of them in some way is connected with the novel.

 What is the context of your proposal and how does relate to your studies.?

 My project refers directly to my studies as it explores the world of costume. Inspired by the three above-mentioned trends of art, I have carefully selected specific means of expression to create my costume.

 Have you analyzed and evaluated research in order to develop your ideas?

 To develop my ideas I conducted my research in many directions. Somewhat consciously, somewhat led by intuition, my mind turned towards areas most familiar to me. My idea is embedded in puck sub-culture. What is its purity and abstraction – is influence of Russian constructivists. The project is still in the research faze and actually every move is subject to verification.   

 How have I conducted the experiment?

 For me the entire project is based on experiment. I decided to use the fabric which I have never used before. Until the very end was not really sure if my idea about it will check. The interference into the material with paint was also an experiment. Of course, I could anticipate the reaction of my fabric but   from the experience I know that each material reacts differently to, for example, emulsion paint for walls. The new elements in my project are nails (studs – ćwieki ???) as I have never worked (experimented) with them before.

 What research have you undertaken in order to support your (designing) process?

 

Every time when I have to create a project in response to a given theme, I try to visualize the image of the theme which is induced in my mind. This is the first stage - the most emotional. (After this)(Then) I try to  figure out my personal attitude to the project. At the very beginning, when I BASED MY PROJECT ON PUNK culture, I imagined the attributes of the fabric which I would like to use. I was searching for them in other artists works, even if it would only be the starting point for thinking in some direction (Jackson Pollock). For me, new ideas always go hand in hand with research which stimulates my imagination and sometimes takes me into completely uncharted, yet interesting, areas.

 Have you developed your (technical understanding.?

 I think, that on each stage of designing I need to confront my ideas with reality, which is first of all costs and my technical capabilities. I hope that the letter will improve during the realization of the project. In costume designing, the improvement of technical skills largely depends on work experience with various materials, and this will definitely have place in this project.

 What methods do you propose to use in the creation of the final project? In what way, do you think they are appropriate?

 The method should always be?appropriate to the specific project. Properly completed project is an outcome of a vision and a method to make the vision to real. The realization of my project will be based on the work of three different materials: paint, fabric and iron.

The texture will also be very important. This will be the first project with such a strong my interference in the fabric.

  Are you reflecting on and evaluating your process ? In what way does this help you in your decision making ?

 

Yes, I do it regularly. At this stage, I concentrate mainly on the evaluation of my explorations and writing down thoughts that arise in my mind during the research. Recording reflections very well verifies their value. With time I will also evaluate the process of realization. This would allow me to work systematically and maintain order in my ideas.

How so far would you rate your action planning and how effective is it?

 I try to stay in line with my action plan. In fact, it consists of two parts; research followed by design and construction.

 How are u going to present your end-project and in what form would it be shown most effectively?

 I'm going to show a costume and I think, the best would be to present it on a mannequin. The viewer will not only see the shape and form but also the fabric.

I might use photographs to present my costume on human body. 

I would also like to have it on a model in various setups. Maybe for the final exhibition will build a kind of small background against which the project will be exhibited.

 

 

At the beginning my costume was supposed to be a combination of geometrical shapes with expressive application of colorscontrasted with white geometrical shapes on it.

New fabric gave me new possibilities. When I worked with thick patchwork it was hard to achieve pure geometrical  form of my costume (because geometrical forms were also to appear as a painted elements . When I decided to use flax canvas which I lined with fleece(?) to make it stiff, my costume became more expressive and clear in shapeI resigned from painted geometrical forms. Only the shape of my costume will be refer my work to the geometric clarity  of Constructivists, while painting will be purely expressionistic.

I will not apply color with brush as I did it before, but now I will splash the paint straight from a bucket. This will be direct reference to the method used by Jecskon Pollock. It appears that even using the technique seemingly ruled by chance, you can build a variety of climates and (inner tensions.

 

The action painting technique we can mostly see in works of abstract expressionist artists.. By throwing the paint on canvas artists rely heavily on chance. It was the ,,chance” that made their art so emotional and full of energy. This technique precluded  calm and melancholic paintings. Only when we compare two paintings we can say ,, that one is more emotional or calmer then the other. When we look at individual works we can see energy, anger, rebellion.  I used this technique in my project because I wanted to add exactly this kind of emotions to the final outcome. 

When we look at single work of art., actually the first associations are energy, anger, rebellion. In my project this technique had to add these emotions. Artists representing abstract expressionism coined the term “subjective case”. An artist had the right to call art anything what was created. In my project this concept does not work. Painting is just a part of my project and has to harmonize with geometry of the whole.    

 

Outside this, I work on three-dimensional form, where time and special solutions are essential for my project. There is some drama in it. It is not just an object covered with paint. A different reality is revealed to us from a different angle. Even while emotionally splashing paint there is a way to control the interactions of colors and expression of stains. They fall into dialogue, depending on point of view. 

 

 

 
I made a final photos  in the contex of action painting canvas.  I think that my costume is very strong and aggresive so I decided to make photos on preson which is a dressed in black. I did not want to disturb the whole imagine. Only the face was painted white, its  refers to Alex form Clocwork Orange. I think that the white face is very improtatnt in the relation to the coulors on my costum and to the white canvas at the background.
 
I Had also the idea to  use this canvas also as a background for my exhebition space, But it dosent work good with my costume General perception was to agressive and messy.
 .Firstly i wanted to present costume on the mannequin, But in this case the black manneqiun stay in very big contrasts to the coulors on my costume. Viewer focus more on the mannquin than on my final outcome. I decided to hang mu costume in the space. ( in the centre of metal frame). I think it was very good decision. Now the costume looks very clear and pure. Next to my final piece I wiil show to very minimalistic drawings which stay in the contrast to the very dramatic paint stains on my cosutme.
 
 

Giving the second life to the secondhand materials – this is the idea to be used in my new project.  In my last design, by far dominated by forms and shapes, the character of the material was not actually of such great importance. Now, to reflect the climate and the ostentatious nature of punks, I want to use old, run down and worn out materials. In my project they will represent the spirit of contestation of that era. It seems to me, that some of them can not be simply completely destroyed; riddled or ragged.

 

The second idea is the “devastation” of new materials. So far, I am in the exploration phase. I intend to look for the contrast existing somewhere between real, dirty Punk and stylized Alex from The Clockwork Orange, or to combine these two in one coherent whole where they will penetrate each other.

 

Another idea that can be applied is to use the fragments of slogans cited on punk costumes, which used to be very popular.

 

post pop

The exhibition presents contemporary pop art artists. It contains works dealing with religion, ideology, sexuality, consumptive lifestyle. But actually the most interesting are the ones touching on aspects of totalitarianism and religion. Inspired by these themes, pop art becomes the commentator of these problems or situations. For the most part these comments are satirical. Jesus holding hands with Micky Mouse is nothing  but a picture of our times, where every idea can be reduced to mercantile size. In such respect this trend is not longer mere passive reference to the present but takes a definite stand. It criticizes political extremities, religious fanaticism, lack of tolerance. Pop art takes away seriousness from issues which on everyday basis are considered grave and sometimes scary.  

Personally I rate the exhibition as very interesting, but I was taken aback by some literalism of works. From the very beginning this quality was inherent to Pop Art, but when it starts to have the character of manifesto, it becomes offensive. To the essential idea of transferring everyday object into an art-piece, start to be tied up others; new but as well important…….

What shocks is – how accurately portrayed – face of M. Jackson..  It contains (reflects?) the whole process of  nature degradation done in the name of quest for the ideal beauty. Beauty which does not exist – beauty (good enough?) for everyone.

For me personally, these two exhibitions were very important and inspiring, aside from the fantastic feeling to see the works of my favorite artists in the real world.

Often , in my project research I am inspired by the abstract art - not only the one form the West (Europe and USA) but also from the East, which is known as Russian Vanguard.

 

Both these exhibitions form temporal unity . Constructivists and Suprematists (presented on Black Square exhibition) have their artistic roots in Cubism. In Tate Modern exhibition we can see works from different period of Cubism. It allows us to observed how this art evolved in different countries. We follow the way from the “geometrisation” of human body and reality to the new pure geometrical abstraction, based mainly on the relationship between shapes, scale and visual weight of separate objects. 

Beautiful and concise paintings are like the imitation of mathematical formulas seducing  us with their logic and clarity. 
These two exhibitions made me aware how crucial and important was this time for the future of art.

 

 

All the time when I was making notes about different ideas for the project, subconsciously I  drew a lot of material 

in relation to the human body.  Automatically, a viewer associated it with strength and confidence. I feel  that these two features are the most important for me in  this project. Each material which I have found works this way only when applied in large amount.

 

I decided to make an experiment. As the base of my project I will use white, thick patchwork. It will give me possibilities to make geometrically attractive shape on human body, and at the same time its mass will catch the eye. I still have a plan to paint it white. I am hope that the fabric will become more flat and cease to be  (associated with) something cozy and nice

I have started to work on the initial form with the fabric and paints. Large mass of the material and its fluffiness bulkiness greatly hamper my actions. I have decided that the front of my costume will be simpler, flat and much shorter -  in contrast to the back, where a large quantity of material is to fold.  

 

Placing oil paint on the fabric made the folds flatten and thanks to this the whole form became geometric. I just expected and wanted this kind of effect. I tried to apply the paint as thickly as possible to make the fabric loose its fluffiness bulkiness. I used only two colors: white and extremely cool grey. I think I will try to keep my costume in such color tonality and this will be one of the several references to The Clockwork Orange. The mix of grey and white gives the effect of aging and destruction. It is associated with the used matter. I tried to apply the paint unevenly, holding the brush at different angels, allowing the paint to run down over the material. I wanted to achieve expressive, dynamic effect, a bit like those on Jackson Pollack paintings.

 

This is just the initial phase of the realization. It was extremely important for me to see if the used technical means give the expected effect.

 

I think that my project was fund itself at the very interesting stage. One costume embraces two completely separate realities. On the one side pure geometrical form, on the other, the material rather associated with emotional, incidental painting. Very often action painting was compared to suprematists and constructivists.

Alike Pollock, who transformed his emotions on accidental paint splash, suprematists did so on geometrical forms. Two extreme results having a similar beginning.

 

As I said at the beginning, creating my project from  the patchwork was an experiment. Many layers of acrylic paint made my fabric more flat. If I wanted to use it only for a part of my project, the fabric would be perfect. However my intention was to create a costume which would be made only from this material. One of my inspiration for this project came from constructivist artists. I hoped to form the fabric in such way that I would be able to place on it simple geometrical shapes. It was really hard to achieve this even with my patchwork coarsely painted. Visually, the project was still not pure and clear.

 

I decided to experiment with different fabric linen canvas - far more thinner and stiffer. On the back side I lined it with additional material to make it even more stiff.  I still want to use the technique of painting on canvas. On the first try the painted fabric looked very interesting. Since I have the material which is not fluffy and soft I will be able to  use the rub off technique to get colors shading and the base color of the fabric. With this new material I will try to obtain exactly similar shape and geometry as in my initial attempt. I have a need to create bigger contrast between the pure geometrical forms in my costume and the expression of paintings on it. I do not dismiss the of coarse patchwork solution, but I still have time to try the same idea and technique on some other material.

Painting. 

I decided to use three colors. White and black would refer to Alex and The Clockwork Orange. Blue would work as opposition to them. Actually, using the third color was a certain problem. (Traditional?) Constructivist palette would require red. However, I decided for Ywe Klain blue – more airy and metaphysical. I did not want the costume to be completely covered with paint. It is extremely difficult to control and anticipate the effect while splashing pain from a bucket. Therefore each move was well thought out and at the same time the consequence of the previous. Before making a splash I always tried to imagine the effect which it will create. I experimented with different kinds of paint containers. It appeared, that the weight, form and even the material from which you pour the paint is important. For example, rubber mixing bowls give you possibility to control the stream of paint which you splash on the fabric. In the technique based completely on a chance I wanted to limit a chance as much as possible. I wanted to avoid the impression of many interpenetrating random smears. That is why each paint splash was performed in a suitable interval of time to eliminate the effect of paints mixing. It seems to me that my highly analytical approach to this frantic and very emotional technique allowed me to achieve the expected result.

The costume is dominated by white which relates to black at the font and to blue in the back.

 

For a quite long time I hesitated over the use of colors. When black and white already appeared on my costume, I realized I have to introduce one more – counter color.

Leaving the costume only in two extremes – even with possibility of obtaining grey, did not seemed good enough. I wanted to add one more color which would be a keystone between these two worlds. Initially I thought of  red but I came to the conclusion that it will be too aggressive and obvious in the context of Constructivists, Punk culture and The Clockwork Orange. I decided on ultramarine, the color which would allude to one of my favorite artist - Yves Kein. I like his idealistic attitude to color .To call the sky his greatest work is really very beautiful and inspired idea. For Yves Klein it was the whole world. Actually, all his work he subordinated to this color. He considered it to be the only right one.

In my costume this color appears as the opposition to black and white slants on the left side and has quite different expression – it is ,,enclosed within (graphic) lines, and at the same time serves as a link between front and back of the costume. Ultramarine appears in font as the vertical and as such trickles down into the back of the costume to close it at the bottom with an expressive slant. By applying this color in two different ways (expressive splash and almost graphic line) my costume has become more airy, and those who associate this color with works of YK will have individual paths for interpretation.

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