Here are just a few of the culturally relevant works, exhibitions and events that I have experienced that have each made me reflect or have influenced my own practice in different ways.
1. Do Ho Suh 'Passages' at the Victoria Miro Gallery
Do Ho Suh's installation is designed as a sequence of passageways that each represent a different place he has occupied, for me this strongly reflects on the idea of 'Home' as both a physical structure and a lived experience, his work explores the interconnected spaces we inhabit as well as what a house can represent, his work touches on migration and movement, boundaries and the connection between individual cultures, leaving home yet bringing parts of home with you.
This work conveys ideas of connecting spaces, private and public, it explores home as a physical place yet by means of the material used also communicates a shifting and transient identity.
The work explores mundane yet familiar spaces, and the physicality of being immersed within the work, walking between these spaces and examining the intricate details provides a huge impact. "I see life as a passageway with no fixed beginning or destination. We tend to focus on the destination and forget about the spaces in-between".
The work speaks of the memories associated with place, the idea of leaving home but bringing your living surroundings and parts of home with you, this is reflected in his choice of material, a light-weight fabric that can be folded up and packed away, yet material that is also fragile and delicate perhaps representational of our memories of home or emotional spaces. The intricate and delicate but finely crafted details add an element of intrigue that draw you in for a closer look.
2. Grayson Perry Lecture and 'The Vanity of Small Differences'
Both the lecture and the book touch on similar themes to my own, the study of humans and people watching, our place within society, our relationship to home, our identity as well as taste, these all then reflect ideas of curating and designing our own visual environments within the context of our homes. Grayson Perry claims we use our possessions in relation to personal taste to communicate an emotional personification and to express where we fit within society.
This idea then of curating our own homes resonated strongly with me. The links between our possessions and our memories, our attachments to objects that hold a certain sentimentality and the notion of emotional materiality.
Similar to my own work Grayson Perry uses organic materials like threads, clay and paper combining them with imagery and moulding them into common and familiar objects. These pieces then hold a narrative and work as story tellers.
I was intrigued by his ability to cover so many aspects and to identify with his subject so in depth, I asked him about his process, his response described how we each look at the world and have our own distortions and create a collection of experiences, but the importance of knowing what’s happening right now.
3.The Mona Hatoum exhibition at the Tate Modern
This was a diverse collection of works, spanning over many years yet it is a current and very significant topic now, dealing with themes of displacement, forced migration, exile and loss through conflicting notions of the personal and political. Mona Hatoums work considers home not just as a building or structure but as a place a location or with a group of people.
I was most interested in the domestic objects that hold an edge of violence, the mundane items with a sinister twist that aren't quite as they should be, reflecting my own thoughts that home is a conflicted idea. This exhibition depicts a duality between the comforting and the defective.
Mona Hatoum simplifies objects down to their basic form and then re-complicates them again, familiarity and strangeness are bound together, giving these items a new meaning or providing them with implications of a darker edge. What I appreciate the most is her questioning and changing the meanings of these domestic items, some pieces are very literal and can be found in a simple form these made me think about basic shapes that can be representational or have a deep-rooted origin. These pieces could be seen as statements of what it is to be human in the world today, playing with ideas of our precarious humanity for each other yet also touching on our impermanence, our vulnerability and our fragility.
5. Wolfgang Tillmans '2017' at the Tate Modern
This exhibition was a collection of contemporary reading material, video and photographs that captured both the everyday and the mundane part of our human nature alongside the magnificent and the sublime, forming a dialogue between the trivial and the momentous.
Photography plays a crucial part within my practice as both a means of documentation, and part of the art work itself. It is a way of collecting moments and capturing the spirit of a place or a person. Through his series of work Tillmans captures this essence and has provided me with a glimpse into an everyday narrative of collecting and cataloguing. Tillmans has also considered aspects of placement and display finding contemporary configurations such as his table top installation 'truth study centre' an ongoing project that uses a multitude of printed material from pamphlets to newspaper cuttings to his own works on paper to highlight a continued interest in world events and how they are communicated in the media.
Tillman's work also captures city life and its inhabitants an expression of lived reality, he explores the relevance of architectural design to our everyday lives, interrogating the complexity, irrationality, politics and beauty found in buildings, street patterns and fragments of spaces.
What interested me the most was how the images were grouped and hung, some simply with tape, there was a strong sense of the ordinary yet I was attracted to the narrative and the story telling that these images provided within their groupings as much as to what is unsaid and the unanswered aspects.
4. House Work at the Victoria Miro Gallery
Although I am not a painter and this was a group exhibition of paintings, it was all focused around the central topic of home. Each of the paintings reflected aspects of home, there was a diverse range of paintings that depicted physical structures and the form of a house relating to architectural spaces alongside the home simply as a state of mind. There were suggestions of interiors and being within a house or on the outside looking in to private worlds. Each work had drawn from life, memory or imagination and revealed some aspect of human presence.
The human connection then brings in a sense of domestic life and moments captured in time, for me this exhibition hinted at the intimate and what goes on behind closed doors, there was an element of potential discovery by means of the unseen throughout this exhibition.
The press release described home as; a place of rootedness, safety, or privacy, the house as a sense of hope, or loss as territory to be defended, a place to escape to (or from) or one through which we seek to define ourselves in relation to others. This for me is a key summary and changed my perspective on home, offering me conflicting notions of home, the fact verses fiction, the ordinary and the uncanny and the many thoughts on what home really means.
To summarise, the collections I have chosen to analyse share the running theme of home, yet there are also human elements within them all. They are also a collection of pieces that focus on the everyday and mundane aspects of life. Collections of the little details of the ordinary that may often go unnoticed.