PDP: Learning from Contemporary Art

For constellation, this year I started the term in ‘Learning to know about: objects and materiality’. This constellation session was an all-day session looking into why we like objects, what objects we chose to surround ourselves in and also how we use objects, like design. I enjoyed this session in the morning half and was quite interested in the subject choice, however the longer I was in the lesson the more I was struggling to link the work to my practice, this is because as much as I work with objects, the concepts we were thinking about and the theories that we were looking at were not something I would consider writing for my dissertation, this is not something that I would’ve liked to spend my time learning about as I would love to get as much preparation for my dissertation as possible, this is because I would consider myself as someone who struggles with writing. I am good at gathering resources and with time I am good at finding very relevant and interesting quotes, however I am typically not the best at putting all my ideas together, and often write in a colloquial style, this is something I have struggled with since GCSE’s and have attempted to better myself at every opportunity. This decision led me to apply to the swap shop to change my constellation study group.

Learning from contemporary art is the title of the study group I swapped into, this is because I know I work well from the teaching style of Jonathan Clarkson, and also because with a fine art background contemporary art is a more suited background for my dissertation. The lessons provided by Jon have really helped me with looking into new style of art and have also allowed me to expand the work I create in my practice, for example, after being introduce to the artist Vija Celmins, I was able to back up my contextualisation in my subject work and has also allowed me to view responses to a subject by other artists, even if all the work is started with the same initial idea. Another element of the lessons from Jon that I have appreciated has been the lesson formatting. For example, we start the lesson with an overview of what the day will contain, e.g. What about pleasure? (Lecture from 10th November). Then he will give us a summary in a few slides, then a set-up of points to reinforce the main question, e.g. 1. Humour, 2. The Body, 3. Abstraction. The way the lessons are presented in a two-section layout too, also this helps me personally as this allows me to, over lunch, re-read the readings for the lessons and have the ideas fresh on my mind ready to talk about how it works within the concepts that we were talking about in the first section of the lesson.

The learning from constellation has directly influenced my work and behaviour this year, as I have been inspired by the amount of contemporary art we have been able to learn about, I have previously felt that the Fine Art course I have not been able to learn about just contemporary art and possibly the history that leads up to it. We have previously been taught ‘the big question lectures’ these were a more art history based approach but these were also quite helpful, so the opportunity to take a lesson in a similar format. I have also, this term been attending the ‘Critical debates’ these have re-influenced into my constellation group, because having a space where you are able to talk openly about the artwork is really useful to gain confidence about talking about art. This has reflected back into constellation as I have been able to talk in the lessons more openly, and give my opinion on the artworks without feeling shy to talk up. Constellation has also linked into my field work as we have been looking at artists who make works other that paintings and drawings. The sculptural and video art aspect of constellation is something I’ve never really looked at as I did not think I would be interested, however, since constellation I have been on multiple trips to London to visit galleries and the pieces of art that I have found myself looking at the more sculptural and video installations within the gallery, which is something that I have potentially never been drawn to.

Since starting constellation I feel that I have had so much more exposure to different types of art that I have been so much more creatively inspired, my desired outcome for my second-year subject work is the most adventurous piece I have ever wanted to make, and the styles of work that I want to make is all influenced by the new types of contemporary art I am looking at. I am very eager to develop my academic writing and with all the different styles of reading that I have been shown this term is something that I have some more academic language that I am able to use, and also that there are a large variety of the style of writing that you can read and write, so this is something that I would like to look into. Also, the experience of writing this longer styled piece of writing is something that I feel was necessary as it has shown me that I will need to give myself a lot of time to get the dissertation done, and that I will need to make draft after draft, I also feel like I will make myself a plan for my time management so that all the aspects come together in one universal piece of work created, with plenty of time before the deadline, as this is something that I could have been better at this time. For example; taking all the causes of distraction away, or spending time writing in the library so I cannot give up and do something else instead.


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