Encounters, Experiences & Meetings Exdexcel AS Art & Design Unit 2 Theme 2012 For release to students only after 1 st February 2012
Encounters, Experiences and Meetings This theme is a starting point to inspire you and to get you thinking. By the end of unit 2 you will produce a ‘final piece’ which is a personal response to the theme. This final piece will be an artwork which utilises photography in some way. Before you produce your final piece, you will first need to research, investigate, experiment and develop ideas in your sketchbook.
“ But I don’t have any ideas …. Help! ” Don’t Panic. Let’s first think about the meaning of the words in the theme Encounters, Experiences and Meetings …
Meeting The act of coming together Examples: A meeting of two people in the park. A meeting of minds The point where two roads meet Did you meet anyone interesting at the party? A meeting of different cultures It can also mean an assembly or conference of persons for a specific purpose. Examples: A ten o'clock business meeting. The Scouts meet every week in the School Hall. Returning travellers are often met by loved ones at the station.
Encounter To come upon or meet with, especially unexpectedly. Examples: To encounter a new situation We encountered the enemy at dawn To encounter difficulties with homework
Experience A specific instance of personally encountering or undergoing something. Example My first encounter with the photography lecturer was a horrific experience. When someone has encountered a particular situation many times, we often say that they ‘have experience’ or ‘are experienced’ in this particular field.
So … The meaning of the word ‘encounter’ is very similar to that of the word ‘meeting’ (although there are subtle differences). The word ‘experience’ means a personal response to a particular encounter, meeting or situation.
Let’s have brief look at how encounters, meetings and experience have influenced some artists and their work ….
*A Parody is a humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature, writing or artwork. David Lean (1908-1991) was a famous British film Director. One of his films was based around the simple idea of a chance meeting between two people in a railway café. The film was called Brief Encounter. Brief Encounter Film Trailor (2 min 33 seconds): The film Brief Encounter was itself the inspiration for a parody* by comedian Victoria Wood (4 min 07 secs): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0CosTboBz8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajC4Az4wscc
Bernard Leach was an artist studying in Japan when he befriended a young potter named Shoji Hamada. The two men set up the Leach Pottery at St. Ives, Cornwall in 1920. Pottery made at their St. Ives workshop combined traditional Japanese designs with English pottery techniques. East Meets West
Andy Goldsworthy The materials used in his art often include brightly-coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. Ideas for his work often occur when he encounters a particular tree, hill, flower, stone, rock and so on. Short Film of Andy’s work (5 mins): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUpVf-7i75I&feature=player_embedded
Andy Goldworthy Moonlit Path , 2002, Petworth. As the summer solstice moon rose over West Sussex, the artist was aghast to hear that a couple plans to celebrate an anniversary by visiting his new work."This is not romantic!" Andy Goldsworthy protested. "This is a dark work in every sense." His piece is called Moonlit Path, and opens to the public for the first time tomorrow, by the light of the midsummer eve moon. The work is a white chalk path which winds for three kilometres through the Capability Brown landscape of Petworth Park and an adjoining woodland, in one of the most beautiful parts of West Sussex. The Guardian Newpaper , 22 nd June 2002.
Photography plays a crucial role in Andy Goldsworthy’s art. This is because much of his art is ephemeral (it does not last long). According to Goldsworthy, "Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit”. With much of Goldsworthy’s art, only the photograph remains as documentary proof that the work of art ever existed.
Film Director Stephen Spielberg directed the film Close encounters of the third kind, 1 977 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA6B1_0CEDc
Paul Nash was a British painter who was sent to France during the First World War (1914-18) as an official war artist. His encounter with the horror of the battlefields profoundly affected his art, which in turn influenced other British painters. The Road To Menin , Paul Nash, 1919
There is often a special moment which the successful sports photographer will capture – the expression on a footballers face as the ball hits the back of the net, the distorted football as it ricochets off the player’s head. These moments of heightened action can be viewed as an encounter or meeting (the head meets the ball, the ball encounters the net etc). Research the work of sports photographers such as Bob Martin and Dave Black to find suitable examples. http://www.bobmartin.com/
The work of Henri Cartier Bresson is often described as demonstrating the decisive moment , the title of a book which he wrote on photography. The decisive moment could be described as that moment in time when the action reaches or meets a visual climax, tension or ‘height’ – a ‘visual apogee’* *An apogee is the point on a curved graph when it reaches a maximum value before then reducing again. Behind Saint-Lazare Station , Cartier Bresson,1932
Technology Meets Aesthetics* You may have an idea about a particular photograph that you want to make – you can almost ‘see’ the photograph in your mind before you have even picked up the camera. This process in art is called pre-visualisation . To realise your intentions (to actually make the photograph) you will need to think about the technical processes required. For example, you may need to control depth of field, contrast, lighting, colour saturation, colour palette, toning, grain, shutter speed and so on. The successful realisation of your pre-visualised image will require a meeting of your aesthetic vision with the appropriate technical settings and processes. *Aesthetics is the philosophy and study of beauty, art and taste.
The work of Sebastiao Salgado What technical aspect of photography has Salgado looked for and then controlled technically with his camera in these images?
The work of Sebastiao Salgado What technical aspect of photography has Salgado looked for and then controlled technically with his camera in these images? Answer: Lighting. Salgado is famous for his images of workers, often photographed in dramatic lighting. This is an example of a meeting between technical control and aesthetic vision.
Images by photographer Mick Williamson What aspect of the world does his work investigate?
Answer : Encounters with surfaces and textures. He effectively controls the exposure, lighting and contrast to effectively realise his intentions. This is another example where technical control meets aesthetic vision.
This photograph is from a set of pre-planned, pre-visualised images: The plan was to record subjects with vividly coloured backgrounds, produced directly onto film (without using the fakery of digital manipulation). Tests were first made to discover a technique capable of achieving the desired aesthetic effect. Chris Monaghan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q99yksdCN64 Some artists use their art to comment on political or social issues of the day. Max Hattler has produced a short abstract animation entitled Collision . This short film is intended as a comment on the meeting or clash of Islamic and Western civilisations (2 min 31 secs):
Experience Documentary photography, as its name suggests, documents some event or occurrence. Documentary photography is sometimes thought of as being completely objective , dispassionately recording the facts. However, the photographer makes choices as to medium, subject, style and feelings in the way that she/he makes the images. Documentary photography can therefore record both the experience of the subject(s) as they encounter their circumstances, and the experience of the photographer as she/he encounters the subject(s) and their circumstances. Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) worked during the1930’s depression for the American Farm Security Administration, recording the life of poor farmers and their families. Do you think Dorothea was sympathetic to the plight of the poor farm families?
Robert Frank (from his book The Americans, 1958) Discuss: In what ways might this image by Robert Frank be described as recording a ‘meeting’,‘encounter’ or ‘experience’? (Hint, discuss medium, subject, style & feelings & also think about the hierarchy of people)
Discuss the meaning of these two images (what are they of?)
Discuss how they relates to the unit 2 theme encounters, meetings & experiences.
Discuss and come up with an idea inspired by these images for a shoot based around the unit 2 theme.
Many artists have taken famous meetings as the inspiration for their work Adam & Eve meet an evil serpent. Note how it is the naughty woman who gets the man in trouble … how typical! Lucas Cranach, Adam and Eve , 1526 Michelangelo, Temptation of Adam & Eve , Sistine Chapel,1508-1512
Benjamin West, William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians , 1771-72 This famous painting is a documentary example of history being ‘re-written’ by the victors. The blankets being given to the native Americans for land as part of the ‘Treaty’ with the Pilgrim Fathers were actually taken from a smallpox hospital and infected and killed many of the Native Americans. Conference at Yalta, 1945: Churchill, Roosevelt & Stalin Other famous meetings ‘recorded’ by artists.
Experience What is Barbara Kruger ‘saying’ in this image? How does this relate to the unit 2 theme ‘experience’?
Summary The theme Encounters, Experiences & Meetings can be interpreted in many, many different ways. The most important thing to remember is that you should choose to investigate the theme in a way that interests or inspires YOU . Start your research by producing a mind-map (brainstorm), listing as many words and ideas relating to the theme as you can.