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Vandal Lust

A few weeks ago, I created a post, asking viewers to answer ‘what is your favourite art form’. After looking at the results and comments, I personally found it hard to give just one answer. I really like to create paintings and mixed media art, take photographs and also create short films. At the same time, what I really love in exhibitions I visit are large scale installations. One of the reasons why I enjoy large scale installations is because I like  to take my time to view them, walk around them and try to the find small and beautiful details that are not that obvious at first sight.

A week ago, I visited Saatchi Gallery and viewed a work created by Andra Ursuta; Vandal Lust. Andra Ursuta was born in Romania in 1979 and has lived and worked in New York since 2000.

There is a thrilling and unnerving sense of destruction and metonymy in Ursuta’s works (sculptures/installations). Most importantly, the artist doesn’t steer away from using her personal memories and experiences, whether the damaged psychology of her country or her own body, which is often the inspiration of casts, to ignite her mixed-media creations. Ursuta’s narratives are convincingly bodied forth by a distinctively fractured, somewhat deprived sense of craft.

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What I understand from observing and researching Vandal Lust is that self-invention and self-destruction are endlessly interchanged. It is not very clear whether Longing and failure that fill the work are real or artificial. “By resurrecting an obsolete piece of battlefield technology generally reduced to recreational use by living history enthusiasts, Ursuta blurs the distinction between authentic private feelings and their reenacted, staged version.” (Source: zoominfo.com)

Vandal Lust is a life size tableau that was inspired by “The man who flew into space from his appartment’ and it centres on a crudely made catapult that seems to have been used attempting to launch the artist into space using a large medieval siege engine, built to the limits of space capacity and  based on reconstructions found online. The basic part of the installation, which is the catapult is not a solid monolithic structure but it includes a variety of materials ranging from cardboard, plaster, scraps of lumber, resin and remnants of destroyed or abandoned objects.

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The following section is a part of Ursuta’s interview with Christopher Bollen from interview magazine, focusing on her inspiration and what she tried to say through her installation.

Vandal Lust borrows from  Ilya Kabakov’s famous piece The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment ? where the man is presumed to have successfully launched himself into space. In yours, there’s a dent near the ceiling and the figure curled on the floor. Is that about failure?

Launching and failing. I guess it could be seen as being about the art world, that trajectory. But it was more about knowing you will fail but going for it anyway

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What I really enjoyed about this work of art is trying to find hidden details, walk around the art piece and try to imagine the story behind it. Moreover, I liked how the installation had many different elements, the larger part which was the catapult, but also a human cast which was on the floor, as well as the bodies ‘effect‘ on the wall of the gallery. All these small details were there to help and lead the viewer towards understanding what the catapult was and what was the story behind the work of art. If one of the three elements were not there, the work would not make sense. After leaving the exhibition, I was very excited to go back home and research the artist and the messages behind her work and personally, I enjoy viewing works of art that are that effective and make want to think and research about them even after leaving the exhibition.

Do you think vandal Lust is an effective installation?

Thank you for reading,

Elli

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Lost Worlds Reclaimed by nature

I really enjoy capturing special moments with my camera, either for art projects or in everyday life, but I am not a huge fan of going to photography exhibitions. I tend to find them boring and less interesting than painting exhibitions for example where I find it easier to understand the artists intentions and messages, connect with his and thus with his artworks. But I recently visited ‘The Photographers’ Gallery” an exhibition that I genuinely enjoyed and recommend.

The Factory Photographs, exhibition by David Lynch:

I Love Industry pipes, I love fluid and smoke. I love man-made things. I like to se people hard at work, and I like to see sludge and man-made waste. David Lynch

This quote by the artist of the exhibition, David Lynch, gives a short definition of what is expected to be seen in his photography. His exhibition features 90 black an white images in England, Berlin. Poland, New York, and New Jersey between 1980 and 2000. Focusing on obsolete but richly atmospheric, post-industrial architecture spaces, this series depicts relics of a lost world, factories once proud emblems of progress, now deserted and being reclaimed by nature.

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Lynch’s passion for the dark, the apical and the mysterious themes, emanates from this body of work that captures uninhabited locations with a poetic and even romantic aura. Highly subjective, the imagery resembles dream-like sequences that have both enigmatic and ominous qualities.

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Maybe one of the reasons why I haven’t been the biggest fan of photography exhibitions is because I sometimes find it hard to connect with the photographs and more importantly, connect each photograph to the other. I like works of art to have a sequence and one to follow the other. In that way, I have the opportunity to create a narrative in my mind, and become a part of it. This exhibition allowed me to do exactly that, even though I did not actually connect with the ‘broken glasses’ and the ‘old walls’ that were featured in the photographs, I understood the angle of the artist, his purpose and the messages he meant to convey, and connected the photos together.

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What is of great importance in my opinion, is the way the exhibition has been put together and presented. I am very organised myself, and I like everything to be presented in a simple and ‘clean’ way. For that reason, I really like the fact that the artist has used black  frames for his o pictures, that all have the approximate size. Also, black and white is used throughout the exhibition, making the photographs clear, the details more dramatic and the exhibition coherent.

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One can ask: What is so important about old pipes, destroyed walls, broken glasses and abandoned spaces? Well, many people will say that nothing is interesting about that. And others, that might disagree may have a number of different answers. But in my opinion, what makes a great artist is discovering art in everyday objects. David Lynch has managed to capture the beauty of these everyday objects. Shooting in old industrial spaces, he manages to find what is unique and present it as art. He takes the unimportant elements and gives them power, significance and meaning. In that way, his work exudes a unique, cinematic style through dark, brooding images.

If you are a big fan of photography (or not) you should definitely try and make some time to visit this exhibition by David Lynch, at the Photographers’ Gallery. Its not only amazing, it is free as well. If you are interested in more information about The Photographers’ Gallery, visit their website: http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/home