Beginnings: City

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The title of the next project in my artistic education has finally been revealed; City. With such a broad thee as that, I am once again filled with new ideas and concepts that I struggle to cut down. As I first heard the project’s title, an image appeared within my mind, one of religious architecture; the simplicity and humble nature of Chapels, the lavish and prominent image of Monasteries, as well as the Gothic, and quite often imposing, architecture of Cathedrals. I began to think of how religion is tied within the very fabric of society, and how it is often one of the fundamental foundations when crafting a civilisation on Earth; a dream of a utopia is what a civilisation is devised from, and it is built by belief, much like a religion.

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‘Untitled’, Zdizlaw Beksinki

At this point, I immediately thought back to the works of Zdzislaw Beksinki, who I have mentioned previously; (https://ethangrantdodd.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/artist-review-zdzislaw-beksinski/) and the intensity of his paintings of what appear to be cathedrals. They are striking; almost sculptural in their execution, and hauntingly monolithic in their design. They are eerily empty, and seem to extend forth from the ’emptiness’ of the background, seemingly fading into existence. I began to recall the early mornings I had spent in the city of cardiff before work, witnessing the mist envelop the towers of the city in a cold whiteness, as if a white shadow had fell upon the earth. This then led onto another thought process about the aspect of fog/smog and it’s effects on the city, especially as you observe the silhouettes of strangers float through it. The familiar streets and alleyways become dense with unease, unfamiliar to our senses and to our minds; somewhere that we do not intend to tread, but must. I may be the only one, but I feel a far greater clarity when I am surrounded by the whiteness of the mist; as I feel alone, I feel a greater calm wash over me, and as soon as I leave the earthbound cloud, I feel a part of my mind miss this. Again, as I discover another concept, within my own mind, another piece of artwork appears to me to help nurture it.

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‘Vaporización’,  Teresa Margolles

One of the seminal pieces of work by mexican artist Margolles, Vaporización is at first a claustrophobic piece, causing an intense feeling of unknowing to come over the viewer as they stand within the mist. However, what’s more interesting is that there is a plaque on the wall, that states that the mist itself is actually created from water used to wash the bodies of the dead. This then creates an urgent reaction within the viewer, as they realise that they are now surrounded by death, although it is purely symbolic. It is incredibly dark, but creates a space in which life and death are united, if only for a split second. The use of something lighter than air gives the piece a feeling of entropy, but also that of transcendence; as if the physical water has now passed onto the spiritual realm. From Death, comes life, and with it progress. Whether this is a human loss, or that of the city, the world still revolves, and progress is made. How fascinating it is that we sense the death of many a person every day, but often goes unnoticed.

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