Constellation has been a weird one for me this year, I have seriously connected with certain aspects of it, but have also dismissed some aspects of it as not relevant to my work, which of course, is to be expected of Art history and Theory. Before Christmas, in term 1, I did not feel like I connected with many of the topics that were discussed in the Constellaiton lectures and/or study skills, there were a few interesting points and theories that did stick out for me however; the Sound Art study skills was a fascinating foray into a discipline that I had not yet had the chance to experience, and the lectures that focused on perspective; fronted by Jonathan Clarkson, a firm favourite of mine, that discussed in length the connotations of perspective, and the distinct beauty of differing perspectives between humans. Perspective is something so deeply rooted in art throughout the ages, and has been something that I have focused on in my artwork previously; I began to seriously make art when my drive to show others my own perceptions of the world began, this drive soon mutated into a fascination with the way we see and perceive the world, and how I can accurately inflict my own emotions, thoughts, and basically the entirety of my mind and perceptions into my artistic endeavours. The other lecture that really fascinated me was that of Clive Cazeaux’s, a lecture that focused on the statement ‘Art is Dead’. This fascinated me; how could art be dead? and if so, then what am I doing here attempting to create art? what am I even creating here? his lecture began to delve into concepts of evolution, of the aspect of everything being done before, but it’s how ingenious the new way of processing and recreating it is, that showcases the true worth of Art. What a concept, it fascinated and frightened me in equal measures, I felt fearful for the future, but entranced by the concept that our evolution is so fast, so forward in mobility, that our destination has no room for art, but only advancement.
The rest of the lectures had interesting topics here and there, and certain pieces of art or phrases and theories that managed to rouse my interest, but nothing seemed to really motivate me to dive into a subject of Constellation; until it came to Term 2 and our specified options. As we chose, I immediately poured over the choices, there were new people, new faces, and with these came a sense of excitement and unknowing that did captivate me; but I saw Jonathan talk about his plan for the term, within his lectures he would explore the great artistic movements of just before our time, and where the art world seemed to be heading, and this was undoubtedly where I shifted all direction to his lectures. I thought, if I am to become an artist, then I must know what came before, and what will come, and this only further influenced my decision to take on these Lectures; and boy, was I not disappointed!
The Lectures were fascinating; so many concepts and theories that I had not invested the time to learn about, many new things were learnt, and many new ideas began to form in my head, but it was only when we came to the section of the course which was headed with ‘Minimalism’ did the true value of these lectures truly shine through. I had been fascinated by Minimalism for a while before this, steadily growing until the peak of my interest seemingly synchronised with these lectures, and I began to become a Minimalist for a while, or at least, an artist that was heavily influenced by the movement known as Minimalism. The idea of materiality became central to my personal work at that time; the aspect of whitening and simplicity becoming firm additions to my working process; these lectures become pivotal to my working process, and my project overall. He even introduced me to the ‘Enso’ Paintings that I am so fascinated with, the beauty of it’s simplicity…it’s simply too much to bear at times. Interestingly, before this period of Minimalism, I chose to describe myself as an expressionist; my work was often messy, charged with emotion and energy, and on a large scale, but through the beauty of Simplicity, through the purity of it, I found myself developing my artistic style in a way I could have never dreamed of before.
I wonder where my project would have taken me if I had not taken Jonathan’s course of lectures? It seems like the pieces fell into place, and fate coincided for me to choose those lectures, as they truly were a godsend to my work. In hindsight, I believe I really came into my own in Constellation this last term; the first term seemed un-organised and quite unstructured, and the fact that I still hadn’t settled in to the university yet at that point only served for me to lack interest in many of the lectures and study skills groups. It’s a shame really, I believe that I would have taken more interest in them if I felt they had a purpose, but the vast majority of the time I did not feel like they did have a purpose; one of the study skills classes was on ‘how to correctly have an argument’, and this frustrated me slightly; I felt belittled, I can argue pretty well, I’ve had around 19 and 3/4 on this earth, and believe my argumentative skills are quite good. The specific lectures were definitely the best part of the constellation course this year, and I was actually quite sombre when the last lecture with Jonathan Clarkson actually rolled around. I believe that I may in fact choose him again next year if he’s an option, as I enjoyed his lectures that much.