A Japanese artist that utilises Urea crystals to create ethereal installations. Despite being a massive inspiration for me materials wise, I also found another concept within the work; This ‘crystallisation’ of the string mimics the way that bio-mineralisation and calcification occur within organisms to create bone or shell structures within their form. As an object ages, it becomes more and more fragile, yet more precious, due to it’s long existence. This inspired me to create a series of works utilising crystals in order to make the intangible energy visible.
Roger Hiorn’s processes of Transmutation in his artwork
Roger Hiorns is a fascinating artist; he utilises alchemical symbolism, and an esoteric form of visual language to create his body of work. Engines, Copper Sulphate Crystals, Naked Performers, Fire, Thistles and Brain matter are all used to consider concepts such as transmutation and the nature of consciousness. This rich and diverse set of principles and materials highlight that Hiorns is a man who is as mystifying and mysterious as his artwork. There is something very fascinating about his process, and how he utilises crystallisation and pulverisation to craft artwork about an objects latent power and symbolism, and bringing it forth within his process of creation. I have also been exploring this notion of latent energy and power within objects and materials within my own work, and have been struggling to find a way to highlight the importance of these qualities within discarded or seemingly meaningless objects.
As we discussed these concepts, and I was able to go through my creative and conceptual processes, I felt immediately more in tune with what I am investigating within my artistic outputs. What was interesting, was that Andre immediately ‘Got’ what my work was about, and discussed with me the notion of ‘Re-animation’, and how it is relevant to my work; as the materials that I am using are considered ‘dead’, in the sense that the ‘soul’ of the owner has long passed away, I am creating new life from within the objects. As I am technically growing ‘new life’ from these objects, I am making something that is ‘intangible’ (the energy flow of the universe, from dying objects, and eventually into living and growing organisms), into a tangible, and very physical form. This, much like the work of Dr. Frankenstein within Mary Shelley’s novel, am imbuing dead vessels with new life and energy. Here, the hand of the artist has taken on the hand of a God, and is continuing the cycle of Life, Death and Rebirth.
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus
Another massive influence on my current work is Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’. Within it, Victor Frankenstein harnesses the power of a God (nature) to bend to his will and allow him to transcend into the role of the creator. There are a lot of symbolic themes within the work that are relevant to my studio practice; Fire, Sacrifice, Enlightenment, nature’s wrath, the ever recurring cycle of Life, Death and Rebirth, as well as notions of transcendence, isolation, and the maddening pursuit of unattainable knowledge (with some occult and alchemical motifs to boot). A story about human failings and the desire to be something more, it has become a firm staple of inspiration for the crystallising of Dead matter.
Second Tutorial with Andre; The role of Art
Through the notion of commodification and the nature of contemporary art when concerned with egocentric desires for immortality and remembrance, I found a middle ground with Andre. An artwork, especially an artwork that I create, is always concerned with a tension between life and death, and the clarification of it; Life and death are the only two things we can be certain of in the future, despite not knowing the exact dates of when our untimely demise will be. This therefore creates an unease, and yet a fragility within in the work; due to the fragile nature of life and death. We also debated the role of my artwork in society, and where it fits in the art world;Sure, there is a lot of artwork in the world about life and death, but what makes mine stand out above the rest? what is unique about my work that makes it my own? and therefore, an extension of my own consciousness and experience into a corporeal form?
Lightning And the Branch; symbols of Life and Death
The tree grows, and is then destroyed; but due to the intense heat provided by the lightning strike, the ash re-fertilises the soil, continuing the cycle anew. It is also widely believed, that through the theory of ‘galvanism’, one can revive the dead. Therefore, through the re-animation of the dead wood, I have taken on the role of the lightning bolt, providing new life for a deceased object. I am planning to create a crystallised branch that resembles this mythological symbol of life and death, by the utilisation of the dead matter of the Tree, and the life giving properties of the crystals, which showcase the energy passing out of the object, as well as being a pure white, reflecting the ‘enlightening’ of the thunderous blast.