Marcus Coates; Dawn chorus.

In ‘Dawn chorus’, Marcus Coates explores the phonetic relationship between humanity and songbirds. By analysing the super-slowed melodies of various songbirds, Coates was able to transcribe the exact noises composing each melody into a script, which could then be read aloud by human volunteers; the recording of each script then being sped up to the point where the humans sound exactly like their avian counterparts.

Coates creates a heartwarming unity between society and nature in this piece. I am inspired by how it radiates a mutual understanding between the two, as each individual sits in their ‘natural habitat’, warbling away each unfamiliar song, as if singing a folk song in a foreign language.

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Krysztof Wodizcko

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Some of Wodizckos’ most famous works consist of footage of hands and giant faces projected onto large buildings. The individuals to which these faces belong, are recorded describing a piece of highly personal information. This can consist of a secret, a confession, or a description of a trauma they have endured; some of which contain taboo subjects, which are difficult for the individuals to talk about. By allowing individuals from marginalised groups to participate in these pieces, Wodizcko gives them a powerful voice in the community; a chance to be heard, and a chance to these tackle taboo subjects which would otherwise remain unaddressed. Some of the participants found that opening up to share in public space was easier to do than sharing with a few individuals in a private space, as it gave them a strange sense of anonymity. As the psrticipants speak about the unspeakable, the audience often become somewhat distressed. This is part of what makes these artworks so powerful; they force society to confront the topics that desperately need to be addressed, but would usually be swept under the rug. Wodizcko received the 1999 Hiroshima art prize for his work.

Laylah Ali

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Ali’s cartoonish yet elegant paintings focus around moments of violence; the artist is interested in capturing the tense atmosphere and unexpected energy of domestic violence within a still, 2D frame. In order to execute such crisp lines within her gouache paintings, Ali first creates detailed drawings which act as a guide. This relationship with paper is integral to the artists’ work process. Due to the controversial themes within her work, the artist does not use her paintings as an ‘escapist fantasy’, as she states her work is “too dark and connected to the world and modern day issues for that”. Ali also has a fascination with hands; their composition, their placements and their movements.

James Turrell

james turell 1james turell 2Turrells’ expansive, immersive works primary explore both natural and artificial light within a space. His work has been influenced by his education in psychology, and his childhood fascination with light.

“My work has no object, no image and no focus. With no object, no image and no focus, what are you looking at? You are looking at you looking. What is important to me is to create an experience of wordless thought.”
– jamesturrell.com

Shahzia Sikander

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Sikanders’ work focuses on themes of modern day Middle Eastern culture, identity and politics mixed with references to historical art; she merges minimalism and abstraction with traditional Indo-persian painting. Sikanders’s work as a Pakistani born artist has been incredibly influential, as she was a trailblazer in modern day Pakistani art.

Pepon Osorio

pepon osorio 1pepon osorio 2pepon osorio 3Osorio believes he does not fit into the ‘artist’ category, as he works in a more holistic manner. Within his work, the artist deals with contradiction; this can coexist with anger, beauty, and other emotions in body. “No crying allowed in the barbershop”, recreates his memory of being taken to have his first haircut at five years old. What should have been a celebration, ended in disaster and trauma. Osorio describes it as more of a coming of age piece; it deals with toxic masculinity, and also pays homage to his father.
Osorio recalls the time he painted ceiling at eight years old, and how this led to the challenge of being an artist. Growing up in working class family, he was told it was never an option, possibility or alternative. This led to him consistently working with at least two career possibilities in mind; always keeping a backup . Osorio uses a deliberately uncomfortable aesthetic; its’ only way of connection to the audience is through installation, as it needs to be beyond the flatness of something on the wall. It needs to create an overpowering space.

Bruce Nauman

bruce nauman 1bruce nauman 2Untitled (Three Large Animals) 1989 by Bruce Nauman born 1941
Naumans’ inspirations include activities, speech, materials, and everyday life. The artist
relies on experimentation to keep his process moving forward, with the need to experiment every day, with new materials and forms. The artist stresses how it essential that at least something is created each day; “Just put stuff together. Do whatevers’ at hand, even if its’ not that good.” Naumans’ experimentation process can be seen within his animal cast sculptures, which were fashioned out of old taxidermy models. The artist works across a range of mediums, including sculpture, video, film, print, performance, and installation.The artist describes his main theme as mapping the human arc between life and death.