Caroline Achaintre is French-German artist, whose practice has been based in London for the past 19 years. She was also my artist of choice to research for my summer project about artist influence.
Her work began with small abstract drawings, channeling what she describes and ‘teenage angst’, with surrounding themes of primitivism, postmodernism, and german expressionism. These works also explored themes of masquerade, clowns, multiple personalities, and tense energy.
Then, whilst at Goldsmiths college, she decided to try and translate this aesthetic into textiles; specifically tufted wool; in order to try and “minimise the work from being opulent to being expressive”. She drew the inspiration for this from masks and anthology collections.
Caspar Heinemann, self described as a ‘twinky butch anarcho-communist mystic’, is a Berlin- based artist whos’ chosen mediums include sculpture, drawing and poetry. Themes often found in their work include identity, politics, vulnerability, mental health, nihilism, and the philosophy of value. They don’t describe their work as having an aim or purpose, rather that honest self expression; art for the sake of art.
“The less you eat, drink and read books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save – the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour – your capital.
The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life – the greater is the store of your estranged being.” – Karl Marx
This was the kind of imagery that sprang to mind when I first listened to ‘The Song of a Hundred Toads”. The locations of these images (that I have previously taken) include the New Forest, the Harris Gardens, Mougins (France), Monaco, north-east Scotland, and Bramshill Forest. This aesthetic formed the basis for our film.
In groups, we are making a short film based on the song “The Song of a Hundred Toads” by ‘The Handsome Family’. The song itself is of the gentle americana/folk persuasion, documenting the story of a traveler and his journey through the wilderness, wherein his horse and cart fall off a cliff and he encounters numerous croaking toads. Despite the songs’ morbid lyrics, we were all inspired by the cozy, comforting tone of the melody. Folky and warm, reminiscent of sunsets, bonfires, forests and mountains, it sounded like home to all of us. So we decided to make our film a simple reflection of that aesthetic; a journey home.
“Home” can mean different things to different people. Personally, I’ve always thought of it more as a state of being than a set place; where you feel completely comfortable and free. Most of my group felt similarly. We all felt at home in the autumnal wilderness of the forest, and the quiet beauty of the Harris gardens. This was convenient as it fitted the earthy aesthetic of “The Song of a Hundred Toads”, and so it became our choice of location for our film.
We didn’t plan on giving our film a set of events or storyline to follow. We just wanted to keep it simple and true to the atmosphere we’re trying to create. The film follows one of our group members, Hannah LeHane, as she meandered through the Harris gardens on a golden autumn evening. She was clad in a poncho, and carrying a lantern.
In terms of editing, we wanted to add a certain haze; a sort of comfortable delirium. To do this I layered different clips over each other after lowering their opacity. This added a dream-like quality to the film.
One of the first projects for this years’ Studio module is to create a small, photorealistic self portrait that tells the audience something about ourselves. We are then to upload a video of us explaining our self portrait. I, however, detest speaking publicly and/or in front of cameras. Therefore! Here is my self portrait, depicting me expressing my distaste of the situation, and my dislike of public speaking in general. In my self portrait I have tape over my mouth, so even if I have to overcome public speaking in reality, I can escape it in the second dimension.