Ana Mendieta was a Cuban-American performance artist, sculptor, painter and video artist who is best known for her “earth-body” artwork. Being torn from her homeland (Cuba) at a young age, She utilises her body, in contact with the earth as a means to re-establish her connection to the land.
For Mendieta merging mother nature with art was a means of expressing the varying elements of her identity. This included; displacement as a Cuban refugee, oppression as a female, and a female artist.Through connecting with nature she was ‘returning to a natural world absent of manmade inequalities’.
Something that drew me to Erlers work was her utilisation of the subjects body language. I am also interested in the relationship between the body language and how it corresponds to the surroundings. How do these two elements interact? How does this contribute towards the creation of such intriguing imagery? Erler often captures lighting that feels poetic. Trickles of sunlight are set against areas of deep tonal shadow that provide a pertinent melancholic expression.
I really like the effect that the uncut grass provides. The whole setting is pretty messy and a little chaotic. This provides an interesting juxtaposition against the still, lifeless body. The sun directly against the body could be indicative of sunbathing, and yet the setting seems an unusual place to choose to rest. I also particularly enjoy the angle of this image. The perspective is unusually low, and coming from in front of the legs this provides an interesting presentation of the body. We see the legs as the sole focus, the face and arms almost entirely disappearing in the ground and away from the viewers gaze. Identity feels absent, and body parts become suspended with a new level of interest, as the line is blurred between innanimate and live. Narrative pays a particularly important role in this photograph. The red glossy heels, are explicitly misplaced in the setting, provoking questions on their appearance. More poignant however is the unclothed body, laying face down against the concrete. Once again the face is almost entirely hidden from view, with the position of the body being the central focus of the image. This feels emotive, channeling an expression of grief and despair. Furthermore, the choice of concrete juxtaposed against the body depicts a distinctly uncomfortable expression, that feels metaphorically significant. The broken heel and unclothes nature of the body also feel purposeful in telling a story, an unspoken one that gives the viewer an opportunity to contemplate the narrative.
Here, the human expression plays a significant role in drawing in the viewers gaze. The relationship between the subject and photographer works beautifully . The subjects reluctant facial expression married with the distance away from the camera/photographer provides the impression that the photographers presence is unwelcome in this setting. This sense of seeming resistance to engage is accentuated as the subject hides behind a tree. We as the viewer are placed in this role, as we too as , feel like an unwelcome bystander observing the subject.
As my final outcome I’m going to plan a virtual exhibition. I believe that this will be a great way to showcase my work and explore the potential of the imagery further.
I hope to create a space that feels complementary and cohesive to the visuality. I also see a virtual space as an opportunity to draw upon the qualities an elements of the images. In other words, I think that the space as well as the narrative journey of the exhibit should be an extension of the content of the imagery.
I love the way that David Halliday utilises light. The soft, diffused glow feels otherworldly. It creates a setting which enables Halliday to capture his subject in an extraordinary manner. I also really admire how the images feel; there is a sense that each photograph has been carefully and mindfully created. As the viewer I imagine that these photographs were composed with a great deal of care and attention and a quietness in order to create the ‘perfect shot’. This in itself makes the images very interesting for me personally. I feel that as a photographer moving forward, I could capture more interesting and engaging imagery If I was to slow down more and be more mindful in he creation of my images.
I personally enjoy the stillness on Noemie’s work. In the two examples above there is an allusion to the notion of time stopping. The movement of water is replaced by a strategically placed plastic sheet, this entirely contradicting the natural element of a waterfall and the way it moves without the intrusion of human intervention. Fundamentally the natural world becomes a mere accessory to the the cascading plastic, thereby creating an intriguing perspective of how we as humans perceive nature.
I visited the Surrealism beyond borders exhibition at the Tate. I hadn’t visited am exhibition at all during the span of FMP, and therefore felt as I was creating a virtual exhibit myself it was very important to do so. Not only would this aid my decision making during the process of creating my exhibit, but would also provide some great inspiration. It was a great show for me to visit as my project is significantly influenced by surrealist art
The short film ‘the mysterious opacity of other beings’, directed by Ferdinand Feldman, follows a ‘detached’ young man, who sees a moth buzzing around a light he starts studying the human nature through animals. Fish morph into white-collar workers while the protagonist still seeks his own counterpart.
“What is it that everybody seems to be chasing in a world so incomprehensible?”
A severe and earthy, cinematic voice begins the narrative, poetically conveying the remarkable yet questionable behaviours of a moth.
‘the very light that kills it’-language evokes metaphors of self destructive behaviour, leading the viewer to question ones own habits.
Throughout, humans take on animalistic forms, creating lucid parallels between animal and human behaviour.
The Visuality is consistently stunning.
The perspectives created from the camera shots are something that I personally love. In figure 2 we as the viewer are carried directly through the grass, brushing against it as we move. Such tactile experiences created from the the cameras perspective creates a more immersive viewing experience.
This is something I could consider exploring; through the cameras perspective, how could I make the viewer feel like they are touching an element within the photograph? How can I form the illusion of touch through visual alone?
“The Mysterious Opacity of other Beings”, Dir Ferdinand Feldmann, 2020. Vimeo. Web. 21 Apr 2022.
Looking at my work from a ‘distance’ I feel as though there is definitely a distinct style that is beginning to take shape. There is a clear sense of distance between the images I have created and what we perceive to be ‘reality’. Thisreflectsmy interest in surrealist art and it’s ability to provoke intrigue through itsat times almost incomprehensible depiction of reality.
I love the notion of the ‘unknown’ and how this plays into the creation of the images. Magrittes ‘allusive staging’ has definitely begun to influence the composition of my imagery, though is certainly something I would hope to develop further.
I believe that my images successfully adopt a visuality that provokes the viewer to determine their own narrative and meaning from the imagery. I love the idea of the imagery to naturally encourage creativity from the viewer as a reaction to the image.
Moving Forward I would like to continue exploring surrealist tropes, and possibly creating more thought out narratives that are slightly more thought provoking and interesting.