A final set of photographs of a plastic-wrapped sofa against an unplastered wall, a couple of which put me in mind of Caspar David Friedrich’s The Sea Of Ice painting. These images were produced for The Kick-About No.71, as inspired the landscape art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
If our last Kick-About showcased new works made in a short time inspired by an extraordinary artist with which some of us were unfamiliar, this week’s online exhibition takes its cue from a very famous double-act, famous, that is, for wrapping landmarks and landscapes in swathes of material. Happy browsing.
“Christo & Jeanne-Claude’s trees reminded me of an Autumn ’22 visit to Eastwell in Kent, where I did these sketches. For KA, I’ve combined tree structure with architecture to produce this white-card model, but then found myself short of time. The old idiot box was on whilst modelling, conveniently offering some varied backdrops, although as an unfinished KA, I prefer the black backing. being it reminds me I’ve homework to do on this KA.”
“I wanted to make a miniature version of Christo & Jeanne-Claude’s impressive, uncanny installation art, but attempt to make it look larger, as if I had the resources to produce something of that scale. So I did some deadheading of branches and flora around my garden, wrapped cling-film around them and stuck the encapsulated snippings into styrofoam to keep them steady as I photographed the results. I loved how, in certain shots of Christo & Claude’s pieces, the sun shone through. It reminds me of poppy seed pods or Chinese lanterns. As I was taking photos, in spurts the sun broke through the clouds of the dreary sky and lit the tombs of these plants in spots and lines. Another treat was after a slight sprinkling of rain, which made me focus more on the intrinsics of the composition rather than its initial scale”
“This is a pretty basic response so I think you can see my thinking … that is, layers, seeing, not seeing… I found the piece of conifer on the street and, to me, it looked like a bonsai version of the “mother tree” so reflecting our prompt on a mini scale. A screen in front breaks up the image. I wanted to use elements that ran parallel to this: beetle, stone, seed.”
“These enormous sculptures in the landscape and city scapes that Christo and Jeanne Claude have created over the years have highlighted our attention to these landmarks in a different way, allowing them to be reconsidered/reawaken us when they are revealed again after the wrapping up. ‘Lock-Down’ during the past few years has personally given me the feeling of being wrapped up like an insect in a cocoon. So I started to try and create a kind of cocoon and failed miserably! However, this searching turned my attention to butterflies and moths that create these extraordinary constructions as a chrysalis. In the past I have used a translucent silk (organza) to create sculptures to transform internal public spaces, and the silk has come from the silk worms that feed on bushes so… I took another look at how millions of these moths or butterfly cocoons wrap up trees, bushes and grasses in the landscape. Here are a couple of photos taken in our countryside.”
“I’m afraid, although they created beautiful works, the scale and materials Christo and Jeanne Claude used have always made me uncomfortable, as we show little respect for our world’s resources. So I began this KA thinking I’d use some previous pics of tied-up pillows to collage into a tied-up earth, but it looked nothing like the earth or anything tied-up. There was something good happening visually so I returned to the tortured pillows and added an angry Spanish fountain lion head and a lizard leg; it felt angry (about wasting resources). I backgrounded it with pristine rainforest images (abused resources). By this point it wasn’t looking very Christo and Jeanne Claude and my mind was turning to the big industries that manufacture toxic products (like some of the materials Christo and Jeanne Claude used) and I added a power figure wrapped in a couple of cotton sheets, which looked appropriate. Of course, the question arises why we continue to abuse the earth, and then I heard a podcast with Adam Alter on judgement, decision making and social psychology, which threw social media into my mind and resulted in the addition of icons left and right of the figure. Oh, and the halo of fire is a nod to petrochemical industries.”
“The short version is we bought a new sofa recently, which turned out to be too big for the room it was meant for. The sofa came wrapped in plastic – and remains so while we wait for some nice people to come and collect it and take it back to wherever unwanted sofas are destined to go. We have been living with this ‘un-sofa’ for quite a few weeks now. I scowl at it every morning, not least because I was responsible for measuring up and only have myself to blame. Still, what is it that chipper types say about making lemonade when life gives you lemons (or outsized sofas)? I started noticing how different types of light at different times of day produced strange mountainous terrains out of the plastic wrapping covering the sofa, so with the Kick-About in mind, I set about investigating them.”
“I decided I would apply my ‘wrapping’ technique to some old plastic bangles I have in my stash of ‘possibly useful things!’ The first one I covered with net, followed by a thread in a variety of colours to add a bit of sparkle. The second I wrapped in strips of pink chiffon and then put some glittery material over the top. Lastly, for the third, I used the hem I had trimmed off a denim dress to wrap around the bangle, followed by a long silver chain. The necklace was recycled from an old pendant, wrapped in threads and some embroidery added. I really enjoyed this project and may well have a go at doing some more.”
“When ‘The Gates’ were installed in Central Park in February 2005 there was a lot of criticism and complaining from the Powers That Be. But for my daughter and I, and all the other people with us inside of the installation, it was a wonderful experience. This prompt returned me to that time and the photos I took. I printed out some of them and cut them into squares, which I turned into grids. Mother Nature had even co-operated, and the vibrant colors shadowed with black branches, moving in the wind against the snow, was truly magical. “
With many thanks to regular KA-er, Vanessa Clegg, we have our latest prompt – a celebrated mediation on the art and act of looking…