The act of masterfully capturing an audience’s attention to gaze upon a piece of artwork and feel a sense an interest, is achieved as artist’s endorse the role of crafting unprecedented work with the use of conventional materials. This notion will be explored through use of the following artists: Pablo Picasso a Spanish cubist, Marcel Duchamp, was a French member of the Dada Movement, Rosalie Gascoigne a New Zealand contemporary artist (d. 1999), El Anatsui a West African contemporary artist and Fiona Hall a contemporary Australian artist.
Artists explore the conceptual frame throughout their practice by endorsing all four key agencies to a successful piece of work. Certain artists use the world to capture the audience’s attention to create a vastly new idea of art. Artists can be defined through the agencies and concepts of art. By examining these artists their artworks, the world and the audience’s reaction allows how, one can understand how the ordinary can change to the extraordinary. Duchamp and Dadaism pathed the way to using everyday objects in art making.
This movement was a new tendency in art and was an early 20th-century movement in art, literature, music, and film, repudiating and mocking artistic and social conventions and emphasizing the illogical and absurd. It arose after World War 1 as propaganda against warfare as there were so many casualties. The questioning of making art beauty, convention and traditions allowed Dadaism to flourish because people were so disillusioned. Dadaism is shown through the work of Duchamp especially is his work, Fountain. The artwork ‘Fountain’ crafted by Duchamp (61 cm x 36 cm x 48 cm).
The artwork is a white urinal positioned on the ground and signed ‘R. MUTT 1917’ in black paint. The audience were shocked and thought it was absolute rubbish. When the sculpture was put on display it created absolute controversy and some even thought it was a joke or blasphemy towards the art world. Today it’s seen in a new way, because of having the luxury of viewing the past and relating it to the present. We see it as innovative because it was the beginning of a new idea of conceptual art. Hugo Ball who was a German author wrote the Dada Manifesto in the year of 1916.
Dada had only one rule: Never follow any known rules. There was controversy around the Manifesto another artist, Tzara said “The beginnings of Data, were not the beginnings of art, but of disgust. ” The document clarifies the movement is a form of anti-art. The word ‘dada’ translates into bland words in different languages, symbolising the use of regular objects to convey a unique piece of art. The reason for the impact of Dadaism is that it’s a different concept of art, truly challenging traditional ethics.
Dada encouraged random, spontaneous and creative ideas. Dada was made from ‘non-artists’ who created ‘non-art’ as a result of their belief that the world no longer made sense, or had any meaning, due to WW1. Duchamp is considered as the founder of contemporary art because he questioned every notion of the world based around art, through the use of readymades, assisted-readymades and found objects. These were considered as a non-art form, but Duchamp challenged that notion to express a way of art that hadn’t been exposed to society in 1916 and years before.
The effects of these objects on the audience is that an artist has the freedom to choose and depicts whether a tangible is considered worthy of an artwork. The Dada movement opened up doors for artists to decide whether the work was art. The movement highly flourished influences on contemporary art. Crafting artworks from the ‘ordinary to the extraordinary’ was taken on board by a lot of artists after the movement because it was a realisation that an artist is entitled to decide whether they consider their work ‘art’, also giving the viewer a fresh pair of eyes towards the work.
Ready-mades are manufactured objects, made to a standard size or specification rather than to order. This contrasted to the original idea of hand-made artworks created by artists. Assisted ready mades, which are essentially the same as ready mades, are two or more tangibles fused together to create one product or artwork. Readymades and assisted ready mades challenged the concept that art must be aesthetically pleasing. Duchamp chose the name ‘readymade’ because of the objects being produced in mass production. Found objects are tangibles typically found in a natural environment.
Picasso, Hall, Anatsui and Gascoigne all use readymades, assisted-readymades and found objects to transform the ordinary to the extraordinary. A collage is simply a piece of art crafting by sticking or joining various different materials such as newspaper, photographs or wallpaper onto a backing to create a vastly different appealing piece of art. Picasso in particular was highly recognised for his work with collage. The media he used consisted of wallpaper, newspapers, letters, cut pieces of canvas and many more.
The use of construction on wood and sheet iron, being painted and mounted on walls combined both the qualities of painting as well as sculpture. The method of using completely bland materials to create something bazar really opened society’s views towards a new era of art in 1916. Picasso’s involvement with collage is one of the many reasons why he is well known and established throughout the world. ‘Still Life with Chair Caning’ produced by Pablo Picasso, (1912, oil on oil-cloth over canvas edged with rope, 29 x 37 cm) (Musee Picasso) is a well known artwork of picasso’s.
The artist has crafted the work in such a way that suggests it to be an unfocused image of different aspects of art at first glance. Picasso has used a variety of different objects to express the notion of the mundane to the unbelievable. This piece is crafted with the use of glass , newspaper, a citrus fruit, a knife and a pipe. The realisation that all the items are arranged above a tabletop made of glass suggests that the artwork may be a breakfast setting. The glass on the table is transparent allowing the audience to view the chair caning and a clear image of what the artwork really is.
The chair caning represents the seat being tucked in underneath the table. ‘Feathered Fence’ crafted by Gascoigne, (1979, white swan feathers, galvanized wire netting, synthetic polymer paint on wood, 64. 0 (h) x 750. 0 (w) x 45. 0 (d) cm) is an assisted readymade that is displayed on a wooden floor. The artwork itself is a plank of wood painted with synthetic polymer. White swan feathers are connected in groups by wire across the white plank of wood. Viewers believe this piece has a rustic feeling about it, which is crafted through the use of worn objects she has specifically chosen, based on her experience in landscape.
These tangibles retain a sense of time and the effects of weather, deeply felt by Gascoigne’s experiences of natural phenomena. Gascoigne’s practice was very personal to her as she displays her affection for a natural environment, which makes her practice similar to Hall’s. Gascoigne believes in using found objects that are typical and transforming them into masterpieces. This is shown in ‘Metropolis’ created by Gascoigne, (1999 retro reflective roadsign on wood 232 ? 319. 5cm. ) where yellow and orange retro-reflective road signs are divided into sections and placed at random throughout the piece, making the appearance of ‘jiberish’.
The meaning behind this artwork is to infact not to make sense to the viewer, but rather a piece Gascoigne can relate to. This is shown as the objects used in this piece represent elements of the world surrounding her and where she is from, as well as the texture and media of the rural town in Canberra. Anatsui’s artworks are collaborations as he gathers people to assist in crafting his pieces.
The reasoning behind the collaboration is mainly because of the size of the task and that that it’s purely to much work for an individual to do alone. The use of a collaboration creates a unity of people, Anatsui believes. Rain has no father’ produced by Anatsui (2008, found bottle tops with copper wire, 158 x 237 in) is an example of one artwork of many. This artwork was created using found aluminium, copper wire which is mined in Africa then flattened and bottle tops from liquor bottles. All these materials fixed together create a perception of a traditional piece of African fabric.
The bottle tops represent liquor and this symbolises that Western culture overcomes countries through colonialism as well as consumerism. Anatsui conveyed a message about colonialism through this work with common found objects to enhance it into something spectacular. Another place’ constructed by Anatsui (Found aluminum and copper wire, 283. 2 ? 284. 5 cm) is another piece of his which is similar to ‘Rain has no father’ with the appearance, of a torn traditional fabric. The bottle tops were specifically cut out, flattened, punched and put together by twenty or so people, making this artwork a collaboration. Traditional customs state that previous Ghanaian artists flattened gold that was mined locally, creating the gold into various shapes. Anatsui has crafted a lot of meaning behind this artwork expressing that he was once a toddler and if he had not grown up he would still be infact the same.
This artwork expresses his own personal experiences and that aerial perspective on an imaginary landscape with the use of marvellous materials. ‘Medicine bundle for the unborn child formed by Hall’ (1993, aluminium, rubber teats, child’s jacket (28 x 44 x 10 cm), child’s booties each (8. 5 x 9 x 5. 2 cm), child’s bonnet (13 x 13 x 7 cm), child’s teething ring (31 x 9 cm) diameter. To add meaning to the work, Hall crafted the piece out of bland materials that represent a lower economic status. The Coca leaves and Cola nut were both things that can be eaten by chewing on them and were also seen as a medicinal treatment.
These ingredients are formed in countries that do not receive the economic benefits of the product. The bottle refers that in some countries Coca Cola is cheaper to consume than fresh water, it is often seen in some countries to be given to small children as a replacement for baby milk or water. Coca Cola was used as a contraceptive douche in particular countries, as some believed it worked. A six pack of milk bottles is seen as a connotation for a six pack of beer which mocks contemporary parenting.
The name of the artwork ‘unborn child’ is used to symbolise and represent the act of contraception used by coke and being used as a douche. Cashcrop’ manufactured by Hall (Cash Crop, 1998/99, carved soap, painted banknotes, vitrine, 115 ? 130 ? 55cm vitrine dimensions). This artwork consists of glass cabinets with shelving installed, displayed in Museums that feature ‘cabinet of curiosities. ’ Each shelf has a variety of sculptured fruit and vegetables carved out of natural soap. Along with each piece of soap, there is painted bank notes and labels. The labels represent the language of the economic statuses throughout countries across the world.
Juxtapositions were used as technique to contrast one thing against another and this is shown as she has named specific fruits and vegetables after customary terms, for example ‘sharemarket float’ is a lotus. ’ These capture significant meaning throughout the artwork Hall explores the economic value of certain countries and the relations between trade, substances from a natural environment as as well as botany. The significance of the use of soap in this artwork is that soap is destroyed by water meaning its ephemeral and changing, as the economy is also a fluid presence as well.
To endorse a sense of interest within the viewer’s perspective of an artwork, artists believe in crafting artworks in such a way that depicts standard materials to create bazar artworks. This has proven to be true in a variety of artworks composed by Picasso, Duchamp, Gascoigne, Anatsui and Hall. This essay has argued the artist mentioned take ordinary materials to craft a whole different idea of art, to express the meaning behind each artwork they have crafted and what it truly means to be an artist.