From being someone who immediately rejected contemporary art to being able to analyse and research a contemporary piece and make a more informed critique, I certainly have surprised myself. Despite the fact that this type of art (installation, performance, ready-made, etc.) is not my favorite, I have been able to accept the messages these pieces convey and be inspired by some of them.
I have learned that part of why I am so skeptic towards contemporary art is that its conceptual information is often more important than its visual qualities. But there have been some artists whose work have stayed with me.
Most of Katie Paterson’s works inspired me, specifically Hollow and Fossil Necklace. In both of them, Paterson makes a representation of the history of the earth. In Hollow, she collects wood from 10,000 species of trees from around the world and creates a sculptural microcosmo of all these forests. In Fossil Necklace, she creates a necklace of 170 beads, each one belonging to a major event in the evolution of life. She shows me how art can be combined with history, ecology, and geology and perhaps with any other scientific branch or intellectual exploration. I have always had it as a priority to find a way of doing something like this, of using visual art to communicate theoretical ideas.
Ian Hamilton Finlay, the creator of Little Sparta, and his son Alec Finlay, a poet and artist, both use nature, art, and language as their media. They have helped add to my search of ways to combine art with different things I also like. Ian Hamilton’s romantic and philosophical garden of contemplation inspired me both to go visit it and to someday create my own space that combines my love of nature and visual art. Alec, in turn, created the ‘word-mntn’, a poem representing a mountain or landmark both visually and by name. This simple piece seemed to open my mind to a myriad of possibilities.
Doug Aitken was the only artist whose video art truly impressed me. His video piece Migration was both striking visually and conceptually. By placing wild animals inside a motel room, he explores the relationship between the human-made world and the more natural, wild world. What I particularly loved about this piece is the fact that its meaning is present in the video itself, in its title, and its visuals. Aitken’s piece showed me that contemporary art can sometimes explain itself visually as well.
Company of Mountains (n.d). Còmhlan Bheanntan | A Company of Mountains. At: http://www.company-of-mountains.com (Accessed on 4 January 2017)
Doug Aitken Workshop (n.d) Doug Aitken. Migration. At: http://www.dougaitkenworkshop.com/work/migration (Accessed on 4 January 2017)
Ian Hamilton Finlay (n.d). Ian Hamilton Finlay. Little Sparta. 1966. At: http://www.ianhamiltonfinlay.com/ian_hamilton_finlay.html#7 (Accessed on 4 January 2017)
Paterson, K. (n.d) Katie Paterson, Hollow. At: http://katiepaterson.org/hollow (Accessed on 4 January 2017)
Paterson, K. (n.d) Katie Paterson, Fossil Necklace. At: http://katiepaterson.org/fossil (Accessed on 4 January 2017)