Dayanita Singh

Dayanita Singh is an artist who uses photography in order to reflect and expand on ways in which we can relate to photographic images. Her interest in archiving and publishing have allowed her to draw from her whole history of photography to create mobile museums and archives.

Much of her inspiration comes from archiving. Her more recent works are drawn from 30 years of photography and is also known as the Museum Bhavan. This is a fold up or pop up exhibition where the artist is able to manipulate the space by moving the wooden panels, holding the photographs. These are interconnected bodies of work that are replete the both poetic and narrative possibilities.  Each set of wooden panels contains a ‘museum’, holding a collection of photos based around one topic.  These include the Museum of Files, the Museum of Little Girls, and the Museum of Machinery. The Museum of Files was the first to be created and has been described as ‘an elegy to paper which will decay in time’. The inspiration of archiving and museums has also come from the places that which she took many of her photographs.

The museums, in the wooden panels, can be manipulated within the exhibition space in order to show hidden connections. In one exhibition, the Museum of Photography and Museum of Furniture were placed next to each other, creating an individual conversation. The wooden panels themselves contain storage systems, allowing more photographs to be kept than is displayed. These storage systems also create some coves, gaps, and places of privacy. The portable museum also comes with its own boxes, stables, stools and benches, which can also be placed in specific places and manipulated to change the audiences interaction and conversation with the piece. Within this piece, the act of book making and museum making are inseparable, both of Singh’s inspirations in her practice. This work has gone on to single exhibitions, including that of the Museum of Machines, in 2016, as a major new exhibition in the Mast Gallery, Bologna.

“I have a visceral response to places like that,” says Singh. “To paper factories, old bookshops, people’s private libraries. I find the thought of the secrets and knowledge contained in all that paper deeply moving. I have long conversations with my publisher that are about nothing but paper. I carry the stuff around with me all the time, because I never know when I’ll have an idea for a book.” – Telegraph

Not only is archiving an inspiration and a large part of Dayanita Singh’s practice, but also publishing and the act of book making is too, found in the British Journal of Photography. The books that she publishes are often without text and are used to experiment on alternate forms of producing and viewing photographs. The first collaboration for a book that she did was with the publisher Steidl, which allowed the beginning of a new format in which her photographs create new narratives and follow new sequences. This boo was called Privacy and it portrays the wealthy India and the interiors of. However, for the first time, it also portrays a bourgeois, upper-class India, which openly declared Singh’s interested in this topic, which is both anthropological and archaeological in equal measure. This book also allowed Singh to distance herself from the photographic colonialist gaze, which was popular to direct at her country and also character of photography.

In another book, Chairs, she explores the subject area similar that to Museum of Furniture. The photographs that are collected for these books and the book making process are also used in the museums in her exhibitions. Chairs explores the sense of inanimate objects, spaces, evocative emptiness, and the latent time of them. This allows the reader to connect to the way Singh explored her sense of these subjects. The history of individuals, families, and that of generations of old culture that develop ‘once more after independence seems to manifest in these chairs and furniture, in the stillness of these objects’, is also a subject area that is explored within the book.

As documentation is a large part of Dayanita Singh’s practice and inspiration, it is surprising when in Go Away Closer, she steps away from this process in order to develop an essayistic view and function within her photography. This allows a ‘photo-novella to be pieced together without words to shape internal and external life, society and personal history, presence and absence, fullness and emptiness, reality and dream into a fragmented whole, a new and unique body of image and poetry’ (British Journal of Photography). This is a performative element that is slowly creeping into her photography, and has also manifested in her exhibitions with the mobile museums, along with the furniture, carts, and folding screens, allowing her photography to have continual, flowing and new forms wherever it goes. This also discloses the new meanings of the photographs.

“She displays the world of the archive as a living shadow world, a world of paper, of paragraphs, of files, which are bestowed a milky, pale illumination under the glow of old strip lights and which appear to perish, rot, disintegrate, yet paradoxically seem also to be alive and cultivated.” – British Journal of Photography

Dayanita Singh’s full CV can be found here and her website can be found here. The home of her artworks can be found at the Frith Street Gallery, London.

What should stay the same?

The art of slow conversation.

– Frieze

Arturo Herrera

Arturo Herrera is a Caracas, Venezuela born artist who is known predominantly for his painting, but has begun to explore a body of mixed-media paintings including collage, works on paper, sculpture, relief, wall painting, photography, and felt wall hangings.  The inspirations of his work namely include the processes that he has to go through in order to create the final piece.

The colourful mixed-media paintings that are created in the newest body of work use multiple techniques resulting in multilayered surfaces that both reveal and obscure the process of their making (Sikkema Jenkins Co, Sikkema Jenkins Co). He uses strategies of fragmentation and layer which has been adapted from earlier collage based works. The works that he creates are provocative and open-ended with the techniques of fragmentation, splicing and re-contextualisation.

As part of his works Arturo Herrera accepts failure in order to be able to learn and grow as an artist. He still doesn’t like the idea that he has worked on something for hours and think it is going to be really good and it does not live up to expectation.

Herrera’s work began with used images from cartoons, colouring books, fairy tales, and the combination of fragments of Disney-like characters to create unique collages. The Disney-like characters themselves contain violent and sexual imagery in order to make work that border between figuration and subtraction and also subverts the innocence of the cartoon and refers back to darker psychology. The process that is used in the creation of these pieces starts off with a large data bank of images and cuts outs. Herrera then pieces them together in order to create a pattern and paints on the opposite side of the piece. An exactoblade is then used to cut out the shapes that were previously drawn. These have to resemble the exact shapes, curvature and general style of cartoons, due to the style of the overall final piece. The edges are then burnished in order to create a completely flat piece and attached to a piece of museum board to make it look more ‘professional’. To see the process, visit Art21.

This artist loves to experiment and play with the work through change, accidence and very hard discipline. This leads his work to taking it a step further by photographing fragments of his collages. He then submerges the undeveloped film in hot water, cold water, coffee, and tea, in order to create unpredictable results when printed. The last stage of this is to edit the photos into a grid of images to create a work that is greater than its individual parts (Art21). Herrera also loves to play music and play with music in his artwork. Music, he finds offers no solution and no content. He has mentioned that he like to create artwork that is non-subjective, just like music.

“I think there is a potential for these images to communicate different things to different viewers in a very touching way. But that experience is not a public experience, it is very private, and very personal.” – Art21

Stretching from these works, Herrera has also explores with felt works by cutting shapes from pieces of felt and pins it to the wall. This is so then the felt hangs from the wall as a tangled form, resembling drips and splatter, much like Jackson Pollock’s paintings. This is also seen in some of Arturo Herrera’s paintings which are intricate and evocative, abstract compositions. Recently, Herrera has moved onto painting directly onto gallery walls in order to create large-scale compositions of wandering biomorphic imagery. These themselves blend a broad array of references and method including that of modernist strategies of fragmentation, re-composition and repetition, and to the highs and lows of the popular and elite Western culture and the kinetic art or public art ventures of the artists native Venezuela in the fifties and sixties.

‘Faculty Band’ is one of his most recent exhibitions and exhibits works that are radically novel, both in technique and scale. This is reportedly the closest to ‘making’ that this artist has ever been. In this exhibition, his paintings are literally made into paintings – there is a large emphasis on three-dimensionality and the revealing of the constructive, accretive nature. The pieces combine traditional media associated with painting-making (linen, canvas), along with every day materials such as cloth bags, felt and commercial banners. Another layering process within his work allows the conversation of his own vocabulary and that of Georges Braque, Kurt Schwitters, Daniel Spoerri and David Hammons. It has been described by Thomas Dane Gallery that “in a real ‘tour-de-force’, they simultaneously reveal the secrets and entrails of their own making, as well as accumulating layers, planes and ‘veils’ that render their ‘whole’ or unified examination almost impossible. These will be ‘punctuated’ by more intimate objects: small paintings made from/onto flea-market books, from a whole variety of genres. The books, now with their pages sealed in by the spills, marks and drips of the painting process, are transformed into ready-made grounds for gestural abstraction. They ressemble a painter’s study or variations on Paul Serusier’s ‘Talisman’, proposing a new kind of reading, both obliterated and open-ended, both as signifier and signified.”

Herrera’s wall paintings, collages and photographs don’t look like graffiti, but they are deployed in a similar way. His foreground patterns resemble abstracted brushstrokes or a child’s scribbles. Yet these marks have been enlarged, extracted or translated into the idea of the artist’s gesture, rather than the original mark itself. Herrera couples these shapes with scenery borrowed from mass culture, such as colouring books or Disney cartoons. Like a graffiti artist, he literally inserts his expressive mark into an artistic landscape that already exists. – Frieze

Arturo Herrera’s full CV can be found here, and is not represented by his own website. The home of his artworks is the Thomas Dane Gallery, London. His works have been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States and Europe, and currently lives and works in Berlin. Previous one-person exhibition venues include Centre d’Art Contemporain, Dia Center for the Arts, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Whitney Museum of American art, UCLA Hammer Museum, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, and The Tate, London.

Caroline Achaintre

Caroline Achaintre is a Toulouse born artist who works in multimedia installations to investigate simultaneous contrasts and relationships. Her interest includes periods of primitivism, as they present junctures between ancient and modern, psychological and physical, and exoticism and technology. These installations include wall-hangings, drawings, paintings and ceramics. All of her works are very colourful and finds colour very important as this sets the tone for the world, or the character that the piece is from. The colour is sometimes muted and very subtle within the piece. The use of play in association with medium, technique, process and colour allow the free movement of the works. These characters are closely linked to the psychology of the mask work that features throughout her work and is inspired by all mentioned above. 

“The work is always personal, even if it does not necessarily talk from one’s direct background. I create my own world in a way, characters that coexist with each other, sometimes within one piece. I am interested in the idea of looking in and out simultaneously, which often results in mask-like pieces. It is a fusion of the mask and the bearer of it, they are both real. There is more than one persona within one being. Within the world I create there are certainly aspects of my own persona, but in not such a literal way.” – Aesthetic

The aim of the work is to evoke the subversive spirit of European carnival and creating an atmosphere that is simultaneously playful and absurd in order to have an intense and playful tone.

In her works, Achaintre cites German Expressionism, post-war British sculpture and Primitivism. The specifics of the German Expressionism that Caroline Achaintre is inspired by is the dark side within it and the portrayal of ‘angst’. Other inspirations and connections that are made throughout her artwork include contemporary sub-cultural strands of sci-fi, Goth metal, psychedelic and horror films. These inspirations weave their way into her ink and watercolour designs, and transformed into large, weaved, wall-hanged rugs. Recently, ceramics and prints have also been explored as Achaintre explores the further use of materials.

Texture is a key part of Caroline Achaintre’s work from her rugs all through to the ceramic works. She explains in Aesthetic that she wants the work to be non-neutral, and finds that texture supports this. Emulating surfaces such as the skin and the fur in her works allows each piece to have its own unique texture, due to the length of the wool, or the pattern on the ceramic. The shaggy wall-hangings, or the rugs as they are otherwise known, have their own eerie feeling to them, simultaneously looking like hair and having a pure animist quality. These wall hangings have an intense, strong, physical presence due to their imposing texture. On the other hand, the clay sculptures that Achaintre also creates, operate on a more seductive level to the gallery space and the audience. The texture also allows Achaintre’s pieces to be dynamic – one of her aims in her artwork is for her artwork to always be dynamic and for it to never be stiff in one thing.

For her ink works, Achaintre was often inspired by the European carnival with both the morbidity and the childlike colours. Throughout these works, she experimented, and still experiments with colours and other materials in the process. She often uses wax before she paints with the inks to create a rejection and a coexistence. She started these ink paintings and experiments in Goldsmiths University, where she studied for a small time. Often these are also a dialogue with herself as she creates geometric shapes and patterns, and then places something on top, again studying coexistence. The smallness of these pieces captures the intense worlds that are within them.

Achaintre was then interested in domestic materials and looked into and explored with carpets – the furriness, shagginess, length of wool and colour were all explored. In an interview, she explains that she feels like she discovered a new language with the material and the technique. The process that which she has used as also allowed for accidents. This is something that appeals to her and has inspired her professed love for expressionism. The process used for these carpets is called tufting and is in which a rotating blade shoots through the piece of material on the loom and cuts it off. This is a very back to front process as you have to do this from the back, meaning you cannot see the front. Working blind also gives these accidents that Achaintre incorporates into the works. The pieces are then covered with latex from behind to ensure that it is all fixed. Caroline Achaintre also explains in the interview that she fell in love with both the outcome and the process and still continues to use this today. The works are always large, and in the small studio, the ceiling is the limit, and so some of the pieces have to be rolled up in order to complete it in several stages.

“When I end up showing them together, certainly. Sometimes, the same process or form will find its way into both – a way of folding, for example. To that extent, they influence each other. I like showing them together because there are nice correspondences: the wool is quite an eerie material, shaggy and attractive yet repulsive at the same time; whereas clay, at least as I use it, has a seductiveness.” – Frieze

Caroline Achaintre has also begun to explore lino cuts and ceramics. She found that she has gotten tired of transforming her ink pieces into wool and tired of the guessing work involved, and wanted to try something with a little more control. It has been found that she chooses materials for its rawness, which lead her to ceramics and the seductive and primitive nature of it when both raw and glazed. Ceramic has been found to be a very direct medium. There is a love of taking it onto other surfaces and through the inspiration of exotic scales, finds it easy to play with and apply textures. The ceramic gives the combination of snake-like object and shed skin. Often in the process to gain this combination, Achaintre uses a frozen movement after ‘squishing’ the clay, and finds the most difficult part is to get it in the kiln after this process has been done. From here, she has gone on to work with leather to gain a more in depth scale effect.

The first time Achaintre had her own studio was in 2016 after studying in Kunsthochschule, Halle (Saale), Germany. She was awarded a DAAD Scholarship and chose to come to London to study and draw. What attracted her to London was the YBA art scene, heavy metal bands including Slipknot, and clowning (where musicians apply one face on top of another).

Caroline Achaintre’s full CV can be found here and her website can be found here. The gallery that is predominantly associated with the artworks and the artist is the Arcade Fine Arts Gallery, London. To get a sense of her studio space and the way she works, visit the Frieze website. 

Tania Bruguera

Tania Bruguera is both a Cuban and New York artist who works with performance and installation. Much of her artwork is site-specific and often based on the experience of being at that place, at that time. Bruguera was born and grew up in Havana, Cuba, and this has influenced much of her performative work now. Her works are politically motivated and explores the relationship between art, activism and the social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power (as explained in these documentaries). The power and control elements of her political work are inspired by her Cuban past.

Her own definition of political art is ‘the art of uncomfortable knowledge’. As ‘in the end, art that stems from knowing that we actually don’t have all the answers, art that refuses to serve as a moral compass, art that doesn’t ‘make nice’, may be our best hope.’Good Intentions.

‘Artistic expression is a space to challenge meanings, to defy what is imaginable. This is what, as time goes by, is recognized as culture.’ – Marvellous Monstrosity

Short term projects allowed her to explore the prospect of more time-based projects within several countries. This included ‘General Strike’ which began with indications to paint on the walls and images of the revolutionary iconographic tradition of several leftist political cultures. “The purpose of this work was to create a space to invite the participation of the audience by enticing people to paint and create its propaganda proposals on predetermined images. The intention of this work was to generate new images to do with the topic of political expression.”

Another project, lasting fifteen weeks, was The Francis Effect, where Bruguera stood outside of the Guggenheim Museum in New York asking passersby to sign a petition. This petition was to try and request that Pope Francis gives the power to Vatican City to allow citizenship for undocumented immigrants. These people, and Bruguera, knew that it would be impossible to achieve this due to the laws of the Vatican, however “the impossible is only impossible until somebody makes it possible.”

Bruguera defines herself as an initiator rather than an author, due to the nature of her work. She creates proposals and aesthetic models for others to use and adapt. She does that through performances by herself and collaborations with multiple institutions and individuals. Her works are often staged participatory events and interactions that build on her own observations, experiences and interpretations of politics. These are namely influenced by Cuba’s political background and the promise and failures of the Cuban Revolution. This provokes viewers to consider the political realities masked by government propaganda and the mass-media production.

One of her most talked about works comes from these inspirations – a series named Tatlin’s Whisper. This is a series of works in which images that are familiar on the news become real and an experience to those in the audience of the performance. This particular series references the Soviet modernist artist Vladimir Tatlin and his works ‘Monument to the Third International’. Within this series she champions free speech through performance and even went through eight months of physical torture in Cuba, where one of her performances was disagreed with. This piece connects to Cuba’s lack of free speech and the performance is where Bruguera invites people to speak freely for one minute, before they were taken off the stage by police. These police were part of the performance, although many audiences did not know this. The mounted police were also asked to do a staged crowd control in several manoeuvres, whish changes the way in which the performance is interpreted. The mounted police were not used in all performances within the series, however they were used in the The Tate performance, London. These performances are normally politically charged, however the one in Cuba was more so as it was two weeks after the US Government re-established relations with Cuba. Bruguera did not know that the government was scared at this time, which made them more dangerous than usual. Although she met with Ruben del Valle, the president of the National Council of Arts, who denied her a permit to go ahead with the piece in Plaza de la Revolución, the huge square in Havana where Fidel Castro held rallies, she was not dissuaded to continue with the performance. However, in December 2014, she was put in a Havanan holding cell and was subjected to 26 hours of interrogation over the piece. During this time, she refused to eat and explained that “behaviour is your best communication tool”. In the months following, she was incarcerated three more times and had twice weekly visits from secret police, which made it twenty interrogations in total. Bruguera was released, although no specific details were released related to this. Later, she gave a statement, explaining that through this time she has grown as a person and an artist:

““When you do this kind of work,” she says, “you can never forget that you are an artist, but it’s hard because you have to be an artist, an activist, a citizen, everything simultaneously.”As an artist, she says, “I am very happy … even if it’s cost me quite a lot. It was beautiful to learn how solidarity feels – we use a lot of important words, without knowing their real meanings – ‘solidarity’ is one, ‘love’ is another, so is ‘friendship’, ‘support’. This year, I actually learned what these words mean.”” – The Guardian.

Above: Page excerpts from Out of time, Out of Place

Further long term projects include that of Tribute to Ana Mendieta, who is also discussed in Liv Wynter and Performance Workshop. This is another site specific piece where she recreates and redoes objects and performances created by Ana, who migrated to the US, and where she carried out her artistic career. This is the project where Bruguera begins to attempt to both deliver and develop political-timing specific concepts. She uses tools such as appropriation, reconstruction, and re-exhibition of Ana Mendieta’s pieces, but in a Cuban context. This stems from her original inspirations of her home country, Cuba, and the idea of art as a cultural and sociological gesture. This work is intended to be the relocation figure of the artist in the history of Cuban culture and as a representative of collective imaginary. What urged her to do more is that the policy of migration in Cuba at the time was silenced by the media and the culture of because of the political impact that it was having.

Throughout her work, Bruguera also uses the concept of arte útil. The literal meaning of this is useful art and art as a benefit and a tool. She uses this to propose solutions to socio-political problems through the implementation of art. This therefore develops long term projects including a community care centre, a political party for immigrants, a school for behaviour art, and invites prominent international artists to workshops every year at the ISA and the Immigrant Movement International (IMI). This links in closely with the political and artistic panels that Bruguera sits on and is invited to every year.

Tania Bruguera’s full CV can be found here and her website can be found here. The home of her artworks is The Tate, however she also has permanent collections of works at many institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana.

To resist is not enough. Use chants as if they were drums to spread the waves of commitment and slogans to highlight all the things that are wrong. But the streets are not enough. Be an active individual: it shows them you are not afraid. Learn the language of power, use the verbs they are scared of, publicly unveil their worst nightmares – act for them, not for us. Behave on a one-to-one scale with those you consider to be responsible. Laugh intelligently but never before you begin. Laugh after your goal is achieved, after your opposition is tricked, conflicted and incoherent because you took their power away with a simple human gesture. Don’t laugh about what they do, laugh about what you were able to do to them. What we know is not enough. Be persistent without tiring others. Use forms and actions that are legible for the resistance but new to the repressors. The time you have is the time they are using to figure out how to respond. Feeling good is not enough: create a political moment. – Frieze

Samson Kambalu

Samson Kambalu is an artist who works in a variety of mediums including site-specific installation, video, performance and literature. He shares much of this online on websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. The processes and inspirations of these works are also very public, and can be found commonly on his website. He has previously studied at the University of Malawi, Nottingham Trent University and the Chelsea College of Art.

Much of his inspiration comes from his home country in Africa, and more specifically, the gift-giving society of Malawi. There has been a noticeable difference, however, in the way that the gift giving in society now runs. Nowadays, charities go into Africa and give the African people, without letting the African people return the favour. This is “leading to resentfulness not gratefulness which can quickly lead to cynicism.”

Often in festivals, the people of Malawi would wear masks. This is to get people to start giving indifferently and to start taking indifferently too. This also ensures that no one feels in debt or obliged when wearing the masks, and when these masks are left, the generosity is also left with them.

To give through play can be a way of giving without any debt. Now, these masks live in museums, when before they would be at the height of infrastructure in society.

Situationism is another inspiration for Kambalu, which is defined as ‘the theory that human behaviour is determined by surrounding circumstances rather than by personal qualities’ and it is also ‘a revolutionary political theory which regards modern industrial society as being inevitably oppressive and exploitative’. This movement began with the Situationist International and the May 1968 student and worker revolts in France.

The protestant tradition of inquiry, criticism and dissent is also a common inspiration found throughout his work including that of Ghost Dance’, red Barn Farm (Two Chairs)’ and ‘Exercise & Exorcise’.

Another inspiration of Samson Kambalu is the cinema. In his TED Talk, he talks about how in Africa, they had to entertain themselves as everything was second hand in Africa. This meant that things always broke down in the Nyau cinemas and was always linear. This is the aesthetic of the broken down film.

The films that Kambalu also makes and shows are playful works and installations in which play is welcomed. These works are often spontaneous including ‘pickpocket’- a film in London, where he and another gentleman were wearing the same coat and Kambalu followed him down the road, imitating him. This was shown, along with many other videos, in Detail Is All, Germany, 2016, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, 2016

In August 2013, he published the rules that he uses to create his Nyau cinema inspired films. From these rules, he created a series of spontaneous site-specific performances ‘Psychogeographical Nyau Cinema’ (2013), seen in Frieze Film 2016, Day and Night, London.

Samson Kambalu 26.8.13

Nyau Cinema

Nyau cinema approaches film as a sovereign activity. Making film becomes a way of escaping the limitations and conventions of everyday life, where the self is playfully re-conceived as part a larger scheme of things. Nyau is a Chewa word for ‘excess’.

Nyau Cinema: The Rules
1. Nyau film must be conceived as a clip no longer than a minute.
2. Performance should be spontaneous and site/specific to found architecture, landscape, or object.
3. There must always be a conversation between performance and the medium of film.
5. Costume must be from everyday life.
6. Acting must be subtle but otherworldly, transgressive, and playful.
7. Editing must be limited to the aesthetics of primitive film and silent cinema.
8. Audio must be used sparingly, otherwise it must be performed live at film screenings.
9. Screening of a Nyau film must be in specially designed cinema booths or improvised cinema installations that compliment the spirit of the film.
10. Nyau cinema must encourage active participation from audience.

The series of films that transpired from these rules can be found below:

The films that are shown are often projected onto gallery walls, and in ‘Ghost dance’, they were projected from stacked Kinetescopic plinths that were each engraved with different US postal codes ‘to invoke unstable western systems for dividing and allocating land’. Kambalu often explains his works once they have been released and has explained before that the ‘seemingly random encounters recorded in his films as a way of ‘extracting poetry out of nothing – a continued exploration of how we might find meaning in what appears to be meaningless.’

Below is The culture of gift-giving in Malawi Ted Talk by Samson Kambalu in which he talks more about these inspirations:

Novels are a medium that Samson Kambalu has experimented with in the past with his first novel released in 2008 – The Jive Talker: Or, How to get a British Passport. This as a portrait of the artist growing up in Africa, published by Jonathan Cape and Simon and Schuster and as awarded Winner of the National Book Token ‘Global Reads’ Prize (2010). This book can be found on the Amazon website. This book since then has been translated into German and has been the subject to several performative reading tours which combine his art and literature.

Kambalu’s most talked about sculpture and installation was his 200 work Holy Ball’. This work is footballs wrapped in bible pages, and people are invited to ‘exercise or exorcise’ with them at local and international venues including the Venice Biennale. Since this exhibition, Kambalu has evoked a philosophy of life and art based on play and critical transgression. Through his latest works he uses different mediums such as literature and performance in order to playfully employ excess, transgression, humour and wit. This is to test the boundaries of received ideas regarding history, art, identity, religion and individual freedom, while keeping all his original inspirations.  Through the most recent works that evoke play, Kambalu wants the mix of interpretations; for some to find the action wrong, some to watch, some to go right ahead and some to encourage. These works are open to this interpretation, however this art is about creating relations and connecting people who otherwise wouldn’t be connected.

Other site-specific performances include the films Early Film (2013) and The Last Man in Paris (2013). These took public places as their arena. ‘With Duchampian mischief, Kambalu’s brief ‘rants’ – short, Chaplin-eqsue gestural sequences – showed the artist acting up in public, part of a wider reserach inquiry into ranting and dandyism as styles that enact a form of dissent.’ – Dak’Art 2014

‘Art comes from the gift economy, Nowadays everything is commercialised. When you do something now, you have to explain what you are doing in terms of its practicality. Art is one area where it’s not very clear what you get out of it; it’s almost intangible. What you get from art can’t be calculated and it makes it a special profession because most professions now are utilitarian. Therefore art is a single place in contemporary society where its significance lies elsewhere.’ – griotmag

Samson Kambalus’ full CV can be found here and his website can be found here. The home of his artworks, and the centre of his exhibitions are at the Kate MacGarry gallery in London.

United in Play.

Summer Project 2017

The topic for the summer project between Years 1 and 2 is ‘Be Influenced’.

We have been asked to research ten artists including;

Dayanita Singh,          Tania Bruguera,          Caroline Achintre,          Wolfgang Tillmans,          Pipilotti Rist,          Samson Kambalu,          Isa Genzken,          R. H. Quaytman,          Arturo Herrera,          Ming Wong.

These artists were chosen for us on the basis that their works reflect, respond to, expresses or illustrate the contemporary world. They also invent and create material processes to shed a new or different light on a chosen subject matter.

‘The aim of the project is to reflect upon the important role influence plays in the making of artwork.’ By looking closely at one of the artists material processes, e have been asked to use elements of their visual language to create a new work, considering; the processes of how the artist begins their work, how they gather their source material, how they manipulate this and the different processes used to develop the works.

We are able to develop our work from the influence, also considering how the context we live in informs and gives a different perspective to the ideas taken from the chosen artist. One idea given to us is to experiment with different mediums in order to translate the work of the artist, another is to keep a notebook to jot down ideas and sketches.

Your chosen influence acts more as a guide pointing you in a direction, they are not the end point for your work.

Make work over the summer that imaginatively responds to the question of what makes an influence a creative input into your work.