Tuesday 7th February

Today I found out that I have been offered a place at Westminster, which I am very pleased about as it is one of my top choices. It is also very gratifying to have a signal that someone else believes that your work has potential, and now that I have offers from Westminster and Kingston I am just waiting on CSM and Edinburgh. This is something I should use to add to my confidence going into the final project. The academic requirement from the Foundation is only a pass, so although I will clearly aim to do my very best and get the best grade that I can, there is no outside pressure on me, only that that comes from within myself.

Before the briefing tomorrow, I have been having a think about what I may want to do my project on, as Alice said that the title and subject would be completely up to us. From thinking about my work and what kind of thing I am drawn to I have seen that I tend to look at uniforms quite a lot. The idea of looking at clothes and the roles they perform and how they affect the person is something that interests me, and feminism is also something that is a key part of myself so I may look at something along those lines. However something that really interests me in particular is looking at revolutionary Russia, which is a subject I studied at A-level, and is particularly relevant as this year is its centenary. The extreme comparison between the extravagant opulence of the Romanovs and the strict utilitarian philosophy of the Soviets is striking and is something that I would like to explore.

I have been looking at seeing if there are any interesting or relevant exhibitions in London at the moment, and I have seen that there is a RA exhibition on art during the revolutionary period for which there is a preview on Wednesday, which I am very interested in and plan to go to. In terms of what is on today, I visited a small exhibition at the Gallery of Russian Arts and Design where they had a series of artworks by the Russian artist Irina Korina. In an odd coincidence, when I got to the gallery I recognised one of the artworks from one of my tutors’ Instagram, and realised that he had collaborated on the exhibition with the artist. It was a very unusual exhibition, because it wasn’t traditional in the sense of having artworks on the wall or in a designated space, the viewer was encouraged to walk around it in a maze of iron sheeting and be completely immersed in the work. This was particularly pertinent as the artist appeared to creating her own world, including characters, which are placed in a habitat that appears to be inspired to an extent by Russian fairy tales, including a forest which now appears dead and charred, but subverted to render what at first appears to be a characatured landscape into one that speaks of disappointment. I found the characters to be particularly interesting, as they were essentially large cartoon-like heads with apparently human legs protruding from them, as if there were live people inside them laid down on the floor. Upon closer inspection these were simply stuffed with shoes placed on the feet, but it was nevertheless very effective and also added an element of wry humour. I think that it is important to relate my project to the here and now, and only refer back to the past, in order to ensure that my project will be entirely relevant, and I think that a good way of doing this is to look at modern artists perhaps from a country or group that you are looking at in the past, to compare and see if the issues that were important then hold the same significance in the world today.

I also visited the V&A as I saw that among other objects, they has a selection of Faberge items, some of which were made for the Russian Tsarina. A particularly beautiful piece was a box encrusted with diamonds, and really spoke of the extravagance that dominated their lives that is unimaginable to the ordinary person, would would be an interesting means to use contrast and juxtaposition. Following this I also visited two galleries, viewing the installation by the artist Anya Gallaccio. I first studied her work at A-Level and I found this to be a very interesting piece, as it was created not by the hand of the artist directly, but by a 3D printer printing out clay in order to depict the Devil’s Tower mountain in Wyoming. Although unfortunately I didn’t view the piece at the time that the printer was actually printing, as it is an installation still in progress, and the piece continues to be made each day. I particularly liked the contrast between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ methods of creation, the traditional use of clay with the modern technology that is lauded as revolutionising design, and observing the somewhat chaotic results. The unpredictable nature of clay results in ‘imperfect’ results, where the structure appears to collage in some places and appear ununiform. Moreover, I also saw ‘Art Revolutionaries’ at the Mayoral Gallery. This featured works from some of my favourite 20th Century artists, such as Picasso and Alexander Calder. As well as Calder’s sculptures, it also featured one or two of his paintings, which I had never really seen before and it also helped me to make more sense of his sculptural pieces, It is as if through sculpture he was transferring the ideas he expressed through painting int the 3D, to create something tangible out of something so abstract.

I have had a very enjoyable day walking around London and visiting galleries, walking in the city is something that I particularly enjoy as often I forget to stop and take stock of the world around me, and I think it is important to appreciate the environment particularly when you are living in such as a vibrant city. I think I will wait until I hear the brief tomorrow to start marshalling my ideas and start to come up with the concept I want to take forward into the project.

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