Sunday, 29 June 2014

Introduction 2: This time it's kunstgeographie

Not distracted by the view. Oh no.
When looking at art, the viewer should be encouraged to consider geographic issues, to enquire how far environmental factors impact on the society, economy, psychology which produced the piece of art or architecture. In my view, the place of art is as important as the history of that same art; after all, both have informed it equally. For example, in the heart of royal Dresden, along the Augustusstrasse, attached to the back of the Royal Mews, a 102 metre long ceramic mural dominates the street. Known as the Procession of Princes or F├╝rstenzug, Saxony’s rulers from the first, Konrad the Great (1127-1156) to the last, Friedrich August III (1904-1918) are shown. Originally painted between 1870 and 1876 by artist Wilhelm Walther to celebrate the 800 year anniversary of the Wettin dynasty, they were originally presented in lime wash and stucco but were made permanent in Meissen porcelain in 1906-07.[1]

Friday, 27 June 2014

Where is my Parnassus on Wheels?

Books…I’m not going to tell you precisely how much I’ve spent on books this past three months. Mostly because I don’t know and doing the maths scares me silly. Suffice to say I’m doing my dissertation and to save time, I bought some of the more obscure titles to save me time and having to go to the closed at weekend libraries.

I don’t have an excuse for the latest addition to the Clare Brown Institute but it confirmed a few wacky ideas I’ve been having recently. Picture this.

It’s that mid-afternoon lull, where you have that head fug, poised within a post-tea, pre-coffee vacuum. I’m sat at my desk, struggling with a conference paper. The phone rings and it’s one of my favourite lawyers. As ever he is very enthusiastic. He started by thanking me for my help and then got distracted by things he’d read at the weekend. The first was a story about a young talented writer who died recently. The second was a book that he had picked up randomly.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

'Fabric' Review: No sun without shadow

Malina Busch 'Fluorescent Blush'
This review was going to be a celebration of summer colours; of shutting ones eyes against the June solstice, leaving echoes of bright pink, rich blues, willow green flashing across the vision, leaving red spots in their wake. I wanted to waken a joyous holiday spirit found in new summer clothing; softly draped fabrics dyed in fluttering colours. Instead I've found myself unwillingly drawn to secluded gazebos hiding clandestine encounters, and surreptitiously lifting tablecloths to see who is touching who inappropriately.

Which sounds like every summer party I've ever been to, so what better exhibition to open in June than Fabric? This show was inspired by the current trend for artists, both established and emerging, working with all kinds of cloth. From embroidery, tapestry, found material, string, canvas…as well as combining it with other media. After the experience they had at the Exeter Contemporary Open, the curators followed up some old and new leads which led to this exhibition. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Introduction: From Politics to 'boozing and praying princes'

The Wettin rulers’ journey from margraves to kings was not an easy one. The most serious period of instability occurred in the years prior to August, and it was only through the political astuteness of his immediate successors that the House continued and he was able to establish a peaceful rule. The importance of religion in their struggle for power and land cannot be understated, and much of the instability experienced in the 1520's was exacerbated by the Protestant reformation. 

For instance, the devious side-changing Protestant Mauritz fought for Catholic Charles V against the collection of Protestant rulers within the Schmalkaldic League which was defeated in 1547. For this service, Charles V awarded him the title ‘Elector’ and the fortunes of the House of Wettin were further improved. Under Mauritz’s brother, August, peace within the Holy Roman Empire was fostered and he was instrumental in negotiating the 1555 compromise treaty which emerged out of the Imperial Diet of Augsburg. Modern commentators such as Jochen Votsch recognise that August was a skilled politician, achieving considerable territorial gains in a peaceful manner.[1] He was able to create a state which was ‘a model of successful internal development…known for financial stability, support of mining, science and technology, and reforms in the domains of justice and administration’.[2]

Introduction to August's Wiredrawing Bench

In the heart of royal Dresden, along the Augustusstrasse, attached to the back of the Royal Mews, a 102 metre long ceramic mural dominates the street. Known as the Procession of Princes or F├╝rstenzug, Saxony’s rulers from the first, Konrad the Great (1127-1156) to the last, Friedrich August III (1904-1918) are shown. Originally painted between 1870 and 1876 by artist Wilhelm Walther to celebrate the 800 year anniversary of the Wettin dynasty, they were originally presented in limewash and stucco but were made permanent in Meissen porcelain in 1906-07.[1]

Monday, 9 June 2014

Passion: When Capability isn't Enough

Arousing great desire
Passion can be defined in a number of ways. It is derived from late Latin 'pati' meaning to 'suffer' and was chiefly a term in Christian theology. Its modern meanings range from 'strong and barely controllable emotion', 'a state or outburst of strong emotion', 'intense sexual love', to 'an intense desire or enthusiasm for something' or 'a thing arousing great enthusiasm'.

With these in mind, Lucy Kellaway made some interesting observations in her FT column from Monday 9th June. She stated that the fashion for being 'passionate' about your work was actually undesirable and inappropriate. She explained that 'passion' was mere language inflation and, occasionally, an excuse for work place histrionics. Instead of passion, she suggests that employers should instead call for enthusiasm, conscientiousness and motivation. This state should be left for religious festivals and sexual activity, and most definitely out of the photocopy room.