1)With the aid of 2 examples, list some of the key concepts behind the works of M.C. Escher. (10m)
Two weeks from M.C.Escher include “Reptile” and “Waterfall”. “Reptiles” show the lifecyle of a reptile and how it starts from a tessellated picture of an alligator to an alligator with half a body in 2D and another half in 3D, to a fully 3D alligator which then returns back to the tessellated 2Dalligator form. The entire picture is rendered in black and white, due to the use of woodcut. The black and white helps to create positive and negative spaces in the picture. From “Reptiles”, we can infer that key concepts behind M C Esher’s work include tessellated figures that can be transformed, reflected and pivoted. We can also infer that Esher emphasizes positive and negative spaces, especially with the use of the two parallel achromatic colours, black and white. This can also be inferred by his choice of medium, the woodcut.
The other work, “Waterfall” shows water flowing down a building. However, from another perspective, we could say that the water is instead flowing back up to the building. The idea of an impossible structure is intelligently camouflaged by M.C.Escher as when viewed from afar, the building is seemingly normal. This idea of the impossible building follows the mathematical idea of a mobius strip, which is a never ending loop. Once again, “Waterfall” is rendered in black and white, due to the nature of the medium, woodcut. Based on “Waterfall”, it is not tough for one to infer how the key concepts behind the works of M.C. Escher includes mathematical algorithms as well as the exploration of positive and negative spaces in black and white.
In retrospect, “Reptiles” shows how M.C.Escher is interested in the links between 2D and 3D, the mathematical idea of tessellations and positive and negative spaces. “Waterfall” on the other hand exemplifies how he is interested in mathematical algorithms and impossible structures like the mobius strip.
Antony Gormly, Field for Brititsh Isles 1993 Terracotta variable size, approx 40, 000 elements, each 8-26 cm tall
Henry Moore, Recumbent Figure, 1938, Green Horton stone, 88.9 x 132.7 x 73.7 cm, 520kg, Tate Gallery, London
Describe the subject matter of these sculptures, making reference to what you see. (1om)
In Anthony Gormley’s “Field For The British Isles” (1993), figures of people ranging from 8 to 26 cm in height is exhibited. These figures are built using terracotta and the final product is left to be in the natural reddish colour of terracotta. The terracotta figures are arranged in long rows and columns that appear quite orderly and seem to be attaining a vanishing point within a great distance. The terracotta figures are of varied shape, size and expressions, seeming to be unique individually.
Henry Mooke’s work. “Recumbent Figure” (1983) is a sculpture carved on Green Hamton stone. The sculpture seems to be depicting a woman, as can be seen from her cleavage. The extensions on the two sides of the sculpture’s chest can be inferred to be the sculpture’s arms, which are locked in prayer. This could possibly be, as implied from the title of the piece, a recumbent figure. The choice of medium used, which is the stone could also possibly be the sculpture’s expression as how he wishes for it to be long lasting. The uneven shape of the sculpture also implies how people are never perfect.
2b)Analyse and interpret the artists’ intentions of the sculptures. (10m)
From my contextual knowledge, I know that Anthony Gomley makes figures cast in head and iron, often taking his own body as the object for which the sculpting occurs on. His aims of doing so were to emcompass not only what people see from the exterior, but also what is to be seem internally. The “Field for the British Isles” is an installation with varied terracotta figures. These figures come in varied shapes and sizes, possibly showing the differences within every single person, implying the individuality of people. In addition, I know that when viewed from a specific height and angle, the figures all seem to be staring at the viewer. This together with the overwhelming 40,000 figures could possibly be the artist’s intention of overwhelming the viewer and making the viewer feel insignificant in comparison with the massive amount of figures. Also, the fact that the artist chose to leave the figures in its original colour instead of colouring.The figures show how the artist possibly wanted to retain the sole similarity in the figures, which is the colour.
Henry Moore’s “Recumbent Figure” is a sculpture of a figure carved in Green Hamton stone. The figure is of a majestic size and is a depiction of the upper torso of a human. The figure was a pair of magnified arms that seemingly looked clasped in a prayer like form. Through the emphasis on the upper torso, especially the hands, the artist could possibly be implying how she can repent through prayer. In addition, the size of the figure could perhaps be the artist’s idea of how great or how nobel the recumbent figure.
2c) From the perspective of a viewer, discuss the differences between installations and sculptures. You may use these two works, or other examples to illustrate your answer (10m)
From “Field of the British Isles’, we can tell that the positioning of an installation is a key factor which affects the viewer’s perception and understanding of the intention of the artist’s work. For example, had the terracotta figures be arranged in a circle with no vanishing point, the viewer would have had a different idea on the artist’s intent. This contrasts with a sculpture as most sculpture are at a rooted position and the viewer is allowed to walk around the sculpture, to admire the sculpture from whichever position he deems is beautiful. The arrangement of the sculpture is done during the process of sculpting the work instead of after the process of the sculpting.
In addition, comparing Andy Goldsworthy’s “Ice Arch” to Henry Moore’s “Recumbent Figure”. Though both artwork are of majestic sizes, installation artworks have a tendencyto use the arrangement of the artworks to bring out a deeper meaning like global warming. This is in contrast to sculptures in which most of the time, as in the”Recumbent Figure”, the meaning lies within the artwork and not through the positioning of the artwork.
Also, comparing Han Sai Por’s “Spring” with the “Shimmering Pearls”, “Spring” is a sculpture that is rooted at one spot and it was the sculpture as the sole and central focus.. “Shimmering Pearls” however, has placements of different pearls at different heights. Though they are essentially balls that are coloured, they confuse the viewer as there is no central object to focus on. This shows how installation art is more focused on big picture while sculptures focus on the main object.