– gather failed attempts at mould,
– refamiliarise myself with slip casting technique in Ceramics Bible,
– gather together pieces made before Christmas on the wheel,
– establish timeline to ensure I will have work for WIP show (Jan 25th)
– on days where I’m not able to access the ceramics studio, make literally anything else, always be making,
Even rough objects are important and can convey an idea
– use this idea in my work
– don’t get bogged down with perfectionism yet
Hwigyeong – 揮景 series, Juree Kim (2011). soil and water.
Place and Practices, Juree Kim, (2017).
Kim works primarily with clay, performance and film to explore the themes surrounding social and natural environments with a focus upon Korean cultural identity. Kim’s artistic work and research mirrors Brownsword’s concerns due to her observations on the destruction of regions within Eastern Seoul as a result off gentrification and the displacement of local communities and skills.
To get myself back into the swing of making I went to the ceramics studio and worked on throwing on the wheel. I’d been thinking about ceramic techniques over the summer and had been watching tonnes of videos, yet being back on the wheel I was surprised at how out of practice I was. I definitely need to practice a lot more. I was able to make a few forms, this isn’t necessarily the direction I’d like to go in but it was enjoyable working with clay again.
Doris Salcedo: Untitled (2008). Wood, metal and concrete. 78 x 247 x 121 cm. (White Cube)
For Salcedo, the tension arising from the clash of materials expresses the emotional and psychological unease at the heart of her work, which is motivated by the traumatic effects of civil war on the Columbian people. The use of particular materials to express this was inspired by the work of German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-86), which Salcedo discovered while she was studying art at New York University in the early 1980s (MFA 1984). Beuys’s notion of ‘social sculpture’ – integrating political awareness with making – and his focus on materials to convey specific meanings were a significant influence on her practice.
Untitled (1998) Wood, cement and metal. 2140 x 1495 x 570 mm. (Tate)
Salcedo’s work gives form to pain, trauma, and loss, while creating space for individual and collective mourning. These themes stem from her own personal history. Members of her own family were among the many people who have disappeared in politically troubled Colombia. Much of her work deals with the fact that, while the death of a loved one can be mourned, their disappearance leaves an unbearable emptiness.
Untitled, 1998 is one of a large group of Untitled sculptures combining domestic wooden furniture with cement that Salcedo created during the 1990s. The first series was exhibited as a large group at the Carnegie International, 1995 in Pittsburgh before being dispersed. Tate’s work was part of an installation in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral during the first Liverpool Biennial in 1999. The sculptures, mainly comprising cupboards, chests, armoirs and wardrobes, alone or combined with chairs, bed frames, tables and other chests, resonate in a variety of ways. The level surfaces of the poured cement combined with more or less visible sections of steel armature have industrial associations allied with minimalist sculpture, which the blocking of space – either filling openings or creating actual blocks on and under chairs – enhances. These sculptures recall such works by British artist Rachel Whiteread (born 1963) as Untitled (Nine Tables), 1998 (T07984) and Untitled (Rooms), 2001 (T07938) in which empty space – the space under a table and the negative space of a room – appears solid. In contrast to the rough, heavy cement with its blank, impassive flat surfaces the wooden furniture in Salcedo’s work appears fragile and mortal. Made by craftsmen, by hand, the sculpture’s wardrobe and chair have a history of relationships with human bodies – those that made them and those for whom they were created. In relation to the cement, they stand in for bodies; although as their openings are closed they are bodies that can no longer function; they are sealed and silenced in a manner that powerfully evokes death and entombment. As well as uncomfortably fusing two or more pieces of furniture, Salcedo’s Untitled series often incorporates clothing into the layer of concrete filling the openings in the cupboards, drawers and cabinets suggesting even more poignantly the remains of people who are no longer alive.
I began with a plan to make two successful forms. Mixing the slip was a lot easier than I expected and has definitely opened up the possibility of working with different kinds of slips once I’ve got my head around this step first.
I worked on making one form really thick, and another really thin. The slip I worked with was a lot more watery than usual but this lent itself really well to creating thin walls. In future the slip will have to be thicker for consistency.
A thinner form only took ten minutes in the mold, a thicker took about 13-15minutes. Once I’m working with denser slip I’ll need to experiment more with my timings as casting will be a lot quicker.
I ended up making four forms, all of different thicknesses.
At home I took the thickest form and the thinnest and put them in small containers. The thinner form I filled with water, the thicker one I poured water around the outside.
Salcedo grounds her art in intense research, which includes prolonged fieldwork and extensive interviews with those who have experienced violence and loss. Seeking out direct accounts, or obtaining physical evidence from victims or their relatives and friends, she becomes what she calls a ‘secondary witness’. To articulate catastrophe visually, she has consistently resorted to techniques of eradication, disfiguration, blockage and especially removal. The last of these offers a particularly effective way to represent trauma – not only because disaster literally annihilates people and things, but also because when attempts are made to recall it, there is often a failing of memory, since trauma has the effect of obliterating its own recollection.