Contextual Week Brief

During the next few weeks you will need to prepare a series of art days in which you will look at exhibitions, spaces and areas of interest which will help to inform your work. Consider your own working methods and try and discover artists, designers and photographers that utilize similar methods but push the boundaries. Alternatively, choose arts events that show different methods of working using media and techniques that you have not used before. Consider why particular practitioners are using materials and try to find the theoretical meaning behind the work. Respond to this by putting together a PowerPoint presentation that can be delivered to the group on Thursday 13th February. During your visits you will be expected to keep a sketchbook of work in which you will draw, take photographs, use mixed media and make notes. We expect about 4 paragraphs a week minimum for the blog and the more exhibitions you visit and respond to, the higher the grade you will achieve. This work will be graded as part of the contextual studies unit. You can choose to do this individually, in pairs or in small groups.

(From the project brief)

Here are the exhibitions I visited:


Hauser & Wirth

Alex Van Gelder’s Meat Portraits

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This exhibition was not for the faint hearted, Van Gelder has taken his audience on the journey through a slaughterhouse in berlin where he photographed the grotesque meats in their natural market place form as well as piece composed by himself.

I personally wasn’t too impressed by the what was photographed but I was impressed at how Van Gelder had photographed his once was subjects. The portraits were so abstract that you had to look at them for longer than a moment to realise what they were, I think this was a good idea because the unknowing of what the photographs were made you want to look away but because it wasn’t clear upon first look you had to look closer and for longer.

This exhibition didn’t really make me think about responding to Van Gelders work as I didn’t really like the concept  Im personally not one to want to photograph dead animal meat lol, however his use of close ups and abstract feel really makes me consider investing in a zoom lens so I could get really close up to human skin or even fruit and veg skins.


I did attempt some close ups of some still life to see if I could create the idea of abstract art for my audience however I think if my lens allowed me to I could have zoomed in a lot further.

Here are some examples of my close up shots:



Wellcome Collection

Foreign Bodies Common Ground


This exhibition sees six artist residencies in different countries (Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam and the UK) and present to their audience different medical research centres. The artists spent six months or more documenting their research centres and created series of work responding to their experiences.

I found this exhibition to be more informative about the world and how other countries research medical issues, it was fascinating i must say. The curation of this exhibition was very well executed, each photographer had their own section and non of which looked the same, i fact the only thing they all had in common was the fact that they all had a feature film explaining their medical research centre which helped me a lot in understanding the different sections.

A part of the exhibition that really caught me attention was the film by Lêna Bùi’s from her residency in Vietnam, this documentary which was screened on two adjacent walls, there was subtitles on each screen but what made it so interesting was the sound, they had place the sound, it was place in the opposite adjacent walls so there was this feeling of overly simulated senses between the eyes and ears. It made me feel as if I was in Vietnam watching the documentary take place in real life. _1364201332



When is comes to documentary photography I have attempted to try some during this past summer however I felt that I wasn’t successful as I don’t see myself as a candid photographer. I think if I had the chance to document some environment with a cause I think I’ll find it in me to be able to shoot the photographs I will need.



TJ Boulting

Scarti – Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

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‘Scarti di avviamento’ is the technical term in Italian for the paper that is fed through the printing press twice before making a book, to clean the drums of ink between print runs. This by-product is usually destroyed once the book is printed. But in this case the ‘scarti’ – Italian for scraps – were saved and stored away by publisher Gigi Giannuzzi. Following his untimely death in December 2012 this box was discovered.(http://www.tjboulting.com/exhibitionspage/345/scarti)

I found this exhibition really difficult to understand, reflecting on it now I get the concept of layering old with new but the background of the photographs confuse me.

As for achieving a well captured audience I’d say that TJ Boulting didn’t achieve this because the space was very small as well as being hard to navigate, if the space was bigger with a more open plan i think it could have worked a lot better.




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