Patrick Photos

A personal photography project

Tag: Art (Page 2 of 10)

A New Perspective

The Nude – A New Perspective by Gill Saunders was written in 1989 and from what it says on the the jacket cover, accompanied an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Even though the book is coming up to being thirty years old, it is amazing how relevant it still is today.

This book examines how the human body has been used by artists through a careful curation of example works and arranging them not just in chronological order but also by topical juxtaposition within the book. For example how Adam and Eve are depicted and early photography through to more modern artists like Picasso.

The author argues that the common theme of nude art is that it is usually created by a male artist featuring a female subject who is in either a submissive, powerless or seductive pose. If a male subject is being featured they would be in a powerful dominant pose.

A pretty clear message being sent to women about the world of art.

In my previous post about Sotheby’s Erotic: Passion & Desire auction you could say that the message has not changed. However the final section of this book gives hope that with more female artists looking at the world from a new perspective change is happening.

So why is it taking so long? My guess is that the vast back catalogue of works that artists use today as reference is a very hard habit to break. If any new work gets created with no reference to this back catalogue it is soon drowned out by the many recreations of the same old stuff.

This book has forced me to cast a more critical eye over what I am seeing around me. Is it right to be viewing people in this way? Are the images I am taking communicating an outdated or incorrect stereotype? And if this is what I am doing, what am I doing about changing this?

Erotic: Passion & Desire

I first heard about the Erotic: Passion & Desire auction being held today at Sotheby’s via a CNN article written by Siri Hustvedt.

Walking from the tube station to Sotheby’s in central London to get a copy of the catalogue is a walk past some of the high end stores with products with big price tags. Opposite Sotheby’s is even The Fine Art Society.

Hustvedt’s analysis is that this auction gives gravitas to viewing women as sex objects. And looking through the catalogue I agree with her analysis. It is really uncomfortable to see an intellectual argument being made for these works to be sold at the highest price possible. This sale coming so soon after the Presidents Club story makes it even more uncomfortable.

I do believe that attitudes are changing and I wonder if today’s buyers have made a good investment. The value of these lots is only as good as someone willing to pay for them. Tomorrow they might not be able to give them away.

From Life

The From Life exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts opened on 11 December and I thought it would be worth going to during my days off between Christmas and the new year.

If you do decide to pay a visit, I would suggest starting in the Sackler Wing by the historical paintings of the Royal Academy life drawing room and ending in the Tennant Gallery with the virtual reality. And if you have access to Sky Arts at home is to watch Royal Academy: Painting the Future.

I’m pretty impressed by how a couple of the artists have embraced new technology like virtual reality. Also how all the artists have their own way in viewing the human body.

Before Christmas, I purchased the accompanying book to the exhibition and I am pretty glad that I did as it gave me more context to what I was seeing. It is a shame that not all the works in the book were on display. I would liked to have seen a few more pieces that did not depict the human body as object but more, shall we say, human. However, this is the Royal Academy of Arts and not the National Portrait Gallery.

This exhibition has made me really think. How do artists create life in a portrait? Can you really create a sculpture in virtual reality? With virtual reality are we going to do away with art galleries? Should we treat people as objects?

As you leave the Sackler wing you are confronted with Jenny Saville’s Entry which is a large image of what appears to be a woman with a battered face. Is this a message to not forget humans have feelings and can get hurt.

From Life is on until 11 March 2018.

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