What follows is the first draft of a proposal that is to be submitted for a final Fibres art project this year… It will surely change, but I wanted to share my thought process on this installation…

My Love of Making is a Fluxus Affair

Guiding Quotes:

“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.” Marc Chagall

“We struggle with the right words to describe the design process… But it is very much about designing and prototyping and making.” Jonathan Ive – Chief Designer at Apple

Opening Statement:

Current pandemic limitations have highlighted the extent of consumerism experience in modern society and allowed us a moment of pause to consider what material possessions are really worth having. I’ve chosen this reflective moment to demonstrate the creative possibility of repurposing older materials. Borrowing the post-modernist rebellion of the Fluxus movement to president the work in a nonsensical installation that emphasizes the simple joy of silliness that sometimes enters the making process. 

Rationale & Significance: 

  • Initially focused on transforming a few discarded furnishing into a unified design for a home foyer; the documentation process invited me to become part of the work, to make it part performance and part installation. Signs of the artists voice isn’t always obvious in the artwork, much less the message they wish to speak, except in this case. I intend to share my joy of making by instinct and my love of whimsical things. It my my hope that they will see that trusting ones instincts is as deeply satisfying as a good laugh. 
  • There are many contributing inspirations for this installation / performance. The pattern design comes from recognized Pop Art iconography, specifically Jim Dine’s Heart sculptures sitting outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Robert Indiana’s “LOVE prints and sculptures. I feel these two visuals have become ubiquitous icons of modern art and stir interesting conversation about their definition as art. I wanted to explore them further and attempt to add to the conversation through a different lens. 
  • For the past several years, I’ve been studying, exploring and integrating a Wabi-Sabi philosophy into my making practice; I purposefully seek beauty in imperfections. Partly because it’s therapy to work with my own mistakes and to see them as something other than errors, partly because it opens my eyes to possibilities and allows me to tap into my maker instincts, and partly because it engages my audience in a more democratic dialogue about definitions of beauty: it is in the eye of the beholder. This feeds my belief that “what is art” is a matter of subjectivity.
  • Finally, through a recent art history class, I’ve developed a fascination with the Canadian Fluxus movement artists of the 1960s & 1970s, specifically the perforative installations of Greg Curnoe. With a cynical eye, I can see their Dada-inspired absurdist-antiestablishment performances as shock marketing. With a more curious eye on the documentation of these works, I see an invitation to engage art differently. The Fluxus movement asked the viewer to dialogue with the work, to become part of the meaning, and to allow the work to create an ongoing and evolving conversation through time. The artwork means what the viewer interprets it too mean.

Projected Timeline & Methodology:

  • Research inspirations — Fluxus installations, Wabi-Sabi related to making, pattern making: Accomplished throughout 10 week period. 
  • Plan installation and draw sketch: 3 hours (over several weeks)
  • Collect materials — Mostly thrift store and art supply store visits: 2 weeks
  • Make Print samples on collected fabrics — 8 hours (over several weeks)
  • Clean, prep., & Paint furniture to refinish: 3 hours
  • Cut and sew printed fabrics where needed — bench-cushion and ottoman: 8 hours
  • Set-up document (photo) performative-installation – 1 to 2 hours
  • Edit documentation for presentation: 3 hours

Components: 

  • 1- Remade Foyer Bench – using original print pattern from part one of the project and found continental-style bench. Dimensions: 72cm x 41cm x 100cm
  • 2- Repurposed table runner – Modified pattern, focused on alternating black & red on creme table runner. Can be used as a scarf. In the photos, will be part of silly-installation. 
  • Dimensions: 40cm x 272cm
  • 3 – Modernized Floor Lamp – using mid-century floor lamp and repurposed shade from Ikea. The shade will have a version of the pop-art LOVE pattern.  Dimensions: 163cm (height)
  • 4 – (if time permits) – Resurfaced Ottoman (cube-shaped). Using some samples of printed pattern and various sewing techniques. Dimensions: 40cm x 40cm x 40cm

Results:

This methodology will be extrapolated into the embellishment aspects future projects as well as the my modes of presenting my artwork, both two-dimension and three-dimensional in a more dynamic and meaningful setting. It will help me develop ways of seeing unconventional materials as canvases for traditional printing, reupholstering, and up-cycling, thus contributing to my overriding objective of limiting wasteful practices and over-consumption.

A Few Images taken during the process:

Suggested research: 

  • Cholette, Katie. “Derision, Nonsense, and Carnival in the Work of Greg
    Curnoe.” RACAR: Revue D’art Canadienne / Canadian Art Review 37, no. 1 (2012): 53- 63. Accessed December 28, 2020. http://www.jstor.org/stable/42630857. 
  • Curnoe, Greg, Dennis R Reid, and Matthew Teitelbaum. 2001. Greg Curnoe : Life and Stuff. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario.
  • D’Oench, Ellen, Jean E Feinberg, Jim Dine, Davison Art Center, and Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. 1986. Jim Dine Prints, 1977-1985. 1st ed. Icon Editions. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
  • Higgins, Hannah. “Experience in Context: Fluxus; Happenings, Conceptual and Pop
    Art.” Fluxus Experience. Berkeley, California: University of Berkeley Press. 2002. 101-
    146. Print Book. 
  • Indiana, Robert, Barbara Haskell, Barilleaux René Paul, Sasha Nicholas, Whitney Museum of American Art, and McNay Art Museum. 2013. Robert Indiana : Beyond Love. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art.
  • Juniper, Andrew. 2003. Wabi Sabi : The Japanese Art of Impermanence. 1st ed. Boston: Tuttle Pub.
  • Longhurst, Erin Niimi, and Ryo Takemasa. 2018. A Little Book of Japanese Contentments : Ikigai, Forest Bathing, Wabi-Sabi, and More. San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books.
  • Tanizaki Jun’ichirō. 1977. In Praise of Shadows / in Praise of Shadows. New Haven, Conn.: Leete’s Island Books.
  • Okakura Kakuzō. 199AD. The Book of Tea. Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg.
  • Pop, Andrei. 2020. “Art and Form: From Roger Fry to Global Modernism.” The British Journal of Aesthetics 60 (4): 502–5. https://doi.org/10.1093/aesthj/ayaa009.

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