This idea of governments manipulating the information that is presented to the public is most famous within the Nazi regime. Which saw Hitler burns books, and ultimately burn history so that he could rewrite it and create a new way of thinking with the minds of ordinary people. Here below is a youtube video explaining these events.
This is without a doubt one of the most extreme cases of this type of action.
Although I am not depicting war in action I felt it was worthwhile to take a look at some famous paintings of war, and how exactly they get this feeling of pain and anguish across. Here is ‘Guernica’ painted by Picasso in 1937.
It was painted as a reaction to the Nazi’s casual bombing practice on the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. It shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts especially on the innocent. When considering the depiction of the horrors of war you would expect colour to play a huge role however this piece is mostly monotone. However in this case it intensifies the action. Also this piece uses a great deal of symbolism, for example the raging bull represents the onslaught of Fascism. As well as this the sheer size of the piece at 3.5m x 7.5m is very imposing which almost forces the intensity upon the viewer. This is something I want to incorporate into my work.
An interesting film that I recently watched to gain a greater knowledge of the undercover workings of mass media was “Manufacturing of Consent” by Naom Chomsky. Here it is below.
“In this documentary, linguist and liberal political activist Noam Chomsky presents his thoughts on how the mass media works against democracy’s best interests. The corporations and investors controlling the outlets where most people get their news, he argues, selectively choose what to cover for reasons having to do with personal agendas and retaining power, rather than what’s best for readers and viewers.”
This was a valuable documentary as it is something which is not greatly discussed.
Mark Titchner is an artist who creates posters and uses them as an art form.
“Titchner’s work explores the relationship between language, thought and action. Using fragments of text that he finds in various sources including political manifestos, song lyrics, religious and philosophical literature, he produces a consistently stylised mode of address.”
Propaganda is something I am extremely interested in and want to explore it further in my work. Also I want to explore with the use of words just like Titchner.
Towards the latter stages of my dissertation research I bumped into my previous constellation tutor at the Kiefer exhibition in London, she suggested an article to me that she felt would assist my research.
This newspaper article entitled “The truth about evil” by John Gray has since played a huge role in my research and also within my studio practice. It comments on the current state of politics and the universal view on the term evil.and how this is fundamentally incorrect.
“Our leaders talk a great deal about vanquishing the forces of evil. But their rhetoric reveals a failure to accept that cruelty and conflict are basic human traits.”
“Most western leaders reject the insight that destructive human conflict is rooted in flaws within human beings.”
“Aiming to exorcise evil from the modern mind, secular liberals have ended up constructing another version of demonology.”
These quote reflects the whole article and this is ultimately something that I am trying to convey within my work. I want to produce work that challenge the view that evil is something only the cruellest among us have. I want the viewer to relate to the evilness in my work and understand that it is a human trait, and always will be no matter how civilised humanity becomes. The articles goes on to suggest how the western world in particular is a slave to this ideal.
The article goes onto suggest the origins of this portrayal of evil and Gray indicates that much of this has stemmed from religion and this whole idea of good versus evil. This being an idea that implies that they are totally separate entities. He also comments on current events in the Middle East and the sharp rise of ISIS and our perception that they are entirely evil. This is a real thought provoking article and I would recommend anyone to give it a read. This article has also given me the subject matter for my first large scale painting of the Nazi Youth. This can be seen below.
This is my work for my formative assessment. This term has gone extremely quickly however I feel I am prepared. This year I have work predominantly on paper as I work with less restraints on this material. Also I haven’t produced as much sketchbook work, and I have more more on larger scale pieces and pieces that I could exhibit. I feel that sketchbooks have held me back in the past and not allowed me to venture out of my comfort zone.
This tutorial came at a point when I was in need of some direction. After I told her about my work she started focusing on the upsetting nature of my work rather than the evil. She suggested going looking into morgues and even visiting one. After telling her about my Tuymans influence she also suggested looking more at environments, for example the scene after road side accidents in which flowers are laid as a mark of rememberance. Along with this she also suggested a number of artists to look at, the first being Diane Arbus.
Arbus is an artist who portrays people in a way that isn’t normally publicised by society. This in a sense is what I am trying to achieve within my work. When describing my work I alway suggest how I want to portray something that people don’t necessarily want to see or relate to. Arbus does this in a very obvious way.
Another artist that she suggested was Goya and his work entitled “Distasters of War.” This series of work has been recommended to me before and it is of particular relevance to me as I am referring to it in my dissertation when discussing art of the past and its relation and portrayal of evil.
These very powerful etchings are revealing the truth in a way, a sight that viewers are reluctant to see. Another Goya piece that I was advised to look at is the “The Execution of Emperor Maximilian.”
The tutor said I should be repainting paintings. This is something that I previously stayed away from but she said it would be a good way to experiment. For instance, the Chapman Brothers done it with Goya’s etchings.
I was also advised to read more literature and view more movies, one that was recommended was “The Village.”
Along with this she said I should look still life artists
A recommendation that I will be definitely looking at is the use of propaganda posters. This is something I have briefly looked at in Second and she said I should paint propaganda posters with my painterly style. Overall this was a worthwhile tutorial and has given me a new sense of motivation.