Martina Lopez uses her family’s photographs to reconstruct memories and to deal with the changes in her life. The series she created is for her father, mother, and eldest brother who were killed in Vietnam. She uses these images to piece together an artificial space of her own creation outside of a specific moment in time. Of this Lopez writes, “By extracting people from their original context and then placing them into fabricated landscapes, I hope to retell a story of their being, one which allows the images to acquire a life of their own. While the pieces from photographs verify an actual lived experience, the landscape stands as my metaphor for life, demarcating its quality, where the horizon suggests an endless time.”
She uses scale to create primary and secondary characters. As the viewer moves closer to the image, they become aware of the secondary images. For Lopez the foundation of each series is autobiographical, but also states that “the specific stories are not necessary to understanding the work, but they are what drive their creation. My images have become a visual diary, a place where I come to terms with life.”
For this assignment I will address the concept of “intertextuality” by taking three digital photographs using as a reference the following list of artists:
Photography 1 (interior) based on an Edward Hopper painting
Photography 2 (interior that refers to exterior) based on Rene Magritte’s work. Manipulation of the photograph must take place.
Photography 3 (exterior) based on the painting addressing the “sublime”. American painting example Thomas Cole.
Digital manipulation is an option in photographs 1 and 3, but is a must in photograph 2.
The content of the photograph as well as the use of people or objects as subjects are open to your creative decisions.
The main idea of intertextuality is based on the principle that the text refers to another text. Context research must be made to understand the text that I’m referring to (paintings in this case). For example: contex–where those paintings were made, the content or subject matter that it depicts, historical and cultural references of the painting, the artist’s position in the history of arts, etc…
Photography 1 is based on an Edward Hopper painting. I looked on the internet in order to find images that struck me and then tried to learn the story behind these images. Nighthawks is the image I liked the BEST of all of his work. Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967) was a well-known American realist painter and printmaker. He captured urban and rural scenes in detailed renderings, which reflected his personal vision of modern American life. Hopper derived his subject matter from two primary sources: one, the common features of American life (gas stations, motels, restaurants, theaters, railroads, and street scenes) and its inhabitants; and two, seascapes and rural landscapes. Regarding his style, Hopper defined himself as “an amalgam of many races” and not a member of any school. Once he achieved his mature style, his art remained consistent and self-contained, in spite of all the art trends that came and went during his long career. The painting that I’ll be focusing on in this intertextuality assignment is “Morning Sun.” This painting uses a particular pallet of colors. The context is private, Hopper sought to capture, in his words, “the sad desolation” of America. Hopper painted a lonely middle-aged woman (the model was his wife) on a bed in an empty room staring out the window at nothing in particular. By presenting situations that appear unresolved and instilling in them a pervasive sense of solitude, Hooper is able to transform the mundane and familiar into the extraordinary and enigmatic.
I will give intertext to the piece by posing as the woman. The only difference is that I will have a sketch board in hand. I will carry the colors through in this piece and may add visual elements to the exterior of the building (the view the woman has of what is happening outside her apartment.
Below is the image that I started out with – we caught the hard light in the morning. As you can see, I DID have the large window to work with as well as the placement of the bed similar to the layout of “Morning Sun.”
For the final intertextual image, I put myself INTO “Morning Sun” by adding the texture and color pallet of this painting. I also was able to simplify the image by taking out miscellaneous items from the photo. I chose to keep the window empty because of Hopper’s style – since you do not know what I am looking at or about to draw, this image is still unresolved and instills in the viewer a sense of imagination.
Taking it a step further, I thought about how Hopper put himself in scenes to capture the moment. I’ve taken moments of time from my own life to show through these window portals, keeping in mind the light source. It’s as though I am reflecting on my future as I am in a sort of seat of control. The intertext is between the current-day life of Lindsey Smith and the current-day lives of those strangers that Hopper would focus on with his paintings. I enjoy the mix of flat and 3-dimensional elements in the below images.
René François Ghislain Magritte (21 November 1898 – 15 August 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images. His intended goal for his work was to challenge observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality and force viewers to become hypersensitive to their surroundings. Magritte’s work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The representational use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his paintings. Magritte used this approach in a painting of an apple: he painted the fruit realistically and then used an internal caption or framing device to deny that the item was an apple. In these Ceci n’est pas works, Magritte points out that no matter how closely, through realism-art, we come to depicting an item accurately, we never do catch the item itself. René Magritte described his paintings as “visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does that mean?’. It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.”
For this intertextual image, I will be using a picture of my husband – Bill Smith in his Marine uniform. Please see this original image, below.
To introduce intertextuality into this image, I will place a apple suspended in air with a bullet zipping through the apple. For the background of this image, I will use a serene setting to juxtapose the images that are being presented.
Photography 3 (exterior) based on the painting addressing the “sublime”. American painting example Thomas Cole. Cole was an English-born American artist. Cole’s Hudson River School, as well as his own work, was known for its realistic and detailed portrayal of American landscape and wilderness, which feature themes of romaticism and naturalism. He did a lot of landscapes. The most famous of these are the five-part series, The Course of Empire, which depict the same landscape over generations—from a near state of nature to consummation of empire, and then decline and desolation.
To create a sublime setting as well as introducing intertextuality, I will create a “paper-doll” technique. Paper dolls are figures made from paper, they have separate clothes that you can hold up to the dolls by folding over tabs. Today, many artists are turning paper dolls into art forms. Instead of covering a human with clothes I will be covering (or dressing) a bare landscape with the sublime beauty of LIFE. Please note all blue area is representing transparency in the cut-outs. The first image is the frame to be used as the back-bone for the images. The frame itself has directions that read:
Using the scanner as camera, take 4 scans of my face (each time in different position, recompose my face using parts of each photocopy and tape, stitch, sew, staple the parts). Once these steps are completed, I’ll post the results below.
Before I begin looking into this work of art by Haziz and Cucher I must know what the title of their work means: Dystopia. After looking through Haziz and Cuchers’ work of Dystopia, (specific work located here), I read the following phrase is provided: “An inventory of a bizarre skin growth, DYSTOPIA, seems to document a pathology. It seems clear that at some level this pathology is not only dermatological, but cultural, commenting, perhaps, on the gradual but waxing loss of identity and the means of communication in a technological environment that promotes anonymity and conformity”. —Adrian W.B. Randolph, FRAUEN KUNST WISSENSCHAFT #30
Needing to know more, I went online to dictionary.com to read dystopia’s definition: “a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.” Wikipedia defines dystopia as, “the vision of a society in which conditions of life are miserable and characterized by poverty, oppression, war, violence, disease, pollution, nuclear fallout and/or the abridgement of human rights, resulting in widespread unhappiness, suffering, and other kinds of pain.”
After looking over these images, I found that the following similarities:
1. Strong poses
2. Solid backgrounds
3. All white figures
4. No jewelry or clothing being worn
5. The titles of the pieces are all very similar with a person’s name and date
6. All eyes and mouths are taken out of the image
7. They are all roughly the same size (50×40) with only the last image being 11×14.
It seems obvious that the images are meant to make an impact with the point that we, as a society, are gradually losing our cultural backbone of identity — it’s being ‘shaved’ off of us in a slow process of evolution (shaver in final image is moving). The strong poses do not seem at ease, they are rigid in form, this furthers the point that this work of art is trying to convey that we live in “a society characterized by human misery.”
I believe the artwork also expresses that if we don’t SEE it or TALK about it, it isn’t really there – going along with the expression: “ignorance is bliss”
Denis Darzacq’s photographs show dancers flying or floating through the air while in familiar shops or urban streets. They are wearing ordinary clothes but are in funky positions like they are being THROWN into the air by a strong force. Their bodies are movable/bendable/flexible. They move within their scene and seem to bounce back from the force. Most of the people are young, late teens/early twenties.
His series, Hyper, is concerned with the relationship between being and having. Hyper refers to the Hypermarkets (French equivalent to our supermarkets) in which these works are shot. Darzacq was drawn to the trashy, pop nature of the Hypermarkets and the hyper coloured background they provided.
I watched the YouTube video of how he captures these images. He actually FINDS people to flip and dance and captures these images. These images look like they’ve been taken into PhotoShop but they are actually REAL. That’s what makes it so amazing to see this series. You think the outdoor scenes are suicide clips, showing young people falling to their death. After seeing the video, you learn how Darzacq captures these scenes and coaches his subjects.
To me, I think of the hyper market that surrounds us, the fast-paced society that surrounds us. How we are bounced around in the jaws of it and how it shapes us and how we ‘bounce’ back. That’s what I take from this series of ‘hyper’.
In looking through Teun Hock’s images, I see the similarities in is collection – he’s always placing himself in his environment. Usually he’s facing some sort of obstacle and is surrounded by mundane colors in a flat setting. Hocks starts each of his works by sketching various one-man stories, then poses himself in a carefully plotted setup against his own painted backdrop. After photographing the scene, he paints in oil on top of the resulting oversize gelatin silver print. The wit, elaborate technique, and rich colors of his images combine to form an irrepressibly original oeuvre.
Knowing he’s from The Netherlands makes this interesting. What these images make me think of, as I know that Hock is from Holland, is the history behind his Motherland. The Netherlands. This is a country that is in existence because of all the dykes that keep it afloat. It has flat and dreary weather conditions many days of the year. Through the French Domination and WWII, Holland has had to fight hard for its survival.
Back in 2001, I spend a summer as an exchange student in Groningen, The Netherlands. I have wonderful memories of my time spent in this flat land. The windmills, the brick roads, the many bars, the fields as far as your eyes could see, the bikes, bikes, and more bikes. It was similar to the US in many ways, just just different enough that I knew I was an ocean away from home.
The Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east. The capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague. Being one of the first parliamentary democracies, the Netherlands was a modern country from its inception.
The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 27% of its area and 60% of its population located below sea level. Most of the country is very flat, with the exception of foothills in the far south-east and several low-hill ranges in the central parts created by ice-age glaciers. The Netherlands is a densely populated country. It is known for its windmills, tulips, clogs, delftware, Gouda cheese, visual artists, bicycles, and in addition, traditional values and civil virtues such as its social tolerance. The country has more recently become known for its liberal policies toward drugs, prostitution, homosexuality, euthanasia and abortion.
Concerns About the Environment & Landscape
It was quite enjoyable to become familiar with Erik Johansson’s photographs. After sifting through his collection, I was able to piece together the fiction and non-fiction, real and false pieces. They collide in an unbelievable way, taking into play the context of estrangement.
Looking through these images, I believe his unending concern is with how environs (people) view their natural surroundings. He focuses on the reality of the world but takes each scene and stretches it into the unknown. By doing so, we are forced to consider the oddity of the scenes, and the oddity of our real surroundings and what ‘real’ means to each of us, as environs.
Influences of Magritte & Escher
René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He created witty and thought-provoking images with the goal of challenging observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality and thereby forcing them to be hypersensitive to their surroundings. Both Magritte and Johansson are creating thought-provoking images – and I can clearly see Magritte’s influence on Johansson. Below is one of Magritte’s works, which looks very similar to Johansson’s ‘Fishy Island’.
Maurits Cornelis Escher (M.C. Escher) was a Dutch–Frisian graphic artist. He is known for his mathematically inspired, physically-impossible constructions. I’m sure he was an inspiration to Johansson as both of their works are physically/feature-impossible scenes. M.C. Escher’s below work is one of his more well-known and it looks VERY similar to Johansson’s ‘Perspective Squarecase.’