Evaluating Contemporary Art

Evaluating Contemporary Art
Identify a work of art that you have enjoyed looking at @ NGV

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Artist name:
Tony Adams; born Australia
Chaco Kato: born Japan 1953 arrived Australia 1996
Dylan Martorell; born Scotland 1971 arrived Australia 1975
Together they are identified as Slow Art Collective

Title: Marlarky

Date the work was created: 2013

Country: Australia

The artwork is a: Installation piece at the NGV Victoria, Ian Potter Centre as apart of the “Melbourne Now” exhibition. Public Gallery. 

These questions prompt the students for reading and research on the artwork while at the gallery and about the gallery space in which the artwork is being displayed. 

How big is the artwork?
Estimated size: 3mx4mx5m

What is the scale of the artwork in relation to the human figure? The artwork is very large in relation to the human figure because of the room size in which it is featured in. It is interactive as you have to walk around the space to view it.

Do you need to stand or move in a particular way to view the work? To view this artwork you need to walk around the space. There is certain area in which you can take off your shoes and become interactive with the piece, by touching the hanging aluminium objects, you can sit down on oil drums and there is a bamboo bed that can be also sat or layed down on and kitchen appliances. With the use of the wool mounted highly on the ceiling, you are not only engaged too look around the space, but also up. When viewing the work, you become absorbed in all of it, not just one particular section because of the sectioning of the dwelling.

Are there constraints on the viewer or is there an element of interactivity? There are a couple of elements of interactivity as mentioned above. This artwork doesn’t come across to the viewer as being ‘precious’ because of the size and the interaction needed to view the whole space. 

How is the artwork lit? Natural lighting, fluorescent lighting scatted throughout, neon rope lighting throughout

These questions allow students to think about the space, surrounds and the elements used in which they will have optimal viewing of the work. 

What materials or media have been utilised in the creation of this artwork? Bamboo, cane, wood, rope, cable, wool, metal, found objects, lights, spices, herbs, dried fruit, oils, cooking utensils.

What methods or applications have been applied? Gathering objects, construction.

These questions helps the students understand and also become more informed about the different methods and medias that can be undertaken and applied to create artworks. 

List the things you can see in the artwork? The use of wool creates eccentric colour and shape thoughout, but also creates fine lines. Scattered throughout are everyday household objects and hung lighting

What are they doing? Is there a story? I feel as though a story is being told about the sustainability, culture, and the environment.
This is a multipurpose environment that encourages contemplation of relationships between people and place and the objects that we encounter in our daily lives.

Being able to talk about the work and the visual elements in which you can see, can help one achieve a better understanding of the work; discuss and question why those particular elements may be present.  

How have the art elements been applied in this artwork? Yes colour and shape is very evident within these works.

Have the art principles been applied to this artwork? Yes unity and emphasis.

These questions assist in enforcing the students to use and apply the design elements and principles to artworks and become more familiar with the arts terminology and language.

How is the overall mood or emotional intent of the artwork? The artwork feels quite chaotic, because of the bulk use of wool, and the construction of the dweling, so many different things going on such as, people sitting on the bamboo beds, others over in the kitchen looking at the herbs, spices and wool in the wok, others in the interactive section of the dwelling, and others just roaming around and looking at the engineered aspects of the artwork.

How does it make you feel? What has the artist done to make the viewer feel like this?
This artwork to me feels quite joyful and eccentric. These emotions are provoked because of the bright colours and the friendly appeal this artwork sends out. Because it is interactive and not fragile you can intermingle with it. This cloth and bamboo constructed dwelling has been created from salvaged materials and entering the space you can imagine yourself, eating and sleeping in this multipurpose space because of the arrangement of objects. The background sounds also are sounds of joyfulness and busyness.

Such a question can prompt a student to describe and explain how an artwork makes them feel or how how they can make others feel and the emotional appeals and aspects correlated with art/design creation.

Has the artist appropriated anything from another source?

What other artists or art movements might have inspired the artist? Yarn bombing. Asian inspired.

Does it remind you of anything else? I have seen Chaco Kato’s work before, I knew as soon as I stepped into the room that she had been involved in creating this piece because of the constructive use of wool and dried fruit that has been randomly hung throughout.
Kato exhibited Mildura Palimpsest #9 in October 2013. Mildura Palimpsest is a biennial arts event that invites and engages artists with the cultural and natural environment of the Mildura and Murray Darling region. The reference of hanging dried fruit and use of wool reminded me of her Light Box exhibition.

The comparison made between other artists can prompt the students to think about differences and similarities of qualities, methods and concepts of artworks. 

Do some research about the artist to see what else you can learn about this art practice. Is it different to other work they have made the same? Try to describe the difference.

This question encourages the students to build their knowledge of the chosen artist. From scaffolding this knowledge, students also gain insights into more techniques used for the visual art and or design creation. As well as investigating the artist, you are also in exploring the way in which they are practicing their art. 

What issues, ideas or themes do you think the artist might be trying to raise in the artwork?
Sustainability, DIY, culture.

What might the artist’s point of view be? Awareness

Do you have an opinion on the artwork?

Write a bibliography:

Bibliographies are a way of showing us where the students have gathered information and what resources were used. 

At my last university, I had Chato Kato as a guest speaker at one of my lectures. Here, I gathered a lot of information about her art practices and how she created her works. Within this guest talk she stated that her main interest is not so much in the nature of art, but in how she and the resulting work relate to the space that surrounds it. Through the creativity of this DIY like construction, Kato presents this metaphor to the viewers of fragility and strength of life. She creates works on site from zero if possible and this is visible within the installation piece, also working with her ‘Slow-Art’ collaborators Tony Adams and Dylan Martorell. This artwork forces you to experience the site, physically and internally as the art and materials used are derived from everyday life itself. Kato blurs the boundaries between the artist and the viewer allowing us to get directly involved in the works.
It was a privilege to see this artwork in a gallery space and being able to relate back to this guest speech and see Kato’s art practice.