Tag Archives: Part One: Contemporary Art

Assignment 1: Part B Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Ogreave

As I began to look into the piece I did get slightly confused as to what the piece was, was it the documentary, at 1 hour and 3 mins in length, was it the objects and timeline in an exhibit?

I ended up watching the documentary, thinking that was the piece itself only to then realise it was part of the piece alongside the exhibit. Anyhow I found it helpful to make some notes whilst I watched the documentary, I tried to make notes on the form of the piece and any way in which Deller’s piece raised themes such as time and place. I’ve scanned my notes so you can read them below:

Notes on assignment 1

Notes on assignment 1









Notes on assignment 1 pt.2

Notes on assignment 1 pt.2









Notes on assignment 1 pt.3

Notes on assignment 1 pt.3









I found the notes helped me to begin thinking about what would be the main part of my essay and also helped me think about how to introduce and conclude my arguments. I then set about reading the recommended information from the Tate website and the Critics reviews in the Frieze and the Guardian.

I have definitely found that reading the Critics reviews has provided a sort of sounding board for my own views, sometimes I agree with their views or they help me expand on my own, other times I disagreed but it helped me to consider why.

Reflection against assessment criteria:

Demonstration of subject based knowledge and understanding:

I think I’ve demonstrated some subject knowledge, probably mostly around what we learned about formalism, and used that knowledge to help form my arguments in the essay. I’m unsure of how successfully I used knowledge of the theme of place – as this felt like such a broad topic, so I only really touched upon it in the essay.

Demonstration of research skills:

The number of sources was limited for this assignment but I think I demonstrated good use of them, picking out references that enhanced my or explained my points throughout the essay. The sources were all digital sources though so in that sense fairly limited, I imagine this will change with following projects.

Demonstration of critical and evaluation skills:

I think in my essay you can see a clear attempt to begin to grapple with concepts and debates around Deller’s work, and some evidence of analysis of the form of his work. In my learning log there is reflection and some critical thinking although this could definitely be increased.


I tried to present the essay to the required standards, using double line spacing, the Harvard referencing system, good sentence structure. It’s been awhile since I’ve written essay’s so I think some of the flow of the piece is a little halted but I’ve tried to make use of basic essay writing principles, there’s a clear introduction, middle, conclusion.

Assignment 1: Part A – Reflective learning

At the beginning of Part One I was asked the question ‘What is art?’ Have my views changed or not, explain why. Explain how they’ve changed if this is the case:

I think my view of what art is has changed somewhat. At the start of the course I thought I was fairly open or liberal with my view of art was. But I discovered particularly through the Assignment piece that I did hold some quite traditional mind-sets about what art was. I think what enabled me to move past those mind-sets was a new understanding of form. I was able to approach pieces that took non-traditional form because I had a way to analyse them by their construction. I think at first I felt overwhelmed by the breadth of what we now call art, but now I feel I have more tools with which to analyse and understand it. I also have come to see that views that I thought were more cynical (e.g. successful artists court sponsors) have some grounding in truth. I hadn’t realised how commercial some parts of contemporary art were.

Reflections of what I’ve learnt in Part 1:

One thing that has perhaps cemented in me is the belief that art is subjective, I don’t have to like everything that is art to be an artist. That I don’t have to like the subject matter in order to appreciate the concept or skill with which an artist has approached a subject.

I’ve learnt to move further away from simply giving an initial emotional response to a piece of art work to being able to consider it from several angles. I’ve learnt to consider the form of the piece, the context, the view of critics and use that to come to a developed personal response. This is still something I’m practising!


Reflections on Learning Log:

I think some aspects of my learning log work well. Having a blog means that including links to any critics reviews or articles I read is simple, and I find it easier to make notes as I go by typing. I think that I am starting to develop the ability to use my learning log as a place to reflect more effectively, going beyond my initial response to pulling together arguments based on multiple viewpoints. However I do think that I need to increase the amount I visit exhibitions of contemporary art in my area. I didn’t have any idea of what was around until it was required by the course to visit a local gallery. I can see now how this could help inform my own practice. I found seeing Fiona Banner’s exhibition particularly interesting from a graphic design/typography creation stand point. She will be someone I look to reference in my own work. Namely as an example of someone working with the form of neon, for a conceptual idea rather than just a design or aesthetic appeal.

Research: Tate Artist Rooms – ‘Theme: Language’

I found the link had been re-worded on the Tate website, so I’ve included a link here just in case I lose track of it again…


Use of text as art work in it’s own right seen as controversial, birthed on the back of Duchamp’s ready-made’s and seems to go hand in hand with the movement of conceptual art. For me it’s interesting it see these artists in context. I’ve seen some of their work in galleries as I was growing up and not really been shocked by their use of text/language, for me text as art doesn’t seem shocking in and of itself. It’s how it’s used or the content of that text which provides any shock factor. Perhaps though that’s a result of growing up a consumer focused generation.

Artists whose work incorporates or explores text/language:

Sol LeWitt 1928-2007 – first coin’s term ‘conceptual art’ in article ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art 1967’.

Laurence Weiner – use of purely text in gallery spaces/walls, focuses on interaction between artwork and viewer or receiver. Work interested in interpretation of language.

Edward Ruscha – focuses on printed word found in mass media and advertising, associated with Pop Art movement. See words as shapes themselves, interested in their form as well as meaning.

Bruce Nauman – works often with Neon sculpture to create pieces which disturb or distort the meaning of everyday phrases.

Martin Creed – minimalist works, again making use of neon signs, but often on a large scale and on buildings rather than within gallery spaces.

Mario Merz – another artist making use of Neon text, but instead focussing on placing these in a juxtaposition with other everyday objects.

Jenny Holzer – first public work emerged 1977-79, described as an installation and conceptual artist. Works with variety of mediums and formats to portray language, from posters, billboards, LED signs, park benches…

Joseph Beuys 1921-1986 – a German artist, seen to use works as a from or activism or call for social reforms.

Richard Long – English sculptor, photographer, painter – associated with Land Art and used text to describe or capture walks and interaction with nature.

Ian Hamilton Finlay 1925-2006 – briefly already introduced to this artist – ‘the concrete poet’.

Cy Twombly 1928-2011 – American artist – painter, printmaker, sculptor, linked to action painting and Abstract expressionist movements. Incorporated a form of handwritten text into works.

Exercise 3: Gallery Visit – Ikon Gallery Birmingham

I didn’t really have a good idea of what Galleries were in the area, that had a collection of contemporary art. I found this article in the Guardian on-line which recommended the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. So I went along and found an exhibition by contemporary British Artist Fiona Banner.

‘Scroll Down And Keep Scrolling’ – by Fiona Barren at Ikon Gallery 10 October 2015- 17 January 2016

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