Part 5 – Artist Research

As I consider the impact of my feedback for part 4, I continue to spiral round again to Imran Qureshi. In my feedback the bloody pieces of part 4 have created a dilemma that I’m not sure I yet comprehend, but will come clear to me as I discuss matters with my tutor in due course.

I am still taken with giving voice to these silenced utterances. So I looked again at Qureshi. And Bourgeois. And Emin. And my feedback. And ponder. Qureshi concerns himself with life and death, violence and beauty. He enjoys these dualities. Yet he consistently claims that his art concerns what is going on around him – within him, in his local environment, in the World. I am concerned at giving sound or shape to those invisible wounds that people won’t tolerate to be seen or heard.

I’m typing this and I don’t know how to write clearly. I’ve reflected on my feedback but respect my tutor’s request not to put the report online. It has been suggested that I need to develop more subtlety and sensitivity. Qureshi ‘wanted an element of attraction and repulsions at the same time…Something that invites you in and then repels you. Or repels you at first, then invites you in later – working in both ways.’ There needs to be surprise and questions. Thus my current exploration as to what pain looks like and how it would take on form in a particular space. But there’s a concern as to what my pieces say without story to support them. Then I found this on Qureshi (from The Guardian):

‘But the meaning is not immediately apparent without the installation’s title – And They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, a quotation from the Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, writing about those whose suspicious deaths have never been solved.’

Qureshi works at these extremes of scale: the Roof Garden installation at the Metropolitan Musuem of Art in New York., his miniatures drawing on the Mughal tradition he is trained in – e.g. the works for the Barbican ‘Where the Shadows are so Deep, the 3d works, the giant canvases such as ‘Give and Take’…

…why is ‘scale’ so contemporary a concern or proof of artistic intention? I think the Egyptians had this one covered  from pyramids to hieroglyphs to mummified crocodiles. Why is it still seen as demonstration of skill/talent/prowess? What is it about scale that has us so enthralled?

I think there’s also a certain arrogance – look how much space I can fill with my work, look how much room I need, look how many resources I can devour…hmm…think there’s more to consider here.


‘Imran Qureshi: The Roof Garden Comission’ The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY 2013


6 thoughts on “Part 5 – Artist Research

  1. Makes you wonder if a tutor ever said, ‘more subtlety and sensitivity’ to Tracey Emin! I’m sure you could now describe all sorts of her work with those words, but there’s also a body of work which you certainly couldn’t say that about – thank goodness!

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    1. Exactly…my family are sick of me chewing this bone this weekend! I wonder if I should email her and ask…though personally I wouldn’t venture to call any girls in this county ‘girlish’…but there we go😆


      1. ‘Girlish’?

        But for sensitivity, a couple of weeks ago in Tate Modern I saw a piece of work by Louise Bourgeois which I’d definitely call sensitive and I loved it for its delicate touch of what I read as underlying messages of something almost worse than pain – an expression of being framed by the finiteness of life where her view of it edges into the trancendental.

        ’10 am is When You Come to Me’ (2006)

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  2. Great link, Jennifer. I found the comment about the colour red especially pertinent in relation to your work, Lottie: ‘Red is an affirmation at any cost – regardless of the dangers in fighting – of contradiction, of aggression. It’s symbolic of the intensity of the emotions involved.’ Not much ‘subtle’ about red – but then, that’s kind of the point.

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