Hoarding research

I’m trying to incorporate my new research skills into my practice and work in a less linear way than before. I am also trying to find quicker ways to work through ideas than making the labour-intensive pieces I have before. Definitions of hoarding from Wikipedia:

Compulsive hoarding (or pathological collecting) is a pattern of behavior that is characterized by the excessive acquisition of and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that would seemingly qualify as useless or without value.[1] Compulsive hoarding behavior has been associated with health risks, impaired functioning, economic burden, and adverse effects on friends and family members.[2] When clinically significant enough to impair functioning, hoarding can prevent typical uses of space so as to limit activities such as cooking, cleaning, moving through the house, and sleeping. It can also be dangerous if it puts the individual or others at risk for fire, falling, poor sanitation, and other health concerns.[3] …Hoarding appears to be more common in people with psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Google images search on hoarding can be seen here. My tendency to love (and live in) clutter is always a worry for me. What I consider a reasonable amount of clutter and mess is considered tidy by some and slovenly by others. I like (need) to have things around me that inspire and cheer me and remind me of specific happy events. I also need to have things around me that I need for my work – if they are tidied away I am far less likely to use them. I don’t in any way think I am a hoarder, but I think we all have hoarding tendencies in a sliding scale. To look at my own life I have wandered around the ground floor of my house photographing areas of chaos and mess in the house. While I don’t really want to go around doing this, the resulting photographs are fascinating in terms of creating a sense of claustrophobia; shape and patterns in the forms and all achieved with everyday innocuous objects all in a domestic setting. I snapped them just as they are without changing or moving items to make them more aesthetically pleasing. I found this image when searching for information on hoarding – from the ‘Valiant Recovery‘ site. What strikes me about this photo is that the order out of chaos looks like an art installation but it used next to a hoarders room to show recovery.

Using my 4 words kick off, I would say that my research should begin with chaos, claustrophobia, domestic, personal. Searching under chaos brought up an exhibition at the Guggenheim called Chaos and Classicism. To the right on this page was an advert for the poster of Kandinsky‘s Blue Painting. This instantly connected with me and reminded me of the way I was seeing the shapes of the photos and wires of the iron. Kandinsky was influenced by many art movements, but the ones that seem pertinent to me are Fauvism (which I have often been referred to because of my use of colour) and Abstractism.

Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”), a short-lived and loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. While Fauvism as a style began around 1900 and continued beyond 1910, the movement as such lasted only a few years, 1904–1908, and had three exhibitions.[1][2] The leaders of the movement were Henri Matisse and André Derain.[1] Wikipedia

Claustrophobia repeatedly threw up a blog featuring Chiharu Shiota. She is someone who is on my radar and I do find her work claustrophobic. It is also quite cubist in the way that the lines transect the subject. Also the work of Matej Kren particularly Book Cell and Passage who has used collections of books to make claustrophobic environments. Book Cell is quite colourful whereas Passage is oppressively monotone. Domestic themes on images only brought up one that I was interested in or related to. And this is where it gets a bit creepy… It was an image from the Aesthetica Blog of a piece by Haegue Yang. As soon as I saw her photo I realised it was the artist who had hosted the knitting and Origami Open School at the Hayward (See blog entry here). Her work is really interesting and focuses on textile art with domestic items. This is something I think my work leans towards a lot. I use materials and methods that are traditionally ‘domestic’ and feminine. A couple more examples of her work can be seen here. http://www.modernartoxford.org.uk/whats-on/haegue-yang/about/ http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern-tanks/exhibition/haegue-yang-dress-vehicles Themes in Contemporary Art has much to say on the matter of domestic art (via Google Books) and female artists who present work on these themes. (Tracey Emin, Rachel Whiteread etc.) Tracey Emin and Louise Bourgeois are both artists who work from Personal themes. Here are my clutter and chaos photos. I intend to work and draw over these – maybe layers upon layers of different aspects from various images.

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Here are some of my initial iPad drawings. I intend to do many more of these photographs and drawings over the coming months. They may become part of a new diary. Caroline and I spoke of the validity of such work (me not believing it to be valid as it isn’t ‘traditional’) but if I say it is valid then it is valid. We talked about whether they should stay as iPad drawings (i.e. displayed electronically on ipads or a PC) or if they could become little joyful print-outs/photos. Perhaps displayed opposite their ‘un-cleansed’ original mess. One concern I would be wary of though, is the dullness created by printing such electronic drawings. I would need to test this carefully, but am reminded that many of Hockney’s iPad drawings lost a luminosity  and vitality when they were not viewed electronically. This loss of vitality is due to the narrower colour space of subtractive colour (cmyk – where the addition of colour reduces the rays of light being reflected back to the viewer and results in results, ultimately, in no colour – i.e. black). Light is an additive colour space (where the addition of all the colours leads to white being reflected back to the viewer) and has a larger range than the reductive one. This may mean that some of the colours (typically bright, luminous colours such as blues, pinks and greens) become far duller and the images may lose their intensity. This is something typically seen within the print industry and, though disappointing, is hard to avoid in the final printed result.

It is interesting that these drawings cleanse, simplify and obliterate the mess to make it more acceptable and palatable – obviously a personal ‘coping’ strategy. They also create a new landscape and space that is inviting to the viewer. This is reminiscent of the strategies Yayoi Kusama uses to overcome her own aversions:

Artists do not usually express their own psychological complexes directly, but I do use my complexes and fears as subjects. I am terrified by just the thought of something long and ugly like a phallus entering me, and that is why I make so many of them. The thought of continually eating something like macaroni, spat out by machinery, fills me with fear and revulsion, so I make macaroni sculptures. I make them and make them and then keep on making them, until I bury myself in the process. I call this ‘obliteration’.
p47 Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama. English edition 2011, Tate Publishing, London

This idea is a work in progress and has lots of scope for further development.

Website links here sourced on 23rd Oct. on ipad and electronic art – from the BBC website.








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