Melissa Harris- Exquisite Corpse
Reflection and possible ideas
I chose Melissa Harris’ ‘Exquisite corpse’, for assignment two. The form of the image is a vertical, colour portrait image, in which all the images were taken with a camera phone. I particularly like the collaging of images together, trying to match up our bodies to create one new human, yet there are subtle hints that show it doesn’t quite line up correctly. A project could be made out of the way our illusions and mind are confused by the way these are edited together yet look as one, the use of colour could be used further to show the importance of the vibrant life and personality of the new human and also the way we’ve used a vertical approach can show the length of someone and perhaps emphasis of the tallness of a human compared to other species.
The content of the images is very simple yet interesting. We have of course our new human made by our phones (a machine), which contrasts to the natural delicate daisies and grass; I definitely like the inclusion of the landscape, and the layering of materials could be something to explore. I like the way the limbs are emphasised more, making them look unusual and lifeless even though they are part of a body. The colour of the body and the different layers is fascinating because they don’t quite work together yet they do at the same time.
There could be many concepts that could be made from this, mainly because we used three girls and one boy. Firstly, it could be about a transgender boy wishing he had a female body, but it could show a feminist approach with having the strength and mind-set that men perhaps underestimate women not having or a project could be made about the world and how humans have shaped it. I also think Dan’s face is important to the image, he has a calm like Zen way about him which is very intriguing and could be great to show a contrast between the way we want to live and the busy, crazy life we actually lead. I feel like I am instantly drawn to the lines and shapes of our bodies, being particularly interested in the human form, this really attracts me and could be a potential project.
My Final Images for Assignment Two:
For my series of images, I chose to use a few of the new concepts I came up with, and merge them together. These were mainly the use of layering images, the feminism concept I explored, the use of colour and the significance of landscapes. I decided to explore using “Readymade” images similar to the Dadaists and the Surrealists who turned this parlour game into something that was written to something drawn or collaged. And also because I have only ever dipped into archived images and not manipulated with them as much as I would like to do, and it could be a possible exploration for me in the future.
By using images that were already made, it questions who the artist really is, and the idea of copyright interests me. My main theme was the idea of feminism, with Barack Obama creating this surge of hate over Kendal Jenner; the idea of using supermodels really intrigued me. I also personally believe there is a new wave of feminism. Feminist are now not seen in the unflattering, annoying way they have once been presumed, feminists now have a right to be feminine and still being strong and fight for equality and a better life. I believe there is too much hate between women and also men, so my piece is all about strength and empowerment. Furthermore, using ordinary magazines that are in most women’s bedrooms demonstrates my idea of women having strength between each other. The Dadaists used political motives to prevent the war, so I wanted to create something quite controversial. I also carried on this way of the limbs not quite looking right in our group task, by placing the body parts in a disfigured way; a result of the parlour game. It shows the way artists have been looking at the female body for hundreds of years and it’s a beautiful thing yet underestimated.
This can now be used in my practice because I like to explore issues similar to this, but it’s a contemporary way of looking at an old-fashion issue, something I’ve been struggling with. Additionally, I love the way of manipulating, I tend to stick to Photoshop, but now I have the confidence to explore other methods and work directly with my imagery. I think if I was to do these again I would fill up the negative space more and also use my time more wisely and add in my idea of Mother Nature and the power she has, as I didn’t really give myself the opportunity to do it. And also double-check your words! I accidently spelt one world wrong, however no one has noticed so far except myself. Working with my group was interesting as I took on a leader role, and using my phone to take the pictures really quickly helped me get my ideas down to the group, rather then putting too much thought into a project before hand, which I am prone to do. I have learned that I have an eye for concepts and creativity and they are my strengths and can help me in the future.
I used my writing skills along with trying to be as creative as possible to experiment in this new way that I have never delved into before. I would never have created this work if I didn’t see this assignment and think of an “exquisite Corpse”, but I really have enjoyed it and its one of my favourite pieces that I have created so far. It explores feminism, political culture, the female form and disfigurement. It’s also made me consider colour choices, shapes and being as hands on as possible. These have the potential to be posters seen by women, and even men, who are perhaps feeling down and need some positivity and courage. Collaging and creativity is a perfect way to demonstrate a narrative, particularly a political/ current issue, and its something that I will hopefully get to do more now in the future!
I chose to use five quotes that I find inspirational. This is from a speech from Emma Watson. And if it helped me understand feminism, think about gender and ultimately my decision in becoming a feminist, I felt like it could help help my particular audience who see my work and are interested in the meaning behind it.
‘Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one? Woman are choosing not to identify as feminist.’
‘I want to be the person who feels great in her body and can say she loves it and doesn’t want to change anything.’
‘It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals.’
‘We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are.’
‘We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes… But I can see that they are, and when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.’
-Gazelliarthouse. (2016) JAMES OSTRER | ART CENTRAL HONG KONG. Available at http://gazelliarthouse.com/forum/james-ostrer-art-central-hong-kong-2016/
-Gorton, T. (2016) The artist using meat to deform and deconstruct celebrity. Available at http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/30471/1/the-artist-using-meat-to-deform-and-deconstruct-celebrity
-Jeff. (2016) Artist Spotlight: Scott Scheidly. Available at:http://www.booooooom.com/2016/04/28/artist-spotlight-scott-scheidly/
-Curious Duke Gallery. (2016) CHERELLE SAPPLETON. Available at http://curiousdukegallery.com/artists/98-cherelle-sappleton
-The Art Story. (2016) Dada. Available at http://www.theartstory.org/movement-dada.htm
-United Nations. (2014) Emma Watson at the HeForShe Campaign 2014 – Official UN Video. Avaliable at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkjW9PZBRfk