Sunday, June 1, 2008

You are Talking to the Converted

I just had the loveliest day... as you may know, I am studying graphic design at night and my latest project has to do with an exhibit of Anish Kapoor's work over at the ICA (for the non-Bostonians out there, that's the Institute of Contemporary Art)... which is fine, but I'm not the most ardent contemporary art fan. Last time I purposely sought it out was on a trip to the Tate Modern, about, oh, 8 years ago.

Anyway, so I went along to the exhibit, not expecting much. But I ended up really enjoying it and then also wandering around some of the other exhibits, and really finding some interesting stuff.

This was my favourite piece from Kapoor's exhibit, My Body, Your Body. I really like how Kapoor has used paint pigment, such a basic element of art, to create the light-grabbing space.

I think, for me, a lot of contemporary art deals with things that as a younger person I couldn't relate to, but now that I have a little living under my belt I kinda get it. There was a video in one of the exhibits of an artist playing voice recordings from voicemail, and she mouthed the words, imitating imagined facial expressions... and this included one of those computer-voice type recorded messages. It was really interesting and kind of funny. I don't remember exactly what the point of it was but I suddenly realized that the thing I like about art is that it's a window into another world. Before I appreciated the world into times passed, but today I appreciated the world into today's world and other people's ideas on it. Gosh, maybe I'm growing up :)

The great thing about the Anish Kapoor exhibit was how he appeals to each individual's experience of life in a really abstract way. You don't identify with a person in a painting, or a place but the feeling you get from the thing he's created, the thing creating iteself, like the giant red thing in Past, Present, Future: that big arm is constantly carving it out (see more of that here, at the ICA website)

But that's really just the tip of the iceberg. If you ever get the opportunity to experience his work, I highly recommend it.

So, after checking out Kapoor's work, and enjoying the harbour view from the ICA's great location in Boston Harbor, I went into another door in order to leave, and came across the Street Level exhibit. I thought I'd wander through on my way out and just see what caught my eye... like that video recoding I described. Then I saw this really cool story-board type piece, of a guy playing with a yo-yo.

I'm one of those really gullible people who take things at face-value, so I was reading it through thinking, wow, how did they catch that action? until I saw the last frame.I had been taken, hook, line and sinker. I then read the plaque, and saw it is a work by a South African, Robin Rhode. I found another piece by him, this one less about contemporary youth culture, more about the way we live now.

It's called Dream Houses, and its a guy trying to juggle his material aspirations.

I did some reading up on Robin Rhode, and he is originally from Cape Town, SA, but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Love his stuff. You can see more of his work on the ICA flickr photostream here.

So, the moral of the story is, never be afraid to try something twice, you might be surprised.

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