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Students Resource


... used to explore the human form, including painting, sculpture, video, ... can be used to develop ideas, document a personal journey or become the work itself. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Students Resource

  • Students Resource
  • Key Stage 4

  • Subversive Spaces Surrealism and Contemporary
  • Psychic Interiors
  • Claude Cahun
  • René Magritte
  • Tony Oursler
  • Markus Schinwald
  • Liminal Spaces
  • Wandering the City
  • William Anastasi
  • Rosemarie Castoro
  • George Shaw
  • Alex Villar
  • Emergent Themes
  • The Body
  • Film

WAG Learning and Interpretation Resources
  • The Learning and Interpretation team develops
    resources that are distinctive for Secondary and
    Post-16 students that aim to encourage creative
    exploration, interdisciplinary thinking and
    intriguing curiosity. They are unique to the
    Whitworth Art Gallery and can be used in the
    gallery spaces with reference to current
    temporary exhibitions and the Whitworths
    collections. This resource is for use with
    PowerPoint or as a printed handout. It can be
    used as pre-visit preparation, during a visit to
    the Whitworth Art Gallery and also as a
    contextual reference source.

  • Subversive Spaces Surrealism and Contemporary
  • The familiar spaces of the Whitworth Art Gallery
    will be disturbed and subverted by this major
    exhibition that brings together examples of
    contemporary art and installation with historical
    surrealist works. The show aims to highlight the
    relevance of surrealist ideas on art practices
    now. It brings together painting, sculpture,
    installation, photography, video and film.
  • The exhibition has been curated according
    to these two themes
  • Psychic Interiors
  • Wandering the city

A definition of the key words in red can be found
in the Glossary at the end of this resource.
  • Surrealists used collage and montage
    techniques. These creative compositional skills
    are characterised by the combination of
    contrasting everyday images to reveal the
    extraordinary as intrinsic. The Surrealists
    understanding of the everyday was that it was
    already strange and extraordinary, but is
    perceived as being mundane.
  • (Ben Highmore (2003), Everyday Life and Cultural
    Theory, Routledge)

Surrealism, with its fascination for social
transgressions, disruptive poetics, revolutionary
politics and the unconscious, has left a
considerable legacy for modern culture. (David
Bate, The Mise en Scéne of Desire in Mise en
scéne. (1994), ICA)
Artist Case Studies
  • Psychic Interiors
  • Claude Cahun Self-portrait in Cupboard
  • René Magritte Man with Newspaper
  • Tony Oursler The Most Beautiful Thing I have
    Never Seen
  • Markus Schinwald Contortionists (Vicky)
  • Wandering the City
  • William Anastasi Subway Drawings
  • Rosemarie Castoro Streetworks
  • George Shaw Scenes from the Passion The Swing
  • Alex Villar Temporary Occupations

Psychic Interiors
  • Psychic Interiors
  • This section explores themes of psychic
    disturbance- anxiety and hysteria- provoked by
    and manifesting in interior and mainly domestic
  • Artists like René Magritte de-familiarise
    domestic space and sow unease. Interior spaces
    are frequently depicted by surrealist artists.
  • The familiar is often transformed into the
    uncanny. Space was reconfigured in surprising and
    disorienting ways by the surrealists through
    distortions of scale, shifting and unstable
    structures, dematerialised forms, permeable
    boundaries and the disruption of gravity.

Douglas Gordon, Hysterical. Video. 1995
Claude Cahun, Self portrait, (in cupboard), 1932,
Jersey Heritage Trust
  • Claude Cahun was born in 1894 and was originally
    named Lucy Schwob. She was a poet, essayist,
    literary critic, short-story writer, translator,
    actress, photographer and revolutionary activist.
  • The self-portrait photographs of Claude Cahun
    show an extraordinary range of mise en scéne of
    the self as image. Claude Cahun disrupts the
    meaning of what a self-portrait is and leaves the
    viewer disorientated. They mimic and mock
    categories of social identity and questions the
    boundaries of gender identity. Cahuns
    photographs tend to emphasise the cultural coding
    of the body rather than the body itself
    costumes, masks, theatrical make-up and facial
    expression take precedence when compared with
    those other Surrealists emphasis on the female
    body as torso.
  • The Mise en Scéne of Desire by David Bate in
    Mise en scéne (1994), ICA
  • Mise en Scéne
  • Mise en Scéne are the components that make up
    the staging of a scene for the camera the
    setting, lighting, costumes, actors, make-up and
    props, etc
  • Mise en scéne is used to describe different
    historical and contemporary types of staging.
  • Photographic mise en scéne has these elements in
    common with the theatre, in addition to those
    photographic effects of the camera itself focus,
    lens, angle, depth-of-field, perspective, film,
    framing, point of view.
  • The Mise en Scéne of Desire by David Bate in Mise
    en scéne (1994), ICA

How do other works in the exhibition and the
Whitworths collections relate to Mise en Scéne?
Do compositional methods used in painting Still
Life and Portraiture relate to this idea?
(No Transcript)
René Magritte, Man With a Newspaper, 1928, TATE
  • René Magritte was born in 1898 in Lessines,
    Belgium. Using a meticulously realistic
    technique, and often depicting the most banal of
    situations, Magritte succeeded in alternately
    astounding, amusing, enchanting and puzzling the
    viewer with his totally unexpected juxtapositions
    and metamorphoses.
  • The Man with Newspaper is a painting that
    depicts objects that make up the petty-bourgeois
    household interior.There is nothing disturbing
    about the surroundings of the man reading his
    newspaper. The decoration on the wall is the most
    absurd and the most ordinary imaginable. The
    window with the curtains , the small bouquet of
    flowers on the windowsill, and even the view are
    exactly of the kind the petty bourgeois selects
    to create the required atmosphere in his home.
    Magritte found the scene in an 1890s medical
    book, La Nouvelle Médication Naturelle by F.E.
  • Magritte divides the canvas into four rectangles
    and paints the same room four times, showing the
    man reading his newspaper in only one of these
    scenes. By being removed from the picture, the
    man becomes invisible. This repetition also is
    sufficient- and necessary- to show that despite
    the mans having disappeared, nothing essential
    has changed.
  • Hammacher, A.M (1986), Magritte, Thames Hudson

Experiment with your own surreal compositions by
drawing what is around you (people, works of art,
gallery spaces, etc) and then drawing an everyday
object or objects (think about contrasting the
scale, where it is going to be) amongst your
drawing. How does this change the meaning?
(No Transcript)
Tony Oursler, The Most Beautiful Thing Ive Never
Seen, 1995, TATE
  • Tony Oursler was born in 1957 in New York. He
    attended the California Institute for the Arts in
    1979. He lives and works in New York. Tony
    Oursler examines both the content of mass media,
    in particular television programmes, which are
    dominated by violence, sex, evil and good, and
    media as modes of communication. In his
    installations he subverts our fascination for
    mass media, thereby helping to create a defense
    mechanism against them.
  • In The Most Beautiful Thing Ive Never Seen an
    important aspect of Tony Ourslers work is his
    fascination with the immense potential of new
    technologies- especially those, such as video, in
    which he finds structures of a quasi-mimetic
    kind. Technology, in his view, has the power to
    imitate human spiritual and emotional capacities,
    and he therefore regards it as the real heart of
    our age.
  • Tony Oursler Videotapes, Dummies, Drawings,
    Photographs, Viruses, Light, Heads, Eyes and
    CD-ROM (exh. cat., ed. E. Schneider Hanover,
    Kstver., 1998)

Draw what you see in the gallery (think about not
only the works on display, but the furniture,
people, fire extinguishers, lights, etc). From
the drawings you have made, assemble the objects
together to form a 2D installation. Do the
images as a collective have a different meaning?
Could this drawing be re-interpreted as a 3D
Interview with Tony Oursler
This excerpt is taken from an interview from the
book, Correspondences that looks at the
connections between Tony Oursler and Gustave
Courbet. The following text gives an insight into
how artists develop their ideas and work in their
studios. Tony Oursler was interviewed by artist
Jacqueline Humphries.
  • Jacqueline Humphries Fantasies are real for
    artists…Many would say that an artwork is
    finished when it leaves the studio, when it
    becomes available for viewing that is.So how do
    you go about your fantasy/reality construct?
  • Tony Oursler First you need an idea. I dont
    know which is harder thinking it up or making it.
    Sometimes people ask me where I get my ideas and
    at first I thought what a stupid question, but
    then I realised the beauty of it.
  • Jacqueline Humphries Where did the ideas come
  • Tony Oursler Well, some say we are born empty
    and then we get filled with the things that are
    already here, received ideas. The
  • Jacqueline Humphries Art is hard work and
    requires a lot of thinking.
  • Tony Oursler I work from a conceptual base but
    when art is successful its magic. You can try
    and explain it, but if you could explain, then it
    wouldnt be magic. Its what artists are doing in
    their studio, struggling to make the impossible
    happen, to grasp at process.
  • Tony Oursler, Gustave Courbet Correspondences
    (2004), Museé dOrsay, Art Contemporam No.2,

(No Transcript)
Markus Schinwald, Contortionists (Vicky), 2003,
Georg Karg
  • Markus Schinwald was born in Salzburg, Austria
    in 1973 and currently lives in Vienna. Markus
    Schinwald's work alludes in a very
    individualistic way to historical myths,
    psychoanalysis, and cultural theories.
  • Markus Scinwalds Contortionists are
    large-scaled panoramic photographs resulting from
    Schinwalds ongoing collaboration with dancers
    and the attempt to represent altered versions of
    the human body, which seem to be only nuances
    away from that which is physically possible.
    Japanese or Russian snake women perform in
    utopian manner what could well as be digitally
    altered via prostheses and animations. Yet,
    Schinwalds explorations of the physical self as
    paradoxes of the real relate to the conditions of
    analogue photography and the ultimate boundaries
    of the human body.
  • http//

Explore the range of ways you can contort your
body and draw what you see in the gallery from
that position. How does this affect the way you
see, look and draw?
(No Transcript)
Wandering the City
  • Walking through the city- an ephemeral,
    experimental, unrepeatable activity- was an
    experiment reflecting the surrealists desire to
    transform the very fabric of everyday life.
  • Walking became an act of giving up control and a
    means of achieving a hypnotic state, between
    dream and reality.
  • The very act of traversing certain spaces
    conjures a space of anxiety and desire in which
    personal journeys are overlaid with political,
    social and historical shifts.
  • As an exploration of urban culture it feeds into
    Manchesters seemingly never-ending regeneration
    of disused space and its remaining psychical
    pockets of history and political activism.

Calin Dan, Sample City, 2003 (Video)
Brassai, photographs published in Minotaure
William Anastasi, Subway Drawings, 1968-2004,
Stalke Gallery and Thomas Rehbein Gallery
  • William Anastasi was born in 1933 in
    Philadelphia, USA. He is one of the founders of
    both Conceptual and Minimal Art.
  • Anastasi almost seems to have been divorcing
    himself from the body and turning his signs into
    an automatic writing.
  • Fausing, Bent, SENSE-AND WORD-PLAY in Hansen,
    Elizabeth Delin (2001), William Anastasi- A
    Retrospective, Nikolaj- Copenhagen Contemporary
    Art Centre.
  • In the subway drawings, it is also the
    randomness that smiles on Anastasi, in the sense
    that he allows the rain to determine not only the
    speed but also the form, via its unpredictable
  • Fausing, Bent, SENSE-AND WORD-PLAY in Hansen,
    Elizabeth Delin (2001), William Anastasi- A
    Retrospective, Nikolaj- Copenhagen Contemporary
    Art Centre.

Using your sketchbook and a pencil, lightly place
your pencil vertically on a page from your
sketchbook. Walk around the gallery without
looking at the page and map your journey.
Interview with William Anastasi
Thomas McEvilley is an art critic and port. He
interviewed William Anastasi about the Subway
Drawings and how the parameters can be challenged
by experimenting with unconventional processes
and techniques.
  • Thomas McEvilley …I have the impression that
    blind drawings and paintings really came to the
    forefront of your work in the 80s.
  • William Anastasi In the early 70s I made the
    first large blind drawings. Then starting in 1977
    I would go downtown on the subway a lot to play
    chess with John Cage. I would fill my pocket with
    a couple dozen sharpened pencils. Then on the
    subway I would put on firing range headphones to
    make it silent. It also makes people less likely
    to interrupt me. I would sit erect with my back
    away from the seat, with a pencil in each hand
    and a sheet of paper taped to a board on my lap.
    I would hold the pencils like darts and lightly
    touch the surface. The train ride is lurching
    enough so you need an external point to keep your
    balance I would use the pencils for that and
    allow the swaying of my body as the train
    careened around curves to make the drawing. I bet
    Ive done a thousand of those. I would ride from
    137th street to 18th street and after the game
    back again.
  • Thomas McEvilley The results are extraordinary.
    Its interesting too that you got better at it,
    though some of the early ones are beautiful in a
    less knowing, more innocent way. So this goes
    back to your paradoxical discovery, in 1962 or
    so, that you got better visual results with your
    eyes closed.
  • William Anastasi You can see what a treasure
    randomness is. When you, for example, make random
    collocations of words through clipping or
    whatever, the results are always heartbreakingly
  • Thomas Mc Evilley Yes, thats an amazing thing
    to contemplate, when we think of all our concern
    to control, and how it conventionalizes events.
    Others have done blind drawings- Robert Morris, I
    think, for example- but you seem to have made a
    special affirmation of them.
  • William Anastasi I seldom do drawings with my
    eyes open anymore. The large blind drawings of
    course arent done on the subway but in my
    studio. The studio drawings are timed by the
    ride in the studio I set a time beforehand,
    usually between half an hour and four hours, and
    usually execute them non-stop.
  • McEvilley (1989), William Anastasi, Scott
    Hawthorn Gallery

(No Transcript)
Rosemarie Castoro, Streetworks, 1969, courtesy of
the artist
I attended Art Workers Coalition meetings in
1969. Poets and artists produced Street Works.
I made an atoll out of Manhattan Island by
cracking the sidewalk with shiny tape,
bringing to mind my childhood paintings of
deserted islands. I times myself for a week, a
weekend and a day. My stopwatch works examined
the inventory of my daily activities. While
waiting for a huge school clock to be cleaned in
a Canal Street surplus store, I fixed my
attention in a box of casters. Art as traveling.
Anywhere you care to go. I moved my ceiling,
letting in more light.
200420writings-ecrits.pdf One night in the
spring of 1968, Rosemarie Castoro rode a bicycle
along a circuit encompassing twenty square blocks
of midtown Manhattan. I had a gallon of paint
attached to my bike, with a hole in the bottom,
she recently recalled. As long as I kept moving,
there was a line of drips. Once when I had to
stop at a red light, a man in a car pointed out
that the paint had begun to puddle. Actually, I
used quite a lot- four gallons- and it took me
three hours. Afterwards, I went to Maxs, which
was the artists bar in those days. Also, St
Adrians, which was farther down town. Anyway, I
went back the next day to photograph the drips.
It was part of a series of pieces called
Streetworks, organised by Scott Burton and John
Perreault. We would just do them and run away.
Ratcliff, Carter (2000), Out of the Box The
Reinvention of Art, 1965-1975
Walk around an exhibition space is a way you
wouldnt usually (think about how you walk- large
strides, fast movements followed by slow ones,
zigzag rather than linear, rhythmical, crawling).
Write down the movements as a set of
instructions. Swap instructions and photograph
someone else following your Gallerywork.
(No Transcript)
George Shaw, Scenes from the Passion The Swing,
2002, courtesy of the artist/ Wilkinson Gallery
  • George Shaw was born in Coventry in 1966. He
    studies at Sheffield Polytechnic and later at the
    Royal College of Art in London. His paintings
    describe a sense of location at once familiar and
    eerie a place where serenity and anxiety are
    equally present. They play games with time too,
    hinting at some unspecified recent past.
  • Scenes from the Passion The Swing, courtesy of
    the artist/ Wilkinson Gallery
  • Shaws paintings depict semi-suburban
    environments council flats and blocks of flats,
    schools, rows of garages, subways, shabby parks
    and recreation grounds.The locations are based on
    photographs taken by Shaw within a half-mile
    radius of his childhood home. Their modernity
    lies in their staleness, their visceral
    identification of an environment which is
    post-industrial rather than post-modern. Shaws
    art making process is rooted within a vernacular
    method. He works with lab-processed snaps, refers
    to the initial drawings as How To Draw styles,
    uses MDF board and Humbrol enamel paints.
  • The Sleep of Estates An Introduction to the
    art of George Shaw by Michael Bracewell in What
    I did this Summer, George Shaw, 2003, Dundee
    Contemporary Arts and Ikon Gallery)

Observe the gallery spaces and imagine they were
completely deserted. How would this changed the
way you viewed the exhibition or walked through
the gallery. Would it be eerie and uncanny? Would
you behave differently (maybe become more anxious
or feel liberated and freely explore the space).
How could you convey these feelings figuratively
through drawing, painting or other media?
(No Transcript)
Alex Villar, Temporary Occupations, 2001,
courtesy of the artist
Alex Villar was born in 1961 in Brazil. He
studied at Hunter College, New York and took part
in the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2000.
The artist lives and works in New York.
I have developed a practice that concentrates on
matters of social space. My interventions are
done primarily in public spaces. They consist of
positioning the body of the performer in
situations where the codes that regulate everyday
activity can be made explicit. The body is made
to conform to the limitations of claustrophobic
spaces, therefore accentuating arbitrary
boundaries and possibly subverting them.
Are there any spaces in the gallery that arent
usually occupied by people who visit the gallery?
(think about places like under the stairs,
corners, etc). Find these types of liminal spaces
and occupy them by either standing, sitting,
crouching or any other way. Draw what you see
from that perspective and write down any curious
observations from that experience.
(No Transcript)
In addition to the two curatorial themes, Psychic
Interiors and , further themes connect the
artists from Artist Case Studies. These themes
can be used to explore the exhibition, the
relationship between the works in Subversive
Spaces Surrealism and Contemporary Art and the
Whitworths permanent collection, the
architectural framework and layout of the gallery
spaces. The chosen themes are
  • The Body
  • Film
  • Mapping

Connections to our Collections
Psychic Interiors
Connections to our Collections shows how the
works in Subversive Spaces Surrealism and
Contemporary Art link to the Whitworths
collections either that are currently on display
or on the Whitworths Online Collections
Database. Access the online collections by going
to http//
Camden Decoration (lithograph),unattributed
Shand Kydd Ltd (WPM), 1938
Rhone Decoration (lithograph), unattributed,
Shand Kydd Ltd (WPM), 1931
Interior, Hilton, Roger,1973
Connections to our Collections
Wandering the City
View of the City of Paris, with the Louvre,
Thomas Girtin, Frederick Christian Lewis,1802
Westbourne Park, Bawden, Richard
The Body
Connections to our Collections
  • The body has been a subject that has been
    depicted historically and has continued to be
    explored by contemporary artists.
  • The body has also been used as a medium in
    performance art, where the body is used express
    movement, choreographed actions, staged events or
  • Other mediums are also used to explore the human
    form, including painting, sculpture, video,
    photography and digital media. Issues of gender,
    identity and subverting social, cultural and
    political norms are also investigated of artists
    interested in using the body as a subject and /or
  • The following artists use the body either as the
    subject or medium of their work

The theme, The Body links to the Whitworths
collections that are either currently on display
or on the Whitworths Online Collections Database
. Access the online collections by going to
  • William Anastasi
  • Claude Cahun
  • René Magritte
  • Markus Schinwald
  • Alex Villar

Peter Schlesinger David Hockney, 1967
Self Portrait, Freud, Lucian,1942-1944
Torso, Barbara Hepworth, 1930
Connections to our Collections
  • Artists use film in diverse ways. These include
    documenting movement, the passing of time,
    creating filmic assemblages and re-appropriating
    moving images.
  • Mise en Scéne is a key idea that is used in
    cinematography. Artists also use film to comment
    and critique its impact and influence on society
  • Performance Art is often ephemeral, but film can
    be used to document performances and enable the
    work to have a permanent record that can be
    experienced by a wider audience in other
  • The following artists that can be related to
    film or filmic techniques

The theme, Film links to the Whitworths
collections that are either currently on display
or on the Whitworths Online Collections Database
. Access the online collections by going to
Claude Cahun Tony Oursler Markus
Schinwald Rosemarie Castoro Alex Villar
Broken English August '91 Anya Gallaccio,1997
Release Richard Hamilton, 1967
  • Historical Surrealist Films
  • Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, Un Chien Andalou,
  • Man Ray, Le Retour à la raison, 1919
  • Marcel Duchamp, Anemic Cinema
  • René Clair and Francis Picabia, EntrActe, 1924
  • Antonin Artaud, The Sea-shell and the Clergyman,

Connections to our Collections
  • Maps are used to plan journeys to specific
    places. They can also document the geographical
    relationship between different areas of the
    world. Many maps are designed for generic use.
    Personal maps can be developed that enable
    individuals to document their journeys or express
    their relationship to their environment. Factors
    that could be considered include emotion
    response, associations, personal everyday
    landmarks, scale, medium, memories.. Christian
    Nold is an artist, designer and educator working
    to develop new participatory models for communal
    representation, including maps (http//www.softhoo Mapping can be used to develop ideas,
    document a personal journey or become the work
    itself. The following artists that can be related
  • William Anastasi
  • Rosemarie Castoro
  • Alex Villar

Abraham Ortelius, Map of New Asia, 1584 Tanzanian
Urafiki, Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Kitenge,
design no 570, 2002
Shelly Goldsmith, Monsoon Capital, 1999
The above piece is a preparatory sample of
Monsoon Capital by Shelly Goldsmith. It is part
TACTILE, the Whitworths contemporary textile
makers handling collection.
Use the Glossary as a reference for key terms
that emerge from this resource.
  • Analogue- relating to or using signals or
    information represented by a continuously
    variable quantity (rather than digits)
  • Anxiety- concern about an imminent danger,
    difficulty, etc
  • Appropriation- adapt or change established
  • Arbitrary- based on uninformed opinions or random
  • Assemblage- a collection of things
  • Atoll- a ring-shaped coral reef and small island,
    enclosing a lagoon and surrounded by open sea
  • Automatic- done spontaneously without conscious
    thought or intention
  • Banal- trite, feeble, commonplace
  • Bourgeois- conventionally middle-class/humdrum,
  • Cinematography- the art of making motion-picture
  • Claustrophobia- an abnormal fear of enclosed
  • Collage- a form of art in which various materials
    are arranged and glued to a backing
  • Collocation- the juxtaposition or association of
    a particular word with another particular word or
  • Concept- a general notion an abstract idea
  • Construct- make by fitting parts together
  • Contortion- the act of process of twisting
  • Critique- a critical analysis
  • Dematerialised- make or become non-material or
  • Disorientate- confuse (a person) as to his or her
    whereabouts or bearings

  • Hypnosis- a state like sleep in which the subject
    acts only on external suggestion
  • Hysteria- a wild uncontrollable emotion or
  • Installation- the act or an instance of
  • Inventory- a complete list of objects, household
    contents, etc
  • Legacy- something handed down by a predecessor
  • Mantra- a word or sound repeated to aid
    concentration in meditation
  • Metamorphose- change in form
  • Mimic- imitate, resemble closely
  • Minimal- characterised by the use of simple or
    primary forms or structures
  • Mock- ridicule
  • Modernism- modern ideas or methods
  • Montage- a process of selecting, editing and
    piecing together separate sections of cinema or
    television film to form a continuous whole
  • Mundane- dull, routine
  • Myth- a widely held, but false notion
  • Nuance- a subtle difference in or shade of
    meaning, feeling, colour, etc
  • Panorama- a picture or photograph containing a
    wide view
  • Paradox- a seemingly absurd or contradictory
  • Permeate- penetrate throughout, saturate
  • Prostheses- an artificial part supplied to remedy
    a deficiency

Reflect upon Subversive Spaces Surrealism and
Contemporary Art and note down or sketch your
thoughts and ideas.
  • If you would like further information on these
    resources please email leanne.manfredi_at_manchester. or telephone 0161 275 8455