Constellation has been really interesting and thought provoking this year, allowing me to challenge my ideas and the way I interpret other artist’s work. Although I initially found it intimidating to voice my opinions in lectures, being able to hear other students interpretations of work, working as a collective, and being encouraged to discuss my ideas was really beneficial. It allowed me to consider new concepts, and overall deepen my understanding of areas in art and design.
In the first term I had After Modernism which was exciting as it taught me a lot more about the evolution of art movements and how world events caused their advance. After Modernism also had a direct influence on my own work as it introduced me to so many artists’ work that I was previously unfamiliar with. For example, in the Abstract Expressionism lecture we looked at the work of Art & Language, ’Portrait of V.I. Lenin with Cap, in the Style of Jackson Pollock III’ which inspired me to produce portraits in my subject brief that were almost unrecognisable and research into other abstract expressionist artists outside of the lectures. We also visited the Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Tate Modern. Being able to view some of the work we had been discussing in lectures in person really benefited my understanding and learning as I think it can be easy to miss important details when looking at a photograph. It was also interesting to note the difference between the one viewpoint you get in photograph compared to the multitude of viewpoints you can get in person, and how the meaning behind the work can develop with this. Our visit to the National Museum Cardiff was particularly interesting as we not only discussed the work housed within the building, but the building itself and its architecture. Although having visited the museum many times, it was almost shocking how much I’d missed as it was hidden in plain sight. After having a discussion of the Gallery and Institutional Critique on the significance of the gallery’s layout, I can now appreciate the relevance of the surroundings in relation to the art. Through the After Modernism lectures I was introduced to work that encouraged abstract, conceptual ideas, that ended up inspiring my own work.
The second term of constellation was a lot more thought provoking for me than I initially thought it would be. I explored the topic of Things Can Be Otherwise. Although I didn’t choose this option as I had never studied philosophy before, and didn’t think it was an area that I would be interested in, it has provided me with a deeper interest in philosophical understanding. Although initially it was quite an intimidating and unknown subject for me, it allowed me to consider ideas I’d never thought of before and made me question things I thought I knew to be certain. Discussing Russell’s concept of knowledge and the table was particularly interesting as it made me question my sense awareness; for example, with an object’s colour or texture. If it is constantly changing then what is its true reality? This questioning of reality linked in well with my practice as it enabled me to analyse my own work deeper. Within Things Can Be Otherwise, we had a lot of writing practice. I found this really challenging as I am not very confident with my analytical skills. However this practice proved to be beneficial for my writing skills as it taught me how to produce concise, well structured and well supported paragraphs. This was an important skill to gain, as I also have a tendency to ramble on in essays, including a lot of information and sources with no direct relevance to my essay question. This ultimately helped me to write my final essay as it has taught me how to select important sources to support my claims and arguments, and discard anything that doesn’t directly link. I feel I have significantly improved my analytical skills thanks to writing practice, and am now confident in voicing my interpretations and opinions of other’s work.
I decided to write my essay on indexical drawing, which having attended the Things Can Be Otherwise lectures, I now have a deeper understanding of. I wanted to focus on indexical drawing as I found it inspirational for my studio work, and was a topic I wanted to learn more about. I think that the relation I created between constellation and my own work was really important as it enabled me to contextualise my essay into my work, and create an essay that I was really interested in exploring. Indexical drawing is a key concept for me that without constellation, I would be unaware of.
By attending the keynotes I was able to learn about such a broad range of subjects and discover new artists every week. For me, the most significant lecture was Tradition & Originality. Having attended this lecture, I now have insight in the misunderstanding between tradition and originality and am able to put in into context. In the lecture we discussed how the future changes history. At first I found this concept hard to grasp but when put into an example of how Vermeer’s paintings were only understood when the camera was invented years later, does it then make sense. This knowledge could be useful to me as a learner, as previously I had only considered how the past affects the future; now I have a broader understanding of the significance of all art on each other.
In conclusion, I found that all of the areas of constellation were really beneficial for the development of my understanding, especially the second term. I feel that I now have a deeper knowledge of more areas of art and design, and how it is linked and impacted upon by the ever-changing world. Constellation allowed me to develop my analytical skills and consider how I can relate my own practice to different subjects’ concepts, that I was previously unaware of.