The two elements of this session:
- Defining context
- Image analysis exercise
History: What was happening at the time – could be social, political, economic factors etc.
What is it: what is its purpose, or does it have one? – Context itself helps to understand purpose.
Target audience: Subject matter’s appearance, what it is communicating. Has someone else done it, how have they approached it?
Production: Who produced it, and where did they produce it? Where is it now?
How was it produced: Techniques and processes, materials etc.
Further considerations, which might come in to certain issues I look at, may include…
- Materials and Manufacture
The beetle car
Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with crows (1890)
Image Analysis Task
This picture shows a rusted, destroyed car secured to a trailer. There is a plaque alongside the car, which reads; “This car was destroyed by a bomb in a Baghdad marketplace on March 5, 2007.” There are also people standing behind the trailer, in what appears to be a public place.
The sign itself helps to clarify the context for onlookers, as it was driven around different areas of America. These Americans were its target audience, as the artist, Jeremy Deller, wanted to involve these everyday people somehow with the conflict in the middle east. It is a socially engaged piece of art in this sense, as it was very much about invoking a reaction in these people. Arguably, there is something uncomfortable about taking this destroyed car to America from Baghdad. It is also possible that Deller used a car that was so badly damaged, that it was hard to see what it was at first, as part of his message: to show American people something physical and shocking, in an attempt to show them that they are detached from what is happening.
This photograph shows a statue of a woman, who is surrounded by people, some holding signs around her. She is at the centre of this group of people, and it appears that they are campaigning, shown by the signs. In this way, it looks like she is being worshipped, and although they are campaigning they are celebrating together.
This is in fact a photograph taken at the 2012 London Paralympic games’ opening ceremony. It is a sculpture by Marc Quinn of the disabled artist, Alison Lapper, who has no arms and paints by using her mouth. Shown here by the campaigning signs which say things such as “RIGHTS” and “Equality”, the message wanting to be portrayed was that both disabled people and non-disabled people should have equal rights. The sculpture depicts a pregnant Alison Lapper, and many people said at the time that she shouldn’t be a mother, because of her disability; that it would mean her child suffered, because she wouldn’t be able to look after it.
It also comments on society’s perception of beauty, which is typically considered to be the opposite of how the sculpture looks. Yet, the artist made the sculpture, which can arguably be said is a statement against beauty standards, as it is made to be viewed by many people. Both those who support equality, and those who thought she was unfit to be a mother.
It can be argued that the sculpture still has a significance today, as although this is a past event, there are still people campaigning for equality in the world, and looking for ways to accomplish this as much as possible.
For the above I was asked to consider…
Their content and composition (what are they, what do they consist of etc.)
The social and historical contexts relevant to their production
Their purpose and meaning
Their target and/or potential audience
Their past and present significance