Thursday 4 April 2024

Welcome to Summer Term One!

 Welcome to the new term!  I am looking forward to creating new things and, in my case, I am not yet sure what that will be!  I am working in Art Portfolio and Applied Media Practice.  For Applied Media I am creating a video diary and I have already recorded and edited the video, please see below.

Over the 'break' I was reading a book called 'Failure' which is stories from modern artists and their failures when creating work.  failure is essential if we are going to learn and these documents of failure are good to read as it really shows how the artists think, all artists have a vision however the execution of that vision is fraught with challenges. 

Documents of Contemporary Art: Failure£20.00

Edited by Lisa Le Feuvre

Many artists live their lives and never become successful and often fame only comes after their death.  Picasso was one of the rare artists that became very successful in his own lifetime.  Artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer and so many others suffered terrible poverty and pain during their lifetime, but they believed that their art was worth the struggle. 

Johannes Vermeer actually had 15 children (or, should I say, his wife had 15 children!) 4 died during the birth. Vermeer managed an art dealer business inherited from his father, he made only 36 (known pictures in his lifetime but he could not sell these so he left his family in debt, with his wife petting for bankruptcy the year after his death in 1675. Interestingly, Vermeer used a lot of blue in his painting which was a very special and expensive blue pigment, ultramarine;' It was made of a bright blue mineral called lazurite from the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, which came from Afghanistan. Ultramarine was very rare, so it was the most expensive pigment you could buy at that time. It was even more expensive than gold. How Vermeer could afford it is a mystery.'   (Mauritshuis, n.d.)

On the Tate website, you can see the work of Marlene Dumas and a film about her 'Rejects' series.  This is a series of works that uses portrait paintings that she has rejected from her other collections.  

I found these artworks interesting as the artists had one image on top of another to create these slightly strange-looking faces.  the faces themselves under the title 'Rejects' almost become more interesting because they have been rejected. Lucy Ella Rose write on her blog; 'Rejects challenges the idea of a perfect model and places the excluded or marginalised centre stage, reclaiming outcasts and representing the invisible.' (Rose, 2015) I personally don't think this is particularly true as one of the 'rejects' was Charlotte Rampling (famous actor) and this series wasn't about marginalised people but choices that an artist made regarding her work, to show the work that one once rejected is brave, in this case, the work has been brought together well and there is a clear curation of work and thought and this is more about the artist/author as a kind of God over the images. Dumas states; 'I really like this title rejects because conceptually, if you call something rejects, it is like a failure already, so you can’t really fail because you already acknowledge that you failed. I like that play on the word rejects. [Marlene Dumas:Rejects, 2015] The rejects were an experiment and experimented with, and this is all about the artist's methodology when presented with these past works.  Artists all work in a different way as Canau states in his paper on the creative process Marcel Duchamp was methodical about his research and drawings and notes on each of his works, his works were so extensively studied and researched that he tried to make it impossible for his work to fail and through these notes, anyone could construct his pieces. 'Marcel Duchamp is essentially associated with the conceptual approach, mainly with the readymade, and not with a rational and paradigmatic approach in terms of assimilation and mastering of technical processes at the genesis of the work of art' (Canau, 2022) 

Marlene Dumas, Rejects (1994-2014)

As artists, we should all embrace the idea that we are going to fail, probably quite catastrophically, before we might succeed.  If this happens in our lifetime we should consider ourselves privileged to see our art appreciated.


Listverse. (2023). Ten Renowned Artists Who Were Unappreciated in Life. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2024].

Mauritshuis (n.d.).  Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2024].

National Gallery of Art (n.d.). Who Is Vermeer? [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2024].

Rose, L.E. (2015). Marlene Dumas: ‘The Image as Burden’ at the Tate Modern, London, Gallery 1. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Apr. 2024].

Canau, A. (2022). The mind in the creative process. [online] Researchgate. Available at: [Accessed 4 Apr. 2024].

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