ANGEL – THE PRISONER- ARTIST

6 03 2012

THE SAN CLEMENTE FREE SPIRIT

That January morning,  the 12th,  I accidentally caught on a TV clip about a prisoner, who  started painting in prison. San Clemente – if I am not mistaken. This man, of Mexican descent,  incarcerated for something he did in, was in  great pain and deep  remorse of his actions.  Pouring out his pain     -  and  his disappointment  from his own mistakes by drawing on the prison wall. In these brief few minutes, the presenter let him speak. He said, that when he draws and paints – he is at peace.e has time to think and look deeper in his soul. He kept drawing on the walls, with (permission of the guards) without  having any formal training. His enthusiasm was so contagious, that the other prisoners started supplying him with  whatever they can, so he can continue his work. Pencils, crayons.
It was admirable! Watching this human being, who fell  prey to circumstances and his  to  own temper perhaps, and entrapped himself – to elevate himself and rise from the ashes of self-destruction. He found a way to awaken a   talent , he did not know he had  – and found a noble  way to bypass anger and  channel  it into  a whole new level  of thinking.

Talk about the transformational quality   of Art!
It made me think  about imprisonment  of the spirit. Imprisonment of the spirit, that has nothing to do  with walls  – everything to do  with the limitations in our minds. Do we imprison our spirit when  we  surround ourselves with people, whose superficiality is  numbing ? Do we imprison our spirit when we distract ourselves with things that have no relevance to the world around us or within us? Do we imprison our minds when we squander valuable time and devote time to  exploring limiting belief systems, that impose on us ready-made values, impose on us how to think, how to react -to the point that we become a mere reflection , not a source?
Angel – the  imprisoned person with a   free spirit – made me think.
The power  of this unusual  uplifting of a human being still stays with me. The paintings were a pure expression of his pain. The mural was executed in mixed medium  – crayons, pencils and acrylics – whatever he finds.  (I presume there are no art shops in prison…. ). Not only does he lack the conventional environment of being an artist – not only is he lacking in mental stimulus of his environment  by virtue of a formal art education!  Yet the little glimmer of opportunity, time and space became his main motivator. After all – he does have the encouragement of the other prisoners and even of the prison guards, who gave him a permission to draw and paint. He needed permission to draw!!!!!

Think about it!
The sheer focus and determination he had! Many of us would try to achieve and sometimes it simply does not work. Could it be that the more freedom and  time we have – the less our desire to value it?

Could it be that the very presence of obstacles generates light and power beyond one’s expectations not only to overcome but  to excel?

Is it any wonder that some of the greatest creations of art have been created under impossible circumstances. Maybe the obstacles are simply  a spark plug that gets the desire to create in a  mode, that  overrides the trivial,  the unimportant and  the minutia?
Some of us create, because they love art and have spent time to develop their  skills and talents and want to share with the world. We simply breathe and live Art. Others create – because they have an obligation for a project or  a commission  or a gallery. Lucky ones! And then there are  many levels of creativity  between the highly skilled professional and the dilletante. But to create in the face of insurmountable obstacles  – is probably the highest form of Art.  What he lacks in  training – complements in inner desire to express  and  reflect the life-changing experience  his life.

Angel – the prisoner – artist , whose spirit  is anything but imprisoned. I was hoping I could find some  photograph of his work – but none was accessible. What I saw – was a complex composition, a large mural, depicting the events of his life, that lead him to this corner. So, I have no pictures  of Angel nor of his murals.  Just a deep impression from an accidental TV show about a prison and an incredible human being. And a deep admiration of the human spirit  and the  transformational power  of Art.

Stay inspired, my friends! Stay inspired, despite all odds! Stay inspired – no matter what!

Yours truly,

Tsvetana for TheArtChronicle

PS.The photo inset above is by Gerhard Richter.

And the Signature Image below is a Painting by this Author..





TONY CRAGG – ABSTRACT SCULPTOR

10 02 2012

One cannot not notice once in a while a giant  among us. A giant, that is the same height, same stature like everyone of us – only his  mind and his prolific resume make him a giant. Meet Tony Gragg. An unbelievably prolific sculptor – in a class of his own.

Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool, England in 1949. Internationally recognized as one of the leading abstract sculptors of his generation, Cragg has produced a highly influential body of work centered on the manipulation of shapes and surfaces as they relate to the human environment. Using such diverse materials as bronze, glass, and found objects, Cragg has created enigmatic works that meld bio-morphic shapes with otherworldly textures. In 1988, Tony Cragg was awarded the Turner Prize from the Tate Gallery, London, England. Tony Cragg has exhibited in museums throughout the world including The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas; the Tate Gallery, London, England; Musee National d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Wiener Secession, Vienna, Austria; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain.

London Art Award nomination Tony Cragg: ‘I’m not a religious person—I’m an absolute materialist—and for me material is exciting and ultimately sublime. When I’m involved in making sculpture, I’m looking for a system of belief or ethics in the material. I want that material to have a dynamic, to push and move and grow.’

The Telegraph: “His move away from assemblage towards a material freighted with art-historical baggage could well have made Cragg look antediluvian. But as a show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art reveals, over the last 20 years Cragg not only faced the challenge but revelled in it, making bronzes that weigh many tons, and yet look as though they’d been freed from the laws of gravity and inertia, zigzagging giddily upwards, as vertiginous in their verticality as Brancusi’s Endless Column. In these amazing sculptures Cragg appears at times to be engaging in a private conversation with the great masters of early 20th-century sculpture.”

Cragg: “There is this idea that sculpture is static, or maybe even dead, but I feel absolutely contrary to that. I’m not a religious person—I’m an absolute materialist—and for me material is exciting and ultimately sublime. When I’m involved in making sculpture, I’m looking for a system of belief or ethics in the material. I want that material to have a dynamic, to push and move and grow.

“I also want that to happen over the course of making things, so that as soon as one generation of sculptures has gone up, another generation is coming on and things are growing up around me. That’s how it seems to work for me.”

The Liverpool-born visual artist is currently the director of Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and has lived in Germany since 1977. He won the Turner prize in 1988, and for his services to art received a CBE in 2002. He also opened a sculpture park in Wuppertal, Germany. All his sculptures are handmade, and he is well-known for scorn of factory-made art; likening non-handmade works to relatives that one has never met.

 View Tiny Craggs work in a Waldfrieden Sculpture Partk in Germany

Tsvetana,

for the ArtChronicle





LONDON-CASS FOUNDATION SCULPTURE PLANS 2012

21 10 2010

LONDON. Exhibition Road, home to the South Kensington museums, is to be lined with ten new and recent sculptures by UK artist Tony Cragg during the 2012 summer Paralympic Games.

The scheme to take over the pedestrianised thoroughfare is led by the Cass Sculpture Foundation, a charitable trust that commissions and sells monumental work on display at its 26-acre estate at Goodwood, near Brighton.
“As a partner of the Cultural Olympiad, we have been working on the Exhibition Road project for the past two years with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea,” says entrepreneur and philanthropist Wilfred Cass, who established the foundation in 1992. ( Right, Photo of Tony Cragg, Sculptor-www.tony-cragg.com. View a video of on Cragg’s work, click here.)

In another significant move, culture minister Ed Vaizey has expressed interest in the unique funding model of the foundation. Ahead of the 20 October comprehensive spending review, the politician was no doubt keen to discover how the organisation has survived without receiving any funding from state-backed bodies such as Arts Council England.
“The charity’s simple business model effectively means that no outside funding is necessary,” says Cass. “The overheads of the foundation are paid for in full by admission charges and events.” Ed Wilde, technical director at the foundation, says: “When a piece by a particular artist is sold, we will commission another work from them using the foundation’s half of the proceeds. This effectively means that the artists will benefit from 100% of the net profit of a sale, even though the contractual fee is 50/50.”

The sculpture park attracts about 18,000 visitors a year, who pay £10 each to enter. Major sales recently have been to foreign collectors such as Portuguese billionaire José Berardo.

“People find it difficult to understand that a charity can also be commercial but isn’t this the kind of scheme favoured by the current government? With institutions such as the arts council and museums throughout the country facing major cuts, we see our role as working more closely with these bodies,” adds Cass.

 

 

 

VITAL FACTS ABOUT THE CASS SCULPTURE FOUNDATION

The Cass Sculpture Foundation has won a broad international reputation by carefully honing its expertise in the commissioning and sale of large-scale sculpture from the finest British artists.

Profits from all sales are split equally between the artist and the foundation to date we have displayed over 440 new sculptures and have provided an internationally renowned platform for a significant number of British sculptors.
We are now extending our visibility and international profile by planning a major series of events outside of Goodwood.

 

 

Tsvetana Yvanova

Editor,The Art Chronicle





A Ghost Forrest in The Heart of London?

20 04 2010

Ghost Forrest Art Project | Angela Palmer |Trafalgar Square

I am always deeply impressed by Artists, who cross boundaries – or erase the them. An Artist, who  is capable of organizing an installation with a message of this caliber – deserves special attention. I myself love with trees. Period. I have no explanation. Just love trees, their grandeur, their  ability to be complete habitats for thousands of  flora and fauna and last but not least – their genetic design to last for over a  milleneum and sustain our very own life on Earth. I can go on and on .  We owe the existence of any civilization on earth to the existence of trees. Few things create more indignation in me that cutting down rainforrest species, under the pretext ( and ignorance ) that they will grow again . . .I also happen to be a deep believer , that with common efforts we can preserve  our environment  healthy  and even  reverse the damage done to the environment up to this point. This is why I was taken by the efforts of an Artist Angela Palmer to create this installation showing  the stumps of Rainforrest species – after they have been cut down due to the  greed, ignorance and plain  miopia of the effect of such cutting.  I do not use the word  ‘harvested’, ( harvesting would mean that it was planted by the  party, who has cut it) – even harvesting trees is equally damaging.  Not to say that ‘harvesting’ trees is justifiable  in any way ,  shape of form. Below follows  is a part of Angela Palmer’s  statement for this installation  in her own words -http://www.angelaspalmer.com .

‘The connection between deforestation and climate change, and the challenge to express that visually, is the basis for my most ambitious and logistically challenging work yet. The concept is to present a series of rainforest tree stumps as a ‘ghost forest’ – using the negative space created by the missing trunks as a metaphor for climate change, the absence representing the removal of the world’s ‘lungs’ through continued deforestation.’

‘Over the past few months I’ve made several field trips to a commercially logged primary rainforest in Ghana where we sourced a group of 10 tree stumps. The Ghost Forest was exhibited in Trafalgar Square in London November 16-22, courtesy of the GLA. It then moved to Copenhagen from December 7-16 to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference, and was situated in Thorvaldsens Plads, a magnificent city centre square next to Parliament Square and the National Museum. More than 12,000 delegates from 193 nations attended the Conference where the future of rainforests was a key component of the agenda.’

‘Both locations provide a powerful stage: Trafalgar Square is one of the world’s most visited tourist sites and the epicentre of Western industrialisation over the past 200 years. Nelson’s Column stands over 50 metres (169 feet) tall, the approximate height many of these trees would have stood. In Copenhagen, Ghost Forest stands as a symbol of threatened rainforest trees throughout the world. Seven indigenous species are represented – Denya, Dahuma, Danta, Hyedua, Mahogany,Wawa and three varieties of Celtis – all with a rich and varied ecology and all with equally diverse uses by man.’

‘It is important to explain the source of these particular trees, Ghana. The tropical rainforests of the Congo Basin are the closest to Europe, just 3,000 miles due south from Trafalgar Square along the Greenwich Meridian. Having lost 90% of its primary rainforest over the past 50 years, Ghana now exercises strict regulations in sustainable and responsible forestry. Last year it became the first country in Africa to enter the VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreement) with the European Union in an effort to outlaw illegal logging. Its remaining concessions are all selectively logged, which means the retention, crucially, of the forest canopy; the natural regeneration of the forest; and a viable and sustainable timber industry for the local workforce: the installation therefore carries a message of hope and optimism.’

‘The project has the support of Deutsche Bank, the main sponsor; Arts Council England; the Global Canopy Programme; Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute and the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests; and several other charities and companies. In addition many passionate individuals have given very generously, both financially and with their time. We are still raising funds to complete the Ghost Forest Art Project. I’d be incredibly grateful for any contribution, however small. You may make a donation, and if you wish, leave a message on the Ghost Forest Donation Tree, which is here.

‘My interest in Climate Change began two years ago when I had a dream that I went to the most polluted place in the world wearing a floating white outfit. I then went to the cleanest place on earth wearing an identical white outfit, and exhibited both in a stark white gallery. When I woke I resolved to do just that. I spent a week in the most polluted place on earth, Linfen in Shanxi province in China, a city in the heart of China’s coal mining region, which according to official surveys has the world’s most polluted air and water. I then visited the cleanest – Cape Grim in the North West tip of Tasmania, which benefits from the cleansing blast of the winds of the Roaring Forties. In both places I wore an identical white outfit, and brought back film, photographs, water and air samples, all of which I juxtaposed for my final show at the Royal College of Art in London. The work will be exhibited next month at the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road in London. Entitled ‘Breathing In’, the show opens on October 20.’

‘Many people have commented that at the core of my work is a desire to ‘map’; the work is almost always accompanied with a narrative, often the result of months of research involving many specialists. In a way it is old fashioned story-telling, perhaps largely informed by my background in journalism. A common theme running through all my projects is the collision between art and science, and almost without exception the work is the result of collaborations with scientists in every conceivable discipline, from engineers specialising in bio-fluidics, to dust-mite and spider experts, radiologists, veterinary scientists, paediatric dentists and specialists in ancient Egyptian dyes.’

To view the entire text and Angela Palmer’s website -just click on the link.

SOME FACTS YOU PROBABLY DO NOT KNOW:

1.One of the tallest rainforrest species is  Brazil Nut Tree ( Bertoletia Excelsa) is one of tghe largest species in the Amazon  Rainforrests, reaches 100 – 150 feet and may live 500 up to 1000 years. It reproduces with difficulty – its reproduction depends on a certain type of orchid. Withg a straight stem, 3 -6.5  feet in diameter, and a crown that towers over all other canopies of  surrounding tees.

2. Other common  species – in California - Platan (Platanus Occidentalis)  very  tall as well – up to 130 feet, can live up to 2300 years if left alone.

Sincerely,

Tsvetana Yvanova, ASLA,

Artist, Designer & Tree Lover








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.