ART STATEMENT: ’DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION / THE MEMORY PALACE SERIES'
Being born into the time of no future generation pondering over how to visually manifest an idea of tracking events back to that era. Remember being impelled towards a fascinating system. A Memory Palace... An ancient technique used for almost total recall, a technique to remember vast amounts ofinformation, before the age of universal writing ability, available to everyone. The method of loci or “ars memoriae" (art of memory in Latin) was an implement used by the scribes of the Ancient Greek World. The idea has been recurrently used in literature and film.
This learning system is based on allocating physical locations in the mind, used most often in cases where long lists of material had to be remembered precisely. Familiar buildings such as churches, temples or markets, places one has physically visited are the ideal, for the task. The Library of Alexandria was often used as and referred to as a Memory Palace.
To use the method one have to go through (physically) a building repeatedly and in the same sequence whilst looking at the same places as before. Then one connect the item one have to remember witTthe places in the building, for example the parts in a complicated speech.To recall that speech you visit the places in the building with your mind, with which you have connected your speech to. The method is to ensure that you have associated ideas with pictures, localizing theese pictures in a spatial place. A vast compound of space, filled with memories connected with definite places in a building. A Memory Palace.
The system is fascinating. Not only just as tool for remembering, but also as a new concept, a product for the imagination, and a fount to store abstract memories: Paintings representing thoughts and memories, stored in a labyrinthine system in a house.
In order to visualize the idea of this mental construct, and to provide storage space for the myriad impressions stored in the inner world of the mind and the feelings associated with it, the intention became to construct a wooden tower (the mind), where paintings (memories) are hung on the inner walls (the Memory Palace).The whole construction is to be constructed as a ramshackle house, a symbol of a scattered brain full of information. The wooden construct will have an entrance, where one can walk into the palace for a brief secretive glimpse. A perverse peep, of the creative and complex atmosphere inside the memories of someone’s mind palace. On the walls, inside the construction, is an organized series of visual representations of memories: Paintings overlapping each other sometimes, as if containing uncontrollable information in underlying patterns. Every painting is a repository of memories within memories.
The visual and spatial representations of the paintings, are accorded their logical and/or psychological connections.
The Memory Palace Project weaves layers of psychological narrative into separate versions, represented by each individual painting, of an inner biography. The paintings store their repertoire of spells in an unpleasant temple of revelation. A brain, a storage space, in which “Dangerous” insights sets that world apart from our own reality.
I adapted some of my considerations about time from an object ’Alt 2000’ that I developed while being a student of set design at Denmarks Designschool.
The content of the painting is temporal. Its content visualizes what time is, in itself, when it is created as a physical and abstract object, the painting. The object itself is a container containing time. The painting is incomprehensible from the inside, giving the outside audience an experience beyond time and space. The painting has transformed time into an object, where the object is subject to the spectator attendance.
When a spectator places himself in front of a painting, the person is in time. Inside the painting many time periods are reflected. Regarding the time reflections, I took a starting point from Jaques Lacan’s theories of ’Mirror Stages’. A human is in ’violence of time’. The experience inside the container becomes self-referential. The sequences of events (the visual compositions) that are inside in time (present, space, sound) are variant and multi referential.
Since the early 80’s neo-expressionism, painting was in the latter part of the same decade declaired, dead. In Europe the movement was labelled ’The New Wild Ones’ and in the US either ’Punk Art’ or 'Bad Painting’. Later, in New York, neo-expressionism influenced graffiti art, exemplified by Jean-Michel Basquiat. 'Bad Painting,’ opposed the idea of a piece of art as an unique 'accessoire' for the bourgeois circles. Neo-expressionist painters typically commented on the isolation of man and alienation created by modern society. The paintings were often aggressive and 'ugly'. A response of protest and despair and pure simulated confusion.
Bad Painting, rejected 'good taste!' I personally do not reject ’good taste!’ I do not believe there are such fixed definitions as good taste anymore. The contemporary world consists of, sliding outside the concepts of nationality and presupposed identity politics. A decentered world without fixed signifiers and national symbolic forms.
If 'new painting’ are seen in a broader perspective than the meaning of policy, they can be interpreted with far more complexity through an angle which shows, that we live in an era where global cultural signs and codes are constantly available, especially in a universal software supermarket inside the computer. Receivers may even according to John R. Hall be so international that they cannot identify with visual stereotypes recognized by a homogeneous group. I guess the same counts for the Artists.
These are some of the challenges which painting is facing today. One way to gain insight into the paradox, is to be updated and aware of visual communication, and that artists study linguistics. In that field, cognitive linguistics is highly relevant to explain how paintings, through visual metaphors, can make the complex understandable.
My task has been to re-examine the style of neo-expressionism, and as a female artist from a younger generation, to respond to an art movement dominated by male artists.
My approach to form is painting formless forms, reminiscent of decorations that indicate a subliminal sense of an underlying threat: The newer hyper-globalized landscape incorporating references that no longer have specific cultural reference points. I find this landscape extremely fascinating, and a new infinite ground for creating hybrid forms of visual expression.
The question is, how to integrate these opportunities into an ’altmodisch’ medium such as painting?
My perspective is spatial negotiation and traces of thought. An interdisciplinary approach to painting, where the painting should not be a piece of an art installation but an installation of art. Painting becomes a performative act more than a finished art-business object. Its content is depth in the surface and style in its substance.
I take a lot of pleasure in making the painting seem like there is a lot of work beneath the paint, to it give it the feel and texture of a worked-on canvas. But, as the surface is the content, it becomes alive straight away. I have no need to spend months on generating one single expression as on a naturalistic painting. This can be be done swiftly through other medias.
On the contrary, the act of painting is an action where the body pulls on impressions of layered information, gathered through being an image devourer, and an avid reader fascinated by intercultural expression. The impressions need to be transferred to the canvas quickly, so I can move on with my research and paint more paintings.
I don’t search for my identity through the act of painting anymore, and rarely, if ever, paint as a need for emotional or immediate expression or relief, as seen in the postwar expressionist movement. Works coming out of various influences are translated into precise abstractions containing shape, form, color and opinions about culture. Multiplying the newer cultural diffences and inserting old values in the 'semiotic square'.
As the paintings deals with multi-referential forms, they can be decoded in several directions. Inspirational sources can include anything from art, new technology to the humanities such as anthropology, philosophy, art history and linguistics to social and natural sciences.
Intuitively my intention is to create experiences of a coincidence principle. A principle of perfection through 'de-form' where the known and the aesthetic material is broken up. I have for example been inspired by the title of Deleuze and Guattaris’ ‘A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia'.
The paintings are references to various movements, past and present.
I choose to work so fast that I cannot stop the content from becoming a response to my own myriad of thought contradictions and interests, as a result of being a product of an era, that is and has developed so quickly as never seen before in history.
My guess is that, the brain has so much unused capacity and empty space, that it can afford to take in lots of new information and reprocess it.
Being classically trained, and been dragged through years of art theory and drawing through the various educational instititutions, this has helped me to place paint precisely abstract. Sort of abstract figurative. To paint without indecisiveness, because of the personal, ethical and aesthetic foundations within me.
Not as a result of toxic oil fumes, I assure you, as I do use acrylic paint, I simply love color and the process of mixing them,
it is highly intoxicating. But I do question the defense of ancestral academic virtues and crafts. Today, it is completely different floating values, it's about. Art has become an open expression that freely chooses its materials and techniques as needed.
I don't see breaking up the use of styles as a postmodern stylization. I see it as standing on the edge of post-human society’s stylization. I am influenced by being a witness of unprecedented technologies introduced to extend and enhance human living conditions.
Humanity is in the intermediate stage of a new system, which question previous centuries of humanistic values and traditions. Some scientists believe that we are now on the threshold of new forms of existence and interaction. Changes that which no doubt will transform basic human living conditions. These changes will provoke very deep ideas in the humanistic sciences: The past inventories of cultural material that has taught us about the humanistic values. The Australian Artist Stellarc states, that new modes of high-tech interaction could break cultural memory and the old ways of Western thinking. This scenario would have been a relevant solution to Hamlets schism; a mankind still functioning on memory.
I am not on a mission to neglect humanistic traditions and values . On the contrary, the experiment is an attempt to find new painterly forms and to explore how the painting has its eligibility, and why!
I have in a constant interaction explored and worked with painting, new visual forms of communication, digital media, interdisciplinary set designs, graphics and fashion. And return passionately back to expressive painting, as the most direct medium to express a network of content and codes, that I constantly seek out and meet in my everyday life. An everyday, where I try to avoid the tedium and ignorance. A life composed of choices and involuntary events, where the multiple forms of media is not above, but a foundation for painting.
A painting can both inspire and be inspired by intercultural communication. Simultaneously a new cultural landscape emerges: a mutually synergistic interaction communicating between the surrounding society, paintings and viewers.
Overall I assume that my paintings consists of consciousness, sociological reflections, cultural commentary and memory, collective work across disciplines, applied interdisciplinary art forms and transformations of words and action into spatial painterly solutions. Painting contains an option to move people's awareness, support the development of global networks, transcend age, experience, social, religious and cultural backgrounds.
By Birgitte Moos
ARTIST STATEMENT 'WHITE COWS'
This painting is a subtract derived from an idea of a series of 5 empty storefront concept installations that I created as a commentary and anticommercial, based on the fact that the fashion week of Copenhagen in 1997, was located in a former slaughterhouse, where the particular location was called ’The Hall of the Axes’ in the Meatpacking District of Copenhagen. How ironic is that!
One of the cultural differences between Copenhagen
and Los Angeles:
The self aggrandizement of women in LA.
It is not a new phenomenon, that women demand attention. Attention often gives an economic advantage. LA most of all, is a city controlled by the brutal force of financial gain, and a social and financial security network is virtually non existent, unless one is wealthy! Female beauty is a wealth magnet, as well as a status symbol. Women in LA ( all kinds of nationalities ) emulate media stars as the 'Figure Magnifique' of mythology.
fashion and film industry induces the belief, that thin girls are the real representatives of beauty. A rather narrow minded ideal. The degeneration of natural beauty is far more obvious in LA, the city of celebrities and wannabes, as girls here are typically smaller in their body measurements, than their counterparts in Europe: A new Danish trend is to expose mannequin dolls in storefronts, with sizes in European sizes, has grown from a 34 to 38 and the EU parliament is currently discussing whether to provide rules for lowest BMI numbers allowed for catwalk models.
The essence of the painting ‘White Cows’, is a culmination of an observation and research into the thematic of female beauty in modern media and fashion in Los Angeles, Copenhagen and Europe in general.
of the painting consists of images inserted into a conceptually designed space; the painted area. In the digitally designed, and in the hand drawn images within the painting, the intention is to evoke/visualise flickering images, backgrounds and or particular locations! These flickering images or films, are of nanotech equipment for life extending and body-beautiful surgery, future dna manipulation, and even axes of a slaughterhouse.
A comment on female beauty and the methods and extent used, to which people will go to in order to achieve this: Beauty conquers everything - and beauty equivocates with success.
Across the painting, there are rows of identical catwalk mannequins, posing in continuous repetitive movements, reminding of the march of a fascist parade. The mannequins stand still, a Bertolt Brechtian tableaux vivant. A black conveyor belt propels the girls, all dressed in cow skin, through the room. The floor beneath the conveyor belt is drenched in blood: The slaughterhouse!The theme of twins represents here the idea, that women also mirror themselves in each others narcississtic adoration/competition. The color scheme of the painting has conscious movement from light to dark, and from the left to the right: The concept of political progression in western society. The color palette is very feminine and deliberately misty; the location of a polluted place, where it constantly rains blood and milk...
... A parallel on the subject of being a woman in LA, and a meat market. Therefore the title, "WHITE COWS".
The painting was painted as an anticommercial for a fashion week in Copenhagen, which was located in a former slaughterhouse, where the particular location was called The Hall of the Axe. How ironic is that!
By Birgitte Moos
ART STATEMENT FOR ‘PEOPLE COME BACK, TRANSFORMED’
The focus in 'People Come Back, Transformed' is on homeless new war veterans in Downtown Los Angeles.
After my Artist in Residency at University of Southern California’s Division of Digital Art, I moved to Downtown LA, and witnessed the tragedy of homeless people on the streets, especially in Skidrow.
The project consist of a variety of simultaneous working processes.
The research phase begun with investigating their life on the streets whilst documenting and video recording. The recording of their life on the streets is to be produced into a docu-fiction video. It will be presented in the narrative form of a before and after platform.
The project is planned as a spatial installation. The room will be represented as the comfort bringing modern living room of average America, including furniture, paintings, drawings and photography and video.
But the space is unoccupied because the former residents have moved as a result of the war's implications: The returned to home soldiers' psychological reactions which are not followed up on leads in many cases to failed marriages.
Thousands of veterans live with post-traumatic stress, ’a sudden death’ of flashback, in the battlefields they experienced. A raw brutality in harsh living color, where the result is that they are incapable of functioning in society.
A Tsunami is a concept that is used to describe something that can happen without warning and has been used as a metaphor for what can happen when the number of returning soldiers are booming in the U.S.
The videos and the paintings on the walls will represent their experiences after their return and will emphasise the theme of homeless newer war veterans. The references entailing the pictures of the war they have been involved in will be clipped together in an effort to establish a sense of reality the soldiers experienced before and after they went to Irag. These stark images are to be edited together with Hollywood’s film interpretation of the return of American soldiers. I will research into modern American war films at the AFI, The American Film Institute, and American media coverage of the Irag war.
As a part of my project, I will volunteer as a social worker in art therapy for veterans at VA, The Department of Veteran Affairs, located in Downtown. I hope that this close contact will enable me to reach a deeper understanding of the veterans psyche than I would have otherwise experienced. As well as my daily walks and conversations with new war vets in Skidrow have led to many, deep contacts with the veterans.
After my stay in Downtown LA and my return to Denmark, I have often reflected over the problem of the rising tally of the homeless war veterans in the USA. Therefore I am illustrating this theme in an installation. This will integrate two of my fields of activity; set design and fine art.
Theatre has in recent years drawn on the use of interactivity and new technologies on stage, where a trend is trying to turn the stage into a computergame and trying to adapt actors as virtual players. I want to generate a virtual theatre that draws on cultural references and integrates the audience in what I call the game. The audience becomes the actors in a documentary theatre.
By Birgitte Moos
ARTIST STATEMENT: 'FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT'
Fake it Till You Make It is a visual commentary on contemporary visual art practice and spectator attendance. Produced by using threads to art history and current ‘art trends’. It is a site-specific and politically anarchistic work created for the Autumn Lights exhibition at Pershing Square in Downtown, Los Angeles, September 2009 specifically intended to be positioned above the escalator to the parking lot under Pershing Square. The placement of the work is a commentary on the spirit of the place. Los Angeles, the multicultural metropol and melting pot frequented by people of all ages and social ties.
The dominating blue metal color in Fake it Till You Make It is a metaphor for the 20th century. As Autumn Lights in Latin means melancholy, I interpret this as death, followed by emptiness, leading to new beginnings. The blue geometric traces indicates here a melancholic trip from sources for civilization; the production of infrastructure in ancient Greek city state, nomadic native indian's mythologiess to cities encapsulated by Freeways, precisely as Downtown LA, to technological virtual highway Internet traffic. Traces of human history relevant to the inhabitors of LA.
The work also examines the impossible question of whether all art is already done or if it is still possible to generate new innovative ideas. Can an artist's understanding of art history serve to generate new groundbreaking work.
Fake it Till You Make It plays with the notion that in present consumer-related part of art communication, it often seems to be about that the artist executes a new idea. The title Fake it Till You Make It may for example refer to that phenomenon one finds when similar ideas occurs simultaneously elsewhere in the world. And the results can seem as if some of the artists apparently, deliberate or not, are copying other artists' works and ideas. Or ideas echoing each other, with reference to the 'String Theory' in quantom physics. Reversely, the title also indicates that exercises in copying masterpieces, generates a mastery of techniques, that can lead to mastery of new and precisely executed artworks.
Fake it Till You Make It has a three-dimensional character. The different visual fields are located in different levels on the foundation. The foundation is the 4 largest rectangular surfaces. The surfaces have cut out ‘windows’ inserted images, with prints on varied transparent materials. Pictures and windows provide glimpses of some of the historic trail, which provides a foundation for the work, while the sculptural objects on top of foundations refers forward in time.
To illustrate the influence of previous works, or indicating this could be a comment on CON-ART, even con-art in itself, new paintings have been added on top of the foundation. These heavily influenced by original works by artists, such as Rothko. In addition there are ‘imitations’ of new artworks seen dealing with reflections like in Rorschach Tests. Obvious choice of motifs that plays on mirroring effects in relation to the ideas of echoes and reflections in Fake it Till You Make It. Recent artworks have also been produced, where they contain textile design or paper clips integrated on canvases. Therefore a field has in this Fake it Till You Make It been added, where the surface consists of braided strips.
The text is inverted and written from right to left. This as a result of that my thoughts are projected onto the canvas. The canvas, which later placed opposite a spectator, sends its manifested message back to this new receiver who receives a reflection of a mirror. In other words; a double projection. Throughout this new meeting, the word order again turns into both a visually and linguistically recognizable structure.
If the artist's function is to hold up a mirror to society, we may have to accept the fact that in our time, the mirrors are hazy. The problem is that we are blinded by our own projections. An image of that we in the West reflect each other, unlike for example in Buddhist philosophy, where it is about stopping projections in order to see clearly.
Thus the work is quite complex, multi-referring and immediately incomprehensible. Just like life.
by BIRGITTE MOOS
Curated and organized by local Artist Lilli Muller
In partnership with the City of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation and Art2, AUTUMN LIGHTS LA 2009 debuts at Pershing Square Park as an annual event in Downtown Los Angeles.
In the sprit of Los Angeles’ Sister City Berlin and its annual "Festival of Lights," AUTUMN LIGHTS LA 2009 showcases LA artists, presenting various forms of studio and performance art that feature installations, performances and projections utilizing the medium of light. Beginning in the afternoon, visitors are introduced to exhibits from cutting edge Los Angeles artists and performances by musicians and entertainers. Into the night, Pershing Square will be literally transformed as the entertainment continues and a range of illuminations and projections light up park sculptures and surrounding buildings.
This day-to-night arts festival will include concessions and community information booths and is open to the public, free of charge and is curated and organized by local Artist Lilli Muller.
ARTIST STATEMENT: 'DECONSTRUCTED SUNFLOWER'
In this painting the sunflower is a representation of nature opposed to the visualisation of a chess board; a symbol for mankind and human nature, including thought, hierarchy and strategy. It is a philosophical study of beauty and taste.
The term ’Deconstruction’ is used as a rethinking of nature.
Chess was a game showing the battle of two armies played by two individuals and regarded as a game for wealthy people in society. It is an exercise in logic that can bring a sense of satisfaction. Goethe called Chess ‘the touchstone of the intellect.’
There is a dualism in our life between true nature and human nature. Nature is still mysterious. It extends human imagination and is older than any human created measurement systems such as calendars and mathematics.
There is a tendency for the direction of evolution toward the survival of the ’fittest’ where the less ’fit’ retrogress backwards into deeper poverty.
This painting is a work that plays with juxtaposition to explore how image can incite thought and how thought can lead to action restructuring nature to the point where neither thought or nature is primary. Although the ’Deconstructed Sunflower’ painting suggests that thoughts are impossible without realizing that nature is still too advanced for humanintellect to grasp.
In other words, it is what humankind does not grasp and not simply what it sees that is the foundation for it.
By Birgitte Moos
ARTIST STATEMENT 'MAKING THE F-WORD FASHION'
We are four female painters, Sabina Mlejnek (Austria), Birgitte Moos (Denmark/USA), Vibeke Knudsen (Denmark) and Suzanne Russell (USA/Denmark), with diverse national, cultural and educational backgrounds.
We are working on a collaborative art project, and this is a project description and examples on sketches for common paintings.
Our project is an experiment in collaboration aimed at producing a series of large paintings, planned to be aproximately 13,1X6,5 ft, on the subject of notions female beauty and cultural identity. We plan to investigate our individual interpretations of the female body over time, as we collaborate to produce paintings in which the only rule is, that we may not stop each other via verbal responses to each other’s painting during the work period. Painting over each other’s work and adding to each other’s work is allowed.
The project is about the group’s working methods and dynamics. For this reason, the dynamics of the group will be documented each day through a variety of media, including video recordings and questionaires. We concider creating a website for the project, with blogs and photographs, documenting the paintings’ stages and development. The working process will be reflected in the dynamics of the paintings.
A flirtation with culturally defined ideas like ego and self, is implicit in our proposed working method and subject matter. These ideas will be investigated and, hopefully,
illuminated by the content of the paintings themselves. Grabbing the spotlight and worshipping beauty.
Can we let go of our egos? Can we produce paintings, that contain references to a wide range of styles, because we have different talents, tools and references?
Will the paintings function as symbols and aesthetically as paintings when the content is made up of a sort of cultural hacking?
Part of our project is to exhibit our collaborative paintings in each of the countries where we are from.
We expect the essence of our collaborative paintings to be a culmination of our observations about female beauty, especially as it is portrayed in mass media throughout the world.
Ideals of female beauty have been articulated in Egypt, in Dante’s Italy, in art and theater, in film and television, and in advertisements. The glamour system. Especially in the West, women are given the leading role of “Figure Magnifique,” a mythical role that tries to convince the viewer, that these women are real and represent female beauty.
As a possible consequence of society’s rejection of natural look as beautiful, our paintings will comment on the scientific methods that are available to achieve beauty at any cost.
Female beauty is an indicator of success and a staus symbol. Stategies for seduction are defined in the media and the myths they create. The relationship between the sexes are affected.
Through media images we become aware of our obsessive attantion to appearances. The perfect body. Our body becomes our identity. Our identity becomes a projection of our body as a social construction, in which the conventional meaning of the word ”object” describes the female body, and its status in terms of time and place.
Many international female artists work with hybrid artistic expression in which they combine, for example, photography, video, installation and performance art. This can be interpreted as a rejection of painting as a traditionally patriarchal medium, with the masterpiece as its result.
Painting is not related to gender in Denmark in the 21s century. In our project , we wish to use painting as a genderless media through which we, as female artists with different nationalities, show the world that we use the oldest and most traditional art medium as part of our contemporary investigation.
By Birgitte Moos
ARTIST STATEMENT: 'REPULSIVE REPETITION SERIES'
In my paintings, I strive to communicate from a myth-generated part of our cultural heritage revealing individual and collective patterns in the human structures of sensing the essence of being alive. My quest is to bring dreams, memories and love to life. It is then up to the voyeur to receive a subjective impression.
I returned again and again in recent years, to the theme of transformation of life.
There is a kind of cultural deep freeze in our bodies, where society paralyses our brains, and disconnects us from nature, sealing the life of feelings and making the idea of radical change almost unthinkable.
If the artist's function is to hold up a mirror to society, we may have to accept the fact that in our time, the mirrors are hazy. The wearing of a mirror, reflecting every experience back into our own consciousness is a progression from illusion to clarity.
The problem is that we are blinded by our own projections, stopping us from staying true to love and unity. So don't expect perfection.
Several of these latest paintings, particularly in Repulsive repetitions, explores thematically classical elements. Such as the Assyrians and the woman and ..satan,.. and ..satan.. and the woman, or.. carnal desires and the woman, ...are often implanted in abstractions about nature and the body feminine.
Through repetition of mythological symbols and figures, on love and passion, from earliest historical times, the paintings demand some attention. One might not be seduced at first, but then slowly, as one enters the images, a kind of pattern emerges where recognition might possibly dawn..!
By Birgitte Moos
ARTIST STATEMENT: 'MIRROR WRITINGS'
Are written from left to the right as a result of the Artists thoughts projected directly onto a surface, which later will be located in front of the observer. The content is now manifest and placed within the image. It will hereby reflect itself mirrored back to the receiver.
Copyright ® Birgitte Moos 2014
© Birgitte Moos Chalcraft 2019