Putting a 21st Century Twist on the Past

2180 Words9 Pages
In this essay I will argue that my practice is contemporary by showing 21st century influences. I will do this by discussion of themes and practices of other artists that I am interested in, evaluating the issues they address. In particular Francis Alys, George Shaw and Social Realism.

I first realised my interest in manual labour, menial jobs and cycle of working, when I was travelling, and this influenced my work. Whilst visiting the Yves Saint Laurent gardens in Marrakech there was an employee of the gardens sweeping the flower petals into his grasp, whilst more constantly fell. This time consuming action initially interested me as absurd, however after further dwelling I considered the action more of a metaphor for the idea of working
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From taking the outsider role he was able to see situations differently than if he was part of them. I feel the same within my practice; I am a keen observer of people and always find my most inspired and passionate ideas originate from just watching a situation. In ‘Placing Pillows’ Alys uses his role of observer to his advantage. He can see the lack of repair and action after the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. He reacts to by placing pillows within the broken windows. He is able to use such a simple thing that becomes such a strong and political statement.

In the world today we are subjected to roles and expectations, we are all expected to mature and earn a living, when this doesn’t happen it is frowned upon. For example not having a career or a consistent income is thought to be out of the ordinary almost not conforming lesser you as a person. An enthusiast for symbols and allegories, Alyss casts the world in a lighthearted way where it is easy for the audience to appreciate what is being said. Paradox of Praxis 1 (Sometimes Doing Something Leads to Nothing) where he pushes a block of ice around Mexico City taking no steps to stop it from melting to a pool of water pulls similarities to the myth of Sisyphus, a Greek mythological figure punished for the rest of his life to push a bolder up a hill only for it to fall back down again
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