Saturday, 16 May 2015

Art Gallery Takeover: Anselm Kiefer Museums at Night 2015

Mob Masterpiece!

I've been a bit quiet over here on my blog recently as I have a lot of projects on at the moment, all requiring my time and attention. I've missed keeping this up to date, it's an important part of how I document, reflect and evaluate the work I do. So, here's a brief post about one of the smaller (in terms of time!) projects I've been involved in recently.

A starting point



This was my third year being involved with Museums at Night at Tullie House. For the past two years I've run life drawing sessions, first fancy dress life drawing and last year steampunk life drawing but this year I was doing something a bit different; helping to create a mob masterpiece. The current exhibition is the excellent Artists Rooms: Anselm Kiefer show so all the activities were centred around and inspired by his works. There was a dance performance with specially written music in the gallery space and then different creative activities for people in the atrium and community room.

Getting started

Getting stuck in!

More colours

Mob Materpiece was based in the Community Room as we were able to be quite messy in there! Working on a huge canvas (over 2m x 3m) I encouraged people to come and help me create a Kiefer inspired Cumbrian landscape using paint and various collage materials. I started off by sketching out a very basic landscape as I have found that people are often reluctant to work on a totally blank canvas. The idea was that this was just a starting point, my intention being that over the course of the evening the piece would change and evolve into something unique, which it did. I did have to laugh to myself when one person said "why does it have to be so prescriptive, why can't people do what they want?" and I replied "they can, that's the idea" and handed them a brush on a stick.




Partly because the canvas was so large, partly because it's an interesting challenge and partly because it helps people loosen up about painting we mostly worked with brushes taped to bamboo canes. This makes fine, detailed work quite difficult but does allow big, expressive marks to be made. I also took along some plant material I'd collected, which one guy used very effectively as a brush/mark making tool, and we also added in tissue paper, raffia, thread and glitter for extra texture as the piece progressed. We mostly used emulsion paint left over from various projects in the gallery which gave us an interesting palette that actually ended up working really well.

Adding some detail

Plant additions

Painting with plants

It was great seeing the piece develop over the evening as different people came and made their mark. Some people just made a few strokes, others got really involved, throwing, drizzling, splattering and using their hands to apply the paint. There was a really fun atmosphere and people were really willing to get stuck in which made the evening fly by! What I found really interesting was how the piece changed so many times during the course of the evening but we've still ended up with quite a landscape-esque piece of work.




I really enjoyed running this activity, it was great getting loads of people, staff and visitors, involved and I think the finished piece is great. The energy that went into creating it is really reflected in the final piece. I love the different surfaces that have been created, it has a Kiefer/Pollock/Ayres/Mad people of Carlisle feel about it! The piece is currently on display in the community room at Tullie House so if you're in the area go check it out!

My boots at the end of the night!

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