A2 Art Graphic's Student
Havering Sixth Form College
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[Book] Exploration & Discovery
Rodchenko Artist Analysis
Alexander Rodchenko 1891-1956, was a Russian artist, sculptor, photographer and graphic designer. He was one of the founders of the art movement constructivism and Russian design. Rodchencko was one of the most versatile Constructivist and Productivist artists to emerge after the Russian Revolution. Much of the work of 20th century graphic designers is a direct result of Rodchenko’s earlier work in the field. His influence has been pervasive enough that it would be nearly impossible to single out all of the designers whose work he has influenced.
Rodchenko photomontage of 1924 for a Moscow publisher in which Lilya Brik, the muse of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, joyously cries out ‘books’
In the artwork, Rodchencko has created a photomontage poster advertising USSR State ideology. This piece presents themes and ideas of promotion and control. The sharp lines and bold colours seem instructive and create a tense atmosphere to the viewer. The piece reminds me of loud speakers and yelling, through the positioning of the person in the photograph, the image can also be interpreted by others as being informative and directive.
The materials used to make this piece were gouaches and cut paper on photographic paper, mounted on cardboard. The elements and principles presented in the composition is the correlation of lines and use bright and bold colours which provide a backdrop. The photograph image has been placed in the centre left of the piece giving a more perspective and angled image. The block like Russian characters enriches the artwork to seem more abstract to a foreign audience.
The time period of the artwork is set during the 1920s, during the Soviet Union ruling in Russia a time during the Revolution (1918–1929), there was relative freedom and artists experimented with several different styles in an effort to find a distinctive Soviet style of art. The piece reveals aspects of Russian order, and the experimentation of compositions artists looked at in constructivism artworks. There are also stylistic influences that would have been from other pioneering constructivist movement artists of the time, such as his partner, Varvara Stepanova, and Lyubov Popova, both works of which present prominent aspects of lines and geometry.
This poster has been particularly influential to today’s design industry with an adapataion in the style used within the design of a Franz Ferdinand album cover.
In this artwork Rodchenko has created a poster, advertising the Soviet State civil air organisation known as “Dobrolet”. This piece also presents themes and ideas of promotion and structure. The simple block shapes and duo tone of bold colours are informative and direct to the viewer and reminds me of navigational signs.
This piece strongly reflects aspects of the living society during the time, as well as design influences which have been used in today’s context. Many company logos and book covers have been created with reference to some basic constructivist art elements, descending from Rodchenko’s work.
Rodchenko created this piece using the technique of lithography. The elements and principles presented in the composition is the positioning of the aircraft within the central part of the design, the arrow pointing at the propeller and exclamation mark reflects some aspects of urgency and motion. The block like Russian characters again enriches the artwork to seem more abstract to a foreign audience.
The time period of the artwork is set during the Soviet Union control, the time during the Revolution constructivism established as a distinctive style of art controlled by the state. The simplicity within this piece of shapes reveals its approach to practicality within the art movement and its commercial and propaganda influence.
Design for an advertisement for the Mossel’prom (Moscow agricultural industry) cafeteria 1923.
In this piece, Rodchenko has created a poster advertising the agricultural industry in Russia, the themes presented focus on regime and order in society reflected from Soviet Union policies and state control.
The geometric shapes and lines have been connected in a structured and angled formation of shapes, providing a sense of hierarchy and feels informative the viewer. Like with most of his posters, Rodchenko has created this piece using the technique of lithography, and in the style influenced by the constructivist movement. This piece seems to reflect aspects of architecture and structural formation, the works of artists at the time were compared to such of engineers.
Rodchenko has also only used primary colours, which provides the atmosphere of authority and order. The poster does relates to aspects of modern society, due to its lattice geometric shapes depicted, such buildings as the Gherkin Building in London, has gain much of its influences from this piece and others produced during the time of the movement.
This artwork is another one of Rodchenko’s posters he designed; this piece primarily uses shapes and the contrasting colours of red and green to create an image of a child. The face compiled in the image has been created through the use of overlapping shapes and tones, conveying a bold and tense atmosphere to the audience. This piece can be interpreted as provoking to the viewer as well as inviting, the mismatch of contrasting colours and composition of the elements bring aspects of joy and fulfilment. There are themes and ideas of learning, and propaganda presented through this image. Similarly with his other posters Rodchenko created this piece using lithography. This piece reflects the practical nature of designs created during the constructivist movement, the artwork strongly reflects its time and place during the Russian Revolution where art and society was strictly controlled.
I have researched the work of Rodchenko, as I want to incorporate his practical approaches to design within my own work. There are prominent uses of lines, geometric shapes and angles as well as strong elements of typography. His posters present themes of sequences and repetition which I want to take stylistic influences from linking to my own project. My work can develop focusing on the direct nature of his pieces, which communicate conveying a message to the audience.
Here for my response pieces looking at Rodchenko’s work, I have experimented using his composition of lines, placement of colours and bold shapes. Although my own designs seem quite minimal and monochrome to his designs, I think these simple designs presents a strong atmosphere reflecting the principles of constructivist design and aspects of Rodchenko’s pieces.
Barbara Kruger Analysis:
Barbara Kruger born in 1945 is an American conceptual artist. Much of her work consists of text overlaying black and white photographs, these declarative captions ‘in white on red’ are placed using the font ‘Futura Bold Oblique’. Phrases that she often uses seem subliminal and direct to the audience, using pronouns such as “You”, “Your”, “I”, and “We”. Her work engages this merging of found photographs from existing sources, and re-contextualizing them with captions that often conveys a theme of struggling power and control.
Untitled (I shop therefore I am) 1980
In the artwork, “I shop therefore I am,” Kruger has created this montage of text and black and white photography using photographic screen printing on vinyl. This piece presents themes and ideas of promotion and control, and strongly dictates the subject of consumerism. The limited colour palette of red, black, and white elements bring a confrontational atmosphere to this piece, the caption with the phrase “I shop therefore I am”, conveys a direct and message to the viewer that you are what you buy. The red border that frames the piece, also gives a confrontational atmosphere to the audience. To create this piece Kruger has specifically selected the image of a hand taken from mainstreams magazines that sell the ideas she disputes in her work. This image has been re-contextualized to the context that reflects her views and ideas of the world and the society we are in. The time period of this piece is set in within today’s modern context, with the conceptual ideas presented in the message and image. The style of Kruger’s artworks, falls into the art movements of Postmodernism and Pop art, there are stylistic influences, from movement artists who have similar work, such as Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jenny Holzer.
Your Body is a Battleground 1980
In this piece Kruger, reflects ideas of femininity and self-image, she incorporates the phrase “Your body is a battleground” in her style of bold text, which draws the viewer to the issue. The art piece makes the viewer feel intimidated by the colours and brings a tense atmosphere. Themes of identity and control of messages is prominent within all her works.
The technique used to create this piece is through the layering of images and text, these have been digitally created, and most of her work uses magazine cut-outs. The elements and principles presented in the piece, is the balance of the composition, the phrase has been spread across the upper, middle, and lower sectors of the image. The face also picks up this element of symmetry of two halves. The negative and positive effect on the photographs similarly relate to these ideas. The time period of the artwork is set within modern times, the conceptual ideas this piece brings relates to today’s consumerism and health conscious culture. The work is set within the styles of Conceptual art and Pop art. Kruger has particularly been influenced by the work of constructivist artist Rodchenko, the use of text, bold print colour and sharp lines presented in his designs similarly seem to flow within her works in comparison.
The images have been appropriated and re-contextualized, Kruger has chosen to use the magazine cut-out of a female model which also conforms to the message that is put across in the piece.
Design for campaign (Selfridges)
In this design Kruger has continued to use her iconic style of layered highlighted text, and use of the colours red, black and white. The phrase “Buy me, I’ll change your life”, connotes that we live in a consumers world and people buy things purely for satisfaction. The use of “I” and “your”, specifically addresses the audience in a confrontational manner. The artwork stands out and appeals directly to a viewer, the choice of composition and layout of the piece strongly reflect the idea of control and order. This design layout and colours has some reminiscence to the Nazi flag. Kruger has kept the design simple, as the focus is kept within the message of the text. The phrase has been divided up into 3 lines, which is prominent to her other designs, presenting balance and structure within the design.
This piece has been created for promotions, in Selfridges, and this “signage” within stores would entice consumers to buy products. Kruger’s work cleverly incorporates these aspects of subliminal messages to an audience.
Thinking of You 1980
This artwork is another one of Kruger’s pieces, “Thinking of You”, this images depicts ideas of self-harm, obsession, and obedience. This piece can also be interpreted as an act of love or of sadness, connoted from the title. The photograph of the sharp safety pin prodding the finger seems thought provoking and intimidating towards the viewer. The technique used to create this piece is from layering text over black and white photography magazine cut-out. Elements and principles presented focus on the composition of the image, with the text in the foreground and close ups of fingers which support this. Kruger has kept this artwork simple, and the message is emphasized through the action of the selected image. Kruger’s work is very much conceptual and the messages can be read in context in relation to social ideas in today’s society.
I have researched the work of Kruger, as I want to take stylistic elements presented in her work. Her designs are kept simple and consist of a lot of text; the messages she uses connect to the audience, which follow her display of prominent themes and ideas. Such as control and order, consumerism, this links to her influence with Alexander Rodchenko’s work. For my project, I want to take aspects of her work such as the sharp lines and bold text, in developing my outcomes and ideas. The similar themes and techniques she uses in all her works links to the repetition of sequencing of images and messages.
For my designs I have created in response of Kruger’s work, I have experimental using my photos in the distinctive style that is prominent in all her works. I think these practical pieces are slightly weak as the images are overpowered by the composition of the text. But I think using the combination of strong bold colours and text-work, works well in captivating an audience and I want to continue developing elements of this within my designs for my project.
Scott King Analysis:
Scott King: “Pink Cher” 2008 [Screenprint and paint on canvas 300x200cm]
I was particularly drawn to the piece visiting the Saatchi Gallery. Scott King has created a portrait combining two iconic figues, appropriating the famous pop art vector of Che Guevara and the singer/ actress Cher.
In this artwork, Scott King has created a piece depicting the image of the singer and actress Cher re-contextualized onto the iconic portrait pose of political leader Che Guevara. This brings themes and ideas of female leadership, dominance and order into the piece, as well as having the interpretation of humour and controversy evoked from the artwork. This piece makes the viewer feel overwhelmed with the combination of the two famous figures, being provocative mixing both characters into one portrait and also being humorous as a final print. The artist has purposefully created this with reference of the name of these figures Che and Cher and creating this mixed image acts as a pun in relevance to their notable names.
The techniques and materials used to make this piece is from the process of screen printing, digitally creating a stencil of the threshold portrait, then ink printed using a squeegee through a mesh frame. The strong use of black in the vector image against the bright pink backdrop gives a monochrome stamp feel to the design and projects the main image of Cher.
The time period of the piece is set during the 20th century in referencing to Che Guevara’s original portrait and also appropriated using the face of Cher within today’s modern context. The work reveals aspects of today’s modern popular culture and aspects of how influential our icons are within the art world; this style of work reflects strong elements familiar to the movements of Pop Art and Contemporary Art. There are stylistic influences from artists in this piece from Andy Warhol and other contemporary artists and designers.
Images in this piece have been appropriated and re-contextualized, both photographs of the iconic figures have been put together to suit the theme and ideas the work presents. The artwork overall reflects on today’s modern context as a design it challenges conventional portrait artworks combining photos of these faces could be a representation on how the famous strongly influence our lives and image.
‘The Agony (Twice)’, 2008, screen print, 100cm x 70cm
In this piece King has made prints with simple text phrasing ‘Only the people I never want to speak to ever speak to me’, from this the themes and ideas presented in the piece are based on freedom of speech, opinions, conversations and instructive order. The design of the piece intimidates, manipulates and persuades the viewer the bold text grabbing the viewer’s intention. This piece reminds me of a campaign, protest or petition poster, reflected with the arrangement and context of the phrases.
The technique used to create this piece is also through screen printing, much of the elements and principles of the design have been made up through the composition of the text using large slanted bold black text against the bright backdrop. The colours could have been chosen particularly to grab the viewer’s attention representing ideas such as amber and red traffic warning lights. The time period of the artwork is also set during today’s modern context; this is reflected by the contemporary context and approach to the design and composition of the text. The work reveals elements of humour from the artist reflected in the context of the words, there are some links from this that can be made with the artist Christopher Wool or Jenny Holzer.
‘TEMPORARY EYESORE’ commissioned by the Architecture Foundation, Bankside, London SE1, 2008
For this piece, Scott King has made an installation where a bannered partition piece stretches across a building block of flats. The sign ‘Temporary eyesore’ acts as a pun with the message he is presenting in the piece, stating the appearance of the buildings behind as well as reflecting upon the actual partitioned banner itself across the street. King has used a bright orange backdrop and bold black text making this stretch of portioning stand out to the viewer, the fonts he has used are large stencils which also bring an industrial atmosphere to the image, linking to the idea of ‘Eyesores’. The composition of the photography and placing of the words have been considered, looking at the image from this angle emphasizes the scale of the installation here and the impact of the colours contrasting with the urban background. This image also places the setting within a new context advertising using the large obstructive text; this could reflect the intentions of this image, where King is communicating how dominating large advertisements are within our society.
The piece is set within today’s time, and placed within South East London; much of this area is continuing large scale regeneration, with buildings and designs with the use of space. This image suits this idea where building work is taking place remodelling society. There are similar influences for this piece for the image above, particularly from the artist Christopher Wool, whose work consists of large stencilled black text. This artwork strongly represents modern society and how our surroundings are changing; the placement of this piece reflects how as an audience we live to engage with the visual text and imagery around us.
‘New Dot Riot No.3’, 2005, Digital Print
In this piece contrasting to his other works, King has created a diagram of dots which appear to represent ideas of a crowd of people standing and aligned in a march. The dots have been arranged in a regimented order, with some being scattered over others in a sectioned part of the image. The artwork makes the viewer feel lost perhaps confused, the image presents a sense of movement and a busy atmosphere. The piece reminds me of a collection of computer data, and an abstract presentation of a mass of dotted pixels. The distorted element of the image reminds me of a moving flag or a bird’s eye view of a lost group.
The techniques and materials used to make the piece are from using digital editing and manipulation. The anomaly of dots have been replicated and shifted, placed over other dots and the equal spaces between. The elements and principles presented in the composition is seen through the arrangements of the ‘Riot’ of dots, having this misplaced crowd of dots placed in the centre of the image amongst the regimented dots presents ideas of movement and travelling in the image. This also provides an intense atmosphere within the piece, with themes of instability and unrest.
The time period of the artwork is set during today’s time and place; this is reflected by the contemporary style of the artwork, and minimalist approach to the design. The work reveals the modern aspects of today’s society and having the freedom to speak, the style of the artwork can be linked in the movements of Pop Art and Minimalist design and Contemporary Art. There are influences from information graphic designs and minimalist designs. Overall this piece I feel acts conceptually as a design, where the abstract arrangement of dots reflect the order and world we live in, this disbanded placement of dots represents a percentage of people who are willing to change ideas and follow and work in a different manner to the norm.
Referring to King’s work I want to take elements from his pieces developing my project further, I like the prominent use of simple block shapes and colours that emphasize the the impact of his pieces to the audience. I intend to experiment and develop further linking to his compositions and contemporary style of his designs within my own project based on sequences.
Linking to the artist Scott King, I have created pieces in the contemporary style of his designs in reference to my project. His pieces consisting of bright colours and bold black vectors and text is reflected through the designs I have made. I think these designs appear quite successful in impacting the viewer with my ideas, linking it to my project I want to continue developing works based on sequencing with aspects of King’s visual designs.