I spent three days working with students from the College of Art, Music and Drama introducing fine art, music and drama students from four years of undergraduate study to installation art.
We started by looking at installation artists that have inspired my own work: Jessica Stockholder, Sara Sze and El Anatsui. We discussed their work through the eyes of a painter; looking at how installation work can still be talked about using traditional painting terminology of composition, form, texture, colour, dimension, depth, line etc. We discussed how my interpretations and emotions towards the work differed to theirs as a result of our different experiences. For instance, whereas I read some of El Anatsui's work to be representative of death, decay, destruction and war, some of the students said that they found these spaces protective and calming for them. As individuals who have been surrounded by war (or at least narratives of war) since they were born, and living in the midst of a violent and tragic civil war right now, their interpretation of the spaces El Anatsui creates were very different from my own.
I then introduced Robert Rauschenberg and Julie Mehretru and compared their (two dimensional) work with the installation work of Sze, Anatsui and Stockholder. We discussed how Mehretru's work could be a two dimensional representational of Sze's installations; and how Stockholder and Rauschenberg use paint stroke qualities and colour in similar ways.
I asked the drama and music students to think about what kind of music and stories could be both inspired by and exist within these space. We explored how the objects within Sze and Stockholder's spaces could be used to make sound to create a musical narrative to the space.
We then spent two and a half days creating an installation together in the university compound. Here are some pictures of the we work we created, combining found and natural objects. We concentrated on how to create a piece of work that emphasised the spaces within the space. The final piece included direct cultural references that people would recognise (hanging calabash and decorative painting of stones), combined with new ways of manipulating and mixing materials and objects.