Tag Archives: cornerhouse

Silvia Ziranek

I wonder if that is a real name.

Silvia Ziranek did one of the first Tuesday Talks that I attended at the Cornerhouse. Although one of the reasons it has taken until now to write a review is my inherent procrastination the other is that her lecture challenged me, to say the least.

I think of all of the Tuesday Talks, this was probably the least like a lecture, and the most similar to an artwork in its own right. Fortunately (I think) for Ziranek, the way in which she works allowed her to deliver her lecture’s contents by the same means that she performs or delivers some of her work.

Pink Shoes

Poster for a show at the Tate Modern.

She uses complicated puns, references, re-references and strange interconnectedness to explore the complexity and intrigue of whatever subject she might be commenting on or exploring through her work. In the case of this “lecture” she was mainly talking about herself and some of her previous projects. Strangely I think it worked really well like this. It has some parallel which how I want to deliver my 5 minute video presentation for University, I intend on making the video something of interest in its own right, as well as its worth for supplementing my other work. Getting back to the subject…

It would be easy for me to wash over Ziranek’s work as nothing more than a quirky and crazy brand of performance art. I think that was probably the overriding factor in my initial judgement of her. Maybe thats why writing this has taken me 6 months. I needed to arrive at a judgement that was more notable, more interesting, I needed to say something.


Ziranek image from the Cornerhouse Website.

So, what to say? Well I think I was right to think that her work is a quirky and crazy brand of performance art – but then what brand of performance art isn’t crazy – but I was wrong to say it was nothing more. Personally I really appreciate wordplay and the quirks we all live with in our own language (and that others live with in their language). But wordplay was not the essence of Ziranek’s work, it was merely part of the medium with which she delivered it.

The crux of her work, what it means, what its about, the point of it, the reason that it exists, the reason that people appreciate it. I can’t write that down, you will have to experience it. And I think that is the point. If you happen upon Silvia Ziranek at work, or if you deliberately went to see her, there is something for everyone, she touches on things common to all of us, she thrives on using her observational skills and comedic wisdom to engage her audience. She’ll make you smile, shake your head in dismay, question your judgement and possible think that you should walk out.

I had great fun though.

ps Ziranek used a kind of intervention at the start of this lecture, she had placed tiny tubes of paper glue on all of the seats in the room. Caiti has exhausted our glue supply and we’re now using that. Thanks silvia.

Paul Eachus, Thoughts & Notes on Photoworks

I went to Paul Eachus’s Cornerhouse lecture. From the Cornerhouse website;

London-based artist Paul Eachus’ photoworks and display pieces present an irrational ordering of things, an excess of visual and referential material that refuses to be pinned down within known systems of categorization. His large-scale works are fragmentary, decentred and seemingly out-of-control.

As defined by Eachus, a “Photowork” is not just photographic documentation of his physical work, despite that being how it appears. I think his argument for the the photo work (as a concept) is to do with the abstract quality that photography can bring to his pieces; it gives him the ability to force people to look at his (otherwise) physical work one degree removed from where the work actually exists. It was also argued that the framing of his photo works is integral. Deliberately depriving the audience of being able to view the work in its totality.

A Photowork

An example of a Photowork, image taken from the Cornerhouse website.

According to the artist, these two actions are extremely important in translating his artistic intentions to the audience. Despite concentrating on his explanations and reasoning for over an hour’s worth of lecture; I never completely understood why a “photo work” was necessary. As a three dimensional physical piece, I think I would have appreciated his creations far more; I felt very much like I was being coerced into seeing things from the artists point of view. I certainly would not have arrived at his point of view if left to my own devices!

The works, I thought, were impressive examples of installation and sculpture; they were emotive, instantly creating an uneasy edge on sight and with complexity till the cows come home. Intricate and meticulous. Why, in that case, does the artist insist that his work is made to be viewed in the once-removed form of a photograph? (All-be-it a very lovely, well lit, medium format photograph – but still a photograph!) The strangest thing I found was that there was one exception. He showed us documentary photos (not photo works) of one piece that was designed to be an installation rather than to be photographed and then exhibited; in conceptual terms it seemed to be identical to the photo works.

What is the photo work about? I couldn’t quite figure it out. For me; it definately didn’t add to my enjoyment of the artwork. Maybe forcing the context by using photography is a gimmick, maybe it is a master stroke that I completely missed. Possibly it gives the artist an excuse to talk at length about its implications in order to “sucker” the audience with it. Maybe it is a good career move, photographs are much easier to reproduce than a large installation! Who knows?

For me, two key points are in the forefront of my mind; Delivery of his presentation or lecture was unpleasant. He simply read a prepared document (which came across as an entry in an encyclopedia) was not engaging. Secondly, managing to talk and write about his work in such a complex fashion seemed to be more important than the work itself. Is that a good thing or bad? This guy is obviously successful, to some extent, is it just because he is painting an idealogical picture or because of the merit of his work. A balance between the two must always be drawn.

Cornerhouse Copy Cats

On reading the Cornerhouse’s website, I’ve discovered that they’re just commencing with a project entitled Bitmapping (see http://www.bitmapping.com/)

The idea basically comes down to a game of consequences, but rather than using words images will be used. And rather than using paper, mobile phones (and their attached cameras) will be used. The whole thing will go on for about 3 months, and as each picture is sent it will be printed and displayed in the Cornerhouse Cafe.

Its brilliant.

However it’s also rather frustrating for me that I came up with precisely the same concept. I guess that, if nothing else, it at least means I’m thinking along the right lines!