Contextual Research

As this project is a visual exploration focusing on memories, it is necessary for me to contextualise my thoughts.

Annette Messager is an installation artist whose body of work encompasses elements of drawing, photography, needlework and sculpture. Messager’s artworks are unique within the choice of material, often reusing clothing, badges, stuffed toys and synthetic hair to create an unsettling effect on the observer. The main interest in Messager’s practice is her creature creations which are neither animal nor human, reflecting the shadows in our personality. These creatures are both beautiful and unnerving as they have recognisable and ambiguous features combined together. These creatures are exhibited in multiples and are spread amongst the space by hangings and floor installation. Motion is a key consideration within Messager’s recent work and the creatures are often accompanied by fans which will disturb the stillness of an object. Other movements include inflating ad deflating materials and hanging pieces so as the air movements of the viewers will sway the exhibit slightly. Messager’s work is therefore transformed into an interactive experience and is an inspiration when considering how my illustration will be exhibited. Within this project I am looking to create endearing creatures which represent the exaggeration of the memories of the animals at ZSL London Zoo. The response which I have already had from my work is that people start to guess my drawn/textiles forms and associate these to an animal. The issue which my textiles experiments at the moment is that they are becoming increasingly like the original animal due to the making process. By scaling up my design I am hoping to gain back the organic forms which my drawings possessed (as there will be more scope for detail) and exaggerate certain features further.

I have mentioned the work of Louise Bourgeois previously during the Self-Initiated Project, however her work is now relevant to my textile experiments. Bourgeois’ work is currently displayed within the Artist Rooms as the Tate modern (Switch House Level 4 East.) The exhibition is a collection of Bourgeois’ late autobiographical work which covers other experiences such as birth, death, love, loss and fear. Through drawing and sculpture the artist tells honest personal stories and memories which have affected her life experiences. Bourgeois often experiments with one idea in a number of different forms including cast bronze and stuffed fabrics so as to produce a strong parallel between concept and process. Like Messager, Bourgeois’ textile sculptures often have a human or animalistic quality, making strong references to body parts. Furthermore, the colour pallet featured within the work is reflective of the human body and flesh. This could be something to consider within my outcome, especially if I am to produce more abstract forms, colour could create a link.


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