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As I wrote in my journal with some changes:

I was very excited about Tate Modern, and the experience has not disappointed me. It was so exciting to be amongst these very varying, striking pices of work. It was also a refreshing chnge from the usual classical pieces we normally see. This has raised awareness about how art can be expressed. It is not mere painting and delightful images, but but art is also what can appeal to the senses to give the audience a wondorous feeling in the gut. I am greatly encouraged to be more experimental and daring with my coursework, to not merely focus on pleasing the audience by providing visual delight. i understand that the works here are not the kind that people usually do not immediately understand, or might question the point to the work, but I really enjoy them, and the stories and intention behind each work also make the work highly interesting.

Some of the works I saw:

Venus of the Rags  1967,1974
Venere degli stracci

Marble and textiles
displayed: 2120 x 3400 x 1100 mm

From the Tate Modern website:

Pistoletto was interested in broadening the material language of Arte Povera, and in creating complex juxtapositions of modern and historical images and ideas. Venus of the Rags appears to bring together an iconic figure of classical culture with the detritus of contemporary society as the solid Roman goddess props up a randomly formed pile of gaudily coloured second-hand clothes. In fact the figure is based on a kitsch statue found in a garden centre rather than a genuine antiquity.

When I first viewed this work, I didn’t react much to it, cause I just thought: Oh, its a statue of a naked women and her front is covered by this large pile of clothes. Okay.  However, after visiting Musee D’Louvre and browing the web, I discovered its more than just a white sculpture placed next to a pile of clothes…

Here is a sculpture in Musee D’Orsay called ‘Venus de Milo’.

It’ so funny, how the work Venus of the rags played around with the work Venus d Milo. At the Louvre, the art guide was telling us all about how beautful this piece of work is, and telling us to take a few moments to just walk around and observe how the sculpture managed to portray the female body in such a beautiful way.  He told us look how softly provocative the sculpture is, with the cloth slowly slipping off. And there in Tate Modern, someone is poking fun of it. It’s brilliant really and I wish we had viewed the works in reverse order so I could get the intention of Venus of the Rags right there on the spot. There’s interesting comparison, like how VR showed the sculpture standing somewhat like she is embarrased, trying to hide amongst the clothes, and VM stands tall and proud, with so many people standing around here trying to snap a decent picture. There’s also this comparison of old age vs new age perception of beauty I think. It’s a work of interesting juxtaposition to great effect. I also discovered that the one in Tate Modern is a recreation piece.

I liked this way of poking fun at things, being so subtle and requiring the audience to figure out what is the intention behind the work by themselves. I actually wanted my coursework to ‘be more interactive’, I had this dream in Secondary three to make something that people can play around with. But in Secondary Four, that idea kind of died down, or rather it developed in another way, i think this work does not require physical presense of the viewer to understand the work, just by viewing it online now, you can understand the intention of it. So I like the idea of that, mentally browsing the work and relating to events that happened in your life, stuff that you have seen. Can I say the work is more universal? Cause all people have a mind to think about stuff, and this comparison of two items is probably a comparison most people can draw, regardless of culture, race or gender. I hope my coursework can achieve some sense of that (and some similar thoughts on the MonkeyLove post.)

Another piece in Tate Modern is

Video Trans Americas by Juan Downey

20 min video installation

A youtube video of how the work kinda looks like (in the dark):

From Tate Modern website:

Video Trans Americas documents Juan Downey’s travels across the Americas, recording the diverse cultures of the continent.

A landmark in early video art, Video Trans Americas combines aspects of travelogue, visual anthropology, the study of architectural and geographical space, politics and poetry.  He initially envisaged his project as a road trip, ‘from New York to the southern tip of Latin America’, during which he would videotape aspects of the distinctive cultures (‘art, architecture, cooking, dance, landscape, language, etc.’) of the regions he passed through. At the same time, he would show the local inhabitants previous tapes shot along the way, as a way of sharing information and overcoming the isolation of individual communities.

So what i find interesting about this work, was how he made use of multiple multiple screens that are placed such that viewers have to move themselfs, to travel from screen to screens to view the works. The images that are flashing across the screens are also not particulary outstanding; they are in black and white, having an old film quality, and what they depict are not necessarily the most exciting events that happen on Earth. But what I think is definitely present in the videos is a presence of human essense, spirit of life, melancholy, such that you can very easily find yourself just standing in front of a screen to stare at what is happening, then moving on to another screen to see what else is happening.

I was also quite inspired, or perhaps intrigued, by the usage of multiple screens, to flash many many moving images at the audience. It’s much more intensive than just a single screen with moving pictures on it. I had wanted to use this concept in my coursework, but later tossed it out of the window to be pragmatic. I think maybe the effect can still be achieved with frequent cuts between two different clips, as this also has the effect of different images flashing at the audience.

On what the work is trying to show,

In practice, the fourteen videos that eventually formed the installation were made over a series of journeys between 1973 and 1976. Each video is positioned on a map of the Americas to show the location of filming. Downey made successive visits to different places chosen for their cultural significance… highlights their importance for contemporary society as well as the value of surviving indigenous cultures and peoples.

It is interesing, the method of presentation of his travels. It allows the audience to sort of ‘travel along’, sort of like going on a mini adventure too. While viewing, I suppose you can be more conscious of your environment and the people around you, when the artist is trying to point out the cultural and geographical gaps between audience and subject.

I really wish we had more time in the museum because I think it is kind of pointless if we just step into a museum to brush past all the works, but never to fully experience one. We were rushing through, trying to catch a glimpse of as many works as possible, in case we missed out any interesting ones. I’d rather visit less museums than have a large exposure to many different works, but never being able to fully understand any of them.



  1. Hey I don’t remember seeing that at all (Venus of Rags) but yeah it’s a really brillant and amusing piece. I love the way she stands in front of that huge pile of clothes. It makes her look like a maid having to pick amongst the hugeeeee pile for her employer’s clothes/ her own clothes. I wish I’d seen it though. :/

    • i know! the museum trips were so rushed! pity pity pity

  2. Where does using the word ’cause’ in place of the word ‘because’ come from? You will find no meaning for which you have used ’cause’ in any dictionary.

  3. ‘Cause’ does not mean ‘because’.

    • Hi there! I don’t think using the word ’cause’ in place of ‘because’ has affected much of the meaning of what I was trying to say. Actually I probably made other grammar mistakes and typos that were perhaps more significant. Also, if you’ll accept ‘urban dictionary’ as a dictionary, the word ’cause’ does have an entry there: It’s acknowledged as a slang word for because.

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