Thursday, July 19, 2012
AEP sec 4 block test 2 essay...
Spying Lens-Lucia Hartini(1989)
Personal Values-Rene Magritte(1952)
2a. Describe the subject matter inherent in the two works of art.
In Personal Values, the painting is dominated by magnified personal and ordinary objects. A comb, matchstick, wineglass, soap, shaving brush, armoire and the bed are the main occupants of the room. The bed and the armoire seem to be in their normal, regular size while the other objects are magnified into human-sized forms, so they seem bigger than the armoire and the bed. It is like the reversal of sizes of objects. Usually, in a sleeping quarter, the largest objects present will be the pieces of furniture(the bed and the armoire) and the smaller, quieter objects will be the grooming items, the wine glass and the matchstick. However, in this work, the objects have been blown out of their normal proportions and they take over, dominating the room's space as the more conspicuous objectsin the room, defying reality. The objects are placed out of their normal context to give them "super-real" importance. Unrelated objects are juxtaposed together. Magritte has turned reality into a dream, probably a subtle "nightmare', despite its relatively calm feeling as the objects seem to have invaded the room, such that the room is only filled with human sized objects and lack human warmth.
In Spying Lens, it depicts an Indonesian woman, clad in dark blue cloth, floating and sleeping in a maze of bright orangey-red bricks.
The woman is in a vulnerable foetal position, with her eyes closed, like she is taking a nap, escaping from the chaos surrounding her. She is entrapped by a zig zagged maze of solid, angular red bricked walls, suggesting the notion of being trapped. The walls and the cloth extends beyond the boundaries of the work, suggesting infinity and endlessness, as if she will be forever trapped in this borderless cage. The cloth is also in an infinite loop, suggesting infinity. The cloth is like an umbilical cord for the foetal-like woman, like a safety net, supporting her and acting as her source of comfort. The eyes present on the brick walls have a menacing presence, as they scrutinize her, shooting beams of light at her, watching her every move as if like a surveillance camera. There are wispy clouds in the background, and they seem to be enroaching towards the helpless tired woman, as if approaching her ominously and dangerously. The woman is closing her eyes in terror, refusing to face the dangers approaching her. This painting is a reflection of Lucia Hartini's state of mind - she is living in terror under the oppression of society.
2b. Discuss the similaritiess and differences that exist in the way in which both artists have used symbolism in their work.
Both artists have used a number of symbols in their works. They put these symbols together to reflect the current state of their society. Magritte is using objects like grooming tools to present the notion that his middle class society has morphed into one which emphasizes proper grooming and the ability to present a socially accepted outward appearance. Hartini is using objects like the maze and the cloth to depict herself as an aspiring female catholic artist who is living in a male-dominated, suppressive Muslim society. Hartini uses more large scaled symbols while Magritte uses symbols that are originally small but has been scaled up to human proportions. Magritte uses personal objects which are commonly found at home, in which the viewer can relate to while Hartini uses dream-like,more surrealistic imagery like the zig-zagged brick walls and the long flowing cloth, which are exaggerated to convey a different message. They also use the symbols of the sky and clouds in their works. However, this common symbol is portrayed differently to convey a different message. Magritte uses the sky as a wallpaper for the bedroom, which suggests endless imagination and that there are no boundaries for imagination. However, Hartini is using the sky and clouds to suggest a menacing presence, something that is ominous and dangerous, contrasting with magritte's painting, which is used to convey a more light hearted mood, while the mood in Hartini's painting is heavy. There is also the usage of walls as a symbol of confinement in both paintings and yet, there is the notion of endlessness and infinity, not bounded by the physical frame of the painting. However, these walls are handled differently. Magritte's wall is baby blue, a soft pastel color while Hartini's is a strong and prominent bright orange. Magritte's wall is more traditional, that of a bedroom, while Hartini's wall is brought out of usual context, suggesting an endless maze instead. Magritte uses symbolism to convey a sense of humor while Hartini uses hers to convey a sense of danger. Magritte places the matchstick close to the bed to suggest erotic humor while Hartini uses the brick walls and the woman to suggest danger and her feelings. Hartini's use of symbolism to suggest her own state of mind in the Indonesian society while Magritte is using his to suggest imagination. Magritte's work uses symbolism to interact two way with the viewer, prompting imagination and self-interpretation of his work, while Hartini's work is like a teacher, telling the students( the viewers) her life story, so it is more of a one sided communication. Both artists use symbolism to convey a hidden message so that the viewers will stop to access the meaning behind the work, and it is an indirect form of conveying messages. Both works contain juxtaposition of usually unrelated objects to convey a different meaning which objects, when placed apart and individually, will not convey.
2c. Briefly define surrealism. Describe which work best meets your definition of surrealism. Surrealism is a 20th century art movement which deals with the notion of dreams and fantasy and the subconscious human mind, presenting strange juxtapositions of unrelated objects. Their works are usually photorealistic to bewild the viewer. In my opinion, Lucia Hartini's work is more surrealistic as compared to magritte's. When a viewer first looks at the 2 works, he will know that the setting of Hartini's work is beyond reality as it defies gravity and our normal principles. However, as m Magritte's work comprises of everyday objects, the viewers will not notice the surrealistic element unless he stops to access the details of the work. The surrealism present in Magritte's work is more subtle as compared to Hartini's. Hartini also uses non-realistic colors for her painting,adding to its surreal quality. For example, the clouds are painted purple and red, which is definitely not realism. However, Magritte applies the colors faithfully, the right colors to the right objects. The idea of infinity and lack of boundary also adds to the surreal quality of Hartini's work, while magritte's work seem more enclosed by the 4 walls of the bedroom. The usage of eyes as a symbol also adds to the extra surreal effect of the work as we do not normally see floating eyes. The depiction of forms in Magritte's work is slightly closer to reality as compared to Hartini's. Magritte only distorts the size of the objects but not its form and shape. Hartini elongates and exaggerates the cloth and the clouds.
The shadows in Magritte's work seem more realistically captured as compared to Hartini's. Magritte seems to place the shadows more accurately while Hartini's shadows seem exaggerated and some forms even lack the shadow that should be present. The perspective of Hartini's work is more distorted as it seems like an impossible perspective, but Magritte's work has a solid, one-point perspective. The stark contrast of complimentary colours such as blue and bright orange in Hartini's work adds to the notion of the impossible, while Magritte's work uses pastel colours which work with each other harmoniously. The symbols in Hartini's work seem to defy gravity while Magritte's symbols are placed solidly on the ground, so Hartini's work is more surreal. Hartini's work has a more magical element to it while Magritte's work has the notion of enlargement rather than magic. Hartini's work is like taking place among the clouds(more surreal) while Magritte's is taking place in the room(closer to reality).
p.s. please ignore the over usage of the word "surrealism" in part c). I have no other way to link the answer to the question. ><