The Readymade and Destruction in Art

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On the 2nd October I took part in a panel discussion at the Royal Academy exploring concepts of the readymade and destruction in art. It was fascinating to hear artists Cornelia Parker and Christian Marclay talk about destructive processes in their own practice, and the panel was expertly chaired by Prof. Dario Gamboni. The RA have subsequently released a podcast of the discussion, which I have included below for anyone interested in the topic.

“Many of the strategies that Ai Weiwei employs as an artist can be easily aligned within the legacy of iconoclasm and the notion of art under attack. Works such as Dropping a Han-Dynasty UrnHan Dynasty Urn with Coca-Cola Logo and Kippe all possess an action or process by the artist which subverts the original visual representation and meaning of an object.”

Dario Gamboni, Professor of Art History at the University of Geneva, chairs this panel, which invites speakers to discuss the intention and meaning behind the destructive processes in art’s creation and display, and the impact this has on the way we interact and react to its emotive power to shock and subvert meaning.

Panellists include:

• Artist Christian Marclay, who first became internationally known in the 1980s for his reassembled readymades created from fragmented vinyl records, in his series of work Recycled Records.

• Cornelia Parker RA, who explores the transformation of material matter and function in her art.

Together they will join art historian Dr Ros Holmes (University of Oxford) to consider this provocative topic.

Oct 16th, 2015

Culture Shock: Chinese Ministry Slammed on Not-so-Social Media

By: Josh Chin       Source: Wall Street Journal       Date: 16/10/2015


With China’s guardians of taste cracking down on everything from televised cleavage to the lyrics of Taiwanese rapper MC Hotdog, Chinese Internet users were provided with alternate entertainment this week: watching the country’s culture ministry get eviscerated on social media.

The Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for the protection and promotion of Chinese traditional culture, launched its official account on the popular social-media platform Weibo Thursday and almost immediately it found itself drenched by a firehose of vitriol. Three messages posted to the feed since Thursday afternoon had attracted over 100,000 comments a day later, most of them unfavorable or outright hostile.

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Ai Weiwei, Social Media and Online Activism

Tomorrow I’ll be delivering a public lecture at the Royal Academy on Ai Weiwei, Social Media and Online Activism. For anyone that’s interested in learning more, here is a description and a link to the event:

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Art historian Dr Ros Holmes discusses Ai Weiwei’s prolific use of social media and explores the artist’s creative, humorous – but also socially and politically critical – presence online.

Since 2005, Ai Weiwei has employed an array of digital media platforms as the primary means to communicate and interact with his followers, both within China and worldwide. From his extensive blogging activities to his prolific use of Twitter and Instagram, as well as his creation of satirical memes and online videos, audio recordings and photos, Ai has harnessed the power of the Internet as a creative tool for public expression and discussion.

In this talk, Dr Ros Holmes addresses the intertwining of Ai Weiwei’s online communications with his own practice to craft an artistic mode of expression that very cleverly exposes the (often incredulous) contradictions of contemporary China, and the absurdities of institutional power. She also explores how the above methodologies have affected his artistic impact, with young artists both celebrating and contesting his practice.

Doors open at 2.30pm, no admittance will be granted for latecomers after 3pm. If you do not arrive before 3pm, your ticket will be released at that time to those waiting for returned tickets.