Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Simon Starling's Egg.

The Starling egg project (sounds like some kind of scientific investigation!) is on-going. As part of the work I will enter into correspondence with Both Sean Lynch and Simon Starling. The following is a letter which I e mailed to Sean Lynch:

Hi Sean, My name is Richard Williams I am a 3rd year student in the Limerick School of Art and Design. I met you when I was in first year you were a visiting artist in the sculpture department; I still see you from time to time around the college. I would appreciate your advice/thoughts on this matter Sean. Whilst on a study trip to Berlin in January with the college we went to a gallery that was in the process of preparing an exhibition for display by Simon Starling. The kind lady who was working in the gallery generously offered us a look at the works that were being made ready. She also kindly spoke about the various works that were on display. In one corner there was a section of a tree (Large branch) which was sawn off a tree that was in the Unter den Linden area of Berlin; I am not certain as to what context the tree was to be used in the exhibition however, I am aware of the historical significance of that area in Berlin. I was intrigued that this branch was being used by Simon Starling in his work when the thought then occurred to me that, to take a twig from the branch and use it in my own work would make for a very interesting concept I.E. it would raise all kinds of questions as to legal ownership of the twig, artistic copyright, historical significance etc, so I did ! The twig that I broke off had a seed attached to it; I have since planted the seed and hopefully it will grow. Again, if it comes to fruition, it will make for a very interesting concept I.E. a tree grown from a seed which came from the Unter Den Linden area and that was part of an artist's exhibition ! The twig itself I have encased in resin; the resin being in the shape of an egg (a play on the chicken and egg theme; whose work came first mine, Simon Starling's, mother nature etc). In some strange sense by placing it in the resin I have actually preserved Simon Starling's work and a little bit of history for posterity. I was going to write directly to Simon Starling about this to see what he thought of the whole idea but to be honest Sean I was a little apprehensive about this. However, I understand that you worked with Simon for a couple of years in Berlin so I said I would approach you to see what your thoughts were on the matter; and how you think Simon might react. Again Sean, I would really appreciate any help/advice you could give on this matter. I am a great fan of both yours and Simon Starling's work, where both research and concept play a vital part. Regards Richard Williams.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Seminar this morning (presentations),Was impressed with artist Jenny Holzer (truisms), she was against advertising, yet her own work is an advertisement of her work (if that makes sense on any kind of level!!!) Also liked her Lustmord exhibition (blood writing) Bosnia) . A couple of other artists I was impressed with were: Vito Acconci. Very clever video work (girl rubbing his leg) also biting himself as a way of branding. Chris Burden was another artist of note, he nailed himself to a beetle.Also he got a friend to shoot him in the arm, now that's what I call suffering for your art !Illy Kabakov was another good one (frames the mundane).Paula Rego; (scary fairy tales) Joseph Cornell; collects bits and pieces from shops etc,(New York) Nick Cave; found objects, makes nto suits.Ann Hamilton; body as art.On Kawara; sends postcards etc. Sent off deposit for Berlin today, some of the lads are very enthusiastic and have already started making steps to raise funds, fair play to them. Wrote e mails to Berlin Gallery, went down town to post off cheque.Had meeting about Berlin. Sent e mail to Sean Lynch, got a reply, will put it up on blog tomorrow.My eggsaws turned out OK, did not get down in time to do another batch, will do some tomorrow p g.

Saturday, March 28, 2009



The silicone mould has worked out well, so it was just a matter of suspending the eggsaw pieces in the centre of the mould. This I achieved by super gluing the pieces to some fishing line and lining them up in the egg shape, put a couple of pins either side of the mould to tie the fishing line around. In the evening then We filled the mould with resin, Monday will tell if this was a success. Carried on editing video piece in the afternoon.Also tried a couple of ways of illuminating the starling egg, it worked out well.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Was bitterly disappointed on being told that I was not allowed to enter the Hunt Museum competition this year, especially as Alan said at the end of last year that I could. I had work prepared for it as well.I have to say I think it is a little unfair. Heard back from the Turn-Berlin gallery, they won't budge on the number of places,which I have to say is rather mean spirited especially in this time of recession. It was a very matter of fact letter, so from now on I will do the same, I guess it is just a money making business for them. Heard back from Shelia Deegan (Limerick city Arts office) it was good of her to reply, she said that we could have the Istabraq building for our exhibition, once EV+A has finished, we have to get back to her regarding dates. One of my classmates has said it is a very small place, never been there so can't comment.


Went to the EV+A exhibition as a group today with Aine and Katriona, it was very interesting and there were some great works on display. I particularly liked the work of Sean Lynch, It seems probable to suggest that he is a great conceptual artist.Made other half of the mould for the eggsaw.I have readied my jigsaw pieces for insertion into the resin eggs (when ready). I have wrote the words "congratulations you have solved the puzzle it was created by artist Richard Williams March 2009" on to the different pieces, I believe it is going to work out very well.


Carried on making my mould for the eggsaws. Photoshop A.M.It was good to start at the very beginning, it has filled in a lot of gaps, so to speak,as Nigel said, it's like watching the film from the beginning. A couple of more experiments for the display of the Starling egg. Attended class reps meeting this afternoon, there was a very poor turnout only 11 out of 50+ reps attended 3 disciplines were not represented.They're bringing in pay parking for recession bitten cash strapped students after Easter, the students union said they can't do anything about it, I personally didn't see any petitions going around objecting to this, I believe the union is somewhat weak.In the afternoon, myself and Mathilde carried on with our sound experiment ion/performance. We went to the basement and set up an orchestra of sorts, we did this because I suppose like we are "conducting" experiments. We set up a couple of hoovers sitting on chairs,a guitar, bongo, some steel pipes.Funnily enough one of the hoovers had a face on it which added to the fun ! we masked our faces and put mops on our heads for the performance, we did this I suppose to add, in a sense, some humor! Who said art had to be serious!!! That said, the whole point was about the sound,hence the anonynimity! It was maticulously planned even though some of it looks spontaneous enough, we will present this at our seminar but are not at first going to reveal it is us, we are going to say it is some artists that we have referenced, just to see what kind of reaction we get, we are also hoping to take some photographs of the reactions !

Monday, March 23, 2009


Completed my mould today and filled it with silicone, it all looks good. Was experimenting with another way of displaying the Starling egg. Ordered the boards off Richard for our work (Mathilde and I). Had seminar today (presentations) they were all very good, I especially liked Bernie's presentation, her artist was Gregor Schneider a brilliant artist, I really can appreciate the way his mind works.Had class meeting about Berlin exhibition today, it went well, it's definitely a reality now as most of the lads are interested in going, E mailed the gallery tonight to confirm this.Wrote up 489 words of thesis today.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

20/03/2009 contd.

My progress review went very well, I got feedback from Aine, she has given me some great advice as to what kind of direction I should consider taking with my work, it was very much appreciated. On a personal note I have to say what a marvellous bunch of people the tutors are; very professional, highly educated, and more than willing to go out of their way to help in any way they can. When I hear about other departments, It makes me realise how fortunate we are here in the painting department.
Sean Lynch (Former student, artist, and visiting artist) has studied under the tutelage of Simon Starling in Berlin, so rather than e mail Simon Starling directly about the Starling egg (I am apprehensive as to the outcome of this) I will instead write to Sean Lynch, to see what he thinks Simon Starling would make of it.I know Sean from the first year sculpture block, he is an approachable man, and I really like his work.


Alan has informed us that Jason Oakley of the VAI, would like to do an article about our proposed 'cultural exhibition' in Berlin. As you can imagine, this was received with much gratitude and appreciation. The gift horses' mouth has got even bigger! Despite all this, people have started to withdraw from the proposed exhibition, which I think is a great shame, and an fantastic opportunity to miss out on.A few people have asked if they could send their work over instead. This is something that will have to be discussed, IE would it be fair on the people who do go over to Berlin? We have a class meeting on Monday to discuss if the exhibition wii go ahead. Alan seemed a bit disappointed when I told him of the uncertainty of it, I can understand that, It would be a great advertisement for the painting Department, and also for the LSAD.
Carried on preparing my 'eggsaw' mould. Nigel has agreed to let me to continue with photoshop with the second group of second years, fair play to him.


Handed in literary review, glad to have that out of the way. Started making the mould for the other resin eggs. I am going to encase jigsaw pieces into the eggs and hang them from a device(for assessment purposes). What is my concept? I suppose I got the idea after the starling egg. The thought occurred to me to do a series of these, what I plan to do is bury the eggs with the jigsaw pieces inside them. The eggs should last for many hundreds if not thousands(I'll have to research this) of years, when ultimately discovered, the puzzle itself will be an enigma of sorts, for further generations to unravel the mystery of. I will leave clues in my art work over the coming years so as to guide researchers to the location of the 'eggsaw' which I have now named it. I will naturally document all of this, and even make a video art piece about burial.I will obviously have to bury them in a not too obscure location)
The starling egg, despite my best efforts can not be buffed up to a high shine.(When the egg was, as I thought dry, I put it in to my pocket, as it was still a little tacky it gathered fluff and dust from my pocket, and it got embedded into the resin.)Des Farrell has suggested to me that because of this, I perhaps should concentrate on the display of the egg, IE go over the top (so to speak) on the presentation of it. I think it is a good idea, he has given me some good advice on things to try. I have got different materials off him to begin experimenting on ways I could achieve an excellent presentation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Photoshop this morning, starting to know a few things now. We were shown how to use the sacred printer today !Very interesting. I will put up my image here when it's finished.P.M. Tutorial with David Brancaleone, it went very well.Great advice as usual. I am really finding this thesis business quite interesting.Ann the librarian was very helpful today , she gave me some good tips for the research.Carried on preparing the literary review.Had a chat with Alan Bennett to see if he could offer any help in regard to Mathilde's cause, he said he would look into it. Heard from Mathilde this evening, she had tutorial with David, apparently he thinks her written English is very good, and he would have no problem in backing her on this point, Fair play to him.

16/03/2009 contd.

Research for literary review.



Friday, March 13, 2009


Went to an artist talk in the Limerick print makers. He was James Hayes, a sculpture artist. It transpires that he was an student of L.S.A.D. in 1994. It was good to get an insight into the thoughts, trials, and tribulations of a contemporary artist, and I have to say I really liked his work. Spent rest of day reading for literary review.


So much for the overhaul of the computers; a couple of labels saying 'out of order' ! As if we didn't know. Had an introduction to premier pro with Nigel, it is the programme most of the professionals use, it seems straight forward enough. Spent rest of day reading for literary review.

Jen stuffing her face !


Multimedia room closed today, they are going to overhaul the system apparently.Progress reviews still in progress !Spent day Reading for literary review. Went to an exhibition in the Hunt Museum by Josie Geaney and Mary Meskell (ex students), it was very good. Susan Halvey opened the exhibition, she gave a good speech.Went to see an exhibition of work by Margaret o Brien ex student yesterday in the think creative gallery, she had some great works on display.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Again, just preparing for the progress reviews,displaying research, dvd's, other works etc. Went to photoshop this morning, was late,nearly forgot about it altogether, it must have been the excitment of the progress review !!! Rag week this week, so it's quite enough around. Went to edit my videos again, the same guy from from graphics was on the computer again, so no joy there again. Apparently, the computer guys from Moylish are comming over tomorrow to sort the entire system out. It really is about time, it's a Mickey Mouse set up the way it is at the moment, half the computers are not working in the multi media room, we can only use one computer for video work, Half the library computers were not working the other day as well as the usual printer break downs, whenever we have essay deadlines,progress reviews,or assessments.


Basically, just getting research typed up for the progress review today. Went to do some more editing on my videos but the computer that had my work on was being used.Set out my work for the tutors to view.

Sunday, March 8, 2009



I gathered this footage on a field trip to Berlin. Rather than doing the usual tourist video thing, I opted for a piece that did not reveal any of the characters faces. This tied in nicely with the work I was doing about missing people. Not showing the faces creates a sense of 'tension' in the piece, we automatically try to make sense of people by facial recognition. Like the faceless characters in this piece, it could be said that missing people in some respects have no identity, neither proved living or dead.

Holocaust Memorial

Perhaps it was the cold of the day, or indeed the snow that had fallen, I couldn't quite put my finger on it but I sensed a strange energy around the area of the memorial to the holocaust. The snowy light bouncing off solid geometrical forms, people hiding in ghostly shadows, emerging, then disappearing again. Laughter and games in the place of a thousand sorrows, and we left in peace.


Return of Richard Mutt In this piece, I have taken a contemporary slant on Marcel Duchamp's urinal. Video art is anything the artist wants it to be. The artist must have his concept in place to be credible but I will argue that a concept could be assigned to anything. For example: In this piece of contemporary video art (note the words the artist uses, he implies that it is actually a piece of contemporary art already, thus confirming to the spectator that it is indeed art, and not just a toilet being flushed ) the artist uses the toilet as a metaphor for the cycle of life: We flush away our waste, one of two things happen, if we have a septic tank, when it fills, it usually gets emptied more likely than not by a farmer, who then spreads the waste on the land to act as fertilizer. This makes the grass grow, which the cattle then eat, we then eat the cattle and the process begins again. The other way is by a waste treatment plant, the waste is treated then released into rivers etc, the rivers lead to the sea, the seas put moisture into the air which falls as rain. Rain helps the crops to grow, which we then eat, and the process begins again. So there we have a credible? Concept which the artist has used to justify that it is not just a toilet being flushed, he has even referenced another artist. ( I am sure that many more artistic references could be found; Simon Starling, Robert Rauschenberg etc. ), This ultimately begs the question, is the concept more important in contemporary art, than what an actual finished piece is? If the answer to that question is yes, then to be considered a great contemporary artist, all we will need to do, is come up with great concepts, the finished piece itself then will be irrelevant.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Bernie painting her shanty home
Arranged to meet Mark at 10.30 and was pleasantly surprised when he turned up. It was a slow process saving the files to the external hard drive, so he headed off while they were downloading. He must of forgot about it but I was able to complete the transfer of the files to another mac without any problems. Spent the rest of the day downloading my video work on to DVDs to present to the tutors for the progress reviews. I had some sad news today, my colleague and collaborating artist Mathilde, (on Erasmus exchange from France) has been told that she would more likely than not, be refused continuation of the course into 4Th year, and worse still, she would not be permitted to redo third year. She mentioned something about her English but she speaks it very well, as for her written English, I have read some of her notes and her written English is of a high standard. I don't know the politics involved but I do know that our class is a small one (24 originally, 1 left in first year, Tom passed away, and Amy has gone to sculpture. Jo is in second year but we got Rachel repeating instead, so we are still 3 students short. Mathilde is devastated to say the least, she loves it over here, and especially loves the college, she gets on really well with everyone. I suppose I am biased but we get on really well as collaborating artists, we have some great ideas for future work together. I believe she will be a big loss not only to me but to the college as well. I hope there is something we can do to keep her in the class.


Had a funeral to attend today, nevertheless, came in for a couple of hours anyway. Had the usual debacle of trying to actually get some work done on the macs. Managed to nab the elusive Mark but he was unable to sort the problem out due to time restraints, as a result, I could not get any work done.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Went to the animation intro this morning, very interesting but a few us agreed that we would need a few weeks to get into the swing of it, a couple of hours is not really enough time. The mac computers that have just been over hauled, updated, and have had the student u drives added to them, has now reverted to the old format for some reason. Nigel is furious with the calamities which are going on, I can't say I blame him, it seems utterly pointless to spend thousands of euros on state of the art computers, and not have them working properly. As a result, I now have to find the computer that my movies were saved on, they were all in use this afternoon so I was snookered. Progress reviews next week,Alan has asked me to present some work, so I will have to get some things onto discs. They will be works in progress.


Lady Lisa and baby

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Photoshop this morning. I am intrigued by the limitless possibilities inherent within the adobe programme. I am starting to make some kind of sense out of it now, Nigel was very helpful by explaining things (more than once) ! I am convinced this will be a useful tool in my studio practice. My colleagues seem to be very keen about the Berlin exhibition, we will have a meeting after the literary review, to see where we go from here. Had a chat with Alan about Berlin, he seemed quite enthusiastic about it, and gave some very helpful advice.
David stopped to have a quick chat about the FYP he said it was fine but needed a little tweaking to make it a more specific or less broad question, on the whole though he was very positive about it. Mathilde I and Carried on with our sound experimentation, we did not record it on video this time, as we would have way too much footage to edit. We went around the college recording various sounds/ ambient noise. The basement was an interesting place to record sound, especially as it was in darkness, this added a sense of heightened sound awareness to us both. We had a chat with Nigel about our project, he seems very interested in it. He recommends the after effects programme, as well as premier pro.


No reply from Sheelia Deegan (Limerick City Arts Office) yet. The Turn-Berlin gallery replied today, I will give my colleagues the info tomorrow.

Name: Richard

FYP Option: Thesis

Choice of tutor: David Brancaleone

Description of project

Art galleries/Museums have been the usual means by which artists exhibit their work for all to see. With the use of modern technology, many artists and galleries are choosing to display their artworks in cyberworld,1 by means of various artist websites, and gallery websites, including virtual art galleries.
In this thesis I aim to make an inquiry as to whether this will ultimately lead to the demise of the art gallery/museum as an institution, and also to the way we view art.

Context of Project

Historically, the art gallery institution has remained relatively unchanged for many years. Initially it was designed as a place where people could go to marvel at the wondrous works of the artist, the artist being endowed with marvelous awe inspiring, divine like talents. The upper echelons of society would have been the forefathers of the gallery, only they would have been supposedly educated and enlightened enough to appreciate the works of art, or indeed have the leisure time to visit such institutions. Even today, there still seems to be a certain kind of snobbery associated with galleries; closed circuit television watching everything, and the stewards watching everything the cameras miss. There appears to be a secret kind of etiquette when visiting galleries also, silence seems to be observed, even when there is no requirement to do so, the flow of people appears to go in an ordered, rather than random way.
In cyberworld however, there are no unspoken rules of etiquette, there are no class distinctions, even the technology used today has become affordable for almost all walks of life. There is a generation now then, that has been reared with this technology since childhood; play stations, x boxes, mobile phones, I pods, mp3's, cgi's etc. They have face book, my space, bebo, blogspots, so for actually going to see artworks in real life galleries, why would they even bother? When their own reality is primarily based in cyberworld.

Research Sources

I will use theory based books to research the sociological, historical and cultural aspects of galleries, ie, Art in Theory, Modern Art Criticism, Museum theory; Pierre Bordieu. I will look at what individual artists have to say regarding the gallery; Hans Haake etc. I will research writers such as Bruce Altshuler (collecting the new), Andrew Mc Cllellan (Art and its publics, museum studies at the millennium), Emma Barker (Contemporary cultures of display). Another book which I believe will be of good use is: what do you expect from an art institution in the 21st century by various contributors. I will have to investigate the web for comments and writings on virtual art galleries; Wilson web, Google scholar, Ebrary etc.

Work plan

The first part of the project will be to gain a brief overview of museum theory, I will have to research several writers to gain an understanding of the methodologies, social implications and theoretical constructs of galleries/museum's.
The second part of the project would probably involve selecting the precise theme or line of inquiry that I would expect to be concentrating my efforts on, eg from the general to the specific. I would also expect to research modern museum practices, with special emphasis on theory relating to contemporary issues.
At this stage, I will take an in depth look into cyberworld art practices; virtual galleries etc. The final part of the project would probably consist of a consideration of all the research, and a summing up of same. As a proponent of cyberworld technology, I would like to make a DVD, incorporating aspects of my thesis, IE images, a virtual gallery etc.
1For the purpose of this proposal, I choose to use the term cyberworld to mean the world of cyberspace. For me, the term seems more appropriate than cyberspace.


Monday, March 2, 2009


The board which I got off my colleague (I will call it the beauty board from now on) is taking shape now, all my colleagues have been very helpful and cooperative with my project. I completed another FYP proposal today, I feel more confident about this one, at least I am staying in the land of the living with this one !

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Alan very kindly brought in a book today, it is called Visual Music, synaesthesia in art and music since 1900. I have to admit I was blown away by it, it is exactly the kind of thing that I am investigating in my studio practice, it's brilliant. I am in turmoil now, as I am undecided on which route to take for my FYP. My initial rejection of my first FYP proposal (apart from the genius thing) was on the grounds that I thought it would not be a contemporary issue but I am so wrong, it needed today's technology to evolve. What I am I going to do now ? Do I go with the virtual gallery thing, or go down the synaesthesia in art route? Which one of the two is connected to my studio practice? in some regards they both are. Oh, and another idea for a thesis came to me the other day; an enquiry into the challenges faced by mature students in art college!!!!!!!!!!!! more food for thought. Damn !


Went to see David Brancaleone about my FYP, I asked for an extension, to give me more time to get another proposal together. I told him of my idea and he seemed quite enthused about it. (I want to make an enquiry into Virtual galleries and whether these will lead to the demise of the gallery as we know it and the way people view art). It is a subject which I am interested in,and it would be considered a contemporary issue. (Plus, I wouldn't have to be a genius to undertake this one !!!! LOL. The board which I got from one of my colleagues, is making it's way around the studio, my colleagues are very helpful in this investigation, they all think it is a very good idea. I sent another E-mail to the turn-Berlin gallery, asking them if they had given anymore thought to our proposal. They replied and said that they were very busy at the moment (exhibition opening) but that they are still considering it. I wrote an E-mail to Sheelia Deegan (Limerick City Arts Office) enquiring as to whether she could help us (third year painting) to find a place in which to have an exhibition in Limerick City.I mentioned that perhaps the council might have an empty building somewhere that we could use.


Had tutorial with Alan and David today regarding the FYP, they were a wealth of knowledge, and they gave me some great advice on artists, poets, composers.(Goeth, Stravinsky, John Cage,Kandinski, Klee etc.) They have made me realise that what I had intended to pursue in my thesis is not really feasible,(Alan commented that to achieve what I had planned to do, I would have to be a genius !) so I am going to take a different line of enquiry. I had planned to g to the sculpture department today to begin work on my egg moulds but three of them broke in my bag(it was a good job that I had them hard boiled!!!). Had tutorial with Nigel today regarding the video work for my studio practice, he seems really interested in the kind of things that I want to pursue. He wanted to give me a quick introduction to premier pro but between one thing and other, it didn't transpire. I have asked him if he wouldn't mind if I joined the second years for the photoshop introductions, he was only too willing to let me join in, fair play to him. It is a wonderful thing,(photoshop) a great tool for artists to use in their creative endeavours. I can now see where some contemporary artists get their colours from.


For our first experiment with sound/performance, Mathilde and I went to the boardroom. We laid out our 'instruments' on the table as though we were setting it for lunch,(a metaphor for digesting our sounds) we arranged everything very neatly and orderly, and began our experiments, tentatively at first. We would try one table setting for a while then move on to the next place, seeing what kind of sounds we could create. The next stage of the process involved more sound and performance improvisation, which went very well, we were extremely pleased with our results. It took quite a while to get the video recorder set up in the right position etc, but it was well worth it in the end, we have good footage of our work. The sounds are quite obscure to say the least but at the same time very interesting in their own right. I could compare them to the kind of sounds that Morton Feldman uses, and also Fluxus,who use bizzare noises in their compositions. I will add video stills at a later date.