In the Centrum Studio this afternoon at 12:45pm, OCAC will have the pleasure of hosting a visiting art lecture by Eric Adjetey Anang. His coffin-making demonstration/installation will run from October 31st – November 4th in the Centrum Courtyard. Don’t Miss it!
Eric Adjetey Anang is the grandson of Kane Kwei, who first designed and made fantasy coffins in Teshie, Ghana during the 1950’s. Eric Adjetey Anang, as well as his father before him, has continued to carry on the tradition of crafting fantasy coffins today, and his work is collected by museums and galleries around the world.
For this week’s library pick, we have selected an exhibition pamphlet that celebrates the work of Eric Adjetey Anang’s grandfather. It is titled, A Life Well Lived: fantasy coffins of Kane Quaye. The book not only provides a thoughtful introduction by Christine Mullen Kreamer that helps place the artist’s work within social and cultural contexts, but it also provides a lot of information about the significance of funerals in Ga Society as well as large, colorful images of many of the artist’s fantasy coffins, including: “Bull,” “Chicken,” “Fish,” “Fishing Canoe,” “KLM Airplane,” “Leopard,” “Lobster,” “Mercedes Benz Automobile,” and (possibly my favorite) the “Yamaha Outboard Motor.”
Each piece, as the curator (Craig Allen Subler) notes is “rich in symbolism and replete with faithfully recorded and masterfully interpreted images” and they “stand for lives well lived and remembered” (3). Prepare to be amazed.
“Now the colored pencils in action. The green one, by a mere whirl of the wrist, could be made to produce a ruffled tree, or the eddy left by a submerged crocodile. The blue one drew a simple line across the page–and the horizon of all seas was there. A nondescript blunt one kept getting into one’s way. The brown one was always broken, and so was the red, but sometimes, just after it had snapped, one could still make it serve by holding it so that the loose tip was propped, none too securely, by a jutting splinter. The little purple fellow, a special favorite of mine, had got worn down so short as to become scarcely manageable. The white one alone, that lanky albino among pencils, kept its original length, or at least did so until I discovered that, far from being a fraud leaving no mark on the page, it was the ideal implement since I could imagine whatever I wished while I scrawled.”
From Speak, Memory: an Autobiography Revisited by Vladimir Nabokov
Storm Tharp will be visiting the OCAC campus today (@12:45pm in the Centrum Studio) as part of a series of monday talks with visiting artists. Many of his recent works on paper appear in the 2010 Whitney Biennial. The subjects of Tharp’s portraits seem to come alive—captured in the moment before an implied act.
As the bio on the Whitney’s website attests, the viewer is placed in the difficult position of having to reconcile the implied narratives that often present multiple or ambiguous readings: for example, “Is the woman clutching a knife in Pigeon (After Sunshen) defending herself or is she a vengeful murderess?” (from here). Tharp’s portraits are strangely cinematic and draw attention to the intersection where portraiture and performance might meet.
After thinking about the work of Storm Tharp, the library has selected for this week’s pick a book that questions “why do we respond so powerfully to the images and pictures we see in everyday life? Why do we behave as if pictures were alive, possessing the power to influence us, to persuade us, seduce us, or even lead us astray?” (from the book jacket).
The book is What Do Pictures Want?: the lives and loves of images by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Mitchell’s broad gaze spans across Byzantine Icons, the mass media, American Photography, found objects, and aboriginal painting. Mitchell, like Storm Tharp’s work, challenges the idea that images are mere “signs” or “inert objects” conveying some particular meaning for a viewer’s consumption and analysis; rather, Mitchell argues that images have “lives of their own”(194) “as animated beings” (50) with “desires and drives of their own” (book jacket). This work has significant implications for picture theory, but, more importantly, it provides a new framework in which to interpret and to be interpreted by the images that surround us.
For more information about Dieter Rams’ work, check out OCAC’s copy of Sophie Lovell’s book: As little design as possible : the work of Dieter Rams. London : Phaidon, 2011.
Dieter Rams also has an interesting essay published in Design and Art (a title from MIT Press’s Documents of Contemporary Art Series) called “ Home is where the art is.”
Also check out the blog, MEERSCHWEINCHENREPORT , for other great pieces on designers and artists as well as a wide variety of other sometimes provocative but always captivating posts. MEERSCHWEINGHENREPORT is where I first came across the Dieter Rams video. Visit it!
Samuel Beckett encouraging an actor who lamented ‘I’m failing!’:
“Go on failing. Only next time, fail better.”
From the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations. Oxford University Press, 2008.