Sunday, 30 August 2009

Camp Nou, Barcelona

One of my passions and hobbies in life is football, so when visiting Barcelona, one of my main priorities of sights to visit was the Nou Camp stadium of Barcelona Football Club. It truly is exceptionally well built and it was amazing to have a tour around the stadium. Above are a few photos I managed to take.

Many of the great modern pieces of architecture around the world in some way resolve around sport. For instance, the Beijing Olympic Stadium, where the last Olympics took place. In the modern world, enormous amounts of public money are poured into these symbols of national pride - just look at 2012.

Barbara Kruger

Much of Kruger’s work that I have studied consists of her black and white photographs with different captions set in white on red overlaid on the photograph. The various phrases she uses are very simple, but powerful. ‘The juxtaposition of Kruger's imagery with text containing criticism of sexism and the circulation of power within cultures is a recurring motif in the work.’ Kruger has even stated that she works with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are and who we aren’t.

Run Lola Run

“It deals with the metaphysical issues of fate and destiny”. This film is about how a man accidentally left a bag of cash that he was couriering for a gangster on a subway. As seconds tick away, the tiniest choices become life altering. It demonstrates the intricate web of unseen connections that bind us all. The film takes an aside to show what happens to each person after their brush with Lola. With each altered scenario, the destiny of each person changes as a result of their contact with Lola, some better, some worse. I think just like Sliding Doors, it is exciting to see how things could or wouldn’t happen depending on the choices you make. It is interesting to see how different our lives could be, the people we would meet and the events that would occur from the smallest of actions.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


‘if’ takes place somewhere in a boarding school. It is a 1968 film by British director Lindsay Anderson satirising English Public School life. It is not really about school: it’s all about society, the British Class system. The rebellion of the last act is supposed to be a metaphor for revolution. But an analogy cannot work through symbolism alone. This story works on it's terms. ‘One man can change the world with a bullet in the right place.’

It is a fantastic film, particularly as while filming they ran out of money and had to resort to making half of the film in black and white.

Etienne-Jules Marey

Marey incorporates every aspect of a persons movement. I have always admired this mans work, his use of multiple cameras to capture motion. His work has inspired me to go out and take my own split second movement photographs. His work is much like that of Eadweard Muybridge, yet he hoped to merge anatomy and physiology.

Eadweard Muybridge

Eadweard Muybridge is known for his early use of multiple cameras to capture motion. His zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that predated celluloid filmstrip is still being used today. Muybridge developed a scheme for instantaneous motion picture capture. To settle the question: ‘whether during a horse’s gallop, all four hooves were off the ground at the same time.’ I find it fascinating how technology has moved on so quickly, and how back in these days, a question like this was settled by a photographer.

Sliding Doors

This is a day event, yet springs out to more than a day. Missing the subway or catching the subway, that second or event can determine her whole life.

‘Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.’ I am very interested in how our thought processes can affect the course of our lives and, in particular, the decisions we make and our reactions to everyday circumstances. I think this film is very interesting as it explores how a single day can develop in many different ways because of one random act. Isn’t it interesting how this will happen to over a billion people a day, and the number of times is incomprehensible, but how the world can change or how it may and could have been affected differently in the past.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Although, I do appreciate the skills of conventional artists, none of them have raised a real passion in me. I have found Basquiat’s paintings so forceful, and each time I have returned to look at one of them my ideas have changed as my understanding of him as a person, and the image he was trying to portray in the specific painting, grew.

I like Basquiat’s use of text in the majority of his paintings as it gives an added insight into the message that he was trying to give out. I find the text very powerful. It draws people to, and almost into, the painting. Individuals stop to read the text before they actually look at the painting and it conditions them to view the painting in the way the artist wants. I find this manner of influencig people’s appreciation of a painting very effective.

When Basquiat was seven years old, he was run over by a car, and while recovering in hospital his mother gave him ‘Grays Anatomy’, a book which clearly had an influence on many of his later paintings. Anatiomy is a recurring theme in the form of skeletons and internal organs in Basquait’s art.

One of the dominant themes through Basquiat’s art is anger. In an interview with Henry Geldzahler for interview magazine in January 1983, Geldzahler asked: ‘Was it anger? Is ther anger in your work?’ where Basquiat replied, ‘It is about 80% anger.’

I believe Basquiat was replacing his early searches for a religion/meaning of life with a more political, black power/ anti-racist philosophy and this copyright was an overt statement of admiration for black sportsmen. The crown is another feature that Basquiat includes in many of his paintings and represents his admiration and pride of black athletes.

Crown Hotel is one of Basquiat’s more complex paintings. The painting displays great anger against the modern world and also against traditional artists, and hence his depiction of the Mona Lisa. For me this is a classic Basquait painitng, an overt expression of his feelings of anger, anti-racism, black pride, financial insecurity and dislike of materialism. It is impossible to understand, even with an explanation behind it, and there is more to discover each time I look at it.

Basquiat was painting at a time of very well-known artists such as Lichtenstein and Warhol, but he persevered despite enormous poverty and an unprivileged background. His upbringing led to his original style of painting which became very popular. Through his determination he managed to become top of his profession and ended up being purchased by the very wealthy people that he mocked in his paintings for their materialism.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Alex Queral

I am always interested in new art. These days it is very hard to come across new interesting ideas, which aren’t massively OTT or extremely pretentious. We all enjoy new work that we may not have seen before.

When reading through the Metro, I came across an artist called Alex Queral who has carved some of the world’s most famous profiles into unwanted phone directories. He uses a scalpel to cut away bits of pages and create famous portraits, such as Ringo Starr and President Obama.

The time and effort he clearly spends on each individual picture is incredible.

Antoni Gaudi

Having been to visit Barcelona in the summer, there are many amazing things I can discuss about the city, but one of the defining pieces of art, design and certainly Architecture is the work of Antoni Gaudi.

His work has a very particular style, that certainly isn’t everybody’s genre, but definitely one I feel can grow on you. Some of his buildings are larger than others, but the style is so unique, and having lived in London, a different major city my whole life, to walk up a street in Barcelona and have a Gaudi building in front of you is just amazing, and very, very different. I think Gaudi’s style is opinionated, but cannot be ignored.

His work has certainly influenced the face of Barcelona Architecture, with his work all over the city.

He uses curved stone, and has ornamented many of his buildings with coloured tiles arranged in mosaic patterns. The use of colour in his work is very random, but I feel that it works.

It is amazing how influential his work is. When thinking of Barcelona, an automatic reaction is to think of Gaudi. This just goes to show that his uniqueness and abnormal shaped buildings is one of the sole reasons to his success and worldwide fame.

Sunday, 9 August 2009


Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's best-selling novel.

I watched Jaws the other day and it made me realise how much the music made the film and, without it, there would have been no fear factor, no tension. Whenever the music began you knew that the shark would be appearing, and the tension started to build inside of you. Without the music, it would be a nothing film. Amazing how, obviously you cant watch it in mute because you wouldn't be able to hear them talking, but if you do remove the volume at certain key moments, all of the fear and the character of the film is removed. You then focus on the key feature in the film, the shark, and notice that the shark isn’t scary, but the music makes it scary, and that half the time the actual shark is played and symbolized by the music. So not only does the music create tension and anxiety it is also, I feel, the character of the film.

Jaws brought a fear of going into the water. When people are slightly dubious about stepping into the water their friends will start to sing or hum the music from this film, which shows what a massive effect the music has had on so many people. This film was successful because it tapped into the innate fear that we all have of going into the water.

Like so many other things in life, the simplicity of the music is its strength - using only two different notes creating a fear. The music was by John Williams.

You would think that going to the cinema to see a film, of your five senses, the visual would be the most stimulating, yet with this film, your hearing takes control.

A good example of how to make a film successful you need to stimulate far more than just the visual. And this film with a very weak story line was saved and made by the musical score.