Kafka Metamorphosis

Kafka’s short story The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung), first published in 1915, is the tale of a man called Gregor who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into a beetle. The story then explores how Gregor and his parents deal with this transformation. The Metamorphosis is set in Gregor’s bedroom in his parents’ house, and the door of the room
becomes an important visual metaphor for being trapped.

Research how different illustrators have tackled this story. You’ll find that there’s a limited range of images – the bedroom door, the beetle and the bed. How have illustrators used these elements?

Extend your research to look at film, artists, theatre, TV and other visual representations. Where in the narrative have artists placed the image – before, after or during the transformation? How have illustrators’ choices framed your understanding of what the story is about? Which do you
think is the most successful version?

Illustrations

My favourites: Luis Scafati

http://fer1972.tumblr.com/post/119459616559/franz-kafka-and-the-metamorphosis-illustrations

original cover
original cover
Rich Johnson: Poor Mr Samesby!
Rich Johnson: Poor Mr Samesby!

 

Erin Shore: Get Back!
Erin Shores: Get Back!
Rohan Daniel Eason: Creepy Cute KJafka for kids
Rohan Daniel Eason: Creepy Cute KJafka for kids
A B Yehoshua
A B Yehoshua

Catherine Anyango

website http://catherine-anyango.com

Catherine Anyango uses film, sculpture and mise-en-scene devices to reconstruct physical environments that are disrupted by psychological, intangible phenomena. Many of her images are powerful graphite black and white drawings, often dealing with political issues.

Heart of Darkness 2010, a graphic novel adaptation of Conrad’s novel about colonialism

She has produced live film events around London, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Film Theatre.

Current projects look at the emotional manifestations of crime and guilt upon public and private space.

In upcoming graphic novel 2×2 the banality of corruption affects the physical structure of a city and in recent drawings of crime scenes and police violence the images act as subjective evidence of horror.

She studied at St Martins and the Royal College of Art followed by an MA in English Literature at UCL. Since then she has exhibited at Art Basel Miami Beach, the London Design Festival, Guest Projects and Design Miami Basel. She is currently a Tutor in Visual Research at the Royal College of Art.o

Hiroshi Sugimoto

website

Google images

from Wikipedia:

Sugimoto has spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, or photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life, and the conflict between life and death. Sugimoto is also deeply influenced by the writings and works of Marcel Duchamp, as well as the Dadaist and Surrealist movements as a whole. He has also expressed a great deal of interest in late 20th century modern architecture.

His use of an 8×10 large-format camera and extremely long exposures have given Sugimoto a reputation as a photographer of the highest technical ability. He is equally acclaimed for the conceptual and philosophical aspects of his work.

Exerpts from his description of selected works from his website:

Joe:  Like a work of architecture, this sculpture has to be experienced by walking around and through it… Joe is different according to the time of the day, the season, and the viewer’s position. It is in the visitor’s memory that the sculpture “takes shape” in the most complete way…Using a photographic technique involving areas of extremely soft light and blurred darkness, he sculpted views that seem like aspects of visual memory: the arts of photography and sculpture overlap and memories of the two-and the three-dimensional mix.

Revolution: For a long time it was my job to stand on cliffs and gaze at the sea, the horizon where it touches the sky. The horizon is not a straight line, but a segment of a great arc. One day, standing atop a lone island peak in a remote sea, the horizon encompassing my entire field of vision, for a moment I was floating in the centre of a vast basin. But then, as I viewed the horizon encircle me, I had a distinct sensation of the earth as a watery globe, a clear vision of the horizon not as an endless expanse but the edge of an oceanic sphere…There remains… a great divide between comprehending (i.e.explaining) the world and being able to explain what we ourselves are. And even then, what we can explain of the world is far less than what we cannot ― though people tend be more attracted by the unexplained. In all this, I somehow feel we are nearing an era when religion and art will once again cast doubts upon science, or else an era when things better seen through to a scientific conclusion will bow to religious judgement.

Seascapes:  Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention―and yet they vouchsafe our very existence…Let’s just say that there happened to be a planet with water and air in our solar system, and moreover at precisely the right distance from the sun for the temperatures required to coax forth life. While hardly inconceivable that at least one such planet should exist in the vast reaches of universe, we search in vain for another similar example. Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.

Lightning sheets: The idea of observing the effects of electrical discharges on photographic dry plates reflects my desire to re-create the major discoveries of these scientific pioneers in the darkroom and verify them with my own eyes.

Architecture: I decided to trace the beginnings of our age via architecture. Pushing my old large-format camera’s focal length out to twice-infinity―with no stops on the bellows rail, the view through the lens was an utter blur―I discovered that superlative architecture survives, however dissolved, the onslaught of blurred photography. Thus I began erosion-testing architecture for durability, completely melting away many of the buildings in the process.

Chamber of Horrors: People in olden times were apparently less fearful and grievous of death than we are today. To some it was even an honor to be chosen by the gods as a sacrificial victim, a liberation from the sufferings and strife of this life…Must we moderns be so sheltered from death?

Rembrandt

Rembrandt had a studio with fantastic quality daylight; the window light was soft and he used reflector sheets to bounce light back where he wanted it. In other words he used soft controlled light which is what the studio softboxes of today http://www.rembrandthuis.nl/cms_pages/index_main.html

Rembrandt creative commons website

Exercise: The Night Watch
The painted portrait had to show the viewer what was important either to the sitter or the creator. This was done in some cases by pose, in some by costume or uniform or significant items with inherent meaning, or simply by position – being higher up than others or at the optimum positional point of the image. Look carefully at Rembrandt’s famous painting The Night Watch, commissioned by Frans Banning Cocq, the figure in the centre foreground.

Before you follow the link below, make some notes in your learning log about how the artist uses the elements listed above (background, pose, clothes, props, light). What effect does
he create? What does the portrait say about Banning Cocq?
Look particularly at the use of light and dark in this huge portrait. How might you create similar effects photographically?
Now follow the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9jj74aOr_Q

Koichi Yamamoto

Inspiration for my printmaking

I find Yamamoto’s large abstract monochrome monoprint landscapes extremely evocative. Inspired by a Zen minimalist aesthetic, with a focus on tone and markmaking, they have a dreamy and ethereal feel – full of suggestion of light and dark, huge towering buildings or seething underlying masses in the deep. Yet cannot be completely grasped or understood.

Yamamoto Printmaking Official website

Monoprints

Google images of Yamamoto monoprints

Koichi Yamamoto is an artist who merges the traditional and contemporary by creating unique and innovative approaches to the language of printmaking.Koichi’s prints explore issues of the sublime, memory, and atmosphere.
Koichi has worked with meticulous copper engravings to large-scale monotypes.
He completed BFA at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon then move to Krakow, Poland for producing works and to study copper engravings in Bratislava Academy of Fine Arts in Slovakia Republic.
He studied in Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland and then completed MFA at University of Alberta, Canada. He also worked as a textile designer in Fredericia, Denmark.
He has exhibited internationally. He has taught at Utah State University and University of Delaware and currently an Associate Professor at University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Video of his working process

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Sources of inspiration in water surfaces

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Metal engraving

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Copperplate etching Kite design

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Ibrahim El-Salahi

Ibrahim el-Salahi  (1930 – present) is a Sudanese artist painter and former politician and diplomat.He is considered a pioneer in Sudanese art. He developed his own style and was one of the first artists to elaborate the Arabic calligraphy in his paintings.

website: http://ibrahimsalahi.com

Google images

Ibrahim El Salahi Interview Tate Modern, July 2013

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African Art on Display at London’s Tate Modern

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Starts with in-depth interview with El-Salahi on his experiences in 1970s.

Tate Shots exhibition overview
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Ibrahim El Salahi Focus on Africa BBC World

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Development of his art

El-Salahi was born on September 5, 1930, in Omdurman, Sudan. He studied Art at the School of Design of the Gordon Memorial College, currently the University of Khartoum. On the basis of a scholarship, he subsequently went to the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1954 to 1957. He also stayed in Perugia in Italy for some time, to enlarge his knowledge of renaissance art. Back in Sudan, he taught at the School for Applied Arts in Khartoum.

In 1950s, 1960s and 1970s his work is dominated by elementary forms and lines. When El-Salahi returned to Khartoum to teach at the Technical Institute in 1957, he became one of the lead artists in a movement known as the ‘Khartoum School.’ Having gained its freedom from British colonial rule only one year previously, Sudanese artists were trying to define a new artistic voice and means of expression for the country. Yet when he held an exhibition of his work from the Slade at the Grand Hotel in Khartoum, Salahi’s academic style was uniformly rejected. Salahi took some time out from painting to travel around the country to seek inspiration. Here, the influence of Arabic calligraphy, which he had learned as a young child, became more pronounced in his painting, as he began to integrate Islamic signs and scripts into his compositions. Speaking of this era, the artist himself said:

‘The years 1958-1961 were a period of feverish activity on my part in search of individual and cultural identities […] Those years, as it turned out, were the years of transformation and transformation that I went through as far as my work was concerned.’

In 1962 he received a UNESCO scholarship to the United States, from where he visited South America. From 1964 to 1965 he returned to the US with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, and in 1966 he led the Sudanese delegation during the first World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar, Senegal.

Self-Portrait of Suffering (1961) is one of his best-known works from this time. The distended face that becomes almost equine, the dry brush marks and muted palette, show influence of Picasso, who himself appropriated distorted facial features from West African masks. The inability to trace the visual language to a root source is an articulate allegory for the artists’ sense of creative displacement at this time. Other works, such as Reborn Sound of Childhood Dreams (1961-5), integrated the crescent, a motif of Islamic art that recurred frequently throughout his work. El-Salahi also explored the formal properties of paint. Some canvases are incredibly heavy, with a thick impasto crust of paint (Victory of Truth (1962); Dry Months of the Fast (1962)); others with such thin layers of paint the image barely sits above the canvas, such as Vision of the Tomb (1965), crisp detail echoes traditional Arabic miniature painting.

After working for the Sudanese Embassy in Britain for a time in the early 1970s, El-Salahi was offered the position of Deputy Under Secretary of Culture at the Ministry of Information in Sudan under the military dictatorship of General Gaafar Nimeiry. After a failed military coup in which a relative was implicated, he was arrested in 1975, accused of anti-government activities and incarcerated for just over six months. El-Salahi is a Muslim of a Sufi sect, and during this trying time he discovered that the harrowing conditions he was subjected to could be escaped only through his deep spirituality. This was, according to the artist, a time of great personal change. The quiet pen and ink drawings and prose that make up Prison Notebook show a period of introspection and self-examination, with linear and fluid gestures that skirt tentatively across the page.

Upon his release, the artist relocated to Qatar. His work becomes rather meditative, abstract and organic. Subsequently his work is characterized by lines, while he mainly uses white and black paint.

In the late 1980s, El-Salahi began to absorb more of the forms of futurist figures. Still using a pen, his figures become machine-like, solid and heavy, composed of lines, tangents, and geometric shapes. The interlocking ellipses of Boccioni can be found in compositions such as The Inevitable (1984-85), and Female Tree (1994), and dense cross-hatched lines cement the image to its support.

TateShots: Ibrahim El-Salahi’s ‘The Inevitable’

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Often considered El-Salahi’s masterpiece, The Inevitable was first conceived by the artist during his wrongful imprisonment. Deprived of paper, El-Salahi would sketch out plans for future paintings on the back of small cement casings, before burying them in the sand whenever a guard would come near. Working in this manner led to the artist developing a new style, one seen in The Inevitable, where a painting spreads out from what he refers to as the ‘nucleus’, or the germ of an idea, with a meaning hidden even from the artist himself until the work is finished. Only when he saw The Inevitable completed did El-Salahi realise how clear the message was; that people must rise up and fight tyranny and those that suppress them. This was something he felt was relevant not just to his own life when he created the work in the mid-eighties, but to all of Sudan.

When in 1998 El-Salahi moved to Oxford, this new interest in bold geometric lines was pushed further. Using the english countryside as his subject, he began using vertical parallel lines to describe the form of a tree across a series of paintings and drawings. The use of geometric shapes to evoke natural forms perhaps harks back to the Islamic tradition of using geometric pattern to describe the order of the world. Yet through the prism of El-Salahi’s oeuvre, works such as Tree (2008) become Mondrian-esque divisions of canvas, panels of colour against white, that are nonetheless representational.

Many of his compositions suggest painting as meditation or a means of transcendance. Often praying before beginning to work, he says he has little control over the final image on the canvas; the creation of his works becomes almost an autodidactic gesture. Unlike so many established painters, who in later life fall into a distinct, comfortable style, El-Salahi continues to experiment and test himself and his art, integrating Western and Sudanese influences, exploring the boundaries of visual language and transcending a fixed cultural identity.

Rebecca Jagoe: Ibrahim El-Salahi: Painting in Pursuit of a Cultural Identity

Zen Aesthetics and Art

Importance of Zen Aesthetics and Art for my Printmaking practice

I have been interested in Zen meditation – its focus on awareness of the here and now and the possibilities of choice – since being a teenager. In relation to art this awareness of the moment develops an ability to observe, then capture in a few flowing strokes the essence of one’s perception of something. That ability is based on years of practice and development of a sense of composition – focusing on tensions and imbalance rather than symmetry. Zen painting explores the tension between the accidental and imperfect and that flash of control.

In relation to printmaking it has particular relevance in monoprinting – markmaking on the plate as in the large monochrome monoprints of Yamamoto. But also the possible uses of watercolour inks and capturing the way they mix both on the plate and the paper.

Japanese Aesthetics (1 of 1)

Principles of Zen Aesthetics

Zen means “meditation.” Zen teaches that enlightenment is achieved through the profound realization that one is already an enlightened being. This awakening can happen gradually or in a flash of insight (as emphasized by the Soto and Rinzai schools, respectively). But in either case, it is the result of one’s own efforts. Deities and scriptures can offer only limited assistance.

Zen Buddhism’s emphasis on simplicity and the importance of the natural world generated a distinctive aesthetic, which is expressed by the terms wabi and sabi. influenced by Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, particularly acceptance and contemplation of the imperfection, constant flux and impermanence of all things. These two amorphous concepts are used to express a sense of rusticity, melancholy, loneliness, naturalness, and age, so that a misshapen, worn peasant’s jar is considered more beautiful than a pristine, carefully crafted dish. While the latter pleases the senses, the former stimulates the mind and emotions to contemplate the essence of reality. In today’s Japan, the meaning of wabi-sabi is often condensed to “wisdom in natural simplicity.” In art books, it is typically defined as “flawed beauty.”

In Search of Wabi Sabi with Marcel Theroux

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 Zen traces its origins to India, but it was formalized in China. Chan, as it is known in China, was transmitted to Japan and took root there in the thirteenth century. Chan was enthusiastically received in Japan, especially by the samurai class that wielded political power at this time, and it became the most prominent form of Buddhism between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. The immigrant Chinese prelates were educated men, who introduced not only religious practices but also Chinese literature, calligraphy, philosophy, and ink painting to their Japanese disciples, who often in turn traveled to China for further study.

Many Japanese arts over the past thousand years have been  Such arts can exemplify a wabi-sabi aesthetic. Examples include:

A contemporary Japanese appraisal of this concept is found in the influential essay In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki.

Sumi-e or Zen Ink Painting

You Tube videos on history of Chinese and Japanese ink painting

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Other Sources

Met Museum

Zen Buddhism and Art  Lieberman

Zen Painting Google images

Sumi-e or Japanese ink wash painting uses tonality and shading achieved by varying the ink density, both by differential grinding of the ink stick in water and by varying the ink load and pressure within a single brushstroke. Ink wash painting artists spend years practicing basic brush strokes to refine their brush movement and ink flow. In the hand of a master, a single stroke can produce astonishing variations in tonality, from deep black to silvery gray. Thus, in its original context, shading means more than just dark-light arrangement: It is the basis for the beautiful nuance in tonality found in East Asian ink wash painting and brush-and-ink calligraphy.In his classic book Composition, American artist and educator Arthur Wesley Dow (1857–1922) wrote this about ink wash painting: “The painter …put upon the paper the fewest possible lines and tones; just enough to cause form, texture and effect to be felt. Every brush-touch must be full-charged with meaning, and useless detail eliminated. Put together all the good points in such a method, and you have the qualities of the highest art”.

See Wikipedia article. See articles from British Museum collection.

A key practise is ensō ( , “circle”?) – a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). Drawing ensō is a disciplined practice of Japanese ink painting—sumi-e (墨絵 “ink painting”?). The tools and mechanics of drawing the ensō are the same as those used in traditional Japanese calligraphy: One uses a brush ( fudé?) to apply ink to washi (a thin Japanese paper). Usually a person draws the ensō in one fluid, expressive stroke. When drawn according to the sōsho (草書?) style of Japanese calligraphy, the brushstroke is especially swift. Once the ensō is drawn, one does not change it. It evidences the character of its creator and the context of its creation in a brief, contiguous period of time. Drawing ensō is a spiritual practice that one might perform as often as once per day.

This spiritual practice of drawing ensō or writing Japanese calligraphy for self-realization is called hitsuzendō (筆禅道 “way of the brush”?). Ensō exemplifies the various dimensions of the Japanese wabi-sabi perspective and aesthetic: Fukinsei (asymmetry, irregularity), kanso (simplicity), koko (basic; weathered), shizen (without pretense; natural), yugen (subtly profound grace), datsuzoku (freedom), and seijaku (tranquility).

Today, ink monochrome painting is the art form most closely associated with Zen Buddhism. In general, the first Japanese artists to work in this medium were Zen monks who painted in a quick and evocative manner to express their religious views and personal convictions. Their preferred subjects were Zen patriarchs, teachers, and enlightened individuals. In time, however, artists moved on to secular themes such as bamboo, flowering plums, orchids, and birds, which in China were endowed with scholarly symbolism. The range of subject matter eventually broadened to include literary figures and landscapes, and the painting styles often became more important than personal expression.

It has also inspired many modern Japanese Abstract artists like Toko Shinoda and Western abstract artists like John Cage.

Series of interesting videos on a contemporary Western Zen ink painter: Nikolai Jelneronov

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Will Scott

Source:

LYNTON, N. 2007. William Scott, London, Thames & Hudson.

Wikipedia

William Scott (1913 – 1989) was a British artist from Northern Ireland, known for still-life and abstract painting. His apparently simple paintings of pots, pans and stylised nudes explore relationships between space, form and colour. Much of the emotional impact comes from use of paint textures within the abstract shapes.

William Scott, the painter who made the everyday into a masterpiece, Paul Laity 2013, The Guardian

“behind the facade of pots and pans there is sometimes another image … a private one … sensed rather than seen”.

my love for the primitive and for the elemental

“The frying pan comprises, in essence, a circle and a line, and dozens of critics have discussed the intimate relations between his objects, and the sexual element to his work.”

Geoff Grandfield

Sources:

Website http://geoffgrandfield.co.uk . (see particularly Narrative)

Caustic Cover Critic Interview

Geoff Grandfield is a British illustrator now living in London. He has worked with major newspapers and publishers since 1987.

Influenced by the cinematography of film noir and the reductivism of modernist graphic art, his work is characterised by carefully composed minimalist silhouettes and limited palette, exaggerated perspective and scale contrasts. The bold shapes and perspective have a very strong immediate impact. Other meanings and shapes are often hidden and it is only by following the lines that the meaning of images become revealed.

Grandfield draws with chalk pastel, usually the German make Schminke, and sometimes Talens. “When I work for black and white reproduction I use tones of grey. The tones have some ‘colour’ in them, but mostly I’m going by the weight and contrast between areas. Colour is another thing and I try to prioritise a particular set of colours for a result.” Since 2001 he has been using Photoshop to scan and prepare for reproduction, which in turn has changed the visual look of my work. He scans his originals at A4.

Flattened perspective

Towards the Houses
Home project
He was Already Dead
The man within

Narrative

The Captain and the Enemy
The Honorary Consul
Our man in Havana

Fashion

Fashion invite 2013
Fashion invite 2014
Fashion invite 2011
Fashion invite 2008