Notes on the book: Lives of the Artists, Lives of the Architects by Hans Ulrich Obrist

As I am reading this book I am folding corners or underlining bits I think are interesting. Here I am going back through the book and picking out all these flagged bits, which I can then categorise into themes to reveal channels of thought I have been having. Here are some bits I thought worth including here.

David Hockney

a camera doesn’t see space – it sees surfaces. Human beings see space


P.41 Hockney talks about returning to painting with more confidence always after taking ‘detours’. I love this. Painting as the place to return to strong, and also reflect on whilst making them.

P.48 Hockney uses a process of drawing, scanning the drawing, painting on the scanned drawing, scanning that and repeating as many times as wanted. This is an interesting process as Ulrich Obrist said ‘from digital to analogue’.

Here in Bridlington, the winter is more colourful than the summer.


^ Hm! Makes me think.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

I’m very resistant with regard to the art object, because as I see it, the relationship to an object or a thing is all too obvious a relationship. I prefer to be in a relationship with something that’s around me, but which I am, at the same time, myself around. I’d rather explore that kind of complex situation.

Architecture is just that: you go out, you go in, and so on.


^My structures from paintings to sculptures bruh!

Ernest Mancoba

I cannot pick sentences out from this interview because whole pages are just so good. P.136-139 esp. My comment under the page is ‘art is real and human and messy!’, it evokes that. He talks about how African Art doesn’t abide to established ‘aesthetic rules’ such as proportion. Instead of following rules, African artwork is for ‘its capacity to evoke the inner being, by the strength of the outward aspect’, judgement of beauty does not come into it (p.137).

Frank Gehry

Discusses the exhibition building and architecture. How white galleries can be ‘sterilised containers’. What if for my work I thought consider that? How its displayed working WITH THE SPACE ITSELF, and requiring more than just a white wall/room. Think about this for degree show and showing coursework!!!!! exciting P.173.

Architecture and artists being the same and one! I love that. ‘one has plumbing the other is pure’. He makes so many interesting points, making me rethink architecture as relational to an artists work process. How could this link to my structures? Since that is architecture of the mind in some way.. blurring of art and architecture..? P.173.

He talks about the immediacy you feel from standing in front of a painting; ‘you feel like it was just painted yesterday’. Gehry is interested in how this immediacy can be achieved in construction:

how do you get that feeling of frozen motion that exists in the Elgin Marbles, or that exists in the Indian Shiva figures? I always felt that that immediacy was more powerful than nineteenth-century decoration… it’s to try and figure out how to build with bricks and mortar and achieve that immediacy.


^What do I feel in cathedrals? In the Baroque ones I saw last summer there was definitely this sense of immediacy, which came from the internal decor that gave everything motion. But what do I want my structures to have? Well if they’re painted they may have material immediacy, but the shapes may look frozen? But sculptures of them?
Gehry does not want to build artefacts.

Gerhard Richter

we make our own nature, because we always see it in the way that suits us culturally. When we look on mountains as beautiful, although they’re nothing but stupid and obstructive rock piles; or see that silly weed out there as a beautiful shrub, gently waving in the breeze: these are just our own projections, which go far beyond any practical, utilitarian values.


The title to a painting…

… is only obliquely related to the paintings; indeed it really doesn’t say anything, it only guides one’s way of looking in a particular direction, towards particular relationships and similarities.


Gilbert & George

Robert Louis Stevenson once said that art should be serious, but the way that children are serious when they play.


G & G want to deal with religion because it is a part of so many people’s lives, the same people that may see their work, so they want to address it.

(Haven’t finished reading book yet)


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