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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Shutting down Didcot Power Station

The post-protest reaction

Written by Eleanor Matthews

pythia futuremap copy

Zoe Paul graduated from Camberwell BA Sculpture earlier this summer. Whilst there Zoe participated in numerous shows from the group exhibition Factory at the James Taylor Gallery organised by Royal College MA Curation graduate Dean Kissick and a solo show titled ‘Between the Eyes’ at Coleman Road. This year Zoe has been selected to participate in ‘Future Map 09’ and discussed the concept of sculpture with Amelia’s Magazine.

What is in particular that interests you about sculpture?

I am interested in the form and mass that is sculpture. I like the way we as humans relate ourselves to objects through their three dimensionalism. We are given the option to walk around and view the object from multiple angles and vantage points creating our own image from that object. We judge the object as being larger or smaller than human scale and this plays a large role in our perception of the object.

DSCF1038

You have made numerous paintings, information pills purchase have interests crossed over from painting into sculpture?

Well, I think I feel happier thinking in three dimensions and I have always felt more successful in making objects but I appreciate painting and drawing very highly. It’s a very different way of thinking. I’ve done quite a bit of life drawing and painting; I think it’s helped me to appreciate form. I strongly believe in drawing, if not as a final out come, then as a practice to learn to see. I think as a sculptor it is important to learn to look at things and see how they work formally then you understand them. I always think I can see things better after I draw from life because it forces me to really look and not just glance. I went to art school in Athens for a year and had this amazing classical training there before doing my degree in London. I definitely think it gave me a different perspective.

I think I am a bit shy to make paintings now because I feel like I expose too much of myself, but with sculptures I rely on the materials and the mass of the objects to defend themselves.

amazon boob

At Amelia’s we love to hear about the creative process, would you mind explaining (however you like) your personal process of designing and developing a sculpture?

For myself the making process is a vital part of how I develop an idea. I make a lot, a lot doesn’t always work but I find it useful. I try not to think of anything as a definitive piece, the important bit is the process. My work is frequently based around materials. By using impoverished materials I am devaluing the monumentalism classical sculpture holds. Making ‘Pythia’ was a very labour intensive process. I relate the carving of the polystyrene armature and the precise measuring and cutting of each individual tile to the carving of ancient marbles. It was very industrial and ordered. I made them imagining I was making an architectural fitting, which is kind of what the classical sculptures were in their day. I also spent a lot of time in the British Museum taking photographs and working on them as drawings and sketches.
I try to have a strong studio practice as well. Just being in a space for work is important.

Do you start with an idea or a medium or are both equally important in your work. If this is a bit vague, I mean does the medium start the idea or does the idea influence the medium used?

I think the two go together, although I pay more attention to materials than I realize. I thought up ‘Sunset Island’ while I was in LA and I had a lot of time to think about it. I wanted to represent the crummy, grimy glamour of Hollywood with the cocktail sticks and the industrial fiberglass sphere. So yes materials make me think of things. My degree show work on temporal exoticism and classical Hellenistic sculpture came about from working with tiles and trawling the isles of hardware stores, and finding cheap marble effect ceramic tiles. This cheap marble effect alludes to the wealth represented by classical marbles.

GetAttachment.aspx

Do you prefer to work entirely on your own as you are creating a sculpture?

I need to think by myself and write but its really boring working alone. Now I’ve finished college, my studio is really small, crammed and damp. I miss always being able to find someone to get a coffee with when I want to take a break.

I also think sculpture is a social process. I didn’t really paint at college because the studios were really open and I need to be alone to paint, its much more personal. Sculpture however requires banter. However I pretty much had to make my degree show piece, ‘Pythia’ entirely on my own. The tile cutter makes such an awful noise I was as good as exiled out the studios at college.

Rock and tuft

Who or what are your artistic inspirations

My biggest inspiration was going to Los Angeles last year when I interned as a studio assistant for Mindy Shapero. College was OK but it was a bit grey, working for Mindy made me really hungry to make and really want to be an artist. There was so much energy and exuberance in the approach to life. I realized that I probably could do it if I wanted it badly enough. I also met some amazing artists out there, like Thomas Houseago. He was so inspirational and had so much energy.

I can’t help being inspired by greats such as Picasso and Brancusi. Recently I have been reading about Rodin’s love for Greek sculpture as it conveyed the ‘ravages of the time’ in its ‘fragmentary aspect’. Rodin was a pioneer of the existential being conveyed through representation of human form, which he showed through his tactile figures.

My interest in classical Hellenistic sculpture lies in the history attached to it, ‘the ravages of time’, and the wars fought around it. Also the way sculptors repeatedly revert back to it as true sculpture.

I love museums as well, especially the old musty sort. There is an exoticism in places like that: a longing for a bygone age. I am interested in the fragmentary discovery and understanding history, so I think museums are exciting transient spaces full of mystery and discovery.

ahrodite study double

Do the paper drawings feed the physical process of making a sculpture?

The drawings are really beautiful. I started making them as plans for sculptures to understand the anatomy and form of classical sculptures. They are really just spruced up working plans, but I think that’s what’s attractive about them. I tried making sculptures directly from them but it was a complete failure so in a sense they are failures at working drawings. Again they were important for my process, especially as I was making work about existing work, it was important for me to understand the existing sculptures.

I also tried to convey the museum feel in them. They are displayed like old school posters or crumbling educational departments in museums. Places that explain history, like the classical sculptures I was looking at. They are objects, which represent an exotic bygone age, but essentially are just glorified rocks.

The Amazons1

What is next for Zoe Paul?

Well, its slow being out of school but I’m really excited to have been selected for ‘Future Map 09’, which is a selection of only a handful of graduating students from across University of the Arts London, of both graduates and post graduates. So that’s really exciting.

In terms of work I’m really excited about continuing with my idea of temporal exoticism and the allure objects hold. I was reading this amazing book this summer about a shipwreck, which was discovered off a Greek island in 1900. It was full of sculptures on their way to Rome during the Roman occupation of Greece in around 70BC. There are some amazing descriptions of the sculptures being all gnarled and eaten by the sea. I like the idea of these vast powerful sculptures lying rotting at the bottom with such a history attached to them. I want to make more tactile works now that show my process. I love the way Rebecca Warren’s figures do that.

Future Map 09 will be hosted by 20 Hoxton Square Projects and will run from the 25th November 2009.

This year the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2009 graces the walls of the Natural History Museum for another year and it’s safe to say this is one exhibition that cannot be missed. Owned by the museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, prostate the competition is one that prides itself on exposing and celebrating the diversity of life on the planet.

The room dedicated to this exhibiton is dimly lit and you discover that this is to make way for the photographs themselves. Each one is displayed on a screen, viagra 60mg illuminated from behind so that they stand as
The competiton is divided into categories, first showing the winner and then a selection of those that are highly recommended.

Under the heading of ‘Urban and Garden Wildlife’ I find the corresponding winner to be something of a stroke of genius. The entries are required to be poignant, beautiful or striking comopositions of wild animals or plants in urban or suburban settings. The judges look for uncommonly good images of common subjects. It’s easy to see why ‘Respect’ by Igor Shilpenok (Russia) was the judges favourite. The centre of the photo is a stage for a stand off – one small domestic cat against a considerably bigger wild fox. This is one cat that clearly has a ________ complex. There’s something quite triumphant about this scene. You feel a sense of jubilation in his victory over the intruder. Shilpenok was working as a ranger in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve in Kamchatka, Russia with his cat Ryska for company. He comments that, “One day Ryska, protecting me, ran to attack an approaching fox. The fox bottled it and Ryska instantly earned respect from the foxes – and me”.

In this exhibition, there are categories that are dedicated to the plant kingdom
pythia futuremap copy

In June 2009 Zoe Paul graduated from Camberwell BA Sculpture. Whilst at college Zoe participated in numerous shows around London from the group exhibition Factory at the James Taylor Gallery organised by Royal College MA Curation graduate Dean Kissick to ‘Between the Eyes’ at Coleman Road. Zoe Paul has recently been selected to participate in ‘Future Map 09’.

What is it in particular about sculpture that interests you?

I am interested in the form and mass that is sculpture. I like the way we as humans relate ourselves to objects through their three dimensionalism. We are given the option to walk around and view the object from multiple angles and vantage points, sildenafil creating our own image from that object. We judge the object as being larger or smaller than human scale and this plays a large role in our perception of the object.

DSCF1038

You have made numerous paintings, have interests crossed over from painting into sculpture?

I feel happier thinking in three dimensions and I have always felt more successful in making objects but I highly appreciate painting and drawing. It’s a very different way of thinking. I’ve done a fair amount of life drawing and painting; which I think has helped me to appreciate form.

I strongly believe in drawing, if not as a final out come, then as a practice to learn to see. I think as a sculptor it is important to learn to look at things and see how they work formally in order for you to understand them. I always think I can see things better after I draw from life because it forces me to look and not just glance. The art school in Athens I went to for a year before my degree in London provided amazing classical training. I definitely think it gave me a different perspective.

I am a bit shy to make paintings now because I feel like I expose too much of myself, but with sculptures I rely on the materials and the mass of the objects to defend themselves.

amazon boob

How do your sculptures develop through the design process?

For myself the making process is a vital part of how I develop an idea. I make a lot, a lot of which, doesn’t always work but I find the action useful. I try not to think of anything as a definitive piece, the process is important.

My work is frequently based around materials. By using impoverished materials I devalue the monumentalism classical sculpture holds. Making ‘Pythia’ was an incredibly labour intensive process. I relate the carving of the polystyrene armature and the precise measuring and cutting of each individual tile to the carving of ancient marbles. It was industrial and ordered. I made the sculptures imagining I was making an architectural fitting, similar to what classical sculptures were in their day. I also spent time in the British Museum taking photographs and working on these as drawings and sketches.

Do you start with an idea or a medium or are both equally important in your work. If this is a bit vague, I mean does the medium start the idea or does the idea influence the medium used?

I think the two go together, although I pay more attention to materials than I realize. I thought up ‘Sunset Island’ whilst in LA, I wanted to represent the crummy, grimy glamour of Hollywood with the cocktail sticks and the industrial fiberglass sphere. Materials make me think of ideas, my degree show work on temporal exoticism and classical Hellenistic sculpture developed from working with tiles, trawling the isles of hardware stores, and finding cheap marble effect ceramic tiles. This cheap marble effect alludes to the wealth represented by classical marbles.

GetAttachment.aspx

Do you prefer to work entirely on your own as you are creating a sculpture?

I need to think and write by myself, but its really boring working alone. Now I’ve finished college, my studio is really small, crammed and damp. I miss being able to find someone to get a coffee with, when I want a break.

Sculpture is a social process, I didn’t really paint at college because of the open studios and I need to be alone to paint, its much more personal. Sculpture, however, requires banter. Conversely I pretty much had to make my degree show piece, ‘Pythia’ entirely on my own. The tile cutter makes such an awful noise I was as good as exiled out the studios at college.

Rock and tuft

Who or what are your artistic inspirations

My biggest inspiration was going to Los Angeles last year when I interned as a studio assistant for Mindy Shapero. College was OK but working for Mindy made me really hungry to make and to be an artist. There was so much energy and exuberance in the approach to life. I realized that I could do it if I wanted it badly enough.

I met amazing artists out there, like Thomas Houseago. He was so inspirational and had so much energy.

I can’t help being inspired by greats such as Picasso and Brancusi. Recently I have been reading about Rodin’s love for Greek sculpture as it conveyed the ‘ravages of the time’ in its ‘fragmentary aspect’. Rodin was a pioneer of the existential being conveyed through representation of human form, which he showed through his tactile figures.

My interest in classical Hellenistic sculpture lies in the history attached to it, ‘the ravages of time’, and the wars fought around it. Also the way sculptors repeatedly revert back to it as true sculpture.

I love museums, especially the old musty sort. They contain an exoticism: a longing for a bygone age. I am interested in fragmentary discovery and understanding history, therefore museums are exciting transient spaces full of mystery and discovery.

ahrodite study double

Do the paper drawings feed the physical process of making a sculpture?

The drawings are really beautiful. I started making them as plans for sculptures to understand the anatomy and form of classical sculptures. Really, they are just spruced up working plans, but I think that’s what’s attractive about them. I tried making sculptures directly from them but it was a complete failure so in a sense they are failures at working drawings. Again they were important for my process, especially as I was making work about existing work, it was important for me to understand existing sculptures.

I tried to convey the museum feel in them. Displaying the images like old school posters or crumbling educational departments in museums. As museums attempt to explain history, the classical sculptures I was looking at. They are objects, which represent an exotic bygone age, but essentially are just glorified rocks

The Amazons1

What’s next for Zoe Paul?

I’m excited to have been selected for ‘Future Map 09’, a selection of a handful of graduating students from across the University of the Arts London, of both graduates and post graduates.

In terms of work I’m excited to continue my idea of temporal exoticism and the allure objects hold. I’ve been reading an amazing book about a shipwreck containing sculptures on their way to Rome during the Roman occupation of Greece around 70BC, discovered off a Greek island in 1900. The book delivers amazing descriptions of the sculptures being gnarled and eaten by the sea. I like the idea of these vast powerful sculptures rotting at the bottom with such history attached to them.

I would like to make more tactile works that show my process. I love the way Rebecca Warren’s figures do that.

Future Map 09 will be hosted by 20 Hoxton Square Projects and will run from the 25th November 2009.

Last week a group of 21 activists from around the country stormed Didcot Power Station in an awe inspiring action that managed to force the power company to switch from burning coal to gas, malady a much cleaner power source, decease dramatically reduce the output of the power station as well as inspiring protestors across the world.

did1

A group locked on to the coal conveyor belts halting the supply of coal to the furnace and at the same time 9 protestors scaled the 600 ft chimney, occupied a room and pitched tents next to the chimney flues. Unfortunately the plan to camp in the flues for a week was impossible as it became apparent that they were too hot too stay in for any long period of time.

Although the Didcot Power Station protest may ostensibly have come to a rather unsatisfactory and anticlimactic end, with the nine remaining protesters arrested when they descended last Wednesday having failed to disrupt power generation for a week as planned, the protesters achieved something more important in successfully raising more awareness of the threat of climate change.

did2

The group met at climate camp in London this year, and are not just an obscure group of radicals shrouded in secrecy, but just ordinary individuals from all sorts of trades and professions who felt compelled to do something. Initiatives for environmental action are constantly being developed by normal people who happen to meet, and agree that something needs to be done.

While the action did not gain quite the level of publicity it perhaps hoped for, given its dramatic and unusual nature, there was a reasonable degree of press coverage.

did4

What is surprising however, and perhaps indicative of heightened public concern regarding environmental issues, was that rather condemning the protest as the work of misguided hippies, coverage in the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, and even the Daily Mail seemed at worst objective, and at best sympathetic.

Although a mainstream newspaper clearly cannot condone ‘unlawful’ protests outright, the Guardian’s article condemning ‘punitive pre-charge bail conditions’, while not compromising its own position, showed a certain solidarity by emphasising the increasingly dubious actions of law-enforcers.

The article’s inflammatory title, ‘Didcot demonstration: Police use bail restrictions to stifle climate protest’ carefully negotiates a pro-environment position that put the actions of police, not protesters, in the spotlight.

did3
A previous action at Didcot

Of course, there will still be those who dismiss these facts as irrelevant, or outweighed by the jobs and electricity Didcot provides. But crucially debate is being provoked, and it is becoming increasingly clear that provocateurs are not extremists, they are people who feel that the current circumstances require extreme action. The demystification of environmental protest – making it seem more inclusive, distilling it down to an issue of personal choices just like any other political issue – will hopefully encourage others.

In a BBC article, John Rainford of RWE power is quoted as saying, “Sitting on top of a chimney isn’t going to affect climate change. The people who can – and do – really make a difference are the people at the bottom of the chimney – the power station workers. They are deeply passionate and absolutely committed to cutting emissions. These are the people who work in the community, live in the community and care about their community”. While it is true that sitting on a chimney did not stop climate change instantly and directly, there is more truth to his words than he knows. Protests are changing public opinion, and if wasn’t for public opinion there would be no call or incentive for a cut in emissions. It is small actions of the builders, receptionists and power station workers which together will determine the survival or demise of coal power in Britain.

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