Boxed Up & Isotypes

24 Feb

On Monday (21/02/2011) we went on two trips. One was for our Illustration module (Isotype exhibition at the V&A) and the other was for our Packaging and Branding module (Susan Hiller exhibition at Tate Britain). Both of these exhibitions are in relation to the assignments we are currently doing for both modules.

I’ll admit, I didn’t get a feel for either of them and neither did it make me go completely in awe, but there were some stuff in both that I found interesting.

The concept of isotype (International System Of Typographic Picture Education) and it’s use is intriguing, as it uses repetitive pictorial elements to portray data in a format that can be understood by visual communication, making it a language that uses only graphic elements. The pictures themselves are simplified in design, taking the most complex of objects and making it as simple as possible to place into a pictogram or any other statistical format.

The Susan Hiller exhibition – some of it I did find interesting and some made me go completely blank in the head. I did like the Hand Grenades (1972), which was of ashes of canvas paintings Hiller had done and sealed them in glass bottles and rubber stoppers, attaching labels to them and placing them all in a glass bowl. I found it quite mysterious, as you don’t know what the paintings were of or why Hiller chose those particular pieces to burn. But it implemented a scientific look to it with the objects that have been used, as it implies them as being ‘test subjects’, as well as being a memento of these paintings.

10 Months (1977-79) was another that I quite liked, portraying images of how Hiller’s body is changing over the months during her pregnancy, also recording thoughts from her journal. It gives the feeling of how quickly time goes and how things change so drastically in a space of time, but it also allows mothers to relate to this piece as they probably had the same or similar feelings as to what she had. It also gave a ‘bond’ between mother and baby, allowing in the future for her child to see how Hiller wanted to remember every moment of her child’s ‘life’ until they were born.

From the Freud Museum (1991-7) was based on personal mementos, private relics and talismans that were collected by Hiller, and presented in boxes along with information about them. This gives narration to the audience, allowing them to get a whole new perspective as to what they are, how and when they were used and perhaps what they mean to the artist. Putting the objects in a box along with their information, gives the historical value of them as well as implying them to be ‘priceless treasures’ as they are not items that have been ignored and thrown, but items that have had recognition and memories to the owner.

2 Responses to “Boxed Up & Isotypes”

  1. TutoRay February 25, 2011 at 16:47 #

    Thank you for sending the link, now you’ve ‘dipped your toe in’ hopefully you will quickly learn how to swim…..the waters fine but watch out for the sharks….
    or as Damien Hirst called it ‘The impossibility of death in the mind of the living’ you could check this out!

    • sfox90 March 8, 2011 at 18:07 #

      I remember researching this particular work by Hirst quite a while back. It always intrigued me somewhat with the ability to view a once living creature in such a preserved state.

      On the Daily Mail last week it mentioned of the Tate Modern planning on opening an exhibition next year to mark the 2012 Olympics based on Damien Hirst’s works, including the work you mentioned.

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