Cindy had lived in New York for decades; she made her series ‘Clowns’ after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre. In context she used clowns to display the inexpressible emotions of everyday New Yorkers following this tragic event .What I found significant about Cindy Sherman’s clown room at the City Gallery was how clowns can express extreme emotions with your typical clowns including happy, sad, and scary. Sherman wanted to give an impression of background that can only be found in your head. In other words she wanted you, the viewer to experience her Clowns through your life and experiences, how they make you feel? What emotions not only they have but what emotions are brought to you. The colours may be bright and happy but we can definitely engage with the dark depths of clowns. Sherman loved the idea of clowns being “psychotically happy”, even when extremely sad. With this idea in mind, it was only right that Sherman decided to mime the creepy entertainers for her Clowns series. “I came to clowns,” she says, “to show the complex emotional abysses of a painted smile.” This expressed how someone can have so much pain inside them yet still show a fake smile on their face. She shows people that Clowns are not just this scary entertainer used for kid’s birthday parties and horror movies from the creepy vibe they give off but also that there is actually a lot more behind them. Therefore she expresses the emotions of these New Yorkers through her clown series with their body language and facial expressions and helps you to understand the pain people went through during this tragic event.
A Moment on the trip to see ‘The Cindy Sherman show’ at the City Gallery that was significant to me was the room full of clowns. Instantly you a filled with a sense of people watching you as you enter the room; surrounded by clowns staring you down. The large scale of these images emphasised this sense of being stared down; they made you feel slightly imitated and overpowered by their sheer scale. This gives off a slightly uncomfortable feel but also gives you the sense of wanting to know more about them. Through this I also felt Excitement entering this room, personally I have no fear of clowns although many do and seeing how Sherman has used people’s fears in her work was unusual. You don’t see clowns often as they are seen as social outsiders being used in many horror movies. People usually stay away from the idea of them. As Sherman says “Clowns have an underlying sense of sadness while they’re trying to cheer people up.” The Clowns represent that the funniest people are the most miserable inside as with a clown they are sad but their makeup is put on them to make them look happy. They have a very deep meaning behind them and seeing them being used made me all the more excited to find out more about them.
In ‘How to See the World’ by Nicholas Mirzoeff, it is a novel analysing the visual culture of our world today. Whilst reading the “Introduction” a key point that sparked my curiosity was how the world has changed so drastically compared to the lifestyle of earlier generations. According to Mirzoeff, the world we live in is changing quicker than it ever has before and this is because of the global network society. Digital technologies such as the internet and social media is now the way people connect with others but it also has become a social requirement to explore our world through sharing information and media like photographs and videos. Mirzoeff states that “every two minutes, Americans alone take more photographs now than what were made in the entire nineteenth century” he also states that “one hundred hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every minute’. The power of the internet today is bigger than we ever could have imagined, we rely so much on others to experience the world for us and we can see all their adventures from the click of a button. Some people now would rather explore the world through their screens rather than going out and seeing it through their own eyes.
Another key point within the introduction from Mirzoeff’s ‘How to See the World’ is the photograph of Earth known as ‘Blue Marble’ becoming the most reproduced photograph ever. How one image can be so powerful, so eye opening that it can cause individuals to change their views, stop their own personal conflict and work towards a better world. This image was put on nearly every front cover of newspapers around the world. People had never seen earth from this perspective and that’s why it was so significant. “In December 2012 an astronaut named Aki Hoside took his own picture from space”. However instead of focusing the attention on earth he created the ultimate ‘selfie’ by turning the camera on himself. Compared to ‘Blue Marble’ where it shows us the planet, Hoside had turned the camera on him copying the common day ‘selfie’ that has become such a popular everyday activity within many human’s lives. Mirzoeff states “It makes space real and imaginable to us in a more direct way than Blue Marble” by simply doing an activity within space that is so commonly recongised within humans lives and earth reflecting off his visor.
Works Cited: Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “How to See Yourself”. How to See the World, Pelican, 2015, pp. 1-27
Connett’s work ‘Dreams and nightmares’ explores his childhood as he has always been one who has vivid dreams. As a child he was afraid to sleep due to his intense dreams. Now as adult, he looks forward to sleep for the same reason, so he can continue to express these vivid dreams through art. We can also see Connett’s version of Dali’s surreal elephant in the background although he did not intend to do this.
Dali has used surrealist elements in this painting ‘The Elephants’ to refer to the balance between the splindly legs of the elephant, and the huge weight that they appear to be carrying, along with the additions of the obelisks. This therfore made a contrast between the difference of weight and structure.