“Artists are inspired by and capture the world around us: sculptors immortalize people with statues; painters record events in their masterpieces. What about the other way around? For this week’s theme, find inspiration in a piece of art, and go further: imitate it.” (Daily Press)
When rummaging for ideas on the topic of Life Imitates Art – this week’s Daily Press photo challenge – I found some quite deliberate attempts at imitation, along with some delightfully surprising accidents.
When I posted this photo of a magpie’s nest under construction, a kind reader pointed out that it reminded her of a Franz Kline painting.
A quick internet search and now I’m a fan of Franz Kline paintings.
Life also accidentally imitated art on the shores of Lake Burley Griffen, in Canberra. Across the pond, the National Gallery of Australia was holding its Turner exhibition.
I wasn’t thinking about Turner. I was experimenting with long exposures, randomly snapping while walking along the lake’s edge, not looking through the viewfinder.
The results felt a little Turner-esque.
Rosalie Gascoigne constructed her creative endeavours from found objects. Ralph Balson was the first to hold an exhibition of abstract paintings in Australia, back in 1941. Like Rosalie, there is an obvious construction to his paintings (some are even called Construction).
When I found two jigsaws of their works at the National Gallery of Victoria, I couldn’t help trying a bit of re-construction of my own.
And finally, one of my favourite attempts at imitating art. The challenge was to take a photo that evoked Spirit. After rummaging around in a book on the history of photography, I struck upon the idea of recreating a vortograph.
Vorticism was a philosphical and aesthetic theory from around 1914, established in England by poet Ezra Pound, and “claimed for the artist a place at the centre – or vortex – of the energy of modern life.” (This quote from Gilles Mora’s book, Photospeak: A guide to the ideas, movements and techniques of photography 1839 to the present.)
Alvin Langdon Coburn produced some abstract images using three mirrors arranged like a kaleidoscope, and called them vortographs. His 1917 exhibition was not well received.
I only used on two mirrors, but the background is my television screen. Maybe that counts? Nevertheless, I was and still am delighted with the result. It gives me shivers!
And I finish this post a little surprised at myself. I prefer the accidentals.
I thought I would be happier working towards an outcome and feeling some satisfaction in the result. Instead, I’m drawn to those happy accidents.
Perhaps it is simply the difference in weight. When I look at The Delibrates, I still feel the weight of effort, thought and … delibration.
When I look at The Accidentals, I feel so much lighter.