Art Exhibit in December 2004, I Visited Term Paper

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Art Exhibit

In December 2004, I visited the White Cube Art Gallery in London with my art class to view an exhibition by photographer and video artist Sam Taylor-Wood. Her work combines elements of photography, film, and video installation. I knew little about Taylor-Wood other than that she was married to art dealer and White Cube Gallery owner Jay Jopling, and that a previous video installation of hers "David" (named for David Beckham, the football player) had featured a nine-minute video of Beckham sleeping, and been shown at the National Portrait Gallery. I wondered, then, if Taylor-Woods was in fact talented enough on her own to be so successful at such a young age, or if marriage to Joplin had hurried her art to the forefront? I approached the exhibition, then, with a mixture of skepticism, curiosity, and suspense. As it turned out, "suspense" (in its literal and figurative meanings) was a main motif.

The exhibition consists of three subjects. The first, "Crying Men," is a series of 28 close-up photographs of celebrities including Paul Newman; Benicio del Toro; Dustin Hoffman, and others, weeping before the camera: that is, suspended in grief and self-absorption, in time and space, between physical and emotional states. The pictures are in both black and white and color. By her account Taylor Wood did not inform the actors in advance what she would have them do in the shoot. After they agreed to be photographed, she met with each actor, and during the shoot, asked him to cry. Not all burst into tears on command (though they had probably been asked to do so hundreds of times before). Some took awhile to weep; some resorted to artificial means, and one "almost started crying before taking the camera out."

The second subject, "Strings," is a nine-minute video of Ivan Putrov, youngest principal dancer of the Royal Ballet, dancing while suspended with wires from the ceiling of the Crush Bar of the Royal Opera House.) Below Putrov, a string quartet plays (double-time, since Putrov would have had to dance too slowly and his movements would have looked jerky otherwise) a beautiful but sad movement from Tchaikovsky's String Quartet No. 2. The third subject, "Self-Portrait Suspended," consists of five photographs of Taylor-Woods herself seemingly suspended in air. Here the artist seems to be floating, falling, or levitating herself. Actually, when the shots were taken Taylor-Woods was suspended by ropes (with help, according to Guardian Unlimited, from a bondage expert, Mr. Ropeknot). These were then digitally removed from the photos. (By comparison, Putrov's wires were visible). The artist explores here physical boundaries of the human body, this time her own body. She wears only white panties and a gray tank top. Her blonde hair cascades toward the floor, hiding her face. In one picture… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Art Exhibit in December 2004, I Visited.  (2005, January 7).  Retrieved January 27, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/art-exhibit-december-2004-visited/29551

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