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Diploma Work Akademy of fine arts in Prague / MFA 2009

National Gallery Prague, Veletrzni Palac

Start Point Award, Galerie Kaltovy Klenova

Honorable Mention

Art as atmospheric experience

My diploma work was composed by elements drawn from a series of installations, photo documentation and digital collage realized in the exhibitions:

Hyperspace Module 1.0 - playing with space (Galerie AVU)

Year Future 2.0 - the leap of faith (Meetfactory)

Warp Exit 3.0 - isolated steps (Entrance gallery)

Illuminated Hideout 4.0 - the quarantine (ETC gallery) 

These projects were realized in collaboration with French artist Michael Gimenz through-out 2008-2009.

My diploma work was an individual reflection of these projects where I saw these exhibitions as a working process leading up to the realization of my diploma work.

The reason for developing my diploma work this way was to be able to experiment and study a form of installation that would not be possible to realize in the working atmosphere of my AVU studio because It would disturb the other students working process.

For my diploma work I drew elements from each of the exhibitions mentioned in the attempt to make a fusion of these projects for my final work.

From the documentation and digital photographic material collected throughout the year, I have realized 3 digital photographic compositions where I joined elements from each of the preceding projects. These digital collages were realized using mirror reflex digital cameras (Nikon D80 & Canon eos e450), edited and composed in Adobe Photoshop cs3 and printed using the RA-4 developing process for Kodak color negative photographic paper which produces a Type C-print. (also called Light-jet or lambda print).

The photographic material used in the digital collages are extracted from moments which represent key areas of study during a 16 month long working process.
These compositions are an attempt to visualize my work during my final year as a whole (as an atmospheric experience).
The compositions were be mounted each on one side of a triangular room which the audience can enter and see an installation composed from sculptural and interior elements adapted from my previous projects.
I see my final work as an investigation into my practice to better understand the link between a series of site-specific installations realized at different places at different times.
Since each of the preceding projects were realized as ephemeral, site specific work, the compositions of these elements transcends the different spaces to visualize them together as a working atmosphere.

In this artwork I am sought to reform space into a scenario where the audience has a physical as well as audio-visual experience of the artwork. The installation was arranged as an environment where the spectator, by entering into it, becomes the main actor.
By reading the signs of their surroundings the audience could contemplate the meaning of their presence in connection to the artwork.  This can be linked to existentialist ideas , where the artwork as an ephemeral situation, echoes the coming and going of the visitor.

The installations make use of elements inspired by science fiction, special effects, and film set scenography. These elements are included to model the installation as an illusionary setting that challenges the audience perception of space and lingers in an area between fiction and reality.
In this situation the audience can experience a psychological displacement I would describe as an atmospheric experience of art.

The projects leading up to my diploma work aimed to investigate the possibilities/ limitations of joining the exhibition space with the work presented. By studying each exhibition space and inviting the gallery staff to participate as actors in the development of each project, we created scenographic installations that would completely surround the audience.
In the process of creating each installation we would focus on the architectural construction of the exhibition space, it´s light sources, sound application and the natural movement of the spectators through the space.

By redefining these elements we developed scenographic compositions using visual elements inspired from science- fiction to be integrated with the natural structure of the space. The result of this was a integration of the spectator, the artwork, the space and the gallery staff in an unfolding theatrical setting.

An interesting aspect of the work was seeing how our method would apply to each of the exhibition spaces. Since all of the spaces were supporting the young Prague art scene, with their individual directions, it was a focus for us to push the limits of how artwork can be presented in these showcases. In this method the act of presentation, development and realization of the artwork merge into the same process, using the exhibition space as material as a studio and gallery.
In doing so we were posing the question if it is possible to include the place of presentation as an element in the work presented? By including the place of presentation what new borders between artwork and the space it occupies are being defined?

By repeating this process according to 4 different exhibition spaces, a part of the project was to explore what the visual connection would look like by seeking answers to these questions and to find solutions to problematic moments gained from our experiences.

When developing my diploma work it became apparent that it would be impossible to apply this method directly to a presentation in school because it would disturb the presentation of the other students and raise a conflict of interest.

A solution to this problem was to design a space that would fit an installation formed by elements taken from each of the preceding projects. In this way I would be able to realize a situation in relationship with my former projects as well as it being mobile enough to be repositioned for the diploma exhibition. (In the light of this my diploma work is also fitted to the way the formal proceedings of diploma work presentations are organized.)

While working on these projects I made an extensive study of filmmakers and artists which make use of similar elements. I would seek out films which make use of scenography  & special lighting in smoke filled atmospheres to create different effects. Biggest inspirations have been the films, Star Wars (1977) dir. George Lucas, 2001 a space odyssey (1968) dir. Stanley Kubrick), Logans Run (1976) dir. Michael Anderson, Blade runner (1982) dir. Ridley Scott, Kiss me deadly (1955) dir. by Robert Aldrich, Holy Mountain (1973) dir. Alejandro Jodorovsky, ET (1982) & Close Encounter of the 3rd kind (1977) dir. Steven Spielberg.

Similarities to these film sets can be seen in contemporary art in the installation works of artists such as Pierre Huyghe, Børre Sæthre, Olafur Eliasson, Anthony Macall and James Turell.
These artists’ work has been a big inspiration for me in the way that they make use of a scenographic approach to installation. In my opinion the similarities of the work of these artists to sci-fi movies from the 70s and early 80s can be seen as an appropriation of scenography into contemporary art as a 3 dimensional visual experience. Other sources of inspiration have been science fiction books from writers such as Aldous Huxley, William Burroughs and Phillip K. Dick.
In the process of working on these projects we have also been in contact with The Štefánik Observatory researching the methods used in astronomy to produce visual illustrations of astronomical studies as well as special effects artists for the film industry.

I see my diploma work as representing the working atmosphere which I have been involved in for the past year and as a chance for me to review my activities and inspire new ideas for further development in the future.

Anders Grønlien
Atelier Malba II
Academy of fine arts Prague