Art destruction

As one of the UK’s richest artists prepares to burn thousands of his paintings, Dr Jared Pappas-Kelley, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Teesside University and author of Solvent Form; Art and Destruction, shares his views on the destruction of art in the Guardian.


Dr Jared Pappas-Kelley

Dr Jared Pappas-Kelley is the course leader for MA Fine Art at Teesside University and supervises PhD students doing practice-based research in Fine Art as well as teaching on both the MA Fine Art and the BA Fine Art. He gained his PhD in Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought (PACT) at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and in his own practice as a visual artist he focuses on an instability in the art object and the intersection between practice and theory.

His book, Solvent Form, explores the destruction of art, both in terms of objects that have been destroyed – lost in fires, floods or vandalism – and the general concept of art operating through object and form.  He examines events such as the warehouse fire at Momart in 2004 and works indirectly destroyed by art thief Stephane Breitwieser, ultimately proposing the idea of solvent form (hinging on the dual meaning in the words solvent and solvency) whereby art, while attempting to make secure or fixed, likewise undoes and destroys through its inception.

Artist Damien Hirst recently revealed that he will be burning thousands of his paintings at his London gallery to show art as ‘currency’. His announcement has brought both condemnation and praise from the art community – Dr Pappas-Kelley would argue that all objects of art hold their own destruction latent within them. Commenting in the Guardian on the Momart warehouse fire which destroyed about £30m of British art, he suggests that such an event is good for revealing the way art metaphorically trips on the carpet. Of the fascination with fire and destruction in art events like this, Dr Pappas-Kelley observed, ‘In theory no one is neutral at these specific fires – you either set it, are attempting to put it out or are watching the spectacle of it.’

Image by bedneyimages on Freepik

Hirst, who dominated the art scene in the 1990s will burn his paintings over several weeks, culminating in a final blaze during the Frieze Art Fair in London. Whilst some suggest that this is nothing more than a great publicity stunt, Hirst hardly needs the money, purported to be the richest living artist in the UK. Others see it as something more, an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ act of destruction that creates opportunity for a creative phoenix to rise from the flames.

Dr Pappas-Kelley is currently working on further book projects – one a collection of manifestos commissioned by contemporary artists and thinkers, the other a collection of short reflection pieces on works by contemporary artists such as Janine Antoni, Uta Barth, Terrence Koh, and Kiki Smith. He brings his wealth of knowledge and research activity into the classroom, informing teaching and benefiting students of Fine Art at Teesside.


Find out more about Fine Art at Teesside University:

BA (Hons) Fine Art

MA Fine Art

Scatter at Saabat Gallery

Scatter is a current exhbition at the Saabat Gallery in Middlesbrough featuring a showcase of works created with artist and academic Henwar Baker as part of her PhD studies at the the School of Arts & Creative Industries, Teesside University.


Pop by the Saabat Gallery on Southbank this week to see their latest exhibition, showing until 3rd June, featuring the work of artist and PhD student Henwar Baker in collaboration with a group of women from Iraq and the Kirdish community.

Henwar at the opening of Scatter on 7th May

The exhibition, Scatter, opened on 7th May and is the culmination of a programme of workshops that were delivered over 6 weeks at Culture CIC.

Henwar collaborated with eight women from the Iraqi and Kurdish diaspora to express themselves through creativity and to explore their relationship with the Northeast of England.

A variety of artistic techniques were explored each week and the images on display at the exhibition were chosen to tell their first-hand experiences and stories.  

 

Henwar is studying for her PhD at the School of Arts & Creative Industries and more of her work can be seen on Instagram.

 

 

Henwar at the opening of the exhibition with Professor Sarah Perks from the School of Arts & Creative Industries

To find out more about upcoming exhibitions, events and programmes at Saabat Gallery, follow them on Facebook or visit their website

MIMA Great Create shortlisted finalists announced

Saturday 28th May sees the long-awaited finals of the MIMA Great Create competition and six worthy finalists will be joining us at MIMA with their family and friends for an intimate celebration and the revealing of the winner by Elinor Morgan, Artistic Director, MIMA.


The competition opened to entries on 26th March 2022 and in just over six weeks the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University received a range of highly creative entries, from music clips, illustrations, paintings, upholstery designs and photographs, to short films, origami sculptures, drawings and more. Judging began on the 10th May and our team of judges from across the creative industries have made their decisions.

Six entries were shortlised, with judges commenting on the high standard of entries

“What a treat to get to review such creative work. There were some absolutely fabulous entries!”

The six shortlisted finalists along with friends and family are joining us for an intimate finals celebration at MIMA on Saturday 28th May, where the winner will be revealed and all finalist entries will be displayed in a pop-up exhibition in the MIMA atrium. The exhibition will be available to view over the coming Platinum Jubilee extended Bank Holiday weekend for all visitors to explore. Whilst you can see a version of the shortlisted entries below (links to songs on artist’s name), we’d encourage you to come along to MIMA to experience them visually and audibly in their full glory, in the creative environment of the atrium:

Ella Miller 

I created this piece with a risograph printer to build up the rich layers of history and beauty and celebrate details that are important to me as an illustrator; we have so many local creative hubs, like MIMA and Darlington Hippodrome, that are so resourceful and full of inspiration. I also wanted to celebrate my pride in being northern with a bit of humour because who hasn’t had a giant seagull steal a chip in their life, and I certainly couldn’t live without a lemon top! From steam trains to bridges, the North East is built with strength and radiance.

Jonathan Raiseborough 

My entry, ‘Boro Skyline’ is an illustration inspired by the environment and landscape of Teesside and the different aspects of the area that represent it as a whole. The foreground nature scenery in the illustration is based on the RSPB saltholme and Seal Sands nature reserves and the heritage of the biodiversity preserved so close to the industrial areas that represent another, very different, part of the region’s identity. The illustration was drawn in fineliner, coloured in Adobe Photoshop and based on how varied, seemingly opposite, prominent elements of what makes up Middlesbrough and the region co-exist together as one.

Grace Coverdale

I  created an acrylic painting on canvas depicting a concept I  believe  is a dominant  part of my culture and region. ‘The decline of the Teesside Steelworks Industry’ as a result of postmodern technology and globalisation. This concept is  something that affected all generations in this region.
I chose a  long canvas and presented my painting  horizontally,  as you glance down  left to right, you see that the further along the canvas  the steelworks become less shows the industry has completely disappeared.

Airen Sopany

Since the theme of the competition is the heritage of North East England, I decided to recall all the memories I’ve made while studying here. Although I have yet to explore the whole of North East England, there are fond memories I have of this region. I’ve decided to commemorate my wonderful experience so I get to cherish it forever with this entry filled with my images.

Jake Beddow

I decided to write a piece of music to represent the history and current story of the Teesside region. Middlesbrough was one of the first towns to be bombed during WW2 so the first half of my track is full of trumpets and loud drums as an omage to the music played whilst armies marched towards battle. Using samples of the UKs greatest sports commentator, Middlesbrough born Chris Kamara, I attempted to capture how Teesside has evolved into a great and modern place as the track also evolves into a more modern sounding song.

NICEGUY

A song I wrote about the sneering at Teesside from those who’ve never lived here

The winning finalist will be revealed on Saturday 28th May – Good luck everyone!

Live briefs, research and community engagement

We’re often told that research informs teaching, but what does that really mean? Here’s a great example of how the research undertaken by academic staff supports innovative teaching methods and informs teaching.


Senior Lecturer in Comics and Graphic Novels , Julian Lawrence is an award-winning cartoonist and educator specialising in comic books. Julian’s work concentrates on the undercurrents of communication through gesture in the medium of comics.

In June 2021 Julian presented his conference paper, 21st Century Winter Journey, at the Media Communication and Cultural Studies Association Conference (MeCSSA). The paper introduces his visual essay book chapter describing a collaborative comics-based research (CBR) project between a homeless charity and a cohort of 2nd-year university students. The 21st Century Winter Journey project explores the status of community art education (CAE) in Middlesbrough UK, and the ways learning and making comics impacts communities locally and internationally.

Cover by Julian Lawrence

The project challenged Year Two students in Comics & Graphic Novels at Teesside University to make comics, do research beyond the classroom boundaries, and explore the surrounding local community. Academics and students partnered with staff and homeless members of Streetwise Opera (SWO) who were staging a performance of Schubert’s opera Winterreise. SWO provides resources and community support to people affected by homelessness across the UK. The task as a class was to collaboratively develop the opera into a narrative with SWO and adapt the libretto into a graphic novel.

Traditional comics-making methods informed the foundation of the project’s artistic practice:

• Rough sketches and thumbnails based on research
• Cleaner pencil drawings and lettering
• Rendering inks and colours
• Final, camera-ready artwork.

Following each iteration, SWO and Julian (as tutor) gave students feedback and revisions.

Page by Ebonny Cavanagh

Julian suggests that analysis of the project widens conversations in CAE through Research Informed Teaching (RIT), Just-In-Time Teaching (JITT) and Paolo Freire’s “conscientizaçāo” (awareness). RITT, JITT, and awareness triangulate and locate learning in a community’s relational and public spaces. In applying these theories with cartooning practices, a powerful pedagogical tool emerges. When students become researchers and make comics they negotiate their understandings of community, their identities, and their futures. These observations are evidenced in the reflections students wrote as well as in the finished comics they submitted at the conclusion of the project. RIT, JITT, awareness, and cartooning guide the flow of artistic practice through shared group experiences within community spaces.

Page by Mia Redfern

Forms of comics such as comic strips, comic books, and graphic novels are recognized internationally. Creative practices of making comics and cartooning are transferrable to schools, community centres, universities, and care homes everywhere. As such, the medium of comics functions as a transversal language and participatory culture that links people and communities together.

Tragically, the global pandemic hit as students were developing the comic, and all teaching migrated online. Despite increased pressure to self-isolate, socially distance, and learn online the 64-page graphic novel was successfully completed and deliverd as Christmas presents in December 2020.  Julian continues to use live briefs to encourage research and create meaningful and community-based learning in and outside of the classroom for students.

The School of Arts & Creative Industries offers both a BA Comics & Graphic Novels and an MA Comics & Graphic Novels

 

Five Minutes with Sarah Perks

Sarah Perks is a professor and Head of Department in the School of Arts & Creative Industries.

I grew up on a council estate and I was always into anything to do with the arts, from pop music to reading and watching everything. I’m not really sure that I conceived of working in any other arena. I am now a curator, academic and writer. In 2017 I was was one of Creative Review’s 50 Creative Leaders. I’ve led many major projects with international artists.

A highlight of my career was working with the filmmaker and artist David Lynch. My work is about relationships — between artists and audiences and between art forms. It is also political, about the structures at work in society, how they shape our experience, and where there is inequality because of these. I’m currently developing work on how arts can embrace social justice by combining our heritage with futures such as environmental issues, inclusion and technological advances.

Arts and culture inform our world alongside science and technology. They are part of everybody’s experience and our lives depend on creative thinking. Arts and culture enable debate and help people understand the complex and unequal world around us, and be part of designing a better one.

At the School of Arts and Creative Industries we see success as fulfilling your ambitions, whether you are a planning to design the interior of a primary school, create the logo for it, teach the children in it, or work with them to tackle poverty. If you’re thinking of applying to the School, my advice would be choose what excites you rather than what you think you should do. If you stay creative and curious about the world it will never bore you


Our courses:

 

Students Benefit From Unique Textiles Print Facilities

Vicky Graham is a Senior Technician in the School of Arts & Creative Industries. She talks here about the unique textiles print facilities and life in our school.


The textiles print facilities are unique and accessible to all students across the School, offering open access booking and specialist modules taught in the print facility. The facilities are in the beautiful grade II listed Waterhouse building with a variety of print equipment that is as impressive as the location.

The academic staff have an extensive range of skills and experience in art and design and vast teaching experience. Many of the staff work in the sector, running their own businesses. They are regularly featured in
international exhibitions and are published in magazines and books. The staff have up-to-date industry knowledge, and you can expect these experiences to shine through in their teaching. It’s such a positive and supportive environment and the campus amplifies the sense of community.

If you’re studying at the School of Arts & Creative Industries, I’d recommend taking advantage of all the additional opportunities on offer. Go to all the artist talks, exhibitions and use all the facilities. Three years will go by so fast and you don’t want to miss any of it.

Follow some of Vicky’s work on Instagram

Find out more about our BA (Hons) Fashion