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WHAT IS…SOUND ART?

Posted 24 February 2016 by Kat

When you think about art, you usually think of something you look at. But did you know that you can also listen to art?

Jorge Macchi, Incidental Music 1997, © Jorge Macchi

Jorge Macchi, Incidental Music 1997, © Jorge Macchi

From ordinary everyday noises like humming traffic to sounds made by instruments or human voices (whispering, talking, singing or even just blowing raspberries and making other nonsense noises….spphhhhbbbblllzzzppphhh)…all sorts of different noises are used in sound art.

Rebecca Horn, Concert for Anarchy 1990, © DACS, 2016

Rebecca Horn, Concert for Anarchy, 1990, © DACS, 2016

Sound art is sometimes experienced live through a performance, or it can be listened to as a recording through speakers or headphones. And because sounds don’t need to have a special room to keep them safe in (like some other types of art), sound art can be put (and listened to) just about anywhere.

Imagine you are walking along by a river and you hear a voice singing from under the bridge.

The song sounds mysterious like something from a different time. Susan Philipsz recorded herself singing three versions of an old Scottish ballad and played the recordings underneath three bridges in Glasgow. The song is about a sailor who drowns and comes back to say goodbye to a loved one. You can listen to it here.

Susan Philipsz LOWLANDS 2008 / 2010 Clyde Walkway, Glasgow © The artist, courtesy Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art Photo: Eoghan McTigue

Susan Philipsz, LOWLANDS 2008 / 2010, Clyde Walkway, Glasgow, © The artist, courtesy Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Photo: Eoghan McTigue

This is what Susan Philipsz says about sound: ‘Sound is invisible but very…emotive. It can define a space at the same time as it triggers a memory’.

She usually uses recordings of her own singing voice to make her art, but for her piece War Damaged Instruments she used sounds made by instruments that have been damaged in wars.  Although the instruments play a tune, some of them are so badly damaged no real notes come out – just noises. The sad broken sounds echo the sadness caused by war.

Bild 5 Klappenhorn (ruin) Salvaged from the Alte Münz bunker, Berlin, 1945 Collection Musikinstrumenten-Museum Berlin. From Susan Philipsz: War Damaged Musical Instruments

Bild 5, Klappenhorn (ruin), Salvaged from the Alte Münz bunker, Berlin, 1945, Collection Musikinstrumenten-Museum Berlin. From Susan Philipsz: War Damaged Musical Instruments

When did sound art begin?

The first sound artist was called Luigi Russolo. He was a futurist artist. Futurists were making art at the beginning of the twentieth century and loved fast and noisy new technology such as cars and machinery! Between 1913 and 1930, Russolo built noise machines inspired by the clatter of factory machinery and also the boom of guns from the First World War.

Dada artists also made sound art in the early twentieth century. But rather than celebrating the sounds of modern society and the First World War… their art was against it. They hated the horrors of the war so made up nonsense poems and music consisting of just sounds and noises expressing how they felt.

Fig 3. Hugo Ball reciting Karawane in a cubist costume at the Cabaret Voltaire, Zürich 1916 Gelatin silver on paper Courtesy Fondation Arp

Fig 3. Hugo Ball reciting Karawane in a cubist costume at the Cabaret Voltaire, Zürich 1916
Gelatin silver on paper
Courtesy Fondation Arp

Musician John Cage was inspired by these early sound artists. He composed a famous piece of music in 1952 called 4’33’…which is four minutes and thirty-three seconds of…COMPLETE silence! He was friendly with artists in the Fluxus group, who also experimented with music and sound as art.

Joseph Beuys working title: BEUYS (FLUXUS) & CHRISTIANSEN (FLUXUS) 1969 Poster on paper © DACS, 2009

Joseph Beuys, working title: BEUYS (FLUXUS) & CHRISTIANSEN (FLUXUS) 1969, Poster on paper
© DACS, 2009

Words and language have always fascinated artist Bruce Naumann. In 2004 he made a sound artwork called Raw Materials for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. He layered recordings of voices, making a collage of sound that played from speakers dotted throughout the space. Nauman was interested in seeing how listening to the speakers would affect how people moved through the space. Here’s a sketch he drew to plan the artwork.

Bruce Nauman Layout for Raw Materials 7 July 2004 2004 © Bruce Nauman/ARS, NY and DACS, London 2016

Bruce Nauman
Layout for Raw Materials 7 July 2004 2004 © Bruce Nauman/ARS, NY and DACS, London 2016

Sound art can also be made by machines. Some artists make sculpture or objects that move, (this is called kinetic art), and the sound these sculptures make is part of experiencing the work. What sort of sound do you think this sculpture makes? (CLICK, BANG, WHIZZ, GRRR…MIAOW)

Jean Tinguely Débricollage 1970 © The estate of Jean Tinguely

Jean Tinguely, Débricollage, 1970 © The estate of Jean Tinguely

Since the introduction of digital technology sound art has changed even more! Artists can now create visual images in response to sounds, and make sound art that the audience controls through pressure pads, sensors and voice activation.

And get this – It’s also now possible to make a sound that goes on for pretty much ever!!  On 1 January 2000 Longplayer a sound composition by Jem Finer started to play…it will continue to play for 1000 years.

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TOP 5 DOODLES

Posted 17 February 2016 by Kat

Daydreaming already? Has your pen started scribbling on the page?

A doodle is a drawing made while a person’s mind is thinking about something else. Let’s take a peep at what artists’ minds get up to when they are busy planning masterpieces. Get some doodle inspiration to inspire your own amazing works of art.

1. Taking a line for a walk

Artist Paul Klee said ‘a line is a dot that went for a walk’. This is often what happens with a doodle…you don’t plan to draw, your pencil just seems to wander off across the paper. This drawing is made from an almost unbroken line that makes a series of round-cornered, boxes. The artist then added stick legs and eyes to make the shapes into a quirky character.

Paul Klee, Burdened Children 1930 Bequeathed by Elly Kahnweiler 1991 to form part of the gift of Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler, accessioned 1994

Paul Klee, Burdened Children 1930. Bequeathed by Elly Kahnweiler 1991 to form part of the gift of Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler, accessioned 1994

Why not have a go at taking a dot for a walk. Don’t plan your picture. Just let your pencil wander randomly. See what happens when you add eyes, arms and legs to your doodle.

2. Add some doodle dabs of colour

Artist Scottie Wilson has used a page in his sketchbook to try out colours. He was probably mixing colours for a painting and wanted to see if they were the right shade. But can you also spot, among the colourful blobs, a doodle bird and some doodle fish? Blob some colour to your doodles and check out the results.

Scottie Wilson 1889–1972, Trial board with a variety of paints and ink with some doodles of birds date not known. c. Tate Archive

Scottie Wilson 1889–1972, Trial board with a variety of paints and ink with some doodles of birds date not known. c. Tate Archive

Artists sometimes use sketchbooks to draw things they see or work out ideas for works of art they want to make. Sometimes sketchbooks are just places to think and doodle in. Have a look at Cecil Collins sketchbook below and discover just how useful doodling is as a thinking tool.

Cecil Collins 1908–1989, Abstract study of a head, with house, tree and bird. c. Tate Archive

Cecil Collins 1908–1989, Abstract study of a head, with house, tree and bird. c. Tate Archive

3. Doodling the weird and wonderful

When we doodle we aren’t really aware of what we are drawing. Doodles can sometimes be pretty strange and surreal. Look at this drawing by David Shrigley.

David Shrigley, Untitled 2003 © David Shrigley

David Shrigley, Untitled 2003 © David Shrigley

It’s unusual, and somehow manages to be funny and a bit disturbing at the same time. Shrigley describes the way he draws as ‘intuitive’ (which means doing something without logically thinking about it), and also says: ‘doodling would not be an entirely inaccurate description.’

What weird and wonderful pictures lie buried in your head? Try drawing without thinking too much about it and see what happens..

4. Pattern on the loose

Some doodles start as a small shape and then grow, and grow and GROW. Artist Bernard Cohen used an abstract shape as his starting point and then drew around it again and again until he had a pattern of contours. Can you spot the beginning of these layered wiggly lines?

Bernard Cohen Floris 1964, © Bernard Cohen

Bernard Cohen, Floris 1964, © Bernard Cohen

You try it. Draw a random shape. Draw a line around that shape. Then add more and more lines radiating out (like ripples in a pond). You could always use different colours for each line for an even more loopy look.

5. Graffiti doodling

By layering marks, scribbles, jotted down words and doodly drawings, Jim Dine has created a doodle-tastic graffiti effect. By combining all these things, the doodles not only look buzzy and exciting but also seem to actually mean something. What do these layered doodles suggest to you?

Jim Dine, Picabia II (Forgot) 1971 © Jim Dine

Jim Dine, Picabia II (Forgot) 1971 © Jim Dine

Here are some graffiti inspired doodles created on Tate Kids using our Street Art game:

Yoobii, by Montana, age 10, from Oklamhoma

Yoobi, by Montana, age 10, from Oklahoma

Girl, by Cat, aged 13 from UK

Girl, by Cat, aged 13, from UK

Sunset, by Kay, age 10, from Scotland

Sunset, by Kay, age 10, from Scotland

You have a go and create your own layered graffiti doodle drawing…make sure you use plenty of different marks, colours and stickers for that buzzy layered effect!…show us what you can doodle-do!

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TOP 5 PANCAKES

Posted 9 February 2016 by Kat

It’s Shrove Tuesday also known as Pancake Day! One of the yummiest days of the year! Here are our top 5 Pancake Day related artworks in the Tate collection. Tuck in!

1. Frying pan

To make the perfect pancake you need to start with good equipment. Grab your frying pan and let’s get cracking! This painting looks a bit fragile with everything supporting each other! Looks like it might fall at any moment! Watch out! What objects could you place around you that would almost look like it was falling over?

Louisa Matthiasdottir, Still Life with Frying Pan and Red Cabbage, 1979. © The estate of Louisa Matthiasdottir

Louisa Matthiasdottir, Still Life with Frying Pan and Red Cabbage, 1979. © The estate of Louisa Matthiasdottir

2. Grab your ingredients!

Milk makes your pancakes nice and fluffy! This photograph was made by Nigel Henderson. Could you take a picture of all your ingredients in an interesting or weird way? Why not share it on Tate Kids My Gallery? You could also have a go at your own old-school photography in the Veggie Photo Tate Create!

Nigel Henderson, 1949–51, Photograph of a photogram of a milk bottle 1949–51 © Nigel Henderson Estate

Nigel Henderson, 1949–51, Photograph of a photogram of a milk bottle 1949–51 © Nigel Henderson Estate

3. Flat as a pancake

Have you heard of the phrase ‘as flat as pancake’? The artist Cornelia Parker took this quite literally with her artwork and ran over lots of silver objects with a bulldozer! You can find out more information about Parkers work in Art Sparks film. What would happen if you squashed everything in your room?

Cornelia Parker, Thirty Pieces of Silver 1988–9, © Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker, Thirty Pieces of Silver 1988–9, © Cornelia Parker

4. Hungry yet?

Yes! We are starving! This abstract painting by Julian Trevelyan shows some very hungry people! Can you make them out? Maybe try to draw your family looking really hungry on Street Art?

Julian Trevelyan Hungry People 1936–72, © The estate of Julian Trevelyan

Julian Trevelyan Hungry People 1936–72, © The estate of Julian Trevelyan

5. Flip it!

Just before you put all your lovely extra ingredients on the pancake (we’d go for blueberries and honey!) make sure you flip it for luck! 1, 2, 3…!

Remember to share your pancake photos on My Gallery!

Jack Bush, White Flip 1974 © DACS 2016

Jack Bush, White Flip 1974 © DACS 2016

 

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WHO IS…DAMIEN HIRST?

Posted 13 January 2016 by Kat

Damien Hirst has said ‘art’s about life, and it can’t really be anything else’. What do you think? Do you agree? Let’s have a look into the world of Damien Hirst….

Have you seen this sculpture before? It is by Damien Hirst and it is called Mother and Child (Divided) and was first made in 1993.

Damien Hirst, Mother and Child (Divided) exhibition copy 2007 (original 1993) © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst, Mother and Child (Divided) exhibition copy 2007 (original 1993) © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

For this artwork Damien Hirst cut dead cows in half and preserved them in the blue liquid, formaldehyde. Visitors to the gallery can walk round the animals and see something quite familiar in a new way. It’s kind of disgusting but very curious!

Damien says that he see beauty in science and likes it when things are repulsive and attractive at the same time. What can you think of that is both those things? Maybe think about your body and what’s inside it. It’s both beautiful and unique and weird all at the same time!

Hirst was part of a group of artists known as the YBAs (Young British Artists). Most of the YBAs had studied together at Goldsmiths College of art in London. In 1988 they put on a show called Freeze and invited lots of people to come and see it.

Damien likes putting animals in tanks. He even put this sheep in a tank.

Damien Hirst, Away from the Flock 1994, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2016. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Damien Hirst, Away from the Flock, 1994, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2016. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Hirst thinks a lot about death, and a lot of his work is about death. He wonders what it would be like to be dead, and he wonders if there is a God and if there is, what kind of God it is.

He also thinks about all the things that keep us alive. Like medicine that stops us dying from terrible diseases. He wonders if maybe people believe in science and medicine more than they believe in art. ‘Pharmacy’, 1992 is an installation of lots and lots of medicines on shelves.

Damien Hirst, Pharmacy 1992, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst, Pharmacy 1992, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

It looks a bit like a laboratory, or perhaps a hospital. It is very clean and white. He has arranged the medicines in the order of where they help the body. On the top shelf are drugs for the head, then in the middle are drugs for the stomach and the ones at the bottom are for the feet.

On the counter are four glass bottles filled with coloured liquids. They represent the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. In ancient times, people would use these elements to heal the sick. Hirst is reminding us how people used to treat the body before modern medicine.

Damien Hirst, Liberty 2002, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst, Liberty, 2002, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst also makes Spin paintings. To make them he stands on a ladder and pours paint onto large circular canvases as they are rotated at high speed by a spin machine in his studio. The circles spin around a central point, like a disc on a record player. Each work is kind of like an optical illusion experiment. Fancy having a go at making your own Spin painting? Check out our Spin game and let us know what you think of Damien’s work in the comments.

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TOP 5 SPACE INVADERS

Posted 15 December 2015 by Kat

Today Tim Peake will become the first British astronaut to live and work on the International Space Station! It’s a really exciting moment and we wanted to celebrate it on Tate Kids with our Top 5 artworks relating to all thing space!

We think art and science go really well together! They both need creativity, innovation and curiosity! We hope you are inspired by the artworks below to make your own space creations!

1. VALENTINA TERESHKOVA

Evelyne Axell with her work Valentine in 1967 Estate of Evelyne Axell © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

Evelyne Axell with her work Valentine in 1967
Estate of Evelyne Axell
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

Artists have been inspired by space travel since the 1960s when the first astronauts went to space!

Here is the artist Evelyne Axell in the helmet on her portrait of Valentina Tereshkova. Valentina was the first woman to go in to space (and also the first civilian)! Evelyne’s artwork is political and challenges ideas of power and equality.

She uses a technique called Assemblage, which means she used different materials and objects on her canvas. Here she uses a space helmet and a zip. What else can you make art out of?

2. YURI GAGARIN

Joe Tilson, Transparency I: Yuri Gagarin 12 April 1961, 1968 © Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

Joe Tilson, Transparency I: Yuri Gagarin 12 April 1961, 1968 © Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

Yuri Gagarin was the first human to journey into outer space, when his spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth in 1961.

The artist, Joe Tilson, was a British Pop artist. He was once a carpenter and made wooden and plastic constructions as well as prints and paintings. He often used children’s toys, bold colours and popular imagery to make his artworks.

3. ROCKETS

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Bash 1971, © The Eduardo Paolozzi Foundation

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Bash, 1971, © The Eduardo Paolozzi Foundation

To get to space you need a rather large rocket!  The Soyuz spacecraft, which Tim Peake will be on, weighs seven tonnes and sits on a 50 metre high rocket! Can you find the rocket in the artwork above?

Eduardo Paolozzi made this screen print. He has collaged lots of different imagery relating to space travel, new technology and the future. Have you made a collage before? What would this artwork look like if it were made today? What imagery would you use to make something about the future?

4. SPACE DUST

James Rosenquist, Space Dust 1989, © James Rosenquist/VAGA, New York and DACS, London 2015

James Rosenquist, Space Dust, 1989, © James Rosenquist/VAGA, New York and DACS, London 2015

What exactly is space dust?! What does it look like? James Rosenquist has had a go at what he thinks it looks like above.

Rosenquist is a painter and one of the leading American Pop artists. He places bizarre or weird imagery together to make his artworks. Like other pop artists, he mainly finds his imagery in adverts. He also uses materials like plastic sheets, mirrors, and neon lights. What kind of art would you make if it was meant to look like space dust?

5. MONUMENTS

Naum Gabo, Model for ‘Monument to the Astronauts’ c.1966–8 The Work of Naum Gabo © Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2014

Naum Gabo, Model for ‘Monument to the Astronauts’ c.1966–8 The Work of Naum Gabo © Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2014

This is a model made by Naum Gabo. As a sculpture, it was made to move and the neon tube would glow at night so it would look like a floating wave-like form. It would be a great sculpture to celebrate space travel! What monument would you make for astronauts? Maybe you could design it on one of the Tate Kids games!

3, 2, 1…blast off!

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