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art essayCategory: (general)
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
08:15:17 AM (GMT)
i needed somewhere to put my essay just as a backup incase my computer fails
again.......also Fiona Hall is a really good contemporary artist


Why do we make, desire and collect objects? It is because place (time, location and
site) affects the way we view objects. Their meanings, purposes and design are some
of the things affected. Fiona Hall, one of Australias leading contemporary artists,
born in the 1970’s started out as a photographer before moving into sculpture and
design during the 1980’s. Over the years she has created an array of diverse works
in areas such as sculpture, painting, installation, garden design and video. Halls
objects and works are usually related around the core theme of the relationship
between nature and culture. The materials she creates her pieces out of are vital to
her work as she deliberately transforms ordinary everyday objects and materials in to
something that address a range of contemporary issues such as globalization,
consumerism, colonialism and natural history.

Medicine bundle for the non-born child can be described as a set of related objects.
It consists of a collection of objects made from recycled coca cola cans which in
turn are made from aluminum metal. The pieces are comprised of a child’s jacket,
booties and bonnet all woven out of thin, sharp strips of metal  in a style
reminiscent of magazine knitting patterns. The metal is a shiny silver with parts of
the red cola label showing through looking vaguely like blood. Also there is a pack
of coca cola cans make to look like baby bottles with rubber teats on the tops.

Halls intention was to explore the history of coca leaves from South America and cola
nuts from Africa; both important medicinal plants respected in their original
settings. Now Coca-Cola, which originally used both of the herbs within the product,
is one of the world’s most popular soft drinks. It is also celebrated as a global
marker of modernity. The work also explores the misappropriation of knowledge from
Third World countries. Through the artwork Hall is trying to get across the
interweaving of different, even contradictory narratives and histories about the
desire for buyer goods and the future of today’s young children. She does this by
combining a well known and globally popular brand (coca cola) and using it as a
material to create something out of it that relates and makes you think about younger
children. The underlying emotional mood of the piece also helps to set get the
meaning across, making something that completely contrasts with the object it’s
supposed to be gives the impression of speculation, therefore making you think about
the issues and places the objects represent.

One of the main elements used within medicine bundle for the non-born child is
contrast. Contrast can be seen in the materials Hall has made her objects out of.
When looking at anything child related you think the words cuddly, cute and
impressionable. Combine these notions with the fact that the material used to make
these items is something cold, sharp and heavily marketed. Therefore contrast is
found in the coca cola can strips the child layette is made from and the objects
themselves. Also the knitted metal creates texture that from a glance appears to be
like knitted wool, it is only on closer inspection that you realise that it is
actually sharp and cutting. The work is unified through the use of related items and
repeated use of patterns and colours. This set of objects is not part of a series
although many of Hall’s other artworks are.

Paradisus Terestris is a 3 part series of works first presented by Fiona Hall in the
years 1989-1990. The artworks are a series of metal sardine cans rolled back with an
erotic/naked body part displayed inside. Atop the can sits a tree which sprouts out
of the can, seemingly connected to the part of human anatomy within the centre. The
objects are made entirely from the metals aluminium and tin or steel and are either
gold or silver.
The intention of the artwork was definitely the artist’s way of showing the subtle
things shared between humans and plants. The intended meaning for the series was
developed and shown within the depiction of the intersection of plant and human
culture and guessed or implied through the title. The pieces are composed so that the
naked body part is adjoined to the plant life growing above; symbolizing the paradise
(Earth) both the people and plants co-exist within together. This symbolism between
the trees and human body is also conveyed through the title Paradisus meaning
paradise and Terestris meaning land or Earth dwelling.

The pieces are composed in such a way that it makes the viewers believe that the bare
and usually erotic body part travels upwards and then joins to the fauna emerging
from the summit. Another thing that is notable is the use of grid lines in the
composition; most of the series tends to have vertical grid lines directing the eye
from the bottom of the object to the top. Each separate piece is entirely the same
colour either silver or gold. The metal Hall has used in Paradisus Terestris gives a
smooth though sometimes sharp texture depending on how the metal is bent or placed.

Fiona Hall has made some very controversial works. She is a very well known
contemporary artist. Her works are sometimes whimsical, and others ironic or savagely
critical, the humor, passion and understanding Hall brings to her work never cease to
intrigue and fascinate audiences. What is significant about all her works are that
they all somehow relate to a place (a time, location and site). Medicine bundle for
the non-born child for example relates to consumerism and the future of our children.
Also explored is the relation between two plants in different countries and how they
have been brought together to use in the same globally marketed product when their
original use was medicinal. Paradisus Terestris can be linked to the Earth as Hall
uses the concept of paradise, hinting at the things human anatomy and humans in
general share. Hall has most definitely managed to achieve her aims successfully and
artistically through the use of objects and sculptures. Her art works are stunning
and beautiful, captivating and curious they make the viewer see more than just the
art; they let people see the meanings, times and places that are intricately linked
through the use of objects, materials and composition. Fiona Hall’s sculptures are
a striking, powerful yet surprisingly delicate way of reminding people of the
relationships and places common between nature and culture.

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