All the image credits on this page, unless other mentioned: me
P O R C E L A I N
M O V E M E N T
A L A N F L E T C H E R
Contemporary Japanese Ceramics
^Fired earth, woven bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics
Hayashi Yasuo, Screen (1995)
Kiyomizu Rokubey, Untitled (1998)
Hayashi Yasuo, Unknown title (1989)
Sakiyama Takayuki, Splash (2005)
Alan Fletcher was a British graphic designer, known for his geometric, minimalistic posters and collages. He used mixed media in his work, typically pieces of cardboard, combined with pencil, ink or paint. His work is easily recognisable; first of all, he used to sign or title his work in big handwritten letters. He had the ability to create something unique out of basic shapes, modest colour palette and plain backgrounds.
His brush- and linework seems to be very well-considered, but his carefully placed strokes are always bold and usually quite short. He clearly knows what he's doing because this kind of technique doesn't allow any mistakes to happen; the clear lines give posture and life to his images. If he tried something more experimental, such as dropping ink from the balcony, he had to try several times to get the result he wanted.
"An animal is born out of an uncompromising geometric shape."
Out of small lines, dots, symbols and so on, he created images, such as landscapes, where every single element counted; for example, if you look at the images on the right, the one titled "A field of flowers", and try to imagine it without the black curved lines, the flowers would stop swaying to the same direction. They would stop being a field of flowers and become something else.
To make his pictures come alive, Fletcher had invented many innovative techniques. For example, by repeating and rotating the same picture for example, the French flag in Jour de fête, the little flags create one big fluttering flag. In Ireland - as seen from Wales he only uses 3 different types of lines; black lines representing the rain, white ones the waves, one thick green line the island. The amount and density of the black lines play an important role here. The lenght of the white lines create depth to the landscape as they get smaller towards the middle.
Images and quotes credit
Beware Wet Paint: Designs by Alan Fletcher
by Jeremy Myerson & Rick Poynor & David Gibbs
Movement as a process could literally be anything. First I thought of different acts - running, falling, swaying, floating etc. - the causal connection - the cause (objective/gravity), duration and the result , but I got lost in all the possible ways trying to summarise what all these things had in common.
I also studied ways to capture movement - movement is something temporal, but it has still been possible to capture it long before video cameras were invented. I studied different ways how movement can be expressed in drawings and paintings, focusing mostly on Alan Fletcher's work, how he succeeded expressing movement/direction without using lots of lines, swirls, blurs, waves, curves depth, perspective, and so on, that normally create the illusion of movement in traditional art.
Still it was hard to get to the point, to find one answer to all these questions. While investigating how movement is shown in photography I found an interesting book about ballet dancers and started to think about the ability/disability to move - because the life of a ballet dancer is completely dependant on that. I abandoned movement and concentrated on the opposite - Stillness - that perfectly explained everything. It was a very interesting process thinking about different cases when something that is designed to move, is being disabled, either temporarily or permanently, involuntarily or voluntarily, and the pain/pleasure aspect.
1,2 ( I forgot the book - will look it up haha)
3 Unknown photographer, Uramado Magazine
4 Seiu Ito
My final outcome, after all this research own this page, ended up being something very considered, minimalistic and surrealistic. My thinking had developed so far away from the original process, practioner and material, that they don't even show in the final result, as expected; the elements are still there, but in symbolic meaning. The whole process is included in this outcome, which consists of the actual "product" (the box) and the poster. The product is called Paradox.
Starting from the box, the design is nothing else but a cardboard box, filled with bubblewrap, with a sign "Fragile". Traditionally these boxes are used to carry things that break easily, just like porcelain. My box would be exactly the same, except that it is big enough for a human to curl up inside.
The poster shows a human figure in fetal position. I didn't illustrate the bubblewrap or the box in to the picture, to keep the look cleaner, the only elements that indicate that the figure is held inside a cube are the two inside lines of a box. To get this layout, I first positioned the figure inside a cube. I added & deleted more lines , added background colour to the sides of the cubes to make it look more 3d, played with transparency, layers and so on. In the end, I only brought the lines that were hidden behind the figure to the front and deleted everything else. This look was simple and elegant, but efficient; just like Alan Fletcher added movement with just a few additional lines, I'm showing the opposite, using the same technique.
What is this product and what's the price of it? The paradox is, that the only way to protect the human from breaking, is to stay still. If you never leave the box, nothing can hurt you, neither physically or mentally. It's an expensive price to pay, but for most people, ability to move equals life, losing it equals pain, even death. An option to give up on it by free will is an option that many people scarred by accidents or traumas wish they could have had.
Dancer breaks his/her leg, the work of years is thrown away. The shame of always being alone, having no friends. Open your heart and be stabbed in the back. Never forget.
Being locked away is much easier, when you've chosen that path yourself.
^ Mindmap from my sketchbook
< Porcelain is a delicate, most prestigious ceramic material, originally from China. Compared to more common ceramic materials, porcelain is smooth, fragile, translucent and pure white. It's fragility gives it a sensitive nature - the objects made of porcelain need to be handled with care. Breaking the object can cause tears, because it will never be the same again, even if the pieces are glued back together. Porcelain is traditionally used in pottery but these objects break so easily that they're only used in special occasions, if even then.
It's traditionally used in pottery in many cultures - for my research, this wasn't relevant at all, because there was no connection to the other two subjects. I had to look for more contemporary ways to use it - it wasn't an easy task, giving the impression that it's not a very popular material for contemporary sculptors. Times have changed and porcelain is now something unwanted, something that is inherited from older generations. The new generation doesn't like porcelain for it's unconventional nature, but it still keeps passing from a generation to an another. Knowing that it has been once deeply honoured and loved by someone in your family - grandmother, stereotypically - it's hard to get rid of these objects even if they're only in your way.
I started to see porcelain in a different, more interesting light after finding a book called "Fired earth, woven bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics", one of the only books in the ceramics section that was less than 50 years old.
"...in which a three-dimensional object and a flat surface seem to intertwine. According to Hayashi, this series, beginning in the 1980's, sprang from a period 'when I felt I had lost my command of shape. I decided to revert to the basic form of a cube, taking it as a starting point in creating illusory objects of this kind'."
The Japanese sculptor Hayashi Yasuo's (born 1928) style reminds me of Alan Fletcher's work; both are using simple, strong and deliberate geometric shapes, thin lines and flat surface as background to create the illusion of movement. What is stunning in Yasuo's work is that the surface is actually absolutely flat. Lines are in big role in both artists' work, but whereas in Fletcher's work thelines are showing the direction of movement, in Yaso's work the lines stop it from floating freely.
In Sakiyama Takayuki's work the carved lines create an illusion of depth; they represent a splash in a very minimalistic, but efficient way. As in Kiyomizu Rokubey's sculpture, the shapes are once again very simple; squares and circles, just as in Fletcher's work. Rokubey's work has a mysterious, playful touch; the sculpture is standing on four "feet", as if it would be able to walk. The square-shaped hole seems to be in a movement of twisting away from the body.
^ "The addition of pencilled lines converted the elements into a lively party scene."
Beware Wet Paint: Designs by Alan Fletcher
by Jeremy Myerson & Rick Poynor & David Gibbs
When all the individual research was more or less finished, there was still some some gaps to be filled. How could I make the three speak in the same language, so that all of them would have something to say in the conversation. To get some new ideas I did this experiment, by using ceramic dishes, a hammer, cardboard and spray paint. I photographed each step and used the photos later on to create new images.
You can see all the pictures at the top of this page.
All the ideas for my experiments came out from the mindmap. The requirement for each experiment was that it had to include all three elements. Like apparently everyone else's, my first idea was to break the porcelain and see what happens. Before starting this, I spraypainted the dishes, inspired by the Japanese sculptor's works introduced above.
By smashing, throwing and dropping the dishes, I started having interesting looking pieces on the piece of cardboard I had brought with me. I didn't touch the pieces until the very end; I just let them stay wherever they had fallen. In the end I removed the pieces from the cardboard and I was surprised of the nice pattern that was left behind; it represented all three subjects in an interesting, unexpected way, that I quite liked.
When I uploaded the pictures I played around individual pieces and focused on expressing movement and Alan Fletcher's style, as the porcelain was already represented in the image as the pieces of ceramic. I ended up with 2 "posters" that I titled "Gathering" and "Unstable".
By adding the horizontal line creates an illusion that all the pieces are the same size, but they're moving towards the center. Even that the pieces are not identical, repeating the same idea makes it look like they're all moving the same direction. By adding 1-2 smaller curved lines, next to a random structure of pieces fallen on the cardboard, the structure starts to sway from left to right, as if it was about to fall.
This experiment was all about getting to know the elements given better, mix ideas together; after that, it was time to move on to more personal and innovative approach.