Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Hiding Making - Showing Creation

Hiding Making - Showing Creation: The Studio from Turner to Tacita Dean

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 216
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Hiding Making - Showing Creation
    Book Description:

    The artist, at least according to Honoré de Balzac, is at work when he seems to be at rest; his labor is not labor but repose. This observation provides a model for modern artists and their relationship to both their place of work-the studio-and what they do there. Examining the complex relationship between process, product, artistic identity, and the artist's studio-in all its various manifestations-the contributors to this volume consider the dichotomy between conceptual and material aspects of art production. The essays here also explore the studio as a form of inspiration, meaning, function, and medium, from the nineteenth century up to the present.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1824-1
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. 7-8)
    Rachel Esner, Sandra Kisters and Ann-Sophie Lehmann

    The editors and authors of this volume share a fascination with artistic practices and their representations. In the wake of Ann-Sophie Lehmann’s 2009 conferenceShowing Making, and the book publication and exhibitionMythen van het atelier(2010), the editors decided it was time to put one of their long-standing hypotheses to the test, namely that such representations have a tendency to oscillate between the two poles of hiding and showing various facets of production – a phenomenon we observed had a certain consistency throughout the history of art, in particular, it seemed, since 1800. Although often appearing to reveal all in...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. 9-13)

    In hisTraité de la vie éléganteof 1854, Honoré de Balzac described and analyzed the essential qualities of the artist of his day. The modern artist is at work when he seems to be at rest; his labor is not labor at all but repose; and, most importantly, the works he produces come into being as if by magic; they aremediatedrather than made, without actualwork(labor) coming into the matter at all. The significance of Balzac’s observation can hardly be overestimated, as it seems to provide a kind of model for the modern artist and his...

  5. PART I

    • INTRODUCTION: Old and New Studio Topoi in the Nineteenth Century
      (pp. 15-30)

      It is not clear whether this encounter ever actually took place, but it is telling for the importance of such “studio topoi” in biographies about visual artists. The anecdote, told by Rodin’s biographer and admiring friend Judith Cladel, played a crucial role in her description of the controversy about whether or not Rodin had made life casts from his model forThe Age of Bronze(1877). Although Rodin did his best to prove that he had modeled the work himself, pubic opinion only changed after several established painters wrote a letter in his defense. According to Cladel, the young sculptor...

    • CHAPTER 1 Studio Matters: Materials, Instruments and Artistic Processes
      (pp. 31-42)

      In 1834, the German painter Johann Erdmann Hummel devoted a drawing to the famous founding myth of fine art (fig. 1), passed down by Pliny and highly popular in the late eighteenth century. Pliny reports that the Corinthian potter Butades had invented portrait-like pictures in clay with the help of his daughter Debutadis, who “for the love of a departing young man, outlined on the wall the shadow of his profile by the light of a lamp.”¹ While most other pictures of the subject from around 1800 concentrate on Debutadis and thus ondisegnoas the master art,² Hummel shows...

    • CHAPTER 2 Jean-Léon Gérôme, His Badger and His Studio
      (pp. 43-61)

      Jean-Léon Gérôme’s painting Heads ofthe Rebel Beys at the Mosque El Assaneyn(fig. 1), shown at the Salon of 1866, prompted the art critic Edmond About to exclaim in awe:

      It is the Orient captured in one of its less endearing aspects. Yet the horror of the subject contrasts in the most unique manner with M. Gérôme’s polished and licked execution. The antithesis is as captivating as the contrast of vocals and accompaniment in Mozart’s famous serenade.¹

      The quotation contains a pun on the wordexécution. The painting shows the heads of executed rebels, exhibited as a deterring example...

    • CHAPTER 3 Showing Making in Courbet’s The Painter’s Studio
      (pp. 62-72)

      The numerous books and articles that have been devoted to Courbet’s well-known canvasThe Painter’s Studio(fig. 1) invariably presuppose that the painting is a pictorial manifesto rather than a factual representation of what went on in the artist’s studio — indeed, thatThe Painter’s Studio“hides making” and “shows creation.” This premise appears to be justified by the work’s complete title,L’Atelier du peintre: Allégorie réelle déterminant une phase de sept années de ma vie artistique(The Painter’s Studio: Real Allegory Determining a Phase of Seven Years of My Life as an Artist), which encourages an allegorical reading — though the...

    • CHAPTER 4 Making and Creating. The Painted Palette in Late Nineteenth-Century Dutch Painting
      (pp. 73-85)

      One of the most striking works in the oeuvre of the famous French Impressionist Camille Pissarro (1830–1903) is a painting of a landscape with farmers. Not because of its subject matter, but because Pissarro painted this picture on one of his palettes (fig. 1). It is a telling example by an internationally renowned artist of a phenomenon that occurred throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century, albeit mostly unnoticed by critics and art historians.² Admittedly, Pissarro’s work clearly stands out when compared to the average palette-with-picture from the period. When looked at from an aesthetic point of view,...

    • CHAPTER 5 14, rue de La Rochefoucauld. The Partial Eclipse of Gustave Moreau
      (pp. 86-105)

      Oedipus and the Sphinx,the work that gave Gustave Moreau instant notoriety when it was exhibited at the Salon of 1864, and which remains the artist’s best-known work, is not a powerful image because of the action it depicts. It captures the viewer with its evocation of the paralyzing power of the sphinx’s riddle that is central in this trial of strength. Similarly intriguing is the name of Gustave Moreau, even though more than a century has passed since a state-run museum first made public his unparalleled bequest of a house-cum-oeuvre. To some extent, this unresolved, mysterious air is related...

    • CHAPTER 6 The Artist as Centerpiece. The Image of the Artist in Studio Photographs of the Nineteenth Century
      (pp. 106-119)

      In the winter of 1903 and during the spring of 1904, the Dutch photographer Sigmund Löw (1845–1910) and one of his assistants, Henry Jan Bordes (1870–1963), visited at least 35 artists with the intention of capturing their image in the studio. Both photographers worked for Atelier S. Herz, an Amsterdam studio that had a lucrative sideline in the fabrication of mirrors and, more interestingly, in the sale and framing of artworks. At some point around 1900, Herz began to focus on photography, mostly turning out portraits on demand and publishing photos as picture postcards, as well as acquiring...

  6. PART II

    • INTRODUCTION: Forms and Functions of the Studio from the Twentieth Century to Today
      (pp. 121-135)

      In 2012, the British artist Damien Hirst complemented his first major retrospective at Tate Modern with a live internet feed to his London studio. Visitors to his personal website were offered a view into a bare working space, containing nothing but a round piece of wood or canvas, painted black, balanced on a set of legs; a couple of chairs; and several trolleys containing materials.² On the wall directly opposite the main webcam hung a large painting of one of Hirst’s colorful trademark skulls. The artist himself was nowhere to be seen; instead, two assistants, working systematically but at a...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Studio as Mediator
      (pp. 136-156)

      These two quotes provide two entirely opposing images of the function of the studio, and both are intended to serve as a kind of model. For Baudelaire, Delacroix is the quintessential example of the artist who chooses a solitary existence in his studio, concentrating solely on his art, making works that will only leave the studio when they are finished, works destined only for the annual Salon. Here, there is a strict and hierarchical distinction between the public and the private. Baudelaire describes his visit to Delacroix’s studio almost as an invasion. What strikes him most is the austerity of...

    • CHAPTER 8 Accrochage in Architecture: Photographic Representations of Theo van Doesburg’s Studios and Paintings
      (pp. 157-175)

      In addition to his varied activities as a painter, theoretician, architect, critic, Dadaist and author, Theo van Doesburg was also an occasional photographer — an area of his work that has so far remained largely unknown. On the assumption that his photographs of his studios not only record changes in his private surroundings but also accompany and explain the artistic positions he was developing, the aim of this essay is to examine the surviving photographs in which Van Doesburg (but also other photographers) staged both the rooms and spaces in which he worked, in order to investigate what they reveal about...

    • CHAPTER 9 Studio, Storage, Legend. The Work of Hiding in Tacita Dean’s Section Cinema (Homage to Marcel Broodthaers)
      (pp. 176-187)

      An attic-like space: bare, low and tightly packed with stacked furniture, with chairs, tables, cupboards, sofas, lamps, boxes and ship models, partially covered with sheets and plastic tarps (fig. 1). The camera traces in stills the room’s shape, fixes on some sections of the wall, shows markings on its white and black surface: “fig. 1,” “f. e.” or “fig. 12,” “museum,” “silence,” “section cinema” — markings which appear enigmatic within the surrounding cramped and blocked space.¹ The site is the basement of Burgplatz 12, Düsseldorf, the year is 2002, and 16 mm color film is the tool British artist Tacita Dean...

    • CHAPTER 10 The Empty Studio: Bruce Nauman’s Studio Films
      (pp. 188-208)

      Imagine the following scene: it is the summer of 1966 and we are standing before a somewhat derelict storefront in San Francisco (fig. 1). Above the ripped awning a sign reads “California Grocery” and adjacent to it a “Drink Coca-Cola” advertisement is still in place. The former storeowner has clearly vacated the premises and whereas the space appears to have a new tenant, its current function is not apparent. Therefore, let us step inside, uninvited, in order to investigate. There are not many intelligible signs of activity that strike our eye upon entry. The room is furnished in a sparse...

    • CHAPTER 11 Home Improvement and Studio Stupor. On Gregor Schneider’s (Dead) House ur
      (pp. 209-225)

      In 2003, the BBC produced a documentary on the work of the German artist Gregor Schneider.³ The film, entitledHouse of Horror,documents the work of Schneider in general, but first and foremostDead House ur, the project with which he had gained international fame.House uris the name of Schneider’s dwelling in the German village of Rheydt, a desolate town in the vicinity of Düsseldorf. Between 1985 and 2003, the artist secretly reconfigured this house from the inside, duplicating and transforming its interior spaces. He isolated rooms with rock wool, foam and lead, copied rooms within those same...

    • CHAPTER 12 Staging the Studio: Enacting Artful Realities through Digital Photography
      (pp. 226-244)

      As part of a larger project on visual knowing around databases of images on the web,¹ this essay discusses results from fieldwork at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, the post-graduate academy for visual arts in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Rijksakademie runs an esteemed two-year residency for 50 artists from all over the world. The following addresses the transformation of these artists’ studios into exhibition spaces during the “Rijksakademieopen,” an annual event in November when the academy opens its doors to a larger audience. What do these transformations from studio to “white cube” entail? What do the artists put on display,...

  7. EPILOGUE: “Good Art Theory Must Smell of the Studio”
    (pp. 245-256)

    “The bottom line is that artists work where they can, and how they can,” writes the former curator of the MOMA, Robert Storr, in the anthologyThe Studio Reader(2010). “There is nothing mysterious about this, since artists must be pragmatic even when they pretend not to be or do the best they can to disguise themselves or conceal their process.”¹ In other words: however much artists may hide or display, deconstruct or stage, leave behind or return to the studio, turn its presence into a symbol of status² or its absence into a symbol of critical engagement, or its...

  8. Index
    (pp. 257-262)