Reflective Journal Week 39, 21 June – 27 June 2020

It is quite a common sense that a distinctive perspective or value could result in a peculiar interpretation. But I noticed a relatively unusual example at the beginning of this week. In 1999, a Russian novel The Last Ringbearer narrated the legendary story of The Lord of the Rings in the perspective of the Dark Lord Sauron. In its text, Mordor was pictured as a city at the brink of industrialisation. The city inhabits poets, workers, mechanics, astronomers but destroyed by human villains. It provides a critical angle to satirise the universal value of western society in the historical context of the Kosovo War. The hostility between Russia and the west cannot be ignored, therefore its objectiveness is not entirely fair. However, the outstanding creativity and artistic accomplishment in Russian culture cannot be denied either.

The manner of narrating can decisively be impacted on the final result, and it is unquestionable. As I stated in the proposal, I believe the success of this project is being admitted by academic, peers and the market at the time. Me, as an artist, comes with a different cultural background and as a non-native speaker, trying to maintain the objectiveness in my story-telling process while outlining the research question(the overall context) should use some extra cautiousness. As I repeated reminding myself, do not attempt to conclude a solution, for I am not capable, yet; depicting the dilemma, construct the context, and that would be sufficient. 

Considering the fluctuated temperature of British summer, I started making two watercolour paintings this week. They are due on 1st Aug, prepared for a competition. Blending and rendering could take weeks in a complex humidity condition; I estimated it could take as long as two weeks. 

At the same time, I noticed the reflective surface lifted on palettes. They were used to dry foundations of Wave Form series sculptures. Leaving dripping cardboard canvas soaked with saltwater onto its welled surface left a super even crystallised surface in those holes. It is potentially useful for new sculptures, and probably helpful in creating areas of shiny texture on a collage. 

A major development of Week 39 is from Celtic knots. When trying to location intriguing patterns that can be used in painting, a particularly interesting symbol was found. Triskelion, known as three-legged and Celtic spiral knot. Three circles that constitute this symbol represents natural elements of earth, fire and water respectively. It shows the syncretic wholeness of natural forces in primitive nature-worshipping Shamanism. I thought about how Lanyon talked about the dark side of Cornish landscape when explaining his painting Mineshaft (I am pretty sure if you read my journal through I have already read about this sentence a million times). The earth that formed the land of Cornwall has no boundary; it continuously expands as the most characteristic feature of Celtic knots. Boundaries I tried to challenge ——identity, culture, region, they were made artificially.

I looked into Quiot—— a kind of prehistoric tomb that commonly found in Cornwall. It usually consists of two or more vertical shafts that installed into the earth, and on their top lies a horizontal megaliths table as the cover. The enclosed space in the middle is reserved as the grave. I am not sure if some of those I sketched are tombs as well, probably they are stone circles constructed for sacred events, but the most of them —— Lanyon Quoit, Tregiffian Burial Chamber are categorised as passage grave. Its structure shapes as a corridor, bodies buried in the path. I designed some compositions that can be used for a large-scale painting and went back to experiment with salt. These huge and unique stone structure locates all over the world, it is a very primitive reverence for life, and worship to the force of nature. Most importantly, its choice of material, although significantly restricted by iron age architecture, was an attempt preservation of eternity.

Chun Quoit and Merry Maiden Stone Circle

Tregiffian Burial Chamber


Lanyon Quoit and random imagination

Possible design

Salt growing on strings that partly sank in the saltwater. It usually takes two weeks to enlarge to the size of a quail egg and grows upwards to the dry end. 

Experimenting were conducted with purchased salt while final works were made with hand-extracted mineral

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