Paul Coldwell

15 03 2008

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There’s something about leaving something and then coming back to it. Just read my notes on the lecture of Paul Coldwell at Camberwell and I realized it is one of the most profound lectures I have ever gone to in my life. As an artist, I feel that it is one of the most important experiences that one can ever have. It leaves a lasting taste that I feel I will bring with me as I continue forward.

He mentioned empathy as the most important thing an artist can do. The idea of stepping into another person’s shoes and allowing that experience to inform us. For the piece above, he created it about the second world war, and how one can never really be another person except to draw from one’s own personal experience. He tried to express what the media did not show. How the ordinary man experienced catastrophe. He created these digital prints and exhibited them with these sculptures below.

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He used everyday objects, making them into these unusable sculptures that seem more like relics after a war. He said that he gained inspiration from newspapers, journals and artists such as Morandi.

He said that being an artist meant that one put an idea or a feeling into another form so that others can look at it and experience it. This task meant that it is about familiarizing oneself with everything, observing everything so that one can put it into words. So that one can express it.

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Paul Coldwell (born 1958) ‘Case Studies’ UK 2002

Etching and blind embossing from a CAD. Printed and published by London Print Studio in an edition of 20.
Plate 17.8 x 23.7 cm

As artists, he said that we imbue something with meaning by the amount of concentration we put upon it. And the viewers, as they look upon the art, they try to decipher this meaning. It is all about putting order into the world, and by learning language, that is what we try to do as human beings. In a way, this is what art does. To put some sort of order or deeper understanding of a world that we can only begin to understand. This, as he said, is the artist’s role.

He mentioned that we must create out of some emotional response to something, an event, an experience, a person. And that we make these things with qualities in them: “a sensous-physical experience” as he calls it. He said that there must be a sensuality to an object of art. To forget philosophy really, because if you can’t hold someone’s attention for long enough, you’re dead.

He gave tips as well. He said that the scale of the work changes one’s experience of it. WE MUST BEAR IN MIND THE SCALE OF THE WORK, IT IS RELATIVE TO ITS MEANING.

He also advised to train oneself in looking at one’s work. How would this operate in the world? Where will it be?

Here are his tips:

1. Make it COMMAND ATTENTION

2. TEST your work with friends and collegues

3. Know your work IN AND OUT

4. EXPERIMENT

Things I must do with our own work:). And for future things to come!

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