The Significance of Personal Experience and Cultural Concerns

section 1 question 2 ARTIST PRACTICE The significance of personal experience and cultural concerns in the work of Vanessa Beecroft and Lee Wen contribute to the overall concept and ideas the artists are trying to communicate with the audience. Vanessa Beecroft’s issues and issues involve body image, nudity, and audience reaction. Beecroft works from the postmodern frame, she challenges traditions and social codes, and of the influence of mass media expectations.

Beecroft reacts to our contemporary word with performances that demand audience attention as the artist works with real time, real space and real flesh. Beecroft’s concepts are often quite complex, provoking questions about identity, exploitation and the agencies of the art world. VB40 was performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 1999, and consisted of girls wearing red stockings, high red stilettos and nude-coloured bras. The models stood in formation but in relaxed stances.

This work evoked criticism of the body as a model, both in the traditional sense of the artist’s nude model, and in the sense of the mannequin of parades and models in fashion magazine photograph. We are aware of the way people are objectified, a tense mood being created as the live odels return to the viewer’s’ gaze while performing. “Beauty is an intent which society deals with and beauty creates shame” -Beecroft. Lee wens issues and interests include identity and Asian culture.

Wen works from the cultural frame in his choice of subject matter, Postmodern in his methods and challenging of traditions as well as ideas and Structural in his use of objects, colour and symbols. Wen works in the form of installations using his own body as performance art. He primarily uses himself a part of his artworks. At other times he directly involves the audience through documentation of their opinions. He challenges the audience to derive meaning for his symbolic objects, which can have multiple or ambiguous meanings. The work ‘Journey of a yellow man no. : desire’ 1993 uses rice as the medium and his subject. Rice not only represents a food item, it also has strong symbolic associations. It is a motif for his Asianness, home and belonging as explored not only in history, literature and drama, but also in popular culture. ” By being in the gallery as the yellow man daily between 1 lam to 7pm, I am working, contemplating, creating and manipulating 8 long chains and 15kg of white rice grain. Each day I am also oncentrating on one of my “objects of desire”, trying to discover its significance through the performance.

At 7pm I proceed to the Substation garden where another performance takes place improvising on that “object of desire” which I had been concentrating on. Doing the performance in a gallery over 5 days becomes a creative ritual”. It is through personal experiences and cultural concerns that an artist creates significance. Vanessa Beecroft and Lee Wen both successfully use their own individual experiences and cultural concerns to contribute to the overall concept and ideas the artists are trying to communicate with their audience.