Venice Diaries: Ella Jones Favourite Artworks

CSAD’s latest new graduate from the Fine Art progamme to take part in the Arts Council of Wales Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice Invigilation Plus programme is Ella Jones. Ella is invigilating at James Richards’ exhibit at the Wales Pavilion and taking time to develop her own ideas and practice on her month in the city. Here’s her first post from the Biennale.

 Tehching Hsieh’s piece Doing Time at the Taiwan Pavilion was one of the most astonishing artworks at the 57th Biennale. His yearlong performances began in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His dedication to his practice is remarkable especially because of the physical and mental extremes he endures.

His performance Time Clock Piece continued from 1980-1981. In this year he clocked in on a worker’s time clock on the hour, every hour for a year.  To document this project he took a photo next to the clock, each time wearing the same outfit, beginning the project with a shaven head and finishing with a thick head of hair.  Each detail of the exhibition documents his journey with the punched worker’s paper along side the day of photos. There is also a film displaying a time lapse of the photos of the year next to the workers’ puncher.

His performance Outdoor Piece began the following year 1981-1982. This consisted of him staying outside for a year without taking shelter in any buildings.  With this piece he precisely noted on maps his routes to eat, sleep and even defecate.  This self-inflicted pain is incredible. His work exhibits self-discipline and the physical and mental strength of the human body.   His work investigates the themes of time, duration, control and freedom.

The work I enjoyed the most at the Giardini was Erwin Wurm’s One minute Sculptures at the Austrian Pavilion. Similar to Tehching Hsieh this work explores themes of time-based medium and control, because each sculpture gave instructions illustrating how to complete the sculptures allowing the visitors to interact and become apart of the work. Although the timeframe of both artworks are opposite, similar themes apply which I find interesting.

Erwin Worm’s work questions what it means to be a sculpture and also the functionality of these daily objects that have been made into the non-functional. The pieces are ironic and humorous. They’re very playful to interact with and the artist is questioning who is the artist, and how the visitors have become unknown artists contributing to the artwork.

I’m intrigued by this notion of control over my practice. As an artist that has just graduated from Fine Art I’m intrigued how my practice will be changed by the limited facilities I now have available to me.  I have always worked freely creating work that’s personal, displaying themes of my own thoughts and feelings. It could be interesting to possibly relinquish myself from this freedom, by limiting myself to create sculptures based on the opinions of other artists. I could make a questionnaire that could govern my creations.  Asking such question as: What is the sculpture made from? What size is it? What is the subject?

These new limitations will help me think outside the box, and to make artwork that displays how other people perceive sculpture, rather than how I perceive it.