Writing: GCP London-Paris Reflection (taken from gcp booklet)

Musee d’Orsay

At Musee d’Orsay, I’ve gained a new perspective of impressionistic paintings. Impressionistic paintings are not exactly impressive, but they are definitely unique and mark the beginning of a new era in art. Unlike conventional artworks, impressionistic paintings do not emphasize on the outlines of the subject matter, the emphasis is placed on colors instead. Most figures do not have defining lines, but stand out from one another due to color contrasts and the techniques of application of paint. Impressionists do not look into details, but they have a play with brushstrokes and paint. Although it seems like much less effort is taken to complete an impressionistic painting, it is remarkable how impressionism successfully achieved what photography could not. For example, in Van Gogh’s self-portrait, the blue background is represented using swirling lines, blazing colors and thick, textured paint.

Having a first-hand engagement with artworks done by master artists also allowed me to closely observe the details in paintings which could not be seen in pictures in our class notes. For example, some artists have used the back oftheir brushes to scrape off paint on the canvas, leaving line marks that resemble grasses. Most impressionistic paintings also have parts that are not entirely covered with paint, leaving the raw canvas visible, especially to represent earth and grass. This revelas how impressionists are only concerned about illustrating a “moment” or “impression”, and thus “perfection” or “ideal” are irrelevant. Waters are usually illustrated with a light blue base, and then dashes of dark blue on top to show the reflections on the water surface or simply water ripples. All these techniques give a natural feeling that adds onto the the impressionistic style.

Attending a French Musical

Attending the musical “Les Miserables” was a once-in-a-life-time experience for me. It was the first time that I witnessed an impressive combination of songs, dances and drama on stage. Both the acting and singing of the actors were exceptional, making the story very touching and impressive. The set was also amazing and majestic, making me appreciate the production of the musical even more as an art student, seeing how much effort they had put into the set, costumes and etc. Overall, it was a thoroughly remarkable performance, it gave me an understanding of the French history such as how the French Revolution affected the people and a new perspective towards art.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern is the national gallery of international mordern and contemporary art from 1900. The gallery was originally a power station with some of the engines still present and working. There are many impressive artworks, due to the artists’ unconventional choice of materials. Artist Mona Hatoum has transformed familar, everyday domestic objects into things foreign, threatening and dangerous, creating works that draw the viewer in on both an emotive and intellectual level.

In “Incommunicado”, the metal bars of the child’s cot resemble those of a prison cell. By choosing these materials, Hatoum has transformed a symbol of comfort and care into a claustrophobic spce suggesting a place of incarceration and torture. This sculpture represents the theme child abuse. From this, I’ve learnt the great difference between contemporary and classical art. Contemporary artworks comprise of a wide range of materials, sometimes including unexpected elements to match the artists’ intentions. The meanings behind the artworks are also more intense, shocking the viewers with bare truths and evoking stronger emotions.

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