Archive for October, 2010

Dead Rats’ Lungs

I decided I would like to have internal organs inside the cavity of the rat so I made a clay mould of veins that would be inside the lungs and poured resin coloured with ink into the mould but it kept running out. It was unsuccessful as a mould but the object was quite pleasing as a drawing.

I want to have the outer part of the lungs in latex and have them breath. This will be a complex undertaking but I feel that my work is destined to be kinetic. I also intend to do some animation work with my objects. I tried a number of materials to create veins through the latex, such as wool, wire and thread. This was very fiddly but some worked quite well. the wire rusted slightly which gave a nice bloody effect.

Clay research – Germaine Richier

I wanted to learn more about clay as a material so I looked at the work of Alberto Giacometti and Germaine Richier. Richiers’ work is astonishing. This life-size version of a preying mantis that resembles a woman is so disturbing that I could barely look at it when I came across it. The texture of the piece is also exactly what I was looking for with clay. I realised I need to work on a much larger scale with the material and with much stronger foundations to support it. I will get some wood to make armatures. I’ve watched some youtube videos of people making them that has helped.

This crucifixion is so powerful. The vulnerability and pain is almost excruciating to look at for me. I am very moved by it.

How she did this cast I will never know…

Actually, I very much intend to find out! This is the first piece I saw of Richiers. These angry but vulnerable anthropomorphic creatures are so intense. Richier was certainly the pre-cursor to Louise Bourgeois.

This (below) is such a contemporary seeming form.

Dead Rat

I found a strangely mutilated rat while walking the dog around Hulme. I actually cried out when I saw it as I was so disturbed. It’s one of the most horrifying and fantastic things I’ve ever seen. It’s head was missing and it’s flesh was folded like a foreskin revealing much of the headless spine. I took some photos of it, I visited it a couple of times. I’ve grown very fond of this rat and have been drawing it and making objects that resemble it. I am fascinated by the abject… “No shit?”

I’m still trying to hone my watercolour techniques. It’s not easy. I’ve had some success but not much. Some of these are too careful. The freer ones work better but they still take a lot of work.

I decided to make a version of the rat using clay. I wanted to make an oversized version. I have thought about sound with it and can imagine the sound of rats scratching wood, like when you can hear them running under the floorboards. I need to do a lot of recording with live rats. I will approach some pet shops although it would be better to have the real sewer rats like the one I found.

I made a sort of armature with steel wire to support the clay.

I found that I wasn’t happy with the finish and the structure wasn’t strong enough to support the clay. I haven’t worked in this way with clay before so I have a lot to learn. I learnt that to dry clay without cracking you must dry it slowly and cover it with plastic and damp cloths (thanks Matt Dalby and Jennifer McDonald for the advice).

Louise Woodcock


October 2010
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