“Made at Fitz”: Post-modern Geometric Greek-style art

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Attic Geometric amphora, Athens, National Museum © David Gill

How do you explore decorating a rounded, three-dimensional object? What can inspire you? The Cambridge ‘Not praising, burying‘ workshop drew on inspiration from 8th century BC funerary pots decorated with Geometric figures. The texts acknowledge the ‘signatures’ found on much later Athenian black-and red-figured pots, and allude to the poetic process of creation in this stimulating environment.

Others adopted a more contemporary feel.

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“Made at Fitz”. Photo: © David Gill

Not praising, burying: research creates art

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Acknowledging Geometric Pots © David Gill

David Gill joined a day workshop at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge last week to explore themes emerging from Artful Crafts, co-written with Michael Vickers. The day, “Not praising, burying” had been organised by Dr Alana Jelinek, Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge.

Participants will then attempt to understand its implications through a process of making, not replicas of past red- and black-figure pottery, but renegotiations of the proposed type of object in the light of this new understanding. Other formal contributions to the discussion will include an art historian’s and a philosopher’s response, though every participant is expected to participate fully in the discussion in order to understand afresh these supposedly well-understood objects. The process of making and thinking, where thinking informs making and making informs thinking, will be highlighted in this workshop, not the newly created vessels as product. These are to be understood as mere by-products of a larger artistic process. The process used in the workshop will be documented and presented as an artwork at a later date.

There is a follow-up seminar at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge on Thursday 8 November 2012 (see BBC).

Whose heritage?

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© David Gill

Standing at the west end of the Athenian akropolis the viewer is faced with a dilemma about the heritage. The main entrance to the akropolis was constructed in the third quarter of the fifth century BC as part of the Periklean building programme. But the Attalid dynasty from Pergamon (in modern Turkey) constructed a victory monument on the north side. This in turn was remodelled in the early Roman imperial period.

So this Hellenic monument can be linked to a range of modern nation states.

Heritage Landscapes in Suffolk

Iken churchThis afternoon I attended a joint lecture on “The Landscape of Suffolk” by Peter Holborn and Edward Martin at Endeavour House, the home of Suffolk County Council in Ipswich. The starting point was a consideration of the soils of Suffolk, and one of the early publications was the Historical Atlas of Suffolk (1988) by Dymond and Martin. The lecture considered greens across the county, as well as the feature that 20% of all known moated sites in England and Wales are to be found in Essex and Suffolk. There was a consideration of hedging methods that are peculiar to Suffolk, and even the tracing of a hedge noted in a Saxon will.

Different landscapes were considered including parks and Breckland, as well as the coastal strip. We were asked to consider if ‘Sizewell’ has now become an icon for the Suffolk coast.

Wider environmental issues were considered such as the growing deer population in Suffolk, and the newly recognised ash disease (discussed on Today earlier in the day).

The lecture closed with a series of challenges such as the appearance of pylons and wind turbines in the landscape, as well as the conversion of traditional buildings.