FMP Group Critique – Dinu Li (plus Clodagh and Hilde)

Dinu had considered the portfolio below before the meeting. A really interesting conversation ensued from his observation that there was a lot of powerful characterisation of gesture in my work.

Dinu recommended I consider how the Renaissance artists studied gesture when they were preparing to paint their portraits. For him the image set above that really caught his eye was the Len and Karen in Detail. This lead him to talk about Michaelangelo’s statue of David and Francis Bacon’s work on the Space Frame.

Dinu then pulled up the statue of David and described the gesture elements of the posture. I include referenced text below from an analysis of the posture which follows a similar line. The idea that emerged was to have other media such as voice or clips of an analysis of the gestural elements of something like the Statue of David. A number of things happen then. The viewer sees the work in the context of small person facing unbeatable giant. That small person being me and the Giant being my wife’s MS. As viewers are guided to think about the Statue of David then similarly it will impact the way they think about the work I am presenting.

Analysis of Statue of David (Visual Arts Cork. 2020).

In starting this work, the young master committed a serious error. Forgetting that only adults can be subject to enlargement, as required for a monolith, he took for his model a young boy who was incompletely developed. That is why the statue has a certain emptiness which clashes with its colossal dimensions. The posture of the figure is most simple. Considering the dimensions of the block, a moving pose and violent gestures would have compromised the balance. Perhaps the state of advancement of the work when Michelangelo took delivery of the monolith did not leave him enough volume to work with either. It was obviously a tour de force to have extracted from this mass in the form of an extremely long rectangle, a figure as noble and lively as his David.

David stands with his right leg holding his full weight and his other leg relaxed. This classic stance – a position called contrapposto – makes his hips and shoulders rest at opposite angles, lending his torso a slight s-curve. With his left leg slightly forward, the young hero – or one might perhaps say the young god – lets his right arm hang loose halfway down his thigh, while his left arm is bent to shoulder height. With a bold look but a reflective expression, firm footed he awaits his adversary Goliath, calmly calculating, like a true Florentine, the chances of combat, while preparing for attack.

True, the proportions of the statue are not typical of Michelangelo’s usual work: the figure, for instance, has an oversized head and hands. But these excessive dimensions may have been deliberately planned in order to be visible from its intended position on the rooftop of Florence Cathedral.

Above all, it was the massive scale of the statue that awed the spectators, including Michelangelo’s artistic contemporaries. It was actually the first monumental free-standing statue to be carved since late Roman times. The famous Mannerist artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) thought that the work excelled all ancient and modern statues in the history of sculpture.

References

Visual Arts Cork. 2020. Statue of David – Analysis – [online] available at http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/sculpture/david-by-michelangelo.htm (Accessed: August 4th, 2020).

Statue of David Image. 2020. [online] available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/l2swszzz0hw09jh/Screenshot%202020-08-05%2012.55.51.png?dl=0 (accessed: August 4th, 2020).

Categories: Final Major Project, Positions and Practice, Project Development FMP

LEN

I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make
decisions.

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.