BLOG : Lifelines at Art Gallery of WA
Nov 6, 2013
"Art Within Art: Lifelines by Aneta Wnek, Part Two
It is Sunday afternoon at AGWA and Lifelines artist Aneta Wnek is carefully choosing her next subject. While slowly wandering through the Van Gogh, Dalí and Beyond exhibition she spies a young man sitting alone on a black leather bench. He could be absorbing the arrangement of sculptures by Alberto Giacometti, Julio González and David Smith or just taking a rest from viewing over a hundred artworks. No doubt to his surprise, he is about to be approached by an artist who will ask him to become a work of art.
The young man agrees, and Wnek readies her paper and pen to create his portrait. She always begins by drawing the eyes, and this requires an immediate and intimate connection with her subject.
The art or concept of ‘looking’ and being seen, and what happens when you allow someone into that personal space is something that intrigues Wnek.
‘I feel fortunate to be in a position where I can observe through the reactions I get how rare it is to actually look at someone in such an intimate way,’ she says, citing as inspiration Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present project where Abramovic invited people to sit opposite to her and exchange gazes.
While Wnek draws, the Gallery is abuzz with visitors. Groups are guided to artworks and huddle around in admiration. Young children take cues from adults; they look intensely at the walls and make astute observations about colour and subject.
‘I feel privileged to find myself returning to draw in such a unique environment.’ Wnek comments on working within the exhibition. ‘I think the returning to the space regularly will be in itself be a progressive influence as already I seem to notice different things each time I return, I’m enjoying the process of getting to know the artworks this way.’
‘I like being reminded of the simple complexities of some of the pieces and even the experimental nature of a work like Gustav Klimt’s The Park. Somewhere in the back of my mind the curiosity wondering what some of these artists would say if they saw the Lifelines project.’
Wnek says shes always loved Picasso’s line drawings and their spontaneous nature. ‘How he strived to reduce things to their simplest forms whilst capturing their energy, then pushing them into the extraordinary.
While in Spain I came across M.C. Escher’s Infinite Universes exhibition and I was surprised to discover his incredible use of the line, especially in his perhaps less familiar early years. I’m also a huge fan of Egon Schiele’s portraits some of which are confronting and disturbing but have a bold quality to their lines and use of colour.’
After her work at Van Gogh, Dalí and Beyond, Wnek hopes to exhibit the full collection of Lifelines drawn at AGWA.
Nov 4, 2013
What is Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond: The World Reimagined all about?
... here's a fantastic video about the exhibition put together by the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
Now imagine Lifelines portraits drawn live and completely spontaneously right there in the Gallery space in among these incredible master pieces.
Welcome to the Lifelines of Van Gogh Dali and Beyond CollaborART project.
With only four sessions to go, it looks like it may reach as many as 122 portraits ... one of which, could well be you ...
To find out about session as they're announced, follow Lifelines on Facebook.
Sep 13, 2013
It's always fascinating (and nervewrecking) to see how someone other than myself might interpret Lifelines ... here's how the Art Gallery of Western Australia's put it in their recent blog about the Lifelines CollaborART project at the Art Gallery ...
"Art Within Art: Lifelines by Aneta Wnek
Aneta Wnek loves strangers. Her visual art project Lifelines depends on the willingness of unsuspecting passers-by to sit for her drawings. Lifelines began on a whim during a trip to Thailand in 2004. Fast forward to 2013, Wnek is continuing the project as a CollaborART Partner at AGWA within the Van Gogh, Dalí and Beyond exhibition space.
To become the subject of art is the last thing one would expect when visiting Van Gogh, Dalí and Beyond, but Wnek has been ‘endlessly moved and surprised’ by the reactions to her project during AGWA drawing sessions. ‘The reactions that are probably most dramatic are from the most unlikely individuals.’ Wnek believes a comfortable space is created by the element of surprise combined with the intimate artist-to-subject exchange. Both participants are vulnerable and ‘here they end up sharing some really beautifully honest thoughts about theirLifelines experience, their portrait and themselves.’
But before any drawing takes place, Wnek takes around 10 minutes to form a relationship and connection with her prospective subject. ‘What I ask of a person is to let me into a really intimate personal space – and this is right at hello. I ask all of my subjects to look at me whilst I draw them. This calls for a great deal of trust; and it is really important for me that they know what it is that I’m doing and why. In turn I get to know a little about them… getting to know them a little helps me focus on the few lines that, in the end, are their portrait that hopefully captures a bit of their essence.’
‘What is also quite unique here, is that everyone I meet is already there for the art, they’re already absorbing the ambiance, they’re contemplating, questioning, are in awe of all that is around them; and then they get confronted by me. What I like about that is that they move from being observers within this space, to being participants and part of it.’
Wnek notes a big part of Lifelines is how the portraits are serendipitous and spontaneous in nature. ‘I really don’t try to plan who I’ll draw on the day. I do, however, tend to find that I approach people who are on their own, or in small groups chilling out as they are more likely to be happy to be distracted and find the time to engage with my odd proposition of sitting for a portrait.’
‘I consciously try not to be selective. There are faces whose features make them easier to draw whilst others inspire more intriguing portraits, however I do make it a personal challenge to not let that affect me as I think it is through the diversity of the people that the portraits as a collective gain more meaning telling a more complete story of the space, and capture a truer sense of place.’
Keep an eye on the Van Gogh, Dalí and Beyond blog for more insights into Aneta Wnek’s drawing inspiration and dates of her next visit to AGWA."
Jul 14, 2013
My third session with Lifelines at the Art Gallery of Western Australia for Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond was as colourful in encounters as ever ... and I just don't meet a characters like Konstantinos everyday!
Interestingly, just about every one of the individuals I sat with when asked what it was about this exhibition that brought them to it, said that aside from the obvious lure of seeing the Masters in Perth, it was through a curiosity of history in one form or another ... Van Gogh’s complex and chaotic life .... the symbolic language within the paintings telling stories of troubled times ... and trying to make sense of the evolution of what we define as art ..
Portraits of session 3 :
Pete Dingey, Konstantinos Panegyos, Christian Gelavis, Aleisha Crump, Lei Zhang, Sophie Manning.
Jul 9, 2013
One of the things I love the most about creating Lifelines portraits, are the people I meet.
I like catching individuals off guard a little when I ask them to sit for me ... and then surprising them with the experience.
But despite having drawn numerous portraits to date, the best thing is, the surprise and being caught off guard, actually happens both ways ...
I met Ann last weekend at The Art Gallery ... perhaps it was her initial hesitation and shyness which on first impressions made her the most unlikely suspect to move me the way she did ... but her openness, sincerity and the way she allowed me into her personal space - really reminded me of why I keep doing this.
As she mentions ... "It's sad how fearful we've become of other people", and it moved me to have her say how meeting me this way challenged that fear for her.
... she said she found herself at Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond to see one of her favourites, "Dali and his ability to offer lots of perspectives and ways to see things" ... she spoke about her sadness seeing the lack of celebration of Aboriginal people here in Australia, but she feels herself drawn to art as here are celebrated.
Portraits of session 2 :
Andy Quilty, Ricardo Garzon, Christine Della, Natalie R, Kleve Jorgenson, Dennis Dratt, Ann Atkinson.
Click below to see the portraits and photos from the day.
Jun 23, 2013
Arriving at The Art Gallery on opening night – it was clearly going to be a special evening ...
There was no peeking into the main foyer with curtains adding to a sense of anticipation on arrival. On entry, it was fantastic to see the creative touch transforming the space into a surrealist canvas where we found ourselves sheltering underneath a giant version of one of Dali's melting watches while we sipped our sparkling and indulged in our Hestonesque style horderves.
Once upstairs, I was relieved to have a familiar face with me to warm up my pen and paper, and to help me ease into it (thank you Ange) .. but as it turned out, the vibe of the event, and the delight of the exhibition made it a fantastic setting for me to meet some great personalities to start off my Lifelines portrait collection from the Art Gallery of Western Australia's MoMA Series ... Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond: The World Reimagined ...
Portraits of session 1 :
James McMilkin, Rhianna Bond, Leanne Tollis, Angela Pownall, Steve Cartledge.
Click below to meet the characters from Opening Night.
Jun 8, 2013
22 June to 2 December 2013