Museumsgespräche die 7A im MQ

Kontrastprogramm im Museumsquartier
On 14 February we (class 7A) went to the Museumsquartier to the museum of modern art called 'mumok'. We are split up in English into two groups, so our group (who hadn’t done anything about art in our lessons) didn’t know what was expecting. So I lead the whole group to the Museumsquartier because I love this Museum and I would find my way there blindfolded. There we had to wait some minutes in front of the big grey museum and our teachers (Mrs. Stickhammer and Mr. Hunter) took these minutes to stuff us with work and worksheets. We got into the museum and after some little problems with the interest, the cosiness and therefore with some chairs, we found ourselves onto the lowest floor in an exhibition called 'Wiener Aktionisten'. I was really happy because I’ve been interested in the artist Nitsch since I was ten. The other group had already worked this chapter out in their lessons so they were asked to tell us about it. But they didn\’t really want to tell us that much, except for some girls, so we soon had the chance to visit the exhibition by ourselves. Yes, I thought, I’m free and got totally into the exhibition, read some very interesting scripts of actions Nitsch and Mühl had performed together. I saw some really shocking and impressive videos and also photographs in the same way. But I had just finished two rooms, when our teachers told us to visit another exhibition, called 'klassische moderne'. I was a bit sad, because I wanted to see the whole exhibition, but on the 8th floor I was quite happy again because the first thing I saw was a Picasso, which I really liked. We were allowed to run around at our own and so I did. I saw a drawing of Francis Bacon, which I never thought to be a Bacon. I also saw the first Kandinsky in my life and also the first Magritte. I love Surrealism so I was amazed. Especially Magritte is one of my biggest Idols and I love the way he paints. So I took this picture for the description we had to make and went on interpreting. After I tried to get an impression of the painting, I went on to the other exhibitions, because I had plenty of time left, until we should meet again. So I and Roman walked through every exhibition and had some great discussions about art, its meaning and so on. I was really impressed, because I thought that nearly my whole class was not really into art, and I didn’t expect to get the chance to talk about it to some of them. It was a really nice school excursion, and I had a lot of fun.

Rene Magritte
Description of a picture or a sculpture
o Artist / Title / Year / Technique: René Magritte / La voix du sang / 1959 / oil on linen

o overall/first expression: It shows a high tree standing alone in a wide landscape, it is dark and the sky looks as if it is going to snow tomorrow; also the mountains in the back look as if they were waiting for the snow; but the tree has all its leaves;

the trunk is opened like a cupboard and has a house and a ball-like thing inside. I first thought of the ball to be an egg, because this is typical of surrealism, but then I read in the description of the exhibition that it’s a ball.

o make up of the image:

- size (approximately): 150 * 120 cm

- format: oblong (not oblong format)

- color: blue, dark, with some light effects at the mountains in the background

- description: in the foreground there is not really anything/ in the middle ground the action happens: there’s a big, high tree, situated in the wide landscape, the whole painting is really dark, but also light in its own way; the sky has a beautiful blue color and you can’t really say if it should depict the dawn or dusk; in the background you can see some mountains

o details:

- What strikes me especially is ...the way Magritte painted the sky. It is so quiet and beautiful, it’s amazing.

- It is amazing that ...the surrealists can paint that quite, but they also get so much life into their paintings.

- On coming closer you realize ...how simple the tree was painted, only in two colors, with two coats, but it looks so real!

o emotional reaction:

- The picture makes me feel as if ... (I also want to be able to paint like this!) I\’m in the country, I’ve just woken up and run into the wet grass and smell the morning and the new day ...

- The picture builds up a atmosphere. ? It builds up a dark and also a light atmosphere, it depends on the spectator.

- On seeing the picture I feel that I have to go out and catch my dreams, which I lost in Ireland in my childhood. I want them back!

o Interpretation:

- What could the artist have intended? ? Maybe he wanted to show a new picture of birth and life and so on, maybe this is where the title comes from. But maybe he only wanted to irritate us with the title and he just wanted to upset our idea of proportions.

- What does the picture mean to me? ? Oh, I just love it, I think it really shows how life is.

- What is my personal interpretation? ? Oh my god, you really want to lay hands upon an interpretation of myself? Ok, but don’t blame me later, I warned you:

So .. I think that the whole painting should reflect our life, our even just life as such. As I told you the painting shows dawn or maybe dusk, before the black night comes. There is a big tree standing alone on a wide landscape, opened like a cupboard with a ball and a house in it. I think that the ball is an egg, which stands for the birth and rebirth, for life, and also for the big questions in life: why are we here? what was there before us? and so on. If the ball-like thing stands for birth and new life, the house can be the symbol for the next phase of life. We are now adults, we are grown up, and we’ve got a family and so on. But there’s one thing that irritates me, but maybe Magritte just wanted to irritate us? There are the roots in the earth, which we can not se, they stand for our relatives, our family, our parents, grandparents, in the next phase it would be normal if the egg came, but no, here comes the house. He takes a step from the past, which we never saw, to the middle of life and after the middle of life comes birth? And then the dark leaves, which are getting thinner as the closer they are to the ground, maybe stands for death. The name 'la voix du sang' 'the voice of the blood' also has something to do with the egg. An egg symbolizes birth, a birth usually never happens without blood, and so on...

There was the sky and the mountains look, like it would snow, you can also relate to the birth/death-theory. While spring stands for rebirth, winter and so also the snow stands for death. So while the tree reflects life, the background reflects death. Also the insecurity if it is morning or evening reminds me of life and death.

The fact that the tree stands alone in a wide landscape may tell us that we are alone in the universe, or maybe it stands for the fact that if we get a family into this tree, and our children will move out, then there’s enough space for them to get their own family and new trees will grow. The egg is not even broken. If a human or just any life form will be born from this egg, maybe a new little tree will grow and if this life form is old enough to move out of the house, the new tree is big enough to be the basement for their life as an adult. Maybe also a tree grows, filled with the egg, the house and maybe with other things, so that we just have to move from one floor to the other. Maybe Magritte just wants to riot against the bible if he invents a new story about how the first human came to the Earth a little apple fell to the earth and a tree grew out of it. Maybe our whole world is situated in a cupboard of a tree in a big forest.

But let’s stop there: Let’s get back to the wide landscape, the mountains and the theory about us and being alone in the universe: Maybe we just have to get out of our tree and walk to the mountains, pass them and we will see a big forest with other life forms.

And if we get back to the tree’s roots: Maybe all animals are these roots: So we stand upon them, we are the 'thoughtest and most tuff animals' among them, so we dominate. We rolled over them with our evolution, our development, our techniques and we built a strong house onto their heads, so that they can’t get over us. After we made this, we can life in peace; we can make new humans, so maybe this is why the egg is situated over the house. I could go on like this but I think its time to stop this, it’s midnight so let’s sleep ...

(If the picture has a political background, you should at least mention it. There is a short description of the respective artistic movement in every room.)

o What do you think of modern art in general?

I love modern art. This is really the sort of art, which I adore since I was five. I grew up with visits of exhibitions (that also why I can find museums blindfolded), and I learned at a young age how beautiful and interesting art can be, if you take the right look at it.

Bericht: Veronika Suschnig, 7A

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