Here i intend to reflect upon my experience with the contextual unit for year two, i have thoroughly enjoyed the seminar programme this year and found them interesting and thought provoking, especially the suggestion of films to watch such as Edward Scissor hands, Pans Labyrinth and Grey Gardens, which i wouldn’t have thought of watching otherwise but found them very insightful and socially interesting as well as artistically shot. My favourite seminar was on Semiotics, which i had no knowledge on previously but now i notice cases of semiotics in every day life and it has really broadened my thinking about how cultural differences can change perceptions, the example that sticks with me is the picture i assumed was the Klu Klux Klan, when it was actually a religious ceremony in Spain because it was astounding but opened my eyes to how your environment and upbringing defines your knowledge and opinions. I enjoyed the implementation of the February Brief this year, which allowed us to visit a large selection of gallery exhibitions in one week and I liked creating a whole sketchbook in one week, it gave me a chance to be really creative and focus on my responses to the artists I had seen and I was very pleased with my final response, to a contemporary Chinese artist I had seen at the James Freeman Gallery in Islington. It also gave me a chance to see a large selection of artists and see them in a short enough space of time that I could make connections and links between their work, for example the work of Hannah Hoch at the Whitechapel Gallery reminded me of a collage I saw by Damien Hirst at the London Art Fair. The second part of the February Brief was a film genres project which was a practical group task asking us to make a short film or series of stills relating to one of the genres described, my groups hammer horror inspired film was a success and I learnt a lot about film genres and how to shoot a film, even if I learnt too late not to shoot a film in a combination of landscape and portrait scenes but now I know for the next time I want to make a film because it was an interesting new medium to experiment with. The lecture series was based upon a variety of topics crossing history and I found the discussions interesting for the most part and learnt more in depth about Freudian theory which we had touched on the year before, I enjoyed learning about the Id, Ego and Superego and it has broadened my views on surrealist works and their context, whereas before I had admired them at face value with little thought to the context. I did find during the lectures there was a lot of video substance, which works well for some learners but I find I respond better to back and forth discussion somewhat similar to the lectures in year one, but the videos from TED online were stimulating and I have now taken to looking on there when researching art movements in case of relevant talks I can see. This unit our essay involved visiting an exhibition and reviewing it, which I found more of a challenge than the modernism essay but this improved my research skills because I was researching opinion and not just factual information, it also opened doors to new avenues of thinking because I could interact with others at my chosen exhibition and gain new perspectives.
The essay this year I chose to review an exhibition of a German realist painter named Peter Dreher, this was a challenging task because he was not as well known as I had previously thought but the research process was interesting and I found information on him nevertheless. The hand outs for the essay were informative and I used one of them to review 2 exhibitions before I decided which one was the best choice for the essay. If I were to take the lecture series again I would prefer there to be more breaks in between video footage and power point presentation slides in order to discuss the subject because some aspects were quite hard to understand at a fast pace and could do with some reiterating. But other than that the lecture series and seminar series were interesting and I enjoyed adding my own artist research to the contextual brief and I was inspired by the Freudian lecture and seminar to look at modern day surrealists and Pop surrealists and I have researched many of these style of artists and found a genre I have a real passion for, which is a plus on top of all the knowledge I have gained this year.