Yo welcome back to my blog. We just wrapped up the second project of the year and my first winter exhibition in a couple years. Both of which were definitely intense but turned out A-OK in the end. The project we just finished was all about the historical significance of the atomic bomb, and how we could represent that in conceptual art. Both of these topics were relatively new to me starting this project and I feel like it very much shape my understanding of both of them.

I’d say most people out there know about the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima Japan on August 6th 1945 by the United States of America. It was the first atomic weapon ever used, and killed tens of thousands of people. It caused the surrender of Japan, and the end of the second world war. It was a revolutionary discovery and science and helped boost America into its role as a global superpower. As for conceptual art it’s a very interesting concept. It’s a style of art that place is the idea over the final product. Typical art techniques are completely disregarded in conceptual art and considered “boring”.

A very famous piece of conceptual art called “Fountain” By Marcel Duchamp

Now when we first started talking about conceptual art in class I was sceptical to say the least. To be honest when I heard a conceptual artist saying it was “boring” to simply be a great painter, I thought he was probably the most conceited person I’ve ever heard about, and honestly it made me not want to even think about conceptual art. However despite my (and my classmates) distain we took a field trip downtown to look at conceptual art. The first gallery we went to actually worsened my opinion of conceptual art. It didn’t make me feel anything, and I was mostly just annoyed that the tour guide was trying to get us to think about it (a bad attitude I admit, she was very nice). After that we went to Yoko Ono’s exhibit. I started off with the same distain and bad attitude, but the further and further I went in the exhibit the more and more I started to stop, enjoy, and question the art. Her last pieces were interactive and featured peoples stories, some of which made me tear up. Now I’m not saying that I now love conceptual art, but that exhibit made me realize that it is important to keep an open mind about it. If I consider all conceptual art trash, I’m doing myself a disservice. The worst that can happen is that I think about, and look at the art and don’t like it, but the best thing is I can gain some kind of understanding and idea about the art and learn something. And none of that comes from writing off conceptual art.

My favourite piece of art at the Yoko Ono Exhibition

Our big goal for this project was answering the driving question by creating conceptual art to be shown at this exhibition. My conceptual art piece was titled unknown pieces and represented people’s fascination with the unknown, and how it’s viewed as a problem to solve. (If you want to read my Artist’s statement about it just click the drop down here.)

My Conceptual Art

Unknown Pieces Holly The idea I want to present is the concept of peoples fascination with the unknown or unnatural power, and the moment when people beat the unknown. I was fascinated with this idea that people cared about the unknown, and that it was seen as a problem to solve. People are always looking to solve the unsolvable, and through my art I wanted to question why. This concept stood out to me because the atomic bomb was truly a moment in history where people beat the unknown. Many famous and brilliant scientists of the time thought it was impossible, but people persevered despite that. The fascination with the unknown and the need to solve the problem push them through to create a weapon but had never been seen before. The bomb was a feat against nature, and a complete shock for everyone, and it greatly fed this idea of defying god, and the natural order. However after the bomb the world had to slowly discover it’s unknown affects. And you see particularly in media the interest switch over to the mysteries of radiation, and the secret powers of the bomb. It’s inexplicable nature continue to interest people long after the bomb was dropped. In this piece I chose a puzzle as the focus. For me puzzles play a large part in my life as my family loves them, and I’m always curious as to why the mystery of piecing together a puzzle excites them. However I wanted to focus in more specifically on the mystery part of the puzzle, this is why I chose to paint my puzzle entirely black. Black is a colour of mystery to me, the colours shadows and secrets. and in my art, represents the unknown. This puzzle is displayed unassembled and it’s up to visitors try to assemble it, showing how much human work and curiosity it would take to beat the unknowable. This puzzle is a ready-made puzzle made up of 1000 pieces. However I painted all the pieces by hand. Doing this lead me to question why people push so hard to beat the unknown. The same task 1000 time, made me question why someone would spend 10,000 hours trying to beat the unknown, or solve an impossible problem. And for me it comes down to an innate human curiosity. People are meant to question, and problems are meant to be solved, and when faced with the unknown or unnatural people push through, and they beat it.

I found coming up with an idea, a concept I wanted to represent fairly easy in this case. I had several ideas about the concepts I wanted to present about the atomic bomb, however the part I struggled with the most was making the art. Trying to find art to represent my concept was incredibly difficult for me, and I would’ve liked to have had more time to think of better art. I think I was still trapped with the ideas of normal art and I wanted to make some thing I thought was beautiful and very representative of my concept, even in the end I couldn’t quite sell myself to the idea > art philosophy. I, like many of my classmates also wished that I wasn’t there to talk about my art, as I think people would’ve been able to draw much more interesting conclusions without me walking them through my idea.

In the end the big idea of this project was to answer the driving question “How did the development of the atomic bomb change the world?” And the answer I’ve come to is in almost every way. It changed our technologies, governments, media, and the way we wage wars. The Global super powers who lead our world today, constantly tiptoe on the edge of mutually assured destruction, all made possible by nuclear weapons. And although this knowledge is arguably the most important information we’ve learned in school today to date, I believe the purpose of this project is to teach us something else. A big part of this project was thinking about the ethics of the atomic bomb, and not just learning facts. In this project we had to fight The knee-jerk reaction to just say something is bad and walk away. We spent time in this project considering different viewpoints on the atomic bomb, and looked at stories like the novel Hiroshima through multiple perspectives. I believe this is really important as we move into projects with very different sides to their stories like the Vietnam war or the Cold War. I think it’s an important skill to be able to look at history in different perspectives, it helps us learn more objectively, and allows us to form our own opinions. 

Thank you as always,