This week I visited BAMPFA, also known as the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. BAMPFA is the visual art center of UC Berkeley with art exhibits ranging from Asian artifacts to local works from the students. The museum recently opened up only a couple months ago and may be small, but it is home to many interesting pieces. Every inch of the museum is a work of art. For example, this really cool seating area under what seems to be cardboard protruding from the wall and a gigantic map on the wall outlining places such as, “Lake of Lonely Happiness,” “The Logic of Zig Zag Bridge”, and “Mt. Sensory Management.” This wall, The World Garden, by Qiu Zhijie is a representation of various gardens from around the world labeled with notations on nature and philosophy.
The first gallery we saw displayed ancient chinese paintings dating from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries. These paintings reminded me of my great grandmother, June. She was an artist and much of her work was inspired by Chinese paintings. Below on the left is a painting by my great grandmother and on the right is the painting I saw in the museum by Ren Yi, titled Bird on the Stalk of Bamboo. The style of Chinese paintings is very different from what I’m used to seeing. Chinese paintings are typically of landscapes such as gardens, or figures of noble men. The two paintings below are characterized by a mixture of lines and shadowing. The paintings are simple, delicate, and created to tell a story. They remind me of the cave paintings we learned about a while ago. Many of the Chinese paintings have a lack of color, because they regard color as a distraction. Painting in black and white allows the artist to capture the inner essence of the subject. I admire the serenity of nature that is captured in these paintings.
One of the galleries I really enjoyed displayed an exhibition of Cecilia Edefalk’s work. She explores repetition by creating various series of the same subject. This act of repetition allows the audience to view a specific subject from different perspectives. One example of her work is posted below. First, she captured a photograph of a dandelion meadow. Then, she imitated this photograph in a series of paintings, each becoming more and more abstract. This piece reminds me of some of our discussions about realism and impressionism. The photograph is an example of realism and the paintings reflect an impressionist style.
One of the galleries is dedicated to graduate students from the Fine Arts program at UC Berkeley. Below is my favorite piece in their exhibition. This sculpture was created by Michael Berens, who uses art to experiment with the precariousness of objects within space. This sculpture was paired with a video of the artist covered in a dark chamber attached to a camera that reflected images around him while he attempted to awkwardly move through public space. The second part of the video includes this disco ball sculpture maneuvering through public space reflecting its surroundings and relying on its environment to define it. These two mediums represent alternate ways of interacting with the world around us.