‘READ ART’ – Niquelle LaTouche

Niquelle LaTouche – READ ART 
Preview: 24th February 2015, 4-5 pm, University of Reading Fine Art Department 
VIVA: 23rd/ 24th March 2015, Time TBC, University of Reading Fine Art Department 
Full Exhibition: 30th April 2015, 12pm, University of Reading Fine Art Department

READ ART is an intimate experience which immerses an individual in an empowering interactive sensory installation piece.  Whilst concentrating thematically on re-readability, READ ART implements language to create a physically realised example of the ambiguous nature of art. If we treat art in the same manner as we do a written or spoken word, one can begin to see the ‘inexhaustible access to redefinition’ (Jacques Derrida Signature, event, context p.22). Like language, one engages in the manipulation of video, sound, light, sculpture and installation to redefine. READ ART highlights and questions the ephemeral nature of art.

In a very small and darkened enclosed space, the audience navigates one by one through the maze type setting. Whilst following the narrow winding pathway provided, the wandering body acts as the ‘reader’ who is forced to engage and interact with the series of works,  acting as the new author who passively or actively will alter the appearance of the work. READ ART functions as a physical embodiment of theoretical texts on authorship by theorists Jacques Derrida and Rowland Barthes. The work extends outside of the ‘original’ mark that is initially presented. READ ART uses the body’s movement as an authorial trigger and as a tool which leads them through the series to the next interactive piece. The pieces can be manipulated passively (by their engagement with the space) or through their active decision, (following prompts which encourage the reader’s input or alteration) both reinforcing the death of authorship.

Subjectivity and intertextuality is a focal point of this work. Despite the varying use of media which may cause the series of works to be seen as standalone pieces, all pieces are intrinsically linked and interact with each other theoretically. One cannot determine a singular meaning as the mark we make takes on a life of its own and ‘the author is not the main arbiter, it is the reader.’(Rowland Barthes The Death of the Author p.145)This work encourages the plurality of interpretation and takes a very literal form of conceptual art. The work itself will become a transforming mark and will be in a state of change during the exhibition. READ ART embodies the language that inscribes it.  Art is open to an individual interpretation but that is never the same.

Making the cast – Formative Assessment 03/12/14

Ready to go! Face vasalined up, hair covered , breathing holes . fail 4Failed attempts 1 and 2, I realised  you can’t do this on your own. The alginate sets too quickly!prepa
fail 2 fail 1

The mold came out on the second attempt but was not holding the shape of my face so I  decided to have mudrock to reinforce the shape of my face on the 3rd attempt.

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With the help of fellow art students Claire and Lakshmi I was able to make the final mold:Prep1 prep2 prep 3 prep 4 prep 5


Formative Assessment 05/12/14 – Final Installation ‘WAX’

‘Wax’ plays with the idea of the ephemeral object, like a candle wax is a constantly changing  structure, the wax was dripped on over a period of time and the ‘wick’ at the base gradually burned less and less toward the top. Time is a key feature of all of my works this  year as I am concerned with ideas key to Barthes and Derrida on authorship. This state of the temporary. However by placing those temporary moments in wax one can visualise those graduations which lead to a destruction of an object as fragile as a matchstick. The face was intended to burn and melt but fire safety meant I could not display it this way (boo) but I will figure out other ways to present destruction and time for the Spring term. This work was rewarded a 2:1

To see how it was created check out :

Making the cast

Installation Preparation 
Final 1 final 2 final final 4 final 5 final 6 Final 7

Installation preparation – Formative assessment 03/12/14



The initial mold of my face , I used mudrock to fill in the bottom of the nose.

Below is the final cast: I found it so cool how pronounced my lips were and how when you changed the angle of the mold it gave a different dimension to the face. Here are some images of me changing the perspective.mould 1

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The Plaster cast: Secured the mold in a shoe box with wood either side to ensure the liquid doesn’t move and left it to set overnight.
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after 1The remainder of the mod after the plaster was removed.

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Preparing the floor space for my installation , re-painting the plinth , painting the wooden bllockes which the face will balance upon , all white as I wanted the focus upon the other parts of the installation. Getting a perfect square using tape, I realised later I should have used masking tape as this was ridiculous to remove :( prep 8

There is something so satisfactory about clean lines, this was probably the most thought I had put into floor space but it was worth it! Got candles which were going to be used upon the cast of my face.
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The final cast of my face, Was very weird having a floating head of myself, I was playing with the arrangement of the freestanding blocks to figure out which way to balance the head.final 00

Artist Career Talks – X Marks the Bökship

Eleanor Vonne Brown the founder came into the University to talk to us and give us a few free books too here is a summary of what she spoke of:

X Marks the Bökship is a “gallery for artists” , she was initially part of a performance group which all got a studio together and studied at Central Saint Martin’s then went on to the London College of Communications to do an MA in Publications.X

This influenced her works as the context of her works was a project space in a “gallery for books” and the shop was “publication as practice” . She also found her curatorial role becoming part of her practice as an artist and the design of the shop floor is concentrating on the drawing below and she has also published various books and hosts events about this idea.

What I found most interesting about her work is that she also incorporates performance. The shop hosts experimental readings and writing workshops as well as art writing, the use of scripts , text about dialogue and then even looks further into typography. She uses misprints from old technology to gain an aesthetic of the past, which to her adds value by showing the texts or narrative differently as the digital advances to her have lost something the old machinery can give to the texts. The acceptance of the appropriation of the aesthetic of the past rather than accepting the present  then art trends tend to accept old aesthetics once it becomes out of fashion in its contemporary technological sitting. She embraces both the past and the aesthetic of today.

She encourages networking to connect with other people outside the art realm and collaborative practices such as her Alphabet piece was X’s from 26 different artists giving different designs and techniques to produce the letter X.

I thought it was also quite nice to hear she hasn’t just gained this all form mid air and has gone through various jobs such as , teaching selling to libraries, bar work and part time work to support herself financially. Pretty cool projects check her out!

X Marks the Bökship is a bookshop and project space for independent publishers in London, UK. It specialises in small press publications by artists and designers. It promotes contemporary publishing activity through book launches, events and production resources that bring together individual practitioners to create a local publishing community. Projects include X-Operative, Publisher of the Month, Publisher’s Lunch, eShelf, the XARCHIVE and the XALPHABET; a print edition of 26 Xs by 26 artists

X Marks the Bökship
^ Matt’s Gallery
42 – 44 Copperfield Road
Mile End
London E3 4RR


Adrian Piper -Performance Artist – Research

Her practice( practices of hers relevant to my own)

  • Performance art
  • Drawing on photographs of the performance art
  • Text – Reading is a key element!
  • Multi-media – music, film, spoken narrative
  • Feminist artist, mixed race artist, and an academic
  • Explores issues of class, sexuality, gender and Race
  • Conceptual art – Makes viewers think and ask questions
  • Uses herself
  • Almost all art has some sort of self portrait

What I found particularly relevant to my work is her

Catalysis Series 1972 -73

  • Public performances
  • Subway and city streets
  • Forced confrontation between viewer and artist

download Rode through subway with a cloth in her mouth

Piper_01Walked through streets with “wet paint” painted on her shirt

Attention is directed at viewing the public’s confusion, disgust, and fear

This forced experience I will experiment with more performance later on this academic year.