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Young artists show cover versions of world masterpieces of contemporary art.
The educational model of artistic training has often included copying of works in museums. Students of the Foundation Art & Design programme present their cover versions of works by Marina Abramovic and Ulay, Kurt Buchwald, Maurizio Cattelan, Gilbert & George, Gary Hill, Donald Judd, Joseph Kosuth and others.
For the past four years, students from the Foundation Art&Design course at the British Higher School of Design have been tasked to explore a specific aspect of visual art practice. Next, through that research they were to choose the work in order to reproduce it. The young artists were conducting this research in groups of three to four students during the first week of training, then they had three days to do the research and make pecha kucha presentation on one aspect of fine art practice (video, performance, collaboration, drawing, etc.), which they presented to the rest of the group. They also were to remake the core work from their research for a group exhibition. This exhibition at Blip Blip Blip is a selection of cover versions that students have made in response to this project over the past four years.
Vincent van Gogh made many copies of Millet's works and considered them much the same as a musician's interpretation of the composer's original scores. Pablo Picasso created a whole series of sketches for Diego Velazquez's Las Meninas. One of the most widely reproduced paintings in art history is Leonardo La Vinci's Mona Lisa: it was replicated, inter alia, by Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp. Canadian photographer Jeff Wall made a work based on the Japanese artist and printmaker Hokusai. In 2005’s Seven Easy Pieces, Marina Abramovic recreated a series of original performances from the 1960s and 70s created by her peers, including Joseph Beuys, Vito Acconci, VALIE EXPORT, Gina Pane and Bruce Nauman.
A similar act of redefining or copying is popular in other art forms, often as a tribute to another artist or his work. In movies, it is called a remake. Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 film Breathless was remade in 1983 by Jim McBride. The 1960 American Western The Magnificent Seven, directed by John Sturges, was remade in 2016 by Antoine Fuqua, but Sturges' The Magnificent Seven was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Seven Samurai, set in Japan.
In the music industry, the production of cover versions is also a tribute to famous songs and musicians. Bob Dylan's double album Self-Portrait consists only of covers.
Gertrude Stein, in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, is talking about potential learning through rewriting: “You can't tell what a book is until you retype and proofread it. It's like brushing things, you see what they're worth and no amount of close reading compares to that.” Walter Benjamin extends this thought in his text Chinese Curios:
“The strength of a country road is different when you walk it and when you fly by plane. Similarly, the power of text is different when reading and copying. The passenger of the plane sees only how the road appears through the landscape, how it unfolds according to the same laws as the surrounding area. Only the one who walks along the road on foot will know about the power that it possesses... Only the rewritten text commands the soul of the one who is occupied with it, while the simple reader never discovers new sides of his inner self, opened by the text, this road cuts through the inner jungle that closes forever behind him: because the reader follows the movement of his mind in the free flight of dreams, while the copier obeys his orders.”Artists: Alexandra Benyumova and Sofia Salimzyanova; Arina Kassina, Anna Neopulo and Vlada Fadeeva; Arina Grinevich; Maria Istomina and Maria Ponomareva; Mishelle Ashurova, Valeria Orishak and Maria Tsygankova; Veronika Bedova, Anna Kulakova and David Saribekyan; Marina Koshlina; Inga Allakova, Natalia Chernova and Daria Mikhaylova; Eva Baranova, Ekaterina Faldina, Olga Melnikova and Adam Scherer; Alexandra Bolshakova, Maria Danilova, Raisa Kudasheva, Sasha Kudelnikova and Luis Perez; Hava Amirkhanova, Nazira Berikbay, Elena Felofyanova and Daria Tsyselskaya; Varvara Nosova, Ekaterina Spektor, Arina Zhukovskaya and Olga Zimina; Anna Knyazeva, Milissa Leviashvili, Marya Rudenko and Roza Shamshieva; Margarita Rozenberg and Irina Zharina.