A5 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

I continued exploring my favorite actions of stretching and pulling on other materials. Considering the ephemeral nature of latex from my previous I was looking into stretchable fabrics and other products, e.g. Parafilm M®, leukotape® bandage, Tyuvek®, that has some connection with the clinic and medical practices. I was not able to explore fabrics in depth, e.g. the stretchable Jersey or the translucent cheese cloth, to the extent I would have love to (time constraints). As in my previous assignments I explored different streams before deciding which one would be the final outcome as my submission work. Perhaps, some other would have more potential, a question I would still struggle with and my tutor’s comments here would be very much appreciated. I was more careful and conscious to take edges, color, transparency, and opaqueness into account. I feel the compositional aspects are more informed with this assignment than earlier ones.

Quality of Outcome

The assignment went through multiple stages, each one informing the other, with time in between to reflect before making next interactions. Working on parallel streams and especially working in series allowed me to discern pieces that are more successful than others. Although, the applied color palette for painting was rather on the muted side with layered black lines and texts, I am positively surprised and happy that backlight (light-box) as a performative aspect can brighten it up and give a different appeal to the small scale works. I am aware of the ‘iconoclastic’ approach from large scale painting into cutting it up into multiple pieces. This was a conscious decision informed by my other works (parallel project, critical review). It might be good to get some other feedback on this approach.

I was concerned about quality of my assignment that it could stand transportation, is durable and could be viewed in gallery spaces.

Demonstration of Creativity

During this course I became more aware about certain topics that might be part of what I want to do: transformation of materiality, crossing boundaries of materials and meaning, embracing other media and the performative aspect of light, fragmentation and vulnerability (this is the most autobiographic aspect of my work), and a sense of dislocation.

I feel that since my previous assignment I am more focused on those key aspects informing my work without necessarily being constrained by my thoughts. The making and physical touch of material alongside the performance of the material during the transformation process is informing my visual responses and my final works. At times, I am not sure whether the final outcome supports my intention, but I do embrace chance and the turns my making is adding to the work.

Context

My work is strongly informed by my parallel project and my critical review. Especially moving away from the MRI as visual image to a more sensible approach to skin and materiality helped me to overcome conventional narratives and to let the material as such speak to the viewer. I am very much influenced by a few artist, their body of work I am following now since some time (see various blog posts) and their approaches to materiality inspired me: Helen Chadwick, Jaqueline Humphries, Mona Hatoum, and Richard Tuttle. Also, I am reflecting also on my earlier works for this course (and even make connections to my previous course unit with OCA.

 


Questions to my tutor:

  • Potential of my ‘hanger’ sculptures
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A5 – Contextual Notes

My last assignment 4 on materiality and skin and my critical review on medical imaging and ambiguity were the two most crucial sources that informed my assignment work. How medical imaging and skin are related. The transparent body, the disembodied medical gaze, visual images derived from transformed and machine code. The body as vulnerable object of the gaze being fragmented, distorted and displaced.

During the making, I felt reminded how earlier works done during this course had – subconsciously – informed my practice:

 

I found metal hangers as a good choice to work with. Hangers are used for clothes. Metal hangers are thin enough to provide enough support for stretching but also being not too dominant. I felt inspired to use them by Richard Tuttle‘s work in series Wire Pieces, 1972, although he explored a different subject through it (line, shadow, drawn line – questioning objectivity and subjectivity (Horn ed al, 2015:54-55) – see blog post.

I felt inspired by some of the layered works of Christian Bonnefoi. His works do show a semi-transparent appearance of layered shapes. The work are contained in a frame, something I wanted to overcome by using transparent Rhenalon plate as support, to play with the edges of the plate, the Parafilm material and the paint on it. This triple transparent-opaque dimension allowed me to be not to contained with the rectangle. However, my ‘sculptural skin’ series enabled me to cross even that boundary.

Another informing work that I looked at during writing my critical review, was the notion of Vesalius’s ‘Muscle Man’ studying anatomy (earlier medical gaze) and the skin as fashion accessoire that could be put on a hanger like a coat (see Juan Valverde de Amusco ‘Vivae Imagines’, 1566). The skin as dislocated and displaced material reminded me when I worked on paint materials as such, free from a canvas stretcher. The use of the metal hangers was flexible and thin enough to be even considered more of a material to draw with in space than a rigid frame.

The idea of fabric reminded me on the one hand of Tabita Moses‘s embroidered patient gown (2014) as her visual response to her IVF treatment. On the other and it reminded me of Sam Gilliam’s painted fabric and gown of coats as seen during my visit in Basel.Exhibition: Sam Gilliam ‘The Music of Color’, Basel. This shaping of the canvas and my earlier exploration of the patient gown made from mylar as the ‘object that stands for the body’ resulted eventually in appropriating a real patient gown (thanks to Alan Fletcher for shipping it over to my place from UK) with the transferred paint skin. 

Moreover, there are other artist that inspired with their approaches and body of works: 

  • Jaqueline Humphries and her embedded ‘visual text’ into her abstract paintings
  • Mona Hatoum and the sensibility of the body and its distortion that influenced my work on a back-burner. 
  • Helen Chadwick, especially her approach to interactive and interdependent aspect of embodiment, inside and outside alongside a drive for aesthetics in the resulting works. I explored these works deeply  in my critical review.

 


Reference:

  • Campoli Presti Gallery (2019) Christian Bonnefoi, At: https://www.campolipresti.com/artists/christian-bonnefoi/bio (Accessed 03 Aug 2019).
  • Horn, R., Tuttle, R. J., Butler, C. H., Kläs, E., Tuerlinckx, J., Voigt, J., Gross, J. R., Chaffee, C., Roberts, V., Sullivan, L. L., Yale University, P. and DeCordova Sculpture Park and, M. (2015) Drawing redefined. Lincoln; New Haven; London: DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum ; distributed by Yale University Press.
  • Moses, T. (2014) Tabitha Moses, At: http://www.tabithamoses.co.uk/page10.htm (Accessed 28 Oct 2018).
  • SFOMA – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (s.D.) It’s alive! Richard Tuttle creates a wire piece at SFMOMA,[At: https://www.sfmoma.org/watch/its-alive-richard-tuttle-creates-a-wire-piece-at-sfmoma/(Accessed on 20 Aug 2019).
  • Schaffeld, S.J. (2018) ‘Exhibition: Sam Gillam ‘The Music of Color’, Basel’ [blog post] At: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=2175 (Accessed 27 Aug 2019).
  • Tuttle, R., Petersens, M. and Borchardt-Hume, A. (2014) Richard Tuttle – I don’t know : The Weave of Textile Language. London: Whitechapel, Tate.
  • The University of Cambridge (1566) ‘Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), ‘Vivae imagines partium corporis humani aereis formis expressae. Book 2, plate 1’, in Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), V. i. p. c. h. a. f. e. B., plate 1, ed., Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, print.
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A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach

  • A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach
  • A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach
  • A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach
  • A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach

Skin – Sculptures – Disciplined Material – Stretching

Latex was my material of choice in assignment 4. I was fascinated by the response of material -acting and reacting on my actions, at times quite strong forces: pulling, stretching and folding. Actions upon material matter, to feel, to see and to experience what happened and what failed to happen.

Could I apply my latex skin approach with other materials? And how to choose the right ones? Are there right ones at all? Nevertheless, I felt connected with my parallel project, medical imaging, and materials that could trigger some connotations either with clinics, medical, or the medical gaze. All what one could experience as materials that get in contact with one own skin, e.g. as textiles are clothes, clothes acting as a second skin. Bandage, e,g. leukotype, is touching the skin closely, others as Tyvek in the form of protective disposable gowns are less close to the skin.

Considering my rather bold use of canvas stretcher for assignment 4 and my tutor’s comment of using more subtle ‘frames’, I found metal hangers as a good choice to work with. Hangers are used for clothes. Metal hangers are thin enough to provide enough support for stretching but also being not too dominant. I felt inspired to use them by Richard Tuttle’s work in series Wire Pieces, 1972, although he explored a different subject through it (line, shadow, drawn line – questioning objectivity and subjectivity (Horn ed al, 2015:54-55). In this context, I also felt inspired by some of the layered works of Christian Bonnefoi, although his conventional rectangular frame felt too contained to me.

Multiplicity – Stretching and Pulling as Attitude

How to approach this? 

Informed by my previous assignment 4, seeking for alternative materials for latex without rejecting stretching and pulling as important ‘verbal’ actions, and smaller scale works in series:

  1. Exploring the sculptural aspects of skin through fabric materials
  2. Exploring paint as peeling-skin with Hostaphan foil
  3. Exploring the intimacy of stretching as word and through words 

 

Visual Text: Suspended Skin 

I was considering my tutor’s remarks on last assignment re too dominant frame (and too conventional) and was informed for my next decision on material use by:

  • Richard Tuttle’s ‘wire’ work (see blog post
  • the notion of Vesalius’s ‘Muscle Man’ studying anatomy (earlier medical gaze) and the skin as fashion accessoire that could be put on a hanger like a coat (see Juan Valverde de Amusco ‘Vivae Imagines’, 1566)

 

Fig. 1: sculptural skin - the hanger

Fig. 1: sculptural skin – the hanger

 

I got hold of those metal hangers and felt this would be fab framing and interactive material to stretch and pull my paint-fabric-skins (Fig. 2 – 13 – click on one image to open in lightbox view):

interaction – interdependency – holding together

 
=> A series of rather experimental use of various fabrics alongside acrylic paint, some with latex, wire. The challenge was the process of making: to manipulate the metal hanger and to find a balance between fixing the fabric to it, to stretch and pull the fabric, and to find a final sculpture that is stable and ‘stretched’ enough.

A different approach comparing with my latex stretching works from previous part with a focus more on the thick latex paint and finding the point before it fragmented. This time, it was more an interaction between frame and skin. both equally relevant, the one was not stable without the other, an interdependency. 

Considering these skin sculptures and some reclaimed peeled paint from my second approach (see below) I made a series of more interaction between paint skin, hanger and fabric (Fig. 14-16 –  click on one image to open in lightbox view)

=> I was intrigued by the combination of paint skin and fabric (cheese-cloth) and how to arrange them in order that both work together, kind of Moebius-strip (see Fig. 9) in another sense: folded and twisted, both sides visible, though partly concealing and revealing. I chose cheese cloth for its rather transparency (the best I could find around me). I was surprised how much I could stretch the acrylic paint and how the hanger did work to support both.

 


Intermezzo: Skin and paint

My second approach was to work with acrylic paint on Hostaphan with the intention to obtain latex-like skin textures that I could stretch and frame (using above hanger or something else)

transparency – you impact my gestures

 

Fig. 17: A5 - prep the paint - transparency

Fig. 17: A5 – prep the paint – transparency with some notions of Baroque sensibility // acrylic paint on Hostaphan® suspended in front of studio wall; left: digitally composite of two stages of painting (a blur on purpose)

 

=> I think it all went well, I enjoyed applying gestural strokes across the highly transparent foil. Interestingly, the highly visible but not touchable wall impacted my painting. The foil was not rigidly fixed and was vibrating under my strokes. It felt as if I was painting on water

I was very positive that all would turn out for the good. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. Apparently, I applied the paint far to thin (what is thick enough?) and I couldn’t peel the paint of (quite different from a plastic sheet where I could peel of acrylic paint easily). I was wondering whether to stretch with the entire foil? But this wasn’t likely to work either (and would have been a step away from my skin-approach)

 

paint thicker – or you will stay here !

 

I tried another simpler gesture and applied thick paint in it to see how it would work better. Fig. 14-16 (above) with the hanger was done with this yellow strip.

Fig. 18: A5 - prep the paint - paint thicker - thick enough?

Fig. 18: A5 – prep the paint – paint thicker – thick enough?

 

I overpainted with thicker paint, not sure whether this is a way I wanted to continue. I got reminded about my acrylic transfer process that I use at time since my painting 1 studies. I wanted to transfer the paint to fabric, and using the fabric instead of latex or the pure paint to stretch. It worked and it resulted in a new idea (Fig 15) – a patient gown appropriation, reminding me of the embroidered patient gown of Tabitha Moses (2014)

Fig. 19: A5- paint skin on fabric - an embellished patient gown

Fig. 19: A5- paint skin on fabric – an embellished patient gown // paint transferred from Hostaphan onto fabric – fabric as gown – as patient gown (right; installed behind)

 

=> It went a complete different path than I expected. I wanted to leave it as there as such. Not sure how successful it really is. However, there is a certain aesthetic and I felt it closes a loop to my starting point with a patient gown made from mylar in part three – see Project 3.3 – Ex. 3.2: Before and After / Pulling a Narrative. It also reminded me of some other artist’s work informed by textile works, e.g Sam Gilliam. The shape as such reminds me of an insect body bringing up associations to Franz Kafka’s novella ‘Die Verwandlung’ (Metamorphosis)

Eventually, I decided to move on with my third approach: intimacy of small scale. Knowing also this will take time and space to develop.

 


Verbal Text: Stretching my words

I haven’t used words or text in my first two approaches. I was wondering whether my action of doing ‘to stretch – to pull – to hold’ would count as text? What is making the difference anyway? Most of visual perception is going to be interpreted already subconsciously through learned linguistic signs.

 

Words – Where have you been?

 

Fig. 20: A5 - prep the paint - paint - no words?

Fig. 20: A5 – prep the paint – paint – no words? // a digital composite of multiple layers – to cut, to stretch, to pull, to see – the invisible 

 

This approach is informed by my commissioned work for my local art community (see my blog post) and by my curiosity to explore the materiality of  Parafilm M® as an exciting outcome from my sketchbook experiments on various materials.

A large scale constructed wall painting, a frieze, composed of bands of Parafilm M (4″ width) covering an area of approx. 280 x 60 cm. My gestures applied combining, making sense out of it. A performative painting, over time informed by interactions and connectedness, a network (like neural network of the brain?).

Color / shapes / lines / words

The evolution of a making (Fig. 21-30) – click on  a single image to open in lightbox view. 

It took a few week, each stage hanging and waiting for next inspiration, until it was ‘complete’ with words written onto it. What reminded me of wall graffiti and my recent exhibition visit in London Writing on the Wall At that time I was reflecting on  how Twombly applied scribbling and inscription as a performative act, deconstructing written language in its gestural aspects. Perhaps, this became quite close to my approach here.  My visual mark-making through gestures and words – to be deconstructed into smaller works..

The resulting large wall frieze (Fig. 31) – constructed to be deconstructed:

Fig. 31: A5 - prep wall frieze - constructed to cut-up

Fig. 31: A5 – prep wall frieze – constructed to cut-up

 

With this large fragile frieze (the single Parafilm stripes not really attached to each other, at some points the paint was making connections though) handing for a quite some time in my time

Also in my reflective post, I was asking myself “Are public walls the skin of a society?” and “Are human skins becoming a public wall? ” WIth this in mind I continued with cutting and stretching, deconstructing, and turning vulnerability into effect.

Be small – your own STRETCH 

 

Stretching and pulling from the inside out,

Small is beautiful

 

=> I felt intrigued – as for my assignment 4 work – to explore the features of the material in itself, not to use more tools to put in a  place where the material doesn’t want to be. Making smaller works, cardsize 6×4″, helps to keep the support rigid. Trying to do the same on A4 scale didn’t work. The support collapsed as the wire mesh I tried earlier one. In this case, small is beautiful, being big is not the way to go.

The wall frieze had to* undergo the process of my gaze, incisions. A process of cutting-up , stretching and pulling, cardsize paintings embracing intimacy and to be pulled into.

(* This certainly reminded me of my painting for Painting 1, a large scale painting cut up into grid segments, followed by my tutor’s questions of relationship to the Modernist grid and iconoclastic approaches – see my blog post for PoP1 and my reflection )

Video 1 (1:10 min)

 

=> I decided to go for rigid rhenalon sheets, as they are sturdy in small sizes holding the force of stretching, it is a transparent material that could work with backlight (informed by earlier works in assignment two (the Two Side Box), and my tutor comment on assignment 4 that one could see more intimate elements with backlight). Trying to work larger scale wasn’t that effective. Though I used A5 and A6 both to discern later.

This process of cutting-up and transforming into new pieces of work with a loose connection to the larger work appeared to be a process of diverse aspects:

  • Scale: I decided to use A5 and A6 sizes, mainly to explore words as such (larger better) but still keeping an intimate approach to it (the viewer can hold it in the hands)
  • An intimate interaction: cutting manually, peeling off the backing, stretching and pulling each piece onto rhenalon card. Each stretching and pulling different, a sensible touch, fragile material, vulnerable to strong forces, various application front and backside – multiplicity of ways to do
  • Stretching words: – distorted already through cutting- became even more distorted through pulling and turning into abstract patterns.
  • Color: I used first quite muted but later bolder color, reminiscence to muted color of human skin. I wasn’t sure how the color of paint would behave over time on parafilm. The black lines and words would make a more dominant contrast to it. With backlight – especially with lightbox and ambienbt light – the color turned stronger 
  • Transparency: I was impressed by how much backlight was transforming to work and the colors. Under normal toplight conditions muted colors, with backlight (lightbox) brighter. I also tried to hold it against a window at daylight (see end section of video 1) but due to the strong contrast the photograph doesn’t work that good. The eye and brain can better adjust to this contrast. However, it still worked best on  lightbox. Something for me to see how to present for assessment (though I have some ideas to check out)

 

What is left behind and what appeared in another place.

Fig. 32: 'Be Small- Your own stretch' - wall frieze left behind

Fig. 32: ‘Be Small- Your own stretch’ – wall frieze left behind // cut-up into A6 and A5 pieces – more to make or just to stay?

 

Fig. 33: 'Be Small- Your own stretch' - stack of fragments on the floor -

Fig. 33: ‘Be Small- Your own stretch’ – stack of fragments on the floor // all A6 and A5 plates together – interacting as attitude

 

I explored ambient studio light (A6 card size – with wider border on photographic image – Fig 34 – 37; click on one image to open in lightbox view): 

… and lightbox, embracing the performative aspect of backlight (A6 card size – with wider border on photographic image  – Fig 38 – 41;  click on one image to open in lightbox view):

=> I started with making A6 card size plates and moved on in making A5 plates. One cut piece (approx 6 x 4″) from the wall went onto one A6 plate, and two pieces from the wall onto one A5 plate. The latter allowing me to combine two parafilm pieces in a more versatile manner: both on one side, one on the front and one on the back, oberlapping around the edges etc. It all was a quite intimate approach in finding the right force to stretch and pull (otherwise fragments are torn), to play with edges and transparency, and to explore words, now rather letters, around the various plates. 

Total collection made: 13 A6 and 32 A5. I will see what to select for submission. Perhaps 22 of the larger A5 in reference to the 22 months that I am now on this course unit and finally found the end? 

I will submit the lightbox version (as it is digital submission) and have to see how this could work at assessment (perhaps to ship my flat LED lightbox with the work)


Enough Gaze (20x30cm; latex, tyuvek, rhenalon, acrylic paint)

 

Fig. 42: 'Enough Gaze' - at the end of my course P2SP

Fig. 42: ‘Enough Gaze’ – at the end of my course P2SP // at the end of my course

 


Reflection:

  • Verbal interaction can inform the practical exploration: to stretch – to pull – to hold
  • Materiality is interactive and interdependent
  • Intimacy of touch and scale – a multiplicity of interactions 
  • Exploring self sufficient stretching: I wanted to avoid a canvas stretcher or other additional items that hold the stretch. Self-sufficient in respect to the material in itself holding and maintaining the stretching force. Parafilm M and rhenalon plates are keeping together even without use of adhesive. The final works are rigid, solid, stable without the risk of further fragmentation during transportation. Comparing to some of my works for assignment 4 with latex – with some even collapsed during one week.
  • Overall, it was quite a turn in my making. I could make out some connection to my work from all previous parts (fragmentation, repetition, transparency, skin, words) and found that the materiality aspect in itself is quite rewarding. And it is an open subject matter to be explored further. 
  • As future steps, I want to explore various fabrics more. The one used for the ‘patient gown’ is jersey stretch fabric. The stretchability appeared as an important element in my work.
  • The series that I will submit for assignment 5 (be small – your own STRETCH) might be explored with other colors, or perhaps with more text on it. Also the durability of Parafilm, as plastic material, is not know to me. 

 


Reference:

  • Campoli Presti Gallery (2019) Christian Bonnefoi, At: https://www.campolipresti.com/artists/christian-bonnefoi/bio (Accessed 03 Aug 2019).
  • Horn, R., Tuttle, R. J., Butler, C. H., Kläs, E., Tuerlinckx, J., Voigt, J., Gross, J. R., Chaffee, C., Roberts, V., Sullivan, L. L., Yale University, P. and DeCordova Sculpture Park and, M. (2015) Drawing redefined. Lincoln; New Haven; London: DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum ; distributed by Yale University Press.
  • Moses, T. (2014) Tabitha Moses, At: http://www.tabithamoses.co.uk/page10.htm (Accessed 28 Oct 2018).
  • SFOMA – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (s.D.) It’s alive! Richard Tuttle creates a wire piece at SFMOMA,[At: https://www.sfmoma.org/watch/its-alive-richard-tuttle-creates-a-wire-piece-at-sfmoma/(Accessed on 20 Aug 2019).
  • Tuttle, R., Petersens, M. and Borchardt-Hume, A. (2014) Richard Tuttle – I don’t know : The Weave of Textile Language. London: Whitechapel, Tate.
  • The University of Cambridge (1566) ‘Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), Vivae imagines partium corporis humani aereis formis expressae. Book 2, plate 1’, in Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), V. i. p. c. h. a. f. e. B., plate 1, ed., Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, print.

 

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Critical Review – Draft for review

Stefan513593 -P2SP -CR - - draft - digital composite of sketches and drawing after Chadwick ('Self-Portrait', 1991)

available as pdf

 

(Total  word count without direct quotes, footnotes, references: 2487)

03 Stefan513593_P2SP_CR-draft

 


Image:

  • Schaffeld, S.J (2019 Reflecting in layers – Sketches and drawing after Chadwick (‘Self-Portrait’, 1991)  [Digital composite] 
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Medical imagery – an ethical question?

On Ethics

Medical-ethical issues are media-ethical concerns – (van Dijck, 2005:14)

Alongside writing my critical review and working on my parallel project informed by my own MRI scan in 2018 and the obtained medical imagery footage. I was concerned about ethical questions and the purpose us those medical images. Images of media culture and evidence as trophy? Would I not put myself into those habits of collecting images as iconic sign?

How do and for what purpose do I want to use medical imagery? It raises ethical and morale questions, questions of ethical permissibility and educational value as explored by van Dijck (van Dijck, 2005). Aesthetically appealing images do attract the public and e overrule a ‘pure’ medical meaning and concerns

What about using my own imagery from the MRI scans? And to make them public through ‘works of art’? Would this change of how it is perceived versus using imagery from others? Foucault asks questions of morale considering a dislocation and removal of the direct gaze.

Instrumental mediation outside the body authorises a withdrawal that measures the morale distance involved the prohibition of physical contact makes it possible to fix the virtual image of what is occult well below the visible area…What one cannot see is shown in the distance from what one must not see – (Foucault, 1994:164)

The moral question relates to the dominant sign of the visible leading to difficult choices and dilemmas. ‘Seeing is intervening’ – as Ian Hacking explained the biased dynamic of how it impacts our conceptualisation and representation of the body (van Dijck, 2005:7-8). Examples as Bodyworlds (Institut für Plastination e.K, 2019) or the Visual Human Project® (National Library of Medicine, 2019) challenge us to reconsider status and nature of the body, and challenging epistemological categories guiding us in making ethical distinctions (van Dijck, 2005:62).

The way of seeing is not restricted to medical imagery, it extends all imagery in media culture where what is seen and what is perceived is subject to the viewer’s interpretation. Attached informative texts may play a guiding role, nevertheless, the dominant role of the visual has its own dynamic:

The significant role of images and imagination in the construction of corporeality is one of the prime motivations for cultural critics to analyze and theorise medical imaging. – (van Dijck, 2005:12-13)

The human body would turn away from being an object of surveillance under the medical gaze towards a posthuman cultural ‘fashion accessories’, not any longer ‘of being’ but rather ‘of having’, as Katherine Hayles describes the shift in perception (Hayles, 1999:5). The image by Juan Valverde de Amusco, 1566 does remind us of that as a pre-modern reflection on anatomy practice as this time (The University of Cambridge, 1566).

In summary, I tend to use my own MRI footages with care. My practice is a visual reflection on what the imagery are doing with me and how I response to that visual ‘evidence’. The process of remembering my experience inside the machine as well as my reflection in the aftermath are opening up new explorations of materiality and transformation.

 


Image:

  • featured image: Schaffeld, SJ (2019) digital composite of painting and screenshot of spectrum from music created by Vicki Downey

Reference:

  • Foucault, M. (1994) The Birth of the Clinic : An Archaeology of Medical Perception, Routledge classics, Reprinted ed. New York: VIntage Books, A division of Random House, Inc.
  • Hayles, N. K. (1999) How we became posthuman : Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Pres.
  • Institut für Plastination e.K (2019) Bodyworlds – Körperwelten,  At: https://bodyworlds.com/  (Accessed  10 Jul 2019). Heidelberg:
  • National Library of Medicine (2019) The Visible Human Project®,  At: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html  (Accessed  02 May 2019).
  • The University of Cambridge (1566) ‘Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), Vivae imagines partium corporis humani aereis formis expressae. Book 2, plate 1’, in Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), V. i. p. c. h. a. f. e. B., plate 1, ed., Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, print.
  • van Dijck, J. (2005) Transparent Body : A Cultural Analysis of Medical Imaging. Seattle, WA; London: University of Washington Press.
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A5 – Pre-Reflective thoughts

Text as subject and vehicle

Titles: for me a reflection of the making, or my emotional or cognitive response in the aftermath. I am never intrigued by either naming it what one can see (visual language is equal to verbal language), nor to name them ‘untitled (what goes into brackets?)’ what some are doing (see my reflection on ‘locating titles‘)

Examples from the different parts of this course:

Part 1:  Assignment 1 Submission  with A1 – One Attempt of Failure and A1 – Another attempt of Failure  => in reference to my performative interaction with materials, relating my body to context, the performative process as failure –  ‘Folding as process, Folding as thinking, Unfolding as knowledge’ and

  • The Puzzle of Gesture  // What is Left Behind // Memories //  Washboard (Laundry) 
  • Dog Shit Performance (audio-video of installation)

=> Titles as reflection on what is happening and what is left

 

Part 2A2 – The Object Box and A2 – The Spatial Box  => in reference to my interaction with objects, objects relating to fetishes.

  • Object Box – Paint4OCA  (a box to open and to interact with, with accompanied inventory list=
  • Fabric Wall Box  // Action Wall Box // Preservation Box // The Two-Side Box

=> Titles as reflection on what is visible there.

 

Part 3: A3 – Submission  => in reference to my embodied interaction with screen-based imagery, based on enactment, the ‘hand’ as sign for touch. Exploring the blurring boundaries between the physical and the digital, both material matters and ‘The Expanded Dissociative Gesture’

  • Breaking Through // Reaching // Getting Involved // Touching a Wall // Discovery // Human

=> Titles as reflection how it could relate to a wider context

 

Part 4: A4 – Submission   => in reference to the wider scope of my parallel project (medical imaging as embodied encounter) related to the transformative, vulnerable and transparent matter of skin. My material encounter and physical interaction with alternative materials.  of ‘Vibrant Matter of Skin‘ and ‘Painting Through the Skin

  • Gaze at Me //  Stretch my Skin //  Caught in the Net

=> Titles as reflection on how it felt and how materiality can respond to it. The work as a visual the title as verbal reflection on it.

Part 5: => expanding on part 4, reference to the wider scope of my parallel project (medical imaging as embodied encounter) text and words as reflection and instruction and actions to do

  • pulling // stretching // layering

=> Titles as reflection on how it felt and how materiality can respond to it. The work as a visual the title as verbal reflection on it.

 

Overall, an interesting development through titles ! From a more surface and visual oriented through an object oriented to move into more contextual and reflective titles. 

 


Impact on practice: to talk and to write about it

Two pieces of work tremendously supported me in my practice (parallel project as well as further explorations on skin): artist statement and critical review. Both took quite some time, going through various phases and draft versions. Writing was more to reflect – and to reflect was practice – and practice was to reflect to allow to write upon. My practice, my statements, and my review are entangled. One would not be there without the other

Last not least, to maintain a learning blog and to write my notes after the tutorials with my tutor. To take ownership about what and how I am doing.

Space: To be in my studio space, to travel around, to work in the train or the plane or on the boat.

Time: the flow and continuation of ideas, sketches, thoughts, layers of work.


Titles: making and understanding in relationship

As mentioned above, and especially since part 4, I do see my practice more in context. To verbalise what something could be means also to enable a next step in exploring materiality. Overall, for me it became a visual and verbal interaction. Entangled and layered as some of my works blur boundaries and transform materials, crossing borders between the physical and the digital, between the visible and the invisible. It appears now, that most of all, it is the notion of an expanded space where titles, words, including spoken ones through speech, do inform my layered practice.

In relationship to the viewer, I can see it as more open, inviting to engage, raising question, less didactic or illustrative. My earlier struggle (part 3) on narratives as ‘telling a story’ disappeared and replaced by a more verbalised and visualised response.

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Critical Review – statement

Author personal statement

As an emerging artist and a professional art therapist and counsellor, I am concerned about how identity and the self-image is mediated through a media culture informed by medical instruments and informing a disciplining medical gaze that makes the human body and psychical states appear a disembodied and displaced state of the visible.

With reference to phenomenology and embodiment I do consider the space of experience residing beyond a dichotomy of the body and a mind. My viewpoints are founded on my own experience of being exposed, vulnerable, and stretched and pulled by a medical surgical gaze. I consider my surrounding perceptual space as a kinesfield, as it was named by Gretchen Schiller with bodies connected through the invisible.

My critical review informed my parallel project. At the same time, my practical work in the aftermath of my MRI experience informed my writing of aspects of material vulnerability and temporal experience. As important as it was for Helen Chadwick, the aesthetics of perception of my work could be seen with Merleau-Ponty as a relationship of ‘being-to-the world’.

This essay is built on the following supporting facts:

  1. My own MRI brain scan experience April 2018 at Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland
  2. Research on MRI and use in arts
  3. Research on medical imaging as cultural media and the body as transparent mediated object ‘under the skin’
  4. Research of philosophical exploration of the medical gaze, clinic, patient
  5. Research of Helen Chadwick’s body of work, especially her latest and un-finished series mid 1990s
  6. Collaborative work with music student Vicki Downey to explore different responses to sound
  7. My practice as research in the body and the plasticity of the skin, expressed through the malleable matter of painting and its materials

 

 

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Making in series – a calendar approach

I was asked by my local art community to participate for next year’s calendar, for each month one artist would provide an original piece of work. I choose the month august.  The idea would be to make 91 calendars.

Pondering what I could do, whether to make one piece a day, or one painting and copies of it added with some twists etc. 

I structured my approach in three phases what really helped me to stay on track and meet the deadline:

  1. ideation: experimenting with three ideas (linocut, building on past work, considering my coursework)
  2. making: making the paintings
  3. shipping: cutting, signing, photographing, making labels, stick them on the backside, put sticky dots on the backside to enable putting it on a calendar page, handing over to local art community 

From the three ideas, I eventually decided to comment and explore on my own work I did some time ago for  ‘Geologic Sensibility’ – see at: https://www.stefanschaffeld.com/, a painting made from shellac solution, acrylic paint, ink, and pigments. Also I decided for a structuralist approach to make 

Painting large scale , three series – cutting up in individual pieces / 14 columns and three rows

 
cutting up into single => 126 pieces of summer landscapes ( 14 columns x 3 rows x 3 series of painting)

Calendar : August 2020 

Geological Sensibility

25 x 10 cm (ink, shellac, acrylic on paper)
from Series 2 of a series of 3X3X14
#instaartactive #art2020august

 

©2019, StefanJSchaffeld – Visual Artist. All Rights Reserved / Urheberrechtlich geschützt. 
E-Mail:
Web:           https://www.stefanschaffeld.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/stefan.schaffeld.artist //
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/stefanschaffeldart/

 

Learnings:

  • After I found the way forward, it was an intense time consuming activity. 
  • I structured my approach in three phases what really helped me to stay on track and meet the deadline (all was done within 4 days)
  • I was impressed how focused I worked, it seemed when I really do artworks from my bottom of the heart it just moves
  • I found the cutting up of larger paintings into single pieces not only time effective, but it also places the pieces into a network. The new owners would be part of a larger work, not separated. An idea of ‘social’ interaction I really like.
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Project 5.4: Writing out of the Parallel Project

Artist Statement

I am concerned about how medical technology inform our self-perception, shaping disembodied and displaced visual images. My practice and own experience in healthcare informs my exploration of painting as a physical and psychological encounter of space through a material expression. My approach is inter-medial, looking beyond conventional forms and perception of painting.

My investigation and transformation of material matter reveals aspects of vulnerability and fragmentation through stretching and pulling. I consider my works as spatial arrangements of layered materials. They cross boundaries between the physical and the digital and embrace expanded visual and auditive spaces. Through my physical interaction with materials I explore performative and transcendent aspects of materials and my body.

My practice is informed by the transgressive and embodied works of Helen Chadwick. It explores spaces between the inside and the outside, with skin as a metaphor for transformation. I rely on my direct sensual experience through my body as a medium. Created works are my visual response to that experience.

 


A list informed by my background search and continuous reflection on the core of my practice (a continuity, never finished)

  • Ideas: mental, medical imaging, MRI, experience, self, seeing and touching, sound, rhythm, life, transparent, exposure, vulnerability, fragmentation, dissociation, transcendent, surface, space, interface; paint, light, sound, moving images = crossing boundaries / embodiment
  • What is holding together: transformation through crossing boundaries, becoming vulnerable and transparent even with an opaqueness, touching fragmented matter
  • Decision for most meaningful outcome: to go with the flow of material properties
  • Media: inter-media as painting, material properties as interaction, constructed spaces of color
  • Process: painting, performative painting, a physical material and bodily process, collaborative
  • Intention: seeking new perspectives in painting through arranging and exploring materiality beyond conventional forms and creating varieties of experiential spaces.
  • Theme: exploring the world as an embodied encounter. The parallel project being informed by experiencing the intrusive gaze through medical imaging techniques

 


Development of my statement

Draft 1

Experiencing life as a patient ‘out of norm’ can be daunting, experiencing art can be daunting as well. Feeling vulnerable, exposed to a medical gaze through high-tech instruments, e.g. MRI scans, and falling into a space of uncertainty, leaves one alone to make sense of what is appearing and happening. My art embraces the vulnerability of my Self through material properties. It is an experience crossing boundaries of seeing and feeling. I am searching for possibilities through painting, light, sound, and moving images. There is the touch of painting as material and the rhythm of sound that places one in a different space of experience. How to create spaces that do not belong to the picture I can see? It makes me aware of how fragmented and transparent things might become and to feel the paint, to touch the surface, is making me more real. I need the directness of sensual experience. My work is exploring this by touching various media. My body is one medium to turn images into a picture.

(172 words)

 

 

Reflection on draft 1:

  • How important is the patient aspect?
  • How important is the medical gaze as an external factor compared with my subjective encounter with materiality and matter?
  • How does surface relate to skin?

Draft 2

I am painting through my exploration of interfaces and boundaries related to the human body as a vulnerable encounter in the world. I am searching for new perspectives of how material and space can be experienced.  By using the metaphor of the skin as a protective but also vulnerable semi-permeable material, my work explores the properties of materials. Works consist of surface and spatial structures, flat or multidimensional, questioning the difference between inside and outside.

I do consider painting as the relationship of color in space, embracing properties of light and sound to create new experiences of space and form. My practice is founded on a transgressive and transformative inter-media approach, crossing boundaries and expanding conventional forms and perception of painting. I am exploring constructed layers of perception and meaning by drawing attention to the unique properties of materials that can be stretched and folded.

My practice is personal – building on experiences of vulnerability and fragmentation. Distorted, ambiguous and fragmented parts are becoming part of a painterly experience. By transforming materials, materiality conveys its vulnerable and fragile properties. A directness of sensual experience places my body as an important medium in my practice.

(193 words)

 

 

Reflection on draft 2:

  • How is the aspect of vitality involved, baroque intensity?
  • How is the bodily, the gestural involved?
  • Is art not always personal?
  • Is medical imaging completely out?
  • Where are the other senses, eg. sound?

Draft 3

I am painting – exploring color and spaces, physical present and psychological absent spaces. My practice is founded on an inter-media approach towards materiality beyond conventional forms and perception of painting. Through constructed layers of material and meaning, spaces created do cross boundaries between the physical and the digital, between perception and meaning, between seeing, touching and hearing. My works do draw attention to the unique properties of materials, being manually or metaphorically stretched, pulled and folded.

My project relates to the psychological dimension of human life informed by my practice as art therapist and my own MRI brain scan. Exposed to external gazes, especially the medical gaze, perception of space and body shifts. Elements of vulnerability and fragmentation can be experienced as an intrusion beyond the skin – and beyond the visible. I am searching for new perspectives in how those distorted, ambiguous and fragmented spaces can be bodily experienced.

By transforming materials, materiality conveys its vulnerable and fragile properties. A directness of sensual experience places my body as an important medium in my practice – and the audience into a space of different material reality.

(184 words)

 

 

Reflection on draft 3:

  • How convincing and clear are the main connecting elements of transformation, materiality and crossing boundaries?

 


Draft 4 and final 

I am concerned about how medical technology inform our self-perception, shaping disembodied and displaced visual images. My practice and own experience in healthcare informs my exploration of painting as a physical and psychological encounter of space through a material expression. My approach is inter-medial, looking beyond conventional forms and perception of painting.

My investigation and transformation of material matter reveals aspects of vulnerability and fragmentation through stretching and pulling. I consider my works as spatial arrangements of layered materials. They cross boundaries between the physical and the digital and embrace expanded visual and auditive spaces. Through my physical interaction with materials I explore performative and transcendent aspects of materials and my body.

My practice is informed by the transgressive and embodied works of Helen Chadwick. It explores spaces between the inside and the outside, with skin as a metaphor for transformation. I rely on my direct sensual experience through my body as a medium. Created works are my visual response to that experience.

 (163 words)

 


The Elevator Pitch

unfinished – one of many

audio (0:39 min)

=> a possible development of the ‘elevator-pitch’ animated painting with voice-over statement)


Background:
Learnings from resources:

  • from Artquest:
    – To say what I see.
    – To link purpose, media, idea and process.
  • from Gilda Williams:
    – To attract interest (use of small details) and to assist in my thinking
    – Which decision produced the most meaningful outcome?
  • from both:
    – What is connecting/holding all bits together?

Reflection

  • It took some time to write my artist statement. I enjoyed having time between each draft, not only to reflect on the core of my practice but also to add or refine words and a flow in thinking.
  • It supported me in thinking clearer
  • To think about ‘wjhat is holding it together’ while looking at soma pieces helped me to reflect on what I did and what would be possible next steps. In that sense, I do see writing my statement rather as a study and research in itself. It helped me to stay more focused. 
  • I find it really helpful to phrase some kind of statement even at the beginning of a project to support the making of work. During this part, I used the reflective accounts for each assignment in a similar sense. For assignment five I am going to write it before.

 

 


Images:

  • all images are my own work, photographic reproduction of my painting, and/or digital composites of layers crossing inter-media classifications

Reference:

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Project 5.3: Locating Titles

The title of a work might act as a portal. Going to a museum or gallery, visitors tend to look at the name tag (often accompanied with listening to the audio guide at their ears). What always irritates me, first a surprise, then annoying, is how artists name works ‘untitled’ just to add another title in brackets:

 

‘Untitled (this is my title)’, 2019

 

What does this tell me? According to Danto (2006) , the title differentiates art from ‘mere things’. Mere things as a chair is just an object, a chair. Naming it like ‘Chair’, 2019 can place it into the realm of art. Naming a work is an artist’s gesture, reminding me of baptism, an un-named work not existing?

To name it ‘Untitled‘ can make the difference. Finally, I can write something on the name tag on the wall. It is one of my own experiences with recent local exhibitions, to provide a title and a price tag. As if these two are acknowledging as the final proof that it is really a piece of art.

The feature image above, a sketch I made during UVC1,  has no title (!?- is this already a title ??). The title is the work, or it is within the work, a statement, an intention?  If I consider giving a title to name it, perhaps it is just that- empty blackness filled with text.

It resonates how On Kawara (1932 – 2014) integrated the title as work. His painting series Today, 1966 – a repetitive series of painting the words of the day of making the painting for nearly five decades.  What normally would appear on the back of a painting, year or date of making, became the work as such. On Kawara applied a rigid working sequence in making these paintings. Interestingly, he also made for each painting, varying in size, a cardboard box, often lined with newspaper clippings. He considered the context of making by being informed by the country he stayed at that time. Overall, a massive archive created, a calendar materialised through painting. I could imagine that these minimalistic paintings turned into icons, as backdrop as decoration. The temporality of a day imprinted for ever in a painting.

It reminds me, although completely different and not made over that period of time, of Bruce Naumann soundscape installation Days, 2009. Multiple loudspeakers installed as a corridor, the viewer passes through, and can listen to the overlapping speeches from each loudspeaker, with someone saying the one day of the week. Those works are archives, lists, announcement of time in space. The title – the work – speech. I am intrigued by considering language not as written but as spoken words. 

 

An Oak Tree – Michael Craig-Martin, 1973

What is the title and what is the work? It is a three part piece of work: the title, the photographic image of ‘assorted objects’ and the text in the form of an interview. 

A sculpture, an installation?  With a longer text joining it, perhaps the text is the work and the sculpture is an illustration of the text? One tends to see text always as name text, guiding information as in leaflets written by a curator. The title is the gesture of the artist (always?). Artist writing tend to be either essays or something else. Joining visual and text. Since DADA a habit, expressed through self-made publication, quite similar to what we are doing as a group of students with edge-zine.

Can text be art? Writers, authors do it all the time. Are visual artist’s less prone to consider text as art? 

Craig-Martin made this work 1973, at the height of conceptual art. It resonates with conceptions of ‘Art as Idea’ as explored by Joseph Kosuth who quoted Donald Judd’s expression “if someone calls it art, it’s art” (2003). The idea is the gesture that turns anything into a piece of art. 

How serious does one takes it? In context of conceptual art Oak Tree might be just an institutional critique against commodification of art. Does art need to be easily understandable? This work might also reflect a viewpoint that one can’t argue with artist’s intentions. It is not science, it is not objective. One large portion of art is to ask questions (my view), what Oak Tree certainly does. 

To write the text in the form of an interview (Q and A) – apparently both sides written by the artist (!) – could mean to engage more and to be less obvious, didactic. 

Overall, what can one argue with? It reminds my of schizophrenia, a parallel reality that is true from a subjective point of view. 


Image:

  • featured image. Schaffeld, S.J. (2017) collage of screenshot found online

Reference:

  • Craig-Martin, M. (2019) ‘Michael Craig-Martin’ At: www.michaelcraigmartin.co.uk/work-index#/early-work/ (Accessed  29 July 2019).Danto, A. C. (2006) ‘Works of Art and More Real Things’, in: The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,,pp. 1 – 32.
  • Guggenheim (2019) ‘Paintings: Today Series/Date Paintings’ At: https://www.guggenheim.org/arts-curriculum/topic/paintings-today-seriesdate-paintings  (Accessed  25 July 2019). 
  • Kosuth, J. (2003) ‘Art After Philosophy (1969)’, in: Harrison, C. and Wood, P. (eds.) Art in Theory, 1900-1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Malden, MA; Oxford, UK; Victoria, AUS: Blackwell Publishing,pp. 852-861. VIIA – 11.
  • Manchester , E. (2002) Michael Craig-Martin – An Oak Tree, 1973, At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/craig-martin-an-oak-tree-l02262 , London: Tate.(Accessed  25 July 2019). 
  • MoMA (2019) ‘Bruce Nauman: Days – MoMAJune 2–August 23, 2010’ At: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1057 (Accessed  25 July 2019).
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