Category : Learning Diary

Assessment score

Now, it is there, the result, how I did at assessment. I couldn’t quite believe what I saw: an A – 75%.

I am flattered, and outmostly proud of myself. Did life took the right turn for me and rewarded back what I was starting as a small kid before starting to talk? To be creative and to make visual marks. 

My ‘demonstration of creativity’ scored highest with 84%. Above that is the sky.

And I am massively grateful, to those who followed my journey till today who believed in me, who didn`t gave up, and who also suffered for the way I am living and acting – with massive up and downs. Thanks!

My tutor supported me strongly in what I did. And the assessment team gave me feedback that totally resonated with what I felt, not always able to communicate or to speak(write out.

Overall Comments and Feed Forward

An impressive body of work demonstrating a deep commitment and reflective learning. You have presented an engaging, energetic and exhaustive project. Your work is well-organised and thoroughly documented. You evidence excellent personal and analytical reflection throughout and are consistently creative, challenging your own methods and ideas.
The main strength of this project is the commitment to exhaust avenues of enquiry. This has generated a rich body of work with multiple outcomes that presents you with a richness of avenues to take forward.

There is a personal language emerging in the work, evolving into a clear practice.

What to work on next and to improve ?

  • to be clearer and more assertive in getting my ‘voice’ across in writing, being more confident 
  • to work on ‘quality of outcome’: it scored lowest from all four areas, considering that it moves from 20% at level 2 up top 40% at level 3, definitely a focus point. 
  •  editing, cutting down: my audio-video piece (parallel project) and to see how I would install my sculptural pieces in series, in space
  • The assessment team picked up one sentence from my conclusion (critical review): ‘You identified a fascinating idea, in “the gaze as co-author.” Can you explore this further?’ Most certainly, I will.

Meanwhile, I continued my work with my sculptural stretched pieces’ and had an exhibition begin Dec (see references for more information). I cut and edited down my writing by half. evaporated the nonsense and came up with more coherent information. I revisited the stretching and reduced even the inner space of things (see featured image, right) I guess I am on my journey walking step-by-step forward. 

Overall, it was an amazing journey on an amazing course. Perhaps not all would agree with that, but it gave me the start, the energy, and the space to find myself, as an artist. And yes, as assessment stated, I acted and made a lot of works, the cleaning up afterwards took some time….

And I am thrilled that as a Fine Art student we will continue getting closer as a cohort through the start of an annual virtual program led by Caroline Wright along with three tutors (Cheryl H., Dan R. , Helen R. ) Exciting times coming up.

 

This was my last post on this blog. I already moved on to my next course ‘Understanding Visual Culture 2’. Once again, I am a pioneer (as the last two ones) on it. 

to my readers, followers, and supporters:

Please, follow my new blog, if you wish. I would be delighted to hear your comments, ideas, thoughts

at: https://uvc.stefanvisualart.com

 

Please, follow my new learning blog UVC2

Follow Learning Blog UVC2 on WordPress.com


Reference:

 

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Last entry

This is my penultimate entry in my learning diary of this blog. It will be updated begin/mid December after getting my assessment results

My submission for assessment arrived today on time for the deadline to meet at Barnsley. My critical review was received on time by assessment team for plagiarism check. So far, so good. I made it, unbelievable. With rigid deadlines facing me I actually can deliver more than I expected. And it is good – overall I am pleased what I submitted. My tutor did a fab job by supporting me on my fast run to finish. Time to wait and time to move on.

I already enrolled on the last day of July to my second and last level 2 course (just wanted to protect the fees before they went up in this academic year). And I am glad I did do so, other options are still not out there.

My next – or better to say current – course unit is: UVC2 – Understanding Visual Culture (brand new , and I am – once again – the pioneer on that course, the first one). I am looking forward to a fresh and focused new start 

Please, come and join my ongoing journey over there at: https://uvc.stefanvisualart.com

 

 

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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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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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Art practitioners // bodies, vulnerability, materiality // transformation

Suggestions on art practitioners that could inform my working practice

Alexis Harding (b. 1973) – at: https://profdocfineartuel.weebly.com/-alexis-harding.html
=> Harding is an abstract painter, exploring paint materiality and physical properties by combining oil paint and alkyd resin. He explores the incompatibility between both, resulting in some dynamic compositions. His method consists of:  ‘pouring gloss paint through a perforated trough across a wet oil surface, to create a grid, which is then left to dry. The paint over a period of months is pushed, pulled, squeezed and peeled away, to reveal dramatic scarred and puckered surfaces that when hung on the wall continue to change, and take on their own form, as they slip from the support.’ 

Kiki Smith (b.  1954)  – at: http://www.artnet.com/artists/kiki-smith/  and https://www.moma.org/artists/5486 and https://raffaellacortese.com/artists/kiki-smith/artworks.html and https://www.dmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/2017/10/in-mortal-artist-kiki-smith-makes-confusion-plain/ and  http://www.barbaragross.de/exhibitions/?show=Past&year=2018&eid=76
=> Smith uses materials in transformative ways relating to the body,. Her work explores the condition of being human, notions of vulnerability, often related to female sensibilities. Her subject matters are  mortality, abjection, and sexuality through figurative art. The abject as the hidden aspects from life. Mostly paper based works, but also sculptures and textile works, she connects her work strongly with a spiritual dimension. She also known or her printmaking works, as process going through multiple versions of proofs, reminding me of how Rembrandt approached printmaking. Overall, I am clear how her work could inform my practice at all. But as often, some connections might come up much later

Heidi Bucher (1926 – 1993), a Swiss artist interested in body relationship to space, works with latex and foam – hanging installations – at https://heidibucher.com/  a
=> ‘Bodyshells’ at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVsk75w3V6Q (large foam based human scale ‘costumes’ reminding me of Dubuffet’s ‘CouCou Bazar’ and a notion of post-human exploration – immediately thrilled when seeing her intriguing set of work, not heard of her before, more to look at. She used often textile, foam, latex, mother-of-pearl pigments  for her costume works, used by her in performance as well. The materials do have some connotation with preciousness, beauty and vulnerability, e.g. Dragonfly Costume, 1976

Christine Borland  (b. 1965), a Scottish and YBA – at: https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/our-staff/b/christine-borland/ and https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/christine-borland-2702 and https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/artists/christine-borland  
=> Part of her works remind me of Helen Chadwick, especially ‘Answering Anatomy‘ , life and death masks. Her body of work seems quite practice and research oriented, exploring visually history of hospitals and nursing, e.g. ‘The Power of Twelve – Mount Stuart’, 2018 – looking at the war times in Flanders with a bombed hospital. She made also a controlled explosion of a teapot related to that hospital , reminding me of Cornelia Parker’s  ‘Blown Shed’.. Borland relates aspects from the past with a contemporary sensibility when e.g. she refers to the hospital’s conservatory and the nurturing aspect and combining it with found botanist images (fruiting body of a seed from splachnum moss) to make a large sculpture from pink fabric suspended from the ceiling in that same place of the conservatory.
She works together with medical staff and explores the space between medical objects, body parts as teaching material and the story behind it, the story of the person’s body it derived from, e.g. Twin, hand-made, child-birth demonstration model, 1997. Her interest relates also to family trees, and how decease relate to that. A quite different, collaborative work with Brody Condon is Daughters of Decayed Tradesmen, 2013. A work built on oral history related back to the 18th century. Using punched cards, similar to the ones used for Jacquard loom, inscribed with the encoded oral histories. The cards were suspended from a renovated ceiling of the burnt out Watchtower of the New Calton Burial Ground. An intriguing aspect in appropriation process techniques in a revisited narrative to trigger memories and new narratives.
Overall, I find her practice as artist fascinating, reflecting more the way an attitude of an artist approaching cultural subject matters. A key aspect that comes across in her work is the relevance of making-connections.

Sophia Starling  (b. ) – continuous painting => an artist I looked at since part 2, perhaps time to revisit it from another perspective at: http://www.sophiastarling.co.uk/ – found her recent work Lap Mutant (Graphite, Green), 2019 exciting. Starling works quite intensively with basic geometric shapes in juxtaposition with fabrics. Kind of exploring the dialogue between both. Especially this dialogue and contrasting aspect intrigues me.

Louise Brierley (GL Brierley) at: http://www.glbrierley.com/ 
=> manipulation of paint/references to distorted bodies. Some of her works remind me kind of mix between Hieronynmous Bosch and Giuseppe Arcimboldo in some of her works.  I am not suren whether this can inform my own work, doesn’t resonate so much.

Richard Tuttle (b. 1941) – at: https://www.pacegallery.com/artists/474/richard-tuttle
=> Fabric hangings/wire sculptures. I always found his material interrogations and sculptural installations of paintings intriguing. really a bodily encounter of work. I need more to time to look into his body of fabric, textile work. Found about his exhibition and book ‘I don’t know : The Weave of Textile Language’  from 2014 at Whitechapel and Tate. A tree-part exhibition: collected textiles from the world, body of work, and a large scale textile commission at the Turbine Hall (Tuttle ed al, 2014). Intriguing as apparently, not-knowing it before, some of his works strongly resonate with some of my own works, e.g. The Place in the Window #2, 2013, very close with my small scale work (Fig. 1 & 2):

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld - P2SP - A4 - latex-sculpture

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld – P2SP – A4 – latex-sculpture // resonating with Richard Tuttle The Place in the Window #2, 2013 (Tuttle ed al, 2014:149-51)

 

Fig. 2: SJSchaffeld - P2SP - A4 - latex-sculpture

Fig. 2: SJSchaffeld – P2SP – A4 – latex-sculpture (not a good photo) // resonating with Richard Tuttle The Place in the Window #2, 2013 (Tuttle ed al, 2014:149-51) 

 
 

Considering my tutor’s comment on my use of obvious canvas stretcher and being too dominant, I found it interesting to find Tuttle’s work How it Goes Around the Corner, 1996, a series of eight small scale works (around A4+) the title apparently emphasing  the over-dominant space of the stretcher, much wider than the inside picture space taken up by piece of cloth. This resonates with my own work in preparation of assignment 4: 

Fig. 3: SJSchaffeld - P4P2 - preparation A4 - latex stretch

Fig. 3: SJSchaffeld – P4P2 – preparation A4 – latex stretch // resonating with Richard Tuttle How it Goes Around the Corner, 1996 (Tuttle ed al, 2014:105-7)

 

 

Conclusion:

  • I find Christine Borland’s art practice interesting as she approaches history and memories through a practice-led research approach, combining various elements and aspects into a visual appealing work. Most of her works are site-specific and location history is informing the final work.
  • Heidi Bucher’s fabric hanging works kept my attention. Not sure, if it is because she is Swiss, or because it relates to sense of place and architecture. Being suspended, gives a sense of fragility and lightness, quite ephemeral. Overall, I do find the site aspect in work fascinating, but have no idea how this could inform my work at the end of this course. Definitely, beyond that as part of my practice.
  • Sophia Starling’s work is worth to revisit. At the beginning of this course it informed my folding of paper towards larger scale fabric work. Now, it seems that the spatial arrangements might actually inform my ‘latex skin’ works in a different way (and I need to consider latex alternatives as well). However, I find her shapes be too distinctive, to clean, missing crossing boundaries. And playing with a contrasting dialogue between materials, shapes, and color.
  • Kiki Smith is an artist I have the most issues with, as I can not sense how her work might inform my work (too symbolic in its figuration?). This might come at a later stage, but for now, I leave it as it is and move on.
  • I do feel some complicity with some works of Richard Tuttle, especially his small scale works with wire and cotton pulp and his explorations of shape and fabric in a freed space 

 


Reference:

  • Tuttle, R., Petersens, M. and Borchardt-Hume, A. (2014) Richard Tuttle – I don’t know : The Weave of Textile Language. London: Whitechapel, Tate.
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//Visual // Thinking //

Stefan513593 - making connections - sketchbook 1

Stefan513593 - making connections - sketchbook 2

 

// Making – Connections // 

=> a visual encounter and  drawing line to connect, my previous work (see microscopic color circles at: Project 4.5: Colour) and ideas of sculptural paintings

  • How scale matters (estimated 1:300 – my paint circles versus large scale street installation)
  • How found objects, ‘canvas’ like, could be considered as urban installations. The bin or the pillar as context ‘stretching’ and containing meaning and perception.
  • How the embodied experience of site and objects are informing space perception, scaffolding as kinesfield experience (as the expanded field around the human body in interaction with objects is described by Gretchen Schiller)
  • How fake is faked through imagery

 

 


Reference:

  • Schiller, G. (2008) ‘From the Kinesphere to the Kinesfield: Three Choreographic Interactive Artworks’, in: Leonardo. [online]. 41(5),  pp. 431-437,  At: https://doi.org/10.1162/leon.2008.41.5.431  (Accessed on 10 Dec 2017).
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Fine Art – practice, research or what?

What is Art? What is Fine Art? What is Fine Art education?

This question is certainly a question with will no final answer. And to embrace this uncertainty is fine to me. At the London study day in May, Emma Drye asked us to reflect on the question what research means to us and  what we want from an art degree. 

At that time, I thought of ‘art as research’ as a search in iteration, a quest, getting background and context, opening up to new and/or different viewpoints, extending my own viewing field, discerning my position in a critical manner. And making art as enabler for communication, of ideas and explorations by opening and raising questions.

Perhaps, as a coincidence I read in the current issue of Turps Banana, a splendid painting journal issued twice a year, an article about that topic. Simon Bill argued against a position made by André Hunt, an educated painter and now professor of Fine Art and Curating in Manchester School of Art (Schwabsky, 2018). Hunt referred to a statement of Teresa Gleadowe, teacher for curating at RCA. She told Hunt that for her all ‘art is research’, resonating well with the topic of above mentioned study day, a common art college understanding? Hunt declared it this a ‘valid point’, considering the context of the UK system of REF, the Research Excellence Framework, that challenges higher education system in proficiency in research – and as art is mostly learned in academics is part of it.

Bill argues strongly against this position in a rather polemic manner that this would be a mere result of ‘conservative education policy and market oriented educational reform’ (Bill, 2019:32) that it is ‘enthusiastically implemented by (mainly) left wing staff’ (p. 30). He quotes  another Professor, Fiona Candlin of Birkbeck, that art colleges ‘rather than challenging the status quo it now upholds it’ (ibid:35).

I reminds me of the endless debate, even in public and my own local art community, of seeing art as fine art as academic art merely as a science-derivative occupation, versus a ‘pure’ art, an art based on merits.  Bill argued that fine art teachers are claiming themselves as artists without being ‘art practitioners’ . And he listed items, merits, that according to him would define somehow who ‘makes a living as an artist’ (ibid:32-33)

  1. Had an exhibition at a commercial gallery.
  2. Associated with that, they will have been represented by a gallery or galleries.
  3. They will have had an exhibition at a publicly funded gallery or museum.
  4. Sold their work.
  5. Had their work sold at auction.
  6. Had their work featured in an art magazine.
  7. Had their work shown abroad, in both commercial venues and museums.
  8. Had their work featured in art fairs like FRIEZE and Basel.
  9. They are also quite likely, as their career progresses, to have been involved in curating.
  10. They are quite likely to have dealt first-hand with collectors, and with socalled ‘art advisors.
  11. There will be catalogues, and even monographs about them.

 

These are certainly aspects of being an exhibiting artist in a cultural expected way of being. Making art as object, to present, to be represented, to sell commodities, and to make a career and a living from the revenues. I find the argumentation made by Bill refreshing as it challenges notions of what it is about. However, the binary opposites established by him, seems to be rather enforcing an established Modernist notion of the artist being a sales provider and maker of cultural collectibles. 

Is this my to-do list ? I am not planning to become an art teacher,  it even to spend future time at academics,  but to be an art practitioner, applying art as attitudes across areas of interest, and to continue to be curious of things that evolve, develop, materialize, and appear. To exhibit and to sell artworks is not only exciting but also a necessity when one wants to make a living from it.

Nevertheless, I continue to believe in art as attitude, art practices being more than selling and being represented by big-shots galleries. It is also an approach of awareness and finding new perspectives. I do relate this especially in my field of art therapy. Art practice as process, as an constant interrogation and exploration of material, images, responses, and an awareness of one own’s actions. In that sense, Fine Art is for me much more than  one of two sides stated by Bell. And the ‘art brut’ would still be seen as outsider art in Bell’s argumentation.

It is perhaps not a coincidence that on the discuss forum Heather Lloyd Payne asked students  to tell their stories #OCAstories, and this is what I posted :

“As a kid, I couldn’t speak until I went to primary school, though I could communicate with my parents and older sisters quite well, non-verbally. Painting and playing where my main means for expression and communication. At primary school I was recognized and invited to attend art school. My parents couldn’t afford the fees and life went on with painting and art displaced on a backburner. However, my first prizes won as a kid were for paintings. And I bought a guitar with the prize money at the age of twelve. After spending ‘successful’ but not quite satisfactory decades of life as an expat in corporations, life pulled a break – for me to revisit meaning in my life. I wanted to connect with what really mattered to me, but  living a ‘flying dutchman’ life it didn’t allow me to follow art education at a brick&mortar collage. With OCA I was able to re-connect to my passion and happily I embarked with high motivation on my journey as an emerging artist.” – SJSchaffeld

Perhaps, this is more to the bottom of why I am doing what I am doing with and in art.


Amendment

With some further cross-reading I found an interesting article by Karthrin Busch (2007) who wrote about the various aspects of art and research. From research and science as subject matter in art to a rather different conception based on M. Foucault’s ideas that art is a different form of knowledge and its role is to disturb ‘established knowledge structures, so as to reveal their innate power structures and restriction’ (p.41).  To compare way of knowing inherited by power structures and conventional scientific approaches will not enable access to the diversity of knowledge in itself.

By quoting Derrida, Bush highlights that ‘art is committed to represent the ephemeral forces and manifestations that emerge spontaneously and involuntarily’ against a rather ‘performative, institutionalized knowledge’ that ‘belongs to “the order of possibilities that can be mastered”‘ (pp.43-44).

In that sense, art could be considered as a force of doubting and embracing the ‘unexpected’, or as we discussed in the London Study Day, to embrace wonder in each encounter a-new.  Compared to science as problem-solving activity, art is a trouble-shooter, and the work in itself could be seen as research, not the final result as in science.


Image:

  • SJSchaffeld, painting from part3

Reference:

  • Bill, S. (2019) ‘Fine Art Education and ’Research Culture’’, In: Turps Banana, (21) pp. 28 – 35.
  • Busch, K. (2007) ‘Artistic Research and the Poetics of Knowledge’, in: AS Mediatijdschrift. [online]. (179),  pp. 36 – 45,  At: https://www.academia.edu/8568175/Artistic_Research_and_the_Poetics_of_Knowledge  (Accessed on 30 July 2019).
  • Schwabsky, B. and Hunt, A. (2018) ‘Critics speak: Barry Schwabsky interviews Andrew Hunt’, In: Turps Banana, (20) >pp. 18 – 25.
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Underground Poetry #artontheunderground

tube2flight - #artontheunderground - underground poetry

tube2flight – #artontheunderground – underground poetry

a combined version (This is Oxterly, audio-video, 2:59 min) at: https://vimeo.com/350718770

 

Title of the work:

Underground poetry, take a pen, move on the paper from left to right back and force while moving, at station make circles till moving again, change the pen, each second station rotate the paper continue till your final destination

Words embedded: names of the underground stations (some time after Green Park till Heathrow Terminal, the Piccadilly line)

This work was inspired by my visit to Oscar Murillo at David Zwirner, London, and his ‘Poetics of Flight’ drawing made during his multiple flights. It is not a copying, as Murillo applied quite some different approaches and his embedded words do have a different connotations.

 

Learning

I found it absolutely fascinating how through travel motion, marks can be made in a constrained space through double physical movement: the underground (a linear trajectory) and my hand (small moves rotating the page)

I could envision this as a topology, or as mapping of time spent. A repetition in multiple underground rides, on bus? on train? 


thinking about communication

if this is site-specific work, would it not be good to share if site-specific? I.e. to share with London underground? Quick searching revealed that they actually have a social media presence for ‘Art on the Underground’

possible links to social media:

possible handles:

  • #ArtontheUnderground@aotulondon@transportforlondon
  • #stefanschaffeld@stefanschaffeldart#undergroundpoetry

 

 

An amended version that I submitted for edge-zine no.8 ‘Time’:

 

 

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Assignment 4 – Preparatory Thoughts

Reflecting on my recent works on materiality, I can discern the following main aspects and learnings.

Painting

What started out as a seemingly modernist critique of deconstructing the canvas and the stretcher turned surprisingly into a more insightful interrogation of materiality, especially of liquid versus solid paint. I found it beneficial to explore some linguistic signs, e.g. stretching and holding, to see beyond the obvious and to see possibly a wider cultural context.

However, I was – and perhaps still are – a bit concerned about the loading of material aspects in a cultural discourse, as it could lead eventually to see a sign or a signifier in all material used. Could one ever appreciate an oil painting without thinking about what ‘oil’ and ‘oil-painting’ could refer to?

From the beginning of this course, and also in discussion with fellow students, I do find the the question of what painting is and might begin like a quest, a search that never ends.  For me, I enjoyed, working with tactile materials, but also to see color beyond the physical medium. Like sound, color can be digital  – or an architectural space. Mostly, it is for me about space, negative space in between, and relationship.

Paint as sculptural medium

Till now, I was less concerned with distinction between painting and sculpture. Even less, as the the credit between Modernism and Minimal Art: flatness and inner relationship versus Gestalt and oute relationship. During this part, I found that one doesn’t need to use those 2D and 3D formula to find a way between painting and sculpture. I found it insightful to hear that Karla Black is considering her raw material works as sculptures. The tactility of materiality in its relationship with the surrounding space and how the viewer as the walker encounters it, seem fascination for me. I sense, that scale matters, as small scale works do not work in such an extent. Considering this means to consider my works rather a maquette, proposals for larger scale work that can go into gallery or other public space. To negotiate between small scale and larger, human embodied scale, would be a topic to look at more in depth in my future work.

Alternative materials

As I am quite experimental since the beginning of my art studies with OCA, I found all kind of materials intriguing. To bend, to stretch, to play, to interrogate materiality and to see how to paint ith them. What changed a bit during this part of the course, was that I do not paint that much with the alternative materials, but rather to paint through them. To see the material as partner, less as a medium serving a purpose. In that sense, I finally understood that notion of ‘being complicit with material’, as expressed by Petra Lange-Berndt in her introduction to ‘Materiality, Documents of Contemporary Art’ (2015).

I felt intrigued by what I could do with paper chips, and what latex could do more. The latter will be the medium for my assignment. I could see both either just as performative materials, or open up a discourse along its cultural use. But this could lead to a Pandora’s box, as interpretation could go in any direction  

 

Aim for my assignment 4

To explore latex as material, as paint, and as performative subject. To find a balance between material feature, physical characteristics, composition, and aesthetics.

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Project 4.1: Pre-Reflections

Background and reflection

This part of the course explores the surface of painting, the canvas as considered traditionally the support for painting, especially oil painting. Today, I do see ‘canvas’ bifold: as material and metaphorically as a conventional flat base giving space for perceptual pictures.

I thought it would be good to look back and see if some of my previous works would suit this context. I discovered that some could be even be revisited in this part of the course (Fig. 1). At that times, both works were rather a side product, a leftover of my subject matters, and a result of serendipity. Both are painterly artefacts. Now the question: how to build on that? if at all…

Fig. 1 – Fig. 4: Artefacts of performative painting (click on an image to see in lightbox view and captions)

 

Also during part 1, I made a performative painting Washboard (laundry), and wondering how this could be considered as a canvas-stretcher relationship. The support (the ‘canvas’): a paper. The tool: not a brush, but a plastic foil. The paint:  a mix of shellac and gum solution.

The final work possibly a reverse: the tool became the canvas (Fig. 3)

What I do take away from my previous works:

  • stretcher gives context (Fig. 1)
  • stretcher does contain, but can also trigger deferred to narratives in a wider context (agency of viewer)
  • canvas as medium, rather than just support (Fig. 2)
  • installation: looking back I am more concerned now with way of installation and how the viewer is placed into relationship with the work. In that sense, Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 less successful due to a not so well considered background
  • deconstructing further might lead to new outcomes (Fig. 4)

 

 

stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap

 

These words brings me back to my museum visits of the works of Sam Gilliam, but also the large scale suspended and spray painted canvas of Katharina Grosse. The canvas released from its containment, and being free to play its own spatial role. At times, I am wondering when the canvas turns into a textile. Either from material point of view, or from a metaphorical point of view as well. And while looking deeper at Angela de la Cruz work in this context, I can see some relationship of above work (Fig. 1, left) with e.g  her work Vacant, 2013 (Wetterling Gallery, 2016) – that has quite a formal appeal for me.

Structural quality of the surface

Alongside my research on artists practising a deconstructing of the canvas and its stretcher, I did feel inspired to develop further some of my previous works in relationship to: 

folding, transparent, fragmentation, vulnerability, disruption

However, I think the question of canvas and stretcher a bit Modernistic, or as critique of Modernism by embracing the wider social context. I am wondering whether I could not find a more personal meaningful way…. With more ideas coming from previous works on relationship ‘canvas’ and ‘stretcher’ (Fig. 4) – with quite a few artists using a ‘stretcher bar’ as pole for canvas: Phyillda Barlow untitled : canvasracks, 2018-19, as seen at RA, or Robert Rauschenberg’s Pilot (Jammer), 1975

Fig. 4: revisiting ideas from part 2 - project 3

Fig. 4: revisiting ideas from part 2 – project 3, exploring canvas-stretcher relationships and meaning of stretching / folded paper as medium, as tool on paper/ installed fragments on transparent layers / timber  as dysfunctional stretcher – as poles to suspend from.

 

Perhaps one way to brainstorm on some ideas around canvas and stretcher (Fig. 5):

Fig. 5: sketchbook - ideation

Fig. 5: sketchbook – ideation / with some mockup artefacts from previous works (plastic ‘canvas’)

 

I got a sense that the ‘stretcher’ in any form or material acts as a holder, ‘container’ for the ‘canvas’, whatever this could be. The opposite would be a ‘canvas’ turning into a container, the holder for the stretcher, like wrapping paper or a table of objects (see combines and Georges Perec’s notes on the work-table), an approach I looked at with my object fragments in part 2. Certainly, one could always consider the canvas as a container, as what appears on the surface is often a perceptual illusion of an image. It seemed, I already ‘made’ some re-imagined canvases. However, those works can be seen only as sketches for something that need deeper investigation.
 
Reference:

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Thinking Through Art

We’ve met at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, London with all being present. Emma Drye led us through what research in art and what research through art could be, what critical engagement and what research& information skills requirements are there. As research in and through art in academic setting, Emma highlighted that reading texts need to consider the source as trustworthy or not. Text written in academics, being peer reviewed is an important facts. However, it doesn’t mean to restrict one’s research either to academic writing neither to be encapsulated in academics: ‘To get the juice out of it’ (Emma). Key is certainly a critical stance to sources, regardless who has written the text.

Questions to answer for ourselves:

The questions Emma asked us and my response to them

  • What does research mean to me? (The means of the word? The function of research?)
    => Re-search, a search in iteration, a quest, getting background and context, opening up to new and/or different viewpoints, extending my own viewing field, discerning my position in a critical manner
  • Why did I sign up to a degree?
    What did I want when I started?
    => To learn what art is, my skills, and my direction. To get a degree as additional support for my art therapy practice, possibly to leverage both into one direction
    What do I want now?
    => To build a stronger competence as an artist in expressing through materials and mediums by succeeding with quality a degree, what will be the evidence of achievement. To be able to communicate ideas and sensible explorations compellingly by opening up and raising questions through visual interrogations

 

Stefan513593 - London 04May2019 - Research what and why?

Fig. 1: Research: What and Why? //  My emotional response of getting out of the ‘ivory tower’ – turning the tower into a lighthouse, to shine on and to give guidance 

We were split in four groups, each one getting to read and to discuss a text on research from various perspective, a practical exercise of collaborative research and reflection. The chosen texts were (the first one the text I looked at together with Mike and Alison):

  • Rachel Jones ‘On the Value of not knowing’ (Fortnum, 2013:16-31)
  • Phylida Barlow ‘Unidentified Foreign Objects’  (Fortnum, 2013:98-109)
  • Nicolas Davey ‘Art and Theoria’ (Macleod, Davey, 2009:20-39)
  • Siùn Hanrahan ‘Poesis’ (Macleod, Davey, 2009:143-155)

I was quite happy to notice that one of my coursebook reading text (Fortnum) were selected by Emma (Schaffeld 2018)

From Rachel Jones’ text that I got the chance to read deeply, I take the following aspects out:

‘Wonder is the ‘first of all passions’. In order for it to affect us, it is necessary and sufficient for it to surprise, to be new, not yet assimilated or disassimilated as known.’ – Rachel Jones (Fortnum, 2013:19)

  • Wonder as ‘the first passion’, a ‘vital openness’ through ‘floating, dancing, mocking’ (p.18). According to the author this might even inherit an ethical element through an openness to others without assimilating them (with a political dimension as well).
  • In the not-knowing a sense of becoming (e.g. material becoming) that reminds me strongly of Deleuze. Relating the not-knowing, the uncertainty to the conception of the sublime, as something deeply human and not to be grasped
  • According to Hannah Arendt dialogue between ‘promising’ (creating in continuity, as ‘isolated islands of certainty in an ocean of uncertainty’, p.25) and forgiveness’ (to allow oneself to make it again) 
  • Heterotopias: discursive spaces where something is occurring in an abnormal place, alongside disturbing but also transforming felt sense. Example from text:  Saraah Cole’s photograph Birthplace Heterotopia (the cover image on Fortnum’s book). The term was coined by Michel Foucault (1984) and I will have a closer look at his text as I find it compelling.
  • An open question for me of how much assimilation of skills could be a barrier, e.g technical skills, mastery, political message

From the other group who looked at Davey’s text, I took away as a key message:

  • Me as artist can only look at one part of a whole. But I also only need to look at one part of it. As a sharing responsibility. be part and to invite others to add their part. A mutual approach to questions through visual and material based art.

Emma  invited us to write for 15 min in one steady flow about our project (my parallel project). This turned up to be a fascinating exercise as my intial thought that I would write kind of introduction to my project in a reflective and research guided way, was transformed in me talking out to myself of why this project is relevant to me and my struggle with it and my personal resonance. It felt a bit like writing out a draft idea for an artist statement (that had to be cut down to less words of course). Afterwards, Emma invited us to mark words that could be associated with either visual, material, process or idea. The visual image (Fig 2) showed in my case a rather uniform distribution. I would like to repeat this somehow, or at least to discern in a more critical way what aspects to stand out more for, as it could inform my preferred approach to work: performative, painterly, sculptural etc. Overall, an excellent approach as it allowed me to do two things:

  • to be restrictive in time (not time to procrastinate)
  • to not-overthink (by just following the line of writing) 

Last not least, it made me aware of how close writing is with drawing, though syntactically more one directional versus my ‘visual thinking’ maps are more multi-dimensional in space. 

Stefan513593 - London 04May2019 - writing out

Fig. 2: Writing out- writing about project // a 15 min constant flow of ink, pouring myself out onto paper // discerning 4 aspects: visual, material, process, idea

 

The second part of the day we went around and each talked about their project and got some hints from fellow students and Emma. For my project, Emma mentioned Guattari and his relation to psychiatry. 

I found this day inspirational and do thank Emma for guiding and supporting us and Arlene for getting once again the venue and day organized.

 

(Comments re venue: the second part of the day became quite noisy due to a party downstairs (?). Also our ordered lunch didn’t turn up in the break time, so we went back to the room without meal.)


Reference:

  • Foucault, M. (1984) ‘Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias ((“Des Espace Autres,” March 1967)’, in: Architecture /Mouvement/ Continuité. [online].  At: http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/foucault1.pdf (Accessed on 06 May 2019).
  • Fortnum, R. (2013) ‘Creative Accounting; Not Knowing in Talking and Making’, in: Fortnum, R. and Fisher, E. (eds.) On Not Knowing: How Artists think, London: Black Dog Publshing,  pp. 70 – 96.
  • Macleod, K. and Davey, N. (2009) Thinking through Art : Reflections on Art as Research, Innovations in Art and Design, Reprint ed. Edited by Beardon, C. London; New York: Routledge.
  • Schaffeld, S.J. (2018) ‘Project 1.3: Visual Reflection’ [Blog post] At: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=829 
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Drawing from the past – British Museum

How it feels when one gets into the sanctuary  the British Museum, the drawing and print room on the 4th floor, behind doors, accessible only by appointment, with a collection of around 2.5 Mio items.

Drawing is research,

Drawing is thinking,

Drawing is seeking,

Drawing is exploring.

We were guided by the British Museum Project Officer for the Bridget Riley Art Foundation Sarah Jaffray. She mentioned how Bridget Riley found the collection during her time at Goldsmith tremendously helpful in material experiemtation. She selected a few drawings and prints from a wide range of period incl a limited of 10 book of loose sheets of etchings by Henry Moore (some of his later works) that showed how Moore was discovering and responding to an elephant skull through drawing, with a variety of line markings.

I used the hairline fineness of line to suggest space and mystery – Henry Moore

She also showed drawings from Michelangelo himself and from an unknown artist ‘after Michelangelo’, copying his ‘style’. Interesting to hear about the term ‚pentiment‘ (from Italian pentimento, or english ‘to repent / to regret’): the visible trace of the artist‘s search through drawing, an evidence, an index. Absent when someone is copying a work (as the line would be more intentional, conscious, less searching). I  guess that what at assessment would be rather looked at.

At the early times of paper, paper was precious, making artist to use both sides of a sheet (recto and verso). Also to use any sheet to the very limits, making e.g. Michelangelo to add (to collage) another piece of paper to a pre-drawn one that was not large enough, the drawing extends and crosses the edges of paper in that case (see 1860,0616.2.3)

The second part of the visit was drawing and be inspired by the selected works. Here, my drawings that were informed by more than the maker of the drawing. Why am I reluctant ‘just’ to copy things? Always want to have my own twist on it. Not sure, if this supports or restricts my learning.

After Michelangelo / informed by Moore’s line approach i

Looked at: no. 1998,0214.6

Stefan513593 - British Museum - After 'unknown after Michelangelo'

 

=> trying to apply the drawing ‚technique‘ of Henry Moore from his limited etching book. 

After Deacon / informed by my MRI project

Looked at: no 2006,0930.9

Stefan513593 - British Museum - After Richard Deacon

After Dürer / gestural response

Looked at: no. SL,5218.29

Stefan513593 - British Museum - After Albrecht Dürer

 

Thanks to Joanne and the rest of the group for getting together, and also to spend some time afterwards to reflect and talk.

I went back in the afternoon to look at the current exhibition “Rembrandt – thinking on paper” ( a marvellous title) and “The World Exists To Be Put On A Postcard artists’ postcards from 1960 to now“. The first one showing Rembrandt quite experimental approach to etching with a back and force approach  by adding and amending the plates (see featured image), the second showing the way smaller pieces can act as artwork, as a series, a collection, or an archive. Reminding me also of the small ‘paper slides’ we used at the SLBI for microscoping plant species. And also the use of text is more pronounced in artist cards that e.g. in paintings.

Reflection

  • Overall, it was a short but excellent time and place to be, to connect to, and to response. The fact that one sees physical works made by the maker in its final and tactile stage is certainly impacting how I approach things. I don’t feel so inspired to draw for a longer time after a screen image. Compared to online to book viewing it adds a certain aura that made me to slow down, to focus more, and to be more present.
  • It was fun just to draw and to respond, to take the time to play with different 
  • The versatility and diversity of drawn ideas and things through pencil, chalk, etching, engraving, collaging is quite impressive, and it opens up more focused, close up explorations of material its that often doesn’t requires lot of space.
  • I find it a good to have study visits to study rooms as this one. As mentioned in my study weekend, it is the set of conditions that can propel creativity and visual research. 
  • Compared to the afternoon visit to the exhibition, I liked the intimacy and proximity in the study room.

 

 


Reference:

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A trip to environment – a human perspective ?!

Having booked me onto the ‘Art & Environment’ weekend April 28th/29th with Melissa and Dan, I was not really sure what to expel or what to get out if it. I guess one thought was to get after my digital-material-screen paintings a fresh and different perspective on things. We do have have a larger size garden where we live, that actually inspired me for the first exercise with OCA / drawing 1 / temporary drawings: to draw with dry fallen tree leaves.

Anyhow, first day was quite South of London, at Charles Darwin, and I felt after a rail trip of 3 hours quite impressed for being in such a historical place. I do think it has to do with how I relate to things, more phenomenological and kinesthetically. With a felt sense of place where I can ‘organically absorb’ it alongside my mental images of a deceased person who made a big impact on humanities, and the way we relate to ‘nature’ (put the word in brackets as humans beings are nature as well, despite some conceptions of not). I liked the idea that Darwin set out at the age of 21 on the Beagle by suggestion and to company the captain, certainly not to find and discover new theories (not-knowing but being curious).

The second day closer to London at the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI). Another marvellous historical site, building with character. And with an impressive Herbarium collection (47511 species in 175 strong metal archive boxes). Another felt sense, and a sense of belonging as a group in a place of creative conditions as research place: a kitchen, a library, a study room, a garden. We talked about space and place, and that setting good conditions can be inspirational and open up. In that sense, I liked Darwin’s ‘sand walk’ or ‘thinking walk’: a path at the periphery of the property, protected from the outside, to walk, every day, to think, five days a week, an iteration that is important in art practice as an iterative cycle of inspiration, making, and reflection (as also shared by Matt White by his research cycle during our last RG Europe virtual talk).

The venue was excellent to have an entire house at our disposal (Sundays the institute is closed) feels very luxurious. Nevertheless, to move and discover, to sit down and talk and reflect (or to have lunch together), and to repeat all of this.

Impressions:

Dan and Melissa provided us not only with a doc package that one could do in any place of the world and in one’s close environment. They also gave us short 5min exercises (see also Instagram @startercultureuk) to respond in any way that resonates. 

  1. Find and use an alternative tool
  2. Observe growth
  3. Observe and record edges
  4. From a plant’s point of view— What does the plant see, feel, think?
  5. Find a way to attune yourself to that which wants to reveal itself (in what you’ve done)

Some of my outcome of these exercises and further exploration, some useful for my project (guess that one is a tuned to a personal meaningful project all things gravitate towards this and are seen in that context)

=> Found plants, colors, patches, mud for edges, small varities (we were encouraged and allowed to pick small specimens from the garden). To think of using the colors, Melissa mentioned chromotography to extract the colorant.

.. and interaction with a plant from the herbarium – a daisy from 1835. A verbal response

 

 ‘To attune myself to that which wants to reveal itself’ – a slow motion recorded performance with soil (thanks to Dan for being the camera-man):

Video (0:59 min, with audio)

Last not least we had time to look deeper at what interested us. To  look at the collected small specimens through the microscope, and to record this viewing with my phone cam:

=> shape reminds of the human eye, close view and still a remote sense of space. At times a sense of cosmic scale, planets. A juxtaposition of both extremes. I feel it could inform my parallel project on MRI and the medical gaze. A different device, but the same gaze. The microscope images of nature do have an aesthetic appeal, same as MRI images?

Learnings and take-always:

  • Walking as practice, a routine as iteration
  • Setting of ‘good’ conditions for creativity and as art practice: to fertilize, to plant a seed, to let it grow
  • Cross semination of ideas, one doesn’t know what might trigger work
  • Short time exercises help to avoid overthinking and just make, reflection afterwards
  • Color from plants, a source of inspiration
  • Microscope : another view in medical gaze informing my parallel project
  • Text: a verbal response, a title? embedded in a painting?
  • Edge and color, fragments and dislocation, not only in nature but also quite relevant for my coursework
  • Feeling inspired and re-energised to move on

Reference:

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Vilem Flusser – Objects, Bottles and painting – ‘Aufgehoben’

After assignment submission, I do feel reliefed with new energy to discover new things and reading some of my short listed items. In this case Flusser’s exploration, at times spiced up with humor, and description of mundane objects in our life (Flusser, 1993:7-32). It resonates strongly with my ongoing interest in objects as fetishes (Schaffeld, 2018), the object-subject relationship, and how we make sense out of and relate to objects or things around us.

First, he puts objects into three categories (‘apparate‘ / machines, ‘dummes zeug‘ / nonsense, and ‘werte‘ / values). Only to acknowledge a bit later that a taxonomy of things is not going to work, either some objects do not fit or fit into multiple categories.

He also distinguishes between nature and culture, with humankind as culture in itself. One might argue with that distinction, as all humans are part of nature and born through nature (even if supported by fertilisation techniques). For me, not to dig so much into that dichotomy but more to look what Flusser says about the human conditions of life.

With the example of bottles, specifically sparkling wine bottles, Flusser develops a philosophical enquiry that makes one wonder whether the wine or the bottle is more important. He discusses the difference between form and content, and develops an evolutionary or perhaps more an anthropological line of thought that the bottle as cultural object can be either kept in culture or put back to nature, both ways a failure. He compares it with metabolic processes and the entropic structure of nature:

‘ Culture is a process that cumulatively transforms nature into waste, basically a negative entropic epicycle on a process of entropy.’ (P. 22)

As mentioned above, I do feel Flusser is thinking too much in binary opposites, as also nature, e.g. cells, are negative entropic structures re-building themselves as organised systems. Nevertheless, he argues that there would be just three positions to the question of the bottle as form (empty bottle):

  • a ‘platonic’ one: ‘aufgehoben‘ in a sense of ‘to elevate’ , the form (empty bottle) as transcendent, non-human object to collect, to display (what resembles very much a fetish, and artworks in a gallery as well; Flusser also refers to smaller maquette bottles as collectibles), a future orientation
  • a ‘modern’ one: ‘aufgehoben‘ in a sense of ‘to suspend’, and being transformed into something else, e.g modified, metabolised as an ‘ashtray’
  • a ‘critical’ one: ‘aufgehoben‘, in a sense of ‘to abolish’, discarded as waste, as broken glass, unused, with no value, piled up as memory of the human past

Interestingly, under consideration and knowledge of the last position, often the predominant destiny of bottles, Flusser concludes that the first contemplative position would be hard to maintain, a moral case of conscience? Flusser finishes his bottle-talk with a sense that the content (sparkling wine) might end up to be the important thing overall, to drink it. What reminds me of the topic that overthinking is not helping at all. Where to draw the line?

Fig. 1: Sketchbook – Bottles ‘aufgehoben’: to transcend, to suspend/transform, to abolish/discard – nature and culture

Walls (pp. 27-32) are another condition, a metaphor, for a double dilemma: to protect and to encapsulate, to look out and to look inside of oneself. The wall as surface for projections and illusions.

From my visit to Sean Cully’s current exhibition at the National Gallery I found the following quote by Cully (talking about his four piece work Human 3, 2018) very appropriate in this context, though with a different viewpoint than Flusser:

A window is a promise, like a doorway. A facade is not totally relentless because of the window and the door. That’s what humanises the wall’ – Sean Scully

I noticed how Flusser looks and uses language, the German language, similar to how French post-structuralists as Derrida or Lyotard deconstructed the French language. Example: ‘ding‘ / thing and ‘bedingen‘ / be condition for. Semantics hard to translate, as above ‘aufgehoben’,

What has this to do with my work and my past and future explorations?

To recognise that simple things and mundane objects can be much more than value or trash. It reflects the human conditions of existence and behaviour. I could take one object, like the screen or the human brain, both material objects with a loaded meaning often far beyond the material nature itself. And considering paintings, there I can see clearly the three positions describe by Flusser. But besides the material nature it also has a transcendent aspect, a deferred meaning with it. It seems that applying paint is more than paint, color or illusion. And what, if the material nature of paint is gone? Is it nature or culture? And what if the painting is released from its material constraints, i.e. the stretchers, the frame? Like the wall that might feel constrained but also acts as a surface for vision.

This is a good start into part 4 of this course, addressing and dissolving, ‘aufheben‘ of conventional constraints (considering the German multiplicity of meaning of this word, it might even end up with keeping constraints in order to subvert). And my open question form part 3: can a painting be a painting without paint? Or, what material conditions are minimum required ? And what need to be there in order to consider a painting still as such?


Reference:

  • Flusser, V. (1993) Dinge und Undinge – Phänomenologische Skizzen, Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag
  • Schaffeld, S.J. (2018) ‘Objects and Fetishism – The Handle and the Box’ [blog post] at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=3006
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Gesture and hands – Louise Bourgeois

While playing and painting with gestures and masking stencils alongside striations, I also post some images on Instagram and yesterday it happened that one work (see featured image of this post) triggered a response by fellow student Sarah who felt reminded of Louise Bourgeois. This didn’t crossed my mind at all. I looked up works by her related to gesture and hands and was quite surprised to find a strong resonance with some of my works (The Museum of Modern Art). Bourgeois’ starting point was a different one than mine, her series of 10 repetitive prints from 2007 (at the age of 96!) was informed by the daily visit of her assistant Jerry Gorovoy, and her bpth hands were traced on music stave paper. The works consists of 10 installation sets, each made from the same compositions with hand additions, each set consisting of 20-40 sheets.

The combination of music staves and gestures reminds me of my current music collaborative work with Vicky.. Music staves and painting does remind me of notation and scores, of graphic scores (some examples here

My sketchbook pages:

 

Stefan513593- sketchbook - Louise Bourgeois -gesture

Fig. 1: Louise Bourgeois – sketchbook pages (source: https://www.moma.org/

I felt inspired, and possibly obliged to Bourgeois, to respond non-verbally/visually in the way I explored my dissociated gesture

My response to Louise Bourgeois:

 

Stefan513593 - Gesture and dissociation - acrylic paint on paper and ,mylar

Fig. 2: Gesture,  dissociation and ‘reading beyond’ – acrylic paint on paper and ,mylar (approx. 35.5 x 51 cm)

 

(This one goes to IG as well – here)

 


Reference:

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Spin off play: Narrating a Gesture

Another spif-off idea from working on my assignment, playing with paper, paint, and stencils. Animation as narrative – painting as performance

A short animation video in nine still images (0:05 min)

 

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Spin-off Idea: Gesture as Narrative

Narrative gesture painting

While working and developing my assignment work experimenting in my sketchbook with various paper support textures, and creating a series of stencil approaches, I became aware of how a series made from ‘hands’ as gesture does strongly inform a narrative. Especially, as my work-in-progress was a time-based process evolving through pages and pages, turning pages , waiting for one page to dry, continuing etc. 

My thought: What if this would be indeed a book format? An artist book, a narrative of exploring surfaces with gesture? Or as the depicted de-contextualised gesture, a reflection of my gestural making, and a mirror-image of the viewer turning pages? What reminded my of Helen Chadwick and her thinking related to her work ‘Oval Court’ as a mirror-image of the viewer (Chadwick, 2011)

Consequently, I placed the pre-marked papers in a row to paint across with striations of color (oil paint) in reference to my screening experience of projected artefacts. Last not least, this sequence reflected also my time-based hand movement from left to right while painting that series. Why not to make a time-based moving images out of it before separating the individual pages into a book, a flipping gesture? 

Stefan513593 - A3 - time based gesture - a series of materiality (step 2)

Fig 4: time based gesture – a series of materiality (step 2). different supports (from left to right: paper 1, mylar, paper 2, reflective found surface, paper 3) with acrylic and oil paint (each paper 29 x 19 cm)

.. with with a resulting moving image:

Video #2: Time Gesture (0:11 min)

 

Here, I became more aware that this moving image would benefit from a sound. Sound of turning pages, of human gestures in talking? of MRI informing my parallel project? Or more of a sound that matches the rhythm of the movement?

A book format:

 


Reference:

  • Chadwick, H. (2011) Helen Chadwick : of mutability, [Rev. rep.] ed. Edited by James, N. P. London: Cv Publications, c2011, c1989
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Spin-off Idea: Screen installation as Gesture

  • Spin-off Idea: Screen installation as Gesture
  • Spin-off Idea: Screen installation as Gesture
  • Spin-off Idea: Screen installation as Gesture

After part 2 of my assignment development work I sketched down some further ideas of gesture and ambiguity  – informed by one of my previous works (Fig. 1). 

 

Stefan513593 A3 - gesture & ambiguity - sketchbook Fig. 1: Sketchbook – gesture and ambiguity. Can this be done on two surfaces? Both hands to be in-front as well as behind one surface? 

 

.. this led to an installation of two Rhenalon plates, crossing each other (Fig. 2)

Stefan513593 A3 - gesture & ambiguity - installation view / double screen Fig. 2: gesture & ambiguity – installation view / double screen. Different placements of cut-outs (painted hand). Background: painted ‘mural’ on paper, and yellow oil paint on surface

 

 … and eventually, I placed the transparent cross (Fig 2) in-front of my dark laptop screen, making several still images at different lights and merging them into a performative moving image:

Video: Ambiguous Screen Gesture (0:03 min)

 

This seemed a spin-off idea informing my parallel project on MRI and self. I modulated time- sequence and added a MRI machine sound: Ambiguous Screen Gesture MRI #3

With being intrigued by installation of transparent surfaces I had to try out one more projection.

Using a human scale perspex plate (180x50cm) and projecting my recorded light performance Hand-Catch-Screen-Performance, through it, at the right wall the images are displayed. My hand as an additional ‘life’ performance act distorting, interrupting the projection, adding more layers of reality and meaning to it.

Stefan513593 A3 - gesture & ambiguity - installation of projection - performance Fig 3: gesture & ambiguity – installation of projection – performance. Left: photograph of projected and performative imagery, right: sketch of installation set up (using a perspex plate, human scale)

=> With these two set-ups, I am wondering about scale, human size, got reminded once again about Jutta Koether’s body of work, and how the viewer, the audience can be involved, engaged in the narrative, the work itself.

 

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Learnings from a venue hunt – regional group Europe

One of our aims as a newly founded regional group is to get together at least once a year in a physical location for 1-2 days (visits, workshop, making, connecting, socialising)

I took over the role to find possible venues in Switzerland, the country where our core team resides and travelling across Switzerland, I learned quite a lot, not only in getting information, but also in talking with people explaining our reasons for and how to present us as a group. And for me as an artist in facing the public side of an art world.

Couple of bullet points I find interesting to note down, at times rather questions than answers:

  • Complexity: I screened all sorts of venues, simple rooms (why not at home of a member?) and more complex programs like Creavia/Paul Klee museum in Bern.
  • Group: Do we want to make a team effort? A facilitated team workshop? Eventually, I came up with four options: a) study visit without a room, b) a rented room, c) team workshop with professional facilitation, d) all inclusive ‘vacation’ study package
  • Expenses: I was aware that Switzerland is a more expensive country (but possibly similar to UK), and expenses between room rent and more inclusive programs challenged me in keeping all wide open and to ask later the group what would be more attractive. A question between content and cost.
  • Identity and presentation: People asking who we are: How to present us as group? Why do we want to rent a venue? Do we have an identity? Besides naming OCA / UCA. What is our mission? At times I handed over my personal artist card as some where asking for tactile information – or sharing the OCA address
  • Connection: I really made good connection, talked with established artists whether they would be available for a talk, with gallery owners, with museum staff. All gave me personally more insight in the art world – and understanding that there is much more to connect with, especially with fewer and at a deeper level. I still have some contact points open to talk with (colleges, community centers). Exiting to see how it all will evolve. I even made more contact for my own art projects and possible options for future projects.
  • Exhibition: Although not in the short term plan for our group and more out of my personal interest I contacted some venues that we more used for exhibitions, eg. a pop-up gallery in an empty store. At times, I was astonished what people ask artists to pay just to show their work. Fix costs without even being there. A commercial approach for making money (for those who earn). Key learnings: to get into more established galleries as a group one need to plan 2-3 years in advance. Therefore, it would be good to think and prepare internally for the future (like OCA TVG did for their gallery show ‘Time’)

Overall, a time and energy demanding activity done within one week (with subsequent email and telephone conversations) but quite worth the experience. I need more input and focused clarity what we want as a group to move forward. The above mentioned options to be voted on. How much OCASA is willing to fund need to be discussed separately.

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Regional Group CH-EUR: a founding member perspective

Since Dec 2018, a small group of four fellow students incl me based in Switzerland, are busy with setting up and organising a new OCA regional group Europe. Currently we are 23 students across Europe, beyond UK. 

Quite some efforts it has taken so far, time that I didn’t spend on coursework, resulting in delay by two months now.  Yesterday (Feb 4th) , we had our first group wide open virtual meeting in the format of Show&Tell (a Pecha Kucha format of presenting several images in short time). With 11 participants incl our core team of four we had a great time and new ideas popped up and crossing the boundaries of distant student’s lonely places. 

Learnings:

  • Setting up and organising takes time and efforts, at the beginning quite admin stuff, not to underestimate. But it is also a lot of fun and excitement.
  • With motivation and commitment, one can truly build some network and engaging interactions.
  • For me are physical meetings as the recent study day in Zurich,  a truly enriching aspect of being part of a group. To know each other better, and to build trust and deeper interaction. As if that f2f interaction would allow deeper engagement in virtual space (I also met some a few other peers from this event before). I hope that we can work on collaborative projects soon. 
  • One major project will be to organise a 2 days workshop.
  • I am eager to get back on track with coursework and my parallel project now.

Reflection on Virt meeting with RG Europe on Feb 4th:

What worked well:

  • The format Show & Tell (Pecha Kucha) is quite fascinating as it allows to share works or current explorations more in depth with others. I was positively surprised how well it worked and several fellow students shared.
  • As group aim is to ‘to create a network where we can gain a deeper knowledge of other students’ works
    and aspirations’ and ‘to provide a local forum for the exchange of ideas’ – on both this format of vmeet certainly contributed to (at least for the very first meeting) – regular repeats will support more.
  • Some inspirations from peers (Show&Tell event):
    – photographs of the river Rhine (Peter H.), rotated 90 degree, with close up view on light, abstract fragmentation, striations => I like the rotating idea
    – layered photography works (digital flat composite of various viewpoints) of view from a train (Jane W.) => I like the multiple viewpoint in one image idea 
    – drawing from maquette (outdoor sculpture) and incorporating changes to it for making drawings (Sibylle H.) => I like the process and dialogue approach

How did it support my creative development? 

I got some inspirations that possibly could inform my further work, in order to sketch it down, I made from the abstract river reflections a few quick color sketches – and feeling some relation with an earlier sketch inspired by shredded paper:

Stefan513593 - idea sketches - reflection , abstract striations

Fig . 2 : idea sketches – reflection (from Peter’s photegraph), abstract striations (right: earlier idea from shredded paper, see also featured image)

My Pecha Kucha pre (from a powerpoint pres with each slide 10 sec duration)  – the making of it was already a good reflective exercise on what and how I want to communicate. I included images from inspiring artists, where I believe I can learn from their approaches (not the final work as such):

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wh0gya3KlyH8_cJJ_PfqPs9gcdnPh0VZ

What didn’t work so well

Some tech issues with one member (mic), that didn’t allow her to participate fully. Not sure how this could be resolved, other than inviting participants to join the meeting 10 min early just for check ups. And to share how important mic, camera, and internet speed can be. On backup option for speed is to turn off video. However, students in rural areas could face a continuing issue re speed.

What could be done differently?

As group aim is ‘to have a safe place in which to discuss work in progress and receive critical feedback, designed to help move the work forward’. Here, I am not sure how this support forward movement (for the first meeting it was also not the scope). For future vmeet it would be good to have some pre-work (images and text available and/or questions from the presenter to know how the group can contribute effectively.

One aspect comes to engagement and moderation, how to know that each one can contribute the best way. Google meet has some limitations that Zoom not has, e.g. breakout rooms where a subgroup of 2-3 can talk more directly and to regroup with some key outcomes. This can be done within 90 min. Also a response from all participants to the group after the vmeet, e.g 1-2 weeks later, could support deeper interaction

An open question for me, perhaps more future looking, how to collaborate on work and projects. Perhaps, somethin to brainstorm (aka opening a brainstorm doc for all members to contribute). 

 

 

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Peer review : Paint – Catch – Move (after Serra)

Paint – Catch – Move – An intermedia Box

 

asking for peer feedback on the following animation – an embodied painterly approach (at forum wide hangout)

 

Some ideas received:

(after the hangout and through other channels)

The overall feedback was that this was a powerful work with great potential through its “juxtaposition of the real and the digital, the organic and the constructed, colour and b&w, and the way these contrasts shifted and rearranged in a way that was uncanny, surreal and slightly unsettling” (Julia) . 

  • Struggle: ‘…. showing a constant struggle of catching that “good idea” to “make it work” ‘ (Marija) and idea of “my trying to catch onto an illusive idea he has in his head but it keeps slipping through his fingers. Then he catches one of these ideas but it is not what he he is looking for so he rejects it, only to retrieve it and try again to catch it” (Nuala)?
  • Failure: alongside frustration of my ” constant effort for little reward as it continuously slips through ..fingers” (Julia)
  • Reality: what if the withdrawing painted hand becomes unpainted? Surreal, breaking the fourth wall, and uncanny 
  • Contrast: black & white versus color –  context surrounding it, difference of ideas in my head?
  • Removal: moment of withdrawing my hand (B&w -> color, inside -> outside, acting -> getting on with things)
  • Elements of monotone, illusiveness
  • Painting: painted arm connotation of labor (e.g. coal or oil-smeared arm of a miner or other industrial worker), a nod to digital while retaining the painted and performance
  • Disruption: other memories of childhood experience of TV and puppet shows, the hand as dissociated, independent of me (outside the box), “behaving badly, uncontrollable” (Emma)
  • Context: Psychological element of mirroring, looking behind the scenes online, computers and devices what, connotation of ‘throwing’ pieces as Facebook ‘throw at us’ (Emma). It does remind me of ‘thing’ in the Addams Family
  • Recalibration, new moments, e.g. letting the hand inside – and remove myself; reminding me of the later Bruce Naumann videos in his studio
  • Technology: low-fi approach
  • References: Alexa Wright, e.g. Alter Ego?  Buster Keaton? Steve McQuinn?  – old silent movies from begin 20th century, drama of sound, music, and intermediate texts

Questions:

  • How to incorporate further new, uncanny moments, unexpected, once the viewer got the idea? How to  build drama into the narrative? Is drama temporal or can it also be spatial, like intrinsic in a ‘static’ painting?
  • How to push painting and materiality alongside the virtual and digital further?
  • Improvements:  smoother transitions between takes

Interestingly, there were different opinions whether this work is to be considered as WIP for further elaboration, or already good as it is.

I do thank all for taking the time to look at my ‘moving’ images work and to respond with a wide variety of connotations

Conclusion:

I do understand that this work plays very much with memories of the past of visual culture. relating to analog TV, puppet shows, performing puppeteers, childhood memories. The use of black&white has a strong connotation with analog films, and even silent movies. I think this might be an observation especially from photography students who do discern deeply when to use B&W photography due to its nostalgia appeal. 

I am glad that the difference and contrast between the inside (b&w, painted) and the outside (color, my body, my actions) came across strongly and as being a key aspect in the work. Also the clarity of digital versus physical reality. In that sense, I am pleased with the engagement.

More to think about, and relating to my actual moment of performance: the dissociative, independent aspect of what is acting/performing and what is behind, aside, in the ‘now’ reality. The physical, embodied aspect, versus the virtual, displaced, disembodied one. 

Next steps it to see how to bundle all of this, or just one aspect of it, into a narration. Thinking about visual only, or sound or music. And how embedded text (visual or verbal) could be considered, reflecting on the way silent movies developed drama. 

I find the works of Alexa Wright very fascinating and bookmarked for further reference.


Side note:

It happened that Peter posted on discuss forum his assignment work for the course ‘Moving Images’ that he developed through the entire course from idea, through screenplay towards filming. His subject matter was a conflict between mother and daughter, and I could learn a lot from how moving images as in film are developed for drama and  through temporal, visual cues. In my above video I worked a bit with zooming in and out, wondering how much film knowledge I need to have as a Fine Arts student for my practice (what is still not very clear how this looks like)


Background: 

The body as part of the image – the embodied image – the narrative . An appropriation of Richard Serra

One previous work (audio-video – 3:23 min)

and a still image:

Stefan513593 - P3Ex2 Catch_Paint_Box - composite

 

 


Reference: 

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Being out there – Where is my place?

Stefan513593_reflection_exhibits

Already seven weeks passed since my contribution to SHOWCASE with OCA (Fig. 2). Today, I had my second exhibition opening (vernissage – Fig. 3). This time a local show with local artists from the area (German, Dutch, partly Russian), most of them making art for leisure and pleasure without a degree. What did I learn and where am I now?

Both shows took time and efforts in preparation and in participation. I started making my first artist business cards (first with a draft one I took with me to London, afterwards adjusted), created my artist website, communicated on social channels (Fig. 1). On the website, I got very valuable feedback through the discuss forum. Bottomline, I actually achieved to have two exhibitions, a major change reflecting on my previous self-conscious thinking how to get this step done and pushed myself somehow – perhaps less consciously – into new areas of what art would mean to me. And not to forget, that I pushed myself to make some public art interventions and was acknowledged by OCA as a featured artist on their website and social channels.

SJSchaffeld - artist website / card Fig 1: Artist Website and Artist business card

Additionally, we set up this week the start for a regional Swiss group with one of our aims to organize a group show in Switzerland next year.

The future is bright  – response of one of my clients from a coaching session

SHOWCASE with OCA @oxotowerwharf,  London

I had great time at and along SHOWCASE in London Despite some minor aspects, like: why the walls were kept white, why the names of the students whose work were on display were not attached to the work itself, and how difficult it was to find a good place for my ‘Object-Box’ in the gallery space. Nevertheless, it was great to have been part of a group of fellow students to show some works, works that brought together a wider sense of community, and feeling proud that my works were sitting together with other works. And to see my name on the window is just awesome!

I’ve met for the first time people I only know through a screen, or just through social media or discuss forum discussions. A very full body experience that propelled my motivation and inspiration. Just wish that these would become a regular part of OCA/UCA student recognition – and to be able to get out there. To be in London for this event felt so exciting, and friends of mine were truly fascinated by that fact as well. And the first time I handed over my card to a gallery owner, who asked for my Instagram profile.

SJSchaffeld_exhibition_SHOWCASE, Oct2018 Fig. 2: SHOWCASE exhibition, Oct 2018, London, UK

 

One main objective for me was to interact with the audience and my ‘Object-Box’: engagement, participation and elements of interactivity. My idea was that the audience could engage with the box through either the reading of QR codes (with links to instructions, and background information) by using their smartphones and/or through unfolding the box itself. Intestingly, some people (adults) were interested and intrigued by the box and its concept. But I felt ti was the kids who actually had fun in interacting with the box and discovering thus clumpy items inside. This reminded my strongly of my site experience at the exhibition of Abraham Cruzvillegas where actually the construction of new objects from found objects was the main work, and again the kids and younger people had much more fun and no concerns to jump onto the objects. Are adults too self-conscious when entering an art space to engage physically wth the work, even if invited? I had some good discussions before the show in the discuss forum re interaction and participation. Overall, I found that my works and concept need more thorough preparation and installation alongside some guidance for the audience. Based on one comment received I wrote quickly handwritten note re to use smartphone to get information from the QR codes – are they really that secretly concealed? Also , I think that such approaches would require a holistic approach, i.e. to place that in relationship to the other works on display, otherwise it would feel a but awkward and isolated as I perceived my ‘Object-Box’ at Showcase.

Annual group exhibition @Rhauderfehn, Germany

Nevertheless, now with my other quite different exhibition I have mixed feelings. Perhaps a return to the ground and ‘reality’? The rural area where we currently live is not London, not even having a contemporary art scene at all. The community is an established traditional group that was founded in 1980s – and with the key players being the same. Although, I noticed that a new generation of people within this community is trying to bring new perspectives – and with more social sensibility (and still afraid of ‘political art’ as the people in the city either don’t like it or are ‘not ready yet’ for this kind of art) I was facing the question what art is, how people see it, how the audience impacts my discernment of what to show, and where the line between art and kitsch would reside. The latter question reminding me of my research for UVC on Kitsch and Greenberg‘s notion that kitsch builds on effects and being easily ‘understood’ by the population, pleasing works. Some works that are now on display alongside my own works seem to fit into that ‘definition’. Am I just too critical and unfair? What is my position and place?

SJSchaffeld_exhibition_Rauderfehn, Dec 2018 Fig. 3: Annual exhibition, Dec 2018, Rhauderfehn, Germany

 

However, I had good talks today with some of the community, a few are planning for next summer an installation in the community’s own gallery space referring to the observation in town that grass is growing through the asphalt, people not taken care enough. I will be the first time they are trying to do something different – against a strong traditional opposition who don’t want to discuss art at all. Is this typical for rural areas off-side from a pulsing urban art scene? This area it not an area where people pay for art, the buy to place in their rooms. The population is getting elderly, what was ‘young and fresh’ in the 1980s are the same who dominant the current scene, saturated, not buying new works.

I put some works of project series  ‘Absence & Presence’ from 2017 into the exhibition now, a reference to observed  decay and memory in this area – a subtle critique or just a an interesting technical approach? One comment from one visitor today was that the work should be better hanged with a passepartout (see Fig. 4). My motivation for framing was to protect as the venue (town hall- three floors – with daily movement in the corridors). The installation is not what I expected to be. Reflecting now on this, a better way would have been to put them unframed with a certain distance to the wall – and all in a row. When I arrived Friday to install the individual pieces were all over the place, just where it fitted somehow (just a few people from the group installed all 68 pieces on display within three hours) – and eventually made me to take what was there and install it myself.  Another learning for me.

Installation view 'Absence & Presence', 2017 (c)StefanJSchaffeld Fig. 4: Installation view ‘Absence & Presence’, 2017 (c)StefanJSchaffeld

Key learnings

  • Getting out is a major and important leap, good to make before on reaches level 3 (on BA pathway)
  • Preparation takes time and efforts and required funding (e.g. for framing).
  • Showing work is also a question of quality and presentation oneself
  • Participating in an established set of traditional structures (m current group exhibition) requires a more humble approach of what I would like to achieve and what actually can be achieved-
  • Networking and making contacts is possibly the main objective for me at this stage  – in hope that it will some time be realized through art gallery space recognition (single show?)
  • Public interventions need not only courage but also a sense of clarity what it is that I want to do – and how
  • Installation and venue:  Who installs? What guideline are there? What is in my control?
  • Audience: Who is the audience? And does it actually matter? Risk avoidance or taken risks?
  • Overall, to do it and to think less about how to do it, is a refreshing experience.
  • Courseworks suffers, unfortunately, due to less time for making works (even if I adjust coursework to all what I do). Nevertheless, very worth to do.
  • Re interactive works: need more consideration, preparation and holistic approach to get value out of it and to invite the audience fully into that experience.

Images: all photographs taken by myself, 2018 – reproduction of flyer (Fig. 3) image credit: Kunsttkreis Rhauderfehn, 2018

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Visibility – on OCA sites

Today, I received an email from OCA office saying that one of my works (from a sketchbook that was in display at Showcase at oxotowerwharf (24-28 Oct 2018) has been chosen as featured images for the OCA website (main title) and their social channels. It made me very proud and I felt honoured . What made me aware that exposure is a big part of being an artist – and to be perceived as one .

After my public art intervention two days ago , I feel – and just hope – that this is one way forward to more exposure. Certainly a question to myself how, how much time and efforts, and what I want to move forward with. Also perhaps time to map out what I am doing as part of coursework meets gallery standards, and how much I want to continue with experimenting around but not at all being something to show. The selected work by OCA made me also aware that some of my sketchbooks works are actually of better ‘quality’ than larger scale drawings or paintings. 

Screenshots of OCA website and social channels:

 

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Public art – an intervention

Train stations can be quite fascinating – strolling along with eyes open even more. What started today with looking at things on a construction wall on platform 16 of Zürich’s main station, followed by sharing it on the FB group ‘Found Paintings and Sculptures’ went eventually into a gestural public art event (drawing a frame and adding a signature) that I shared later on my IG account (with my own hashtag #paint4OCA):  https://www.instagram.com/p/BqI7BlrDoxv/

Starting with being quite nervous about leaving my marks in public, it went overall into an intriguing experience that I found more and more exiting the more I looked at it. It evolved with making it, coming back a few times for short interventions, each time adding a new layer, marks ( frame -> signature -> inviting a friend -> adding hashtag). Beween each step communicating on social platforms).

Learnings:

  • Making the first step is the hardest challenge, anxious what other might say.
  • Being assertive and clear in my gesture and intention made it easier.
  • The work was not only a process of making but also a process of raising confidence. To have met a good friend and inviting her to take a photograph supported me in my adventure.
  • It matured and I can see now that this might actually evolve into a series – or just a different sensibility to putting me out there.
  • Once more, after the Showcase experience, questions of how to invite and engage with an audience appeared. Or just to leave my indexical trace alone ?
  • Open Questions of what might be allowed in public spaces? When to ask permission? Whom to ask? What if I make some interventions without asking (subversive)?
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Part Three – Preliminary Thoughts

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - space

I feel that this part will take me from my previous explorations of objects as actors back to the human presence (or absence) the relationship of the human body in painting, either as a staged (body as canvas) subject-object or as a point of reference in an anthropomorphic sense. Considering my constellation works that inspired me it seems as if the interaction of the person in arranging things will come into play, Not as the ‘invisible’ guiding hand, but as the acting hand. Touch, movement, and positioning.  

So far, I walked through and around my works (e.g. Walking Through Painting), looked at them top down (e. g. ‘Cut-out collages’ on horizontal table) or through, was engaged with them at a unique object-relationship (see featured image). Now, the question, how to incorporate either my body, another human body or a proxy of human body inside the work. How can the human body be represented beyond traditionally figurative paintings?  Another more intriguing way would be to find new perspectives on how I do interact actually with my works – or how they perform on me, guiding me, a dialogue? How could the viewer actually be involved through participation? The latter was a key aspect in my last assignment work Object-Box.

Elements to explore further are: 

  • Performative aspects of objects – and how the viewer is engaged
  • Objects and images of objects acting as proxy bodies  an anthropomorphic dimension of human presence or absence
  • Body painting – the body as a tool (see part one) or the body as the support? or even as the performative support? Wondering wether the body can be the paint and the support….
  • Ideas, objects, images and processes: relationship between them through appropriation, enactment, transformation and memory.
  • Narratives: creating a narrative through a visual sequence (can a still image not already convey a narrative?) and how a visual disruption could create a nonlinear narrative – more to ponder
  • Mirror and reflection: How a reflective surface or a framed view can rupture the pictorial space 

One open question would be how narrative can play a deeper role in abstract art or whether the depticted subject as in history paintings is the point of reference. I think that during part two with my cut-out collage animations I added a temporal layer to the still images. Are still images enough to convey a narrative or does it need the element of time to express a narrative? It reminds me of the old battle between spatial (as painting or sculpture) and temporal arts (as poetry of cinema) as described by G. Lessing in ‘The New Laocoon’ (1767). I explored partly in the previous two parts filmic elements, more in the sense of moving images. Not so much, yet, with inclusion of sound. It brings me back to my last course unit UVC and my last assignment essay on video installations (see here), and the work of Bill Viola and his work The Greeting, 1995 that was inspired by Jacopo Pontormo’s painting (1528-29) and acts through its extreme slow motion (1:10) and transformation as a contemporary dynamic narrative, enforcing the psychological aspect of the encounter.

The starting point for me – as it is still available in my studio space – to get interacted with my Walking Through Painting, to capture my presence, and to see how this could be worked into another work. Also, how my body, similar to the objects arranged, can act and perform in the same staged scene. What would get really close to other structural constellation works with having people to represent absent people, things, abstract ideas. It is the human who gets into touch with a scene through a trans-verbal language. And a person is re-arranging till it fits all, the things and the representatives. How to embed this into a piece of (art)work? As a reference or as a process in itself? For me it is the ‘things in itself’ that perform at different levels. The viewer would be the visitor to engage with – question whether the viewer would be allowed to arrange, as I invited them with my Object-Box.

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Some further reflection

In the google groups one fellow student was asking for some advice and my feedback given were more as a message to myself on what supported me during this course so far. Here some bullet points:

    To experiment beyond what one might think are painting media, including physical and digital materials.
    To go and visit contemporary exhibitions as much as possible. It may not spark the moment I am visiting, but it may resonate with my work at a later stage. This really helped me to find a wider context of what I am doing.
    To establish a certain routine with learning diary and thoughts that may come through the day. I tend to record myself with a voice tracker now. I have to see whether this is sustainable or just one step of constant changes.
    To take the researches just as a springboard. It might sound easy but in keeping a freedom in how to interact with mentioned sources, looking aside and trying to connect things I learn. To read and to try to put as much as possible in context with my own work. That means to make work repetitively.
    A key question for me is time: how deep do I want to get into things? Is it because I want to do it for me or to deliver on deadlines? A struggle continues.
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Preparatory Ideas for A2: Perspectives – Installation – Multiple views of flat pictures

Stefan513593 - Three fold perspective - #2 - unfolded

I was looking how to make sense out of my work on the object-box and pondering the two sides aspects, e.g. revealing-concealing, folding-unfolding, I was looking at different ways to have the multiplicity of perspectives in one installation. The obvious one would be just to have multiple pictures side by side. Other ideas coming to my mind: table (Top and bottom view), mirror (and reflection), Moebius strip, one support with two images, rotating in the middle, and one installation with three pictures. 

I experimented with printed images of some of my sketches to see how these ideas behave

#1 Three fold perspective

This one is inspired by the fence of the Swiss Television Studio (SRF) in Zurich (seen some years ago, still there). Portrait pictures but three-fold. The point was that through installing parallel bars the one support with normally one picture is split into three pictures. Moving from left to right or vice versa one can see first a picture from one side, then the middle, at last looking backwards the picture on the other side of the bars. They are still there, can’t find the images online, but on google map street view

After a less successful attempt (Fig. 1 – unfolded) I made another maquette with smaller images (Fig. 2) and made sure that most of the image is inside the frame, otherwise it translates visually less successful. The used images are prints from sketchbook works: outside and inside.

Stefan513593 - Three fold perspective - #1 - unfolded

Fig. 1: Three fold perspective – #1 – unfolded

 

Stefan513593 - Three fold perspective - #2 - unfolded

Fig. 2: Three fold perspective – #2 – unfolded

The moving view of the folded maquette, looking from left (Fig. 3), top down (Fig. 4), and from right (Fig. 5) -click on the images to see in lightbox mode:

 

=> the used image might not be the best, as the last one is already visually confusing enough in itself. It seems this kind of spatial installation of perspectives requires simpler visual images. Or is this overall mess just the exciting thing? Does it add to a unique experience of two sides of something: obviously, yes – unique, doubt. Exciting enough? not sure, more a one time ‘aha’, effect based. Good for painting? yes.

I’ve seen an installation by Mika Tajima with a resembling installation piece for The Extras, 2009. Although, I don’t know whether he had a similar intent. His view on ‘sculptures double as “actors” ‘ seems an exciting aspect considering my object-fetish experience, as anthropomorphic objects (aka painted sculptures).  What I like in his piece, is that the middle section is void, leaving only left and right view visible. Perhaps to have cuts in the painted image, empty spaces, either as real empty space in between, or as unpainted empty space on a support, two sides of the void. What resonates well with Katharina’s Grosse perspective on painting as making the invisible visible through the space in between.

And what I also can connect with my side-ideas of the glitch, triggered by the inkjet print with blocked nozzles (Fig. 6, left) and what resulted in a barcode appropriation of the image glitch (Fig. 6, right). Visual information present or absent, visible or concealed.

Stefan513593 - Three fold perspective - glitch

Fig. 6: Three fold perspective – glitch

At the end I made a more sculptural installation with styrofoam and perspex, left and right side with two cut-out collage images. The background perspex for the void (Fig. 7-9) – click on the images to see in lightbox mode:

The perception of a ‘complete’ picture is informed by the thickness and the distance of the spacer-bars. To obtain a full picture one had to move slowly from one to the other side, otherwise part of the picture will be concealed. What in itself is an interesting phenomena, to have movement as an intrinsic aspect of visual perception.

#2 Moebius strip

Some sketches and mockups I made at the beginning (Fig. 10) while reflecting on my suitcase as mobile studio, my object-box as model for art or art in itself, and my two places of residences.. The idea of Moebius strip brought up to me by Kate who looked at this idea as part her photography studies. The image shows also the installation in a hotel room, a ‘companion’ for my object-box.

Stefan513593 - Moebius strip

Fig. 10: Moebius strip

=> I believe the moebius strip as a ‘mathematical problem‘ is much used, or overused? The smaller strip hanging at the bottom of the larger is created by not cutting halfway, but one third of width (see here). Does it add to a unique experience of two sides of something: obviously, yes – unique, doubt. Exciting enough? not sure, effect based. Good for painting? yes.

What I like is the idea of endless repetition, resonating with my previous assignment work. Here the circling around and repetition is successful, i.e. endless.  It is not a failure, subject to a physical destruction of material

#3 Rotating tableau

Stefan513593 - Rotating Tableau

Fig. 11: Rotating Tableau

and as moving images, partly fast and normal speed

 

The films are not great, more of a visual sketch or illustration of an idea. Did I expected the two images merge into one? I assume this need more stable frames and higher speed (see the reverse motion effect with carriage wheels in films). The films are looped and the fast motion can make one dizzy (feedback from my wife Anja). What is mere effect and what is a different way of knowing? 

Does it add to a unique experience of two sides of something: not so clear –  unique no. Exciting enough? not really. Good for painting? yes, I  believe so.

Question: Would a still hanging object trigger desire to engage with? Thus, not the effect in itself but the relationship with the viewer is one focus? It reminds me of the exhibition I went in Zurich of Abraham Cruzvillegas, with the objects there to play, to build, to construct. An interaction and active roles of the viewer. A difference that Cruzvillegas painted the object after construction and placed them as ‘finished’ objects in the museum space. Here, and in this course, I am the constructor and the painter of objects and placing them in relations. Still, what could or should I leave to the viewer? What is installed and what are things to work with. Clearly, also a question of touching ‘art objects’ or not. 

 

#4 Roto-Milk:

milk box, overpainted, with keeping some images from the pack.

Stefan513593 - Roto Milk

Fig. 12: Roto Milk

and as moving images, partly fast and normal speed

Does it add to a unique experience of two sides of something: more of multiple sides plus the unique ground and figure perception. Exciting enough? Perhaps, question to have autonomous or viewer’s controlled movement. Good for painting? yes.

The white paint and the white background could possible match, ie. dissolve into each other. A question of paint used (should be not a problem to use the same for wall or background and object) and illumination and shadow cast, what could be harder to control. But this moment to chance might be the exciting part, possibly leader viewers, as it was for me, to try to ‘dissolve’, to make differentiate or to uniform object- wall. What could open new possibilities in painting and a different ground-figure approach, subject to  viewer’s agency, bringing the ‘spectator into objecthood’ (O Eliasson).

 

#5: Mirror – Reflection

Mirror - Reflection

Fig. 13: Mirror – Reflection

A mirror can act as an image falling back on the viewer. In the form of perspex as a reflective but also transparent support (see museum glass) it could be an agent for interaction. What is around, and what is in the space between would be the informing factor.

Does it add to a unique experience of two sides of something: more conceptually, Exciting enough? no. Good for painting? not sure, certainly not the mirror, perhaps with reflective perspex.

Reflection:

My ideas of multiple views and perspectives are not complete, mostly appropriation of what I’ve seen or heard of. Nothing creatively new, a mean to communicate a message, a narrative? Or to contrived, to ‘over-used’ in the sense of ‘we all know that’ resulting in getting the viewer bored versus excited to experience it afresh. Or would this depend on what pictures are on the surface? Or whether there is a certain ‘twist’ of unknown things? Or do I overthink all of it instead of just following the visual path and see what my response would be at the very moment of making it real, i.e. to move from mock-ups and maquette to the real painted thing? Makes me wonder when to start with what – kind of hen and egg dilemma. Or another failure, something I experienced already before.

Perhaps, as painting is on surfaces with some sedimentation through material structures, the spatial perception is based on something else, Either on real physical 3D objects in space like a sculpture, or as a painted surface in relationship with other painted surfaces and the space in between is filling the third dimension? A space that is there but is only activated by an actively perceiving spectator.

What did I obtained through this ‘two sides’ experiments? Although the 3D sketches might not be the way I will continue, mock-ups and maquette, it gave me more insight and knowledge about how things, how moving or still can be perceived, that there is more than one perspective on looking at things, even if they have some obvious ‘effects’, and that there are various levels of engagement. Only through actually making these, interacting with, and reflecting on those opens up new ways of seeing and thinking.

Key aspects to consider for development and future works:

  • Objecthood: The sculptural painting as object or assemblage and for a subject to visually engage with (see #2)? Or as ground-figure question, dissolving things based on paint used and illumination (see #4)
  • Movement: Object rotates autonomously, by spectator’s agency directly (person moves the object) or indirectly (person moves) (see #3 and #4)
  • Reflection: Directly through reflective surfaces, e.g. mirror, or indirectly through awareness of engagement of process of looking (see #5)
  • Perspectives: Glitches, fragments, invisible visual information opening up questions how what a picture is and how we make sense out of visual information (see #1) Alongside a viewer’s active control of what, how and when something is perceived, the painted images might add to a unique experience, especially when juxtaposed with non-visible information aka void.
  • Installation: Is installation an arrangement of things or a body aka object as a whole? Installation of objects as ‘ready-to-consume’ for the spectator and just to make sense out of it, or installation as space to actively engage and interact? (see #3 and #4). 
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Inspiration & Ideas – Object & Fetish Installation

Just a view on how I installed some objects, self-made, readymade, collage pieces, writing, thinking, playing, – the object-box as reflection-wall – a board for further inspiration.

A board of not-knowing how to work from these, maybe an archive? A collection of fragments? Artefacts?

Stefan513593 - SP - Part 2 - inspiration objects and fetish - installation

 

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Peer feedback : Objects and Fetishism

During the life forum hangout 09 Sep 2018 (https://discuss.oca-student.com/t/forum-live-hangout-sun-sept-9th-6pm-sign-up-here/8024/31) I asked my peers for some feedback as it would allow me to be clearer on the ‘essence’ of what I was doing and making :

  • the works in itself
  • the works together as an assembly
  • any associations related to seeing them
  • possible ideas how this could be moved forward

I worked now since couple of months with and on my object box, an assemblage of dysfunctional things that became part of my life already. I had to put a break in my coursework for reasons of relocation and re-settling.

In March I posted a video of me performing an unfolding of my object-box and got various feedbacks that more or less consciously or subconsciously impacted my approach.

  • the thread of the March hangout: here
  • my initial reflection after the hangout: here

My initial performative interaction  could this be a work in itself, or part of work?

I continued with coursework and preparation of my assignment work along a more painterly approach, with some moving images that resemble animation films, and an expansion into space trying to put myself and my objects into a new perspective. I had to let go some of the box-objects – to move them into my new works.

Reflection on feedback received:

  • As I asked for feedback on the assembly of four works, most comments came back on the animation piece, as something intriguing, a narrative, and entertaining. With a sense of innocent charm. The references made to this were:
    a) BBC Children Series with Tony Hart: The series started with 1964 ‘Vision On‘, initially targeting children with hearing impairment, followed 1977 by its replacement series ‘Take Hart‘. All are visual presentations of cut-out, simple painted marks, and other visual plays as entertainment.
    b) Bento Boxes. I am not sure that food is the direction to go, I was aware that the fork as part of my object box would bring this up immediately. A reason why I skipped this object in the third animation (#1)
    c) ‘Manipulating’ – control through hands. How could this be moved further that the viewer has a sense of their hands? A different visual entry?
  • My object collage work #4-What is Below and Beyond  was related to Chef’s Table, in overcoming the constraints of serving food on a plate, expanding to the table and serving food directly onto and from the table, the table as worktable for performative presentation. at: Chef’s Table Season 2 Episode 1 Grant Achatz.  This is an interesting notion, as more for practical reasons I placed the work onto a small table/chair, kind of referring back to the origin of work-table. This work was also associated with the notion of inside-outside the box, a reversal, what I find an interesting aspect for further development.
  • We discussed my reference to fetishes, and the unboxing as a repetitive cycle of interacting with objects was associated with:
    – obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and
    ASMR unboxing on youtube, (ASMR = Autonomous sensory meridian response, a mean to relax through experiencing tingling sensations on the skin
    –  cognitive bias: what am I holding onto? what could/should change?
  • Other associations: Pandora Box, Black Box, Relicts, Mystery.
  • For me an interesting aspect was that compared with my initial performative unboxing video, the mystery and secret language hidden was lost in my later works. Do I want to capture the mystery, magic moment when the viewer sees my work, or do I want to move another road, more mundane, or a frontal encounter with dysfunctional objects (with or without title) to make the seeing and looking experience the content?
  • Another comment made was related to the shift of color from #1 to #4. A conscious decision or a de-saturation of visual impact. What colors could be more successful for my subject?
  • It became clearer to me that the term ‘fetish’ is somehow challenging, perhaps even provocative. The comment related to obsession is well made, there was certainly an aspect during this time for me. I feel there is a something between a more observer position of the viewer and being part of an experience. So far I am afraid that the seeing online supports a more consuming attitude, versus a larger scale work with the viewer invited to engage physically with could possibly overcome this.

Conclusion:

It was very helpful to get feedback from others and I do thank all for their valuable contributions.  Some aspects might need more time to digest and mature.

One thing that I am still not clear about for myself, is animation as painting, or painting as animation aka moving images. It allows certainly to communicate a process and development. Would it possibly better if the viewer is invited to engage with the process and work out some possibly scenarios?  What can I convey through moving images in painting that would be missing otherwise? A new insight? So far the animation worked by feedbacks received, though without a mystery. Too predictable? Too entertaining?

I will take further the idea of fetish, objects, obsession, inside-out, and agency of viewer into consideration. Possibly that the work need to be done at much larger scale, to bring in the ‘objecthood of the spectator’ (quoting Olafur Eliasson). One was would be to skip the box and move to object and relationships, between objects and between objects and spectator.

The question of color, bright versus muted, need more attention from my end, what serves what?

Resources mentioned:


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Painting on transparent support

Stefan513593 - painting on transparent support -feat

After having some good and some less good experience with painting with acrylic on glossy and transparent supports, especially on protective plastic sheets, I decided to see with fellow students on FB and to do some more formal painting testing.

The good thing with acrylic paint on plastic is that it can be easily removed as a skin and be transferred to another support (Fig 1 – paint removed from a glass plate). The bad thing is the same, it doesn’t stick. Moving forward with my sculptural painting, painting on packaging materials, and with possibly installations with a looking through effect (see my trials before), I found that better knowledge how paint behaves on what kind of surface would be worth the effort to put into this testing.

As suggested by Ros I purchased in a local DIY store a primer for plastic supports that is supposed to enforce the adhesion of paint to the surface without the risk of flaking off. Catherine informed be that oil paint could be used directly on perspex. 

Stefan513593 - acrylic skin

Fig. 1: acrylic skin

My set up (Fig. 2) to ensure that I covered translucent as well opaque paint (to look from the other side) and based on my main color spots on my worktable aka object-box (red and blue, I mixed the following in acrylic and oil paint. Cd Red is normally opaque, but interestingly Cd red imit. in acrylic is translucent, ultramarin is translucent, whereas cobalt blue is half-half, why I decided to mix it with opaque titane white and part opaque indigo.  

Stefan513593 - painting on transparent support #1

Fig. 2: acrylic and oil paint – transparent/opaque – red/blue

painted support in acrylic and oil: transparent and opaque each, red and blue

backside views:

Stefan513593 - ultramarine - oil - acrylic

Fig. 12: ultramarine – oil – acrylic

 

 

Conclusion:

  • I have to wait till oil paint is dry. Acrylic is dry and it became obvious that regular plastic in the form of protective plastic sheets (what I used in the past for transfer processes) is actually the worse in keeping paint on it. A similar effect on household plastic especially with acrylic washes. The use of primer help though.
  • Translucent washes is harder to do with acrylic, oil paint behaves smoother and more uniform. An experience I already encountered during PoP1.
  • Overall, I found that oil paint stays more saturated than acrylic paint, especially with translucent paints and very strongly to notice with ultramarine blue (Fig. 12)
  • Mylar is already translucent, the back-view shows a more milky, whitening effect
  • The use of primer reduce light transmission, making it translucent. What could be used possibly as an advantage by painting parts of transparent ground translucent, a transition effect.
  • Comparing the three transparent options: window color sheet, perspex and rhenalon (is used as a support for printmaking), I could discern that painting on window color sheets desaturates the color slightly, not sure why this could be.
  • Overall, I am pleased how easy it was to paint on all supports, but the protective plastic sheet. It seems that acrylic derived sheets do have enough tooth to keep the paint on it. 
  • How long it takes for oil to completely dry, I have to wait. The same for how stable all paints are over time. Thus I will amend this post, possibly after one month

 

 

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Objects and Fetishism – The Handle and the Box

The Handle of the Box - Mini Box Experience

During this part of the course I had the strange feeling that objects had their own life. Reflecting first on my drawing and painting tools that I took with me on travels – fitting into a nomad life. The tools suddenly changed into dysfunctional things laying around me in my close working environment. My real suitcase changed to a box, as movable and transportable. Even fitting into one suitcase. But now I took not only my real ‘worktable’, the drawings and painting tools, with me. I ‘had’ to take also the box with weird objects along with me. I had to, because I wanted to, to be inspired by the box and to work with and from the box.

What happened? The ‘object-box’ became so familiar to me, being nearly a companion hard to separate from. The longer break I took between making the box and the continuation with coursework actually enforced the sense of belonging. To use some of the objects into my paintings felt strange, to dis-assemble ‘my’ box as a whole, to separate parts from each other. At times I was not sure what the work would be: created paintings inspired by the box, or the box as an object of curiosity and desire. A dilemma.

Meanwhile, objects from the box moved into painted object-collages as new assemblages, with possibly a longer duration of ‘life’, till they get absorbed into new works, like the observational cut-outs – spares or debris.

StefanJSchaffeld - Part 2 - Materiality - Fragments

Spares and Debris

Did I, and still do I, experience fetishism, as Sue commented on my video of unfolding the box? I was hooked by the term, and read around it to make up my mind of what it is and how relevant it can be for next steps.

Fetishes, or also idolatry, are at times connoted with tribal and ‘primitive’ beliefs of objects or things charged with power and transcendental meaning. In that sense many cultural objects could be seen as fetishes, e.g. money. John R. Searle related those things in his book ‘The Construction of Social Reality’ (1996) as socially constructed facts, assigned with a power function by collective intention. Thus, how we perceive fetishes is cultural different, how we react to them seems similar.

Science was long time considered as fact based and objective, what changed somehow with the insights of quantum physics. An anecdote of Niels Bohr about why he had a horseshoe above the doorway and his comment apparently was, that even if we do not believe in transcendental power of things, they would still ‘work’.

‘Humans are not any longer between themselves’ – Bruno Latour

Nowadays, things seem to have more or less an independent ‘life’, at least they have independent power, e.g internet of things, drones (an focus e.g in Hito Steyerl’s work). We establish a relationship with them, we talk to them and we listen to them, e.g. Alexa or Siri. We consider things in an anthropomorphic way. Who can’t relate to this when e.g working on a computer and it doesn’t do what we want it to do?

And things do live further when we die. We charge things with memories, a phenomena that is reflected in e.g. how we relate to photographs of deceased people especially family members. Kind of overcoming death.

And is art per se not a fetish? Material charged with meaning and power?

The distinction between object and subject get blurred, an illusion. In that sense fetishism is an intrinsic part of modern as Hartmut Boehme argued (2012).

Things do have different aspects:

  • Function: a purpose or use, relating to Richard Serra’s list of transitive verbs ‘to xxx’, an aspect of operational, relating to Steinberg’s notion of shift in pictorial plane towards ‘operational process’. Reminds me also the project with  ‘End to End’ (Lean Management, with Enough Room for Space)
  • Meaning: social meaning and sense / things to increase self-esteem and status / as historical artefact
  • Aesthetic: related to object culture and how we embellish useful things (ref. design)

Things of consumerism could be blamed as the golden calf  (see Nicolas Poussin) or as a capitalist repression of the poor by the rich (Karl Marx). For me more a question of awareness of our relationship to things – as old as Stone Age (could my pebble act as a reference or reminder of that geological time lapse?). Things do act on us, as Boehme described the mechanism of fetish (translated from German by myself):

“Things have to take over the task to suggest us an independence from them that we don’t have, we loose it the very moment as things make us believe we gained freedom.’ – Hartmut Boehme 

Exploring things is like reflection on oneself. What is discovered inside falls back onto us.

Objects do act as a way of understanding the world. Our actions are embedded with the things we act with or on. Georg Simmel explored in the story ‘Der Henkel (The Handle)’ the double aspects of an object, a jar. Through the handle the world touches the object, and through the spout the object reaches out to the world. The object, the jar itself being rather independent through its more aesthetic form. And Roger-Pol Droit explored how mundane things do work, how they are and what they do with us, e.g a photocopier, a clip, a water-level.

My object-box and all dysfunctional things would be one way of experiencing myself, my self image mediated through objects. It that what fetish is about? To hold, means to be aware?

The image above (featured image) could also be seen as a box inside the next one – the endlessness of satisfying desire in our life.

The Box inside the Box - Mini Box Experience

The Box inside the Box – Mini Box Experience

The box as container, visible and invisible. Possible to act upon and throw it away? Gaining apparent freedom? Possible way of visualization to destruct the box and suspend over larger scale objects , kind of explosion but still present. Reminds of me Cornelia Parker’s ‘Blowing the Shed‘, a process of interaction and relationship just to make us more aware of what is there.


Reference:

  • Böhme, H. (2012) Fetischismus und Kultur : eine andere Theorie der Moderne,Rowohlts Enzyklopädie,  3rd ed. ed. Edited by König, B. Reinbek, Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag.
    review in english at: https://am.ubiquitypress.com/articles/89/)
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Object-Subject performance (cat)

‘Things perform for you’ – was a subject in part one. At that time I tried to capture traces of our cat with paint, a failure and disaster. Now, with working more with objects, a new approach – ideation and becoming.

Playing with our cat Dobby with simple things and objects, paper and cardboard, otherwise waste. And moving objects: table tennis and squash ball

 

Ideas:

  • to use the multiple folded and unfolded paper, partly teared, as an object in my work – reminiscent of my A1 work
  • To engage with object relationship and way of exploring as a way to approach my sculptural paintings – reminiscent of Abraham Cruzvillegas exhibition ‘Autoreconstruction: Social Tissue’ visited this year
  • The difference in size and scale – curiosity and play – object as mean for play; questioning my approach to objects
  • Meanwhile, I exchanged the nearly completely torn apart paper (last image, in the background) with a new one, wrapping paper that is four times folded in a box (still from one of my moves in the US, U-Haul). I noticed that the new one’s surface is so smooth that it is hard to build it into space. Over time, with our cat making all sorts of marks and folds, 5ge paper became more robust, stabler to stand in space. Folds to stabilize, like those construction elements cross crossing large metal fire standing constructions, e.g. bridges
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Studio Mapping (amending my studio reflections)

Stefan513593 - studio space - gestural mapping - feature

I felt the desire to amend my studio reflections through a more visual exploration. As I took first some photographs with different viewpoints, I tried to take printed versions of those and map them out in my sketchbook (double page A4 – Fig. 1)

What I experienced was a disruption in felt experience and spatial perception. Did I try to map first more accurate according to spatial distance, I understood the near impossibility of my endeavour with the photographs at hand. Eventually, I grouped those that made physically more sense. At the end, I finished with a scattered map of pictures, and a first approach to connect gesturally with lines and some descriptive map icons.

Stefan513593 - studio space - photographic mapping

Fig. 1: studio space – photographic mapping

I knew that photographic reproductions would be limited in reflection my embodied experience in studio space. My second attempt, with gestural scattered markings walking around in my studio space, responding to what I saw, what drew my attention, unmediated, more of placing myself into a visual relationship with that space (Fig. 2). I used pencil, ink pen, gouache paint in layers, to differentiate various steps of my exploration of space.Last steps was my interaction with what I’ve done, how the visual image looked like, and used some water to make some gestural connecting washes across the surface. 

and my second approach as gestural mapping:

Stefan513593 - studio space - gestural mapping

Fig. 2: studio space – gestural mapping

 

The color swaps seem to advance (triggered my my eyes wandering to some colored objects on a table or shelf) . There is no real sense of representation of my studio space as a deadpan flat one-point view camera would see it. A medley of gestural sensations, abstract markings, and some figurative pauses of rest (with some play). I am aware of how the color swaps activate the ground and the other elements, as well as how they relate to each other. The question of balance and tension is surfacing.

These two attempts took me around 5-10 min. My reflection took approx more time. 

How to proceed? To keep the momentum of curiosity and wandering around in space, to explore and to make my gestural strokes where they want to be. And to increase awareness of relationship between activating and resting elements

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My Diary – non-visual thinking (Part 2) – II

Stefan513593 - Part2 -sketchbook

I moved house, I  changed country, I reconstructed spaces, I started somehow new –

My course work become secondary, and I missed it from day to day – the break went longer and longer – my frustration grew at same pace.

Now, my continuation of verbal notes, reflective notes, transcripted still (though I kept the audio files still). Continuation of a journey, hoping it will turn at time into something meaningful.

 

…this document is a rolling document and will be updated regularly (click here for doc)

 

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Art photography – opportunities and limitations – A Self-Reflection

  • Art photography – opportunities and limitations – A Self-Reflection
  • Art photography – opportunities and limitations – A Self-Reflection
  • Art photography – opportunities and limitations – A Self-Reflection
  • Art photography – opportunities and limitations – A Self-Reflection

At today’s cross disciplinary hangout (https://discuss.oca-student.com/t/forum-live-discussion-and-feedback-sunday-29th-july-11am-uk/7716/42), my topic raised how to photography best flat artwork, e.g. glossy paintings, was explained in a tutorial by photography tutor Clive in a comprehensive and technical way. His 101 tutorial, a comprehensive guide to overcome frustrating issues with ‘bad representation’ of paintings or drawings. It triggered discussions and my further reflection on what I want to achieve, to make a photographic images resemble the original work visually in front of me, or something else.

During POP1, I uploaded a few monochrome abstract paintings for peer feedback, and I was facing issues with how to get a digital image across to others so that they get a reasonable idea of how the physical painting actually looks like. Questions of tonal values, contrast, white as white or grey hue, and glossy surfaces appeared. In context of my current course I am facing technical questions of video and still images. A question that triggered already discussions with peers and tutors of whether to record and photograph me myself or hiring an assistant or professional photographer. What I should focus on where cross disciplinary work starts.

My recent longer break – off coursework, reconstructing studio and office spaces after my relocation, I have now the luxury to own two daylight studio lamps, a DSLR, a tripod, and a mirror – and space to make images of my work at the wall, in progress or finished. Hoping to get some more standardised, and quicker routine in taken images of my work.

Clive guided (his written guide available at: https://oca-discuss.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/original/2X/e/edc32699c8033c7b91d99b80c893ae216c5b208b.pdf ) us through steps of post-edit (Photoshop), how to adjust values and how this is going to impact visual perception of the image.  

So why all the fuzz? Here some of my thoughts on pro and con:

PROs – Why Yes: 

  • to avoid communicating through ‘badly photographed’ images:
    – sending to my tutors, assessment team and peers when they will not be able to see them as physical work
    – and to make a good first impression (in other occasions where I would need to submit upfront digital images)
  • understanding what and how photographic reproductions are different from the physical object and how possibly to change aspect of attention
  • photographic reproductions can be part of a greater body of work (alongside physical paintings and video etc. – the quality of outcome need therefore to be high, as long ‘low images quality’ is not part of the concept)
  • I don’t want to get frustrated with necessities (and making digital images of my work is required of being a distant learner)

CONs – Why Not: 

  • I am not a professional photographer and time better to spend on making paintings instead of ‘wasting’ time to photograph them, let experts do the work (with my direction)
  • Photographic reproductions are different and possibly an art object in itself, but doesn’t fit into what I want to do and show to people.

The beauty of hangouts is that it is not a problem solving event, with different perspectives and ideas flowing together – and eventually into my brain and body. Topics of representation, reproduction, photographs as separate art objects, and LoFi (brought to the table by Alan) versus high tech equipment and execution made me ponder my purpose and rationale. Also the question how and where to focus and spend my time on (Jennifer: ‘life is too short’). Reminds me of a statement by the American painter Brice Marden in an interview in TURPS Banana issue #20) in discussion on commissioning and the exterior non-painting work related to it:

“I just find it takes up all my time trying to paint.”

Asking myself: What does take up my time? And what do I want taking up my time? My recent break, longer than initially thought, undergoing time consuming and at times less ‘productive’ activities (admin, office, registration; procrastination)

Reflections:

What is my focus?
=> How much time do I want to invest personally in photographing my art work versus making my art work? If I would make photographs of my paintings in order to print and circulate those as giclee or reproductions (an idea that actually crossed my mind, the business side of making art?), then I think I would sacrify my work on paintings (need to prioritization)
What is my intention?
=> A photographic reproduction should get my idea of the image across. Either as a good visual resemblance or as an edited version or appropriation to put the attention on different aspects.
=> One image (photographic reproduction) might not be sufficient in getting the essence across. Several images, close-up views and at times even with more context around (installation type) would be necessary. During the discussion we tackled only slightly the topic of ‘land art’ photography. And how large works (drawings) can even be a big challenge for professional photographers.
Is reproduction part of my work?
=> As documentation or as integral part of the body of work? Talking recently with Carline Wright on her art practice and that for her photographic reproduction as documentation is not part of her work. Actually, she uses it only a trailers to communicate future events with potential customers.
=> I do sense that the quality of the photographic reproduction need to be aligned with my intention. Fast and simple snapshots have a place alongside more ‘professionally’ taken photographs. A question of balancing it out, e.g. images for social media (IG, FB)
 
Overall, I do feel more comfortable with knowing some aspects of the trait, so that I do not spend more time as needed in the future on making photographic reproductions for digital communication. My ‘frustration’ can then be focused more on my paintings instead of technical issues with the camera. In that manner, I do see photographic reproduction as a tool, for communication or as a process tool for myself serving new ideas for drawings and paintings. With regards to material and equipment aka tools it led to the question raise by Alan on:
 
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My new Studio Space

(c) 2018, StefansJSchaffeld

 

Studio Space

       – a constructed space 

             – to become a place for creation of 

  

 

(c) 2018, StefansJSchaffeld

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Unfolding – and Mapping Out

Stefan513593 - studio space - visual mapping - feature

What to do with learnings, additional input and ideas, art practitioners and the question of contemporary still-life – somehow between painting and sculpture  – or sculptural painting – or painterly sculpture?

What to do with information – not to be restrictive –  opening up? 

What I did in the past – mapping out and unfolding visually, my paper folded and unfolded into, to reveal forms and eventually some paintings – revealing edges and shapes, after concealing? 

 

Folds – an Intensity 

 

Visual Mapping

      – visual thinking  –

             – a process of not-knowing and finding out –

      – enveloped –

                  – folds developing –

      – a place to come back –

 

– and not to forget

 

Stefan513593 - SP - Part 2 - visual map
 
Stefan513593 - SP - Part 2 - visual map
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( work in progress – will be amended along my journey )


Reference:

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London Group Study Day – April 14th

  • London Group Study Day – April 14th
  • London Group Study Day – April 14th
  • London Group Study Day – April 14th

This Study Day was one of the main reasons why I decided to fly from Switzerland to London to immerse myself into art and to meet finally really fellow students. I was so excited my exhibition visit to Tate Britain ‘All Too Human’ the day before was just a beginning of what would become a stunning and excellent weekend for me in London. A visit that will most certainly be not the last one. I was really looking forward to this day.

We’ve met at: The Tabernacle, Notting Hill W11 , a group of 11 fellow students at different pathways and different levels and Caroline Wright, tutor and program leader for OCA Fine Art degree pathway. The event was initiated an organised by Arlene Sharp with support from Joanne. A sketchbook study day that developed from bringing with us a small item fitting in our hand and some drawing media and sketchbooks or paper sheets towards an iterative interrogation of visual thinking and creative development of ideas that I found very beneficial to take on in my further practice. The Study Day was split into two parts:

  1. One hour introduction by Caroline on four of her projects 
  2. Around five hours sketchbook and creative ideation session

Fig. 1 – 3: Study Day impressions. Image credit: Caroline Wright, 2018

 


 

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Peer feedback ‘Box Objects’

At the wide open hangout event on March 11th, I posted the video of me unpacking the box in a hotel room for peer feedback (link), a performative interrogation with my table / box / objects – in transportation and on the go

Some aspects discussed:

  • take away box, lunch box (triggered by the fork)
  • gloves => magician
  • technology outside – creativity inside
  • noise -> rodents (triggering childhood nightmares)
  • Expectation: “Something is going to happen.”
  • Unboxing: fetish objects, contrast of beauty
  • Unboxing: consumer experience (e.g. Apple and many other supplier of gadgets following the same route)

It reminded me then of the OCA parcel that comes with new course-material, Opening the box I can see the red sheet wrapped around the binder. 

Some further references provided by others related to other students works:

  • Blas Gonzalez related to found objects in a drawer, unmodified arrangements (part of his Context and Narrative photography course). At: https://blascontextnarrative.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/what-do-you-keep-in-that-drawer/
    => Blas made in his blog post a reference to Nigel Shafran’s work Washing Up, 2000.  A series of photographs documenting the end result of the daily chore of manual dish washing, an indexical evidence of the work done at the kitchen sink. Shafran combined the images with a list of food prepared that day. The series make subtle variations of light, surrounding objects visible. The often overlooked gradations in arrangement of mundane objects (utensils) become the dominant subject matter.
  • Mini Arora’s found objects related to memories, emotion in art, environment, and waste (a part of her assignment work at level 3). At: https://discuss.oca-student.com/t/critique-needed-please/4361?
  • Some relation to a Wood Cantilever Sewing Storage Box, as an imagination of opening up the collection of art curios.

 

Conclusion:

I posted my performative unboxing as a separate and perhaps stand-alone work where I felt strong connection with Duchamp, Aran or Baldi’s work (as mentioned in my previous post). It is only a beginning and not knowing where this will all lead to, I was curious to see whether there might be some other aspects for the audience. The connotation with lunchboxes  has some connection with my actual objects while travelling as well as some of my own thoughts when looking at Bianca Baldi Zero Latitude. The  connotation with the unboxing experience intrigues me, as it allows a certain engagement by the audience, an open curiosity, and excitement. OCA is doing this with the red wrapping sheet around the course binder. I can see that this relates to Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise  at least as intended by him, but restricted in current museum conservation practices.

The reference found in Blas’ blog post on Nigel Shafran made me aware of how mundane objects and its spatial re-arrangements over time become a dominant subject matter. A sense of repetition though difference, resonating with my previous interrogations and the way I unpack and arrange my box objects each time differently. The packed box again still be the same, without visible variations.

I’ll keep my notes visible and will continue with the coursework exercises, to see how it all develop.

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My Diary – non-visual thinking (Part 2 – I)

  • My Diary – non-visual thinking (Part 2 – I)

My continuation of my so-far-not-so-daily-diary. A transcription of my auditory notes – starting to annotate visually – a journey I don’t know what to do with that or where it will lead to.

 

…this document is a rolling document and will be updated regularly (click here for doc)

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Thoughts on Part 2 – A Contemporary Still-Life

SJSchaffeld, 2016 - sketchbook

‘An intersection between painting and sculpture’

.. the scope of this part of the course. The subject matter, a table, a still-life.

What is a contemporary still-life? From my previous course units I understand still-life somehow between ‘nature morte’ illustrated by Cindy Wright (2010) in her work Nature Morte 2 , and a staged scene that can trigger not only visual senses, but also tactile senses through the proximity of depicted items, e.g. Juan Sanchez CotánQuince, cabbage, melon and cucumber, 1602

After my more performative and gestural exploration of painting as a temporal and spatial bodily experience, with a stronger focus on the process rather than the final result, I am wondering how this could be translated into a contemporary revisited context.

The course material highlights four aspects essential to the approach of working between two and three dimensions:

  • A shift from depiction of pictorial space to the experience and articulation of physical space.
  • An agency of the ready-made.
  • My bodily presence in relation to the production and reception of art work.
  • My consideration of temporal and spatial concerns in relation to painting and sculpture.

These question are definitely taken me out of a mere picture painting approach towards questioning how I relate to a ‘still-life’, to objects and materials in front of me? How can I convey a sense of my presence

The Table

The subject matter. To establish a space where I can set up a kind of table. The table as the foundation of keeping materials and objects similar to a landscape in a spatial relationship. As a landscape, the light, the space, the surface, the colours are important to consider.

Some questions for me to address:

  • What kind of objects to select?
  • How do objects relate to each other (formal, graphic, activity)?
  • What are found and constructed objects?
  • How relevant is the material? How to discern ready-made from self-made?
  • What actions are involved in making preparing the table, relating to the object, relating between them? How do I relate to actions, physically and emotionally?
  • What meaning is involved and how to convey?
  • How to I experience the table, the process, the making, the results?

The featured image (Still life, sketchbook, 2016) is a page from one of my older painting 1 sketchbooks. It seems still relevant today considering my current interest in expanded spatial exploration and ideas of skin and collage. But I do believe that my still-life at the end of this course will look different.

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Painting as expansion into moving images

I posted this video for peer critique on the OCA discuss forum 

Conclusion:

  • Music and text: restrictive in viewer’s engagement? An ambiguous area for different responses. It can limit or expand experience.
  • Moving images can expand 2D work as painting, piece in its own right
  • Moving the viewer: How does the viewer relate to work, a still image, moving images. How does the viewer engage with all senses while watching at a work?
  • Context: Necessity to provide context (as post-/conceptual art) or just leave wide space open for personal responses and difference?
  • Sense of sadness and conflict coming through: What is me and what is context?
  • Technical flaws to overcome in case I want to move forward with that approach
  • Overall, it is a new territory for me, and I am not sure wether to move along that path or not. At times I felt distracted from my painting work, felt as not as important? It seems that tangible and tactile stuff are still very much a key aspect in what I am doing in art, and perhaps in my life.
  • I tend to feel happier if viewer do response emotionally (which way ever) and less technically. I like the feedback that moving images can truly expand painting and that it can gives a different experience of viewing 2D art. Something I would like to keep in my mind.
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My Diary – non-visual thinking – ongoing (Part 1)

Instead of conscious reflection and overthinking, my raw thoughts recorded with a voicetracker and transcripted (lightly edited, but raw). Started in a sleepless night,  a non-visual continuation that eventually will inform my painting practice.
Link to my ongoing document (not knowing how this will all evolve)

…this document is a rolling document and will be updated regularly (click here for doc)

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Preparation for Assignment One

  • Preparation for Assignment One
  • Preparation for Assignment One
  • Preparation for Assignment One

Learnings so far

What I noticed from my previous experiments of body movement, gesture, and performative painting (see also Fig. 1-3 Sketchbook pages):

  • I can discern three mains steps: planning – performative painting – result
  • Performative painting consisting mainly of gestural marks, action painting, and body movement
  • Four aspects of interaction: Skin (feeling) – Body (exchange) – Touch (emotion) – Traces (seeing)
  • Liminal experiences of what is painting, what is failure, what is successful result
  • Planning impacts the process, and the result (e.g. Ex 1.3 painting with the elements)
  • Results at times a start of a new beginning, a ground for further elaboration (e.g. Ex 1.1 Skating). at times the tool itself (e.g. plastic sheet in Washboard) can be an artwork in itself
  • Gesture: indexicality of my intervention
  • Chance: external factors can perform, or they can impact what is possible (e.g. material limits)
  • Motion: my physical motion in space, motion in moving images, video recording
  • Sound: the way I playback recording (fast, normal, slow speed)
  • Repetition: cycle of similar movements, a temporal extension
  • Recording: how to make recording as documentation the work or recording the work in itself? The only way to communicate to a public from my current standpoint (what technical skills I need to learn?)
  • Idea of failure: when performative painting becomes absurd (Sisyphean sense) or material is destroyed and comes to an end.

Possible new ways forward

  • Elaborating Washboard repetitive performative painting (sense of dirty-ness)
  • Exploring material support, e.g. transparent paper. Recent talks with fellow students made me aware of possibilities for suspending from a ceiling for presentation, e.g Cat Wand painting (sense of spatial depth and interactive fields)
  • Exploration of skin (thin layers of sheets) e.g. plastic sheet in Washboard (sense of human sensibility)
  • Spatial extension and body movement alongside sensational experience (sense of body limits and kinesphere, possibly of kinesfield in the way Gretchen described it?)
  • Elaboration of natural forces in variety of painting, exploring at deeper level weather conditions (sense of indexicality)
  • Elaboration recording and video edit for compelling demonstration of performative painting 
  • New ideas derived from the experiments and embracing notions of performance, repetition, and possibility of failure:
    – folding paper as skin
    – dog shit as dirty-ness symbol (with option for wider context e.g. dirty protest IRA)

 

Sketchbook pages:

 

 

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Peer feedback

Today, we had a splendid general hangout with students and Clive as tutor to discuss and talk through some projects and topics. I took the opportunity to place my recent gestural and performative work Washboard (Laundry) to the discussion (see the link). I posted the video, the image of the process and the final images of the ground and sheet. 

I was curious to hear how other responded (unfortunately as I posted it quite late and only today, not everyone had teh chance to look at it).

Some responses:

  • hypnotic video, sound reminded of noises in the house
  • reminded of photographic process
  • reminded of IRA ‘dirty’ process (Hunger process between 1972 and 1981 in North Ireland where IRA imprisioned inmates were smearing prison walls with their own excrements in 1978)

I explained what I related it to and could see that personal responses truly depend on situation, environment and experience (or news read).

Interestingly, participants tended to see the video as a necessary element in context with the final images. 

 

The video I made was more as a reflective tool to review what I did. Although, I found some inspiration in making it (otherwise I wouldn’t have put that time into it), I am still wondering how my performative painting could get to another level. I do feel quite nervous about it, to put myself and not objects up.

I like the accociation with photographic process, as through my shellac and gum solution there is certainly some material chemistry ongoing.

I found the perhaps farer fetched association with the IRA ‘dirty’ process quite intriguing as it leads on another level to sanitary requirement, cleaniness, washing and gestural movements. Gesture as performative protest. In art context one could consider Pollock’s action paintings, Shiraga’s mud performance, or Antoni’s  Loving Care also as gestural performative protest. 

Questions to me: Do I want to go in a kind of painting as protest? Or to use gestural performative painting to raise questions around such topics? Or what would I like to get from painting, besides an experimental interrogation, more insight in myself or more questioning? Would my work tend to be more activity, material, or external requirements related? More to think of…

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Structure of learning blog

Reading through part one of the course material I noticed that the course is split into six parts, the last part kind of unique as it covers the critical review, and each part into project e.g. part one has five projects. Each project consists of exercises, reading point and further research points.

I was wondering how this differs from level HE4 courses (part and exercises plus research points) and how does this inform my the structure of my learning log as well as my studio practice.

The first thing that I truly appreciate is the grouping into projects. To work in projects is what I experienced and appreciated in drawing1 and painting1 in context of the personal project as last assignment of each course. Also, my parallel projects that I worked on during painting 1 (e.g. daily self portraits) as during UVC (collaborative work with SJField and Lottie, my ongoing project ‘Difference and Becoming‘) was informed by a more project related structure and less by a task oriented structure.

In conclusion, my researches and reading do inform my personal project work. And my project work need to be contextualized through research.

I understand that the exercises are the starting point for working on projects.

My blog structure:

  • Coursework: by parts and by projects
  • Assignment: All assignment work incl self evaluation against assessment criteria, but without preparatory reseaches that inform my work
  • Research & Visual Culture: All coursework related researches and reading related to projects, as well as what I call ‘visual culture’ at large that consists of exhibitions, books and films
  • Learning Log – all my reflection on my journey, other researches and reading, and work that will inform my practice
  • Parallel Project and Critical Review as separate category (to be updated)
  • Other aspects: under About and Other

 

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Preparing my Studio Practice – First reflection

Stefan513593 - Mud Fall - work in progress - (c)SJSchaffeld, 2016

“What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event” – Harold Rosenberg, 1952

What is it all about? Painting as gesture, movement and performance

This is my first level HE 5 course unit, understanding that it will allow me more freedom to explore according what resonates most to me, to make truly a work of myself, and be authentic in visualization my ideas and sensations. Making paintings and gestural works as a key element in part one, I will be mindful in what will happen and to response to the moment rather than follow pre-conceived ideas. The latter that made my during previous level a bit too self-conscious. Thus, I will reflect on how I am doing in my practice-led research. Inspired since some time now by the book of Smith and Dean (2014). I liked especially the article  by Kathleen Vaughan on ‘Mariposa’.

Reading through part one made me aware of the exciting journey of bodily interaction with mark making, paint application, gesture and movement without my gesture. I understand the mix of exercices, reading and research as a starting point, or just as some idea input to set the stage.

Since my drawing 1 unit I was fascinated by the sensual approach with mark making, how my senses to interact and interfere with what I observe, see, and recall from memory.

Other resources that inspired my during the previous course units are on the one hand the article by Michael Croft (2016) where he described his phenomenlogical awareness of drawing at the wall with a corner, a video camera recording him, his bending and stretching informing his spatial mark making  (see my blog post for D1). Another work that inspired my personal project for drawing 1 was the  fantastic collaborative work Harty and Sawdon (2012) on exploring whether one could and if yes how draw the ‘taste of tree’. An iterative and layered approach with photo images, word associations and drawing. Eventually led the author to conclude that they were not that successful in drawing on the taste, as most assoications were based on sight and hearing, at times touch (see my blog post).

Further, I was and still am deeply influenced by the tactility of drawing and painting. With some inspirations from the exhibition ‘Prière de toucher‘ Basel (2016) I felt that visual art is also tactile art, with the human body, the artist body, a key aspect in the work. From that same exhibition the video installation oy Pipilotti Rist inspired me to wright my last assignment essay for UVC

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Course Aims and Outcome

Course aims

The aim of this course is to help you:

  • develop an understanding of processes pertinent to contemporary painting;
  • develop methods of generating, combining and transforming ideas through paint and other media, and recording, selecting and processing visual information;
  • expand the use of a range of media (both traditional and contemporary) and develop an understanding of linkages between various ways of painting and making a painting;
  • develop knowledge of the work of some important artists and movements in painting since 1900 and your ability to apply, relate and embody this knowledge in your work;
  • develop self reflective skills within a research led approach and Identify ways to solve problems and incubate ideas within an expanded painting practice.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • demonstrate your ability to develop ideas, create, record, analyse and translate visual information and explain key processes of contemporary painting;
  • use a range of processes and media to create an accomplished and competent series of paintings;
  • demonstrate knowledge of significant artists and movements in painting from 1900 to present and apply this knowledge in your work;
  • develop ideas and resolve problems in your practice through reflection on your own learning experience.

Reference: Coursematerial Painting 2 – Studio Practice. p. 8

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Getting ready for my next level

What an excitement is falling over me. Just in the last steps of my last level HE4 course unit Understanding Visual Culture, the moment I got hold of the course sample for the new painting 2 unit ‘Studio Practice’ brought to me by fellow student Catherine, I couldn’t hold back my joy.

Unfortunately, I still need to get feedback from my tutor on my last assignment till I can enroll officially to the next level. Subject to my pass for UVC at assessment next March. Where neither I nor my tutor have any doubts of.

 

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