Category : Assignments

A6 – Reflection on Tutorial

Our main focus in the last tutorial for assignment 6 was the review of my discerned assessment portfolio and supporting works. There was not much to change or adjust. During the tutorial I came to the conclusion that I will take out assignment 3 completely as they would not fit that well with the more recent body of works related to transformation, vulnerability, ambiguity, disconnecting, and transparency.

Overall, my tutor acknowledged that

have selected well and decided to omit pieces of work that do not enhance the body of work. Selection is a crucial part of an artists practice whether it is for exhibition, framing or assessment. This is an important skill in objective decision making to master at all levels and will stand you in good stead for future courses.

What made this successful? I  can relate this to my self-reflection on what I want to do in my practice and how I would see my created works through this course from that viewpoint. Truly supportive, was here my latest reflective account, where I stated as title ‘Living through the skin of materiality’ and how medical imaging becomes materiality for transformation in my practice. 

Part of my assignment 5 submission was work done for project 5.1 (cut.up words) that I translated from the visible written text to the invisible speech. I reworked it after our previous tutorial as I felt this would be an important part of my materiality and space negotiations. I omitted the written text completely and the resulting reworked version Disruptive Space using visual material from assignment 5 Be small turned out much more successful as my tutor responded to. I also see this short audio-video work as an extension of my parallel project; stage 4 – it will go into assessment as supporting material for assignment 5, to expand the experience of that work.

Also during the tutorial, I suggested to take the wall frieze Be Large, that was still in my studio space, a leftover from cutting out the individual pieces for assignment 5, and to crop a similar size work that would match the size of my assignment 5 installment for assessment (Fig. 1)

Fig. 1: Stefan513593 - P2SP - Assignment 5 and supporting work : 'Be small' and 'Be Large' (each 60 x 80 cm)

Fig. 1: Stefan513593 – P2SP – Assignment 5 and supporting work : ‘Be small’ and ‘Be Large’ (each 60 x 80 cm) // the visible work and the invisible absence – traces of process – a material process

 

We discussed the other items for submission (see assessment link) and agreed that as supporting work my work for part 3,  a cut-put collage of my paintings of my painted enactment with a painted TV set, narrated through the gesture of my hand would be an important work to show. As this is only a photo documentation, the question is how to present (print out, scale, format etc.) Thanks to peer feedback and big thanks to Kate,, I am planning to make it as a leporello, embracing the tactility of folding and unfolding that appeared another important aspect in my practice (Fig 2)

Fig. 2: Disruptive Narratives' - photo documentation of my gestural investigation of my gestures. A multiplicity of layered realities through painting, photographing, re-painting, printing, collage - a bodily interaction with space and inside the space of the work

Fig. 2: Disruptive Narratives’ – photo documentation of my gestural investigation of my gestures. A multiplicity of layered realities through painting, photographing, re-painting, printing, collage – a bodily interaction with space and inside the space of the work // still to be made into something to touch at assessment 

 

My tutor highlighted once more the value of my sketchbooks, a way of interaction and experimentation that I loved doing since my very first drawing 1 course with OCA. 

You sketchbooks will be an important aspect of your submission so make sure you include several that show the development of your project ideas and your experiments with materials.

Parallel Project

Besides my submission we discussed briefly my parallel project with my tutor’s comment that it was well documented especially considering that mostly it was a collaborative work. I am curious to read what the assessment team will think about it. Otherwise, we discussed the content of it already, not to forget that my tutor was bodily present at Toynbee Studios, London – she just came for my project made with together with my collaborator Vicki.  In am still stunned by this.

Critical Review:

I reworked and edited-down ruthless based on out discussion during A5 tutorial. I felt all this makes sense, less informative and my tutor found it also a significant improvement compared to the revised draft before. 

Conclusion at the end.

Overall, it seems I am right track. It is time and space now to prepare and ship my assessment submission. Still a lot to do and not really much time left.  Nevertheless, I am quite pleased with myself that I actually made this happen to submit for November assessment. In the last weeks I was really not that convinced about meeting that important deadline. 22 months did pass, 22 months of working on and out exciting things. An intense course, but for me so rewarding. I should not forget that since the beginning, I actually had my first exhibition, followed by three more. I founded together with Emma, Jane and Peter the new OCA regional group Europe, that started out all in Switzerland. I took over the responsibility to relaunch the student-led magzine edge-zine through phases of finding peers willing and able to work together, and finally to get the first re-launch out into online publication (see edge-zine.com)

And last not least, I embraced the opportunity of the open call from the OCA program leaders Carla Rees and Caroline Wright to embark on an exciting NEw Music Collective / Fine Arts collaborative project and found in Vicki Downey an excellent sparring partner and we made this happen with a big life event at Toynbee Studios. London – what turned out the become my parallel project or this course, to be submitted for assessment.

And besides all if that I moved across borders and countries. established in a new business, built my dedicated studio space.  Time and space to meet the finish. Hopefully, begin December it will not turn me down (the assessment results)

Next steps:

  • Prepare submission, prepare the works, get it out to Barsnley
  • Relax – Breathe – Calm down

The full formative feedback with amended notes from my tutor is available at: PDF 

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A6 – Critical Review – Final Draft

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

After feedback on my revised draft, I pulled up the key items that I need to consider in my final draft

  • less dense and less informative
  • more reflective and critical engagement
  • more emphasis on materiality, process, and visual aesthetics
  • to relate strongly to my practice and interest of materiality transformation and vulnerability of the body.
  • make it really an enquiry into my ideas
  • relate to my approach towards the contextual notes for A5

 

Here the link to : PDF

05 Stefan513593_P2SP_CR-final draft

 

(Total  word count: 2528 // without direct quotes, footnotes, references: 2065)

 


Remark on tools

For my research, brainstorming, outlining, and writing my drafts I used the following tools – all with which I can work on my laptop and my tablet in sync, an important aspect for me when travelling:

  • Inspiration:  for brainstorming, on the go, visual mapping, connecting and outlining
  • Scrivener: for writing and compiling essays, providing structure, 
  • Endnote: reference database, with pdf and annotations and research notes accumulated, now also an archive of my studies

I do find them very supportive and helpful (although inspiration is the least stable one, not on a Mac, Windows is better). It gives me structure, quick access to information, and space to connect and to relate to. It might be not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am very positive to have found a robust and sustainable working approach. And all three are malleable enough that I can adjust if needed to my way of working.

 

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A6 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the assessment criteria? 

 

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills

Looking at my proposed assessment portfolio, it looks more convincing with regards to material choice. However, mostly earlier made work selected, do show some weaknesses related to edges and color. I decided to keep them as such as it is important to me to show the moment of creation, not changes or improvements made afterwards. My works do express a material sensibility and an intimate response to the unique features of chosen materials. Nevertheless, not all choices are equally successful or convincing, especially works made from earlier parts.

Quality of Outcome:

The more recent works are showing in a less illustrative and more engaging way the key aspects of transformation, materiality, dislocation. Here, I am more conscious about edges and balance between transparency and opaqueness. My main intention to respond to medical imaging, especially through my collaborative parallel project, moved towards to end more to an embodied aesthetic of materiality and skin. My revised draft of the critical reviewed showed too much, and to focus on simpler key aspects is equally relevant to my practical work. This can be seen in the development of earlier made works for this course.

Demonstration of Creativity:

I am very experimental and love to move laterally and to cross boundaries. My approach could be seen often more as inter-media art, e.g combination and juxtapositions of paintings, video, layering, sound, music, and/or speech. But my flow of intuitively making and creative outbursts needs some structure and focus. My collaboration on my parallel project was supportive as Vicky shared a structure and framework from her music background. My analytical skills as reflected in my revised critical review are quite good. What is missing at times is the capability or the next reflective step to reduce and focus.

Context: 

I do approach my practice through a wide-open contextualization. I am also crossing boundaries of disciplines to pull from various perspectives. I am quite aware that this rather theoretical depth can be in my way in creating more resolved and visually engaging pieces. However, especially through my contextual notes for each assignment I demonstrated that I can be quite selective and focused, especially to allow more in-depth interrogations with art practitioners. Important aspect in my practice is to make connections, not only to the outer world and a wider cultural context, but also to my own works. My reflective account for this assignment reflects these connecting threads.

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A6 – Reflective Account

 

Living through the skin of materiality

 

How medical imaging becomes materiality for transformation in my practice

 

Developing assignment 6 meant to look back at the body of work created during this course. To step back to see and discern whether there is a red thread, a theme, a common interest, showing through. Working intensively on a project could make one blind for relations and links.

Eventually, commonalities became clearer what I wrote in my artist statement, my contextual notes for assignment 5, and last not least what got revised in my final draft of the critical review:

 

Transformation – vulnerability
    disconnected – disruptive

 Interdependent – ambiguous

 

Mapping this out in my sketchbook and trying to group or discern my diverse works, made it also easier to see some work not fitting well, some more from part 2 and part 3. Part 4 and Part 5 seemed to have followed a certain ‘logic of media’, a material approach and an embodied expression through art making. And I was quite surprised how much of my main interest already came through in part 1, though not that well-articulated, not yet expressed in a focused way.

Chaplin (Chaplin, 2005:8) mentioned in her essay how ‘perception and artistic expression are .. bodily affairs’ and, by quoting Langer, that the tactility of hands is the basis for aesthetic expression[1]. In that sense, I can see now my ‘obsessive’ interaction and exploration of my touching hand in context of a bodily aesthetic expression, e.g. in my performative enactment video work Paint-Catch-Move (video, 2:34min, at: https://vimeo.com/306674208) . And perhaps as a ‘symbolic articulation’ of my way of not-knowing and seeking to understand.

My contextual notes for assignment 5 already mapped out how I want to continue in my practice. In relation to above aspects, it is mostly a continuation of the material interaction as a way of knowing and understanding. The features and the connotations of chosen materials and colors might have a wider cultural meaning, nevertheless, I want the works to speak or themselves, visually and opening up possible questions what it is that we might interpret a work in a certain way.

Furthermore, it is important for me to look at the in-between, between the visible and the invisible, the physical and the virtual, the outside and the inside. I am not satisfied with outer surfaces, I want to see not only behind or beyond, but also in-between. The surface has two sides, but it also has depth. It is that depth that I want to continue to explore through crossing boundaries and by embracing the moment of creation in itself.

Last not least, this assignment showed through my parallel project as collaboration, my critical review as enquiry and understanding what I am doing, and my discernment of my visual works, that it also about the expanded field of experience. For me painting is above all a spatial exploration, whether this results in digital audio-video works, in sculptural pieces, or more conventional flat physical works – my bodily experience of the space is what I want to share with the audience.

To have come to such an insight and focus is not what I expected at the beginning of this course. It was intense, many works were an attempt to interact, e.g. Object-Box’ shown at OCA showcase in London or trying to convey my bodily experience with the audience, e.g. the mentioned video Paint-Catch-Move. Today, I do see those as sketches on my way forward in exploring a more aesthetic and less didactic approach through materialized work.

On the other side, there is the sense of disruption and audience response. My parallel project was screened physically at Toynbee studios allowing the audience to immerse themselves in a visual soundscape. Viewing it online, as the assessment team would do as well, challenged notions of holding space, keeping attention, and allowing disruption to work effectively. Some felt it was too disruptive and too disconnected. How much disconnection and disruption is successful in art?

Looking forward, there are two media I didn’t explore deeply: sound and light. Not only due to time constraints, but also due to technology hurdles.  I am hooked by sound conveying the invisible through non-linear perspectives. Sound is spatial and can create depth. My approach so far, was to combined visual and auditive spaces (e.g. the parallel project, ‘Cut-up words’). I feel this needs to get into a physical space, a gallery space. That means, I have to get to that point and space. Light is another tricky media. We see picture only due to light, but light is also performative as my lightbox installations trying to explore. Still a struggle to resolve, a quest to consolidate my body of work

 

(word count: 788) 

 

[1] I am very happy that my tutor provided me recently with this article that is spot on with my concerns.

 

 


Reference

 

 

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A6 – Independent Pre-assessment Review

From start to …

Time to look back, back on my works produced, time to fine all of them, displaced in various locations (do I sense my subject matter coming through as my way of living?). Also about my failures, the ‘real’ one, my struggles, but also my highlights. Last not least, all about my own practice and my development.

Areas of concern

  • Transformation: Materiality as touchable matter to interact and to respond to
  • Crossing Boundaries: physical, digital, painting-sculptural, performing-performed
  • Embodiment: From video-documenting my performance painting through interacting with the video-camera as audience and blurring perception of what is digitally produced and what is physically painted (both got photographic distributed online) towards video as space for motion and narratives layered as visible visual and invisible sound.
  • Interaction: failing through the ‘Object-Box’ as interactive art-game requiring overcoming hurdles and invitation to engage (kids are more direct here) towards having the audience inside the experience (expanded visual-auditive space)
  • Disruption: my interest in disrupting nearly everything, materials, meaning, borders, edges, narratives

Main questions:

  • Disruption: How much disruption and unsettling sensations are still successful? How much can I ‘throw’ at the audience? See parallel project? Moving images are possibly biased through cinematic connotation and displaced narratives?
  • Consolidation: How to develop all these further and to consolidate into my practice and a to create a more coherent body of work? I feel that I have to reduce my key aspects even further.
  • Context: How do I position myself in context of medical imaging as media culture? What do I offer? Or is this just a point of departure into something different?
  • Digital: How to incorporate digital images, especially composites from paintings with digital layers, into my body of work?
mapping my practice - mapping my context

mapping my practice – mapping my context

Are there ways in which you could develop these further?

My best works and my strengths:

i would say that those of my works made during this course are most successful when they were exploring layering and materiality expression, and when they were able to convey a sense of vulnerability and fragmentation. Through crossing boundaries as a response to media culture at large, those works would embrace ambiguity and unsettling disruption.

How I want to develop it further

I feel more convinced that my practice is about disruption and dislocation exploring vulnerability through a material transformation 

My reworked assignments / parallel project:

  • Assignment 1: kept, although edge could be bolder or with addition of discruptive layers, e.g. line
  • Assignment 2: not considered in portfolio, not coherent with my practice 
  • Assignment 3: kept, but with addition of lightbox (to be discussed) 
  • Assignment 4: reworked because of canvas stretcher and lost material
  • Assignment 5: kept as quite successful
  • Parallel Project: merged as subsection with idea from part 5, stage 3 only conceptual, stage 5 WIP

My assessment portfolio (draft)

Parallel Project

'Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)', 2019 - audio-video (09:46 min)

‘Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)’, 2019 – audio-video (09:46 min)

A1

  1. What is Left Behind, 2018 (acrylic, pigment, charcoal, 50 x 70 cm) 
  2. The Puzzle of Gesture (collage, 50 x 70 cm) 
'What is Left Behind', 2018 (acrylic, pigment, charcoal, 50 x 70 cm) and The 'Puzzle of Gesture'., 2018 (collage, 50 x 70 cm)

‘What is Left Behind’, 2018 (acrylic, pigment, charcoal, 50 x 70 cm) and The ‘Puzzle of Gesture’., 2018 (collage, 50 x 70 cm)

 

A2: 
=> unsure, to be discussed with my tutor / perhaps to skip as too many already

 

A3:
=> unsure, to be discussed with my tutor / perhaps to skip as too many already

  • No. 1 Breaking Through , 2019
  • No. 6 ‘Human‘, 2019
    => Idea: to have both installed on an lightweight thin A3 lightbox (LED, usb connector) to be pushed on with the thumb of the viewer 
No. 1 'Breaking Through' , 2019 and No. 6 'Human', 2019 (each ambient and lightbox light)

No. 1 ‘Breaking Through’ , 2019 and No. 6 ‘Human’, 2019 (each ambient and lightbox light) // installed on lightbox

A4:

'Caught in the Net', 2019 and 'Gaze at Me no2', 2019 (reworked)

‘Caught in the Net’, 2019 and ‘Gaze at Me no2’, 2019 (reworked)

 

'The Caught Gaze', 2019 (reworked) and 'Vulnerable Skin Sculpture', 2019

‘The Caught Gaze’, 2019 (reworked) and ‘Vulnerable Skin Sculpture’, 2019

A5:

 'Be small - Stretch your Stretch', 2019 - selection

‘Be small – Stretch your Stretch’, 2019 – selection

'Suspended Skin no2', 2019 and 'Suspended Skin no14', 2019

‘Suspended Skin no2’, 2019 and ‘Suspended Skin no14’, 2019

 

Supporting and preparatory works:

see also preparatory visual material for parallel project at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?page_id=7923

especially

'Gesture Dissociation', 2019 (collage, and video)

‘Gesture Dissociation’, 2019 (collage, and video)

A1:

'Folding-Unfolding', 2019 (video)

‘Folding-Unfolding’, 2019 (video)

A2:
=> unsure, to be discussed with my tutor

'Fabric Wall Box #1', 2018

‘Fabric Wall Box #1’, 2018

A3: 

'Disruptive narrative', 2019

‘Disruptive narrative’, 2019

A4:
=> unsure, to be discussed with my tutor

'Card size expansion', 2019 (collage 4x6")

‘Card size expansion’, 2019 (collage 4×6″)

A5:

'Be Large -Leftover', 2019 (collage) and 'Disruptive Space - Words cut_up', 2019 (video)

‘Be Large -Leftover’, 2019 (collage) and ‘Disruptive Space – Words cut_up’, 2019 (video)

 

My Sketchbooks

Coursework:

Parallel Project:

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A5 – Reflection on Tutorial

This course is now coming to an end, and I am quite satisfied with the way of working with my tutor through tutorials, from which I take the notes she is amending afterwards. I am very pleased to hear that my small intimate series of Be Small was considered as one of my strongest works so far (Fig. 1)

An intriguing, well resolved assignment – particularly the final 22 small pieces and their layering and ambiguity. Process and materiality continues to be explored with commitment and enthusiasm. 

 

I was concerned how the starting point for this series Be Large, would be received by my tutor, as iconoclastic work?  She made a very interesting comment that didn’t crossed my mind during the making, although I kept – more subconsciously than discerned – the ‘left-over’ (Fig. 2 )

Fig. 1: 'Be Small - Stretch Your Stretch' - a selection

Fig. 1: A5 -‘Be Large ‘ – leaving behind // photographed on lightbox – would white backing be sufficient or even more convincing? Howe do I want to present it? for assessment? in a gallery space?

 

Fig. 2: 'Be Large ' - leaving behind

Fig. 2: A5 – ‘Be Large ‘ – leaving behind – detail from entire wall frieze // the markings left, of cutting, traces of absence – an index of interaction – forgotten but documented 

 

I could relate my tutor’s comments on the gown to my previous work with the mylar-made patient gown. My rather intuitively made gown, a result from failure to get acrylic paint off Hostaphan foil, is possibly more of a comment and closing a loop back. There is certain playfulness involved and alongside a densely covered front making the gown rather opaque, disclosed. My tutor suggested to allow more ‘space and economy of mark and materiality’ informing the results. At times, it seems I overly enthusiastic and putting too much into one work (see critical review below)

My main interest is more in the two sides, the inside and the outside, the transparency versus the concealing. Thus, to develop it further, I would rather make it more disruptive, revealing more from the inside To make it more ‘haunting’ as my tutor suggested. This gown piece relates also to Tabitha Moses’s embroidered patient gown in the wake of her IVF treatment. Is painting more of a decoration and embellishment of fabric? For me not, the fabric and the painting need to be interwoven. one holding the other, both conveying more a disruptive sense of vulnerability. Overall, 

In the preparation of my assignment, I continued working on those painterly, material sculptures, created through pulling and stretching materials as paint (Fig. 3) . An exploration of visual but also embodied space, as the ones I submitted with this assignment were built on metal hangers as a second element to ‘stretch’- the hanger and the skin (acrylic, latex, or fabric) seeking a balance. It felt quite good to hear how my tutor could relate to these as convincing works in itself. There is certainly space to improve color choice (Fig. 3 right). But there is also the intriguing aspect how shape sand curves are interacting with the viewer and negotiating space. I found the chance of having an online tutorial quite important in order to be able to show pieces that were submitted online only. My tutor responded to no3 (Fig. 3 left) with a strong sense of fragility. It was made from jersey fabric, it is quite stable and robust (much better than latex that may collapse any time). I do find this interesting and important aspect, not necessarily of deceiving, but about not taken assumptions for granted.

 

Fig. 3: A5 - 'Suspended Skin' - hanger sculptures

Fig. 3: A5 – ‘Suspended Skin’ – hanger sculptures // left: No 3, middle: no. 14, right: no. 2

 

During the tutorial we discussed what is at the bottom of my practice and work. It appears clearer now to me how it continued to be a thread throughout this course. Although, some works might be rather of a tangent, e.g. the Object-box as a playful interactive art-game, getting more attention from children than adults.

Coursework

There was not much other practical work during this part (quite some writing had to be done) and the cut-up audio -video piece ‘Cut up my thinking‘ was received two-fold: the speech-scape as such through the distorted cut-up words were intriguing and hold enough space and attention. Whereas, the visuals, especially the moving written text and my hand were not convincing. To apply rather abstract painterly patterns in the background to allow the eye to follow while the brain is trying to catch auditive sense and meaning from the spoken disconnected words. The broken words and sense of dislocation, both key aspect in my practice, came across as effective and unsettling. ‘Unsettling’ appears also a key element in my work, as my parallel project showed. Overall, it is about disruption linear narratives, flat picture planes, and obvious meaning through juxtaposition and layering. 

Sketchbooks

My tutor made the comment that my sketchbooks are getting my ideas through a more intuitive response at times better across. I guess this has to do more with putting one idea alone onto one page, turn to the next, and put my second idea down etc. The space around my markings in the sketchbook seemed also less daunting, perhaps the edges of the book (A4 or mostly A3 sketchbooks) provide already enough structure and frame not to bother too much about.

Critical Review

As this came across through my artist statement, it became clearer to me after our tutorial that also the critical review is more about reflection on practice and less informative. My draft was conceived as too dense, clever, but too much, and too less about my own reflections. A clear message that I can relate to quite well. Time for my final draft to submit. It could be better to write more about my ideas as an enquiry. She also highlighted that my contextual notes, though brief, are very relevant to my subject matter and I could lean more on this approach.

In context of embodiment and aesthetics, my tutor suggested some rephrasing and provided a supportive article about Art and Embodiment

 

Learnings:

  • Allow more space and economy in my mark making and materiality approach to inform the results, less is more
  • Be less illustrative and obvious and embrace more ambiguity through opening more space
  • My enquiry of ideas should lead my writing, and my practice overall.
  • I am satisfied to have found finally a common platform through key elements that I can put in place: in my artist statement (done), in my critical review (to be made clearer) and in my visual works (some are there, some need adjustments, some are out – the latter is also quite a relief not to bother about any longer)

 


The full formative feedback with amended notes from my tutor is available at: PDF 

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A5 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

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

Quality of Outcome

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

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

Demonstration of Creativity

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

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

Context

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

 


Questions to my tutor:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Reference:

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

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

Skin – Sculptures – Disciplined Material – Stretching

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

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

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

Multiplicity – Stretching and Pulling as Attitude

How to approach this? 

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

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

 

Visual Text: Suspended Skin 

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

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

 

Fig. 1: sculptural skin - the hanger

Fig. 1: sculptural skin – the hanger

 

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

interaction – interdependency – holding together

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

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

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

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

 


Intermezzo: Skin and paint

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

transparency – you impact my gestures

 

Fig. 17: A5 - prep the paint - transparency

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

 

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

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

 

paint thicker – or you will stay here !

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 


Verbal Text: Stretching my words

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

 

Words – Where have you been?

 

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

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

 

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

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

Color / shapes / lines / words

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Be small – your own STRETCH 

 

Stretching and pulling from the inside out,

Small is beautiful

 

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

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

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

Video 1 (1:10 min)

 

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

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

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

 

What is left behind and what appeared in another place.

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

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

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

 


Reflection:

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

 


Reference:

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

 

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Critical Review – Revised Draft for review

amended:  for the sake of avoidance / self-plagiarism: 

I do thank all who gave me their feedback and comments on my revised draft. The final draft is the current one

I am considering here the discussion on self-plagiarism at OCA discuss forum and input from OCA librarian Helen at: https://discuss.oca-student.com/t/should-i-publish-my-essays-on-my-blog/10737?) and the mitigating the minor risk that someone could reference this revised draft – what would apparently put me intro trouble, as I did not reference my revised draft in my final draft. Let the readers of this amended post reflect for themselves on what may be good online academic standard….

Please see my final draft at: 

A6 – Critical Review – Final Draft

Total  word count of revised draft: 3282; without direct quotes, footnotes, references: 2487

 

 


Image:

  • Schaffeld, S.J (2019 Reflecting in layers – Sketches and drawing after Chadwick (‘Self-Portrait’, 1991)  [Digital composite] 
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P5.2 – Parallel Project Ex5.2: Reflective exercise (Part b)

After my previous reflection with more focus on my collaboration with music student Vicki Downey, here my wider reflection on this works sits in my practice and the course ‘Studio Practice’ as such.

 

Feedbacks received:

in key words

Stefan513593 - P2SP - Parallel Project - Reflection - key words

Fig. 1: Parallel Project – Reflection – key words

 

Some voices
(permission to quote was received) – link to PDF 

 


I very much appreciated the feedback on our work shared later by Caroline Wright, lead of the New Music Collective-Fine Arts collaborative project (together with Carla Rees):

I’m pleased the NMC/FA project was worthwhile. Collaboration can be challenging but it is very often incredibly revealing – to those involved to discover one’s own sense of self and way of working, and to better understand the content and communication in (and of) the work. Your collaborative work was, for me personally, an interesting example of how music/sound and visual material can create atmosphere, and how changes of tone and manner of communication can be enhanced or changed by experiencing work through different senses. Within collaboration, there are fascinating aspects around boundaries, of the work, of the ideas and of the two modes of realization, where do they extend to, overlap or synthesise. And where do the boundaries exist from the audience point of view. Sound can bleed beyond visuals and can be seen as a tool for segueing visual material, but it can also be so much more on top of this. I hope you continue to explore working in this way.
– Caroline Wright, MA, PGCert HE Art & Design, SFHEA, Program Leader, Fine Art, post- and undergraduate, The Open College of the Arts

=> It very much enhances aspects of boundaries and transformation, of expansion of experience beyond the pure visual, aspects that I found became more and more important in my work since the beginning of this course related


Positive moments of our work:

  • The combination of visuals and music came across as powerful and uplifting the work to another level
  • The at times disruptive sequences were perceived as an integral part of the work
  • A change in atmosphere, from comfortable and curious, through disturbing and unsettling, to a relaxing and peaceful finish, was appreciated. Though, not for all it was working properly (especially those viewing it on smaller screens at home)
  • The incorporation of paintings and process paintings was considered as powerful and successful
  • A sense of failing and unresolved boundaries was recognized, for me a great feedback as such.

Reflecting on my tutor’s response to the third part as having some sense of ‘melancholy’ I can relate this back to one of my beginning of the work, the baroque and sense of temporal intensity, or as Michael Ann Holly described the ever changing and metamorphosis:

it [Baroque] dazzles and distorts in failing to represent the unrepresentable, baroque vision sublimely expresses the melancholy so characteristic of the period. – (Holly, 1996:92)

Questions to myself

How relevant are the discernible sections in the work?
=> Vicki and I found the sections as important to give structure, perhaps a reflection how structure was integral and supporting our distant collaboration work. Would a collaboration with both on site looking different? I am wondering whether independent sequences, installed on different screens in a gallery space, as body of work alongside possibly non moving images, could be more powerful? Each sequence in itself possible to be stretched more? A question of narrative in a work and a narrative in an exhibition space. I felt reminded of the exhibitions works of Jutta Koether (Four Seasons  and the Seven Sacraments – paintings) and Bill Viola (Intimate Works, slow motion videos). Possibly, slower transitions with more coherence between section, e.g. as seen in Will Kendrick’s  work That Hall Is Woven With Serpents Spines, 2018. From the peer feedback received, those who viewed the work through the provided vimeo link on flatscreen devices, it appeared that the three sequences were too much distinctive and possibly missing a motif or visual connection

How important are some visuals, e.g. face-in-sand for the work, as they are at times perceived conveying an obvious message related to cultural connotations?
=> I had another version as a process painting that I could replace the face-in-sand sequence with (Schaffeld, 2019b). However, I do wonder whether those cultural gestures do need to be considered purely as cliché – or whether in context of a work that one would consider ‘art’ could exactly challenge underlying assumptions? How didactic or obvious should or should not a work be? As Caroline Wright asks in her feedback, ‘where do the boundaries exist from the audience point of view?’

How relevant or didactic is the use of a title? Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI) was mostly placing the work as a response to MRI scan experience.
=> I could completely eliminate any reference to MRI, possibly to use a complete different text? Although, some didn’t bother at all with the title. Wearing a patient gown in the middle section seemed also be obvious, although wearing a black dress could put this section even more into other areas, e.g. computer games, tron-type. Apparently, single bits in the work came across as ‘obvious’, but would the entire narrative be as obvious? I got the sense that the viewers who picked on single obvious bits, didn’t consider the entire work as obvious – perhaps this made it so discruptive, unsettling, unclear of what it could be?

How relevant is the final part?
=> Idea was to get the audience back into the room, into the present after the quite unsettling middle section. Although, disruptive elements continued to play a role, the overall feedback related more to feel relieve, relaxed and with a sense of peace. In that sense, the final part was successful.

How does my work sit in relationship to painting?
=> Some parts of the work are video recordings of my live performance (with painted face) and of painting as process. Some other parts, eg. face-in-the-sand could be considered as drawing? Leaving a human trace in nature, though ephemeral in its existence? I do consider painting as an interrogation of color and space. Trying to expand this notion, I went to digital and sound spaces that could bring the audience into a physical embodied encounter with the work (with reference to Vincent Morisset)

How did my personal project evolve, which decisions did I take to move forward?
=> Since part one I was intrigued by crossing boundaries and expanding conventional notions of what painting could be. I very much like the process approach alongside a blurriness between materials, including blurring boundaries between digital and physical matter. I embraced more and more the materiality in itself and how actions as pulling and stretching do impact performance, understanding and visual expression. Starting out rather literally with pulling and stretching, the parallel project lifted those aspects up to a metaphorical level: stretching connotations and understanding of sections that made up for a disruptive narrative. Further, I do embrace ambiguity as a key elements, leaving space for the audience to response with their own experience and stories, there is not one way right or wrong. Also there is no misunderstanding as one could often hear from conceptual artists  that the audience could mis-interpret the work (question of intelligence and decoding competence?).

What did inform my work as it stands today, and where there comprises to be taken due to the collaborative aspect?
=> Mostly, I was inspired by works of Bruce Nauman and Hito Steyerl, artists of different generations embracing their contemporary technologies and imaging techniques to explore space, understanding of material, and experiencing ambiguity. Further, the entire area of medical imaging technique is certainly informing my work and the way I do see the key elements as written down in the featured image above. I find those sensibilities of media technology as one can experienced either through medical imaging or through popular media culture do inform the vulnerability and forces I apply on materiality. 
To make my parallel project as a collaborative project might be a risk that I take (what is mine and what is not mine). But I do believe that one always makes work in collaboration, even if it is ‘merely’ informed by peer or tutor feedback. My collaboration forced me to work more structured and to response what is there (in this case the music pieces created by Vicki). Music is abstract, and it informs abstract ideas – being transformed by my hands with material matters turning into visual imagery.

What are my key learnings throughout the development of my personal project?
=> I found the collaboration a stunning experience. We worked for four months on it, quite effectively (considering that I started this course more than one and half year ago), and in resonance. It felt as if our collaboration was another metaphor for MRI process.

How would I want to develop my work further? Deeper or different directions?
= Overall, I do think that the work is too loaded with a complex narrative. Three to four distinctive parts bundled into one audio-work. Considering gallery spaces, I would rather split the apart, make it into three to four screenings, possibly in three joined rooms to allow and add the movement of the audience to be part of the work and its experience. I am very much intrigued by the layering of sensual channels, visual and auditory at least. Other senses, as touch (through walking through) and smell or taste could be explored additionally. However, I am with Merleau-Ponty who stated that all senses are linked to each other in the phenomenological encounter with the and in the world.

Key subject

 

– Transformation – Crossing Boundaries –

 – Disrupting narrative – 

– Vulnerability  Fragmentation – Material Reality –

 

I find as if I am coming not more and more to a core of what I want. Part of it seems to me quite autobiographic, although not spoken out explicitly, only through visual imagers and spaces that exceed the sense of sight alone. It seems to resonate what I partly described in my short ‘journey’ for #OCAstories . Big part of what I want to do relates to the psychological dimension of human life as I do experience intersubjectively with my clients/patients in art therapy.

Overall, I can now discern a few aspects that are important for my work as an emerging artist:

  • transformation of material,
  • crossing boundaries of single perspectives and material reality,
  • disrupting narratives through juxtaposition and contrast,
  • showing vulnerability and fragmentation 

 

Actions to develop the work

  • First, to make a distinctive and slower version (either with cut-up voice-scape, see example) or with the organ part alone
  • Second, more visually coherent, yet disruptive transitions.
  • Third, a plan for presenting the work for assessment incl ideas of room spaces.

 


Image:

  • Featured image: digital composite of painting and writing out key elements relevant to my practice

Supporting Material

Reference

  • Downey, V. (2019) Reflection on multi-disciplinary project. [pdf] At: https://drive.google.com/open?id=12OIyVZD5H2ov-MfU3aXpJCfmrBJbRzMW 
  • Furnace, F. (2017) Newsome, Rashaad – Shade Compositions (2007),  [online], At: https://vimeo.com/219147231  (Accessed on 12 June 2018).
  • Holly, M. A. (1996) Past Looking: Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  • The Open College of the Arts / Rees, C. & Wright, C. (2009) <about the collaboration> At: (link to come)

 

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A4 – Reflection on Tutorial

I enjoyed the online time spend with my tutor to talk through some aspects on materiality and body during the tutorial on my assignment 4 submission. As before, I wrote down the notes and my tutor amended. This way, I do feel more ownership of the development of my art practice.

Overall, I do feel more of a coherent sense coming through the work I am doing, and appreciated the comments from tutor: 

Your work continues to be investigative and engaging with an increased interest in the possibilities of materiality and process – pushing the boundaries of painting to include disruption/decomposition and impermanence as part of this enquiry. – Clare Wilson

.. and with regards to my blog:

Continues to be thorough/analytical and investigative with many exhibitions and study events as an active and engaging member of the student community. – Clare Wilson

 

Knowing myself for how wide my interest and curiosity can lead me into lateral areas, I tried to look at a few aspects alone  that started to came across my work since part 1 and more realised in part 4:

 

 – Fragmentation – Disruption – Boundaries –

– Vulnerability – Fragility –

– Transformation – 

 

The last word added by my tutor in our tutorial, resonating very well with how I do approach materials, not only through painting (latex) but also through drawing (with a large scale mud drawing aka painting as my very first parallel project for drawing 1)

As in previous tutorials,  a combination of project and assignment work (incl preparatory pieces) came across as more successful works that possibly do show a material narrative in itself.

A gallery view (slider, click on one image to open in lightbox view, Fig.1-6 – scale does not represent real dimensions):

 

Comments on these works:

  • Fig. 1 Stretch my Skin: a convincing transformation of materiality, crossing boundaries, and 
  • Fig. 2 Caught in the Net: more convincing as Fig.1, as it builds upon contrast, fragility, and tension. The stretcher less dominant in the other A4 work (Gaze at Me) and as in Fig. 4
  • Fig. 3 (Small Sculpture – prep work A4): intriguing contrast of color and opaque/transparent, organic touch; my tutor suggested that a series of smaller works exploring intimacy and overlapping forms could be a good work for assessment. The smaller scale allowing it to hold rather than to look alone. For me questioning scale: bodily movement through in a room, wall hanging to look at, hand size to hold and touch?
  • Fig. 4 (Latex stretch – prep work A4): too dominant stretcher, but interesting rendering of color and details when viewed with backlight. My tutor found the diagonal board line as interesting compositional element.,
  • Fig. 5 (Project 4 work): intriguing, less contained than the larger one I submitted from same project, with overlapping edges. 
  • Fig. 6 (Project 5 work): another intriguing work playing with contrast and bold colors. The latex net (lost as I used it in my assignment work, Fig. 2) works partly as a veil, concealing and revealing.
  • My piece from project 1, was considered as partly successful, as the glossy surface felt incoherent, and my use of rigid plastic bands could be possibly better replaced with a more informed transformation of fabric and interwoven threads. Key aspect here: the integration of materials including a backing support (what I used rather for transportation reasons only, as intended to be a suspended sculptural piece).

 

Aspects to keep in mind:

  • Color: latex might seem to dull colors, the original works became duller than seen on my blog or digitally (photo edit might have done some effect here as well)
  • Stretcher: Especially in the smaller works (eg. assignment work Gaze at Men but also Fig. 4) the used stretcher became to dominant and the ‘stretcher’ in itself is already loaded with art related connotations and critic. For me, the stretcher was kind of temporarily, I got rid of the bull clamps, but did work further to get rid of the stretcher as well. My earlier ideas were to install larger scale works in a room (nails, existing fix point e.g. hand rails). My tutor suggested possibly got use thinner objects, e.g. a picture frame. A question of composition and relationship. 
  • Found objects: I used e.g. paper chips or a found wine rack as stretcher. However, found objects do have some inherit and cultural connotations and through that some strong ‘personality’. Better not to learn too much or at all on them, better to work and transform ‘purer’ materials, e.g. fabric.

I choose latex as material, knowing well that it is an ephemeral material (not linger than one year due to chemical decay). Even, I couldn’t send in some works for its fragility to transportation (Fig. 2) or it vulnerability to tension (Fig. 1). The backing of smaller works, e.g. Fig. 3, didn’t hold well during transportation and unpacking. Overall, it left me to question how to proceed and whether alternative materials could be used. Good to have my tutor coming up with some suggestions:

  • Hostaphan (or Melinex): a flexible thin plastic sheeting on rolls to use as support for heavier, gestural marks with acrylic paint (combined with gel mediums)
  • Calico or more open weave scrim as fabric to be transformed, and with better duration 

Another material came to my mind afterwards, though ‘found object’ as well: gauze bandage that has a medical connotation. Previously,  used bandage as plaster bandage, but stopped working with them due to the specific performance of plaster (fragile, rigid)

Good to know: impasto gel matt dries white, impasto gel glossy dries transparent. The use of matt gave me some frustration during project 5 (see also Fig. 6) Turing me back to use acrylic adhesive for my transparent disks. At the end, it is like scrim, open woven fabric, but in strands. To try, if successful to move towards larger fabric or to use for small scale works (like bandage is an act done with the hands, to touch)

Parallel Project

We discussed my parallel project, and as my tutor was present at my prime screening at Toynbees Studios, London in 20th July 2019 (I am sop happy that she came), it was good to review together what worked well and what less.

Key aspects:

  • Experience of site: physical presence as different experience versus viewing on computer screen
  • Disruption of narrative through visual in combination with sound (music)
  • Connection: how to connect sequences and still keeping elements of disruption?
  • Sub-sequences as part of body of work, especially. considering gallery space settings
  • Importance to present the development of my project at assessment 

In my more comprehensive reflection on my parallel project I will look deeper into the remarks and my actions to do:

 

Critical Review:

Wirth regards to my critical review that is currently going through final draft phase, my tutor made the valid point, to stay focused and to relate clearly to my parallel project. I will submit for comment as part of assignment 5.

 

Conclusion:

  • Smaller works, perhaps in series, could overcome transport and fragility issues, and being presented during assessment convincingly (see Fig. 3). This could show an aspect of intimacy through the act of holding the work, rather than looking at it alone.
  • Alternatives to latex but still enabling material transformation and body (skin) connotation might be Hostaphan as support for a gestural acrylic paint or calico or scrim (open weave)
  • Found materials and might be less successful to use in my approach to material transformation and body due to their strong ‘personalities’ 
  • Transformation and integration with intention. Use of materials and ground in a coherent manner.
  • Painting or sculpture – an ongoing investigation for me,
  • My aim is still to submit for Nov assessment. My plan to submit assignment 5 is last week August. I will finally decide on assessment at that time (considering time for rework and preparation of portfolio)

Suggestions on art practitioners that could inform my working practice

see my separate blog post at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=7084


The full formative feedback with amended notes from my tutor is available at: PDF 

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Project 5.1 – Ex5.1: Cut-up technique

Wondering what text of words to use? I wanted to take text with some relevance to my personal project, considering ‘cut-up’ technique as an analogue to my recent assignment 4 paintings related to skin: fragmentation, vulnerable, distorted, disruptive, unsettling

Text input:

Reflecting on practices of text related to MRI, one example is Nicoleta Colopelnic (2013) where she described her back MRI scan through poetry and gave the medical imagery an aesthetic appeal, I decided to build my words from various sources that seem meaningful to me and my parallel project (Fig. 1):

  1. a medical text on psychological effects of MRI scan (Westbrook and Talbot, 2019:350)
    => the rather technical tone related to a patient’s ‘non-compliance’ with the machine process reminds me of how strongly the body became disciplined through the medical instruments it themselves. The fear and different responses by the patients as a flaw to correct.
  2. a text on visual aesthetic perception and the brain (Cela-Conde ed al., 2004:6321)
    => how neo-Descartian the medical world became by trying to map not only the mind but also the sense for aesthetics 
  3. key words from peer feedback (see reflective blog post) on my inter-media collaborative work Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI) 
    => kind of verbal stimuli, different, falling onto me, what to make out of it?
  4. words from Vicki and me in resonance to MRI as subject matter, that until now didn’t go into the performed work from July 20th, 2019
    => how we came up with some freely associated words related to an MRI experience, un-discplined, un-mapped, chaotic. Those words are most closely to MRI poetry and I might use them explicitly for my further work.
  5. technical words from DICOM data of one MRI scan (screenshot from Horos)
Fig. 1: words from parallel project and feedback

Fig. 1: words from parallel project and feedback // check out the QR code to soundcloud file with spoken words

 

Techniques to cut-up and shuffle

I was trying to make non-sense out the the tons of words (how to reduce those? or is the amount of overload part of the work and the experience of it?). Considering the MRI machine and the machine coding process to deliver visual imagery to the human beings in-front of the operator screen, I felt inspired to use an automatic coding approach as well to shuffle and cut-up my various text inputs. Looking for online tools (line shuffle tools from Advameg. Inc.and Random Tools) and use of LingoJam (2019) tools for creation of type fonts, a visual encounter with the invisible text resulted in a nearly illegible sequence of words that I composed as a string of large letter pages, in total 93 pages !   that became my base material for following explorations

link to : PDF 

Video 1: more linear unsettling the entirely // Words cutup – sequence no 1(video, 1:33 min)

 

and as layered and double moving text-image (with the animated painting done earlier on for my parallel project, and a raw sequence that didn’t go into the final performative collaborative piece –  see my blog post at: Spin-off Idea: Gesture as Narrative)

Video 2: recent aesthetic distance// Words cutup – sequence no 2 (video, 2:31min)

Not knowing what to do with the massive amount of text not giving me any further insight in how to proceed further, I eventually printed and manually cut them in smaller pieces and to see whether my more visually and touching approach of collaging them together in a sketchbook could show a way forward.

Playing around with to structure :

  • to make connections – cut up my thinking (Fig. 2)
  • to make sense (Fig 3) 
  • to response through feeling and touching – ? (Fig. 4)

Slider view (Fig 2 – 4, click on one image to open in lightbox view):

Fig. 2: text and words - no1

Image 1 of 3

text and words - Making Connections - cut up my thinking

Intermediate results

Informed my previous playful selection of narrowing down the words (Fig. 2-4) I was curious to see how to use them in a collage way. I am more intrigued by the materiality and performative aspects of the resulting non-sense cut-ups, less about the process of making (Fig. 5)

Fig. 5: text and words - sketchbook // informed by language from my parallel project

Fig. 5: text and words – sketchbook // informed by language from my parallel project // left: latex and Tyvek plus words, center: non-sense cut up words behind the window, right: stretching words with parafilm

 

=> I was intrigued by the use of parafilm (or better PARAFILM® M) from some previous trials after reflecting on assignment 4 and alternatives to latex. Parafilm, material used in medical or chemical labs to close beakers and other containers, is translucent materials that can be painted on with acrylic paint. Due to its plasticity it is easily stretchable, an action that I wanted to continue exploring after assignment 4 in relationship to skin and medical matters. My exploration of Tyvek® (Fig.5, left) – a paper like material that can be cut open to expose the inner core and being used for protective and disposable clothing, e.g. in clinics,  is informed in a similar search for latex alternatives and materials with connotations with medical stuff. 

Exploring incision, stretching and other material matters. Slider view (Fig. 6 & 7), click on one image to open in lightbox view:

Fig. 5: collage 1

Image 1 of 2

exploring verbal and visual materiality // abduction - part - dominion - insane - gaze - rhythm - loneliness - mind - touching - sound - alien

=> I found the relationship between materiality and action an interesting aspect. stretching and transparency as two key elements involved in my work since part one.

stretching

as

action

onto

materiality

words

are

material 

torn

apart

 

Making collages, partly as an instruction partly as a declaration (slide show Fig. 7 – Fig 14;  click at the bottom right tiny arrow top open images in lightbox view):

=> this brought me back to some of my initial bar-codes, slicing experiments (see post). More an illustration, crossing boundaries with drawing and eventually creating ideas for painting. The series done in my A3 sketchbook, might be quite sketchy and illustrative, but I find the line between legible and illegible, between comprehsensible and non-comprehensible fascinating. It is a border that in case of QR codes can be easily crossed, with a rather digital result: yes / no – legible / illegible. This liminal space of making sense and getting insane sounds relevant.

=> the no.5 work is obviously as contained and unsuccessful as it was my work with paper chips for part 4. I kept it here for the sake of completion and as an idea. To develop it further I would reject the backing support paper and make it more sculptural, unframing and expanding the edges into the space of the viewer

 

code

-non-

sense

gazing

me

crossing

border

insane

 


 

Words as speech

I wanted to move away from visual, words to see, towards auditory, words to hear. Considering words as speech, intrigued by my experience of my collaborative project and of one project performed by a Anna, her husband and Naomi at Toynbee Studios, and informed by William S Burroughs practice and some artists examples from the Radio broadcast (Hollings, 2015)

the words from VIcki and me – spoken by me – unfiltered and raw (just with noise reduction and normalization filter, (audio, 0:57 min)) 
 

 

a) First attempt in taking my spoken words, apple various effect filters with Adobe Audition and re-mix as multi-track file. Creating a speech-scape, to be layered with visuals (audio, 0:29 min)

=> to soundscape partly distorted, interruptive, but good as a first speech-sketch

b) Second attempt my spoken words as a) re-shuffled, cut-up with Adobe Audition (audio, 1:08 min):


 

=> more flat as single track and no filters applied. However, the cut-up as a mix of chance and conscious decisions, percussive, repetitive towards the end. Wondering how this could be developed further. Speech felt now more as a plastic material to be transformed and modulated.

With this audio-soundscape sketched I am wondering how the words can be merged with visuals, feeling intrigued by Kentridge’s short moving images Breathe, Dissolve, Return (2008)  What would be the difference in experience versus my collaborative music work? Another approach to ‘feeling complicit’ with the materials. All about creating in-between spaces

c) Third attempt mixing various words (incl Vicki’s) spoken by me, cut-up, merged and re-shuffled with Adobe Audition (audio, x:xx min):

<  planned idea but skipped in order to move directly to the next step  >

d) Fourth attempt audio from my cut-up speech (second attempt) with ‘merged’ with the handwritten words amended and a painting on parafilm as process – multilayered in Adobe Premiere. Finally, I got to move away from iMovie and enjoyed the versatility and flexibility of Premiere, especially for layering (what became a nightmare in iMovie). 

Video 3: Cut up My Thinking // Words cutup – sequence no 4 (video-audio, 2:30 min)

 

=> After various attempts in recording the massive amount of text from video 1 in a linear way of reading (making a very long strip of small scale prints of the 93 pages) with either moving myself with the camera in front of the text frieze of – more successful – moving the text strip with a fixed camera. I was not that satisfied and convinced by the typed and printed text, thus I revisited my work in my sketchbook (see Fig. 2-4) and choose those ‘keywords’ to write them out on a similar small long strip of paper: text, written by my hand, more personal – another index of my being (writing and hand and pull). The moving strip itself reminded me of analog magnetic tape recording and cutting, quite as Burroughs mentioned it. It reminded me also of Jennifer West and her material usage of film tapes to paint on and to project them. In my case, an audio version of that. The layering process of physical and digital materials (experimented earlier on – see ‘my digital body in space’ from Project 3.2 – Ex. 3.1: Body as canvas and multilayered moving images ‘Performance unframed #2‘ from Project 3.4 – Ex. 3.3: The mirror as a stage .

Some aspect that I can find coming across in some of my works since part one are :

pulling

stretching

layering

 


Reflection

  • Using materials does matter: I found it intriguing to find some relationship between written or typed words on paper, on other materials, and the process of reading (in this case from left to right as by my own learned cultural convention). The performative video works with connotation to tape (magnetic tape recording of speech) as moving images.
  • I enjoyed the speech approach and using soundcloud – for its plasticity and to make it more malleable compared to written text. I do embrace more and more different senses to have a more immersed experience of a work. Definitely, something to look deeper into.
  • My last video 3 work and its preparation made me aware of how my body posture and gesture plays a role in the making and reception of the work. Moving with a video cam means to record my movement as well (I don’t have such fancy film maker motion reduction devices) while moving a strip with a fixed cam makes the strip movement (smaller gesture with the hand) a bodily experience with its traces left on the video. I intentionally kept those ‘non-professional’ motion traces, not only as index but also as awareness of the body in the work.
  • Informed by my collaborative work with music student Vicki I was intrigued by soundscape and now of speech-scapes an additional dimension to visual spaces. It brings me to multiple layer approaches that could be performed either live or as recording in a room. The works above are single perspective works, i.e what the viewer sees and what the viewer hears is coming from the same direction, mostly a computer or mobile flatscreen. In a physical gallery setting this could be disconnected and displaced, the speech, the sound coming from different directions, placing the viewer inside the work and not as an observing person alone. I like the idea of complementing visual that one looks at in one or the other direction and other senses exposed to different directions.
  • I find malleable materials with a plasticity quite relevant for my work and relating to my parallel project. Did my last assignment 4 looked at latex as a stretchable and fragmented skin pattern, I can see now that even words might be as malleable as such materials. I found in Parafilm M® a similar material that I could use for that. Stretchable fabrics, with incisions, might be another approach to look at.
  • Further development: 
    – I liked the developed idea of considering words as a plastic material, literally explored through stretching parafilm with words painted on it. Certainly more to discover with other materials, e.g. to cut out words from fabric or latex and to stretch them in similar way as I did with latex for assignment 4.
    – Words as speech acts brings me to the performative aspect of language. Speech as such is performative, compared to a more ‘still’ expression of non-verbal paintings.
    – Overall, I do believe that to work with the plasticity of words in context of my subject matter (medical imaging, skin, embodiment) would be the way forward.

 


Reference:

 

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Critical Review – Outlining argumentation

Outline of my argumentation, based on my earlier brainstorming and draft outline around the subject of medical imaging / MRI and art. Especially, considering more the work for my parallel project and assignment 4 works around materiality of paint as malleable and vibrant as skin through which the gaze is intruding onto us.

link to: PDF

11 Stefan513593_CR_P2SP_outline2

 


Reference:

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Collaboration as Parallel Project // P5.2 – Ex5.2: Reflective exercise (Part a)

collaborative project music fine art MRI

This was going a bit different than just a straight forward parallel project. The outcome was realised and performed aka screened in a private viewing event at Toynbee Studios, London E1 6AB on 20th July 2019 with the support of OCA (Caroline Wright and Carla Rees). The work consisted of an approx 10 min visual-music performative video created together with music student Vicki Downey.

Mindful-Resonance Interaction (video-audio, 09:45 min): 

as installed and screened at Toynbee Studios on 20th July 2019. A collaboration with music student Vicki Downey ()

Remark: in order to have the best experience of the work, it is recommended to listen to with good headphones with a frequency range down to <=20 Hz or with a good audio system that can convey very low pitches

 

 


Now, with the outcome accomplished, time to reflect on the work done and a reflection after the event including feedback from the audience and learnings from what I experienced from the other five projects presented.

About our collaboration

(see also Vicki’s reflection – under Reference)

When the call for a New Music-Fine Arts collaborative project was announced, I was thrilled. I pondered for quite some time about how to bring sound and painting together, having only experimented for myself with some animated images and recorded painting processes. I knew that I often take too much on my shoulders and at times all over the place. Therefore, I hoped that I could integrate the collaborative bit into my coursework, even hoping it could be part of my parallel project related to medical imaging and MRI and being presented for assessment (still to come) – and I got the go from my tutor under the condition it would be well documented. I was even more thrilled to hear in my first virtual meeting with music student Vicky Downey that she felt intrigued by the topic of MRI and was open minded to have our collaboration on this theme, somehow ‘directed’ by my parallel project. Since the start I felt an amazing resonance and trust between us.

Big challenge for me was how to create and get visuals, animated images or ‘still’ paintings into a piece of work that work together and are ‘synced’ with Vicki’s music. We discussed this and it occurred to me that non-perfect sync might be even a good idea. I never worked on any video or animated piece longer than 1 or 2 minutes, and mostly as recordings, but without the addition of extra-soundscapes. I was afraid that I have to spend a massive amount of time on learning film editing and post-production software, and that the results would look clumpy, rough and amateurish.  Or that awful transitions would damage the experience of our work. I put this concern away and was pleased that our discussion went along more or sensation and experience of visual and soundscapes.

I really enjoyed our collaboration that followed a mutual sequence, starting with talking through my initial idea and own experience of brain MRI, Vicki’s experience and ideas relating to MRI, and pulling together rough ideas on how MRI works, how it could be translated musically and visually, and some references to other artists.

In this flowing phase, I found it tremendously helpful to have Vicki as a remote partner, giving structure through her music pieces, that I could take up and inform my visuals. We refined and build a flow together later. I do thank Vicki for being in that sense more structured as me, as I tend to be rather experimental, at times chaotic and always embracing uncertainty. Also, I very much appreciated how Vicki took up points from our discussion through a few virtual meetings and more email exchanges (that I put all together in a separate doc) and played out and experimented freely. Fortunately, this didn’t put her off. 

I made a very rough first draft visual sequence midway that found good resonance with Vicki, and just before our big day made variations and eventually the night before the final cut. I was embracing uncertainty and considered certain de-synced transitions as a key element of the outcome and the experience. It was like a dialogue in three, between visuals, music and perception by the audience of both together. This also led to the fact that I could share a second version of a full visual sequence (a narrative?) with Vicki only the day before the event. However, I made some variations of sub-sequences that we reviewed remotely by texting together. A big thank to her for this late checking in and trust and openness.

Each of us created more ‚raw material’ that didn’t go into our final cut. We have more material that we could (and will) see how it could be used. This includes MRI footage in the work, voice and words, humming sound by string or by audience, and last not least how a live performance with people (us or other) could look like.

Overall, I very much appreciated the opportunity from OCA to work collaboratively with music, especially that it was Vicki who became my partner in ‚MRI-crime‘ (our work title ‘Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)’, that I made up in a moment of deep inspiration, is also a reflection on our collaboration based on openness and trust). I also found the inspirational and pragmatic Carla and Caroline very supportive and appreciated that both also made some work together. As a Fine Art student at level HE5, I feel inspired to explore further relationships between visual spaces and sound spaces, both key to our human understanding and knowledge of the world around us. This collaboration opened up new perspectives for me, and I can now even imaging in include voice/words into the work.

 

Reflection after the performance event 20th July 2019

We started the day in a wonderful venue at Toynbee Studios, six projects in pairs, three before and three after lunch. I was so thrilled hearing that my tutor will come, and for time reasons made us to schedule our bit as the last one of day.

Stefan513593 - NMU/FA Collaboration OCA - 20July2019

The day started with the fantastic impromptu Kym and Jason, who performed painting and music ad hoc, involving us as the audience by asking to roll a dice that would inform their performance. It was a good start with a lot of fun. I very much liked the vitality and spontaneity of the performance. Something, I could do envision for street art performance or any other public spaces as well. Will keep this in mind as it resonates with my art therapy practice as well. 

A slide show accompanied by live piano music followed by word and voices followed by Anne and Naomi (who was virtual present), with Anne’s husband joining in. I very much enjoyed her piece ‘hands’, written poem, sung along by Anne and her husband, we as audience were invited to sing along as well. I found it intriguing to include words and voice in a piece, something Vicki and I considered but not realized. Re audience voice, it appeared also in the piece performed later by Anna and Deborah, as well as by Emma and SarahJane.

The next project by Anna and Deborah was informed by Anna’s graduate show work on ‘one year in prison’ informed by letters of one prisoner. It sounded familiar to me, as my work with Vicki was also informed by my ideas of parallel project, though nothing was realized till that moment. Nevertheless, there work got a spin by the input of Deborah. The audience was once again invited to participate by creating a human wall (reference to the prison wall) and holding lace flags. Anna informed us that this bit was informed by her exchange with textile students. Their piece was an animated still photograph sequence with voice over by Anna and Deborah sitting on both side of the human wall. I took away the experience of space created in the room, through a layering of background screening, audience as object rather sculptural installation and the words and voices that pulled me as an ‘observer’ into a liminal space.

After lunch, the room became dark, as the three following projects were built around the screening experience accompanied by music and sound. It was interesting for me how the day was split into two parts (intentionally?). Caroline’s and Carla’s work was according to their information a rather short notice built together performative work. Carla was playing on her flute and creating a huge variety of sounds and Caroline played a gong, both playing in the back, between the screen and the audience seated. I was impressed by the experience of time and duration. At the beginning the transitions of stills were very slow, meditative, and the perception of space through layering was stunning. What started abstract moved on with zooming out perspectives and with more clarity on location and video sequences were included. The soundscapes created and experienced were intriguing. Compared to screen-based sequences only, as me and Vicki worked along on our piece, a double space created, the room of the performance was part of the work. A tension between what I see and what I hear, going through my body, being fully immersed. Time was standing still, and I did appreciate how long a piece can be (it was roughly 15 min long) with slow motion or even still.  Definitely, something for me to keep in mind.

The project just before our part, was done by Emma and SarahJane, a fast moving sequence build around original footage from an older Venus travel film related to the myth of the Sirens, accompanied by Emma’s music as a soundtrack, or a soundscape synced with the visuals. SarahJane had incredible technical knowledge how to apply filters to make visual effects. Most stunning was their rather improvised audience involvement through a voice choir accompanying the last sequence of an underwater siren sequence. Another fab example, how well the audience can be involved actively, and how improvisation actually works by just doing, being in the space, and feeling resonance among the people and the visuals or music.

The last bit was our work ‘Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)’. I was quite nervous, checked with Vicki who was virtual present, sound systems, being concerned about the transmissions of very low pitches. We didn’t foresee any audience involvement or live performing things; it all was about the visual-music experience conveyed through projection and sound. We discussed before the duration of the black screen in the middle of the work just the night before. But having experienced the other works before I was not concerned at all. It is amazing how much space (visually and musically) can be hold when being in that space physically. An experience lacking completely when viewing online, screen based only. For me the big take away: one’s own body has to be in that space. How could embodiment be better explained? We received good feedback related to the photo-painting sequence and the narrative created, at times an disruptive, unstable sequence that worked well with the experience.

Overall, a fantastic day, full of creative energy. We all worked together very well. It was very worth for me to flying over. As one key aspect in my work is embodiment, best experience for me was the necessity of being in the space itself. Kind of summarizing what my parallel project was and is all about. The experience of MRI was a point of departure, it concluded in an experience of visual-sound-music-embodied space experience. I left the venue and the day encouraged and highly motivated and was following up with Vicki to share what I felt and experienced, and feedback received offline. This is another aspect of collaboration: sharing and involving.

 

About the development of the work ‘Mindful Resonance Interaction’

First, we agreed to start wide open, bringing each of us visual and musical sketches into the table aka into the cloud (a shared drive). This was quite a helpful approach, to have a place to share without talking directly to each other (Vicki is based in UK, I am based in Germany) and to get input of what the other had in mind. We discussed themes as body-mind binary opposites, sense of disembodiment inside the MRI machine, the hand outside the machine with the thumb on the emergency button, physical parameters e.g. proton spinning, Lamour frequency, precession, slicing, machine sounds, notation etc.  One reference I added to our discussion was Rasheed Newsome’s Shade Compositions (Furnace, 2017), a combination of stage performance, screening, and sound and voice – it was good to hear that this resonated with Vicki. I do believe that this idea of combining wall screening and stage performance followed through our collaboration. We diverted from this, perhaps more unconsciously mutual agreed on in resonance, it became clear that Vicki couldn’t attend in person. Therefore, we put the stage performance bit aside, and to make it digital only. Somehow, I didn’t feel it would make sense to perform on site/stage alone. 

I did pull from ideas created during my course, kind of spin off ideas informed my ideas about my parallel project. I maintained a dedicated sketchbook for my project, at the beginning it was rather focused around my brain MRI experience, other artist’s work informed by MRI, and my coursework ideas. It developed into a more focused exploration around our collaboration.

A next main phase started midway, when we agreed to structure our work around three parts: an emerging (informed by my reference of arriving in the clinic and before going inside the machine) , an inside the machine (with its percussive, pulsing sound and slicing effect relating to the visual imagery resulting from the process), and a final part that I referred to as Baroque, informed by MRA images of my brain vessels, we called it  ‘Brain Baroque’.

Concerning the Baroque: this is informed by my reading of Deleuze ‘Fold’ (brain as folded matter) and inspired by Helen Chadwick’s work ‘Oval Court’ and her interest in the Baroque, Rococco. I found it helpful to have midway Carla Rees supporting Vicki in finding her way into this theme that she took up and came back with stunning piece of music. 

Concerning uncertainty, I tend to push thinking about final piece away and still being very positive about the process and an outcome. I have to acknowledge that only quite late in the project phase I got some clarity on how things might evolve from my side. 

My first draft (Downey, Schaffeld, 2019b) based on the three part music provided by Vicki established for me a frame around emerging (my portrait with zooming into my eyes) , using original MRI footage and some of my sketchbook ideas to improvise on the idea of slicing alongside the organ sound from Vicki, using original MRA footage of my brain vessels (animated) for the ‘brain baroque’ music, and last taking my same portrait to fade away into blackness as end. 

I was not satisfied with couple of items, e.g., do I want to use original footage? Do I want to illustrate ‘slicing’ through animated movement of still images? how could we make a meaningful finish? I wanted to build in process work, i.e. painting process, and to replace photographs with paintings, all still to be created.

I found it was very helpful that we obtained a combined full piece of work, even in a very raw and sketchy way. It supported us to reflect in structure, on timing, on visual-music resonance. Without that overall impression, I doubt that we would have been able to establish the outcome we presented (see Schaffeld, 2019b).

Few main changes we made: to break the first part down into two sections (a slower and a more dynamic phase) and to break the third part also in two sections (allowing a smoother finish). Vicki came up with the idea of breathing, I related it to departing from the machine into nature. This really got my ideas flowing, to distant myself from rather illustrative visuals, and to relate more to the body. Some further reading done for my critical essay gave me ideas in faces, defacing, and touch and the body. The result was me drawing a sand with the water washing it away. This is what I do relate to the seacoast, for our work I had to improvise and to set up the ‘beach’ on our porch with sand and letting water from our rainwater container run over it to flush it away. All these connotations with drawing a face in sand and the sea informed the last section of our work.

I decided to start the  ‘Brain Baroque’ piece with the original animated footage (was too fascinating for us since the beginning), but merged it with a process painting of watercolor running down (in final piece it is ‘running’ up as I rotated it informed by the uplifting sound and uplifting evolvement of Baroque forms).

To replace my photographed portrait with a painting was the easier bit, and I think that the fact of Vicki being not physical present informed my decision to ask her for a portrait photo and to paint her as well. During the making next steps followed on each other and our two photographs turned into two portrait paintings that turned into one layered combined portrait followed by the first idea of zooming into the eye and into the brain. 

The last, the middle section was perhaps the hardest bit, as I not only questioned the use of original footage for that (too personal? too illustrative? ethics?) as well as the visuals as being just an illustration of the music or of my idea of ‘slicing’. A turning point for me was when I started to depart from being inside the MRI machine and focusing more on my embodiment, my reaction to sound when I was inside. Is music not creating a soundscape that we tend to take in us, triggering images, and last not least make us to move, to feel? What if I would perform not to the original footage but to Vicki’s music? A surrogate perhaps, but more real in the presence, informed by same phenomena of human embodiment. I think after making several performance during daylight and at night with UV light, fluorescent paint on my face, and a check pattern projected onto my body and the background wall (the  pattern was one of those moments of serendipity found during making of other works for my course, informing this project) I did know the music by heart.

 


Supporting Material

Reference

 

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A4- Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

During this assignment I was more concerned to move away from mere experimental testing of materials and to explore more certain features of one material, through combinations and through action onto the material. But also to see the performative aspect of the material as such. I became more aware of visual languages, of relationship between shapes, lines, edges, and surrounding space. At the end, I worked with an ephemeral material and even with vulnerable conditions of tension. I eventually became aware, that those aspects (ephemeral, vulnerable) could be explored through materiality and not through representational or figurative pictures. What I actually found rather intriguing having moved me away from the ‘hand’ in my previous assignment. 

However, at times I worked quite intuitively. Not sure that I made the best color choices, or best compositional expressions.  I took the risk to stop at some time and to reflect on possible further developments, making this assignment more of a journey than a presentation of finished work.

Quality of Outcome

I am not sure whether this assignment has the quality at all required. As mentioned before, it is ‘unfinished work’, though some works might actually be convincing as such (e.g. the last one with combined net and paint skin, or some smaller ones). Although, to communicate an idea through the work might be challenging. Intentionally, I tried to keep it more open. letting the material speak for itself. However, it might work that the tension and the various shapes and textures might actually convey an idea, but this would be rather the one created by the viewer.

Demonstration of Creativity

I was quite open to look at materiality as such, and curious to look beyond obvious combinations. Although, I was at the beginning quite unsure to use latex at all, I became more ‘complicit’ with that material, especially looking at from a stretching and vulnerability point of view. At the end, and digesting the results for a few days , I became more creative in thinking even beyond my rather small scale works and to embrace those at larger scale, focusing on a few aspects only (e.g. stretching) what even might be an idea of live performance.

Context

I looked at few artists, but decided not to look much deeper into them as I wanted a more fresh approach in my encounter with the materials chosen: latex. Although, I could have embraced more cultural connotations of how latex and stretching is applied to in various fields, I was aware of such connotations. However, I decided to work only with the material and the responses coming out of the performance of making (though the performance is not recorded as process, but more as intermediate ‘still’ works). Through my reading for my parallel project and especially for my critical review, I looked at skin as a term, and this informed my curiosity what could be done with skin. If I would have looked more into skin, I could work more with materials closer to skin as material, e.g. leather. But I decided to stay with latex, kind of surrogate. And certainly as vulnerable as human skin. Overall, I got some further ideas that is going to inform my parellel project. Especially, I like the experience made that my work is going to inform my critical review – and not vice versa.

 


Questions to my tutor:

  • Suggestions (presentation, assessment) for work that are under tension, vulnerable towards movement and especially heavy handling.
  • Discussion on multiple media (e.g. plus sound): I could embrace this to work in a gallery setting as the sound coming from the backside of the ‘still’ painting. How to get this virtually across?
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A4 – Contextual Notes

Vibrant Matter of Skin

 

Vibrant Matter -Touching my Skin – Stretching my limits.’

 

Latex: a material full of cultural connotations, derived a rubber from the rubber tree, used as latex-skin in erotica, as medium for latex paint, as material for medical gloves (what mostly are replaced now by nitrile gloves due to latex allergy). A material, only thinking of it at a later stage, I had explored on a molecular level during my master thesis in chemistry (my first academic degree ages ago).  

This part of the course was asking question around canvas and stretcher, mostly I did look at it from a surface versus body conception. All paintings at perceived through their surface and all sculpture through their physical body, was this the way I would differentiate both disciplines? I started to think of paint as body, and of object like the stretcher as pictorial objects. Paint with multiplied sides, as a skin with double faces, and paint as a material that can be modeled with. I found in latex a material that has some similarities with acrylic paint. I could apply it with brushes, I could pour it, I could use various colors. It also has similarities with e.g. plaster in the form of plaster bandage used for sculptures, to build form with it, to cast.

I eventually closed in the idea of skin, and was informed by the books of Lisa Cartwright (Cartwright, 1995) and Jose van Dijk (van Dijck, 2005) as well as Bernadette Wegenstein (Wegenstein and Hansen, 2006). However, I didn’t looked at it from a conceptual viewpoint rather as a possibility of reading material. I found skin as good metaphor for how I perceived the material of latex, body and surface. Paint only as surface is what I would relate to the spray painted works of Katharina Grosse (Art21, 2015). Paint as body is what I see in the work of Lynda Benglis (Tate Shots, 2012). I was curious to see how one material could move along those two poles: surface and body. Some other artists, I loosely do refer to are Angela de la Cruz, for her use of paint as folding materials (though still with a supporting canvas) especially in relationship with the stretcher (Wetterling Gallery, 2016), Simon Callery, for his drappery like suspended canvas sculptures (Fold Gallery, s.D.), Dana Molzan, for some relevance to hangings (Kaufmann Repetto, s.D. ), and Karla Black, for her fragile hanging ephemeral works (National Galleries Scotland, 2019) .

Informed by my parallel project on medical imaging, the transparent clinical body, and the medical intrusive gaze through the skin, informed my exploration of the vulnerability, the fragmented paint, and options of negative space making the opaque latex ‘transparent’.

To look at it from a different angle, I do wonder whether aspect of Minimal Art or mono-ha do not also play a role here, especially considering the perception of the work in space. It is just a fade sensation. Although, the works are rather small scale, I could envision to make them human scale, room scale, These are the dimensions that the works of both art movements (western and eastern) do embrace. I do can imagine it, but I can’t experience it with small scale works only. Possibly, a digital simulation could give a better idea.

Just as a afterthought, I read recently an article about extended MRI techniques that allows to measure brain elasticity by ‘sending vibrations through ..They move faster through stiffer material, producing … maps of tissue rigidity, that may correspond to brain activity.’(Makin, 2019)  This might be just too far ‘stretched’, but I found a certain resonance in how I worked with the latex paint material through sensing, feeling, stretching, responding to tensions – a vibrant matter.

(word count 491)

 


Amendment: 
I visited the mono-ha exhibition at Cardi Gallery, London, and was intrigued by some works that embrace with tension: inside the work between two materials and in relationship to the viewer in the physical space of the room (e.g. Lee Ufan’s Relatum, 1969/2015). After our performance event in London where I showed my parallel project (a collaborative work with music student Vicki Downey) I was more convinced that the right perception of certain works can only be bodily experienced in a physical space as an encounter. It resonated with a quote from Nobuo Sekine (Fig. 1).

“My act is intended to open up the state of transparent world …
What we are doing is finding ways to have encounters today.” – Nobuo Sekine

But this might be just the biggest challenge as a distant art student. And what eventually would result in make actual exhibitions of my work and to have that experience being conveyed as part of my work. I possibly have to put this aside till level 3.

 

"Fig.

 


Reference

 

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A4 – Painting through Skin

  • A4 – Painting through Skin
  • A4 – Painting through Skin
  • A4 – Painting through Skin
  • A4 – Painting through Skin
  • A4 – Painting through Skin

In my prior reflections, I articulated my aim for this assignment:

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


Departure

I started to work first time with latex, considered it either as material for disposable gloves, as latex paint for wall painting, or as fetish material with erotic connotation. The first connotation was my first one, the third one that of a few other people.

Point of departure: using latex as conservation, surface coating – see  project 1  (Fig. 1).

Continuation: to understand that latex can be vulnerable when seen as material without support (as it stuck together, Fig. 2), that it doesn’t work as intended with all materials (failing to blend with plaster, Fig. 3), and that it can go sculptural when joined with supporting material (eg. wire, Fig. 4) – see project 2 

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 1 – 5):

My most exciting experience was to explore the literal stretching performance of latex as paint material (Fig. 5):  Stretching as a unique feature of the material, and not just acting as a prep to  support a painting, but to become the painting in itself.

I decided to look at two main aspects:

  • sculptural versus surface
  • stretching

Going sculptural

From project 4 I was interested to explore paper chips more, and to see whether they could give latex more sculptural features (Fig. 6-14)

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 6 – 14) – sizes each between around 12-15 x 8-10 x 7-11 cm

=> those small scale wire-latex sculpture do have some fascinating aspects. Especially the last one (sculpture no4, Fig. 12-14) do convince more through a combination of transparent and opaque;  patterns, lines and shapes; concealing and revealing;  play with color. In a similar way sculpture no2 has a sense of opening.

The drawback with these small sculptures build around wire is  instability: the wire doesn’t hold the latex-skin enough, both are rather a playful interaction, moving around without stabilising themselves. This might be an aspect to follow through, but I was more interested in other ways, more robust and stable approaches – more stretched ones.

Another, quite experimental approach I looked at was pouring latex over paper chips (those chips I used to paint with in project 4) resulting in quite unique scuptural object (Fig. 15). But it seemed to rather a dead-end – or one off.  No stretching ‘allowed’ here.

Fig, 15: latex-chips-sculpture

Fig, 15: latex-chips-sculpture; pouring – stretching – breaking – arranging; a flower bouquet?

 

At that moment, I decided to revisit a work from project 2 (Fig. 16, left). The stretched latex became after some time less tight, the tension diminished, reminding me of guitar strings that had to be re-tuned through adding more tension, to stay atuned. What led me to ‘unstretch’ it, following the motion of ‘hanging’ and installed it that way (Fig. 16, right). Leaving wide open space inside, space to breathe, to relax.

Fig. 16: revisiting from project 2- stretching the skin

Fig. 16: revisiting from project 2- stretching the skin

 

=> also this approach, through fascinating and intriguing to follow through (relax, breathing), it still did work the way I was looking for. No ‘stretching’ here.

Being complicit with latex – feeling resistance

Therefore, I decided to re-start with new latex-skin paintings, now on paper as a variation towards an unknown. My previous latex works where more about the surface aspect of the material (coating, sticking, folding). I wanted to explore its painterly qualities by layering various colored latex (Fig. 16 – 19). Without knowing the outcome, I was curious to see how it will turn out – and to work from there.

I applied the three colored latex (kind of primaries) rather abstractly and intuitively, in a way that I found intriguing.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 17 – 20) – sizes approx. 32 x 45 cm

Exploring peeling, face lifting, and how the material will perform.  But it happened that some part of the latex didn’t got of the paper. Although, as learned from previous sticky results (Fig. 2), I used baby powder to protect the latex surface of just doing that.

Apparently, the latex mixed with phtalo blue was the one that kept sticking to the paper (the other colors with inorganic pigments (cd red, cd yellow, titan white) behaved differently. I started to think on how this could be an opportunity – and playing with an empty stretcher (Fig. 21)

Fig. 21: latex color skin - failure as opportunity

Fig. 21: latex color skin – failure as opportunity; paper as support and picture plane – stretcher as pictorial element – latex skin as paint and picture; do I need the bull clamps? 

 

=> Would this ‘failure as opportunity’ give me some new directions? 

Stretching

Exploring further, lifted paint-skin, informed by a pictorial use of an empty stretcher.  Extending the stretching aspect of the resulting latex picture.

First attempt, small stretcher (40 x 30  cm)

Fig. 22: latex stretch no1

Fig. 22: latex stretch no1; stretching a released latex picture onto a stretcher, opening negative space; do I really need the bull clamps ?

 

=> this seemed to work quite well. I was wondering whether I could stretch more, using larger stretcher. The color areas turned out to be important pictorial elements in the stretched composition.

Second attempt – larger stretcher (70x50cm)

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 23 – 26)- sizes approx 80 x 50 cm

=> I used bull clamps to fix one part of the latex skin on one side and pulled with my hands another part towards the opposite side. Trying what can be pulled towards where. At times, the latex skin became vulnerable and – broke. I worked further with the fragments, resulting in a diminishing picture plane, and increasing negative space. At the end it was not any longer a complete paint layer as in Fig. 16-19, but rather strings been held. The color areas flattened out and transformed into spatial lines.

Following up with these efforts, I decided to revisit the partly stuck-to-paper latex picture (Fig. 21) and to see how I could develop it further, trying to be more in relationship with the materiality performance and to see what the material wants to tell me.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 27 – 30) – sizes approx 24 x 18 cm

=> an evolution of keeping inside the frame, contained, and white areas of paper stuck to the latex (backside) turned into a pictorial element. I found it really fascinating how things can turn around into an abstract composition by considering all sides, and features of the material, playing and revisiting possible constellations till it results into a somehow meaningful work – void of any representational framework or external connotations – just paint material composed and mediated.

I started to sense a familiarity with the latex material, a complicity? I wanted to make thicker layers of paint, and to go back to two colors in order to explore more the spatial performance of areas and lines, how the first can turn into the second.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 31 – 34) – sizes around 24×18+ cm 

=> Because of the thickness of the paint-skin, it material was rather rigid, and the relationship between the shapes stayed pretty much stable. I thought that using the wire could make it more sculptural, not stretching but bonding. As done before (Fig. 23-26), I wanted to explore the shape relationship through stretching deeper and went back to the found object, the wine rack stretcher from Fig. 15.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 35 – 38) – sizes approx 80 x 22 cm

 

=> stretching downwards (Fig. 35 & 36), demanding quite some strength, turning upside down (Fig. 37) and finding a more dynamic form and relationship. Here, I had to use bull-clamps again, the tension was too strong and the  strips the narrow.  The colors wavelike moving upwards, up-lifting. The paint-skin not completely covering the stretcher’s rectangular shape, but following its own dynamic and leaving enough negative space open to resonate with. I was curious to see whether the addition of a different texture (latex skin pattern made with the help of bubble wrap) could work (Fig. 38) –  but I found the result a bit too contrived, too dense, and leaving not enough open space .

However, I found the paint-mesh fascinating, adding certainly contrast, as also explored in project 4.5.  As my stretched works done earlier (Fig. 23- 26) were very open with not a balanced relationship between positive and negative space, I wanted to see whether the mesh could add more meaning to it. I could not undo the stretching and fragmentation of the latex-paint-skin, thus adding could work better. 

I was curious to play along this pattern and the stretched colored bands, placing, stretching as well the mesh-skin.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 39 – 42) – sizes approx. 80 x 50 cm

=> an evolving process of increasing the tension of the skin-mesh, becoming more a net (reminding me of sea and fishing). It appeared to me that the two varieties of solid and meshed paint-skin do stand in a dialogue with each other. It occurred to me that I had to apply much less force to stretch the mesh than the solid paint-skin. An interesting aspect as it could inform future options of ‘stretching’. 

Reflection and possible next steps 

One of my concerns or interest in making the works for the assignment was to see whether I could get rid of the bull-clamps. I considered them rather a temporary fixings, but wanted to see how the paint-skin and the stretched could be more autonomous, being self-sufficient and the only partners in this relationship. I started to create variations since my second attempt on stretching (Fig. 22-25), replacing bull clamps by stretching the paint-skin mostly around the corners so that could be hold in place by its own tension. Only, in the thick latex skin stretched across the wine rack required me to use bull-clamps again.

My initial work (Fig. 15) was still with bull-clamps, but hidden at the backside of the stretcher. And my small scale sculptural works (Fig. 6-14) were hold by the wire net, but the tension was absent due to the fact that both materials (paint skin and wire) were both rather flexible.

The used stretcher (Fig. 39-42) seems now a bit too contained, too much frame like. Whereas, the one with the found stretcher (Fig. 35-38) does work better for me. The smaller one in Fig 34 also appears more successful as the stretcher appears rather as an embedded object than a frame, more than the one in Fig. 30. I would like to ‘un-stretch/un-frame’ , but do not quite know yet how else to fix the material, the edges. And some fixture is needed, otherwise there will not be ‘stretching’. One option could be to put nails in a wall as fixing points. Another option could be, to combine the idea from my small sculptures but instead of the quite flexible wire to use rigid bars. Or too look out for found objects, that could hold the strength of stretching latex paint-skin. Here, I could embrace my experience more that mesh are easier to stretch and hold that solid paint-skin. 

The most successful pieces are those that embrace the material unique features (stretchable, double faces) and have besides a material tension also a tension inside the pictorial elements, e.g. Fig. 36 or Fig. 42. The drawback of these are that they are pretty vulnerable as they are under tension (not good for physical shipments, rather a site-specific installation). And this would be also a key question to my tutor: how to work and present works like that for assessment.

Options to stretch – future extension or application of assignment work

static:

  • nails in the wall
  • rigid metal bars
  • anything ready-made: handrails, trees, hangers, 

dynamic:

  • between doors: open and closing doors kept under tension as performance
  • live performance: audience invited to apply forces, to stretch supplied paint-skins (or to think further, to search even for any material to explore stretching as such)

Options of paint-skin:

  • mesh 
  • solid
  • area or line 
  • different thicknesses for different tension
  • combinations of above

Amendment

inspired by the music-art collaboration and our event in London, I was wondering whether a painting can not also actually make music aka sounds. Here the sound of stretched paint (Fig. 36)

 


A spin off from working with latex mesh and trying to find objects that can hold tension – a failure due to structural collapse. Nevertheless, it became a wall object for itself (Fig. 43)

Fig. 43: Wall object; latex mesh and honeycomb board

Fig. 43: Wall object; latex mesh and honeycomb board

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A3 – Reflection on Tutorial

This time quite a different experience, having a tutorial with my tutor in London who also lives in London. I captured notes of our tutorial and she acknowledged my ‘thorough and detailed notes’ with adding only a few comments and references to art practitioners.

We went through the coursework and assignment works that I submitted all digitally, what certainly was a challenge regarding discerning materiality of thick Perspex with layers of painting on various levels through a digital reproduction as a flat picture. What brings up the question of presenting works in a convincing way and certainly to learn more from photographing sculpture and installation. Of the assignment series my tutor found no.6 Human and no. 2 Reaching, and possibly no. 2 Breaking Through the more successful ones (Fig. 1).

Stefan513593 - A3 - Reflection

Fig. 1: more successful pieces from assignment

 

I am not surprised that my sketchbooks and some more experimental works embracing more serendipity came out stronger. Overall, I do think that my wish to conclude and finish this assignment with a finished touch informed my work resulting in its containment. My struggle that resulted in my decision to continue with the figurative painted gesture was perceived as a bit too direct. However, I still think that especially human faces and hands could be portals to invite and engage the viewer.

I do think that the word ‚vulnerability‘ describes well my approach and attitude, although not so clearly verbalised by me. We discussed how I could trust more my instinct and put aside other thoughts coming from peer feedback. I could trust my discernment and to write this out more clearly , at least to myself when making iterations of work. It is good that my tutor noticed that all parts are there, to do more sketchbook works that would turn into larger scale work. What makes sense to me, as the dimension of my assignment work (40x30cm), dictated by what was at my disposal, felt restrictive. Restrictive not in a creative, opening up sense, but in a constraining, closing sense. Interesting for me to reflect more on what size is doing to my work.

Stefan513593 - A3 - Reflection - Ex3.1

Fig. 2: Paintings no 12 and no. 14 from Ex 3.1

 

Inspiring aspects my tutor suggested:

  • How gesture, mark making and materiality can relate to idea or subject matter (e.g abandoned patient gown maquette in Ex 3.1, perspex as material not fully explored?). Do think more about this relationship (would that mean a figurative oil painting on stretched canvas is less successful?)
    => Something I haven’t so much considered yet, but what feels exciting.
  • How fluidity and dissolution of boundaries appear to be more successful than ‘heavily framed’ imagery (e.g. Ex 3.3) of video work. (Fig. 3)
    => Can relate to this fully, as during the work I looked at Amy Sillman’s still images of her animated video work. While wondering about the motivation to print out stills of a video when there ‘apparently’ is not more visual information, I eventually discovered that a physical space the viewer can engage with, a physical and bodily approach to a narrative as one need to look and turn and move to see all, gives indeed much more further ‘information’. Last not least, I felt it was quite fun, and I would consider the exploration and construction as such even as a visual research process ! Definitely , an aspect I will explore more!

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Reflection - Ex3.3

Fig. 3: Physical construction of narrative as installation , from Ex. 3.3

 

Points my tutor found important for me to keep in mind: 

  • To think about getting close-up and looking at areas or detail/pattern/texture and to avoid generalising (although, I don’t feel that my assignment work is generalized, perhaps abstracted from observation).
    => quite a valid point, a question how an idea or the material guides my exploration
  • To make more quick studies with paint, exploring the qualities of the painted surface/ edges, and using more transparency and layering (good examples: Fig. 1 and Fig. 2)
    => One more point where I found intuitively a more exciting expression of paint, but somehow as I did relate those to some of my earlier approaches I thought to make something different. Perhaps, this is a becoming of a voice, intuitively expressed strokes, marks, patterns, approaches that have a certain fluidity in it, alongside a sense of ‘being in my zone’

Elements that stand out for my tutor :

  • Paintings no 12 and no. 14 from Ex 3.1: my exploration of ambiguity through edges and fragments with a sense of vulnerability (Fig 1)
    => I agree that my sketches and studies that explored more the surface or the support and paint versus a rather observational ‘gaze’ turn out to be more successful, and for me also more engaging
  • Video flipbook narrative: my video work from Ex.3.4 was perceived as more successful and less confined, dissolution of boundaries.
    => This is another example of trusting more my intuition as resulting from peer feedback I decided to go for my other video with a closer look at , but perhaps more contained, as the first one picked by my tutor was certainly more about dissolving boundaries
  • Cast shadow of hand hand in video work with intriguing depth perception.
    => Something I would want to develop further.
  • Digital composite intriguing (Ex.3.4) as an intriguing and ambiguous set of surfaces and edges
    =>  I can relate this to my assignment 1 work of folded unfolded tissue with a fluidity of boundaries and borders. (Fig. 4). An approach I am still struggling with to find a meaningful development, is is digital? is it physical? how and what would I show in a galllery? a screen showing it or a ‘painting object’?
Stefan513593 - A3 -Reflection - Ex3.4

Fig. 4: Digital composite of painted surfaces from Ex. 3.4

 

On the technical side she suggested, considering my preference for oil paint and washes , to test Lascaux Aquacryl as apparently on can make transparent washes but also make thick pasty layers by adding impasto gel (closer to oil paint performance). I will give it a try in the next part and see whether it would work for me. Another material my tutor suggested is Latex, a material I do have first to find an entry into it to (unique properties?)

We discussed my parallel project, my intention to include my ongoing collaborative work music on same subject with Vicky Downey, and how my critical review will relate to my parallel project (thus, writing in first person is very appropriate, depending on what I have to say). I mentioned the deadline cumulating with a live performance of the collaborative project and was excited to hear that she would like to attend. This kind of excitement in such moments is what propels me forward. 

One main topic is certainly materiality and its relation to process and idea. The other ambiguity in my visual language alongside fragmented and disrupted space. To look at my work and my next steps from just these angles might results in more intimate approach.

With some more distance between me and my assignment work, and with a few study visits and workshops I attended in London that supported my reflection, a question to ask myself is what is my practice approach and what is my final work and message (if at all). I tend to move away now from conveying my embodied experience to the viewer (did I intend that they would feel, see similar things?), to consider this more as my own attitude in approaching and processing things, and to create works that would be more open ended and disruptive. Main aspects I want to avoid it being didactic, illustrative, or direct in that same sense.


Contextual suggestions of art practitioners:

  • Ally McGinn – Performative painting
  • Andrew Bick – Incorporates Wax, Perspex, acrylic
  • Alex Roberts – Use of transparent supports in her paintings.
  • Justin Mortimer – viscosity of paint.
  • Tania Kovats – Water 
    => Her book on ‘Drawing Water’ was suggested by my D1 tutor after I finished the course, as I was exploring mud and river through performative full body drawing
  • Hannah Maybank – latex/acrylic/watercolour
    => I already looked at her work in previous parts, intriguided by her muted color palette and sense of ambiguity
  • Alberto Burri
    => burlap and other materials used to overcome the conventional notion of painting on a canvas
  • Will Kendrick
  • Jason Martin,
  • Frank Stella 
  • Eva Hesse ( and here)

I will look at those artists more in detail during my next works and researches.

 


The full formative feedback (my notes amended by my tutor) is available at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-4OnH0ZP1ZejKWFJjqAOUVyAttBakhNb

  

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A3 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

I explored new materials resonating with my sensibility of screen-based images: Perspex, Rhenalon, Mylar, and last not least moving images through recording and projecting. These materials are quite challenging from a technical perspective (how to paint, transfer paint onto, very long drying times) as well as from viewing perspective (front view, back view, illumination). I would not say that I master those materials, but I felt more at ease to take on these challenges and my assignment selection shows a more fluid approach with barriers, i.e. through layering and playing with layers to find meaningful compositions, and through repetitive cycles of doing making it nearly a habit. I applied some ‘printing’ aspects in my work, e.g. transfer, decalcomania, that felt meaningful to use. I struggled with the question of figurative versus abstract versus gestural painting, eventually found the layered ‘hand-gesture’ a balanced compromise in between that even triggered deeper responses from peers.

Quality of Outcome

Throughout this course and previous parts I went wilder and more experimental in my works that resulted in rather raw pieces, more sketches of work. For my current assignment that took quite some life no time due to above mentioned technical challenges (but not only) I was more concerned with quality of outcome. Informed by my public exposure since A2 with three exhibitions (!) I was seeking for more balanced compositions, quality of painting, aesthetic appeal of work and looking at settings that could be carried on to a gallery space. Therefore, I worked also with pictures frames to see whether the work would be supported by it – or not. In my six assignment works, this discernment comes through.

Still, considering the paintings challenges with Perspex and oil paint (that I prefer to acrylic for its body and more luminous colors especially in washes, but went mostly for acrylic at the end due to time constraints) I do not feel comfortable yet with the outcome. To get some technical advice would be helpful.

Demonstration of Creativity

With my constant curiosity and looking beyond paint in a conventional sense, I embraced moving images, and the performative aspect of light through projecting previous recorded painting images. I chose to work with transparent materials (Perspex, Rhenalon) to push my boundaries and to embed the ‘screen’ idea through its materialization. I engaged myself with performative painting by appropriating Richard Serra’s ‘Hand Catching’ video that informed my further engagement with my bodily representation of viewing and perceiving.

Overall, I did find resonance of my current work with my previous work from part 1 and 2.. Ideas and approaches through masking, transfer, folding, concealing, and disruption of picture plane and possible readings. However, I found it difficult to find a way to paint more gesturally.

I got new ideas (called spin-offs) for my parallel project where I started also a collaboration with a music student. In that sense a fruitful part of my course. Though, I need to move much faster now.

Context

I started with my parallel project idea with my MRI experience and eventually settled in with an appropriation of Richard Serra’s video work through a staged painterly enactment of the gesture of catching – and failing to do so. The theme of failure continued since my assignment 1 work, now with the addition of my bodily sensation of dissociation while staging the hand. My assignment work was not only informed by my previous works (e.g. folding, concealing, performing) but also by new works especially inspired by Jaqueline Humphries from a technical-painterly approach and Helen Chadwick and partly Mona Hatoum for their conceptual but also embodied expression of ideas in creating composites. I tried to be more focused on artists and those mentioned will certainly continue to accompany my journey.

Eventually, peer feedback on my moving images and my paintings informed my continuation with the ‘hand gesture’ as an entry portal for the viewer to engage with the work, versus pure abstraction. Through this approach, I found a more stimulating and meaningful way to narrative through painting and a viewer’s agency.  I struggled with the notion of narrative as storytelling as a rather didactic approach.

 


Questions to my tutor:

  • I am still intrigued by my video recording of reflective projection (Performance – Unframed #01) I am struggling once again with the question on medium: moving images or painting. Whether and how moving images could be considered as an expanded field of painting. Where to look for artists?
  • The performative painting: context and artists working in this field? 
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A3 – Contextual Notes

My assignment work started with Richard Serra’s video work  ‘Hand Catching Lead’  (Serra, 1968). Knowing, that he made it from a sensible position of exploring video as a rather new media in combination with his ongoing work on a metal sculpture ‘House of Cards’ (1969). It is about performance and perception. Additionally, it was the notion of failure that intrigued me, relating back to my earlier performance and failure works for assignment 1.

Through my appropriation and enacting Serra’s work in a new situation, a painted TV-box in my studio space, I went further and appropriated even my viewing of Serra’s work on my computer screen in comparison with viewing it on a TV-box-screen in a museum.

Over time, I explored the performative aspect of the screen, the flat surface, an illuminated surface. A sensibility of screen-based imagery as the norm of our today’s multi-social-media overflow that not only cab be seen in Penelope Umbrico’s series ‘TVs from Craigslist’ (Umbrico, 2011) but also in the short intense performative act of Hito Steyerl’s work ‘Strike’ (2010) as seen in a past exhibition (Kunstmuseum Basel, 2018). Interestingly, the aesthetic of a broken flat screen is reflected once again in Umbrico’s series ‘Broken Sets / Bad Displays’ (2007).

With some further research I was excited to read Esther Leslie’s account of liquid crystals (the part that transmits to us the illusion of images) and her description of J.W. Goethe’s encounter with mirror and the way images appear and disappear by breathing onto a glass surfaces (Candela et al., 2018). A bodily encounter of touch (through breathing) and alongside above aesthetics of a colorful broken liquid crystal screen, I explored through recording and projection the performance of light and colors on the surfaces, artefacts and glitches through a repetitive cycle of recording-projecting. I wanted to capture these performative colors and the sense of touch through the gesture of the hand. The hand that has a high emotional and semiotic element in our life as humans, gestures are language and provide meaning, a viewpoint explored by Mark Johnson deeply (Johnson, 2008).

For me it was fascinating to hear the responses of peers on my initial ‘Time-Screen’ paintings (at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?page_id=4515) with one reference to Jean Cocteau Orphée (Bradshaw, 2018), an exploration of the other world. What brought me closer into the territory of dissociation and reaching across worlds. Dissociation because that was the feeling I experience during enacting the ‘Hand Catching’ performance: my hand inside the ‘TV-box’ behaving rather independently from my mind and ‘outside’ body. And it resonated with an earlier peer feedback (at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=4136) on my enactment performance with reference to Alexa Wright’s ‘Alter Ego’ (2005) that ‘investigates the familiar sense of being outside of (beside) oneself, and plays with the experience of a loss of control over an aspect of the self.’ (Wright, 2017) .

Partly, I was informed with rising awareness of my own previous works from part 1 and 2, e.g. the paper folding painting, as a repetitive and failing performance work (The Puzzle of Gesture and What is left behind at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=1230) . Through my deeper exploration of masking and stencil as well as acrylic transfer processes I continued to work on composition, color, shapes and edges. Regarding the aesthetics of this approach I was much inspired by Jaqueline Humphries works, especially her ’emoij’ laser cut layered large scale paintings, as seen recently in a Modern Art gallery in London (Crown Point Press, 2016, Humphries, 2018, Modern Art Gallery, 2018)

In assignment 1, my approach to Perspex and other transparent materials was quite rudimentary, in this assignment I embraced the qualities much more. To an extent of facing technical barriers, but also of surprising elements, as the paintings with light coming from the back do show. My interest in light was further triggered by Helen Chadwick and her work ‘Of Mutability’ (1986) and ‘Lumina’ or ‘Blood Hyphen’ (1986) (Chadwick, 2011, James, 2017, Walker, 2013). Light as performative and painterly element. It resonates also with Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘White Paintings’ (1951) and Jaqueline Humphries ‘Black Paintings’ (2005) (Brown, 2009). Either ambient light or UV, light as impacting the way what and how we see pictures.

During my assignment work and working more with reflective surfaces I was inspired by the work by Sara Naim (Romdane, 2018), and for my exploration of painting as moving images I looked at the work by Naomie Kremer’s ‘Hybrid Paintings’(2014-15), paintings with overlay of projected images (Kremer, 2014-15).

Overall, I felt intrigued by my explorations and over time a remove from my moving images, my initial observational paintings, and resulting into layered ‘gesture-screen-stills’ that I hoped would embrace some of the ideas behind Mona Hatoum’s body of work ((Hatoum et al., 2018) through combining conventions of materiality with new sensibilities and meaning. Also to consider art as visceral encounter that may open up to new mental images. More concern was more on a reductive versus literal approach of handling material.


Reference

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A3 – Time & Dissociation //

  • A3 – Time & Dissociation //
  • A3 – Time & Dissociation //
  • A3 – Time & Dissociation //

Based on my developing works (TIME-SCREEN I and TIME-SCREEN II as well as the spin-off idea), I decided to develop following aspects further:

  • gesture : the human presence and its dissociative (dis-)appearance 
  • frame / screen : the disruptive plane
  • projection / performance : the fragmented reality

I’ve noticed that visual elements can add strongly to a narrative created by the viewer (see peer feedback on performative moving image and on still paintings) . Also the gesture as the act of touch , but also of failure.

Some questions that I will address with my assignment:

  • How could these three elements be embedded into convincing work? 
  • How can I leverage and explore materiality to the extend to creating meaning and knowledge?
  • How could the painting support function as a carrier of meaning?
  • How could the viewer be engaged through an interactive or participatory co-creation act ?
  • How can my painting cross boundaries of abstract and figurative painting? 
  • How could the work push myself into new territories and knowing?

I found the following elements intriguing and supporting above questions:

  • material:
    – perspex, transparent layers for multiple viewpoints (screening, reflections, mirror, framing)
    light / projection: light as a painterly act for making visible (projection beam, projections of recorded observations, light transgressing translucent layers (perspex, oil or watercolor washes)
    stencil approach: playing with positive and negative shapes plus surrounding space 
    – acrylic transfer process: loss of information due to material imperfections and variations in control of process
  • gesture:
    – depiction of gesture: crossing, transgressing, interacting
    – gesture of making it: my presence, control, loss of control, failure, imperfections
  • frame:
    – enforcing and dissolving containment, being inside the frame or outside the frame, being framed by viewing experience
    – a possibly more interesting combination of painted areas and line (frame, gestural)

Layered painting

Screen gesture – ideas to push forward. Perspex plate in between two paintings, striations informed by double projection artefacts (Fig. 1 – 2 – with ideas no.1  – 4).

to open in lightbox view, click on the small arrow bottom right

=> no3: background with a higher quality in execution, more translucency, the painted hand on mylar perhaps with a more ‘fleeding’ character. How to embed surrounding light as performative ‘paint’?  I find the opaqueness, though using only translucent oil washes, as too dense, perhaps in a combination with more transparent layers more successful, being more informed with the light-induced screen performance.

Embracing coincidences

While making and laying out my ideas (Fig 1-2) I discovered a reflection of the studio light (Fig. 3), considering it as a light performance, and making a short video from my and my phone camera moving forward and backward (a bodily gesture). The image taken (Fig 3) was especially fascinating: one might get the idea as if the light reflection is hold between the two depicted hand gestures (negative and positive shape). What in itself might be just another visual element stipulating various responses.

Stefan513593 - A3 - screen gesture - scan as gesture?

Fig 3: Screen gesture – element of chance – layering and reflection – scan as gesture?; a combine: background layer, embodied reflection, negative and positive gesture

 

The up and down of the reflected light reminded me of a scanning process, like a scanner. The reflection becomes embodied, as only through by body gesture I can animate the painting and the light beam starts to scan up and down. The animation is not any longer through a time-based sequence of still images, but a still image animated by the viewer. I find this an fascinating idea and did wonder how this could be developed further. Therefore, I amended one of my initial questions above:

  • How could the viewer be engaged through performative reflection as interactive or participatory co-creation act ?

Nevertheless, I made a video as a juxtaposition of the performing reflected light on the painting and a recorded sequence from my open scanner, an interior view of the scanner: Scan as Gesture (0:05 min). 

This observation of chance made me reflect how relevant this could be for my parallel project: MRI as a process is physically more related to proton spins and impact of electro-magnetic fields, but is a also a slicing, or scanning process and it is often referred to as a MRI scan. A very fascinating discovery, reminding me also of Helen Chadwick‘s photocopier approach for her work ‘Of Mutability‘ and Oval Court, 1986. Kind of inside the machine, the scanner, not literally, more metaphorically, something to look deeper at in my parallel project.

A3-sketchbook - visual thinking 1

Image 1 of 3

Fig. 4: visual thinking 1 - sketchbook – developing ideas for execution; a multilayered approach

I do relate the application of paint in stripes to aspects of: striations (as experimented earlier in context of coding information, but also glitches), screening (the aspect of horizontal structure and patterns of image creation on screens, the way we read images and image-texts horizontally forward and return), and scanning (related to how we scan visual information, related to MRI scanner). In my sketchbook (Fig. 4) a mapping of my ideas for building the layered painting. And considering striations as one key element to explore through paint.

My plan for this assignment project is mostly informed by my previous Time & Screen paintings and especially above layered image with 6mm perspex plate (Fig. 3) and sketched down in my sketchbook (Fig.4). To work in parallel on the three (or more?) layers aka building blocks consisting of visual and color information informed by my previous works (enactment performance, video, paintings of screening and viewing) alongside the gesture as the entry portal to engage, to seek meaning, to find narratives etc:

  • Background: a more opaque painted screen, like a viewing screen, a pattern informed by my previous experiments 
  • Middle Ground: a layer in between the background and the gesture, not too opaque and not too transparent
  • Foreground: a cut out hand-gesture, painted, a moving appeal

I did work mostly with transparent materials (perspex, rhenalon, mylar) as these not only embrace a light infusing quality, also they would possibly act in a similar with performing reflective light as observed (Fig. 3), preferably in oil as oil washes are much more luminous than in acrylic.

Building blocks

Exploring ideas on materiality in trying to answer some of above questions, or better, to raise questions related those aspects (see Fig. 5 and 6) 

to open in lightbox view, click on the small arrow bottom right

What worked well: 

  • Working with acrylic paint directly onto perspex (with priming first with adhesive spray). It is a opaque and fast drying process.
  • Working with oil paint on mylar or rhenalon with striations (using a tool) creates luminous color patterns.
  • Acrylic transfer of acrylic paintings onto paper makes glossy, reflective smooth surfaces
  • Using thin striations provides quite a translucent appeal

What didn’t work: 

  • Acrylic transfer process on perspex: a disaster as apparently it needs on sheet of paper, and using two plastic sheets doesn’t allow the transfer to happen, even after two days waiting the acrylic adhesive is still wet between both layers.  I am not quite sure why, perhaps that the used acrylic adhesive need to dry and can do so only through porous structures. e.g. paper).  
  • Working with oil paint on perspex or rhenalon takes endless time (around two weeks +) till I could use if further. What makes the entire process with three layers aka building blocks a frustrating endeavour. What is one of the reasons that this assignment took so long. Working on mylar sheets is a bit faster, though the sheet is not transparent.

Conclusions so far

  • Although acrylic transfer onto perspex didn’t work as intended, I found the traces left on perspex (Fig. 8, left) intriguing, kind of artefacts created by chance and failure. Artefacts that resonate with the projection light artefacts observed earlier on.
  • Using acrylic paint as the background and backside of perspex plate
  • Using oil paint or acrylic paint for middle ground with variations of transparency. Considering Jaqueline Humphries (Ryan, 2018) exploration that thick opaque paint still can show through much of visual information from the background. Fig. 19 shows above Fig. 8 and a sketch from my sketchbook, the latter much denser
  • Using more striations and disruptive patterns between background and middle ground.
  • Embracing surprise and follow new ways when get stuck. seeking new territories
Stefan513593 - A3 - Time&Dissociation - opaque transparency

Fig 13: opaque transparency – left: oil paint on paper, right: acrylic transfer onto stenciled acrylic painting

 

Building together:

Based on my previous quick approaches to test the dialogue of two layers (Fig. 8 and 9) I felt encouraged to play with the paintings that worked (and why not also with those that didn’t work?)  and to see how it would resonate: 

First Run:  

Background: oil paint on mylar, middle ground: acrylic transfer on perspex- a failure), gesture: oil paint on paper and mylar 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Time&Dissociation - Build #1

Fig 14: A3 – Time&Dissociation – Build #1: left the building blocks, right two options of layering

With this first round it would be good to reflect on my initial questions: 

  • How could these three elements (gesture // frame – screen // projection – performance) be embedded into convincing work? 
    => through working with three layers
  • How can I leverage and explore materiality to the extend to creating meaning and knowledge?
    => by using transparent/translucent materials that could be associated with screen, masking, window, frame
  • How could the painting support function as a carrier of meaning?
    => This still need to be seen, mostly through the viewer’s engagement related to the portal of the gesture. I do think that a convincing visual result in good-high quality would be crucial. 
  • How could the viewer be engaged through performative reflection as interactive or participatory co-creation act
    => To be tested further when truly installed as one piece (the image taken in Fig. 10 was flat and at some distance as the background in oil was still wet). Though a opaque background may interfere with that?
  • How can my painting cross boundaries of abstract and figurative painting? 
    => through juxtaposition of figurative gesture and more formal abstract patterns
  • How could the work push myself into new territories and knowing?
    => To work with transparent materials is challenging. It not only opens technical challenges on how to paint or transfer paint on these surfaces, it also engages in a more complex way through the additional options of looking from the backside and/or the impact of surrounding lightening and reflections. Some might be more controlled, some others would need to stay in ambiguity waiting for the viewer’s response. I am wondering whether to keep my route of making broad stripes for the background is convincing enough, as I found that thinner stripes aka striations do convey a translucent (background shines through) as well a textured appeal (when using acrylic paint and transfer technique, see Fig 10)

In that sense, it seemed promising to continue with my explorations of variants:

Interaction with building blocks

Two examples from my selected five varieties, interacting, performing, still images of screen (aka surface) based layered painting.

to open in lightbox view, click on a thumbnail

  • Touching a Wall (acrylic and oil paint on perspex, rhenalon and mylar, 40 x 30 cm, framed: 45 x 35 cm)

=> I explored both sides of a painted perspex plate (reference to the initial wall structure seen in Serra’s video work and made into my ‘TV-Box’) with varieties of gesture above. One side of the perspex is painted with an acrylic transfer (yes, I tried it again , a pattern of striations, just traces left, as I found the scattered and randomised visual intriguing. Eventually, I selected the juxtaposed version of monochrome and color (Fig 22)

  • Breaking Through (acrylic paint on perspex and mylar, 40 x 30 cm, framed: 45 x 35 cm)

=> Here, I took my first run (Fig. 14) further by using the failure (perspex with traces from my trial with acrylic transfer), placing a painted rhenalon plate behind and a gesture painted on mylar in between. I explored different varieties and found that the black frame (reference to the black screen box) gives a strong supporting element to the work.

  • Discovery (Oil paint on rhenalon and mylar, 40 x 30 cm, between glass)

=> I started with a framed version as well. Eventually, I found without frame and just sandwiched the rhenalon and mylar layers between two glass plates as more convincing.

Final selection:

A series of 6 works (acrylic and oil paint, on perspex, rhenalon, mylar and paper (painting size approx 40 x 30 cm each, framed sizes 45 x 35 cm):

  • Breaking Through: acrylic paint on perspex and mylar (45 x 35 cm, painting 40 x 30 cm)
  • Reaching: acrylic paint on perspex and mylar (45 x 35 cm, painting 40 x 30 cm)
  • Getting Involved: acrylic and oil paint on perspex and rhenalon (40 x 30 cm)
  • Touching a Wall: acrylic and oil paint on perspex and mylar (40 x 30 cm)
  • Discovery: oil paint on rhenalon and mylar between glass (40 x 30 cm)
  • Human: oil and acrylic paint on paper, rhenalon (approx. 42 x 30 cm)

I decided to title the six works as a reflection of my response to the process of making and viewing. Also, I decided to group the six paintings according to their visual appearance and how they resonate as a group in itself. For that reason I separated Touching a Wall and Discovery from the frame and to embrace the perspex aka glass plate as the support, the work in itself – not contained in a frame.

Gallery view #1: Touching a Wall / Reaching

Image 1 of 3

Fig. 31: A3 - Time&Dissociation - Touching a Wall / Reaching

I was eager to test the luminance and possibility for background light. Luckily, I had the ‘TV.box’ from previous works ready and installed it as a lightbox with a small LED light at one of the openings. Therefore, I made additional photographs of five of my six selected works (Human (Fig. 33 had an opaque paper background)

Illumination – Appearing and Disappearing acts

With a view from the frontside, with light shining through the back. I took the photographs in a darkened room to ensure the light be more dominant. Idea for gallery installation. Some notion of backlightening, like computer or phone screens, images and pattern appearing, not touchable. And at the same time, information seems to get lost, the bright colors of the painted frontside, disappearing – like disappearing acts – performing with light.  

A3 - Time & Dissociation - Illumination #2

Image 1 of 5

Fig. 34: Illumination #2 - Breaking Through

=> I find it fascinating how the environment can be merged with what and how we perceive things. We are not completely independent, or innocent of the way we see. I felt reminded of Jaqueline Humphries ‘Black Paintings’ (she used neon paints) or of the participatory video works of Vincent Morriset. From above series, I find Getting Involved (Fig. 32 left) the least successful one. Though, it appears stronger with backlight (Fig. 36)


Learnings

  • More clarity on material issues:
    – acrylic transfer onto perspex: need much more time to dry (could be accelerated with applied heat), similar with oil paint on perspex
    – acrylic paint in perspex: either with a primer or with adhesive mixed into to keep the dry paint on the surface
    – fixing paper onto perspex: either with adhesive of with photo mount
    – painting on perspex or rhenalon: it will keep a translucent appeal, washes are more differentiated, opaque paints are not completely opaque. I embraced that aspects in taken ‘illuminated’ photographs (Fig. 34-38)
  • More clarity on composition:
    – painted frame: a painted frame feels more contained, feeling isolated, less discruptive, less successful
    – frame around the painting:  seems to be more successful, letting the relationship between shapes and color be more active
  • Be pragmatic:
    – I was looking for the right striations and didn’t want to stick to one ‘comb-tool’. Thus, I did a self-made tool, cut from plastic. Luckily, I found also in our garage a tile comb-style spatula.
  • Play:
    – Embracing the works at hand, playing to find new compositions, visually more intriguing (see Fig. 15-30)
  • Installation:
    – Finding how a picture frame can support a visual strong expression, at times the frame seems contains too much (see Fig. 27-30 and 32)

 


Reflection

From working on my assignment body I became much more aware on how I could see my explorations through moving images and painting in a complementary but also a different viewpoint on materiality as an object surrounding us:

Stefan513593-A3-table materiality

Table 1: Materiality (moving images and painting)

Eventually, I found a portal to see how to work with moving images and painting in the future, as both could be considered as a response to above mentioned topics. I would consider as the common denominator:

LIGHT and COLOR and SURFACE

What I also become aware of as a common theme crossing both ‘media’ is the aspect of crossing boundaries of

SPACE and MATERIALITY

I do feel more assured to continue working on those parallel aspect going beyond the notion of painting as an observational medium to depict projected and screened images (from a digital, discrete space). Furthermore, to consider moving images as an expansion of digital recording devices and painted surfaces. And the notion of illumination and light as source of obtaining meaning and knowledge is fascinating. 

Last not least, both ‘media’ can inform the other. Both have their own performative specificity due to material constraints aka opportunities.

 


Reference:

  • NHS (2018) Overview MRI scan, At: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mri-scan/  (Accessed  21 March 2019).
  • Ryan, D. (2018) ‘Painting as event: An interview with Jacqueline Humphries’, In: Journal of Contemporary Painting, 4 (1)pp. 45 – 58.
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Screen & Transparency // feeding my parallel project // OTHER VIEW

Medical imaging // layering – scanning – transparency

Informed by my work on assignment 3, a masking, layering approach, framing, using stencil technique, spray paint, and reflective surfaces.

Fig. 1 – 3: Looking through

Matting with black board. Reminding me of some kind of medical images, e.g. X-Ray images placed on a flat lightbox or glass

 

 

Fig. 4: Masking and Reveal

Layered approach with striations, lines of scanning, masking to reveal

Fig. 5: Notational Difference

Same paint, same color, still differentiation between figure and ground. A classification, a notational discrimination, a yes or no.

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Project 3.5 – Ex. 3.4: Parallel Project – visual mapping

Working title: 

 

// Dislocated Image – Dislocating Self //

 

Ongoing interrogations   – a chronology 

// blog category ‘Parallel Project’ at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?cat=126 // 

// this information will be amended in a word doc – accessible at: chronology log (455 kB)

// sketchbook aka notebook pages for my parallel project – accessible at: sketchbook pdf (29 MB) (below figures are selected pages from this sketchbook)

My first visual thinking – mapping out

My interest: MRI as visual imaging technique informed by my bodily experience from a MRI scan (Bern, April 2018)

My inspiration – Museum Visits: Bruce Nauman ‘Composite Photo of Two Messes on the Studio Floor’ (1967) and Hito Steyerl ‘war games’, drones and visual simulation for remote attack

My question: Is MRI (or medical imaging technique) not a similar visual technique as satellite or drones? 

Mapping the territory:

Fig 1: Visual Mapping . areas of interest

Possible routes:

  • imaging as  mapping / seeing above and through / dislocation gaze and object // working with raw MRI images to translate them painterly

 

My second visual thinking – mapping out

My question: How does Baroque folds compare to MRI imaging technique?

Fig. 2: Exploring a Baroque’ness of MRI

Possible routes:

  • Applying the 6 traits of the Baroque to MRI and explore through painting folds and unfolds, MRI more as a metaphor than iconographic

 

My third visual thinking – mapping out

Fig. 4: a summary

Areas of difference:

  • Bodily / Senses / Auditory & Tactile / seeing with the body
  • iconographically: Aesthetics of MRI
  • indexical: medical gaze of decoding information
  • metaphorical: conditions of detecting, differentiating, constructing a visible
  • Baroque’ness : 6 traits of subverting dominance

My intermediate conclusion

My question/statement: Mapping as technique, MRI as mapping device

Collecting and mapping (classifying) ideas

Fig. 3: collection of ideas – 8 routes to move. MRI as mapping device.

Possible routes:

  • The Baroque sensibility
  1. The encapsulated brain
  2. The Sound image – a push vibration
  3. The slices abstraction
  4. ‘Still images’ as performative one hour lasting stillness, ref daguerreotype and the neck brace
  5. Performative-screen-translucent => Dissolution of boundaries
  6. ‘X-ray’ layers, a scanning sensibility 
  7. Figure / Ground discipline
  8. Resonance Music / Sound / Visuals => moving into my collaborative project with music student Vicky Downey

 

Fig 5: sketching directions

 

 

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Screen & Dissociation // feeding my parallel project // ONE VIEW

This is my (parallel) development and reflection informed by my assignment work: Screen installation / Spatial gesture.

It occurred as kind of boredom-phenomena, related to the long drying and waiting times for my assignment work (TIME & DISSOCIATION) and inspired by my spin-off idea, I decided to develop it further – as one idea for my parallel project on medical imaging.

Overall, how projection could be considered as an intrinsic element of our viewing experience of screen based imagery: projection on walls as cinema screens, TV screens, computer monitor screens, or clinical viewing screens and any other framed images that defer meaning beyond its materiality. On the one hand, our body with its physical presence and on the other hand, the screen that is not what it suggests to be: a reality by framing attention.

And relating to my discourse with myself of  how digital and moving images : just a format of delivery as a distant learner or more than a collection of ‚moving ‚ still images ? Painting with paint on surfaces or painting in between spaces , virtual?

I felt it would possibly make more sense in context of medical imaging – the gestures as part of human interventions in clinics, as well as the body part that stretches outward beyond the MRI machine (as in my case with having a brain MRI scan).

Screen installation

Stefan513593 - A3 - screen gesture - ideas to oush forward 1

Fig. 1: screen gesture – ideas to push forward 1. Rhenalon plates, crossed, installed, gestural interaction

 

=> I find the sculptural aspect alongside the space to breath inspiring. The ambiguous sense of space something to elaborate further. A ‘simpler’ approach than the following ideas

When I placed that transparent work in-front of my blank computer screen , it seemed as if the gestural hands became more embedded in that ‘blank’ context (Fig. 2)

Fig. 2: Blank computer screen- blank context – embedding gestures; collaged gestures (left photograph – right painting, both laser prints)

I felt inspired to develop this further,, although I also felt that not much need to be done else. Questions of black versus colored striations (screen – projection artefacts) and whether the hands be painted flat or with some sculptural appeal. Or whether the installation of flat images (background, gestures) in space would be sufficient ambiguous to engage the viewer?

What resulting in applying various spatial settings (reminding me of the ‘painting in a round’ idea from part 2) , playing with gestures and screens (perspex, two sizes (30×21 split into half and for one side only), black acrylic spray painted perspex, painted and printed gestures):

Aspects that worked well:

  • Reflective feature of ‘black mirror’ (of gesture and environment)
  • A rather flying appeal on transparent surface
  • A narrative through the dialogue of two gestures
  • A mylar layer with cut out gesture with black background (Fig. 14)
  • High tonal contrast (Fig. 9 left)

What didn’t work:

  • Size and composition eg. Fig. 10
  • Additional complexity of white ground
  • Clarity of difference between various viewpoints
  • Low tonal contrast (Fig. 10 left)
  • Overall, robustness and quality of execution

Steps to develop it further: 

  • Better quality and robustness
  • Working with high tonal contrast, difference between b&w and intense but selective color 
  • Installing on support

 

Overall, I am intrigued by the bold appeal in space alongside the black screen as reflective matter. A dialogue between transparency and opaqueness, between revealing and concealing.

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Critical Review – Draft Outline

Establishing my chosen area of research

Medical imaging techniques as MRI scans do support various aspects informing artists to explore and embrace this technology, as:

  • an intrusive medical gaze below the skin
  • a post-modern multiplicity of viewpoints of reality
  • an aesthetic image through a contemporary representation
  • an embodied encounter with the invisible
  • a rhythm and sound informing subjective experience
  • a notational system of visual information (catalog)

Framing my Critical Review

In order to get a visual grip on my critical review by embracing my own experience in life, my art practice my interest, as well as other artist’s practices and the wider context of the theme that interests me (MRI scan as medical imaging technique in a post-modern world), I brainstormed and mapped out all ideas and thoughts and the interlinks between those in a visual map:

Brainstorm visual map (as pdf): a map that is relevant for my critical review as well as for my parallel project:

21 Stefan513593-P2SP-critical_review_brainstorm

I developed my question  over time (see further below and eventually came up with the following working question for my critical review (embracing art practices, materiality, medical imaging, and visual culture theories) and settled for now with the following statement-question:

 

Ambiguity, the disembodied self, and the performativity
in medical imaging and art

 

Outline & Structure

very early and rough state – as pdf

20 Stefan513593-P2SP-Critical Review_first_outline

I am aware that the topic is still quite broad, and I will most certainly funnel it down to specifics, e.g. how MRI process can inform art practices inspired by Helen Chadwick’s work ‘Of Mutability’ .

Question to me regarding the course material about ‘What have you learnt and how has/or might this research impact on your own work in the future?’ => to write in first or third person?

 


Earlier evolution of my question

July 2018: with reference to Bruce Nauman and Hito Steyerl: 
Medical Imaging technique as contemporary visual mapping approach

Nov 2018: with ref Silvia Casini, earlier MRI artists: 
MRI as Medical Imaging technique and the sense of self and identity

Jan 2019: with reference to Gail Weiss, Mark Johnson, and Juhani Pallassmaa:
How MRI can support an understanding of dissolution of boundaries and the body image

Feb 2019: by embracing the possibility to incorporate sound / music through my collaborative project:
How the embodied encounter creates meaning

March 2019: drafted version to work from:
Perception of an disembodied self in medical imaging techniques as MRI
or
The medical gaze and the disembodied self, variations of perspective in MRI and art.
or
Ambiguity, the disembodied self, and the performativity in medical imaging and art

 


Earlier ideas – informing my critical review and parallel project

How do I find a focused question related to materiality and artist practices that would resonate with my work during this course as well my ideas for my parallel project? 

(sources: Schaffeld, 2018a – e) 

  • Layered images:
    – as disruption of ‘one’ picture plane, through fragmentation a reflection on identity ref artists: Jaqueline Humphries, Helen Chadwick)
  • Imaging (medical) techniques:
    – as a mean of understanding of what we don’t know, painting as a mean of revealing questions of the un-known (ref artists: Hito Steyerl, Bruce Nauman, Helen Chadwick)
    – How the conception of the body image is being impacted by medical imaging techniques? 
    – How medical imaging techniques expand the human vision and gaze? (ref artists: Annie Cattrell, Elizabeth Jameson, Chris Drury, Michael Hopkins, Paula Crown, Angela Palmer, Karen Ingram, Katharine Dowson, Susan Aldworth)
    – MRI as medical imaging technique and how we try to make sense of visual information in finding a Self and identity (ref Silvia Casini, Lisa Cartwright, Liz Orton)
  • Sound:
    – How to explore noise and sound as part of an embodied work?
  • Disruption:
    – not only picture plane but also a disruption of inside-outside, internal-external (ref artists: 
  • Repetition & process:
    – scrolling back and forth, a continuous approach of seeking meaning and reason
  • Control & gesture:
    – what is in my control and what is external controlled? Who provides meaning? What can paint doing to mirror this?
  • Foldings & unfolding:
    – to make visible and still not revealing, not the surface, not inside, no location, an unknown origin (ref artists: Sam Gilliam, Sophia Starling, Frank Stella, Katharina Grosse, Alison Watt)
    – How the brain could be seen as a visual of folding and unfolding, and the fold as a form of expression, a Gestaltung, an infinite line of inflection(ref: Deleuze ‘The Fold – Leibniz and the Baroque’)
  • Embodiment:
    – a personal multisensorial experience, like paint – color, smell, touch, sound (ref artists: xx)
    – an embodied spatial encounter with light, color and in relationship (ref. Helen Chadwick)
    – Choreographic elements in contemporary art as a performative expression of body images and self
    – Performative painting (Jutta Koether, Mona Hatoum, Robert Rauschenberg)
  • Coding & Decoding:
    – information with concealed, hidden meaning, visual information
    – fragmenting, disrupting, scattering, scanning – devices to code and transform visual information
  • Painting in a digital world:
    – Expanding painting through light and screen based materials
    – Exploring contemporary materials of reflection (e.g. perspex)
    – Moving images, video, and light as expanded field of painting
  •  Materiality:
    – How can a materialised painting be considered as a critical reflection on current life?
    – How physical material could be transformed through painting as a performative act?
    – Light as material
  • Participation:
    – How to overcome conventions of viewing paintings through the viewer’s participation?
    – How to invite the viewer as co-author of meaning and narratives?

Images:

Featured image: Schaffeld, S.J. (2019) Digital composite

Reference:

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New Music Collaborative Project

I am quite excited to work with fellow music student Vicky Downey on a collaborative project under the lead of Clara Rees and Caroline Wright. It was fantastic news to hear in my first call with Vicky on March 18th that she is excited to work on MRI as a project and to explore together through visual and audio works the idea of it. 

On March 20th we had our first group meet with others students who will work mostly in pairs on fine art-music ideas. The project will find its grand finale on July 20th with a live performance in UK (venue – tbd)

I am glad to work with Vicky on this project and I want to incorporate it in my parallel project for this course. Certainly a topic for further discussion with my tutor.

Vicky and I agreed on to set up a team drive, and to start with open ideas re MRI.  Aspects we want to explore are: bodily experience, appearance & dispappearance, image & sound, physical properties of MRI (protons spin, resonance), transforming data, slicing, mind &  body (Descartes). Both of us find good inspiration in Jean Dubuffet’s ‘CouCou Bazar’ (VernissageTV, 2016) and Rashaad Newsome ‘Shade Compositions’ (Furnace, 2017)

I will  document our conversation in a log and my notes will be done in my parallel sketchbook (see Parallel Project – Mapping ). I will ensure that my contribution is clearly documented.

 


Reference

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A3 – TIME & SCREEN – Part II – mapping territory

  • A3 – TIME & SCREEN – Part II – mapping territory
  • A3 – TIME & SCREEN – Part II – mapping territory

In my first round in developing my assignment work (Time-Screen – Part I) I explored the process of my initial box-performance as a painterly enactment and the subsequent recording and projecting images that eventually led to screen-based artefacts that reminded me of performative elements in itself, similar to my ‘dissociative’ hand.

What worked well

  • use of washes, abstraction. disruptive frames, engagement through presence of the hand, stencil approach, variety in responses

What didn’t work well?

  • containment, partly color choices, partly execution (quality of result), sequence of layering, use of space

I was hoping that I would overcome my barriers by doing and making more paintings, to overcome my self-conscious concerns of being overtly illustrative and making deprived paintings. Pondering the question of hand or no hand, abstract or not abstract. Perhaps, better to be inspired by Amy Sillmann or Cecily Brown, who transformed the question figurative-abstract. Nevertheless, I am wondering how I could possibly embedd more ‘gesture’ into my work.

I decided to explore four main areas:

Screen  –  Frame  –  Gesture  –  Projection

.. with a closer look at:

  • Gesture of the hand: a narrative part of a painting
  • Spaces: space to breath, space to open, a portal
  • Visual depth: how to establish a deeper impression (more translucent)
  • Ambiguity: resulting in more differentiating responses? (see no. 2)
  • Re-framing:  as I explored in Ex.3.3 , to expand support constraints 
  • Performance: moving more towards painting as performance, perhaps as a dialogue with my body, my hand.
  • Fragments/Stencils: using more stencil technique versus collage 

I highlighted two aspects (ambiguity and space) as I felt that both could combine the four areas. Based on my first visual mapping, I started to map out visually these possible areas for development, sketching down my thoughts and ideas helping me to stay sane and to propel my further work in a more structured way (slder)

 Visual Mapping : Frame – Projection – Screen – Gesture (slider Fig 1-3)

A3 - sketchbook - visual mapping 1-2

Image 1 of 3

Fig. 1: A3 - sketchbook - visual mapping 1-2

Eventually, I started to realise that one overall subject is crossing the boundaries of the four elements (frame, projection, screen, gesture):

dissociation 

in space – ambiguous

..a time based process of presence & absence. I felt strongly reminded of some past works I made and that are now in exhibitions (see my website), although the context and subject matter were completely different. And I am wondering whether the overall theme of dissociation is now becoming more autobiographic (one of my ‘secrets’)

With these maps I explored my ‘territory’ , trying to separate the aspects and to see what could come up as new thoughts and knowledge.

Expansion – Performing – Re-Staging

remark: click on each image to enlarge, to comment, to share

A / FRAME: The framed gesture - a stencil projection

Fig. 4 – Fig. 6: (oil paint, collage on paper; 35.6 x 28 cm / 30 x 42 cm 

=> Fig. 3 inspired by my spray painted frame used during project 3.4 , using a found metal foil as reflective surface, playing with what is painted and what is reflected image, shadows, presence, absence. Fig 4 as a monotype approach of a screen-like plastic foil, overpainted with a frame and engaging with it performative through a collaged cut-out hand, with dissolving spaces.  With reminiscence to Serra’s ‘Catching Hand’, Fig. 5 inspired partly by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, as I looked at it during my previous investigation on hands (Project 3.2). This gesture might be even trigger a stronger response of the viewer as two hand are reaching out. and with past memories surfacing at the same time.

Overall, this series plays even more with the hand, the gesture and the viewer. As the peer review showed the viewer as human being feels more engaged and emotionally connected when a human part is present. Not though indexical evidence, but rather literally as a recognisable element (relates also to the fact that people do see more often faces in ambiguous abstract patterns than other figures)

B / PROJECTION:

I decided to skip PROJECTION as a separate aspect, because I looked at it quite intensively before: see videos Performance – Unframed #01 and Performance – Unframed #02 . Both vides might be works in themselves, narrative, painterly projections, like me earlier performative video Paint-Catch-Move

C / SCREEN: Reflective evidence  - 

Fig. 7 – Fig. 9: (oil paint, collage on paper; each 35.5 x 51 cm)

=> working with reflective materials, using flexible materials (Fig. 6 – 8) to imprint a ‘screen’ into oil paint, layering of multiple steps/frames (Fig. 6), and transfer a silver painted layer on plastic (Fig. 7, used before as the backside of a self-made mirror) onto the support, an alternative way of using reflective surfaces literally as in Fig. 3. All transfer processes of a materialised screens, disruptive surfaces, only party transferred, revealing its materiality. At times, I felt reminded of the plastic foil I used in part 1 for my Laundry painting.

In this series I like the material aspect of layers and screens: either as embedded textures (Fig. 6-8) or transferred surfaces (Fig. 7). What is normally hidden (e.g. mirror, glass) and with the reflected image as the more dominant image. became now the dominant element. A view I explored, and struggled with,  through my observational reflective mirror paintings in project 3.4

D / GESTURE: The dissociated hand 

Fig. 10 – Fig. 15: oil paint on mylar, collage on paper, acrylic paint; each 35.6 x 28 cm); 3 on white, 3 on colored paper 

=> I used a cut-out ‘hand’ shape as a stencil in some of my previous paintings. Therefore, I took this approach further and thinking to de-contextualise  my overpainted stencils by eliminating the painting around: the tool to become the work. As if my hand was removed from the stage-box alongside its traces/memories of past performance. Trying to re-contextualizise it with white and different colored backgrounds. What works better? What less? Would it be better to see both sides of it? Replacing paper with transparent paper or perspex?

Overall, I find those reduced or focused works intriguing. The reduction to the main aspect, the hand, and all the screening and projection or images, slices of surfaces not any longer as a collage but intrinsically embedded in one piece. The simple toned background just as a support. I felt reminded of my art therapy practice when painting metaphors, e.g. for symptoms or barriers, and the background simply painted in one color – just to allow the viewer’s eye to see even more clearly the figure. The ground as a receding layer.  Fig. 11 and Fig. 12 possibly the more successful ones – a more or less colored version of striations. I feel as if a cycle is closing, a return from my early sketches on striations, the screening, the artefacts of color, and the gestural hand.

Last not least, I was trying to loosely interpret the gesture and the dissociative hand through a composite of transfer and oil paint (taking some reference to a older series of mine: Geologic Sensibility):

Dissociation: The submersed gesture 

Fig. 16 – Fig. 18: oil paint and collage on paper, acrylic transfer; each 35.5 x 51 cm

This are rather free and loose interpretations, keeping the gesture through the figurative ‘hand’-stencil alongside free gestural downwards flowing thinned oil paint. The right hand in Fig. 15. the left hand in Fig. 16, and the one in Fig 17 are collaged cut-outs, the right hand in Fig. 16 is acrylic transfer – a technique I find more intriguing as it is deeper embedded in the picture plane, and the peeling off results often in fragmented images. 

At the end I added striation marks with a comb tool. And depending on the orientation of the support (above all downwards as painted) one could associate the gesture with ‘drowning’, ‘reaching out’, ‘crying for help’, or whatever would cross the viewers’ mind. 

Overall, I like the reduced and dislocated appeal of this series. Although, I find them a bit too ‘noisy’ as if too much paint is concealing the image. Fig. 17 through it simpler expression perhaps more successful. The idea of playing with transfer, painted, stencils and negative shapes is good to develop further, painted context need to be more focused.

 

Reflection:

  • The viewer’s hand, and the idea of the hand inside the paintings as a reflection, possibly even the hand of the viewer. How could this work? wth mirrors opposite the hanging painting? Through enclosures? So that only the hand can engage with the painting? 
  • good to notice that some of my past experiments with different techniques came to merge with my works, e.g. decalcomania, acrylic transfer of inkjet prints. At that time more trying to learn techniques, now serving a visual purpose
  • What I liked:
    – spray paints and stencils – delivering visual depth and spaces, a ground dialogue of shapes and gesture, an element of dissolving 
    – edges: playing with edges with reference to the ‘dissociative edge’, the moment of revealing and concealing both at the same time (a Gestalt phenomena?)
    -color and shapes: 
    – adding gestures: adding engaging, triggering narratives without telling a story
    – serendipity : appearance of patterns through chance
    – the tool to become the work
    – striations: patterns of color, separation and meta-picture, a returning theme
  • Compared with the first part of my assignment development (A3 – TIME & SCREEN – PART I: DEVELOPING IDEAS) with rather observational paintings from projected, recorded performances (more or less abstract), I explored in this second part certain aspects that I discerned from my previous paintings: Frame, Screen, Projection, Gesture and a resulting theme of dissociation.  It seems to me as if the individual parts are performing on their own. The first series ‘Frame’ within the initial constrains. the second series dislocating the frame and the screen as independent actors, the fourth series ‘Gesture’ as a fully dissociative stand-alone gesture informed by the prior process of projection. and the fifth series ‘Dissociation’ as being in a new context. 

Now, it is time to consolidate and make my final series of works for assignment submission. Although I find the various paintings intriguing and possible worth to repeat with variations as a series, I will focus now on the simple gesture alongside a more material based idea of screen and frame. The separated hand felt quite strong and I am wondering how I could push this further. The main question I would like to address in my final work:

How to take the gesture of the hand
an acting hand
informed by viewing as process
of screen based imagery? 

 

My works for departure will be:

Stefan513593-A3- paintings to push forward

Fig. 19: A3- paintings to push forward

 


Reference:

  • Candela, E., Cubitt, S., Dicker, B., Drew, B. and Leslie, E. (2018) ‘Liquid Crystals: A Roundtable’, In: Journal of Visual Culture, 17 (1)pp. 22-67.
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A3 – TIME & SCREEN – Part I: Developing ideas

My assignment work is a development of what I started with in projects 2 and 3 – see blog entry on narrative. Fascinated by the video work of Richard Serra ‘Hand Catching Lead’ (1968) and the repetitive action as kind of failure, rising a desire to continue.  Over time, I became more sensible to the small moments, deviations, and the material expressions, like one becomes more sensible to the impact of the environment. An aspect that played a role e.g. in Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘White Paintings’ or in Jacqueline Humphries’ ‘Black Light Paintings’.

I appropriated, enacted, staged, recorded, projected, and played with the space and surfaces – in a sense observing the performative elements appearing with a higher awareness to still-images, moments of glimpses, artefacts, interactions. Only through a double projection/recording of my process based approach, I became aware of appearing artefacts and glitches. 

 

TIME: A Sensibility

 

Eventually, I decided that with the efforts I already put into it, alongside my attachment to my sculptural TV-box as my stage for flat screen performances, and a desire to look deeper, I will continue. 

Derived from my Pull series  I defined a few still images for further development.

Fig. 1 – Fig. 7: Slider of seven still images from moving images: Hand-Catch-Screen and Hand-Catch-Screen-Performance)

my hand - my body
in-front of a wall
trying to catch  - something
waiting
Fig. 1
my hand and the TV-set
inside or outside
dislocated - dissociated
a part and apart from
the world
Fig. 2
my hand 
inside
fragmented
layered
real or a projection?
a timeless moment
Fig. 3
glitches
artefacts
the performing screen
a moment in time
an object?
Fig. 4
surreal
touching
the screen
glitch in-between
where is it safe?
Fig. 5
reaching through
two worlds
where to be?
crossing reflections
staying fragmented
Fig. 6
invisible - visible
disappearing act
glooming existence
where am I?
Fig. 7

 

There were some aspects that attracted my attention: 

dislocation (inside, outside)   –  dissociation (hand from body)  
disruptive planes (collage, juxtaposition, combines)  –  fragmentation (close up view)
layering (all together)

After my previous explorations of embodied enactment through a painted stage (similar to Rachel Russell) I became more fascinated by these still imagery – embracing technology driven artefacts and glitches through a double recording-projection with the painted prop (TV box) as the stage for performance.

My question to me:
– What happened virtually ‘on stage’ as a performance (color creation through projection), could this be transformed through painting, painting to perform?
– How can my experience of my dissociated hand be part of that performative painting?

Important for me, to warm-up through painting. Based on my previous making experiences, to embrace what will happen during the making.

Representation & Interpretation

A series of paintings from above still images. An observational effort of representing? Perhaps more of placing my bodily experience onto a surface. And partly an interpretation.

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no1

Fig. 8: Representation and Interpretation no1 – acrylic paint and collage (30x40cm canvas paper); an early experiment with decalcomania, framing, and collage; dialogue hand – paint

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no1

Fig. 9: Representation and Interpretation no1 – acrylic and oil paint, collage (35.5x51cm cold press paper); a more elaborated experiment with oil paint washes, layering, framing, and collage; expanding the frame and sense of dissociation (hand inside and outside the frame), shifting layers.

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no2

Fig. 10: Representation and Interpretation no2 – acrylic and oil paint, collage (30x40cm canvas paper); a more elaborated layered painting, closer up, getting inside the frame (aka box), sensible to artefacts as performing elements, starting to move towards abstraction in itself. A sense of touching the invisible.

 

I found these three examples possible too representative, informed by the still ‘painterly images’ – and too deprived? I felt as if they are just that: representations, and not enough performative paintings. Would this be different? I wanted to loosen up more, distancing myself from the ‘original’ virtual still images, and to review possible approaches of interpretation.  Nevertheless, I find Fig, 10 the more successful, a more coherent color palette, a more balanced composition as well. From Fig. 9 I take the dissociative aspect of the hand inside and outside further, from Fig. 8 a stronger tonal contrast and an apparently advancing hand. Also that one has a more disruptive framing aspect. To overcome or to embrace the rectangular constraint of the support?

Scaling up and further development

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation - prep

Fig. 11: Interpretation – prep – ground in acrylic paint (50 x 60 cm board)

I started off with making background paintings on board in acrylic paint, and reminiscence to Richard Serra’s video work with the mural behind – as I created my initial ‘TV-set‘ as well (Fig. 11)

.. and to layer over multiple thin washes in oil paint, trying not to become too opaque as my model is light –  infused, no object color. I took the ideas once again from my previous pull narrative and chosen still images (Fig 6 – in slider above). I found it often more inspiring to develop further from a pre-painted support, often abstract, to shape from that ground the figures, to let the next layers appear from the ground.

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no4

Fig. 12: Representation and Interpretation no4 – acrylic and oil paint (50x60cm board); oil washes brushed and physically rubbed into the surface;  a box or a frame on the wall? reaching across or inside? Advancing, inviting?

 

At this point of time, I was wondering how much my hand need to be present and represented in the painting? Otherwise, my hand was (and is) the actor in the performative enactment (see above) but I felt that my hand in painting need to perform its own ‘performative action’. Nevertheless, in this painting (Fig. 12) the hand has also a life and behaviour in itself. 

I decided to continue with ‘handless’ paintings, so to speak, to get my hand back to paint.- and to let it disappear in the act of painting. 

 

Transformation ‘Disappearing Acts’

I borrowed this title from Bruce Nauman retrospective, a show that made a long-lasting impression on me. And also the origin for my parallel project with the use of today’s imaging technologies in mapping and exploring other areas. 

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no5

Fig. 13: Representation and Interpretation no5 – acrylic and oil paint (50x60cm board); washes, the collaged hand a temporary layer, to be peeled off; focusing on the striations created on the surface (and inside my TV box maquette) as artefacts from double projection.

 

The hands still there, as stencils, and disappearing, to be peeled off.  I was still not satisfied with the result. Perhaps the color combination not convincing, perhaps the hand as such not knowing what to do there.

I wanted to get rid of the hand completely – and let the paint perform in itself (Fig 14)

Stefan513593 - A3 - Representation and Interpretation no6

Fig. 14: Representation and Interpretation no6 – acrylic and oil paint (50x60cm board); abstraction of surface reflections – the box, the frame partly there (top and bottom), my hand disappeared form the picture plane, only its’ index as the artist hand could be concluded. More opaque elements appear.

 

At this stage, I became more aware of the materiality and the tools. Comparing my initial performative enactment and video recording alongside the technological artefacts and glitches, I was wondering whether paint and the space around me could act and perform more freely, unmediated, going beyond past representations towards future possibilities. I got reminded of the works from Julie Mehretu and Jaqueline Humphries , who started off with representational imagery but exceeded and cross-layered those in order to bring forward new works. Both have in common a combination of structural and gestural elements. 


Intermediate reflection

  • I decided for the title TIMESCREEN as it could invite the viewer (and first me) to reflect on the word and to emerge with the painting. To see behind and at the same time to consider each still image as a work in itself. 
  • Some of above paintings do convey a certain narrative, like Fig. 12 with the hand crossing edges. Possibly, that the ‘real’ narrative is happening in the space in-between, the space the viewer enters when going physically through an exhibition, engaging and interacting with works on display. This will trigger ideas, embrace individual experience of the viewer resulting in a new narrative, making sense process. I do embrace Jutta Koether’s approach in her series Seasons and Sacraments, as if a certain relationship with know past moments, stories, are one important aspect of the body of work. An invitation for participation.  I will consider this in my assignment work and parallel project.
  • I do consider this assignment work as a deeper reflection on my exploration of the body and the screen. In project 3 I looked at the narrative through moving images and ‘pulling a narrative’ from it. Here I approached the moments of artefacts and glitches in relationship with my body interaction, with my hand as the mean to paint but also as the mean to take a handle, to grasp, to understand through making. Not so much in a symbolic way rather as a mediator for performative painting.
  • The question what a painting is became more open-ended by my approach: a layering of multiple realities: Serra’s video work, my appropriation of it, my painted and unpainted hand, inside and outside, a staged TV-box, the autonomous performance of my hand. Also artefacts of digital and analog technology as means of virtual imagery –  performing for me.
  • My painting approach:
    – I explored various technique: decalcomania (monotype), stencil technique, collage, layering, and textured paint versus washes.
    – I did work still within certain constraints: the contained shape of the support and the flatness of painting
    – So far I did not work sculptural as it was the main painting aspect in my enactments wth the TV-box, and I did not work outside the support constraints. Considering my motive and aspiration I am wondering whether these approaches could support more successful the elements of dissociation, fragmentation and disruption without being illustrative or merely effect based as a trope. Concerning constraints and picture planes I am still intrigued by my video recording of reflective projection (Performance – Unframed #01) Possibly, that I am struggling once again with the question which medium is more successful: moving images or painting, or how moving images can be considered as an expanded field of painting. Certainly a question to be discussed with my tutor during next tutorial.
  • An overall struggle with the figurative element of my performing hand: to picture it, to let it perform through painting, to get rid of completely, or to embrace as an element that adds meaning, a human body part more engaging?

I modified the last three paintings (Fig. 12, 13, 14) a bit further and put the paintings up for a crit, a vcrit event organized by the regional group Europe under the lead of tutor Jayne Taylor: 

SHOWCASE: Time & Screen – VCrit

The vcrit was an in interesting experience as I asked for responses without providing information on the prior process: no information on appropriating Richard Serra, nor on my performative enactment in a painted TVBox, neither my double projected color artefacts as a technology driven performance informing my  paintings. Though some participants knew where I was coming from.

Next steps:

  • To consider gesture of hand as narrative part of a painting
  • To work more with spaces, space to breath, space to open, a portal
  • To work more with visual depth
  • To work with ambiguity as this would results in more differentiating responses (see no. 2)
  • To consider re-framing as I explored in Ex.3.3 and to expand support constraints 
  • To move further towards painting as performance, perhaps as dialogue with my body, my hand.
  • To consider more stencil rather than collage approach by keeping visual depth

 

 

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A2 – Reflection on Tutorial

This time we arranged an online tutorial, me writing the minutes, and my tutor amended the formative report. Overall, a great experience, sharp to the point, and with an effective discussion with a one hour timeframe. We covered assignment and coursework as well as my initial thoughts on my parallel project related to medical imaging and MRI with a sense of fragmented identity. 

Key aspects that I took out of our discussion:

  • ‘Stop working intuitively’, let the energy of moment not avoid a deeper reflection on what I’ve done
  • Work more intimately with the material qualities
  • Give the work more space to breathe (e.g. Two Folds of Folly as too dense, contrived, with too harsh contrast)
  • Consider more critical composition, relationships, contrast and edges, what is needed and why?
  • Explore further fragmentation, concealing, trapped, revealing, memory, and transformation
  • Line and tone, movement and color: some sketchbook pages did work well, e.g  Fig 1
  • Be less impatient, narrow down critically
  • Be more critical to what and how I am doing what

My sketchbooks did show some intriguing explorations, to be developed more deeply further. My learning log was appreciated for its comprehensive writing and well articulated researches and visit reflections, though less broad interest and deeper interaction with one or two artists might be beneficial. 

Stefan513593 - P2SP - Sketchbook - developing Walking Through Painting

FIg. 1: P2SP – Sketchbook – developing Walking Through Painting

 

Some works stand out for my tutor:

main reasons: 

  • balanced composition with good relationship between forms
  • engaging edges and shapes
  • visual flow through the work 
  • idea of trapped objects (partly concealed in Fig.2, in poured paint in Fig.3, around perspex in Fig. 4)

=> My tutor had some concerns re the bright red color in Fig. 2, too reminiscent of blood, violent? Something for me look at deeper, as in Fig. 3 I had a similar bright red. Perhaps, shape matters in how we connotate meaning to color. Fig. 3 is a rather monochrome relief painting (versus the other mixed with white one Preservation Box #2). Fig 4. 

My Object-Box, submitted for SHOWCASE, was questioned for its ‘crudeness’ (of made objects) and of a shift towards less personal.  What is ‘crude’ and what is ‘refined’? Is refined always better? Would one say that gestural abstract paintings are refined? Or is the perception different when we see actual physical objects? The crudeness a a mean to disguise, to reduce recognition was intentional  – but this was perhaps the reason for my tutor to respond to it as ‘less personal’ and and with less opportunity’  for further development of revealing and memory.

One point we discussed deeper was how important is the participatory engagement of the audience with my work. I will see next in oxo tower how the audience will interact with the Object-Box.

My tutor suggested the following..

Elements for further exploration

  • ‘Investigate composition alongside exploring media more critically’
  • ‘Transparency/opacity’
  • ‘Remember to consider edges and contrasts’
  • ‘Continue to disrupt the reading/narrative’

Notes on personal project

Fragmentation as I started already some exploration in my sketchbooks, as well ideas of coding and concealing. Along the way to consider format of presentation, e.g book, trapped objects, disrupted surfaces. Explore widely and refine when I reach project 4 ‘Thinking through PP’.

Conclusion: A deeper Reflection

 

 – Materiality – Depth – Relationship –

 – Contrast – Edges –

 – Fragmentation – Disruption –

 

Such are the keywords for me to keep not only in mind but also to take them in my making into account. There will be mostly a shift happening in how I approach my coursework and my assignment work: more focus, deeper, establishing a more intimate dialogue with my chosen materials and eventually let my ideas and thoughts merge with the appearance of the visual works created. 

Key thing clearly to develop in more steps forward and less multiple steps in parallel without moving forward. A serial versus a lateral approach?  Question would be when to shift from the latter to the first mode.

My overall experience with the tutorial and drafting directly the report for my tutor to amend is very positive of much learning support. I feel that starting from the discussion, through rough note capturing and writing down the report, I already learn more and deeper than just reading a sent report.

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Parallel Project and Critical review – thoughts on how to get there

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - sketchbook

There are two options at that moment that I feel are relevant to what I want to explore with my work:

  1. MRI as medical imaging technique and how we try to make sense of visual information in finding a Self and identity. MRI especially on brain imageries as experienced personally this year. Some more background information in my earlier post
  2. Informed by my work during part 2 the question how we relate to objects around us, mundane, daily objects. How painting can explore and raise awareness of what makes us to decide whether an object is precious or trash. References to fetishism in modern terms as explored by Hartmut Boehme in his book (2012)

I was interested in folding and unfolding (see my earlier post) in context of Deleuze and the Baroque. I can see how the brain structure is a folded object, and how object relationship do unfold on us through an questionning of subject-object relationship. The latter very much in context of my own practice and work with structural constellation work. It might that all aspect could come together. I am just afraid that I would loose focus and time and space to look deeper, not wider.

I related my MRI idea to Bruce Nauman and his exploration of visual imagery, moving images, recordings, topography and appropriation of contemporary visual imagery Composite Photo of Two Messes on the Studio Floor (1967) as well as to Hito Steyerl and her appropriation of mass media and simulation visual technologies to address socio-political power structures. 

During part 2 I worked on parallel ideas that intrigued me and where I really didn’t know how to embed them in other works or how to make sense out of it at a more elaborated level. 

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - glitch and striations

Fig. 1: glitch and striations – coding and concealed information (Sketchbook)

 

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - multiple viewpoints

Fig 2: multiple viewpoints -perspective in space (installation maquette)

 

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - striations in spatial painting

Fig. 3: striations in spatial painting – detail from my ‘Walking Through Painting’ (see: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=1627)

Some of these elements moved in my decoding and communicating visual information: from barcodes to QR codes. One need to use a gadget, a tool to decode, to obtain hidden information. Something, I can related to medical imagery as MRI. The ordinary person can not ‘read’ them, as if all are the same. Revealing needs more information.

Truly, something I want to discuss with my tutor.


Featured image: sketchbook exploration with screenshot from HOROS, imagery from my brain

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.
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A2 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

Throughout this part, I was facing the challenge of transforming performative and process based visual and emotional experience into a sculptural painting. I experimented with moving images, animation, sketches, object-collages and human scale walking through painting. Some works stayed on a sketch level, not very much in depth and detailed revision of painting. I do consider most of the work created as temporal and experimental work. I am not sure whether these would make it to an exhibition at all. Frustration ended in event-painting. However, I explored different perspectives of how to paint and how to see a painting, in space, on a wall, or in a sketchbook. I felt a raising awareness for edges and shapes and relationships between them. I used color very selectively and intentionally, mostly reflecting on my initial object-box, saturated colors, mostly blue and red, acting as activators. 

Quality of Outcome

I moved one step after another though this course, created works that were built on learning and outcome before. I followed a common thread of objects and my relationship to them, at times in a fetish manner. Peer feedback helped me to get more clarity on my direction. Various sidestreams evolved, and with more time I could have spend much deeper on each of them. My weak point still to come faster to focused decisions. The most elaborated work is Walking Through Painting, one that I was struggling with wether it is exercise or already assignment work

Demonstration of Creativity

I explored various territories, not being afraid neither of scale nor medium. Overall, I approached the tasks set with a wide open experimental mind, trying to find all kinds of variations. I am not sure whether this is part of a ‘voice’ or just procrastination. At times it was less about following through a red line.  I hope and wish, also for the sake of better focus and time management to come faster to decisions and funnelling down ideas quickly. Also to avoid being side-tracked by other ideas coming in.

Context

I looked at various artists and took from them elements that I found relevant to my work. At times I was surprised, that artists I looked at in the past and at exhibitions finally made sense. I could for example relate in such a way much better to Mark Dion and Abraham Cruzvillegaz. I followed further the route of not knowing what will come out of my doing. I was guided at times by some quotes, at times by few elements I picked from one or the other artist.

 

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A2 – Contextual notes

Stefan513593 - Three fold perspective - #2 - left view

During this part of the course and in preparation of my ‘Object-Box’ approaches I was inspired and challenged by the following art practitioners and readings. I made some contextual reflections earlier in my post for project 2.6 ‘Painting in the Round’

“Painting is taken away the boundaries of an object” – Katharina Grosse (Art21, 2015)

Some key artists that inspired my painterly exploration of space are Jessica Stockholder and Richard Tuttle. My Object-Box as a box that engages the beholder to unbox, to unfold takes some references from Marcel Duchamp. My sculptural wall pieces were partly informed by works of John Latham and Robert RauschenbergCandice Lin and her project works for Enough Room for Space, especially ‘Performing Projects informed my preservation box approach, as Bianca Baldi informed a rather contextual idea of unfolding resonating with the unfolding performance of my Object-Box.

Throughout this part I could relate to Sarah Sze‘s statement that

“we have so much illusion but we don’t have touch and we don’t have taste and we don’t have smell” – Sarah Sze (Art21, 2016).

What resonates for me is her desire of material intimacy by ‘arranging paint skins, torn paper images, and other materials such as wood, thread, and rocks’.

My assignment works are very much influenced by my personal experience of packing and unpacking objects during my travels. Started with a suitcase that was replaced by a ready-made box and eventually led to self-made objects that drew my attention closely to the objects and the box. A certain relationship established over time, especially considering my longer break in between where I kept hold of my object-box during travels. Unfolded, the containing objects took over a certain subjecthood. This and some feedback from others brought me in contact and deeper reading of fetishism. An idea that Rauschenberg once looked at in the mid 1950s with his work ‘Personal Fetishes’. Fetishes could be seen as many things, including all artworks. We relate strongly to objects and things, Fetishism in a modern sense as described intensively by Hartmut Boehme (2012). A more consumer focused perspective was drawn by Karl Marx (1867). The more contemporary outlook in context of post-humanist thoughts and object realism brought me in contact with Karen Barad (2003), not that I understood all of it. Perhaps something to look deeper at for my personal project and/or critical review.

I struggled between boundaries of conceptual thoughts and just making things. Eventually, I worked out what is happening in front of me and to reflect later what it could mean, for me or the viewer. Many steps in creating my work was rather an ad hoc response to visual cues. Nevertheless, I also felt that what I create need a home and therefore looked for peer feedbacks and considered those in my way forward but also in my reading directions. I could feel the boundaries of what is happening and how it could be perceived. I spent some time with discerning possibly readings of the work. Not to condition possible responses form others, more for myself to keep a certain distance from my work and to see whic step I would go next.

It was a bit of surprise that I could relate some aspects in my work with Mark Dion. A sense of archive and collection, and a kind of ‘Wunderkammer’ of curiosities. Not on display – more to engage in a playful way. What opens the question for me whether to move along the archive way or to continue in a more sculptural way. I do relate some of my works, e.g. Walking Through Painting from exercise 2.5 that eventually informed by Object-Box / Paint4OCA assignment piece to the kind of engagement with objects as Abraham Cruzvillegas‘ ‘Autoreconstrucccion’, a work that develops overt time through an interaction of the museums visitors and the objects, painted by the artist and eventually considered as art-constructions.

I could see my role as a creator of things, but also as a subject in engaging with it. One the one hand an observer and on the other hand an actor. An artist-consumer possibly, or an object-artist. What I learned from other artists are the way to use paint as a mean for mediation, or activating agent as Sophia Starling‘s spatial explorations. I feel that the relationship between the viewer (and me) and the objects around us is a key aspect of how I see future progression of my work. Re parallel project and my idea of MRI as imaging technique supports the view of visuals as a tool to objectify, to place the viewer (the patient) as an object of interpretation and meaning. To use painting to raise awareness of how we connect to visual information through objects could be a guiding line for me. In that sense, painting is seeking attention.

Reference:

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A2 – Reflection – A Performative Journey

Mirror - Reflection

My reflective account: A Performative Journey

This part was strongly inspired by my struggle in finding an appropriate worktable that works with my life of frequent travelling. Packing my art stuff in a suitcase on my travels, I was wondering how these objects could play a role as part of me, a kind of self-portrait.

Objects I used to draw with were too precious and eventually I made a mobile box with found objects from my direct studio environment, dysfunctional and mostly packaging things. The box became my companion and inspired me to perform with and out of it. My relationship with ‘useless’ items informed my coursework and assignment work. Throughout this part up to assignment my performative box was a key element.

My work played around fetishism, play, performative magic, and establishing entertaining relationship subject-object. I worked flat on the floor, on the wall, on a table, in space. I build maquettes, and more boxes in all varieties. Objects were made and replacing others. I found that painting them out was a constant factor in making sense of what I was doing. I developed a raising awareness of how paint can conceal, activate, uniform. I crossed medium specificity with performative and animated videos and considered painting as an ‘event’ as John Latham once stated his view on artworks.

After a frustrating start and a long relocation break, I could feel some direction surfacing. With different experimental approaches and strong motivation and desire I worked and painted out things. Initially, I couldn’t see how my works and experiments from part One could be further developed or integrated. However, I developed a sense of looking at edges, frames, gesture and control & chance in a different and repetitive way, resolving my struggle. Once more I became aware that only through making my next steps become clearer. All contextual researches were beneficial in that sense only, that I could relate during my reflections how to see and look at my works in a wider context. It turned out to be fun. Especially my large-scale Walking Through Painting stretched certainly the scope of one exercise. I was pondering to use it as my assignment piece. Nevertheless, the work I did for it informed my final Object-Box. My visually mapping out thoughts, contextual references and work done supported me in following through a complex journey.

Peer feedback received supported me in coming to some conclusions for myself. The work presented are mostly not finished works, maquettes and sculptural sketches informing my way forward, e.g. my personal project and critical review.

Some works are not resolved yet, e.g. Spatial Box and the approaches with Two Side Box and the idea of archive. On the other hand, the work Object-Box aka Paint4OCA is more resolved and I plan to submit for SHOWCASE OCA.

I can see how my work on object-subject relationship and staged animations is crossing over to the next part, focusing deeper on human interaction with already some work done during this part.

 (word count: 493)

 

 

 

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A2 – The Spatial Box

  • A2 – The Spatial Box
  • A2 – The Spatial Box
  • A2 – The Spatial Box
  • A2 – The Spatial Box

The Spatial Box

In this second attempt I will try to work out a sculptural painting as a reflection or better documentation of my object-box experience. A sense of displacement and spatial expansion. One main point that I am going to tackle here is my obsession of holding onto the box and the objects. Staying aside of me, unfolded, and being uncertain what to make with them, as throwing away would be not ‘fair’, my obsession seeking a painterly ending. I would need to take it out and to incorporate into a new work, a work that can release itself into space.

DIS-PLACE

Inspired by my travel life and initial object-box performance of opening the box and a step by step removal of objects, a spatial and temporal displacement.

Question on how to paint, paint in order to make each object ‘exciting’ or to paint over and across to disguise? Or to pour over with paint, to disguise in an archeological sense making the collection as such useless, another dysfunction? Taken some references to Candice Lin A Hard White Body from the project Performing Objects (Enough Room for Space, 2017), where she ‘invokes his­to­ries of exoti­cism, virology and global trade’. 

Idea #1: The Flexible Wall-Box

Initially, I started with a suitcase, I replaced it by a ready-made packaging box, and eventually found it a good idea to make also a replacement item for the box (Fig 1), cardboard replaced by canvas – bringing it back to origin of painting. The incremental dysfunctional appeal makes the box quite ‘useless’.(how to fold and keep it stable?). 

Stefan513593 -A2 -prep fabric box

Fig. 1: A2 – prep fabric box – cardboard box replaced by canvas box  – a step towards more dysfunction

The left one moved into my ‘Collage Combine‘ and the right one led me inspired for a more wall-based painting sculpture (Fig. 2), kind of merging the flat canvas and the spatial box together in a new work.

Fabric Wall Box #1

Stefan513593 - A2 - prep - Object Box Sculpture

Fig. 2: Fabric Wall Box #1 – a collection of objects form the box re-arranged as a relic, object painting

=> a quite loose and rather intuitive approach to placing rather than arranging. Objects that intrigued me, and items still left on my work-table, in my object-box (as many already moved into other works). Things seeking a home, establishing new relationships. Reminding me of my own relocation experience, more than once, moving to another place, new relationships.

Derived ideas and questions:

  • Possibly some reference to John Latham, especially Belief System, 1959 or Great Noit, 1963. He expressed that for him all artworks are ‘events’ (Lisson Gallery). In that sense my sculptural painting could be considered as an ‘event’, probably as a memorial event of past actions.
  • A question of frame and boundaries. The item at the bottom as a spatial expansion.
  • A question of how to see the canvas: a painted canvas as object, or as a painted object. Overall, a still-life that only makes deferred reference to process and actions.
  • A question wether this work could related to ‘useful’ or ‘useless’, or just a work speaking for itself?
  • A very random assemblage that most likely would trigger all sorts of imaginations. But also a reduction of context. How far to reduce? Or how far to condense, i.e. bringing multiple objects, fragments into one place?

Relevance:

The box in transition from an objects, the canvas overthrowing its existence as a mere support. The assemblage of objects as an indexical memory, but also as an iconic work in context of fetishism. And about how we establish relationships, objects as subjects? 

RE-lation

As Marx stated once:

“Could commodities themselves speak, they would say: Our use value may be a thing that interests men. It is no part of us as objects.” – Karl Marx, 1867

Objects do have a reason to be, a life in itself. We as humans just need to build a relationship with them, our attention to them is driven by desire and fascination for its own sake. I hope that my some of my works can address the process of raising awareness. Objects will speak for themselves – the more dysfunctional the better. 

Development

Trying to appropriate the fabric wall installation with a cardboard, painted, collaged with objects, folding and stepping on it, unfolding, installing (Fig. 3). An ‘event’ and happening, my physical engagement being present, what is left are traces and indexical signs of my actions, a visual result of action painting with objects, letting them speak.

Action Wall Box

Stefan513593 - A2 - Wall Box Sculpture #2

Fig. 3: Action Wall Box – Cardboard approx 100 x 50 cm (collage, acrylic paint) – installed on the wall, lower part advancing

Eventually, I revisited my ‘fabric wall box’ once again (Fig. 4). Re-arranging, objects moving inside the frame, a difference in expression and sense making.

Fabric Wall Box #2

A2 - Wall Box Sculpture #1

Fig. 4: Fabric Wall Box #2  – approx. 73 x 42 cm (canvas, acrylic paint, collage)

I decided to leave the two ideas or concepts Fabric Wall Box #2 and Action Wall Box aside and as they are in their own expression and existence and to move on with my thoughts of archive and display, a thought that bothered my already in my other approach of Object-Box.

 

Idea #2: The Preservation Box

From my previous approaches the question came up whether the objects and the box are a reflection or action of conservation or preservation in an archaeological sense? Looking up the difference (Museum of Ontario Archeology): conservation = hands-on, preservation = non-invasive. My approach might be seen more in the sense of preservation, keeping human impact away from destruction, what in the case of packaging materials seems quite contradictive, With some inspiration from Candice Lin’s A Hard White Body, 2017 I worked on various assemblages to protect, to preserve or rather to encapsulate the objects as relics. What disguises them as well and resulting in a different, very textured work (Fig. 5)

Stefan513593 -A2 -prep preservation box

Fig. 5: Preservation box #1 and #2 – encapsulation with paint, preserving of things, disguise and conceal – each 30 x 40 cm (acrylic paint, collage)

I used the ready-mades packaging things that I used for my initial object-box (those still left) plus some spare items I collected aside. The arrangement was rather randomly, and I responded to what I could see was happening in front of me. Working on a table with a primed, still wet, paper.

Derived ideas and questions:

  • Kind of archeological preservation, past memories of my interrogation with my initial object-box. How can this add meaning to the subject?
  • Through the encapsulation and concealing of certain features of the items with paint, the entire work becomes a new object. A new skin, something to collect, preserved for the future, and possibly to move around as such. Before, I was wondering how fragile my works would be and that those were rather temporal works, e.g. the cut-out collages. Here, I fond possible way to keep them.
  • The paint is layering and embedding the items, it also can be seen as contaminating action. Kind of covering with dust, e.g. reminiscence to ancient places as Pompei, buried after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. One could see the ‘burial’ also as the impact of bad biodegredablity of plastic packaging materials I used.
  • As I used paper I am wondering how it would change if I use perspex as background. Inspired by my earlier experiments with installation of objects in space and the multiple perspectives, this might add a new dimension of looking at or partly looking through. Not completely covering and concealing but a space of visible and invisible information.

 

DIS-FUNCTION

Relevance:

Concealing and covering of objects in a sense of anthropological study of human relationship with mundane, neglected objects.  Also as the metamorphosis and transformation of things into new objects. The viewer could try to discern individual features or items. The aesthetic appeal of the new ‘artworks’ could be seen as items in an archive, to store and to revisit after some time. Objects void of initial function or use. We use them as our memories.

Development of varieties (slider):

Stefan513593 -A2 - preservation box #1
Preservation Box #1
Stefan513593 -A2 - preservation box #2
Preservation Box #2
Stefan513593 -A2 - preservation box #3
Preservation Box #3
Stefan513593 -A2 - preservation box #4
Preservation Box #4
Stefan513593 -A2 - preservation box #5
Preservation Box #5

The items no.4 and no.5 are made with air filled plastic box stuffing, adding an appeal of ‘please touch’  (some reminiscence to Duchamp’s  ‘Prière de toucher‘ , 1947)

I liked the concealing effect of paint, uniforming objects that seem to be rather isolated. Paint defers meaning, makes objects into an archive of found items. Each piece could be possibly seen as an imprint of an action or event. Possibly as a topology and anthropological investigations, reminding me once more of Mark Dion and his work Tate Thames Dig, 1999 – a drawer cabinet build and organised with each drawer a presentation of collected objects, placed in order and system. My works are mostly less ordered though.

I tried one more sculptural painting with different layers of paint, only a few but more repetitive items (styrofoam) and using the effect that spray paint melts styrofoam. 

Stefan513593 -A2 - preservation box #6

Fig. 6: Preservation box #6

=> This ‘preservation box’ completely transformed now in a plastic box, a pure artefact and preservation of packaging materials. I do feel that I lost here the sense of my object box. And compared with my previous one a bit to regular in composition. Possibly to re-make it with brown and/or white paint, to get closer to #1 or #2.

Final result:

Stefan513593 -A2 - preservation box #6 - repainted

Fig. 7: Preservation box #6 – repainted – with a handle and partly melted styrofoam items – approx. 37 x 50 cm (acrylic paint, found objects, paper, plastic sheet)

I feel that the brown hue relates the work more to anthropological and archeological studies, the brown for earth color, kind of digging out from the ground. A trace of human culture.

Side learnings with working aka painting with styrofoam: not only spray paint melts it but also hot air blower (what I used to speed up drying process). Means I can sculpt with a material that otherwise has a very bad biodegradability. 

The most successful works from this series:

 

Idea #3: The Two Side Box

The idea of preservation and archive or drawer spaces let me revisiting my earlier experiments of multiple viewpoints and installation of translucent support structures by adding my items on perspex. Responding and envisioning the backside of things, looking and playing, arranging and painting ‘activators’ and ‘uniformers’ on the assemblies created.

Painting with objects on perspex is a twofold exploration. What I am doing on the one side, is not known on the other side and vice versa. Making the invisible visible. As a paper or canvas support conceals the backside, perspex makes it visible. An archive drawer is always one top view perspective. The objects being looked at. I was wondering whether a perspex, two side approach might bring the objects more ‘alive’ and giving them more space to perform its visual presentations.

Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #1 - two sides

Fig. 6: Two side box #1 – two sides, front and back / back and front – each 30x23cm 2mm perspex (collage, acrylic paint)

Development of varieties, photographed from two sides of the work on a lightbox (slider):

Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #1 - front
#1 - front
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #1 - back
#1 - back
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #2 - front
#2 - front
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #2 - back
#2 - back
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #3 - front
#3 - front
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #3 - back
#3 - back
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #4 - front
#4 - front
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #4 - back
#4 - back
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #5 - front
#5 - front
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #5 - back
#5 - back
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #6 - front
#6 - front
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #6 - back
#6 - back
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #7 - front
#7 - front
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #7 - back
#7 - back
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #8 - back
#8 - front
Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box #8 - front
#8 - back

 

Not all are very successful, to make a convincing composition for both sides was challenging. The more successful ones were # 1, 3,  and 2 – as a combination of traces of human culture and painterly activation alongside an ambiguity of making sense of both side visual information. I am wondering how much space inside the perspex frame would be needed, or whether the paint should be the translucent plane.

Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box - selection

Fig. 7: Two Side Box – selection (one side view only) – more or less translucent or opaque

With some rather incidental installations I found that backgrounds other than light could have a different effect, as if the background would belong to the work, uniforming or combining to a whole (Fig. 8)

Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box - display ideas

Fig. 8: Two side box – display ideas – background as part of the work (hindering to look from the other side)

I feel the more successful works are those that play with both sides with a sense of ambiguity, of edges and shapes. Where one wants to look once again on the other side of it to understand, to make sense. It is this sense of uncertainty of looking and bringing parts and pieces together alongside an entry point to engage the spectator. The artefacts as ‘fetishes’ might work as part of a whole series, as a comprehensive collection or survey, but in itself they are less successful. More thoughts coming up – more work to develop further.

Conclusion:

I explored three varieties of re-applying my objects from the table, my object-box. Through a space aka wall installation with collaged objects by painting through mechanical treatment of a ground (ie. the canvas and the cardboard were stepped onto, embedding traces from my direct environment), a preservation approach by pouring paint over objects to encapsulate them, and by playing with the transparent feature of perspex to reveal invisible sides of objects placed and arranged. 

Those approaches are not finished works, still spatial sketches, a way forward to new idea of painting in space?

Key aspects:

  • Preservation as transformation of objects, paint as medium to conceal and to defer meaning
  • Wall or installation in space as an object for contemplation, to look at in a perhaps conventional sense. 
  • Creation of new objects from things, painting as an exploration of relationship between those items and as ‘activators’ or ‘uniformers’.
  • Sense of simplicity, and revealing new meaning through disguise.
  • Sense of ambiguity through displacement of visual information on two sides (see perspex ‘Two Side Box’)
  • Painting as embedding traces, indexical sign for artist’s presence, leaving artefacts to collect, to show.
  • I like the idea of painting as ‘event’, as expressed by John Latham. A place as happening for new creations of things.
  • In all works the viewer can rest at a fix point. Question how to incorporate movement? And how to engage with the spectator at a ‘human scale’, i.e. a real time entry and connection. The first idea of Wall Box the most human scale, facing the spectator at eye level. The second Preservation Box could be placed either on a table or hanging on a wall. the third Two Side Box as an archive inviting the spectator to take out and to look
  • Overall, all three approaches tackle different aspects of Object-Box and mundane things. Certainly, all are studies and not fully developed works. A funnelling down still to be required.

My pre-selection for assignment:

  1. Fabric Wall Box #2
  2. Preservation Box #2
  3. Two Side Box #1

=> I find these the more successful ones for its sense of ambuity, space, composition, and using paint as activator or uniformer.

 


Next steps:

Movement and various viewpoints – a future continuation & development

The works on perspex need a moving spectator to look at both sides. To push this further I could envision to place them in a box, like an archive, a way as I’ve seen at Theaster Gates in Basel and his massive ‘Black Madonna’ Facsimile Cabinet of Women Origin Stories (2018), 2695 images from the John Johnson Archive, all framed the same size and placed in a large cabinet. The viewer was requested to put on white gloves and to take one by one out and to look at.

ARCHIVE

For me the notion of archive, collection, new space in the context of mundane objects preserved for future contemplation makes it quite intriguing. Placing those cultural artefacts in a cabinet would make them precious, a notion of cultural appropriated fetishism.

Some sketched ideas of archive installations of the ‘perspex’ artefacts. A two side view of one perspex turns into a multiplicity of views through the cabinet approach.

Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box - archive idea - sketchbook

Fig. 9: Two side box – archive idea – sketchbook

what resulted in a functional maquette:

Stefan513593 -A2 - two side box - archive maquette

Fig. 10: Two side box – archive maquette

Intentionally made from a found cardboard box, covered with canvas, raw and instead of being painted on it (though I added some paint blots), it is covering, concealing or storing the painted objects (each one in itself an object of painted items). Not all items fit in well, the edges of the perspex support dictating the fit-ness, parts hanging over are a barrier. Wondering if to make it completely out of perspex would be more successful, less concealing, more revealing and exposing. For an exhibition it would need a more accurate made. More thoughts and time possibly to spend on the outer surface, painted or not.

SPACE

The other question relates to working more in a three dimensional space, a work that builds on above explorations, embracing an moving spectator and expanding the features of the objects beyond its initial meaning. Although my archive idea brought the relief style painting-collages into a wider space, I would have still the other idea of bringing the painting as sculpture into space for the spectator to engage with with full body presence.

I will not have enough time to explore this deeper, I sketched out some ideas, for future reference and possibly to come back to it. Based on the idea of getting rid of the box – the Object-Box, to let it explode in space, suspended from the ceiling, artefacts, relicts to walk through. Combined with suspended objects. An approach inspired by Cornelia Parker’s Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) . It would resonate somehow with what I did for my human scale Walking Through Painting in project 2.6.

 

Stefan513593 -A2 - Space - ideas for exploded box . sketchbook

Fig. 11: Space – ideas for exploded box . sketchbook

I will postpone these ideas for part 3 – to consider the human scale and performative body as integrative part of the work.

 


Reference:

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A2 – The Object Box

  • A2 – The Object Box
  • A2 – The Object Box
  • A2 – The Object Box
  • A2 – The Object Box
  • A2 – The Object Box
  • A2 – The Object Box
  • A2 – The Object Box

The Object Box: A Useless Thing – exploring options

One of my two ideas I want to proceed with for my assignment is the Object Box. A box of items that the beholder can engage with, driven by curiosity to open and to unfold, and desire to make sense out of it. Inspired by my travel life and initial object-box performance of opening the box and a step by step removal of objects, a spatial and temporal displacement.

I would consider this as a sculptural painting and a display of objects questioning the notion of a painting as an object. This might be seen in the context of Marcel Duchamp’s (1935-41) Boîte en valiseDuchamp’s work is a collection of items made by him  in the past, alongside one original piece (he made a limited edition of 20) and addressing ‘museums’ ever-increasing traffic in reproductions and question the relative importance of the “original” work of art. (The Museum of Modern Art (1999). For me, it is not about institutional operations, but more about the experience and question how we build relationships to objects around us.

Another source of inspiration for me is the work of  Bianca Baldi (2014) Zero Latitude.. Her work can be seen in context of colonialism through leveraging the aesthetic appeal of the Louis Vuitton’s Explorer Bed produced in the 19th century. The physical action of unfolding as a conceptual deferral to the colonial endeavors by De Brazza’s journey along the Congo River. The Vuitton Explorer Bed imagined and commissioned for him. The void of the background to decontextualise and to bring forward the aesthetic appeal of the performance as an interesting feature for displacement and triggering imaginations. The unfolding of the bed not as a representation but as an object to be experienced as such.

Objects can became cult, precious collectibles, or just trash for the bin. What makes us to decide what to do what? Is it context? Is it cultural convention? What about emotions and human conditions of curiosity and desire? An aspect that I can related to Mark Dion‘s exploration exhibited at WhiteChapel Gallery (‘Theatre of the Natural World‘). 

And last not least, objects, dysfunctional things can become fetishes. My relationship with found objects became since my initial making of my object-box as a replacement for my suitcase as constant interrogation and intimate exploration. Neglected objects became meaning through painting them out, through performative arrangements and through placing them in exposed places.

Here my various approaches seeking for sense.

Idea #1: Collectibles

The following installation of made objects  can possibly show a more precious appeal of ‘nonsense’ items. Possibly with the right text underneath a nice statement in a ethnographic or anthropological museum. 

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - box size 2

Fig. 1: A4 – prep – Made box objects in display

Derived ideas and questions:

  • A make of useless and dysfunctional items, a sense of displacement to keep
  • A display: To show it like this or to engage the spectator into making, arranging it? An object or a process?

Objects – packaging items – made from packaging materials – skin of commodities  – after commodities taken out and away a void is left – the void articulated through the objects of no-desire.

For Karl Marx commodities are fetishes, objects valued not by its use-value, but by exchange value and disconnected from labor involved to make them. Very much what happens with art works. 

“Every product is converted into a social hieroglyphic” – Karl Marx, 1867

Relevance

Therefore also dysfunctional objects can be of value, and no object is not ‘useless’ enough to be not considered for further exploration. Hence, my object-box makes sense in a cultural and social setting. The question of still-life versus arranging as a process are two ways that I need to find out.

Idea #2: The Surprise Box

Or just go ahead with my initial feeling of making a box for others to see, to play with? Simplicity, and a showcase of my own learning shared with others? Some initial ideas of appropriating the OCA box (Fig. 2)

Surprisingly, I could see some resonating elements with my previous works (color, text, context):

  • the red ‘activator’ 
  • the labels, barcodes – perhaps to add QR codes with my videos?
  • the ‘urgent’ indication, always something I found amusing, giving art a high priority
  • the red tissue resonating with my red dog poop box
  • it is a box shipped to my place, part of me and what I did – appropriating the box seems to be a fascinating aspect re giving back to community aka OCA (for ‘Showcase’)

 

Stefan513593 -A2 - prep object box - OCA

Fig. 2: A2 – prep object box – OCA   – an appropriation to give back, to share, as a non-didactic, entertaining approach to exploration and sensations

 

Derived ideas and questions:

  • The dog poop bag as medium for writing some instructions. To write on a a ready-made bag or to make my own bag?
  • The cut out collages as a collection and invitation to play with. To use the materials I used (index of my artistic intervention, charged with power from past exercises as a fetish, a relic?
  • Overall, a very process based work, The active engagement and arrangement by the spectator out of control, arbitrary. What could be seen as a metaphor for the ‘death of the author’ and how dependent a artwork is based on the spectator’s experience and interpretations.

Relevance:

Some aspects that is relevant to my work and distinguishes from Bianca Baldi and Marcel Duchamp:

  • A relationship to daily objects around us and how we establish a relationship and appreciate value
  • A connection to global trade and colonialismas Baldi  sees it in her work, of less importance. Though these connotations might come up with some viewers.
  • Possibly a connection to packaging materials as useful materials trashed, a notion that could lead up to ideas of recycling (what I am doing), ecology and sustainability relating to themes as plastic trash in the oceans. An entertaining approach here is the Plastic Soup, that even distributes an app for tracking one’s own plastic footprint
  • I do not intend to place my work as a critique of one or the other. Although, this might also come up. 
  • Question how far I am moving away from Duchamp’s notion of ‘museum in a box’, embracing more the playfulness and awareness of interaction than a deferred reference to art spaces.
  • Most important feature for me is how I connect with the objects and establish relationships. Objects performing through a sculptural painting. Objects that possibly could be connotated with fetishes.

I am aware that those connotations with whatever I will come up with might be triggered – or not. When it is out, it is out.  Feedback received from peers through two hangout events suggested more a magic, entertaining aspect rather than a critical.

Here, I will bring together ‘Collectibles’ and ‘Surprise Box’ into my final ‘Paint4OCA’ box .

Object-Box: Paint4OCA

 

Stefan513593 - A2 - Object Box - Paint4OCA

Fig. 3: A2 – Object Box – Paint4OCA -Sketchbook ideas

  • Paint: what and how? => decision to scale-down my larger walking through painting from exercise 2.5, by that colors also chosen
  • Scale & installation: how to get clarity on how to unbox and re-box? to unfold and to fold?
  • Arrangement: a box to unfold, a smaller box embedded in the bigger box (matryoshka idea, also a new another level of engagement in space and as time-based performance)
  • Instructions? what to give and what to support with? 
  • Unfolding: in a sense of expansion and development (of curiosity, play, joy)

DIS-PLAY and DIS-COVER(y)

Display, Discovery – both words a mix of different connotations

       DIS: disorientation, dysfunction, displacement

               to COVER: to conceal, to hide, to cover up, to box 

                  to PLAY: to play, to enjoy, to entertain, to relax

        a title – a theme – a site:

             PAINT4OCA

 

I continued step by step, discerning how many objects I want to put in, how to paint them, how to paint the ground and boxes, and how to makes sense in ‘building a box’. I felt that paint and painting objects out supported me in finding a way forward till a final result.

A sequence of painting progression, arranging, and organising (slider):

Stefan513593 -A2 - object box - PAINT4OCA - #1
Step 1
Stefan513593 -A2 - object box - PAINT4OCA - #2
Step 2
Stefan513593 -A2 - object box - PAINT4OCA - #3
Step 3
Stefan513593 -A2 - object box - PAINT4OCA - #4
Step 4
Stefan513593 -A2 - object box - PAINT4OCA - #5
Step 5
Stefan513593 -A2 - object box - PAINT4OCA - #6
Step 6

The unfolding of the box as video with kind of instructions

The unfolded box with staged objects – reminiscence to my previous large scale Walking-Through-Painting:

Stefan513593 - A2 - Object Box - Paint4OCA - Unfolded and staged box

Fig. 4: A2 – Object Box – Paint4OCA – Unfolded and staged box

The unfolding of the smaller box – the Cut-Out Box:

Stefan513593 - A2 - Object Box - Paint4OCA - Cut-Out Box

FIg. 5: A2 – Object Box – Paint4OCA – Cut-Out Box

 

.. and a inventory list accompanying the box:

Stefan513593 - A2 - Object Box - Inventory

Fig. 6: Object-Box – Inventory

With that the box is complete – it will be submitted as assignment piece and for OCA Showcase (see separate page)

 

Conclusion

  • Questions about performing objects, unfolding boxes, establishing relationships with objects that could be possibly connotated with fetishes surrounded my work. 
  • A sense of play and entertainment was intended. The process of unfolding as important as establishing a display, even not more. The final ‘painting’ becomes just one way of making, a difference in itself, a multiplicity of ideas generated by the spectator who wants to get involved. 
  • I am aware that I moved away from a display only (step 1 in above development sequence , slider) and moved towards a more engaging playful unfolding of a box, bringing the spectator into objecthood of the work – and in relation to one’s awareness of interaction. The idea of display and archive might be worth to look at, one thing to tackle differently in my Spatial Box
  • Objects as collectibles or as things to play with and to trash them afterwards. What changes with painting beyond a mere design aspect is a different level of understanding how I do relate, and possibly how the spectator will do relate, to them.
  • Found objects can be transformed into new objects, the original purpose (packaging material) disguised and concealed. Painting allows a different attention, bright colors are more ‘interesting’ than mute or grey colors.
  • The idea of a wider impact of the works need to be seen as it allows a reading on different levels: 
    1. Play
    2. Unfolding driven by curiosity
    3. Interaction with dysfunctional objects to make sense
    4. A detailing of instructions and display associating with archive and stored memories
    5. The box, a ready-made as container for painting
    6. Objects as fetishes to build a relationship with

Reference:

 

 

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A2 – Preparation

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - box size 2

I explored during part two quite various approaches to painting, some I would have never related to painting at all in the first place. One personal idea continued to be my companion throughout this part: my object-box (Fig. 1) and the curious, partly magic driven experience of opening the box with dysfunctional objects (see my performative video).

The idea driven by my nomad life between two residence and other places, taking my art stuff with me in a suitcase (or at times a bag-pack). My life expressed through a life out of a suitcase, an opening and closing, a repetitive action across the weeks.

Stefan513593 - 2.1 -sketchbook - box - closed

Fig 1: Object-Box – sketchbook

I started my process with ready-made items, actual useful items, and moved to dysfunctional ready-made trash items from my close domestic environment. All of it resulting in the object-box. I was so much hooked with the idea, created with items typically thrown away with not looking at a relationship with these. Perhaps, with some guilt when throwing them away, more waste piling up. But what it these items have an existence as well? And would art not be the wonderful area to explore?

Over the last months and my break period I couldn’t throw neither the box nor any items away. A constant search for sense and eventually leading to my ‘fetish’ wall (See post INSPIRATION & IDEAS – OBJECT & FETISH INSTALLATION). The term ‘fetish’  came to me first by fellow student Sue, and I had to research a bit around that term in relationship to objects around us (see post  OBJECTS AND FETISHISM – THE HANDLE AND THE BOX ). My dysfunctional items collected had some connotated meaning in a wider sense

My listed items with qualities:

box (brown, textured, transport, packaging) – pebble (heavy, nature, memory) – cards (thin, plastic)  – foam pieces (greenish, light, soft, plastic, packaging) – white thread (holding together, connecting, thin and long, light, plastic, packaging) – gloves (the handle, the touch, soft, human plastic) – bubble wrap (textured, flexible, plastic, soft, packaging)- sponge (nature, painting) – dog poop bag (human, relationship, plastic, nice red translucent color) – newspaper (thin, flexible, human, outside, paper) – fork (food, outside, human, hard, plastic) – black plastic tray (food, outside, human, hard, plastic) – cat fur (light, nature, relationship, soft, human, memory) – tissue (light, paper, soft, textured) – painted board (human, painting, hard, memory) – styrofoam (light, plastic, soft, packaging) – plastic container (light, plastic, transparenthard, packaging) – finger brush (hard, human, touch) – milk box objects (food, packaging)

Some objects had a very strong connotation with things in the world, e.g. the fork and in combination with the black plastic tray related to food, dinner (see peer feedback on my initial object-box performance video and second peer feedback on the latest assembly of works, especially the animated paintings). Is this strong connotation limiting or possibly a ‘handle’ into a work? The handle, that literally I made in my first object-collage Two Sides of Folly

Other pieces are more personal, e.g. the pebble, found at the river banks of the Aare river in Switzerland, a place in absence, or the cat fur things, from our cat ‘Dobby’. Objects as the gloves to connotate with touch as well as with magician. The dog poop bag seem to be a constant in my work since part one, still don’t know the meaning or reason, perhaps I just love the red color. Similar the painted board, an artefact pieces, cut out of a art therapy studio wall. It is already painted, with traces of others, human presence, memory.

The box in itself, corrugated board that can be unfolded to reveal the corrugation is the container, the mean for meaning, i.e. the object that the other objects can fit in and be transported. The same as the plastic transparent container with the foam pieces inside (both nearly forgotten things)

Other things as the newspaper, the tissue, the bubble wrap, the thread seem to be connecting things, enabling the connection between the other objects. And other things, as the foam pieces or the sponge do seem to have something ‘to say’ in the assembly, embraced by some of my works, mostly due to shape and color. And the  styrofoam as well as the cards seem to play a visitor role, are they on stage or the audience?

The ready-mades were replaced my mock ups, maquette, new objects resembling in form and shape, but not with the charged meaning (that what I thought of). My cut-out collages and my large scale sculptural painting  ‘Walking through a Painting‘ took the object-box idea into new realms of animated ‘entertainment’ and phenomenological experience. 

My assignment work is built on and grew through this part of the course. In a sense that all projects were kind of preparation for my final ‘showdown’: a relationship to objects and the unique experience of these placed in a box. Instead of contemplating a flat picture I wanted to reflect on this experience. The opening of a box aka suitcase is not only relevant to my travel life but also to my distant learning with OCA. During a hangout I received the feedback that also the OCA course-binder box (with red inlet) could act as one example of an intriguing opening of a box.

Stefan513593 - Part 2 - Reflection 1

Fig. 2: Part 2 – Reflection 1

I found that I moved away from an observational painting approach (Fig. 2) with a sense of representation constrained by conventional perspective rules towards a painting to explore space and relationship. Objects as model for my paintings shifted towards objects to be painted with and on. My distancing relationship as an observer, as a subject facing objects, shifted to an in-between actor establishing a spatial and meaningful relationship with items as they are, without deferred meaning (Fig. 3). In the last exercise I worked on two layers bringing both together: a flat surface painting with some illusionary elements and physical objects claiming space, and curiosity and engagement of the spectator who can’t sit just in front a flat screen to ‘understand’ the work. This would give just one aspect of it. Paint is spatial exploration and meandering through layers of illusion and tactile surfaces.

Stefan513593 - Part 2 - Reflection 2

Fig. 3: Part 2 – Reflection 2

One of my recent attempts in making objects was an intermediate step, possibly to another new object-box (Fig. 4). Kind of object-evolution.

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - box size 2

Fig. 4: from Ex 2.5 – Making – box size – intermediate step towards larger scale work – on display on black structured foam

This picture has some appeal of archive, display in an ethnological museum, or just some fancy items of unknown purpose.

Before, digging only into this area, I explored other ways of looking at things, overcoming flat painting and one point view perceptions. Making cut-out collages and experimenting with different installation options, it gave me another angle in how possibly to approach my assignment. I wasn’t sure wether this would be the way to go or not. However, I took some learnings from it: 

  • Objecthood: A sculptural painting as an object or assemblage that could visually engage the spectator. Also it could dissolve a ground-figure question.
  • Movement: Objects that rotate autonomously, or by spectator’s agency (moving the object, or moving subject)
  • Perspectives: Glitches, fragments, invisible visual information opening up questions how what a picture is and how we make sense out of visual information. The spectator’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? => This question I deeply explored in my ‘walking through a painting

At the end, it was about installation, and conveying a sense of interaction and engagement with a slight hint of entertainment and humour. The process of seeing seemed to me an important aspect in my work, what I can relate back to my previous assignment 1. 

Three different options:

  1. Object Box as a sculptural painting and a display of objects questioning the notion of a painting as an object. An experience encouraged to open by the spectator (inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s (1935-41) Boîte en valise and Bianca Baldi (2014) Zero Latitude. 
  2. A sculptural painting as a reflection or better documentation of my object-box experience, inspired by my initial object-box performance of opening the box and removal step by step the objects, a spatial and temporal displacement. I will take some inspiration from Jessica Stockholder and Richard Tuttle as well as from Cornelia Parker Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991)
  3. Multiple viewpoints as a kinetic experience  – movement through interaction of a spectator. Considering the space not seen, the invisible made visible through painting. With some inspiration taken from Mika Taijma The Extras (2009) and some ideas about translucency from Victor Pasmore , some conceptual thoughts about space and invisible from Katharina Grosse. I am wondering how and whether my ‘glitch’ ideas do fit in here. 

For the sake of focus and time, I will skip option #3 and continue with the two options for further exploration:

  1. Object Box 
  2. Spatial Box 

 

Amendment:

Joanne mentioned in the OCA discuss forum a planned SHOWCASE at Barnsley. The context for that is: 

Key terms: accessible, engaging, process, journey, sharing, community, learning.

We are looking for portable student work that would fit on a shelf or in an OCA course box (35cm x 30cm x 10cm) that we can feature in the SHOWCASE exhibition at gallery@oxo, London. – Joanne Mulvihill-Allen

How relevant is that? I am very excited. What makes option #1 more important for me to finalize.

 

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Folds, Unfolding and Why baroque is not dead