Category : A3 – Contextual Notes

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.


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