Category : Coursework

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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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: 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




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

On Ethics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

Author personal statement

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

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

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

This essay is built on the following supporting facts:

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



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Project 5.4: Writing out of the Parallel Project

Artist Statement

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

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

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


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

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


Development of my statement

Draft 1

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

(172 words)



Reflection on draft 1:

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

Draft 2

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

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

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

(193 words)



Reflection on draft 2:

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

Draft 3

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

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

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

(184 words)



Reflection on draft 3:

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


Draft 4 and final 

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

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

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

 (163 words)


The Elevator Pitch

unfinished – one of many

audio (0:39 min)

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

Learnings from resources:

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


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




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


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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.



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

Supporting Material


  • Downey, V. (2019) Reflection on multi-disciplinary project. [pdf] At: 
  • Furnace, F. (2017) Newsome, Rashaad – Shade Compositions (2007),  [online], At:  (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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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.












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












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 :






  • 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.




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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



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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



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Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5: 3D colour chart

  • Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5:  3D colour chart
  • Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5:  3D colour chart
  • Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5:  3D colour chart

Color – Mapping a Space

My chosen location was the garden of the South London Botanical Institute, that I visited as part of the ‘Art & Environment’ study weekend with OCA tutors Melissa and Dan (see my reflective account)

Two aspects fascinated me:

  1. The varieties of color of plants and flowers (Fig. 1), with a selection of it embedded in a slide (Fig. 2)
  2. The botanist gaze embodied in the microscopic view (Fig. 3)
Fig. 1: SLBI garden impression

Fig. 1: SLBI garden impression

and my collection (with some ethical concern, feeling myself as a Victorian naturalist, and with an awe for the powerful colors of the specimen)

Fig. 3: SLBI -Plant collection

Fig. 3: SLBI -Plant collection

..specimen to look at, to gaze through the human prosthesis: the microscope. Triggering associations of far away (planets?) and very close (‘inside the body’)

Fig. 3: SLBI - the botanist gaze

Fig. 3: SLBI – the botanist gaze

I wanted to comhine both somehow, with some preliminary experiments informed by project 1 of part 4. My fascination became even more intriguing as I could relate this to my parallel project on medical imaging, the microscope as perhaps the first human prosthesis to look deeper, to discipline the body, to slice, to flatten. My reading of Lisa Cartwright’s ‘Screening the Body’ (1995) supported my interest. 

My aim for this exercise:

  • to match the various colors found,  with my naked eyes in the garden, through the microscope, and through photographic reproductions after my return to my studio space. 
  • to build on, but also to free up from my initial thoughts, and to response more directly to the process of making


Preliminary experiments

How to capture color with the idea of microscope? I eventually found that circular shapes would be more suitable than rectangular as advised in the coursematerial. 

Considering the aims of this part of the course, I found that to isolate color as paint from its support might be also an idea to look at. 

Materials used:

  • circular shapes: found plastic lids from yoghurt products. Those lids did remind me of petri dishes (made from glass or plastic( that are typically used in microbiology 
  • paint: acrylic paint and/or Aquacryl paint plus impasto gel or arcrylic adhesive to be able to peel the paint skin from the plastic lids

Some experimental tests (Fig. 4):

Fig. 4: preliminary testing // peelable paint and plastic lids

Fig. 4: preliminary testing // peel-able paint and plastic lids

=> quite satisfied with the performance of the paint (though it took some days till completely dry and peel-able). The obtained paint-disks to work with, not so rigid, with some flexibility. More to see. This triggered some childhood memories: ‘melting crystals’ to create colorful melted, normally round shaped,  stained window pictures (they melt at around 180 C, and we used a kiln for that). Anything to take from this autobiographic experience? Quite astonished by this connotation. Would this trigger in other viewer’s mind childhood memories as well? Perhaps just a side effect, one of many narratives. 

Surface and supporting material: my main reasons are the disk shape resonating with the ocular botanist gaze, and the plastic material (acrylic paint easy to peel of) as found object (found as linguistic gesture of what I found in the garden, at the study visit, when looking through the microscope). Using other surfaces would alter that connotation. 

Next steps: to color match observed garden and microscope colors, and to discern difference between impasto gel and acrylic adhesive as well between acrylic paint (opaque) and aquacryl (transparent). Would it be possible to obtain transparent or translucent disks with light able to shine through? Like the light from a microscope? 

Matching colors

(slider view, click on one image to open Lightbox view – Fig. 5 & 6)

Fig. 5: matching botanic color

Image 1 of 2

matching botanic color


=> as envisioned, the plates with acrylic adhesive turned out to be glossy, compared to the mat impasto gel plates. Also, acrylic adhesive itself is transparent compared to impasto gel being rather opaque (surprised me). Further, I noticed that the color adhesive plates are much less transparent, wondering how this could be. Nevertheless, I decided to move on with what I have (and not trying to repeat till I get what I intended to get) and to see how things would work out in space, and under the performative impact of light.

Anatomy of Color

Question: to peel the paint skin of the plate? Or to keep it inside? I decided to peel – not knowing whether this was to best decision  

{xx color disks} in space 

together – alone – flat – in relation – activating the background – being activated by light – mapping

(slider view, click on one image to open Lightbox view – Fig. 7 – 10)

Fig. 7: color in space no1

Image 1 of 4

color in space no1: placing as collection


After my various ‘installations’ , still kind of flat though, I sketched down two ideas for more spatial installation: kinetic and negative space (Fig  11)

Fig. 11: color in space no5 - sketchbook ideas

Fig. 11: color in space no5 – sketchbook ideas; kinetic mobile and negative installed space with looking through circles


All in all, I am not so satisfied with the outcome. Perhaps, I was too busy with my parallel project and the rather flexible disks seemed to be rather restrictive. Nevertheless, there is something in that I cannot grasp at this point of time.

Naming my colors

Why to name them? For me or for the audience? As title for the work? As list of names as title? A poem? As contextual reference? Or as intentional meaning to guide the viewer? Perhaps, an invitation to connect linguistic and visual cues?

I could name them after the botanical origin, or after some colorant used in microscopic (eg. astra blue, sudan red or safranin). I didn’t find that those name who add to new knowledge, seemed to be rather too illustrative.

My thoughts for names:

  • yellow: ocular round
  • blue: botanist gaze
  • yellow green: nature’s skin
  • blue-green: water of life
  • transparent: transparent body

=> Here I can see how names, playing with connotations, can bridge somehow the gap between context, idea, and aesthetic perception, beyond the functional realm of paint tubes in stores or to nostalgia


  • Overall, I was intrigued by my initial response to the idea from garden and microscope. Although, the technical execution of the color-plates was not as intended, I found some spatial arrangements, that went beyond that initial idea. Especially, I was intrigued by the light performance through a projected test-pattern onto the plates. Giving it all together a spatial appeal in a flat environment. Nevertheless, I felt that my direction went a dead end, and will therefore continue in a different direction.
  • The test pattern, laid over the physical paint-skin, adds a sense of artificiality, scientific, or medical appeal to it. I am wondering whether this could work in context of my parallel project.
  • By chance, I was struck reading about Percival Lowell and seeing his sketches and photographs of the Mars, 1905 in context of ‘objectivity’. The images reminded me strongly of my microscope images (see Fig. 3, especially right bottom) His drawings after photographs challenging the question of whether it is ‘objective fact’ (in Lowell’s case the appearance of channels on Mars) or whether to ‘say that the results were from the brain of the retoucher’ (Galison and Jones, 2013:331). I can relate this visual images as mapping (drawings and photographs), mapping similar as MRI works as a mapping device.


  • Cartwright, L. (1995) Screening the Body : Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Galison, P. and Jones, C. A. (2013) Picturing Science, Producing Art. London, New York: Routledge.
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Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials

  • Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials
  • Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials
  • Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials
  • Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials

Building up the surface of a painting using unconventional art materials. Creating and extending a material surface of texture, tone and/or colour, to transform the canvas. – Course material

Selection of materials

I feel that I should stay focus and not to browse wide openly in an experimental manner all sort of things around me:

This is visual mapping of materials (Fig. 1)

Fig. 1: mapping materials and relevance

Fig. 1: mapping materials and relevance


Form my mapping, I looked for commonalities Eventually I decided to go for three varieties:

  1. mud / clay: with much water to paint with, the final work will dry on its own
  2. cardboard chips: with less and more water, the final work will dry but separate; possibly to use with addition of paste to solidify
  3. plaster / latex: as I felt inspired by the moment of failure / chance from project2 -both resisting each other, the final work will dry on its own; possibly to use with (baby-)powder (talc*)

My aim would be to see how those materials can build up a skin, and how opaque, transparent, permeable these will get.

a) Mud

For the sake of simplicity,  I used for this exercise a surrogate for mud:  clay (would still love to work with the mud from the coast). Mud aka clay has an earthy connotation. It relates to the sense of touch, and I use it in my art therapy as a low barrier material to stay connected and to raise awareness of one’s body sensation., also it provides resistance to touch.

My aim was to see whether clay can be more than a modelling material, i.e. how clay can be used to flatten out. Typical features of clay (aka mud)

  • clay: solid mass for modelling, though flat squares. 
  • mud: rather associated with flat areas, e.g. river beds, sea coast (like the Waddensee at North sea coast)
  • already ‘painted’ brown
  • transformative through wetting and building up, usually without much water (what would makes it brittle during drying in the oven)
  • openness for new ideas….

Flattening out clay aka mud. Some beginnings – (Slider view: click on the image to open in lightbox view  – Fig. 2-4)

Fig. 2: Mud / clay 1

Image 1 of 3

painting with mud

=> a warming up, I’ve done these at the beginning of part 4 before my other works. A fun way to paint with wet clay aka mud on paper, and to feel how it starts to dry. On black paper a more dramatic visual effect. I couldn’t resist to paint directly on wet clay (usually one paints onto dry clay), resulting in a double-skin sculpture, a fold unfolded (relating to my interest in the Baroque, see post here)

How could mud be seen in context? Certainly, it reminds me of Richard Long’s mud paintings, the Avon River mud paintings, 2011. Also of my own mud drawing Mud Falls, 2016 for Drawing 1 unit. The materials resonates for it very tactile character. I decided to stop here with this material and to see whether another material could have a similar tactility and potentiality to build up.

b) Paper chips

I chose Kraft-paper chips, used as filling materials for shipping boxes, as they are made from paper, typically a support for painting, and they are structured, with extension into 3D (see Fig. 5). Paper is made from natural fibers or cellulose with chemical modifications, and it is considered as a ‘natural’ material. Paper chips are a more environmental alternative to styrofoam chips or bubble wrap as filler. 

I was wondering,  considering the previous coursework, how not only paint, stripped of the support, can transform itself into a sculptural painting, but whether equally also paper, a typical flat ‘canvas’ support, could turn into a painting. Considering my works with paper-mache in part 1 for the ‘combines’ – What is Below and Beyond), I wanted to explore the unique features of that material:

  • spatial, though flat squares. 
  • multiple pieces
  • already ‘painted’ brown
  • transformative through wetting and mixing with wallpaper paste.
  • openness for new ideas….

(slider view: click on the image to open in lightbox view – Fig. 5-11)

Fig. 5: painting with paper chips 1

Image 1 of 7

paper chips, building and constructing a picture plane

=> starting with piles of chips, spray painted on-site with acrylic paint spray (could envision an entire gallery room filled with this ‘filling’ material; Fig. 5). This way it works only with gravity, a bulk of materials, spreaded out on the floor. I was wondering whether I could bring this ‘back’ to the wall, the traditional place of the canvas, using paste to stick those chips to the canvas. Paste made them flattening out (Fig. 6). Developing, building it further, being more careful to the amount of paste added, modulating surfaces and space, attention to inner and outer relationships => resulting in two canvas (Fig. 7 & 8), the second one more figurative?

Considering the idea of slides from my visit to Environment as well as to the exhibition on artist cards in the British Museum, I felt intrigued by smaller scale works, and decided to work on card size scale (10 x 15 cm). A more intimated approach to work, more closer view, and I felt I put more attention to graphic and line (Fig. 9 & 10)

Overall, I was positively impressed about the potentiality of this material. It cultural use as packaging material, and as a more environmental one compared to plastic fillers, could possibly be used to inform works using this material. Packing, filling, discarding – a useful, though dysfunctional material at its final destination.

c) Plaster / Latex

My third material, I was eager to explore happened by chance: finding out what doesn’t work, and what doesn’t work well together. How to make a good solid mass in an instant, made from semi-liquid plaster and liquid latex (Fig. 12). A resistance, and yet, not separable. Could this be developed into something else?  Could I explore those resisting and cohesive forces? 

I continued with the smaller scale approach, as I found it might even work better with those ‘precious’ painting-constructions (slider, click on the image to open in lightbox view – Fig. 13 – 17) 

Fig. 12: a solid block of plaster and latex

Image 1 of 6

plaster and latex - failure as creation

=> first I couldn’t repeat my previous ‘chance’ result (Fig. 13), afterwards it ‘found’ it again (Fig 14). But I was not very satisfied with that block thing, although it might have some aesthetic appeal. I was looking for different, more considered ways to work with, and added both components not all together, but layered one above the other (Fig. 15) – a temporal, unstable composition, as the dry latex layers peels of the plaster (as I’ve notice before in project 2).  I concluded, that it might be better to work with latex separately, let it dry and to build up a painterly sculpture with plaster afterwards (Fig. 16). Here, I used bubble wrap to texture the latex skin. Fig. 17 shows the side views on the four attempts. 

Overall, considering my initial enthusiasm, I found the subsequent result less convincing. The separate approach (Fig. 16) more informative for further work. Latex can be easily textured, and to use fragments of it alongside other materials might be the better move forward.



  • Do the resulting ‘painting objects’ suggest particular ideas or subject matter?  
    Mud: scratch marks, reminding me of the sea-coast, the wetlands
    Chips: no1 (Fig 7): a spatial map, like Bruce Nauman’s studio mapping (Two Messes on the Studio Floor,  1967), extraterrestrial mapping no 2 (Fig 8): – rose (intentionally done), rough construction
    Plaster / Latex: like pebbles, gems, found objects; or trash
  • Do they operate more like sculpture now than painting? 
    => a good question of what is difference between painting and sculpture. Karla Black considers her spatial works as sculptures, less a painting. I tend to see them in between, the mud and the chips wall pieces rather a painting with sculptural material, the plaster/latex attempts rather sculptures. How would I differentiate for myself? Sculptures when it comes to relationship between the object and the viewer, painting when it focuses more on relationships between surfaces and color inside the work. Although, the latter also take the viewer’s relationship with the work into account.
  • How would I present them in an exhibition? 
    Mud: Site-specific, on location installation; a frieze across the wall?
    Chips: I could envision an entire gallery room filled with the paper chips as packaging filler material, with paint partly covering it and the material itself as spatial paint (Fig. 5). Site-specific, on location installation. Alternatively, covering partly all room surfaces, an extension of surfaces in space, an interior view (or also exterior?) . This could build on the idea of interior-exterior / inside-outside dichotomy and a postmodern notion of multiple intensities (Wegenstein explores this in her book at more extend (2006, chapter 4)
    Plaster / Latex: Besides exciting ‘gems’ through a quick transformative process, I don’t consider the results as something to move forward. Having said, the quick transformative process might be an idea for on-site installation, though I don’t know whether this will work on larger scale as well.
  • How could I develop them further, larger scale? 
    Two key aspects seem to be important for me at this stage: skin and stretching.
    – I like the spatial expansion approach with the paper chips and could envision to use them for larger works, possibly more to paint with and onto. Pieces that make a whole, like body parts that constitute the body. 
    – I very much enjoyed working with latex and to discover its unique properties through modulation with addition of acrylic paint, thickener, applying texture and patterns. It seems to be the skin material par excellence (for what I found out so far): it peels off easily, is flexible, can be cut, can be colored, can be stretched and works with other materials when well chosen. I do think there is more potential (my project 2 work, see there Fig. 11 & 12). I don’t think that the chosen combination with plaster works best the way I worked with. Better to see both as two materials in dialogue.
  • I didn’t looked at two materials specifically in this exercise: peat and mud. I felt those would need much more attention and could be a parallel project in itself. Secondly, I felt it would divert me from my focus on my current parallel project as the coursework is to some extend closely informing it.  Both projects would be quite site-specific.
    Peat – for its cultural heritage and environmental impact 
    Mud – or as called in German ‘Schlick’ – relates to the natural reserve at the Northsea cost, a material full of life.
    I am wondering whether these materials are more to draw upon, or to paint around with.


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Project 4.3 – Ex. 4.3: Reflective exercise

Relationships with materiality (contextual focus)

‘What does it mean to give agency to the material, to follow the material and to act with the material?’ – Lange-Berndt, 2015:13

Why do I choose what I choose for painting? What are the qualities I explored and perhaps could explore deeper?

  • My favourite ‘traditional’ painting material tend to be oil paint, on the one hand with a full bodily texture, long to modify, resisting a fast drying. On the other hand diluted down to a dripping liquid For the same reason that I like to paint with ink, specifically to let it ‘drip down’. Especially on Perspex or rhenalon oil paint dries very slowly, what appeared to be a great hurdle in developing and exploring those materials, thus often I moved to acrylic paint although with weaker performance of transparent layers.
  • My favourite material approach tend to be transfer processes, acrylic transfer. This goes often alongside a more ‘skin-peel’ approach as dry acrylic paint gets of the ground with a shiny smooth surface on one side.
  • My favourite artist attitude to material is that of bodily exploration, in proximity, a tactile approach, feeling material, a kinaesthetic experience. To notice how painting media is covering and interacting with a surface (liquid oil, ink). Also to work with ‘non-traditional’ media, as mud-dispersion or liquid shellac supporting a performative aspect of painting.
  • My favourite supporting material tend to be paper, what moved over time to transparent, translucent materials, e.g. perspex, mylar but also un-stretched canvas, rather textile. A flexibility of material, with a breathe of their versatile features.
  • Then there are two other media that I like but not sure how this can be played with:
    – Water: a medium I like for its versatility, and that I consider rather as paint than as solvent. On the other hand it is a tool, more versatile than a brush through spraying and flowing around. But it also as this feature of reactive, opposing, not wanting being absorbed e.g. by oil paint.
    – Light: light is performative, reflections are non-substance pictures performed by light. 

At times, those get mixed, and my fingers touch the oil paint and the transfer is embedded with my body traces.

My verbal response to characteristics :

  • Oil paint: the touching eye, the seeing skin
  • Water: versatile, existential, life
  • Transfer: multiplicity, difference
  • Paper: absorbing, fragile, versatile
  • Transparent : a mindset? multiplicity
  • Body: my kinaesthetic preference and sensing of the world? Being and feeling alive
  • Light: without, the eye is blind

What it tells about my material approach?

A versatile, experimental attitude toward discovery of unnoticed traces and evidence. A kinaesthetic approach that is missing in a digital, screen based realm. A phenomenological approach, embracing the Gestaltung through materials. Figure and ground, just a viewpoint, both to look at, both to explore.

In summary

The paint and the surface, an equal relationship. Paint as material embeds, but also absorbs. The surface absorbs, but also entangles.

Me and material, an equal relationship. Performative gestures on both sides. Control and chance as well. A dialogue of listening and response.

Reflecting this way on what I did and why, makes me aware that there could be a common pattern. A unique approach perhaps, that can be informed by those specific characteristics? Something to see how to do, a quest.

How to Be Complicit with Materials? (Lange-Berndt)

The text looks at agency of materials from a post-human perspective. On the one hand material that is informed by social constructed notions, e.g. gendered materials (?), and on the other hand autonomous acting materials beyond matter with a life in itself. How to bring these together? From the reading I felt as if the author tries to argue for approaching materials innocently, quite in context of Ruskin’s notion of the ‘innocent eye’, a footnote to ignore or put aside the world we are growing up in. Nonetheless, there is certainly something in it that resonates: material versus a thing, a thing is made out of material, substance and is through a production process exposed to thought. What relates to Serra’s ‘Verb list’ as acting on material with the artist being the subject. The author relates the process of change to a Marxist notion of alienated production as well as to the Platonic idea of transcendent ideas (material turns into matter) that exceed the material world, a position she links to Modernism. Both viewpoints are anthropocentric perspectives and the author votes for an expansion beyond this central focus. She notes that material culture in that sense relates to anthropology, human made-things out of material.

An interesting shift happens when the author refers beyond material and matter to contemporary view of ‘materiality’ where physicality is not any longer a condition, e.g. sound, language. This approach resonates wrongly due to my interest in sound (through my collaborative project with music student Vicky) and light (partly explored in assignment 3 as the material that allows appearance of reflections) as materials. However, it is hard to grasp, reminds me of the cause and effect dilemma. To take sound as an example, it relates to our senses and to a subject, e.g. a piano, that makes the sound through time-frequency patterns. In other words, it is a sender-relationship transmitted through a medium, eg. air. Language, spoken or written would be similar. In comparison to paint, where the light is the transmitting medium between the materiality of paint and the receiving eye. It seems to me sound is more similar to color than to paint as material.

The author refers to ‘mono-ha’ as an approach to look at material as a passage, a performance and structure through which things reveal their existence. Viewpoint that I also came across in the recent art&environment at SBLJ. I take from this that a material in itself, that includes any non-human substance, can be attended to, listened to. However, it will go through a process of sensing and cognition, conception and abstraction to derive meaning from this attentive moment. The author puts this into context of the ‘Eigenleben’ (life in itself) and the post-human new realism conception of ‘vibrant matter’ as described by Karen Barad (p.17).

The author refers to Elizabeth Grosz who herself refers to Deleuze who took ‘sensation as that which subject and object share, yet is not reducible to either subject or object or their relation. Sensation is what art forms from chaos through the extraction of qualities’ (Grosz, 2008:19). In that sense, I can relate to material process and acting on: a dialogue between me and the material, once I make e.g. a stroke and the material responds, resists, performs, depending on structure and surrounding conditions. A ‘materiality-effect’ or a phenomenon of materiality (p.17). Something the author relates to the ‘Materialästhetik’ by stating:

Possibilities of materials should be set free without turning them into commodities – p.15

This description can be certainly argued with when talking about art in the form of objects, e.g paintings, sculptures, installations.

to follow the material means not to discuss aesthetic issues .. but to investigate transpersonal societal problems and matters of concern – p. 16

This notion seems to me a bit too restrictive as it puts an anthropocentric view on material that the author a few pages before criticised. I am wondering what it means to paint in oil paint from a material perspective?

However, what I find intriguing is the ‘follow the material’ pathway through crossing boundaries of discipline and to look beyond the circle of art, it means to go to places where a specific material is of concern.

If one want to to be complicit with materials, it is not enough to point to the fact that some objects are made out of …. The point is to understand the history of the material used, to research other context in which they were applied, to follow their traces, … to embrace the carnevalesque, the popular, the excessive. – p.20

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld, 2019: latex paint skin - stretching - displining - performing

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld, 2019: latex paint skin – stretching – displining – performing



  • Material and attention to materiality opens up new views and sensations. To stay a tuned with materiality means to stay in a dialogue with the material.
  • The embrace the history of a material means to put it into a human perspective of reality and cultural conceptions (what includes all political, racial, and gender issues)
  • To look beyond the art-realm means to interrogate with material in a wider cultural and environmental sense.
  • It seems as to leverage a material through art practice would automatically address political and cultural issues, e.g hair is not innocent when placed in art space.
  • For my practice it means to be aware and to make conscious decisions, and to look at relationship between subject matter and material. An aspect my tutor highlighted in our last tutorial.
  • I am intrigued by sound as ‘material’ or medium as it will be a large part of my collaborative and parallel project. How to paint with sound, or rather how sound can transform spaces.


  • featured image and Fig. 1 works by SJSchaffeld, 2019 (from P4P2)


  • Grosz, E. (2008) Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth. [Scribd]. At: (accessed 05 May 2019)
  • Lange-Berndt, P. (2015). ‘Introduction / How to Be Complicit with Materials’. In: Lange-Berndt, P., ed. Materiality, Documents of Contemporary Art. London: Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press, pp. 12 – 23.


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Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2: Exploring Form

  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form

Traditionally, paint is considered a material to be used to create illusive shapes onto flat surfaces – as a surface application even when applied to sculptural object. Paint, especially through its characteristics of color and tone, creates perceptual forms and spaces. Good example for space creation are the works of Katharina Grosse. She considered earlier on that paint had to be solid with a material density before she moved on towards very thin, spray painted, rather translucent color application (Art21, 2015). This conception challenges the distinction between surface and corporeality, 2d and 3D objects. It reminds me similar to the dilemma of whether a point has a spatial extension or not, and whether a line would not also has an extension into the second dimension, making the line rather a flat extending surface.

However one wants to see it (mathematically or visually), it relates to human perception of color in space. One way to free paint from this perceptual constraint, is to make it a solid structure unconstrained from y supporting surface. A question I looked at in previous exercise on canvas. Nevertheless, also that structure will have an outer surface we perceive and an inner core that is concealed and provides structure. 


I decided to explore various painting materials:

  • acrylic paint: the material I had most previous experience with 
  • plaster: a material I discovered in previous exercise (quite experimental)
  • latex: a material I didn’t have any experience with yet and suggested by my tutor

1) Acrylic Paint

a) automatic application:

While pondering how to apply the paint on a temporary surface, I decided to check out a rather automatic approach of skin application (Fig. 1): a spinning found plastic cup with some holes at the bottom (already there) , suspended from the ceiling, adding two colored acrylic paint inside, and manually spinning

Fig. 1: Acrylic paint - an automatic application // WIP

Fig. 1: Acrylic paint – an automatic application // WIP – when gravity is not in favor of making


=> This didn’t went well at all. Thus, quite a failure: Either the paint didn’t come out or too much. Nevertheless, I kept the painted surface to dry and to peel it off , with a more interesting result as thin layer (Fig. 2)

Fig. 2: Acrylic auto paint A // a picture

Fig. 2: Acrylic auto paint A // a picture


=> A thin layer, but stable enough to separate from the plastic sheet underneath. It reminded me of Rorschach blots and partly of a distorted image of a brain. Although, I might be biased through my parallel project to see ‘brain-images’ all over the place .

Next step was to move away from ‘automatic’ paint application to manual one. In order to keep some elements of chance and with the hope of creating interesting patterns, I was searching for different plastic materials that I could use as temporary support: plastic packaging materials as bubble wrap (Fig. 2)

B) manual application:

Inspired by my parallel project work and some MRI images of the blood vessels in the brain (so called angiography) , I decided to use a red-color mix of acrylic paint.

Fig. 3: Acrylic paint - manual application using found plastic materials as support - WIP

Fig. 3: Acrylic paint – manual application using found plastic materials as support – WIP; used support: top and bottom left – flat plastic sheet, top and bottom right – thick and thin bubble wrap


=> I was curious to see how the material could be separated from the support. I was unpatient, and thus spoiled partly some areas. Had to wait longer, till results became clearer. Too precious works , protected and conserved as an archive (Fig. 4). Am I a fetish collector? 

Fig. 4: Acrylic paint B // archive

Fig. 4: Acrylic paint B // archive


The interwoven mesh of flexible acrylic paint, more flexible than opaque solid acrylic paint layer, made me wonder how it could be used, bended, applied differently than just laying onto another flat surface. I I got reminded of my veil ideas from previous exercise: unveiling to reveal the interior objects as expressed by Holtzmann Kevles (1997:3). In this case to veil in order to conceal, but failing to do so (Fig. 5) – or just another fetish object, installed to be looked at (Fig. 5 – center)

Fig. 5: Acrylic paint B // installation

Fig. 5: Acrylic paint B // installation; triggering narratives and cultural connotations


Excited by the varieties of visual material expression,, especially informed by my open mesh strands (Fig. 5 center) I decided to move further away from the one flat and solid opaque paint-skin towards reduction of dimensions: making a flat area into line. 

c) paint as line

How could paint as material be used as a painted line? (Fig. 6)

Fig. 6: Acrylic paint C // as line

Fig. 6: Acrylic paint C // as line; drawing , installation, and containing

=> the acrylic paint, not any longer a flat skin, a solid line. Not easy to bend, with some resistance, but still: a line painting with dry paint, drying not after painting, but before painting. Found this transformation intriguing. Color and paint resembling more of drawing in space. I tried to install it on an empty stretcher, just suspending and expanding. This reminded me afterwards of the puddle paintings of Ian Davenport.  I placed the strand across an empty jar, and lastly out them in and closed the lid. Containing and conserving, another approach of archive. An previous object. Does it remind me of those medical jars with preserved, dissected organs and other at times morbid curiosities that one could have see in various medical museums, e.g. here? Catherine told me during our visit at British Museum that those jars are not disclosed openly to the public any longer. It also reminds me of Helen Chadwick’s late and unfinished project ‘Cameo’, 1995. And in different, more homely context, it could relate to preserves (of fresh produce).

Some cultural take-aways at this stage:

A relationship: paint as a material with a surface, a skin, like human skin, a material with body, like a human body, fragmented, distorted, disciplined through my interactions and exposed to the gaze of the viewer (incl my own) , like medical gaze and the idea of fluent boundaries between medical imaging, the medical gaze, and media technologies and visual culture at large.

Interestingly, my experiments with paint skin did also show that paint is not only a surface, it is also a density. Although one can not look beyond the opaque surface, one could envision that it would look similar: uniform paint. Paint is pigment and binder (besides other minor additives). The binder makes it solid and stable. Therefore, I was wondering how the binder can not also be a paint, a material as such. 

I decided to work with plaster, stripped of the fabric as used in previous exercise in the form as plaster bandage, and to see how it can be colored and used.

2) Plaster

To make a solid form, a sculptural form, one uses plaster. A fast drying material, mixed with water, and why now with acrylic paint. I wanted to make the skin from previous acrylic paint application thicker, more solid (Fig 7)

Fig. 7: plaster paint D // failure or a fragment?

Fig. 7: plaster paint D // failure or a fragment? – inspired by brain images, slices of a flattened disciplinary interaction


=> It turned out to be less simple as expected. I could have foreseen the brittleness of plaster, although trying to mix with with acrylic paint and even with some liquid hide glue didn’t help much: a failure as the ‘plaster skin’ resisted to be taken off. My drawing with paint onto the still wet plaster surface was inspired by MRI images of my brain and a drawing I did at the Drawing Room at the British Museum (see blog post): ‘After Deacon / informed by my MRI project‘. I had to transfer carefully from one to another surface and eventually decided to place it between to perspex plates (Fig. 7 right). This kind of installation was a reference to the way the Visual Human Project was created and established: the MRI imagery had to be mapped against a physical point of reference – cryogen slicing of a dead human body (National Library of Medicine, 2019).

Fig. 8a - a solid block of plaster and latex - failure as creation

Fig. 8a – a solid block of plaster and latex – failure as creation

I felt inspired by those disc images, sliced disks as sliced matter, and considering the vulnerable features of plaster. And  informed by a preliminary failing test to add latex into plaster: resulting into an immediate solidification and creation of a solid block – Fig 8a.

What to do with that? To make a more careful ‘arrangement’ of material matter on a support, to see how both material possibly could work together in a different way, resulting in a process of transformation (Fig. 8) .

What started out as uniform wet painted shape, changed during the drying process: latex turned yellowish, plaster dries and contracted, the materials separated from each other  – fragmentation as result. It became brittle and the latex parts started to separate even more. Fig. 8 right shows the ‘installed’ fragmented disk – partly with kind of playdough appeal 


Fig. 8: plaster paint D2 // fragmentation of matter

Fig. 8: plaster paint D2 // fragmentation of matter


I concluded my plaster experiments and decided to explore latex as material alone. Latex as the most flexible, stretchable material, loaded with various cultural connotations: latex gloves as medical protection (what is replaced more to nitrile gloves currently due to latex allergic reactions), and mostly (when I asked others what the relate with latex) latex as erotic fetish material. A second skin, applied to the human body (I can’t imagine how people can stand the unique dry latex smell) . It seems, that material as skin has various connotations, and I am wondering how the latex skin in a double sense could work further for my project.

3) Latex

Starting with some simple colored latex applcation (Fig. 9)

Fig. 9: latex paint // another kind of fragmentation - vulnerable to touch

Fig. 9: latex paint // another kind of fragmentation – vulnerable to touch; right: recto and verso


=> just to see that after peeling of, latex turns into a sticky material, collapsing, sticking together, nearly impossible to get it flat again. I took the form the material had chosen, to install it fix on a paper, with the idea of making at the backside a small window, to peak through – on the one hand a stripping of context of the full form, one the other hand it could be referred to the erotic material connotation: a peak-show. In context of my medical imaging project, I could see the backside view also kind of medical gaze, and stripping of the subject (the patient) as a living human being. Like at surgery, when a blanket is concealing the patient and revealing only a sterile entrance into the body’s interior.

Latex can be disciplined as well – applying baby powder when peeling of from the support. The paint-skin turned into a ‘carpet’ (Fig. 10)

Fig. 10: latex paint no2

Fig. 10: latex paint no2; recto and verso


I wanted to play more with the skin idea and to see what else I could do with the ‘freed’ material: installing, modulating, manipulating.

4) Beyond skin-peeling

I was trying to create something new with the most flexible skin-paint approach: latex (Fig. 11)

Fig. 11: latex goes sculptural

Fig. 11: latex goes sculptural – a dialogue with mesh wire – adaptation and disciplining


=> by using a metal wire, I was able to form the skin . or to quote Lisa Cartwright (1995): to ‘discipline’ the skin – into a flat image. Latex is an opaque material and I was trying to get a sense of ‘transparency’ through the use of the thin wire (the one used to stabilise plaster sculptures)

I got even more reminded of the notion of ‘disciplining’ when I was exploring latex paint skin to the limits, by stretching. Here the traditional canvas stretcher came handy, though I used another found wooden rack (Fig. 12)

Fig. 12: stretching the skin

Fig. 12: stretching the skin


=> With this approach I started to think how this could be pushed further for my assignment work: stretching the skin in reference to the human transparent skin exposed to the medical gaze. The dividing line as a focal point. Can this line be further stretched?



  • Big challenge: drying time of thicker paint, with or without binder, especially at current ambient weather conditions. Would like to get something drying quickly like plaster but keeping a flexibility. I can appreciate why Benglis used a strong, solid mesh construction for her pour painting, e.g. For Carl Andre, 1970. 
  • How to free the paint from its support?  That is the challenge – my curiosity, unpatience, and deadlines are challenging my approach. Should I wait longer or cleaner results, or should I embrace the fragility and vulnerability of half-wet paint as a learning in itself? Perhaps, new aspects could come up. My above experiments are reflecting this process of failure.
  • Key phenomena or actions explored and ‘discovered’: 
    – Vulnerability: unstable materials, e.g. plaster or partly also acrylic paint, resisting a peeling-of, breaking as intrinsic feature, creating new ideas?
    – Fragmenting: through breaking, incoherence, non-suitable material combinations (e.g. plaster plus latex)
    – Stretching: acrylic paint skin less , latex paint skin more, a stretching to flatten and distort the picture plane
    – Disciplining: Stretching and framing, installing on wire, or other objects – a disguise and a distortion
  • Material alongside the way I manipulate, discipline, and install it, can trigger various narratives and cultural connotations inside the viewer’s mind (see Fig. 5).
  • On a wider level, I can see a relationship between paint as material with a surface, a skin and the human body with the skin.  It can be fragmented, distorted, disciplined through my interactions and exposed to the gaze of the viewer (incl my own) , like medical gaze and the idea of fluent boundaries between medical imaging, the medical gaze, and media technologies and visual culture at large.
  • Latex as material for second skin: a double sense meaning towards human skin, and towards paint as skin.
  • Next steps: to explore deeper stretching and disciplining of paint skin. metaphor for human body, human skin as surface? Can possibly see some relationship with my parallel project: under the skin – transparent and permeable skin





  • Art21 (2015) Katharina Grosse: Painting with Color | Art21 “Extended Play”,[online], At: on 29 Aug 2018).
  • Cartwright, L. (1995) Screening the Body : Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Holtzmann Kevles, B. (1997) Naked to the Bone : Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
  • National Library of Medicine (2019) The Visible Human Project®, At:  (Accessed  02 May 2019).
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Project 4.1 – Ex.4.1: Stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap

  • Project 4.1 – Ex.4.1: Stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap
  • Project 4.1 – Ex.4.1: Stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap
  • Project 4.1 – Ex.4.1: Stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap

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

Re-Imagined Canvas

My motivation in relationship to my parallel project as subject matter (brain, MRI, medical gaze; ‘under the skin’ as transparency – inspired by the Wegenstein’s book) informed my exploration of the re-imagined canvas. Canvas as skin, as tissue – a material concealing though protecting: 

skin – fold – incision – fragment – transparency

So far, I have chosen in the previous part plastic sheets or perspex as transparent materials (canvas) and oil paint or acrylic paint washes for transparent images. I am wondering if these are the only materials to be used to explore transparency, especially in context of skin. I can relate to my subject matter also in a way of incision, dissection (more metaphorically) and slicing (into fragments), but also as mapping. Words to play with.


Chosen materials: tissue paper (two different kind of cellulose fibers), plastic sheet, mylar, paper, canvas – an exploration of studio artefacts in my sketchbook (Fig 1):

Fig. 1: exploration materiality

Fig. 1: exploration materiality

To get started I played around with the new paint: Lascaux Aquacryl, a very intense liquid watercolor that is supposed to have magnificent performance in washes as well as combined with impasto gel: plastic sheet as flexible surface, and rigid (Fig 2)

Fig.2 : canvas as plastic no1

Fig. 2 : canvas as plastic no1; the stretcher to hold, contain; reverse view, enforcing transparency


=> not very convincing as a re-imagination, more a warming-up; still a framed, contained surface; though a transparency is visible with backlit. Continuing to be more exploratory and to keep surface material visible (to avoid covering it all), trying to install (Fig.3), using a found object:




Fig. 3: plastic no2

Fig. 3: plastic no2; bullclamps left has temporary holding device, the stretcher to frame and contain


=> a step towards overcoming the stretcher’s containment; becoming a sculptural surface, containing in itself an object, a holding device. The intermediate ‘final’ stage (Fig 3 right) conveys some features of the material (plastic sheet) as well as implying marking that follow those features. The water flow markings, left in flow direction by gravity, right at right angle view, more intriguing, reminds of writing, code? Here, the canvas is enhanced through paint or, the painted marks enhance the materiality of the canvas. To keep in mind for following explorations.

Moving from plastic to paper, looking at paper feature of fragmenting when very wet (learnings from assignment 1)


Fig. 4: paper no 2

Fig. 4: paper no 1: upper half wetted with water, bottom half kept dry; packaging plastic band to hold and to be hold


=> being inspired by the ‘holding device’: a packaging plastic band; how can it hold a paper? dry and wet? When the surface performs without containment. The dark thin object acts as a line crossing the surface, though spatial independent of the surface. A contrasting element.  I liked the markings on the dry paper from the water flow downwards, kind of incisions (mirroring the cut openings), looking like seams. Those markings are absent in the upper, wet part.

To build on this ‘drawing’ element and the folding and en-rolling aspect, I explored it further (Fig, 5):



Fig. 5: paper no2

Fig. 5: paper no2 – paper, painted, rolled, folded, and contained


=> turning paper as flat surface into a folded stick, drawn around to encapsulate, to contain. The canvas turned into a sculptural object, independent of holding or containing.


Breaking away

Through the unconscious rolling, folding of surface materials (Fig. 3 and Fig 4),  I felt reminded of a description by N. Holtzmann-Kevles, a book I was reading for my parallel project: 

‘physicians gradually pushed back the veil in front of the internal organs, revealing first the living skeleton, then the stomach, intestines, gall bladder, lungs, heart, and brain’ (Holtzmann Kevles, 1997:3 – highlight by me)

resulting in a performative approach with tissue (chemically modified cellulose) 



Fig. 6: tissue no1

Fig. 6: tissue no1 – work in progress


… with a resulting veiled image: : 

Fig. 7: tissue as veil

Fig. 7: tissue as veil; with adhesive – ‘stretched ‘on background paper


=> This is not yet sculpture, nor painting. However, the ghost image of the imprint on the background paper (the ‘stretcher’ in this case) could convey a narrative through visual depth. An idea, to explore further? It brought up questions around how the ‘canvas’ can act not only as a surface to paint on (example see FIg. 3-5), but also a skin and a matter concealing, though protecting (like human skin as tissue). The applied adhesive made the soft tissue more rigid, but might be considered also as an act of conservation.

Some of my ideas  developed through making above works: conservation (reminding me of my works for assignment 2, e.g Preservation Box, inspired by Candice Lin), folding (see Fig.2, 4, 5, 6), incision (cutting open or writing marks, a scalpel approach related to the medical gaze, seeing and touching). Another trial, still on a ‘stretcher’ background paper to hold (Fig. 8), veiling becomes sculptural (not yet):




Fig. 8: tissue no2

Fig. 8: tissue no2: with shellac to conserve – ‘stretched’ on background paper

=> the canvas as sculptural expression of gesture (weaving, folding), not yet released from its ‘stretcher’ (background paper), a different view on veiling, and using of shellac as preservation technique. Interesting that manual labor, weaving, reduced the outer shape. The added yellowish shellac solution added kind of tainted appeal.  Although quite obvious, it also means that the accumulation of mass through weaving, turns a flat surface into a sculptural surface. This led me to think about more rigid materials, materials that solidify, and are also used in a medical environment: plaster bandage. A material applied to skin, acting as a second skin, malleable when dry and wetted, rigid when hardened. Incision can be done through tearing (initial stage) or with scalpel (knife) when hard. 

Appropriating a postmodern theme, the stretcher as painting, the blank and monochrome canvas, the empty canvas. I wrote an essay on it (assignment 2 UVC), looking at Plaster Surrogates (1982-84) of Allan McCollum (Fig. 9)

Fig. 9: canvas a container no2

Fig. 9: canvas a container no2 (plaster cast), verso view; a skin of absence – suspended (invisible thread)

=> a plaster cast from of an empty stretcher, reverse view: a container becoming the surface. Reminding me not only of Allan McCollum but also of Rachel Whiteread’s House (1993): the cast as a skin transfer process revealing traces of the interior walls. I find two aspects intriguing: the porosity, slight transparency, openness of the plaster fabric (reminding me of the permeable skin) and the single threads at the bottom. Both giving the rather minimalistic work a sense of intimacy.  And the single threads reminded me also of line drawing. Single threads are playing an important role in Simon Callery’s works, e.g. Symmetrical Aluminium Wallspine, 2017.  And the cast shadow at the top could be seen as a linguistic word play: to cast an object, to cast shadows.

Nevertheless, one idea sparked during this exploration (Fig. 3) and embedded in above cast:  the container. Typically, the stretcher acting as the containing part, I was wondering whether the surface can not contain as well (Fig. 10).



Fig. 10: canvas a container no1

Fig. 10: canvas a container no1: tissue, folded and contained – left: with black reflective background board; right: suspended (white thread)

=> turning the canvas into a container, a gifting, a sweet. An idea for uncanny moments when filled with unfamiliar things, e.g. organs, brain matter? This brings me once again in relationship with Helen Chadwick and her exploration of aesthetics of medical matters, e.g. Self-Portrait, 1991 or Monstrance, 1996 (Chadwick, 2004:114, 142-3).


My aim: to overcome the stretcher’s containment (even the holding background paper as in Fig. 7 and Fig. 8)

Key element to explore further: 


The first thing, to release the woven, now solidified, tissue (Fig. 8 left) from it’s ‘stretcher’:

Fig. 11: un-stretching (from Fig. 8)

Fig. 11: un-stretching (from Fig. 8) – suspended (invisible thread)


=> I photographed this suspended in front of my studio wall (with white paper backing) and coincidentally a black line mark came onto the photo (right). I felt intrigued by it without knowing why, and decided to leave it in the reproduction in this blog. Perhaps, it reminded me of the ‘line-drawings’ above (see Fig. 4)? The shadows casted, a notion I reflected on my plaster cast (Fig. 9), gives depth, and the line to the right adds context, a dialogue, a direction.


Second thing, to see how opaqueness and transparency could work with tissue and plastic sheet, can it be done without plastic sheet? Trying to start with a combination of Fig. 3 and Fig. 11: 

Fig. 12: transparency no1

Fig. 12: transparency no1; plaster bondage, cut into stripes and plastic sheet, watercolor infused


=> perhaps not very successful execution of interwoven plastic-plaster stripes, as if both do not like each other. The touch of it felt also awkward, kind of opposing elements

I was wondering whether I could combine this in a more interwoven surface as I did before (see Fig.11). Also, to see whether I could ‘re-construct’ the canvas inspired by the casted stretchers (see Fig. 9).

Fig. 15: line and fragment -  plaster bondage, infused with watercolor, in stripes, suspended

Fig. 15: line and fragment –  plaster bondage, infused with watercolor, in stripes, suspended


=> here, I was facing a ‘stubbornness’ of plaster bondage, cut into stripes, woven and sprayed with water . but apparently not sufficient to get the woven pieces stuck together (Fig, 15. left top). While looking for alternative ‘wetting’ devices, I filled a bucket with water added some drops of blue and red watercolor to it, and placed the strands completely under water (Fig, 15. left bottom). Drying made to color fade (Fig, 15. center), and resulting in a interwoven, combined fragmented plaster canvas (Fig. 15, right).

I decided to move away from the plastic and to look at

skin – line – veiling – incision

While thinking of skin, I wanted to test latex as my tutor suggested, as well as seen in some of the works of Lynda Benglis.

Fig. 13: - skin

Fig. 13: skin; tissue paper (cellulose) and latex, watercolor and marker pen


=> a similar shape as Fig 13, surprisingly unconsciously. I felt inspired to add some line markings. Perhaps too much too illustrate skin incisions as one can experience during surgery? The marks left behind, closing the opening with thread  – also kind of stretcher, a pull together. The combined texture, tissues and latex felt strange, quite elastic and rubbery. Compared to plaster bandage and tissue, this one is not porous any longer, quite opaque surface.

I wanted to make line markings with a similar way as before (see Fig. 4) and decided to work with tissue and the found plastic band alone – embracing more the porosity and permeability of the surface. To make it more robust, I decided to go for adhesive (not rubbery as latex, and not as solid as shellac solution). 


Fig. 14: drawing through space (tissue and found wrapper)

Fig. 14: drawing through space (tissue and found plastic band)


=> This resulted in a more expressive canvas with embedded stretchers. I found it more successful, as the band (‘stretcher’) works in a dialogue with the tissue (‘canvas’). The ‘line’ extends the surface and all together it became a sculptural surface.



  • This exercise allowed me to look more into the materiality of a surface, that traditionally acts as a mere flat support for a painting to become. Here, the surface tuns sculptural and the materiality tells what lines or shapes are possible. The imagination is not painted onto , it is woven in the materiality itself.
  • I was facing the question of three aspect, the canvas, the stretcher, and the context. E.g. in Fig 8. the works are built on a holding surface, a working table. Is this ‘table’ part of the work or not? Is this another kind of stretcher, similar to what one is doing when stretching wetted watercolor paper on a board, to tape the edges? My ambition let this work be ‘un-stretched’ from this context (see Fig. 11), only to realize that the background of the suspended piece also adds context, illustrated clearly by the black mark on the right side of the reproduction (Fig. 11 right hand)
  • Throughout this execise, I developed new ideas derived from visual cues discovers in a previous steps. I found as if the ‘canvas’ through its materiality and response to actions, e.g. the ‘stubborness’ of plaster bondage stripes to stick together (see Fig. 15) does ‘tell’ me what could be done next. 
  • The canvas can be enhanced through paint or: painted marks enhance the materiality of the canvas (see Fig 3). Building on features of the canvas’ materiality with markings responding to it. 
  • Using a found objects, e.g. the plastic wrapper, to draw in space. The line becomes independent of the surface, though in dialogue with it (see Fig. 4)
  • I do feel that I possibly could have looked even deeper in one material only. Certainly, an aspect to consider more in my following works (deeper not wider, not the first time I reflect on this).
  • I do think that the more successful pieces are those that I interacted closer with, with more intimacy to the material orders, partly Fig. 3 right, Fig. 4 and Fig, 11, more Fig, 5 right, and even more FIg. 13 and Fig. 14 The least successful ones: Fig. 2, Fig 7, Fig, 8 right, and Fig. 9.
  • Overall, I find plaster bandage and tissue do have some quality of canvas, a porosity and permeability. Bandage as long it is not completely plastered into a solid mass, tissue and canvas similarly, to have a certain openness exposed. Something to work deeper with.
  • An overall question would be whether this ‘canvas-stretcher’ interaction is a mere experimental approach or whether t could be seen in a wider context (see Fig. 13.)



  • Chadwick, H. (2004) Helen Chadwick / edited by Mark Sladen ; with a preface by Marina Warner and essays by Mark Sladen, Mary Horlock and Eva Martischnig. Edited by Sladen, M. and Barbican Art, G. London : Ostfildern-Ruit: Barbican Art Gallery ; Hatje Cantz.
  • Holtzmann Kevles, B. (1997) Naked to the Bone : Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
  • Wegenstein, B. and Hansen, M. B. N. (2006) Getting under the Skin : The Body and Media Theory. Cambridge, MA; London: MIT Press.
  • Wetterling Gallery (2016) Angela de la Cruz, At: 02 May 2019).
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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: // 

// 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
The medical gaze and the disembodied self, variations of perspective in MRI and art.
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?


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


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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.



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Project 3.4 – Ex. 3.3: The mirror as a stage

  • Project 3.4 – Ex. 3.3: The mirror as a stage
  • Project 3.4 – Ex. 3.3: The mirror as a stage
  • Project 3.4 – Ex. 3.3: The mirror as a stage
  • Project 3.4 – Ex. 3.3: The mirror as a stage


a stage

staging performance

a screen of actions

acting through cutting space

a virtual in physical

reflective identity

a state of place 

placing in relationship.


Prior Reflection

The mirror as an object is rarely seen as such – similar to the surface of a painting – it is ‘within’ the mirror where the ‘image’ appears, invisible without, kind of affirmation of being. And one wondes whether that appearing image is inside or on the surface of the mirror, or just floating above?

The mirror took its stage already in the previous part of my course, as an object of fetishes on my ‘fetish wall’, a black mirror, one that I made earlier one for PoP1. First as a tool to discern tonal values – ended up as an object of identity..

Two other kind of mirrors were taking my attention: water reflections (as seen in one pic on Clare Price’s IG account), besides a reflection of the ‘invisible’ window also a spatial extension/expansion of the studio space into the painting. The other one relates to my personal project: the small viewing mirror inside the head coil of an MRI scanner (as experienced myself). The first as a visual device to reflect back the environment, the latter as a communication device between patient and operator . The first a painterly perspective, the latter perhaps more conceptual. The first seeing the ‘virtual’, the latter seeing the object for seeing.

virtual reflection – visual communication

Based on my previous works and my ideas for my assignment derived from my embodied enactment screen-box,  I am more intrigued to follow the fluid idea of reflection. The flatness, screen like, visually expanding into depth – as if looking behind the glass. For me, this resonates with how I do see medical imaging techniques. Interestingly, from a chemo-physical point of view glass has some characteristics of a liquid, a fluid state (Krämer, 2017). Overall, my main interest resides in the visual expanded space as a mediation of the separate physical spaces: the space with the mirror aka reflective surface located, the space the reflection is showing. Open question: where is the viewer?  (a question that was tackled differently in art history as my contextual research showed). And it is light that illuminates the surfaces and let us to discern shapes, forms, memories. 


Exploring staged spaces:

Building on the previous observed ‘staged’ reflections (as partly captured through video in Hand-Catch-Screen and Hand-Catch-Screen-Performance). I am interested to explore those moments of chance and interactions on surfaces

Stefan513593 - P3Ex4 - reflections - artefacts from project 3

Fig. 1: reflections – artefacts from project 3

I became more interested in the patterns inside, or behind the screen, especially when looking closely. The reflections (Fig. 1) through a plastic foil rather seen as an obtrusion, or as an interference like in one of sketchbook explorations? Wondering what will happen if I put more focus on the surface itself alongside the ‘bouncing back space’. To take the box with me? 

working from a flat box, a simple spray painted frame (stenciled) – a framing device, contained (Fig. 2).


Fig. 2: spray painted frame for staging: reference to my, flattened as a screen or painting (manila paper)


Some aspects I learned from experimenting:

  • reflective surfaces: playing with light
  • framing: playing with context and containment
  • layering: physical vs digital (and composites of both)
  • scaling & composing / placing
  • reflection: more than reflective images (‘mirror with no image’ – I feel some thoughts of Derrida coming in)




Stefan513593 - P3Ex4 - explorations - framing reflections - physical layering

Fig. 3: explorations – framing reflections – physical layering (plus digital added background frame)


Stefan513593 - P3Ex4 - explorations - framing reflections - digital layering

Fig. 4: explorations – framing reflections – digital layering (same images as in Fig. 2)


=> getting more concerns about the collaged hand, artefact and memory from work before. But necessary? Index of my interaction? Would gestural marks not be able to serve the same ‘purpose’? But it might be also a visual cue for the viewer to engage personally – versus my gestural marks just my own ‘narrative’? 

Playing with light 

media used: day light, studio light, light beam from projector; frame paper, reflective materials, cut out pieces (see Ex 3.2); simple photoshop images (geometric shapes); recorded videos

Exploring performative reflections with my self-made devices (Fig. 5):

Stefan513593 - P3Ex4 - mirror devices

Fig. 5: mirror devices: top: perspex in with backside black gestural painting and silver painted backing (top right) – bottom:  left black mirror ontop of reflective foil, right perspex with black painted backside; all with studio light reflections and a self-image


I tried all kind of variations with the light beam, at daylight and at night, with reflective and non-reflective surfaces (Fig. 5). From all images I took, a selection of those that I find most intriguing in a painterly sense (Fig. 6).


Fig. 6: exploration – light; framing and staging reflections


… and a for most remarkable and unexpected video – in a sense a remake of a double reflective projection (by projecting the video Pull #02 onto reflective surfaces=- unframed. I made it rather by chance coincidence – intrigued by the unfolding ‘performance’ in-front of my eyes while searching for reflective patterns.

Video 1: Performance  – Unframed #01 (0.22 min)


=> there is a sense of dislocation, ‘unframing’ and at the same time a containment with an ambiguous sense of space and surfaces,  multiple physical surfaces together with the projection  I find the text from the protective sheet on the perspex fascinating, as it advances the text more than the reflection,  (painted black at the backside to act as a mirror for projection). My hand, flipping the physical book ‘Pull #02’, becomes an actor in the projection. fragmented and dislocated. I made another video, focusing more with a close up view on the high reflective surface and color creations (Performance  – Unframed #02). There is a strong sense of disruptive space, edges that perform in ambiguity. Is this working better in moving images or could this be translated into painting? If yes, a flat painting as illusion (as the video is about illusion) or as a sculptural painting to play with a more tactile sense of disruption? 

Overall, it is all the performative reflections through projection and light modulation – kind of prisma of white light splitting into all spectra colors (bringing once more to my attention the idea of spectrum in my research on Jaqueline Humphries and her ‘Black Light Paintings’)

Painting performance – reflective performances

I worked with my ‘tools’ (Fig. 5 & 6), observed and painted the staged performance in front me: projections as light performances, framed, unframed, and reframed. I decided to work on smaller scale, a watercolor pad of 24×17 cm and a bit larger of 28×35.6 cm. To focus on smaller areas, possibly with more close up views, inspired by the close up paintings of folds of Alison Watt (though her paintings are rather large scale). 

Staging Reflections #1 – #12 (click on image to see in lightbox view)

Fig. 7 – Fig.18:  all watercolor and black gouache on paper (24 x 17 cm)

I started with a warm-up exercise outdoors with placing my mirrors on the ground (#2-3) and to compare withe natural light reflection in the water of the canal (#1). Back in studio I explored the highly reflective foil as it laid on the ground (#4, #13) and continued with my staging with the earlier approach of projecting pre-recorded videos onto these surfaces, more or less direct, at oblique angle, or overlapping different planes (#5-#12, #14). 

At some stage, I was facing a much troubling phenomena of double image: kind of duck-rabbit illusion, a Gestalt, when one can see either one or the other, but not both images the same time. In my case, the patterns on the reflective surface and the reflected image. Where to look when to paint by observation? I found it quite hard to do so, as my painted surface never seem to reflect that phenomena (#14). Why is it so hard to make a duck-rabbit painting? It felt so frustrating – but on the other hand so exciting. An area I would love to explore further – without knowing how. In a similar way, I found it tremendously difficult to paint those multiple reflective surfaces: patterns projected, patterns physical on the surface (see Fig. 5), and patterns in-between (#4 and #10, #11). Eventually I decided to make first a line drawing of main highlight areas, to paint around, and only at the very end after the watercolor was dry to add some final color washes (#12).

I discovered how fascinating the disruption of the picture plane became when projecting the images not on one but on multiple staggered surfaces. My ‘fingers’ seem to cross boundaries and performing on multiple stages the same time (#6 – #9).

Staging Reflections #13 – #14 (click on image to see in lightbox view)

Fig. 19 – Fig. 19: all watercolor and black gouache on paper (28 x 35,6  cm)


At the end, I found that a more loose approach and gestural interpretation of observed reflections could be more successful, e.g. as I started to explore after #5 with the more freely painted version #6. To consider focused observation only as an intermediate step for my assignment work. 

I consider the more successful paintings: #6, #7, #8, #12, and #14. Mostly for the more intriguing space ambiguity and more convincing painted patterns as well as better range of tonal contrast.

Overall, I find my paintings of combination of abstract color patterns and figurative fingers intriguing. They seem to be more engaging, possibly due to the human body inclusion. An aspect the viewer can relate to first and continue deeper.

Reflection in context

With respect to the screen as mirror I feel reminded of my recent read in the British Library: Helen Chadwick’s book ‘Of Mutability’ (Chadwick, 2011 and James, 2017). She talked about her project based on photocopies and using the photocopier as a camera. Everything – and mostly her own naked body – was  placed onto the glass plate of the copier and those copies resulted in large composites, a mosaic of hundreds of pieces. Oval Court, 1986 was a result to this process work, inspired by Rococo sensibilities as ‘constructed fantasies’ (Racz, 2017). Chadwick described her intention that the audience should experience the work not as a ‘voyeur’, but through a ‘kind of mirror identification, where the symbolism and language were broken down ‘ (Racz, 2017:70).

I can see a relationship between screen imagery as I explored in previous exercises, my bodily enactment and performative painting, and the media for viewing (mirror, glass plate, photocopier, water surfaces). Media that are informing the work and eventually do perform on its own, e.g. the projector beam and the TV-box.

framing – staging – screening – performing

Rather by coincidence I discovered the work of Penelope Umbrico in context of TV and reflective screens: found images of TV sets on TVs from Craigslist (2011). With a closer view she felt intrigued by the rather unintentionally depiction of context (room) when the owners took a snapshot for posting on Craigslist for sale (of the TV set). Later she posted her photographic images on the same platform for the same price as the former owner set it for the physical TV set. A loop from physical through virtual back to physical etc. She developed other works (all photographic reproductions) eg Broken Sets / Bad Display, 2011 with a colorful, rather painterly aesthetic appeal reminding me of Hito Steyerl’s short video ‘Strike’, 2010. The screen either as a rather passive reflector with an eerie element of revealing or as an active performative surface embracing serendipity. It feels as if the mirror, glass, a fluid medium with some liquid characteristics is looping back, to liquid crystals in the form of LCD displays. A whole territory for visual exploration as it was a major topic in the April 2018 issue of Journal of Visual Culture with some inspirational pictures of Esher Leslie, composites, at time with text as a kind of visual narrative (Candela ed al, 2018).

What does it give me? A deeper interest in exploring materiality and painterly performances of the boundary of a screen, in a wider context – getting excited to explore it with my hands on the paint. 

From above reflections and the question which ‘mirror’ to take, I will just continue with the flow of my explorations of my hand, the TV, the screen, and the projection. I will leave the water pool and head coil mirror aside, find them too literal right now.  They will come back if required – or not.

One other reference came to my mind looking at painting and projection: works of the artist Naomi Kremer called ‘Hybrid Paintings‘, e.g. Riverine, 2017-18, paintings with overlaid projection specifically made for each painting.

Another link that I find relevant related to reflective surfaces are some photography works of Sara Naim, very much resonating my my observations, e.g as sketched in no.12


  • Collaged pieces of human body, my hand versus gestural marks – both could serve the ‘purpose’ of index and my presence. Is one better than the other? Which narrative would unfold: mine or the viewer’s?
  • Performative reflections in a wider sense: projection and light modulations alongside disruptive space appearance. Something I find very intriguing to build on further.
  • Presence of human body parts seem to be more engaging.
  • Painting multiple reflective surfaces with reflected light and physical surface patterns seem to be like a duck-rabbit illusion, either one or the other, not both. Certainly, a skill I need to learn much better if I want to move further that direction. To look up artists who paint in such a manner.
  • Once more I experienced that to make paintings in series, party parallel, opens up doors to new knowledge and insight, new possible directions, and new sensibilities. My hand and my mind are involved in observing, painting, abstracting, and reflecting.



  • 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.
  • Chadwick, H. (2011) Helen Chadwick : of mutability, [Rev. rep.] ed. Edited by James, N. P. London: Cv Publications, c2011, c1989.
  • James, N. (2017) Helen Chadwick: Of Mutability (1989), Cv/Visual Arts Research series, [audible book], Cv Publications, 50.
  • Krämer, K. (2017) ‘Glass should be redefined as a liquid’, in: Chemistry World. [online].At: (Accessed on 28 Dec 2018).
  • Racz, I. (2017) ‘Helen Chadwick’s Of Mutability: process and postmodernism’, in: Journal of Visual Art Practice. [online]. 16(1), pp. 61-76, At: (Accessed on 08 Jan 2019).
  • Umbrico, P. (2011) TVs from Craigslist, [online], At: (Accessed 21 Dec 2018).
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Project 3.3 – Ex. 3.2: Before and After / Pulling a Narrative

I worked from my previous work for ‘Body as Canvas‘  , the stage-box, appropriating a TV set and Serra’s hand through my painterly performance. 

The question how to incorporate a narration into this work. But moreover the question, what narration could be, besides ‘telling  a story’ in an entertaining or didactic manner. In my parallel research I looked at the works of Amy Sillman, Jutta Koether, and Jacqueline Humphries. My original idea derived from Richard Serra’s short video Hand Catching Lead (1968). My motivation derived from my subject matter of my personal project: medical imaging and the self, or in a wider sense, digital imaging versus embodied sense of reality and identity. All in context of visual culture. My work is an appropriation of efforts, as the original idea was an exploration of the visual culture and technology at that time (mid/late 1960s) resulting in a reduced stage performance. Could Serra’s as well as my work be considered as a visual commentary on memory (see Jan Verwoert and Vincent Pecoil) with an outlook on future possibilities? 

What happened so far:

I could see my intital ‘Catch Paint Box‘ as a painterly enactment, in context of Rachel Russell’s appropriation of Guston’s The Studio.  I worked further and with an extended version ‘Paint – Catch- Move’ (video 1), with more linear and non-linear camera, body and object movements. I posted in an hangout at a further developed stage for peer review. could be seen as a kind of narrative, linear in its temporal deployment, and with some phases or acts. 

Video 1: Catch-Paint-Move (2:34min):

A narrative in moving images, painting in a painted stage, a multiple before and after


I could see how my enactment within the painted situation turned itself into a painterly gesture: My painted hand reached in and out, for meaning – quite literally. The surrounding context (painted TV set, painted laptop, physical environment of my studio) could work as layers of reality, depicted reality, illusion In summary, this would be already a before and after narrative as requested for this exercise. But somehow I was not satisfied with the result – not yet (although the video as work was perceived quite well by peers).

One key aspect was the reaching-out an through to break the ‘fourth wall’. Compared to the rather static scene of Russell’s The Studio, my ‘hand’ searched and extended. The hand as the tactile and gestural ‘tool’, quite in a sense of Douglas Gordon‘s The Divided Self. And it the aspect of a felt dissociation of my hand from my ‘outside’ body that makes Gordon’s work quite relevant. And in a wider sense I do wonder how much there is even a cultural sensibility of the vulnerable masculine body involved (with some notion of the vulnerability expressed John Coplans series of Self-Portraits (1985-87). 

Hand and arms are performative subjects, also in still images, as I did notice in the ‘still’ portrait photography of Shirin Neshat, e.g. Stripped (1995). How could I develop this further? Be more ambiguous? Maybe, driven by my desire to re-make the physical enactment part of a flat painting. Similar to Paulo Rego installed various sceneries in her studio, just to make observational paintings? And to transform painted moving images back into still images. What could be gained by that?

Ideas for development:

I do wonder how my approach to narrative could inform further my parallel project. I looked at some other artists (Sara Naim, Alexa Wright and Jacqueline Humphries – see sep blog post): glitches, distortions, dislocations, fragmentations, and the mirror as body image.

From my various playing around with shapes, stencils, collages, paintings the following aspects seem to be intriguing:

  • figure-ground relationship
  • performative enactment inside the painting
  • painting as backdrop for performance (as Clare Price’s IG performative diary)
  • painting as disruptive element in images
  • crossing boundaries between painting and digital reproduction
  • fragmented visual information to disrupt narratives
  • visual layering as aspects of memory and passage of time

My initial linear attempt (Fig. 1) – collaged reproduced paintings and still images, painted over:

Stefan513593 - P3Ex3 - sketchbook - narrative explorations

Fig. 1: Sketchbook – narrative exploration – first attempts in discerning a narrative – a linear split in space


=> The top line a time based narrative of ‘pulling the narrative’. Visually, I find the juxtaposition of dark, enclosed area and the bottom right white, open area attractive. Also the apparently receding impression of the three ‘TV-sets’ in middle row seem to add some visual narrative. The right hand seem visually to advance from the background (with ambiguous white/black patterns).

Overall, not so satisfying and convincing, struggling with the linear aspect, too much of telling a story (?) , looking more for a non-story based narrative, more disruptive (embracing the bottom right corner in Fig. 1). At least,  the top line could be cropped off (too illustrative).


A collection of ideas from the box, different backdrop (psychedelic?), crossing boundaries of staged reality and studio reality, pulling a narrative, collaged (Fig. 2).

Where is my hand?

 What is it doing? 

 not me   –   not there 

failure     –     fragmented


Stefan513593 - P3Ex3 - development

Fig. 2: sketchbook development

=> still having the bottom right corner separated visually.


a) Moving images expansion step 1:

Referring to my appropriation of Serra’s ‘Catching Hand’ , I was looking for how to include the falling objects besides being actual objects moving into the stage painting: perhaps a projection on a transparent layer, or the backdrop, making it impossible for my hand to catch – reflecting on the discrepancy between digital (projection) and analog (embodied performance) – and perhaps a different approach towards fragmented in-betweenness – Fig. 3: 

Stefan513593 - P3Ex3 - development - screen

Fig. 3: development -Sketchbook exploration of transparency and the multiple sides of reality – left collage painting without, right with painted plastic sheet (removable) – colors inspired by the projection artefacts (see video 2); quite opaque layer

and another one:

Stefan513593 - P3Ex3 - development - screen 2

Fig. 4: development -Sketchbook exploration of transparency and the multiple sides of reality – left: initial painting with collage frame, center: mylar layer ontop and back view (oil paint), right: monotprint (decalcomania) of mylar painting on sketchbook page


=> I intentionally took the photographs with the reflections of my studio light, as it seems only through them the reality of the transparent mylar sheet became visible (present). I liked the monotype print. On the one hand a rather practical approach to take off some of the paint from the mylar. Otherwise, it creates a remote painting (at least a point of departure ) with some sense of visual depth and intriguing edges. Comparing with the initial underlying painting, it resembles it  – with a more colorful gestural expression of movement.

Based on these ‘still’ sketchbook explorations, I went back to video recording my ‘painting enactment’ with an attempt in moving, performing images: staging, projection of playback recording, recording =>  concealing/revealing – is this a narrative? And still an open question of how sound/soundscape does work (or not)


Video 2: Hand – Catch – Screen (0:50 min) (password: visual) – edited from several videos taken:


=> I do consider this moving image as a further expansion on screen, projection, the digital and the analog. Video taken with my phone-camera. Experimenting with multiple realities (recording the  projection of a video onto the box), screen (plastic foil in-front of the box), and artefact creation (hue shift, patterns)

I noticed several (digital, technology) artefacts:

  • shifting screen pattern from manually tilting the projector downwards
  • color hue shifts (glitches) moving downwards from the double recording (video-projection-video) at 0:44-0:50 min
  • artefact from turning on the projector at 0:08- 0:09 min
  • reflective glare from the projector – index and evidence of projection, of one reality; absent when foil is absent 

I like the artefacts things – appears only during double projection-recording. I can related this to the projection doing a ‘painterly performance’ – either to keep it like that or to transform into informed paintings.

Some performing artefacts in a painterly sense do remind me of the monotype print I did before (see Fig. 4 – right).


Stefan513593 - P3Ex3 - development - artefacts

Fig. 5: development – artefacts – a collaged mix of still images


….and some intriguing still images from video 2:

Stefan513593 - P3Ex3 - development . contactsheet of still images HCS

Fig. 6: development  – still images HCS (Hand Catch Screen, video 2)


b) Moving images expansion step 2:

adding my hand – a performative enactment in space-in-between.


Video 3: Hand – Catch – Screen – Performance (2:32 min) – edited from several videos taken:


=> The projector casting a shadow of my hand and creating the artefact of color shifts (as observed in step 1) I zoomed in and out (as in my initial Catch-Paint-Box video) – breaking the fourth wall and adding context intentionally. The blackness brings me to the reference of movie theater experiences. The sequences kind of disruptive narrative? The falling objects seem so real, but are merely a recording of a projection. At 0:43 min there is a switch in the sequence: from dark to light stage. I like the click-sound (un-intentionally happening, the result of turning on the light). At 0:46 min another switch is happening: from light back to dark with a zoomed-out view alongside a switch of backdrop (colored to monochrome mural painting). At 1:24 my hand is appearing, kind of new act (in zoom-out view, with the artefact of light when turning on the projection). At 1:53 min, the backdrop changes back to the starting colored version.

The closing and opening of my hand reminded me of a pumping action, in sync or partly with the zoom. 

Stefan513593 - P3Ex3 - development - sketchbook - contactsheet of still images HCSP

Fig. 7: development . sketchbook; contactsheet of still images HCSP (Hand Catch Screen Performance, video 3) overpainted with gestural stripes responding to artefacts and glitches

=> I find that the overall picture as an assemblage does have a different appeal versus the individual images. Perhaps another way of narrative? As contact sheets do convey sot of documentary and evidence (if numbered) appeal from a photography practice.

I can discern a few aspects that I find intriguing and will develop further through painting:

  • layering – opaque transparency (like J Humphries stencil paintings)
  • artefacts (digital, analog glitches and the in-between  – the invisible) and its colorful index
  • dissociative hand – dislocation – manual interaction
  • fragmentation
  • disruptive picture plane (see also Fig. 1)
  • painting to perform, my hand in absence – the paint in presence – embracing serendipity

Current stage:

  • A video as performing painting (‘Paint Catch Move‘, video 1)
  • A series of still images as impression of a process and interaction  (Fig. 7, derived from video 3)

Steps to do:

  1. A narrative of ‘pulling a narrative’ (Fig. 1, Fig. 8/9, and video 4)
  2. Ideas for installation (see below ‘Further development ideas’)


Presentation format:


PULL: Pulling a Narrative


I was fascinated by the pulling approach through my hand, the hand as a handle like the handle of a jar in the narrative of Georg Simmel ‘Der Henkel (The Handle)’ (see my post  Handle and the Box) that kept me inspired during part 2. May there be something to build around the hand, the handle, the pull, and the reaching out and in?

The ‘pull’ might be a one way of participatory action (with some reference to past victorian toys), a smaller format compared to the ‘walk’ as in Jutta Koether’s installations. And a pull could be seen bifold: pulling towards me or being pulled into.

Building a narrative:

Basically, to take still images from my various painting performance recordings and to arrange them in a different, visually appealing way. I noticed that at the end all kind of sequences might work, eventually settled with one (Fig 8):

Stefan513593 - P3Ex3 - Pull - building a narrative

Fig. 8: Pull – building a narrative (top row: selected sequence)

=> still not that coherent – perhaps to move on in the format of either a flip book or a one long sheet with interacting shapes and forms (a bit light Fig.1 – a landscape?)

Another idea for viewing as moving images (appropriating victorian toys): rotating cylinder, black with a peep hole to look through. I also have seen the idea of peeping recently at Helmhaus, Zurich – exhibition of contemporary Swiss artists: Doris Stauffer Patriarchalisches Panoptikum, 1975 – and resonating with the fairy series of Kate Aston, OCA photography student. Peeping as a feminist subvertive response, but what would take me away from my approach to in-between-ness of technology, imaging technique, and glitches.

Two forms of presenting my encounter with Serra and the screen surface (sketchbook epxlorations). Pulling the narrative – painted performance recorded and re-projected

Stefan513593 - P3Ex3 - Pull - building a narrative - presentation formats

Fig. 9: Pull – building a narrative – presentation formats (sketchbook explorations), left: pulling role, to pull and unfold downwards – right: small booklet in the center behind a black frame, to pull to the left and flip  formats for distribution?


..and the pulling aka unfolding of the narrative (booklet – right in Fig.9):

Video 4: Pull #02 (0:28 min)

(see at top of post – featured video)


My other idea possibly more responding to the ‘still’-moments of a moving image. Initially, I was intrigued by Richard Serra’s (non-)catching hand. Through his repetitive action and due to his partly failure rising a desire to continue. One becomes over time more sensible to the small moments and deviations, like one becomes more sensible to the impact of the environment either in Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘White Paintings’ or in Jacqueline Humphries ‘Black Light Paintings’. Only through the double projection/recording of my process based approach, I became aware of the artefacts and glitches. 

TIME: Sensibility to Time

Eventually, I decided that the efforts and deepness I will work further on this project will exceed the scope of this ‘exercise’. There, I will build and develop the work through painting further in my assignment work.


Further development ideas – Invitation for Participation

I do consider my work more as a visual ideation than as finished work Although, I was encouraged by peer feedback on my video Catch-Paint-Move as a work in itself, already ambigous enough, perhaps to be further developed with some ‘unexpected’. I developed it further towards – once again – more interactive, participatory sketches (Fig. 9 and to illustrate it through the video Pull #02)

However, I have a feeling that related to installation there could or need to be more. A combination of moving images (performative video) and still images (ass seen with Amy Sillman or Jutta Koether) in the same space for exhibition seems relevant for me.

Possibly, the ‘real’ narrative is happening in the space 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 through my deeper painting approach in my assignment work as well as to see how it can inform my parallel project.



  • Working in series became the result of performative actions and a constant exploration of new ways of looking at things. My setup with a staged box and my hand as the protagonist in a virtual untold story informed my selection of images. The recordings informed my still images – and vice versa 
  • As my narrative is built more around disruptive visual cues and not on ‘telling a story’ in a linear fashion, my working process evolved in a similar way. At times rather chaotic, back and forth, between performative action in/on a painted stage and exploring images in a painterly approach.
  • The question what a painting is became more open-ended by my approach: a layering of multiple realities: Serra’s video work, my painted hand and appropriation of Serra’s video, my unpainted hand, inside and outside a staged TV-box, the autonomous performance of my hand, the artefacts of digital and analog technology as means of virtual imagery. The latter possibly as technology performing for me.
  • I was not so convinced by ‘telling a story’ through a series of paintings. It has a touch of didactic approach, more narrowing down than opening up. Therefore, I decided to move along a non-story, non-linear approach in creating a visual narrative. Embracing materiality and visual artefacts as a reflection on contemporary life conditions in a digital and multi-imagery based world.
  • Moving images versus still images aka paintings: still an open question, the latter perhaps more open in the situation of an installation with the viewer as narrator walking around and to build a narrative in that very moment. Hard to test in distant learning environment in my studio. 
  • I am aware that the colored painted background in yellow, blue may not be the best and conscious choice of colors. However, I found that the brighter colors (informed by the blueish black of the used gouache paint) with yellow as a ‘light emitting’ hue alongside the rather psychedelic curved stripes do work in this context of a backdrop.
  • I consciously focused my approach in this exercise on the ‘TV-set’ part, excluding the painted laptop from it. I felt the disruptive narrative through the double projection and interaction of figurative (hand) and abstract shapes (backdrop, artefacts) would be more successful and less complex. I felt that the first works better in the format of a performative video and less as a series of still images.
  • Overall, this exercise took much longer than initially thought. Therefore, I decided to continue further working on this in my assignment work (color creation through technological artefacts, in-between realities and the flat screen as a vehicle similar to a flat painting, close up views, more performative aspects of painting).


  • Derrien, M., Ihler-Meyer, S., Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean and Musée Régional d’Art Contemporain Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée (2018) Flatland/Abstractions narratives. Status.
  • Romdane, S. B. (2018) ‘Syrian Artist Sara Naim Doesn’t Believe in Borders – The 30-year-old uses abstract photography to question life’, in: Mille. [online].  At:  (Accessed on 20 Dec 2018).
  • The Third Line (2019) SARA NAIM – Building Blocks (January 16 – February 27, 2019), [online], At:  (Accessed  20 Dec 2018). Dubai: The Third Line, .
  • Verwoert, J. (2007) ‘Living with Ghosts: From Appropriation to Invocation in Contemporary Art.’, in: Art & Research. [online]. 1, At:;(Accessed on 20 Oct 2018).
  • Wright, A. (2017) Alter Ego,  [online video], At:  (Accessed on 16 Dec 2018).


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

Paint – Catch – Move – An intermedia Box


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


Some ideas received:

(after the hangout and through other channels)

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Side note:

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


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

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

and a still image:

Stefan513593 - P3Ex2 Catch_Paint_Box - composite




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Project 3.2 – Ex. 3.1: Body as canvas

  • Project 3.2 – Ex. 3.1: Body as canvas
  • Project 3.2 – Ex. 3.1: Body as canvas
  • Project 3.2 – Ex. 3.1: Body as canvas

the process of enactment, appropriation and transformation through the restaging of an image using my own body – OCA coursematerial P2SP

At the beginning of this part, I reflected upon my recent works with taking as my starting point my installation work Walking Through Painting, capturing my body presence. How does my body, similar to the objects arranged, can act and perform in the same staged scene? Reflecting on my structural constellation works a sense of trans-verbal language. A question of objecthood and subject. I like the idea of participatory work.
The work still installed in my studio space – I wanted to put me inside of it, presence of my body compared to the absence of it in the original version. Enacting participation, though fragmented and more a memory of presence (Fig. 1). I was inspired by some works seen (various examples on the net: Liu Bolin or Natalie Fletcher or Johannes Stötter) where people get intentionally merged or blended with the background – stealth in military terms. Though, I find the mentioned works rather effect driven, or kitsch in the sense of focusing on mere effects versus process. Some works with ‘polka dots’ of the artist Yayoi Kusama are going in that direction but less blending, more merging and using repetition – asking the question what is object and subject.
Stefan513593 P3Ex2 The digital body

Fig. 1. The digital body in space, enacted in painting – painting sculpture (from part 2) with me walking through and digitally post-edit – layering – concealing, disappearing –  movement in still images 


=> These digital sketches based on my photographed sculptural painting might open another direction of what painting might be. What is materiality? What is paint? As if the acrylic paint from the objects turn into screen based color flooding the image, printed out and reproduced. I focused on hands and feet, more visible – the actors of the making?

It seems that my steps to get there are following an interesting process:

-> Sketchbook ideas -> making objects -> assembling objects -> painting objects -> painting a scenery from various viewpoints using digital sketches to support finding perspectives -> photographing and reproduction -> photographing my performance, enactment -> digital sketches to conceal and to merge -> to reproduce.

It might be just asking for moving images. But for now, I do refrain for spending too much time in making this happen. To work more around materiality, a physical flip-book might be something to look at in the future.

In-Between space – materiality and tactility 

The next step would be going the other way round -> using digital reproduction for painting / or for moving images -> endless repetition? what is the essence? The viewer lost in transmission, -lation, -forming? Physical versus virtual space , materiality of paint and reproductions, ontological question of ‘painting’.

I tested layering and fragmentation further in my sketchbook – not an end (Fig. 2) just a beginning – opening dimensions of multiplicity of figure and ground, and the idea of composing it together, a triptych?  A spatial installation? That would need more consideration for formal elements and relationship between outer and inner forms. Also the question of color choice, rate of merging, what stays visible, what not. I do feel that this staging was a good source for inspiration , to be inside my work, painting feels actually quite inspirational. 

Stefan513593 P3Ex2 The digital body, sketchbook collage

Fig. 2: The digital body – ideation, sketchbook collage, overpainted with gouache; left concealed – right revealed 

This work brings me to Clare Price and her IG photographs, with her in the studio space, in front of one of her painting, with painted stains, and with performative actions in the same scene.

Another thought crossed my mind when making it, reference to the title of the retrospective show of Bruce Nauman in Basel: ‘The Disappearing Acts’. I think I didn’t really got the meaning of it during my visit, but can relate to it through my work much more. And the header image of the MoMA exhibition (same after Basel) got me thinking in different terms – not the contrapposto and the classical proportional system of seven of the human figure, rather in context of fragmented layers, movement, and dislocation of part (what brings me back to my MRI project)

The course invites me to look at hands – wondering how relevant this might be and if my feet are more not relevant in my own art practice (see Fig.3)

Stefan513593_working with feet
Fig. 3: Working with feet (drawing, painting, traces): top left and center from part 1, bottom left from part 2, right from personal project drawing1

Feet do act – summary

Feet do act and present:

  • verbs: to stand, to connect, to act, to draw, to paint

On the other side, the hands are what is reaching out: to other people (shaking hands) or is used for art making (painting) and specifically what is the ‘tool’ that clients in my art therapy practice are using: to paint with the hands (Fig.4) 


Stefan513593_working with hands

Fig. 2: Working with Hands: Michelangelo, ‘Laundry’ Performative Painting from Part 1, my art therapy practice, Bruce Nauman ‘Untitled – Hand Circle’, 1996


Researching artists with a unique expression of ‘hands’ brings me to Richard Serra and his short video works Hands Tied, 1971  (03:30 min) with two performers tight at the wrist of one of their hands, twisting, shaking and untying eventually the knot and Hand Catching Lead, 1968 related to his work on House of Cards with heavy blocks of lead (UbuWeb) and – as the source of inspiration for Serra – the work Hand Movie, 1966 of Yvonne Rainer as one of the early attempts to explore video (iStéphane CERRI, 2017). I find Serra’s description on how he perceives his exploration in art quite insightful, as it allows a focus on the embodied relationship between subject and object:

I think the significance of the work is in its effort, not in its intentions. And that effort is a state of mind, an activity, an interaction with the world… – Richard Serra

Jenny Saville is another artist I feel inspirational.  Through her drawing and painterly exploration of figure in space and time I can sense a rhythm – alongside a focus on the supportive, and overall a very gestural expression of hands. As real material expression of skin (Gagosian Gallery, 2018) .

In context of my personal project I was more interested in clinic and medical related hand gestures. Reminding myself of what I did with my hands while being inside the MRI machine (or not doing). One example is the photograph on the blog post regarding Tabitha Moses (Walker Art Gallery, 2014) wearing her patient gown embroidered with fertility symbols while spending her time in trying to give life for a baby through IVF.

Feet do act and present – summary

  • verbs: to connect, to act, to support, to paint, to fold, to wrestle, to fasten, to rest
  • emotions & feelings: relax, anxious, nervous, peaceful, curious

The way artists make use of hands are diverse:

  • placing in center or off-center, repetition through multiple hands reflecting on motion, video to show hand in action, foreshortening to focus on hands, folded hands to express rest, hands as touch
  • action, movement, rest, intertwined 
  • line or shaded, bright or dark

I was wondering how I could appropriate my inside-the-MRI.machine experience, inspired by my above ‘Digital Body’ sketches (Fig. 1). I didn’t have a photograph of me inside the machine, thus decided to enact that moment and to stage myself: asking my assistant (my lovely wife Anja) to take photographs of my laying position, wearing a patient gown  (Fig. 5). Considering my hands and arm position, holding in one hand the emergency button (also enacted) and trying to relax, with close eyes as I did at that time, trying to overcome possible claustrophobic sensations (with the cage close to my head; here not enacted)

Stefan513593 -Body & Hands MRI

Fig. 5: Body & Hands MRI- photo credit: Inselspital Bern

Staging the Body

With further reflection on my initial experiments with crossing borders between the digital and the physical in relationship to painting, I decided to postpone further work on my ‘MRI hands’ and to look at the hopefully less complex appropriation of Richard Serra‘ s video work Hand Catching Lead, 1968 (Ubu). The for me intriguing elements (sketchbook explorations – Fig. 6):

  • Movement and performative action
  • Video as reproduction or documentation, but also a sense that the process of seeing is part of the work
  • The rather contained images, seen either on a TV set (as I’ve seen recently at Kunstmuseum Basel) or on a computer screen (video from Ubu webpage). The latter adding more layers: not only the frame of the screen, but also the frame of my computer screen with the video frame inside of it
  • The question of how the various layers could work together in a performative painting, not to copy merely Serra’s video art, but to add a contemporary twist to it (digital, video, screen, layers)
  • Paint as contextual material, at times even with a psychedelic touch
Stefan513593 - P3Ex2 Catch_Paint - sketchbook explorations

Fig. 6: Sketchbook explorations – ‘hand catching’ – appropriation Richard Serra


My first painterly performance – painted hand, arm in front of painted background – without object to catch, yet (video, 0:05min – no audio)


Enacting Richard Serra

My performance in the box, a painterly interpretation of space and time:

My first attempt of making the TV box – painted background – collage with cut outs inkjet print photographed painted hand/arm (still images) – a painted performance in two acts:

Stefan513593 -P3Ex2 Catch-Paint-Box

Fig. 6: Catch-Paint-Move – TV Box


With the box made and ready to go, I decided to make two slits: at the top and at the bottom, so that I can put small objects (torn painted paper) top-down, hoping that with my performative hand either to catch them or they would fall through the bottom slit to the ground (gravity as my helper).

My approach reminded me of the work of Mona Hatoum Pull, 1995, an installation and life performance. What might have been perceived as a split installation of a video of the artist and a pigtail, was actually the artist herself seen through two openings. Pulling her hair meant to pull at her head (O’Reilly, 2009:60)

My painterly performance in the box – falling objects in the box – no hand to catch  (video, 1:28min – with audio)


My painterly performance in the box – catching falling objects in the box – failure to catch and breaking the 4th wall (video, 3:23min – with audio)


My feelings, sensations and thoughts during the performance:

  • where to look at? inside the box on my hand?  at my hand putting the objects in the top slit? looking at the camera screen to observe how I catch, or fail to do so? viewpoints that eventually made me dissociated from my inside-the-box-hand 
  • not attention to my hand made my hand feel dissociated from me, getting tired over time
  • catching objects in the same space I am present is different from catching objects in a box (split space)
  • with the the hand felt ‘hungry’, kind of saying to me: “feed me with more objects!”
  • reminding me of my failure performative paintings from part 1 : catching as and endless effort – till physical exhaustion (with some reference to Rashad Newsome’s Shade Compositions
  • interesting to view it again and to see how my other hand (the real hand?) is reaching for objects and reaching even inside the box from the outside, kind of breaking the fourth wall as related to modern ‘realistic’ theater, to overcome alienation of the audience from the actors, (see also my UVC post on that


Next stage would be to include more context: my viewing experience 

The framed catch-box:

two performative paintings with multiple frames (both photographic reproductions): 

  • still image from life performance (see videos above) as digital composite within painted frame (context) – Fig.7
  • life performance within the double framed box  – Fig. 8

Opening the question what is real, physical – what do we see or believe we see?



Stefan513593 - P3Ex2 Catch_Paint_Box - composite

Fig. 9: Catch-Paint-Move – framed box in a displaced world – digital composite of life performance

Stefan513593 - P3Ex2 Catch_Paint_Box - performance

Fig. 8: Catch-Paint-Move – framed box in a displaced world – life performance


This picture will challenge the viewer and the reader of this post:

What it real? What is physical? What is digital composite? What is painted? What is my body? What is virtual Can it be animated? Where is the action happening?

If I would play more with frames, breaking borders between the physical and the digital? From where would my hand enter the scene? And what if the ‘catching hand’ gets out of the frame and type on the keyboard? Completely surreal.

Reflection & Conclusion

  • It is amazing to experience how my viewing experience of a video work of Richard Serra from 1968 is been transformed into a different experience. It is less about Serra’s experience working with lead logs, or with the motion aspects of early video art. It turned out to be more a question of space, association and dissociation (my performing hand separate from my body and thoughts). Although the action of my hand is the same as Serra’s hand and the video camera looking at the same scene (hand catching objects), the overall appeal of the work is it obvious staging and appropriation with the touch of visible context (me reaching towards objects, inside the box, putting my hand inside the box and out of it etc.)
  • The original work certainly influenced my choice of color and background (black and white, brick wall, blacl TV set frame reminding of analog TV sets in museums). I put a more contemporary context around this memory and possibly nostalgic depiction through showing more context: part of me interacting with the performative box, and the painted frame around it depicting my laptop screen and material relating to how we look at moving images (digital, online, screen based) 
  • Enactment of body inside a painting, bringing the subject alongside the object(s)
  • Paint as combining or flattening elements (as I’ve noticed in some of my works during part 2) 
  • Movement – still images – motion and encounter – physical participation of the viewer with flip-book approach?
  • Line as one layer alongside painted areas to interact, to connect, to open up dialogue between both (as seen also in some of the works of Jenny Saville of Clare Price or Vincent Hawkins, or some of my sketchbook works for part 2). Line as activator – versus objects as actors?
  • Appropriation: Work of others or my own works? What is the difference?  This work was inspired by Serra’s video work Hand Catching Lead, 1968 and intentionally made through illusionary painting the work perceivable as some work from the past. Nevertheless, the act of enactment and visibility of context (breaking the fourth wall) places the viewer outside as well as inside the work. 
  • I enjoyed playing with space – the ambiguity what is inside and outside a frame. The questions what is framed? And what is painted and what is a digital composite (relating back to my starting point, Fig. 1)
  • The work opens up narratives with memories, memories and new narratives – the viewer as participatory agent.

Next steps:

I am coming back to my box approach and participatory works, inviting the audience to engage. Therefore, I can envision possible future installations:

  • Putting the box on a wall making it easier for the viewer to put her/his hand inside the box. Possibly to attach a black/white painted glove inside the box, so that each viewer’s hand turns into a staging of Serra’s ‘Hand Catching Lead’ still image
  • Screening a video with just falling objects inside the box, so that the viewer can try to catch the projected objects – and will certainly fail
  • Placing myself (relating to Mona Hatoum’s performative installation Pull, 1995) into a performative role, with my painted hand inside the box . Possibly, to disguise my presence through a wall, leaving just the box visible for the audience. They are invited to through objects through the top slit, my hand trying to catch.
  • More ideas to come …. 


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Project 3.1 – Ex 3.0: Object as a stand in for the body

  • Project 3.1 – Ex 3.0: Object as a stand in for the body
  • Project 3.1 – Ex 3.0: Object as a stand in for the body
  • Project 3.1 – Ex 3.0: Object as a stand in for the body

Clothing as a proxy body, sign for human presence or absence. 

How do I relate to clothing? What kind of clothes would resonate for me as an identifier? I was pondering the exploration of my suitcase aka object-box and my personal project. I decided to work around thoughts for my personal project (‘Medical imaging aka MRI and identity’), wanting to explore my own journey when I did my MRI inspection some months ago, kind of visual memory

The first thing that intrigued me when revisiting this is the ‘dresscode’ in clinics, also required when undergoing MRI: the patient gown (Fig. 1).  

MRI - dressed in a patient gown, image credit: Inselspital Bern

Fig. 1: MRI – dressed in a patient gown, image credit: Inselspital Bern

The skin that covers the body, but the back is open. A simple cloth, anonymous, concealing and also revealing. One had to undress in small booth on the corridor, leaving one own’s dress there (hanging, folded) and returning with the gown. A change – making it clear that from now on the person is a patient, part of the institution, a clear role, a function.

I talked through this with fellow student Alan, who works in a clinic, and he was willing to get hold of a gown, possibly also to make an image. Ideas of sharing across borders – and possibilities of collaborative work might surface.

The Patient Gown – Concealing – or …?

To move on, I looked online at those gowns, and with my own memory of the gown I wore. Moving on to remake, questions of size, scale and material?

Eventually, I turned to mylar and a human scale size with several connotations related to materiality: 

the idea of translucent material, is the body, or person concealed or revealed? Reference to my mental images of how I felt (and others’ possible as well), vulnerable, exposed.

  • the idea of smooth surface: is it a double skin, without external references? Blank, ‘innocent’, and behind could be quite different
  • Mylar is a material one uses for masking (airspray painting) , an material for a purpose, not for its own sake. 
  • Mylar, is not as flexible as fabric or paper, hard to fold, better to roll; when folded a crease is permanently made (not removable or to be flattened out), but easy to cut, and to tape; also easy to paint on with acrylic or oil paint (as checked in my previous explorations)
  • My remake from memory and online visuals is possibly a reference to how the patient gown and its relation in a clinic setting could be considered: anonymous, only half-way personal, replaceable? Makes me wonder how my different placements of the remade gown will work – different context, a double remove from clinic reality (1. remade, 2. context)


The remake was quickly done, made outside on a sunny wonderful fall day.

Stefan51353_P3_Ex1_patient gown in mylar

Fig. 2: Patient gown in mylar

Time and context:

After the making and laying it on the ground – ideas popped up of abandoned gown, lost, vulnerable? Not used as a gown – but what if that prop is a person? Reminds me how we connect belongings to a person self. What might the connotation trigger in the viewer’s mind? I haven’t asked.

Fig. 3 – 6:  The abandoned gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view)

To move away from a mere visual depiction in a quick painting and to include some connotated aspects is quite challenging. Do I perceive it the same way as others? Perhaps to upload for peer review and see…

Continuing with taking the made-gown up, putting it somewhere closer, more protected, leaning on a tree, looking from front and backview. Thinking about context (surrounding space, environment) and how shapes and line could work together. A start towards further abstraction (eg Fig. 9)

Fig. 7 – 10: The attached gown  – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view)

In Fig 8, I added later back in my studio tapes for cropping, giving a different appeal of the painting. On the other hand I find that additional layers, e.g. tapes might give also another layer of meaning. I experimented with more line markings as part of the composition, giving a more abstract appeal but also could be considered as a contained frame (Fig. 9).

With these two ‘scenarios’ or sensibilities, I started to experiment on site further with the idea of loss, abandoned – alongside a sense of fragmentation (displacement and disembodiment). I applied a stencil and partly a monotype technique that I explored in the previous part: abstraction and reduction. My starting point was Fig. 10 – the more abstracted backview, with ‘fleeing’ shapes.

Fig. 11 – 14: The fragmented gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view):

=> the repetitive placing and re-placing of a ‘gown-stencil’ allowed me to leave painted traces on the paper, to overcome a too representational and literal depiction of the scene in front of me, and to abstract connotated thoughts of fragmentation, memory and ‘fleeing’ shapes. What if the idea of vulnerability and stability are reversed? Fig. 13 (photo doesn’t show it) was an exploration of a movable paper, the support as ‘fleeing’, the shape of the gown static. Just abstract explorations. From these quickly done series, I find Fig. 12 the more interesting one, as it plays more with shapes, fragments, edges and (in-)stability.

Next scenery was placing the gown in my car. Having the car with me allowed me to take more stuff with, what allowed me to do above experiments.

Fig. 15 &16: The protected or cared for gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view):

=> Instead of my gouache, acrylic approach, I used oil paint sticks for the first one (Fig. 15). A more gestural and searching approach to the scene and the connotations of protected as well as vulnerable. The second one more a ‘protected’ perspective, relaxed and stable in the backseat of the car.I considered in the composition the interesting interplay between the gown and the head protection of the car. I am not so convinced by the contained central compositions. 

After the longer session outdoors I looked the other day at the domestic scenes.

Fig. 17 – 20:  The domestic gown as actor – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view):

=> quite different appeal. It seemed the gown took more presence. Lost at the front door outside, being a staged actor on the toilette, a narrative in itself between Fig. 18 & Fig, 19. After a long day, I out the gown mockup in the hallway, I was fascinated be the strong presence of it (Fig. 20). With a deeper viewpoint, making it more solid and dominant actor in the composition, more refined versus a rather sketchy background. I find the two last ones (Fig. 19, 20) more appealing for the bolder contrast. However, contrast in itself would give a different indication of a message.

With my explorations of the mockup ‘patient gown’ I was interested in exploring further ideas of fragmentation, memory, and instability. I decided to work in my A4 sketchbook rather gestural with a similar stencil and moving approach as I did in preparation for my large scale sculptural painting. and inspired by my on-site experiments (see Fig. 9, 11, and 12)

Fig. 21 – 24: slider images sketchbook – A4 (acrylic, gouache,  charcoal)

Stefan513593 - Part 3 - Ex1 - object for body - sketchbook 2
Fragmented prop #1 - sketchbook
Stefan513593 - Part 3 - Ex1 - object for body - sketchbook 3
Fragmented prop #2 - sketchbook
Stefan513593 - Part 3 - Ex1 - object for body - sketchbook 4
Fragmented prop #3 - sketchbook
Stefan513593 - Part 3 - Ex1 - object for body - sketchbook 5
Fragmented prop #4 - sketchbook

=> I was intrigued by the multiplicity of the shape. Reflecting back on my initial thoughts of the patient gown in a clinical setting, with the rather anonymous, at times displacing sensation of wearing it, I do feel that this might be developed further, possible ideas for my personal project.


  • A mockup clothing can have strong connotations of human presence. On the other hand it could be merely seen as an obsolete thing trashed or thrown away. Nevertheless, through learned patterns and beliefs the simple mockup has a certain power that reminds me of my research in fetishism in part two.
  • My chosen material (mylar) provided a rigid material that could stand. Partly flexible, it was at times more responsive, falling back to more stable structures, kind of memory not lost, not completely yet. 
  • The juxtaposition or assembly of multiple paintings (see slider on top of this post) does convey a sense of narrative, a time-based movement of the mockup as ‘actor’ – a journey.
  • Painting in a sketchy, loose way, strongly allows the visual exploration of ideas, resulting partly in some further experimental works (see Fig. 9, or Fig. 11-14)
  • Digging deeper into the relationship of the mockup and its placement in space allows to convey narratives (e.g. Fig. 18 & 19) and to convey a sense of emotional response. 

Working with color quickly:

  • I tend to mix the main local color beforehand on a palette. Being outdoors I prefer to use either tear-off palettes from coated paper or just milk-boxes, cut open as a rectangular shape (re-using trash). Mixing those local color beforehand allows me to loosen up in the following painting and to ensure that colors are not totally off. Painting and mixing no the go and on the support directly feels more direct and responsive.
    Overall, some preparation is quite useful, e.g. having my tools ready to go, knowing what is where. However, I do not like the meticulous preparation of each color as some suggest in instructional books. In the studio with more refined rendering of tone this might be more useful. Working quickly means for me to be present in the moment, be responsive to my embodied sensations, what I see, feel, hear, think. Not all elements that go into a quickly made sketch visible through the naked eye. Often, associations and connotations turn into painted strokes. And for that I prefer to mix directly on my support. 
  • Advantages:
    pre mixing: accuracy, more fluid painting without thinking about matching colors
    mixing directly on support: more gestural, expressive, responsive to the scene and my imagination, at times less constraining


Further reflection on other artists:

How paint can support meaning and interpretation:

  • Vincent van Gogh‘s A Pair of Shoes , 1886 one of his paintings of his time in Paris was and is often a trigger for wide psychological and symbolic interpretations. Apparently he stated once that ‘he bought old work shoes at a flea market. Then he walked through the mud in them until they were filthy. Only then did he feel they were interesting enough to paint’ (Van Gogh Museum). Here ‘worn-out’ would mean be exposed to a person, with an ordinary usage as a functional object. The gestural application of paint supports the sense of ‘crudeness’, of heavily used shoes, no precious objects to wear only a few times. I can see that he painted from life, just whatever captured his attention, a contextual and gestural expression of sight and sensations.
  • Philip Guston The Coat, 1977 is one of the works in series he made after his rather abstract painting and often called  “urban primitive.” (MoMA) The rather graphic, comic-style depiction with flat appearance could be seen on various levels, as a depiction of his coat and shoes, and as metaphor for his stance and personal position in the world around him.  Here the graphic, flat application of paint could possibly relate back to the identity of the artist himself and how he perceived the world. I can relate to this approach in the way I work, as part of my paintings are not visible elements but also a reflection on sensations and thoughts. 
  • Lisa Milroy’Shoes, 1985: repetition of similar shoes with a sense of difference in sameness. She painte them ‘neatly’ and in order, but a closer look reveals more disorder. They remind me of bugs or mussels. The overall picture seems like an encoded message, with some pairs conveying a sense of alphabet, words, language, e.g. the V shaoe appearing twice, but with some adjustments. For me a visual reflection on Deleuze’s conception of ‘Difference and Repetition’ (1968). The refined and repetitively and orderly application of paint could relate to the sense of collection and alienation (as missing context). Objects are becoming part of an assemblage, a different wholeness. Quite contrasting to van Gogh’s shoes as showing the individuality, Milroy’s shoes are missing nearly any individuality though the seem each to be different in appearance. I find that Milroy’s work are more of studio paintings, with prior reflection on composition and key aspects of how it might come across.



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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:

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


  • 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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Project 2.6 – Ex 2.5: Painting in the round

  • Project 2.6 – Ex 2.5: Painting in the round
  • Project 2.6 – Ex 2.5: Painting in the round
  • Project 2.6 – Ex 2.5: Painting in the round
  • Project 2.6 – Ex 2.5: Painting in the round
  • Project 2.6 – Ex 2.5: Painting in the round
  • Project 2.6 – Ex 2.5: Painting in the round


…on previous work

In my reflective research I looked at what I did so far and how it resonates with contemporary artists. From all the work I would possibly consider the second object-collage What is Below and Beyond  as more successful attempt to move into space. Although quite Rauschenbergian. My various sketchbook explorations (see Fig. 1) as well as my cut-out-collages and animated pieces do embrace more the activating aspect of color and paint (e.g. Still-Life #2). The use of brighter colors seem to work better with mundane things, as some works of Richard Tuttle or Jessica Stockholder. Still open the question around my animated time based pieces documenting my visual responses, a creation of a narrative? – with an entertaining value? A proof or a meaning? A side effect or a way to look deeper into?

I worked on objects and partly with objects, objects informed my way of looking through observational sketches and through cut-outs of simple shapes and colors.  Cut-outs informed my arrangement and play with shapes in relationship, edges and colors informed my organisation and activation approach. Struggling with a ground that still constrained my visual responses, I went to translucent and to relief and eventually to stand-alone ‘tables’. All works were a whole of parts, the whole as a container in space, the parts making sense of the whole. I liked the way paint can act either as an activating agent and enhancing form perception. Or can flatten out and conceal form, ‘harmonising’ ground and figure. I experimented in my sketchbooks and tried out in my first object-collage Two Sides of Folly.

I worked in parallel on some ideas of spatial engagement and installation, helping to think through visually in the making of.


Now it is time to overthrow the container, placing myself inside and between, making the parts creating a new whole. 

What are the main objects from my object-box I would select? Which parts would act a unity for the whole? Or are there interactively subgroups? Does the whole as an assemblage consists of multiple assemblages?

I am eager to place myself into context, i.e. to place myself ‘onto the worktable’. Less operational as Steinberg described the horizontal working place, rather phenomenological in relationship to surrounding objects, closer to the way I do work with structural constellations.

In Exercise 2.2 I went through a process of ‘Assembling – Mapping – Speaking – Exploring – Narrating – Activating’ , I will see how my process develops now, starting with


My start would be not to use the saturated colored objects ( blue tissue, red dog poop bag, black tray) but to take those colors into the painting of other, desaturated objects. An approach I found successful in making my cut-out collage steps, color to activate, as the relief like painting I did in my sketchbook (Fig 1).

Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 collage objects - expansion - sketchbook

Fig. 1: Ex2.4 – collage objects – expansion – sketchbook

A kind of cross over, color as memory, fragment, and artefact. Similar could be the painted board, although with traces by others, it could be the painting of the spatial assembly by me. Possibly opening up ideas of an audience engagement, but who is my audience of the work I am doing – besides my tutor? The plastic container, the thread seem to act as connectors, thus to see how my choice of material can support this notion, e.g. perspex? nylon filament?

My first selection/idea was:

  • Objects: pebble, fork, cat fur, foam pieces, white thread
  • Materials for surfaces: cardboard (textured), plastic surfaces (transparent, translucent, opaque), thread (light, thin, connecting), tissue (soft, flexible)

Looking at them I became aware that three out of five were roundish /pebble, cat fur pieces, foam pieces) thus quite similar in form. To replace one with a more contrasting shape could be either the tray or the cylindric corrugated cardboard, that I worked with before (see Fig. 1). Another option just looking at shape could be the styrofoam piece (the one with the pebble). A move towards less representational visual thinking?



Scale, size and surface: Do I make large, human scale, life size, or smaller? And how in relation to each other? All similar proportional scale, or unexpected proportions, e.g. large fork, small pebble, vice versa, other way round, foam pieces xxl and all small, all xxl? As I want to engage physically with the objects similar to constellation work, I will make large scale that I can walk around and at the height of my body. I will also make small ones similar to family constellation board, to engage on a table, and especially my own suitcase approach the way I started and with possible notions to Duchamp’s Boîte en valise.

While making my smaller maquette items, it made me wonder how funny it was, to make packaging shapes from other packaging material. Why not just use the original items? It became clear to me that it had to be larger scale. I worked quickly with the materials at hand (took me around 1 hour for all objects), trying to match shape and form, less concerned about size. Some objects, e.g foam pieces hard to make and resulting in bigger pieces than possibly intended. I moved on, embracing the variety in size difference and wondering how it would like as an assembly (Fig. 2 and 3). The foreshortening view from the front exaggerated size perception. I decided to make two ‘extremes’. Composition from the front in Fig. 2 more ‘natural’ than the one in Fig. 3.


Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making #1a

Fig. 2: Replicas – Making #1a – stripping off the box

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making #1b

Fig. 3: Replicas – Making #1b  – stripping off the box

All in all the proportions – a set up fitting into a box (Fig. 4). An anthropological view? Possibly, a subconscious relationship to Mark Dion and his work on Tate Thames Dig, 1999. My wooden support seem to support this connotation.

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - box size

Fig. 4: Making – Replicas – box size – stripping of perspective


Looking at these made me aware of some anthropomorph aspects, the fork the least ambiguous. For the next step at larger scale, and after having now some experience with making, I decided for an approximate constellation (Sketch, Fig. 5) Considering surface materials, especially painting on and with plastic, I do refer to my earlier experiments and sketchbook works (see post here, and Fig 6)


Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Sketchbook

Fig. 6: Sketchbook – understanding painting with plastic


My actions:

Re-using – Stuffing, Covering, Binding – Priming

The fork: what if I keep just the outside shape without cutting open the tines? It could be connotated with an oar as well, a step towards more shape and form perception. Materials used: all packaging materials (styrofoam, bubble wrap, honeycomb board, corrugated board, paper, tape, glue – and on old used towel bound with nylon thread.  The thread to be added later, just nylon threads. I applied an acrylic primer on the household plastic materials (bags) as I’ve learned it would improve paint adherence. Other plastic materials are less critical.

My objects made sitting on the floor, waiting for arrangement and activation (Fig. 7 – background of studio environment deleted in photoshop). The image shows objects with no context, just between themselves. The ‘fork’ is around 156cm long, the black ‘pebble’ around 53cm longest dimension. It could be a place of trash, waiting for the community’s trash collection. 

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - upscale #1

 Fig. 7: Making – upscale #1 – stripping off representation and context 

What made me look at another floor space in my studio: my debris place – a place for spares  – and inspiration – a studio space (Fig. 8):

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - debris

Fig. 8: Making – debris – context

While working on making, I became aware of a few aspects : 

  • stripping off:  the box, perspectives, context, and representations – a process of void’ing
  • distance and proximity: a move away from an observer position towards an actor in between the objects

Through visually isolating the objects (surface and surrounding space) I could move on to find the space for the objects to perform (Fig 9). While taken the picture of me in between the things I made (top down view) it was interesting to notice the colors I wear matching partly my original object-box.


My objects are built, objects in themselves, stripped of any representational meaning, no narrative, no context, ready for interaction and activation. Some days after my object-box, charged with meaning, it felt like a relief. There might still be some free flowing associations coming up from a viewer’s perspective, but then it is about the viewer not the objects. Interestingly, it is not abstract work, the objects a real objects, materialised. Abstract art having had for me previously a notion of not-object related art, painting.

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - space

Fig. 9: Making – Me with seven things in space – void’ing and fill’ing

Things as physical objects with a variety of materiality and surfaces: cardboard, plastic, fabric; mostly light, stuffed, some hollow; some flat, some dense; some long, some short. A game to play, an assembly to make, relationships to build, painting to make sense and to explore. What is missing: the thread, will see if I still need it and how to connect elements.

I was trying out various arrangements, some more or less exciting. I moved objects, responded to spaces in between, objects laying down onto the floor, leaning to and eventually suspending from some sort of construction above my head. Some points tool longer to find a ‘solution’, e.g. the suspended ‘shelf’ with questions around left or right tilt, forward tilt or not. the white side vertical or horizontal? Also the cylindric item on the floor to the left or the right (under the black suspended item?).

some relationship questions:

Concealing: Or if some are concealing others, an aspect that I could expand with paint, either to enforce concealing or to support differences through edges distinctive colors .I find the suspended items an interesting aspect. So far I didn’t want to attach any thing to the wall in order to be able to move around. The ‘fork’ item leaning to the wall could be an option, not fixed, movable – a notion on non-hanging but movable? 

While painting some sketches on flat paper, I discovered a fascinating aspect: painting with same color across different shapes on flat support makes them indistinguishable. Only through the materiality  of the used paint and traces e.g. brushstrokes, those shapes can be differentiated. Painting with same color on sculptural objects would make them discernible through their presence in space, a difference and advantage of objects. An aspect that I would like to follow further.

Shadows: how do these play a role?  can they be embedded in the work? subject to illumination (side or top lights) but possibly also to be achieved through paint? This brings me once again the apartment painting of Irina Nakhova (1984), the apartment in Soviet Union as a protective space for artists to be. He tonal depiction of edges with the use of grey to bring forward illusion of density, wall, three dimensionality. I do relate to this to shadows as from my prior experiences  with teared edges and addition of shadow edges. 

Objects: I had to add a stool to raise the height of an item, pondering the inclusion of readymades or not, and what bring this closer to some works of Jessica Stockholder, John Armleder or Richard Tuttle. A readymade that would bring up all sorts of connotations, something that I would like to ‘keep out’ of this attempt – perhaps coming back in my assignment work.

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - space - with readymade

Fig. 10: Making – space – with readymade

Perspectives: My raising awareness that any sketches or images taken with a camera would result in a ‘distorted one point view perspective’, not capable to reflect on my in-between’ness experience. At times felt constrained because of that, and possibly some of my arrangements were informed by this constraint. An aspect that paint could overcome in forcing changing positions? The complexity of Fig. 10 showing the multiplicity of viewpoints, something my paint application could follow?

I continued with a more phenomenological approach, not too far away how I experience my constellation work with either items (piece of papers) on the ground or figures (people) in the room at different positions, reacting to what I sense as difference from one place to the other.

Space: unclear yet, what is inside or outside the work, if this really matters, multiple entry points inside the work and not at the boundaries. What could be different to sculpture is to be able to moving only partly around the work, paint allowing or stopping to ‘enter’? And how is sight and how is touch involved? How much do I work from a phenomenological perspective? What appears in the moment is there?   My space and tools where partly informing what I could achieve, e.g. the black items suspended was restricted to the way I could install a bar from where to suspend it. All had to go without spending too much time, all an attempt, not a final work.

Key aspects: 

Going through the experience of arranging, organizing, moving, and re-arranging, I feel intrigued by a few aspects:

  • Suspension: a sense of holding and impact of gravity 
  • Tension: between different objects, space in-between, appearance of nearly ‘falling down’ items, stability versus fragility
  • Connecting: objects leaning on or reaching out to other objects
  • Shadows: casted as connecting areas  to be painted out?
  • Opening: Looking through, hollow items or through arranged items into another space, multiple entry points (at least I tested three ‘extremes’ at right angles)
  • Reversal: reversal of senses of gravity and use (still my initial ‘real’ objects in my mind)
  • Concealing: to move to see, not everything visible from one viewpoint only, something that can’t be achieved through painting on flat support

My most inspirational arrangements are built around these are (slider Fig. 11 – 14; for simplicity reasons just one side view):

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - option a
Option A
Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - option b
Option B
Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - option c
Option C
Option D

My final assemblage objects – a walking through experience

I eventually decided for this arrangement. Kind of three groups (the wall items, the black suspended item, and the floor items to the left). I can’t tell why I came up with that , it made sense, it felt right when walking through and looking at it. Still unpainted, perhaps I would be less certain after paint is there. 

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - final arrangement

Fig. 15:  Making – final arrangement

… some walking through details views

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Making - final arrangement- details

Fig 16: Making – final arrangement- details

… and a walking through time-based experience:



What I’ve learned from my previous attempts – a cycle from objects in space through flat painting and sketching: paint could be used to connect, to uniform, to flatten-out shape perception, and to activate areas and relationships. How could I use it here? I wanted to explore boundaries and supporting connecting relationship between the three groups. One key question for me: Would the paint go only onto the objects or also on the floor and wall (taking the ceiling out of the equation)?

And what sort of color, how to apply, how to start? I felt a certain barrier coming up due that massive amount of questions. I decided to glue the items belonging to each other (the ‘fork’ keeping still separate from the shelf for practical reasons, pondering dismantling and storage, or just moving into trash bin).

I do relate partly to my previous sketchbook work (Fig. 1) and from other artists (Stockholder, Armleder, Tuttle) I learned to paint in rather simple way with a focus to relate to, to activate, and to explore boundaries. Starting with a spray can of acrylic unbleached white I sprayed my way through, getting connected with the space. Spraying the black item resulted partly in dropping down of paint under the impact of gravity. Something to explore further? 

The making of objects was one thing, the assemblage arrangement was intriguing, but painting it out is quite a different task . Didn’t thought of it as being such a big task to do. Massive areas to paint – what is the best way to cover? My first attempts with spray paint not that convincing (Fig. 16). Thinking of household wall paint or just big pots of acrylic paint to splash around, certainly not being eager to use a small paintbrush.

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Paint - step 1

Fig. 16: Paint – step 1

I explored in my sketchbook possible variations with color, facing the challenge on how to understand space in three dimensions with a walk-through experience through flat sketches . Nevertheless, I made some cut outs of different view images to use as masks for painting aka spray painting (Fig. 17, top left my initial exploration – top right the final idea – bottom steps in between). Eventually, I felt connected with my assignment work ‘folding and unfolding’ with the layers concealing and revealing edges and shapes. I worked into revealed shapes bright colors – exploring boundaries and forms. Still being aware that flat painting has the disadvantage of concealing shapes when painting with one color, an aspect my spatial arrangement would be able to overcome.

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Paint - sketchbook idea development

Fig. 17: Paint – sketchbook idea development  – concluding sketches for creating the main idea of my sculptural painting (others not shown). Top left my initial exploration – top right the final idea – bottom steps in between

With this exploration I found my way forward in painting around me as a reference to flat paintings, e.g. Matisse ‘Red Interior’ but with a real walking-through experience. I am going to use the smaller items as ‘activators’ in red and the suspended item as activator in blue. The question now how to choose the right colors for the ‘background’ areas and the other items.

I did some further color studies in order to find an appropriated color for the ‘background’ space (Fig. 18). I wasn’t sure whether my initial yellow would be the best option, just to be more certain. The orange had some appeal. Eventually, I settled for a more orange yellow, a cadmium yellow as better harmony with the red and blue activators.

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Paint - sketchbook exploring color

Fig. 18: Paint – sketchbook exploring color

From my list of key aspects I can see the following way to approach them:

  • Suspension:  two items suspended, one close to the wall the other into open space
  • Tension: through the chosen activators
  • Connecting: through paint application across items and ‘background’ space
  • Concealing: through paint application across boundaries
  • Shadows: partly painted, some others as a viewer’s perception
  • Opening: three entry points to ‘walk into’ the painting
  • Reversal: shadows, painted and casted from illumination as contradiction

I used spray paint for some further exploration of painted space (blue and red) and discovered that spray paint is not compatible with styrofoam, it melts. However, resulting in an effect that I liked on the ‘shelf’, kind of deterioration.

With that set, and the chose color of a darker, orange hue cadmium yellow,  I decided to leave my sketchbook exploration away, first copying my sketches made into space around me – using a paint runner (reminding of painting interior walls, decoration) – and to continue painting in direct response to my painting-in-space progress (Fig 19).

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Paint - step 2

Fig. 19: Paint – step 1

I was facing the challenge that my studio space was merging into the painting, either disrupting or distorting it. Possibly a wide open space or a separate room would be good for upscaling and to realize this work in public.


A key question that came up are boundaries and activation. Questions around whether I see the objects as the boundaries or not, whether I see the objects as the activating agents in space or not. I got a feeling that paint could be applied as a kind of mediator, but also to connect, and eventually to make sense, at least in a different way.

I choose to use bright colors, derived from unique colors on my initial object-box, to act as ‘activators’: blue and red. The other colors would complement, contrast, or balance the composition as a whole – making my sculptural painting a integrative piece of work with various viewpoints. 

Painting around in progress:

After paint application, am I satisfied? Does there need to a re-arrangement? When starting to outline my path through this ‘painting in the round’, I thought that re-arrangement would be needed, similar to my cut-out collages.

I didn’t expect that the objects are not any longer movable, or the painted surface would result into disruptive experience when arranging differently. But it will not stay there, perhaps it will be re-installed in a different place and space. Then it need to be properly arranged. If not – a glitch, what could be an interesting theme in itself.

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Paint - step 4

Fig. 20: Ex 2.5 – Paint – step 2

My continuation of painting in space was a quest for making sense: composition, relationship, shapes, colors. Considering the light main shapes I wasn’t satisfied with the white background, especially I felt the black shape in the center looked like a hole. I changed to black and it felt more uniform for me, though keeping the white on the floor area (Fig. 20). The wall as a wall felt more solid, and raising the question how to move on and how to merge wall and floor space. Possibly to make the black running down to the spectator’s entry point, and to leave some white areas (or light yellow) as disruptive shape and guide for eye movement. To explore this further I used the tablet app PhotoshopFix (frontal view) that I found for this interrogation very helpful to discern visually differences (Fig. 21).

Paint - step 3 - tablet painting (digital overlay on Fig. 20, middle image)

Fig. 21: Paint – step 3 – tablet painting (digital overlay on Fig. 20, middle image)

I found the blue suspended item too separate from the rest and added in the last image some blue drippings. That idea to either paint, or better to paint plastic sheet in stripes and attached under the blue item. By that the items as such would be more integrated in space and not only on a flat picture plane …. and the resulting spatial painting (without blue stripes, yet), The last step before the final touch.

The final spatial painting, painting in a round, a walking through painting, a painting interrogating real and illusive objects (Fig. 22) 

Walking Through Painting

approx (H x W x D): 200 x 200 x135 cm (acrylic paint, objects)

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Paint - Final - front view

Fig. 22: Walking Through Painting – Final – front view (approx (H x W x D): 200 x 200 x135 cm (acrylic paint, objects)

.. with various viewpoints:

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Paint - Final - different views

Fig. 23: Walking Through Painting – Final – different views

… and some close up views, in-between, walking through: 

Stefan513593 - Ex 2.5 - Paint - Final - close up and in-between

Fig. 24: Walking Through Painting – Final – close up and in-between


.. and as my walk through experience:



This exercise took over not only space but also time. The largest scale work ever done. And the most challenging when moving from flat surfaces to three dimensional space the includes objects as well as flat areas as wall and floor. Finally, I moved completely away from my object-box and representational objects. The objects truly performed for me, they activated the surrounding space, and the whole painting moved towards a new direction of a walking-through painting.

My start made me aware of how much I was still locked in a representational thinking. Objects, made or not, as meaningful things in context. I moved ahead, seeing now my ‘new’ objects stripped of meaning and context. Not an abstraction of things as tje objects are real. Whereas, my observational sketches are figurative and representational. I have the feeling I am shifting my view on things.

The work done is surely not at a stage I would consider it as finished. The materials used, especially the paper on the wall and on the floor is by far not adequate for a stable work to show. In reality I would possibly paint directly on the surrounding space, i.e. the floor and wall of the gallery room or any other room. The edge between wall and floor (I made a smooth edge through the bending of the paper) would need further consideration in a real space.

My overall experience of this exercise was immense. Making objects, arranging objects, responding to connections, painting and re-painting out a new pictorial reality was challenging. But I think I learned a lot, and any new painting I will do – either sculptural or even on a flat surface – will benefit from this experience. 

I explored  sculptural painting with placing myself in between selected objects. The painting took over space, and I ended in painting the flat surfaces. At the end, it reminds me of a stage play. Kind of painted scenery for an act to happen. This reminds me that not only Rauschenberg but also Hockney did some stage play paintings. Rauschenberg more as props for action (as his early ‘Combines’) and bringing himself into a performative role on stage, Hockney as painting a the stage through various acts for ‘Rake’s Progress‘, painting for a narrative. In my case I consider is as still, only the spectator to be engaged.

Some questions in detail: 

Where does the edge of my piece lie?

I didn’t know where the edges of my work would be during my sketchbook studies and even not at the beginning of the painting in space. During the painting process and being in that space, I felt connected with the surfaces, shapes and possibly forms. Eventually, I found it intriguing to develop the illusion further (besides crossing boundaries) and started to paint edges of a wall thickness in a slightly lighter tone than the main yellow one. I felt reminded by the apartment work of Irina Nakhova (see above) . 

How does my use of paint help to define these boundaries?

I started to use spray paint as an attempt to establish connection with the space and the objects. However, spray paint is not only developing a toxic mist, also not good to use with styrofoam as it melts. Though, spray paint leaves some good fading boundaries, not achievable either with brush, paint runner, or hands. Eventually, I moved towards harder edges alongside some dripping marks. Only, my ‘activators’ in red and blue stayed in its sprayed appearance as it made them softer and for me more ‘natural’ looking.

I found it extremely useful to paint and explore and to find options for connection, relationships, and shapes through painting in space. My sketchbook studies were limited in finding ways out – only through making the painting happening I felt it went much easier to move forward without knowing where it will lead me to.

How does my work claim space? 

My studio surrounding was merging into the painting, disrupting and distorting depending on view point. To develop it further, and for public view, a separate room, or wide open space with blank background would be advisable. The other option to have a disruptive background of a reality could be worked into this painting, letting the spectator feel that experience. But most likely the ‘external’ boundaries of the painting need to be negotiated depending on environment.

My sculptural painting is space demanding. Not only wall but also floor space was taking over.The floor is integral part of the work. I was thinking whether it came out like that because I prepared a floor-wall space with white paper, or whether it was part of what mattered to me and reference to my constellation works (a combination of floor and eye height The painting as such added a different layer to the objects as such and the surfaces of the floor and wall. Only the paint helped to make connections meaningful and to explore deeply the various spaces: surface, three dimensional objects, and illusionary space. Through, the suspended blue item in free space, the work claims the complete space.

What was guiding me to make decisions and take action? 

Making it, putting myself into relationship with the objects, moving around, trial and error, responding, adjusting, changing illumination (from top only to side only), partly sketching through, at the beginning to reflect on the different steps I did and to discern common aspects, e.g. stripping off. At times referring back to how I approach constellation work from a phenomenological perspective.

As I move around and through the work how does my physical experience of being among these objects affects my decision-making, process and approach to using paint?

Very much, making flat sketchbook experiments quite contrived. Feeling with time that the experience I have is not something I need to work into the painting, but rather opening it up (literally the space) for the spectator to experience itself. I am in a dialogue with the objects and the ‘void’ space in between. questioning where paint need to go or not. Which areas I want to activate and which areas could benefit from uniforming, ‘flattening out’ through painting across boundaries.  The use of a tablet app to explore some layers aka retouching of painting helped to discern rather quickly and on the spot possible options.


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Project 2.5 – Ex 2.4: Collect, combine, construct – Concluding attempt

  • Project 2.5 – Ex 2.4: Collect, combine, construct – Concluding attempt
  • Project 2.5 – Ex 2.4: Collect, combine, construct – Concluding attempt
  • Project 2.5 – Ex 2.4: Collect, combine, construct – Concluding attempt

‘Object-Box Combine’

I started a sequence of ‘painting-out the worktable’ with following ideas:

             folding – compartments – opening – discovery –

             close view – interactive – curiosity – fluid ?

And being open for more to come – directions to show – connections to establish

Combine No.1: Two Folds of Folly

step #1: worktable – ground to work

Thinking of a thick honeycomb board, flexible canvas and flexible plastic sheet I decided to use the latter one, reflecting on my preliminary experiments (see ‘Attempt no.1‘ – Fig. 3, 5, 6, and 7), stretched on – considering the size limitation of the roll at hand – 50x70cm stretcher bars.

step #2

adding first objects and discerning placement, what goes where? how do these relate to each other, the frame, the edges, my ideas?

step #3

committing to place and fix the objects with glue, first acts of connecting and activation, playing around, seeking for something to come up that makes sense

step #4

reflecting on my object-box and folds, and my previous use of canvas-fabric (run#3 – laundry). Painting unfolded cardboxes on pieces of canvas, gestural. Finding it too smooth, rubbing it over the studio floor, embedding objects into it, traces of presence. 

First challenge: to use such painted canvas box as a) support for a separate work, b) as object on the front, c) as object on the back of my work-table ? What is doing what? Decided to make another ‘canvas-box’ (question: who can fold a box from fabric?), a bit smaller and to use it as an object onto my worktable.

step #5

letting it dry,  continuation – experimenting in  parallel in sketchbook with materiality and exploration of fabric

step #6

my growing reservations about how it is going to look? Decided to un-stretch the plastic sheet, getting rid of theses constraints, aware that I have now a flexible support to work on. Continuation and exploring further – starting to paint, connection, painting out shapes, crossing objects with paint.

Started to make a second Combine (see below) – on honeycomb board, rather quickly adding and glueing newspaper pieces as first ground (I read that Rauschenberg tended to add newspapers clipping first to activate the blank support)

step #7

interrogation with individual objects – relations to parts and the whole , front and backside – using paint to uniform, to shape, to disguise, and connect

step #8

final paint application, trying to make sense, distancing myself from single objects – seeing the whole, painting gestural across – eliminating restriction of working on a table and placing the support on the floor-changing perspectives. Painting, turning around, painting, pieces from the floor getting embedded once again. Inspired by my original box, adding barcodes and QR codes labels (with personal information, as long these can be encoded)

step #9:

Installation: inspired by my previous free hanging on construction bars, visible from both side, to walk around, to see through

slider with images Fig. 1 – 11:

Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #1
Step 1: discerning support
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #2
Step 2: first placement
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #3
Step 3: committing to glue
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #4
Step 4: reflection object-box and painting
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #5
Step 5: painting
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #6 - front
Step 6: one side ...
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #6 - back
Step 6: .. and the other side 
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #7 - front
Step 7: one side ...
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #7 - back
Step 7: .. and the other side again 
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #7 - front
Step 8: one side ...
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One #7 - back
Step 8: .. and the other side


My final work:

Two Folds of Folly (Object-Collage, approx. 50x75cm)

Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One - One SIde

Fig. 12: Ex. 2.4 – Combine One ‘Two Folds of Folly’ – One SIde

Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One - The Other SIde

Fig. 13: Ex. 2.4 – Combine One ‘Two Folds of Folly’- The Other Side


Installation Ideas:

slider with images Fig. 14 – 18:

Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One - installation view 1
Combine One - installation view 1 - free in studio space
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One - installation view 2
Combine One - installation view 2 - free in studio space
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One - installation view 3
Combine One - installation view 3 - top and side light
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One - installation view 4
Combine One - installation view 4 - top and side light
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine One - installation view 5
Combine One - installation view 5 - top and backside light

=> I like the view in space of my studio with the sense of continuity of patterns. The installation of a painting to walk around and to see from different viewpoints is intriguing. I feel very well set for the next steps towards painting in free space of 3D objects.

Combine No.2: What is Below and Beyond

As I struggled in between my making of my Combine and reflecting on boxes, and how to make them in a foldable way with canvas, I decided just to start and work in parallel with a second Combine made with newspaper and cardboard pieces on honeycomb board. Very much the basic objects that my object-box constitutes of. I worked quickly and added layer after layer. The use use paint in hues of the cardboard went much smoother than the the start with my first Combine. Eventually, I decided to take one object, the sponge from my object-box table and instead of adding it to my first combine to add it to my second combine – kind of interaction between two combines and me happening. After my previous experiments with sketching the sponge, I wanted to add more materiality and matter to it . Found the idea of using paint as glue to stick the object to the support intriguing and used three color or acrylic paint to add and squeeze with the sponge into, letting the paint mix and flow out. Perhaps this flowing out could be taken over a larger area, so far I need to let it dry.

slider with images Fig. 19 – 26:

Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two #1
Step 1: support
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two #2
Step 2: adding newspaper pieces
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two #3
Step 3: adding cardboard pieces
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two #4
Step 4: adding other objects
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two #5
Step 5: adding paint
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two #6
Step 6: final ?
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two #7
Step 7: final 
Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two - detail 1

My final work: 

What is Below and Beyond (Object-Collage, approx. 40x40cm)

Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two

Fig. 27: Ex. 2.4 – Combine Two ‘What Is Below and Beyond’

Four side views: 

Stefan513593 -Ex. 2.4 - Combine Two- views

Fig. 28: Ex. 2.4 – Combine Two ‘What Is Below and Beyond’ – views



  • I found the approach learned before with making cut outs as maquettes helpful to inform about spatial relationship 
  • I became aware of my needs to develop something further, not fully resolved, but to a stage where I can leave it as it is.
  • Ground and edges: questions that I became more aware of. Why a ground? What edges? It seemed as if all elements are starting to fly around me, nothing stable any longer. My previous flat canvas or paper works seemed now so stabilising. Feeling as if I am in the middle of a 4D virtual space, or a computer animated film by Hito Steyerl. Perhaps, I am just too self- conscious.
  • Installation: what is part of the work? what are tools to install a work?
  • Objects: I found myself in a deeper dialogue with added objects. Very much changing my approach to painting in such a way that I considered physical objects similar to painted, illusionary objects: paint to flatten out or to build form, to make it advancing or receding. 
  • My first combine was informed by my previous experiments in installing a cut-out collage in space. The change of horizontal and vertical positioning in changing the way I interact and engage with it. Working on a horizontal table felt a bit too stable, although I could move around and place and arrange without the challenge of ‘falling down’ – gravity my assistant. At times, I wanted gravity to interact, to eliminate it completely felt strange, at least in my approach to painting.
  • Objects with volume advancing into the viewer’s space are points of attention – and eye movement. I tried to paint across or to enforce object as single parts, what somehow went successful, especially when looked from a certain distance. 
  • Working on my second Combine What is Below and Beyond, went more fluently. Perhaps, I restricted myself to less objects, working on smaller scale, and didn’t find anything precious in it. Also, it felt just as a spatial sketch. After this experience, going back to my first Combine Two Folds of Folly became easier and more relaxed.
  • Overall, this exercise went through multiple stages of learning and interrogation with space, and painting in space. Perhaps, much more than intended for one exercise. Nevertheless, worth the efforts.
  • My feeling that to focus on a few objects but more in depth, to paint them in and out, to explore materiality and form, might be more successful approach for me to consider further. Example: cardboard box – what is it? different perspectives. So far, I am enjoying experimenting around and seeing where this could lead to as a next step.
  • My awareness, that working on a work-table has limitations considering distance. I may walk around, but to look at it from a distance is more difficult. A ladder might help, the height of the ceiling the limit. 
  • A question of how I personally relate to the work I am doing, versus how an audience will relate to it. Considering my reflection on the ‘others’ perspective by Olafur Eliasson, I am wondering how this does impact my way of working. So far, I do experiment around. I also will post some work for peer feedback.
  • And my overall impression at the end, that especially my first piece Two Folds of Folly is still rather flat. Whereas, the second one might be quite ‘Rauschenbergian’, perhaps as I started with newspaper as well?


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Project 2.5 – Ex 2.4: Collect, combine, construct – First Attempt

  • Project 2.5 – Ex 2.4: Collect, combine, construct – First Attempt

Working onto a horizontal surface as a ‘receptor surface’ is something I started doing in the previous exercise on cut out and collage as a different view on perspective, an arrangement on a flatbed, a mapping and organisation. My already so familiar object-box, now staying unfolded aside of me, acting as source of inspiration and storage of spare part aka objects to be used. 

Ex. 2.1 ‘Observe and Record‘, at the end I worked more freely with the objects collected. A starting point to elaborate further. In Ex.2.2 ‘Exploring Space- On Perspective’,  I started to play with shapes as objects to move freely around on a ground and to put them and myself in a relationship of arrangement, organisation and sense-making. Still, I wasn’t that satisfied with the restriction of the dominant flat ground, although I played in various ways to exceed the frame, and the final scene #3 with color swaps to activate what is on the ‘table-ground’ with elements off-site, in a distance from that part that conventionally one would consider as the painting-object, the art-work as an integrity. 

So far, I was still working in two dimensions, besides my experimental collage work in Ex 2.1. Time to expand into the viewer’s space, in my space of interaction. I started this part of the course with pondering transportable objects, first my drawing and painting stuff in a suitcase, eventually moved into an object-box as a transportable ‘table’ for me to take with me on my travels, and to work from it on the go. It was an intimate relationship in space, a wide open space of a nomad life. Through my interaction with the object-box, I became more and more familiar with it and the dysfunctional objects, waste in our life in society. It possibly became a fetish status, a precious object collection that at time I was reluctant to use in my sketches and works. 

The main idea still in my mind: object-box, box of objects, curiosity as driver for opening and discovering. The messenger is the courier of the box of surprise. How to expand this experience into spatial visualisation? 

step #1:

First, I will elaborate the things I started. Expanding the collage from Ex. 2.1 and expanding the cut outs into space. Possibly, that this is getting me somewhere else, but not-knowing the way anyhow, any continuation is good. My previous researches on Rauschenberg, Duchamp, Tuttle, Starling, Surrealists, and other might get in my way subconsciously. Ready to play and interact ( in the sense Hawkins works) or as the course material describes it:

“Making work is a process, with one work leading to another and so on building your knowledge and ideas as you progress.”


Collage #1: ‘Collage Folly’

Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 (from Ex2.1)- collage objects - expansion #1

Fig. 1: collage objects – expansion #1

Collage #2: ‘Poop Collage’

Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 (from Ex2.1)- collage objects - expansion #2

Fig. 2: collage objects – expansion #2

step #2: installation of ‘Poop Collage’

With the quick and dirty sketchbook experiments done, I was confused by the rectangular sketchbook page as such. How to overcome this constraint? As I played with the second collage before, I decided this time to use it for a spatial interaction and play – kind of establishing a narrative. 

Video#1, 0:48 min – password: visual

Eventually, I felt it too illustrative, to much in relationship to an intended use of objects, perhaps an opposite to a surrealist work?  Anyhow, it was fun to experiment and interact, perhaps inspired by our cat who plays around just for the sake of it.

step #3: exploring space 

A question I am continuously asking myself: the need for a ground? It brought back my earlier parallel project (parallel to UVC), my exploration of a figure-ground relationship, the figure appearing from an undifferentiated ground, in context of Deleuze’s conception of Différance. If a ground is required, what size, material, and color?  On what relationship does it act upon? A ground to activate, to uniform or to divert? I felt an urge to move the shapes into open space and decided to cut them out, discerning where to cut, what edge to leave visual. Some areas felt more blurred, faded into the background, a transition between spatial layers. Perhaps, to tackle that later.

I didn’t want to stick the cut outs again on a flat support, trying to give them some visual space. Put them on a translucent textured plastic sheet with light from the top. A first impression and approach to 3D space (Fig. 3)


Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 -collage objects - expansion#3

Fig. 3: collage objects – expansion #3

Now, these made more sense to me, free flowing in space, thus still with a backing constraint (Fig. 3a). I placed the three randomly on the sheet, now, it seemed they interact with each other, i.e. multilayers of interaction are occurring: a relationship within one object-collage (though still flat) and a relationship between the object-collage aka ‘assemblages to become’. Next step was to put them in more open space, on transparent versus translucent background, inside and outside (Fig 4). And I tried to expand even the background itself into space (bottom right image in Fig. 4)

Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 - collage objects - expansion #4

Fig. 4: collage objects – expansion #4 (from Fig. 3)

=> I find the monochrome background more successful, the outside installation too confusing, unbalanced. It might be an idea of finished object-assemblages (to see for their weight) as way to move through and around (see something similar with a work of Martha Rosler at the start of the exhibition War Games  (transparent banners suspended from the ceiling with text written on them by Hannah Arendt: Reading Hannah Arendt (Politically, for an American in the 21st century), 2006. Transparency do convey a sense of light and fleeting. 

The experiment on curved transparency doesn’t work with my still flat cut outs. I became aware that my inkjet prints are also not that convincing, a need to make ‘real’ object-assemblages. I felt reminded of the drawing-painting installations, works of Sarah Baker, with individual pictures flowing in space and activating each other in a dialogue, e.g her work Outcast Letter, 2014 or more dense Lapis Lazuli (it’s Sonia Terk’s), 2015

What the transparency versus translucent does it to add shadows to the perceptive field, Shadows that I experienced rather involuntarily with my mapped cut out collages, not all object stayed flat, leaving besides teared edges and painted edges also shadow, spatial blurred edges. Those edges that will move with the viewers’ viewpoint, what I find just fascinating (besides a controlled lightning). 

Next steps: make collage assemblages , review background (painted, translucent backing, transparent shadows), and work with a combination of inside and outside relationship (kind of Armleder installation at small scale through painted object-assemblages). Question of scale to be answered later. I am getting more excited now. 

step #4: revisiting cut-out collage

Before continuing I am revisiting my cut outs collages, before they sit there with a sense of unresolved and disturbing (often I need to develop something further, not fully resolved, but to a stage where I can leave it as it is. I chose two from my selection before:  scene #1 and scene #2 , both with a too dominant ground that I wanted to cut off and expand into space – considering the learnings above, i.e. with sticking to a translucent background, nearly a void. Scene #3 was more satisfactory for me as more objects were scattered on the flat ‘table and with activation already happening between an in-between objects. 

scene #1:

Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 - collage objects - expansion #5

Fig. 5: collage objects – expansion #5

scene #2:

Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 - collage objects - expansion #6

Fig. 6: collage objects – expansion #6

In both scenes, I advanced a few objects through adding a paper object from my brown ground paper. There are most certainly limitations with my approach, still a more relief type collage, with no painted added afterwards, and too fragile to work more into. 

An interesting aspect with my expansions (Fig. 4-6 and video): I worked vertical, not horizontal – a flat table arrangement not only stripped of the ground but also stripped of the constraint of table-ness.  A matter of gravity, as to arrange flat shapes on a table is much easier than on the wall, where everything need to be fixed, taped, glued; what I actually did. Have I already been so accustomed to table work that I looked forward to work vertical again? Yes, I wanted to see those trials, and yes I wanted to feel it around me, at my height, not looking down. What is the better approach?  How does this impact my (viewer’s) perception and awareness of the object-collage? Initially I used the translucent, transparent ground as an empty ground, a void for arranging to make it free flowing in space. But this question will follow me through in the next steps when I return to the flat working table.

scene #3:

I wanted to conserve the third scene that I was more satisfied with how it turned out in previous exercise. Thinking first to glue it in my sketchbook, becoming aware during the process of glueing the cut outs together that the shadow is disappearing as the object got flattened together. I didn’t like that, pondering how to continue, to paint the edges to imitate shadows?  Decided to work it out through a separate elaboration, replacing my sketchbook page with a larger watercolor paper, and reflecting on my experiments above, using a translucent plastic sheet as the ground under the brown ground (Fig. 7). As if multiple grounds would strip off the idea of a ground? I primed the paper with an acrliy gel with lava and put the plastic sheet above. In order to keep them both stick together I put it on the ground and pressed with my feet on top, leaving my footprints visible (reminding me of my skating experiment from part one)

An near endless series of trial and error repetitive arranging, organising, responding:

Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 - collage objects - expansion #7

Fig. 7: collage objects – expansion #7

Eventually, resulted in a composition, ambiguous enough, and layered enough (slider  – Fig: 8-10)

Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 - collage objects - expansion  #7 - final
Object - Collage  - Expansion scene #3
Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 - collage objects - expansion  #7 - installation I
Object - Collage  - Expansion scene #3 - installation I
Stefan513593 - Ex2.4 - collage objects - expansion  #7 - installation II
Object - Collage  - Expansion scene #3 - installation II

…making me aware of how installation as such can be a challenge, especially when considering the space around. The bull clamps to hold it with the background sheet, part of not part of the work? Making me to consider them as part of the work and installing my object-collage on two wooden bars – kind of raw construction appeal what fascinated me (just more ideas coming the more I do).

All in all, scene #3 is more complex, rather geometric abstraction, still flat table work, and still not so convincing. However, it was a good learning to follow step by step and to discern based on what I see what to do next. Small changes, e.g. cutting of part of the background or shifting cut out to another place did change and at times improve my visual response aka satisfaction of a certain balance.

I was pleasantly surprised how the color swaps started to activate the composition even more, the blue less, the red more. The perception of flooding above, and interacting objects are somehow achieved, though more to be done, as the brown ‘plate’ seemed now to be too uniform and not integrated yet with the other parts. Nevertheless, one step forward towards a more spatial perception of a painting (the all too geometric shapes are another aspect I don’t like so much, too formal). More expansion to come.

With these rather extensive preliminary experiments of expanding my previous works into space, I am feel more ready to move on towards less formal and geometric approaches.

Questions to be addressed : 

  • Physical objects and materials:  Effect of light and gravity (as by my embodied experience  above), and indication of possible orientation of the work (see Fig. 4-6) Meaningful or just spatial structures to guide eye movement and sense of body?  
  • Paint: What methods to apply paint?  spraying, pouring, brush, hand. What is paint doing overall to the composition? Activating as my previous cut-out collages demonstrated? Otr uniform as I could experience especially with my expansions #1 and #2 (Fig. 1-3) . Or to separate space as experimented with before (Ex 2.2. and Fig. 5 and 6)?
  • Edges and frame:  Extend the picture surface? disruptive or enhancing form illusion?
  • Scale and structure: Big enough for composition? restrictive? Position to my body (lower, eye leyel when standing, higher). A invitation to move around, bend down as some of Rauschenberg’s ‘Combines’? 
  • Surface or ground: A support to hold together or a a structure to facilitate relationships? needed as all?, activation or reduction?primed? raw? robust enough?
  • Overall: How are responses activated? How is the eye guided or let through? How is time and space attention linked to structural elements (time spend on one part of the whole)


As this exercise became more extensive, I decided to split my posts into two: The next steps of making ‘Object Box Combines’ can be read here:

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Project 2.4 – Ex 2.3: Reflective exercise – Studio reflections

Studio space

What is my relationship to my work place or studio space?

I started this course while still being a frequent traveller, my suitcase was my studio and workplace, my objects had to be transportable, my relationship was a question of fitting in and packing/unpacking. This has changed the last months, as I decided to move and relocate to Germany, given up my residency in Switzerland. I re-constructed and established a new space (Fig. 1) –  space that I hoped for to become a creative place.

(c) 2018, StefansJSchaffeld

Fig. 1: Studio space[/cap

Now, with the idea realized future becomings are still to be actualised. A starting and coming back point – a place of collection, surely for all my done works (reminds me to start with the business side of being an artist as well, to show, to share and to sell).

I have seen a few other studio spaces from local artists, more or less living room spaces, at times a separate building, crowded, cramped, at times open space with nearly nothing in it. So it all depends on the way the artist would like to be – and what one needs to work creatively. Also, if intended to work alone, or to be frequented or visited by others as well.

I should be happy, and actually after all the hassle with moving and settling in with my other professional activities, it is more than many have: dedicated, a retreat, a space where my objects, tools and media do have a home. Nevertheless, I do feel not complete yet. Being still excited to get out, to do more, interaction, performance? Coursework needs my attention, but should it really restrict me to the studio space?

On the other hand, the space is fresh, quite new . The smell of long lasting hours and residues of paint and obsolete objects not there yet. Too clean?

What is useful for me? 

A base, a place to keep, a place to get things done. A place to explore and visual map (on the wall, Fig .2)

Stefan513593 - studio space - visual mapping part 2

Fig. 2: studio space – visual mapping part 2

What do I need further? 

Movement, free flow, and multiple viewpoints. I’ve been a nomad the last decades, now I will not stop. To be a nomad in the art world seems to be another cup of tea, how to get there, I have no idea – interaction, communication, collaboration. One more time, that being a distant art student feels lonely – quite remote.

Space and scale: As reflected in the previous exercise one important aspect for me is space, room to move. I need floor and wall space. At times during the process of making I work on the floor, add objects one after the other beside me – till it is crowded. At the end it is time to clean, to get ready for new work. It is a cycle, and this cycle or intensity, crowdedness and cleaning up seems to be important in my way of working.


What is home? I am Dutch, having spend more time in other countries more time than in Netherlands. Feeling a stranger in familiar grounds.  Does my studio space support this feeling or would it restrict it? Open questions with unclear directions.

Function of my studio space

Till now, I had various spaces to work with and out of: suitcase, apartment, studio. And the space in-between that I truly found inspirational, e.g train, airport, street, hotel. It was quite frustrating to take partly tools, objects, and paint with me, and to keep more or less doubled stuff in two place. That was the ground for me creating the object-box table starting this part of the course, and now perhaps already nostalgic?

My studio space is in a side building on our property where I also installed my art therapy practice for outpatients and clients (in the process of settling in). My idea would be to obtain a space that communicates visually and emotionally. It would be a place to relax, to inspire, to create, and to establish new perspectives. Still work in progress – some work will be done off-site.

Also I am trying to establish now a certain daily and weekly routine – being there, working there and here, not somewhere else. And yes, a place that allows different things to do. Although, sometimes I still have a sensation of getting out, breaking out.

Overall, a place of return – work in progress is waiting to be continued.


I started with OCA working in different locations. After moving, it merged into one place alone. The nomad part is over, spatially?. Since April this year, other business activities took my attention. What was intended to open up, felt at the beginning as closing down. With frustration with postponing my coursework, until the moment I really had to get back on track – my passion for art making could not be hold back any longer.

That period, unproductive longer than expected, was possibly supportive in another sense. That I know and feel stronger to move ahead. I tried towards getting rid of distractive objects, boxes, and all sort of other things (not only physical parts). Another view on restriction or limitation as being more productive. I still work from my transport object-box what feels right at the moment. Perhaps as a more expanded field. To keep it small? Or till the time comes to make it bigger?


My routine still to be maintained, work to be done and created. And not only coursework. So far, interaction with what is around me takes quite some time. And freedom to play around.

Or as verbs of action considering my space:

to play,

     to enjoy,

          to use,

              to experiment,

                   to explore,

                        to discover,

                            to frequent,

                                  to make sense, 

In this sense, I find Uri Aran’s perspective on interaction with his work place intriguing.

“how to solve the day in the studio” – Uri Aran

Uri Aran explained during an interview at the 55th Biennale (BiennaleChannel,2013:0:40) his ‘toolbox of action’ when exploring:

to make sense of things, to organize, to re-organize, to design, to wait, to put together, to let age, to move (around), to revisit, to think every day about, to map, to present, to explain, to make social meaning

Aran highlights a few aspect of importance to his work and the reception of it:

  • flat logic (flatbed, work table)
  • topography (a map)
  • narrative (to get some meaning out of the arrangement)
  • rhythmic feeling (the embodied encounter)
  • storyboard (that unfolds)

I find the mapping resonates with Perec’ and Bishop’s description of work tables. The narrative is certainly what the viewer looks at, as the human brain tries to make sense out of complexity. And what is better suited then a story to be told? I personally can very much relate to the rhythmic feeling in the sense of feeling with all senses the encounter of objects.

The sense of narrating and interacting objects  might go into the direction of New Materialism and object-orientation of post-human theories, something I not understand well yet, possibly more to read through.

I am not so intrigued by the ‘toolbox’ conception as it feels too much of pre-mediated design. Especially in my professional field of art therapy and coaching it is more of attending the moment and less designing the moment. Sticking to a toolbox can end up ugly.

Valérie Mréjen describes the flow of a studio day in her short diary ‘Start Working’, (Hoffman,2012:180), an instructional piece for ‘Do It’, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist. Perhaps less about a focused problem solving activity and effective work attainment. It is more about the struggle, procrastination, and distraction that is happening every day, especially when one seeks inspiration for creative work. Something, I truly could relate to, nearly feeling it as a joke. But also the importance of embracing all moments in space and time as they come along, as new perspectives might open up. As she issued this in the context of ‘instructions’ it might well be something like mapping out and planning ahead. Being an independent artist (not thinking about commissioned work yet) means to be self-instructive. One need to set time, space, and resources to get something done. I never believed in the notion of the relaxed artist waiting for inspiration and creative muse. It is work, and routine work that requires quite some discipline. And to make, to DO IT. An exclamation that quite characterizes my life, especially my business life. Making more work is often more fruitful than trying to make less, but high quality work (this doesn’t mean that the many works need to be rubbish)


  • BiennaleChannel (2013) Biennale Arte 2013 – Uri Aran,  [online], At:–mq_lRY  (Accessed on 12 Feb 2018).
  • Hoffman, J. (2012) The Studio, Documents of Contemporary Art. Edited by Blazwick, I. London: Whitechapel Gallery and the MIT Press.
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Project 2.3 – Ex 2.2: On perspective

Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - collage - feature

My awareness of edges as spatial element was triggered by a recent encounter with Irina Nakhova and her ‘Real Freedom in Your Apartment’, on display at Tate. The space of her apartment painting across the edges of floor and wall in black and white, and using grey for some edges that strongly convey a sense of a concrete open wall. 

After the previous exercise with observational sketches and paintings of my unfolded object-box, I was excited to see what this collage cut-out practice would give me. I had the impression it could be fun to do.

My object-box – a cut out collage


Prepared with gouache paint on single paper (colors mixed from observation, local colors of main objects), I cut out and teared off shapes of the various objects unfolded on my object-box. I was pondering the scale, the edges, and the perspective of the shape. It could end up into endless possibilities. I decided to make it simple and just look straight with a slight oblique angle on my object-box and take those shapes that appear visually (one point perspective, nothing in between or around or from top or below – Fig.1). I took the mental note that those aspects might certainly be important in my way forward and future works.

Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - collage

Fig. 1: Stefan513593 – Ex2.2 – cutout – collage

From this ‘new’ work-table and inspired my some intriguing ‘scenes’ explored in the previous exercise, I decided to go for three different close up sceneries (#1 yellow, #2 green, #3 blue). Mapping the process of three exercises in my sketchbook (A3 – Fig. 2)

Stefan513593 - Part 2 - developing still-life

Fig. 2: Stefan513593 – Part 2 – developing still-life – from Ex. 2.0 collect – Ex. 2.1 observe – to Ex 2.2 collage / perspective


I came across the following quote of Frank Stella (Wetterling Gallery) and was careful considering my reponse and approach to edges (objects, ground)

“If you were to be able to follow an edge and follow it through quickly, you’d get that sense of rhythm and movement that you get in music” – Frank Stella 


Scene #1:


Using a rather squarish brown painted paper as my ‘work-table’ (color from the box, format as results of cutting of some stripes from a A2 paper for further use). I started with trying to capture scene #1 through my cutout shapes aka objects, and felt a but overwhelmed in making all in once sense out of it (Fig. 3 – four variations of a still-life).  I was not satisfied with how I response, nor how I arrange things. I felt quite dependent on my unfolded object-box aside of me. I wanted to be more free and more responsive to what appears in front of me – on the paper with the shapes. Overall, it was for an action of mapping, as to map items, to lay out, to arrange.

Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#1 - step1

Fig. 3: Stefan513593 – Ex2.2 – cutout – scene#1 – step1

Therefore, I decided to start with a pretty formal approach to add one shape after another and see how I response to the arrangement, to change it and after I was satisfied to add the next shape. This was quite a enduring process, especially as I took for each step one photo.


Eventually, it came to my mind that my doing was in itself a process approach of composition, arrangement and organisation based on visual information in front of me as well as my emotional and cognitive process. I became aware of multiple steps, layers during the proces until I found the arrangement somewhat ‘finished’ . It reminded me once again of my structural constellation work, that Matthias Varga von Kibéd described as a ‘transverbal language’, with a syntax similar to written language. He referred to Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus) and his analysis of form and structure in relationship to the ‘Form der Abbildung’ (depiction) and ‘Form der Darstellung’ (representation). For me, my process of mapping and arranging as a gesture resembles that conception, as if I would speak to the world through objects (color, and shapes). And this becomes very personal to me, as I started to speak late, at the age of primary school. Before that my communication was non-verbal.

Therefor an fascinating aspect to make this place (the squarish brown paper) a place of happening and speaking through pictures. In the reflection afterwards I could discern the following aspects of exploring, arranging and speaking:

  • Formal analysis of how one shape relates to the ground and the frame
  • Formal analysis of how several shapes relate to each other
  • Reflection on what it could mean
  • Play and joy as a game
  • Narrative through cognitive response to the visual information arranged
  • Conscious arrangement of shapes to organise the way I wanted it
  • Reflection on my doing and how I felt at times frustrated, excited, purposeful, curious, planned or uncertain

With respect to composition and relationships, I became more aware of the following elements as important in the overall conception and visual reception of my arrangements:

  • Edges: cut or teared edges did show very different impressions. Teared edges were more plastic and with more depth.
  • Shadows: the shapes and the ground were not completely flat, some light from the top and the side casted shadows that added to the visual reception of the work and the perception of space
  • Color:  Certain color, e.g. complementary colors do activate the other shape, object more than others
  • Overlapping: Overlapping support visual depth and can further help to activate stronger some objects.
  • Frame: The edges of the ground, the ‘frame’, can act as a container, a table for the objects. It can also constrain them, keep them framed inside. Exceeding the frame edges supports an opening up and an activation of the surrounding space (in my case the white support plate)
  • Perspective:  Some objects with different sizes, e.g, the black rectangular shapes, acted as a device for perspective and distance. Smaller objects tend to be seen more distant. Depending on the placement, this could be enforce or contradicted.
  • Narrative: Shapes can trigger imagination, e.g. face. If such thing occurs, other objects will be placed into this narrative in order to make further sense
  • Meaning: Besides potential narratives depending on recognition, meaning can be created through balanced compositions. Tension between objects, or ‘disharmony’ related to color or shapes or relationship, can confuse or disturb aesthetic appeal. 

The entire process took quite some time, especially considering the time it took in taking photographs, manually. Although I could have used a tripod with a remote, I felt an importance and relevance in my physical interaction of arranging, stopping, taken the camera, making a photograph, laying aside the camera, re-arranging and again, again, again. Possibly that this led me towards the idea of moving images, or rather stop-motion, an animation of those single steps in same place, a way of communicating (process, narrative) and documenting as well.

The first scene from the middle part of my object-box table, two bright colors, red an blue alongside black simple shapes, one repetitive in three different sizes. 

91 steps of still life arrangement


= a process of arranging and organising, response and feedback (animation). A process driven by curiosity, exploring the unknown, though parts are known from the part (my object-box). 


Looking at all images (91 steps arrangement) from a distance and more critical stance re composition and aesthetic appeal, I choose eventually the following three as the for me more successful ones (slider, Fig. 4 – 6 – steps #46, 79, 86).

Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#1 - selection 1
Ex2.2 - Cut-Out Collage - Still life  scene#1 - selection 1
Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#1 - selection 3
Ex2.2 - Cut-Out Collage - Still life  scene#1 - selection 2
Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#1 - selction 2
Ex2.2 - Cut-Out Collage - Still life  scene#1 - selection 3

I apply here what I learned at the fabulous London Study Day in April: to response to a work, here my selective choice, with three words:

perspective, symmetry, interaction

(leaving them as they are)

Scene #2:

With a new sensibility to arranging, exploration of space, and non-verbal interaction, I went ahead to repeat it with a the  second scene – a bit more focused and with learnings from first round. Intrigued by the quite figurative aspects of the fork and to see how this impacts possible compositions. Additionally, a ‘free’ element (a multiple colored one) – as I would call a unique and differentiating element in ‘structural constellation work’. I was wondering how this would impact visual perception and composition.

58 steps of still life arrangement 


= another process of arranging and organising, response and feedback. A process of narrating, at times more guided by representational items, imagined ideas, and mundane human activities rather than by formal compositional aspects. 

When looking how to place the multicolored ‘free’ shape, it gave me rather an headache, nothing felt right. the colors too strange from each other, not resonating, disturbing all over the place. Struggling and continuing, I didn’t want to let go either. The smaller oval shaped one with teared edges, seemed to fit better. Playing around till I found something pleasing enough. 

I felt somehow released from the narrative’ as I ‘put my fork away’. My narrative took over once more towards the end, with the more funny ending of giving my ‘free’ element the final stage. As before, I made a discerned selection of the more successful arrangements (slider, Fig. 7 – 9 –  steps #11, 15, 30).:

Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#2 - selection 2
Ex2.2 - Cut-Out Collage - Still life  scene#2 - selection 1
Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#2 - selection 1
Ex2.2 - Cut-Out Collage - Still life  scene#2 - selection 2
Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#2 - selection 3
Ex2.2 - Cut-Out Collage - Still life  scene#2 - selection 3

In summary of response to my selection:

simplicity, olique, constraint

Scene #3:

Finally, I continued with more learned patterns of my exploring and narrating arrangement with a third scene. A combined scene from three different, displaced locations on my object-box (see Fig. 2). A more synthetic. constructed approach, reminding me more of Cubism, especially Synthetic Cubism.

Where would this repetition lead me to? I was intrigued by the black and white pattern and textures, adding the white thread as a connector, or another ‘free’ element? I hoped to get more into a compositional interaction led by colors, textures, patterns, shapes and edges. Less a narrative one, though the stone shape still adding a representational object from my work-table, hard to let go, i.e. to empty my mind with memorized images.

32 steps of still life arrangement 


= following another repetition and process of arranging, organising, and responding. Another animated cycle in 32 steps


Here, I felt less constrained by the background frame. Possibly, to do with the number of objects placed, possibly a question of interacting more with the objects in space, than seeing them as objects on a map (as before). Towards the end, I eventually jumped out of the frame and was responding more on what is beyond. Till now, I was focused on the squarish background paper as a frame to be activated and to relate to my actions to. Object not fitting inside the frame or at the edges of the frame where put aside, like the objects in board-games, either used, unused, or to be used. And with a similar view onto it, table work, work-table. This time, I was interacting with those objects, adding some newly made colored squares to activate further, adding color spots, and placing aside, letting the color spot activate the whole table at once. A connection established, a relation made. The frame expanded and made obsolete – potentially. It felt much better, and certainly the way to continue. An opening up of spatial restrictions – still on a flattened table. 

My discerned selection of more successful arrangements. (slider, Fig. 10 – 12 – steps #14, 25, 28).:

Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#3 - success 1
Ex2.2 - Cut-Out Collage - Still life  scene#3 - selection 1
Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#3 - success 2
Ex2.2 - Cut-Out Collage - Still life  scene#3 - selection 2
Stefan513593 - Ex2.2 - cutout - scene#3 - success 3
Ex2.2 - Cut-Out Collage - Still life  scene#3 - selection 3

Also here my response to my selection:

complex, activation, expansion


Assembling – Mapping – Speaking – Exploring – Narrating – Activating

Compare & Contrast: Sense of Space

How would I compare my own work with the prolific work of Mary Heilmann? (see separate post,  a selection of her work on my Pinterest board).

In all collage scenes, I felt as if the background was to dominant less in the third scene though. Mary Heilmann’s painting have less background, or the elements are regularly distributed across the plane. By that there is a sense of harmony and balance in her works. Those works, that are more unbalanced tend to be rather simple, i.e. with only a few but large shapes across the format. In my three collages, especially those that I selected. the shapes are smaller and laying on-top of the background. By that the overall composition seems flatter, however the single shapes in their relationshio do activate the negative space more. 

I do not see much of visual depth in the sense of ‘walking into it’, neither in Heilmann’s nor my work (besides Heilmann’s work Surprise2012, that explicitly is applying linear perspective to an extreme) Although, I find that the last scene #3 with the more overlapping shapes and less dominant background, a denser and more spatial depth perception is achieved.

Flatness: I found Heilmann’s paintings, not her furniture, surprisingly flat (but havn’t seen any in real life yet). The least flat one are e.g. Yoshimi, 2004, with the rather drawn lines in space, but contrasting with the flatter perception of the more painterly part to the right. I find, that my collages do show more visual depth through a few overlapping shapes, that by the different colors do activate more or less not only the next layer but also the background. Especially, in scene #1 with the three different sizes black rectangles I played with the illusion of visual depth through scale, a learned pattern based in linear perspective.

Overall, I am not so satisfied with the background color, the shape and the role it played in my arrangements. Although, it matched the color of the cardboard box, the dominance in my collage arrangement contradicts my visual perception of my ‘real’ object-box and kept me emotionally more at a distance, i.e. was very much eye focused and less ‘demanding’ other senses.e.g. touch. In that sense my works are closer to Henri Matisse ‘Red Interior’ as described by A.S. Byatt than to Mary Heilmann’s paintings. My approaches to reach beyond the edge of the frame and to establish activating relationship between what is inside and what outside felt more successful. From Heilmann’s works I feel that the work Shadow Cup 2, would go more into the direction I want to move to. 

This exercise reminded me strongly of two main aspects:

  • structural constellation work (some know theses family constellation boards perhaps
  • Le Viseur‘, a visual tools in child care, pedagogy and art therapy programs to train visual understanding, creativity and use of senses. Founded by Gottfried Honegger 2008.

Both aspects of high personal relevance to me, being an art therapist and coach working with constellation work and partly mixing both together.

This placement and arranging of shapes in various colours with attention to scale, color and edges is a quite educational, partly didactic, and possibly to use for workshops or other occasions of social interaction with people.

It very much reminded me of my peer and friend Diana Curley‘s SYP project ‘Movement and Interaction’ in painting (with OCA), cut out irregular shapes, painted either in color or black and white, examples of her work are Biomorphica, ‘Surfing the Waves and especially her left-over box ‘Imagination

Afterwards, I made a rather gestural abstract composition as a reflection on Mary Heilmann (see other post) and here.



Having made your own studies, which of the approaches discussed in this exercise can you most relate to? Why? What is their impact on you as the viewer? Do you have a particular intellectual or emotional response?

  • Overall, I do feel more and more less inclined to eye focused linear perspective paintings – at least in my own work and practice. They look nice, they appear ‘realistic’, but for me they are missing something. Though, I am not certain what this missing really is or would mean to me. The extension into the viewer’s field and space, e.g. Frank Stella’ artistic development since the 1960s till now show this quite dramatically, sounds more reasonable to me. At the end, i am a very tactile person, I need to touch in orde to make sense. I have to glue and stick images, cut outs on a wall, laying out on the floor etc. to get engaged with the visual information. I need to have the work around me, the, paint, the support. That’s why I had severall floor or walking onto works done in part 1.
  • Sense of space: walking into it with an embodied sensations. arranging as constellation work, making sense of relations. Reducing or eliminating background dominance and playing more with interaction of shapes, colors and edges.
  • Optical illusion is less fascinating to me, feels more like a facade, an appearance without inner sense and spirit. For me, this addresses more the cognitive function and less the phenomenological experience of space and place.
  • The question to me: How figurative or abstract need to space to be in order to overcome optical illusion of representation?
  • Scale, edges, and perspective: my cut outs for the play of arrangement of organisation were done with a slight oblique angle on my object-box and how objects appear visually  from this one point perspective. At the beginning of this part with my interaction with the folding and packing and transporting the objects in the box, I felt a more intimate relationship beyond a visual voyeuristic view. I couldn’t feel this kind embodied experience  in this exercise, possibly due to this way I cut-out the shapes (one point view, flat, visually constrained). Something I will need to reflect on further on my way forward.
  • And again – scale: small or large? In my professional practice I act in a room, walking around, moving. Although, I also work with some clients at a table, with a board or piece of paper between or in front of us. But this is more secondary. Would this be relevant to how I work in my art practice?
  • Visual language: With reference to my structural constellation work, that is based conceptionally on constructivistic ideas of L. Wittgenstein and others (as described by my mentor Varga von Kibéd), I felt at some time a rather personal connection with non-verbal language (re my non-verbal childhood). Sequences of movement in the same place (background paper) conveys a narrative besides the search for balanced or unbalanced composition and aesthetically ‘pleasing’ results. In that sense, one could see the escape from the constraints of the frame as an expansion in syntax.
  • Repetition: once more repetition was a main aspect in my work. Not only three scenes with a similar approach but also through the sequential and cycling approach of arrganging and responding plus the intervention of the camera. Interestingly, the steps diminished significantly from scene to scene: 91 -> 58 -> 32 steps) 
  • Animation: Animation is stop motion format to present a time based process. I made my moving-images with my camera hold in my hand, post-edited slightly with cropping, but leaving this slightly shifting movement of the ground present. It adds to the ‘hand-made’, my manual interaction, my artists presence. Overall, it felt right. I explored this in earlier parts of this course, with still images as well as with video sequences.  Here, I used animation without sound, still, reference to my ‘still’ non-verbal childhood. Certainly, an aspect that I could elaborate much deeper and further. Leading to the question how ‘still’ (double meaning) a painting can be – or should be.

Improvement steps:  (and if time would allow me to do so):

  • Revisiting my collage items with all shapes and more flexibility on  background respectively to revisit background at all. In the sense of the flow of my process through this exercise:
    assembling – mapping – speaking – exploring – narrating – activating
  • Working with activating relationship between elements across and beyond spatial constraints
  • Painting from the collage ‘maquette’ in a more sculptural manner
  • Trying to be more in the painting, object and less with a distance to it, like an observer



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Project 2.2 – Ex 2.1: Observe/record

  • Project 2.2 – Ex 2.1: Observe/record
  • Project 2.2 – Ex 2.1: Observe/record
  • Project 2.2 – Ex 2.1: Observe/record
  • Project 2.2 – Ex 2.1: Observe/record


‘Walking’ over and across my worktable with my eyes – looking closer at the objects, a sense of being in between – associations of flying over a landscape (as the morning ‘Swiss View‘ on the Swiss television channel S1) and bringing Elizabeth Bishop’s poems of her table as a landscape a personal connection for me. But what kind of landscape do I experience? A natural or a cultural hilly one? Impacted and shaped by human presence (a sense of picnicking), and possibly some brutal forces, possibly somehow between landscape and townscape, overall, rather in between. The bird view is mediated, in case of SwissView by the helicopter, in my case by my smartphone camera. How to touch down?

What are the qualities and material properties that I experience underneath? Where am I in relation to the objects? An observer or in the middle of a spectacle happening? Each day something new – and so easy to fold away aka fitting back into the box for the next move and travel. I do get more and more an intimate relationship with them, turning into a fetish? As Sue reminded me in her feedback on my object box (‘Objects loving back / fetishising’). At least to the one extend that it became already hard to let go.

At times overwhelmed by the endless combinations and intensity of exploration (Fig. 3) , where to stop and where to start the next steps – addiction or procrastination when I postpone my painterly exploration of the objects and their relations?

And still be excited by the opening of the box – curiosity and desire?

Fig. 1: Slider ‘Object Box – Unfolding’:

Stefan513593 - SP2.2 -object box - sketchbook
Stefan513593 - SP2.2 -object box - sketchbook
Stefan513593 - 2.1 -sketchbook  - box - closed
Stefan513593 - 2.1 -sketchbook  - box - closed
Stefan513593 - 2.1 -sketchbook  - box - open #1
open step one
Stefan513593 - 2.1 -sketchbook  - box - open #1
Stefan513593 - 2.1 -sketchbook  - box - open #2
open step two 
Stefan513593 - 2.1 -sketchbook  - box - open #2
Stefan513593 - 2.1 -sketchbook  - box - open #3
open step three
Stefan513593 - 2.1 -sketchbook  - box - open #3

And as by given peer feedback the opening of a box can have so many connotations (Fig. 2): electronic gadgets, chocolate gifting boxes, customised packaging boxes, cantilever box, and even the OCA coursematerial shipping box creates when opening it through the red thin wrapping paper a unique customer (or consumer) experience.

Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook - boxes and desire

Fig. 2: Stefan513593 – Ex2.1 -sketchbook – boxes and desire

The act of unfolding itself sounds intriguing  – how to build on that? (see above slider – also video taken in previous exercise)

Stefan513593 - Ex.2.1 - Worktable

Fig. 3: Object Table – All these unfolded settings are endless repetition of difference, kind of never been able to re-arrange exactly the same way again.

And at times I felt reminded of a total mess around me, wondering whether I would be better to store, fold everything away, to make it disappear back into the box as the genie in Aladdin’s lamp – or a sensation at Christmas after unpacking all wrapped gifts, memories of the past.

But, I need to fix a point for further studies, to look at the most intriguing ones and to explore through painting new perspectives.

step #1: openness – sketching a fetish experience 

working in my A4 sketchbook with dry and wet media (charcoal, watercolor, gouache)

Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook - work table objects #1

Fig. 4: Stefan513593 – Ex2.1 -sketchbook – work table objects #1, each segment A4

… and finding elements of a constructed landscape – getting independent from the physical work table. Trying to follow the cuves and putting objects into relation with each other:

Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook - work table objects #2

Fig. 5: Stefan513593 – Ex2.1 -sketchbook – work table objects #2, each segment A4

I do appreciate simple brushstrokes that can convey senses of direction, depth, edges and form all in one or two strokes. Very much an illusionary mastery. Further continuation of exploring material qualities of weight, e.g. heavy and light. surface qualities: How do we distinguish what we observe? How do we make sense out of it ?

My other  work table (Fig. 6) – snapshot from my tools and medium table to work with – instead of to work at. What is absent in the paintings, a birdview, kind of helicopter or even satellite earth imagery (bringing back Bruce Nauman and his work ‘Two Messes on the Studio Floor’.

Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -working-table

Fig. 6: Stefan513593 – Ex2.1 -physical working-table


step #2: A3 scale painterly exploration of space and objects

working larger, bolder in my A3 sketchbooks (at the top edge printed photos taken from various viewpoints – assembled as a kind of film, moving images)

Fig. 7-12  – Slider #1:

Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #1
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #1
crayons, charcoal, gouache, plastic foil - based on decalcomania ground
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #2
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #2
crayons, charcoal, gouache - based on decalcomania ground
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #3
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #3
crayons, charcoal, gouache - based on decalcomania ground
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #4
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #4
crayons, charcoal, gouache - based on decalcomania ground
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #5
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #5
crayons, charcoal, gouache - based on decalcomania ground
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #6
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #6
crayons, charcoal, gouache

Fig. 13-15 –  Slider #2: 

staring to add objects from the table (thread, corrugated paper, foam pieces) – or spare ‘parts’ aside (felt too precious to take objects form the table?)

Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #7
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #7
crayons, charcoal, gouache - based on decalcomania ground
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #8
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #8
crayons, charcoal, gouache, found objects - based on decalcomania ground
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #9
Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #9
crayons, charcoal, gouache, found objects - based on decalcomania ground

Unfortunately, the photos do not convey the sense of relief of texture. Adding material obejcts onto the support, makes them advancing (quite literally), partly contradicting a linear perspective view of receding space, e.g. the corrugated shape  in #9 that represents an object physically behind the cardboard on my table. Something to elaborate?

step #3: Perspectives

Finding out how different perspectives are coming through, and how different a painted versus a physical space can be – the anamorphic perspective:  

Trying to hold my painting support at the same plane as the scene I observed, standing at an oblique angle to my worktable. One famous ‘toy’ for anamorphic artworks is the mirror cylinder. For me, a  key aspect is that the requirement of presence, of a human viewer to uncode or code those pictures in perspective. This could be certainly exaggerated and pushed further on a larger scale making the viewer really ‘moving’ around. A question of vision versus imagination and perception.

Stefan513593 - Ex.2.1 - anamorphic

Fig. 16: Stefan513593 – Ex.2.1 – anamorphic


step #4: reduction

I got once more a sense of all being too crowded on the table, alongside a strong desire to clean up. How to engage with some objects on a different ‘field’, to bring home/take away – to embrace?

Working more independently with materials, perspectives and paint. More a joyful play in exploring my painting support.

Fig. 17: ‘Distorted perspective’ :

Based on above anamorphic sketches I wanted to exaggerate visually my perception of ‘looking down’ onto the objects that thrust upwards: small at the bottom, large at the top. 

Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -sketchbook A3 - #10

Fig. 17: Sketchbook A3 – corrugated wallpaper appropriating perspective

The question later was how to make the edges in the lower half of the supporting objects? Oblique or straight angle? I felt that they would follow the ‘logic of exaggeration’. Although, I could have done it also completely in frame of another ‘perspective’? 

Fig. 18: ‘Touch me’ – Prière de toucher 

 (in reference to a past exhibition visited – title of a work by Duchamp)

Working now free with no visual constraints from my object-table.  Leaving representational idea behind and working gestural wth the materials. At times, I came still back to what I saw on my table, rather a kind of re-inspiration (e.g. gloves, bubble wrap underneath). It ended up in a mix of free play and making sense of what I am doing. arranging and organising.

Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -collage objects

Fig. 18: Watercolor paper 30.5 x 45.5 cm, objects, gouache, shellac, charcoal

I wanted to make it more interactive, and instead of placing the thread-object flat onto the support, I glued it at two points (bag, and cardboard) and hoped it could be used as handle for interaction, halfway kinetic experience. What worked at the end, making the fun part of letting the dog image on the bag appear and disappear. A sense of revealing and concealing, of folding, unfolding.

.. and some close up details (3D and tactile):

Stefan513593 - Ex2.1 -collage objects - close up #2

the glued objects as a more tactile experience of a painting. the thread as a handle, to touch and to move – to move the bag and to interact with the work. Something curators and museums would surely dislike (against preservation ideas – quite similar destiny of Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise that he apparently intended to be used, not only to be looked at – see my sep post)

And possibly an approach towards ‘a new aesthetic experience beyond representational frameworks’ as  Uri Aran‘s expressed it through his experimental table works.


How did this exercise helped me to get familiar with and to understand material qualities and spatial relationships existing on the table?

  • Material qualities: painted, used, re-painted – an intimate exploration. And asking myself the question what is the difference between a painted object and a painting with a painted object.
  • Moving: birdview flying over, moving around, creeping through, desire to be in-between, among
  • An understanding that it becomes less of an idea or concept but rather about the unique experience of the moment of the encounter
  • I felt that only after having done the fist sketches it got easier to let go a question of representation, and I could engage more into uniques qualities and putting shapes and color into relation.

How well, and in what ways, do your studies reflect these?

  • My initial sketches were more about making sense out of a messy table. How to focus and how to reduce? What to sketch and what to leave out? Not only a practical question but also an aesthetic one. To use various techniques (e. g. wax resist), tools (brushes, tissue etc.) and media (charocal, pencil, gouache, watercolor) helped to depict variations of texture and patterns.
  • I am not very convinced that I succeeded in this exercise. I made various paintings, sketches. However, I didn’t feel the right connection to an essence of it. I moved between observational sketches as a practice and a challenge of deciding on material. 

How to move forward and develop it further? What could be a particular focus that emerges through my studies?

  • Fetish: Precious objects and fetishism, a personal experience in obtaining meaning
  • Painting versus objects depicted in a painting, what is painting, what is object, what is representation and presentation? The painting as an object, as an observation of objects, as a representation of objects, as a presentation of objects, as a presentation in itself => would this lead not to the question of experience and connection regardless of the question of object and subject?
  • I felt a bit disconnected with the previous part. The start with getting to the movable object-box as a performative work felt right, the sketches done as an observer placed me more into a distance .
  • I worked quite long and intense on this exercise, possible due to my above mentioned challenges, and due to my search for meaning. Only at the end with the more playful interaction I felt more relaxed and was able to let go and to move on.
  • Movability, transportability, vulnerability, fragility: question for a mere object (to be robust or not) as well as for a painting. 
  • Perspective: Adding material-objects onto the surface let them physically advance, contradicting partly an illusion of linear perspective and receding space. However, it adds focal points and a sense of tactile sensation.
  • Reduction: going more abstract – conveying mere sense of materiality without idea of representations (see Uri Aran)
  • Scale: To expand and to enlarge or to reduce, work small and actually making objects for a box?
  • Box:
    – Box to transport: I am stuck with my box idea for physical transportation. Could this be also considered more on a metaphorical level?
    – Box as a container:  reference to Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise  – but perhaps just to easy. 
    – Box as gift: to trigger curiosity and desire, not to be able to satisfy both. content less important than the act of unfolding, opening. 
  • Interaction: my last work had some interactive elements (to pull the thread-handle). Something to expand? Overcoming dominant visual paradigm? Engaging the viewer through actually applying a sculptural attitude. i.e. to move around, to look and to feel, to sense various viewpoints.


Open questions:

  • When is a work a painting, a collage, a relief, or a sculpture?
  • When is a painting a representation or a presentation?
  • How to overcome the restrictions of depicting an object and painting as object?
  • How to bring in the performative aspect into my paintings? 
  • How to bring in my desire to be part of it, instead of being apart of it? 
  • How to convey a format that the viewer can experience sensations of curiosity, desire and surprises (re gifting, box, magician)?
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Parallel project – initial ideas – medical imagery

MRI  – Visual imagery and technologies – the self and the self portrait – technology that goes inside of me

medical imagery an approach to see inside, a diagnostic tools, intrusive. How relevant are the visual information acquired to know a person, to ‘see’ a person’s condition or even identity? What are conditions of understanding and what are conditions of perception and self image? Dependancy.

=> Would this be a relevant topic to explore further ? It touches me, it is very personal, and it is about visual imagery and visualisation technology. Part of visual culture or still restricted to medical realm? I am wondering how many image are taken every day of people, with results that can be of relief and often revealing devastating facts alongside the hope that medical technology detected it, thus they can heal it as well.

Visual imagery of my inner body – the brain

Background: I was assigned for a MRI inspection in the local hospital (on April 10th, 2018 in Bern, Inselspital.) after visiting my ophthalmologist who didn’t find a cause for my recent severe night headache. This visualisation technology is used in medicine nearly as a standard method for diagnosing potential harms of the brain zone. I’ve been in the MRI machine for approx. 45 min. and the process itself was already a unique, not so pleasant, experience. I intend to write down my thoughts and feelings separately. Luckily, all went well and nothing critical appeared, visualised itself in my brain images. 

I took the opportunity to get a CD with the medical image data on it (DICOM format) . I felt I could use this somehow in my art practice, but no idea when and how. But it was a CD with my data, data of my identity? Visual data of part of me, invisible to me, is it truly a representation of me?  The CD had a windows DICOM viewer on it, for my Mac I had to download the  open source medical image viewer HOROS.

One of the images I was able to see on the screen – who is looking back at me? 

screenshot of DICOM data of MRI, HOROS viewer

Fig. 1: screenshot of DICOM data of MRI, HOROS viewer

The weird thing is that I can scroll and swipe through the different layers of my brain zone, vertical and horizontal cuts. With a fingertip slicing through my brain – very strange. It really felt as something else – and so intrusive. 

Ideas and approach in relation to my painting practice.

  • layered images as disruption of ‘one’ picture plane, through fragmentation a reflection on identity 
  • imaging techniques as a mean of understanding of what we don’t know, painting as a mean of revealing questions of the un-known
  • disruption: not only picture plane but also a disruption of inside-outside, internal-external
  • 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 and unfolding: to make visible and still not revealing, not the surface, not inside, no location, an unknown origin
  • embodiment: a personal multisensorial experience, like paint – color, smell, touch, sound

I can see the following art context as relevant to this idea as it addresses issues of modern imaging technologies and how we make sense of visual infomation, and how it relates to power relationship of visual control:

  • 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)
  • Hito Steyerl and her appropriation of mass media and simulation visual technologies to address socio-political power strucures
  • ….

Possible extensions:

  • Artist in Residence in clinic: (local or somewhere else)? As I moved the Bern hospital is out of reach, distant project work perhaps?  Would bring me quite out of my comfort zone as a distant art student.


  • Horos (2018) The Horos Project – open source medical image viewer, [online], At:  (Accessed  18 May 2018).

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Project 2.1 – Ex 2.0: Collect / Make / Arrange

At the beginning of this part, I was struggling whether just to throw some items onto a table where I felt they have some commonalities? Or to take this further and makes this somehow meaningful for me? To take this rather as technical exercise or rather as a step towards a body of work guided by some ideas mentioned in the coursework? I eventually decided to follow my own sense and to let it be part of a longer journey exploring my body relationship with the space around me, with objects that can add something to it, and see how it all goes.

As mentioned in my conclusion on the research of ‘work-table / object-table‘  I can sense a personal dimension of my ‘work table’ and objects and how my travelling, the transportation of objects, and the temporal installation of ‘tables’ aka workplaces are not only a reflection of an unsteady life but also could be seen as a kind of portrait, identity. This idea is what I want to bring further with the first step in this part. Not-knowing where it will lead me towards, and possibly I will follow my unsteady movement and jump on another idea. At least: a start

I am travelling to other places and staying at times in hotels. The most mobile items do come with me, packed in bags or suitcases, transporting, unpacking – or better unloading – onto the nearest table – and repeat. Packed and transported as Declan Long described the wooden crates of Uri Aran for the Liverpool Biennial. If a visitor will visit my temporary table spaces, as Gabriel Orozco likes to do so, I wouldn’t know what the response would be. And I feel that not-knowing this makes it even more fascinating – or frustrating – for me to explore and to investigate my temporary place in transition. One sideline of this thought: whether I would explore a space or a place (relating to some discussions with fellow students) 

I am wondering how much my objects would tell about my identity, ‘my history and my preoccupations’ (Georges Perec). At times it reminds me what I can do with the objects, sketching, writing, like those imaginations described by Elizabeth Bishop in her landscapes.


I started with my idea of exploring my travelling as spatial and temporal movement alongside a sense of evidences of my presence as well of absence. It relates to art, drawing and painting tools, bags and what else I found relating to it. 

My table top – Evidence of spatial and temporal movement?

In my Swiss studio (part of the living room where the studio is taking over the ‘living’) I have an easel that I can rotate from vertical to fully horizontal position. I like to work on this ‘table’, standing, in front of the window. It is close to my art stuff. The only drawback, I can’t walk around easily, thus I need to displace it more to the center and clean up the area around. Already with some items thrown onto it: evidence of my travels (plastic bag, newspapers, cleaned plastic salad cup from take-away (perhaps better to keep it dirty for possible following paintings?). The other space of my working is the kitchen table with my writing, drawing, learning log (computer – absent in this image, but the mouse of present) and pebbles, found objects from the Aare river, I take always one with me. But there are also the other options, e.g. working on the floor, quite a habit as I like to work on the floor, in the middle of my art stuff, proximity and enclosure. And the fourth option I reflected on as part of my frequent travelling is the evidence of that: the suitcase or just a bagpack (see Fig. 1).

Stefan513593 - Ex.2.0 - Worktables - sketches

Fig. 1: Worktables – sketches – a) kitchen table with found pebbles, computer mouse index of blog; b) floor; c) horizontal easel, with thrown items as evidence of my travel; d) Suitcase: another evidence, but rather staged, what fits as well in a bagpack

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Project 1.4 – Ex 1.3: Removing Gesture

  • Project 1.4 – Ex 1.3: Removing Gesture
  • Project 1.4 – Ex 1.3: Removing Gesture
  • Project 1.4 – Ex 1.3: Removing Gesture
  • Project 1.4 – Ex 1.3: Removing Gesture

The aim is to remove my gesture from the work, i.e. to remove conscious or subconscious intentionlity as I explored in my previous reflection on gesture. Do I need to use a mechanical aid? How could I elaborate my previous exercise works?  The laundry, the skating, the cat wand – all body gestures. 

Before going too much into a deep thinking how to modify, I am going towards another direction. I do like the elements and the forces of nature. And yes, I do have some issues with mechanical drawing or painting, machine or robot like. It has some connotations with the question whether machines can make art or not (a topic I will interrogate in the following exercise). I can sense that this question might have some wider impact on how I see art and my own position. During my research ‘Things perform for you‘, I do relate machine drawing with machines, e.g. Tinguely’s  Méta-matic n°1 (1959).

Warboys’ sea paintings feels more relevant to me, more resonating with an humble approach of how invisible things unfold in front of us through visiualization. I am wondering whether  I should move forward into areas of what I like or to explore areas of concerns, as it possibly could offer new insight? A question that became clearer during my reading of Rebecca Fortnum’s ‘Not Knowing’ article (2013).

Overall, I like the expression ‘Things perform for you’ as it is much broader then machine constructive markings. I titled this post with ‘Removing my gesture’, a title I do associate with non-subjective or external forces, literally or metaphorically.

I am going to explore three approaches:

  1. Performance of the elements – natural non-human derived gestures 
  2. Cat gestures – imprints of your cat
  3. Ground – the surface shows what appears – laundry with the machine
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Project 1.5 – Ex 1.4: Contextual Focus – Considering Painting


Ufan’s text from 1987 (Ufan, 2011), could be considered as a discussion of post-modernist dystopian viewpoints in the aftermath of modernist paradigms, in good company with films as Bladerunner (1982) or Robocop (1987). Humankind under threat of Artificial Intelligence (AI). No surprise that art and painting, at times considered as subjective and human expression of a genius as creator, are challenged. What differs machine and robots from humans? How can art play a meaningful role in a society of consumption of final products and appearances of effects only?

What you feel painting is and what you feel it isn’t.

For me, painting is one approach to explore aspects of life, experiences, and social interactions through the materiality of paint. Paint is a tactile medium through which one is in contact with a surface and world of possibilities. 

I do agree with the author that painting is an embodiment of ideas and desires to express. The author asks whether painters are ‘creators without expression’ and playing an end in itself. I would like to think that play is a creative force to explore possibilities, but not sufficient to be art in itself. This relates to an often-raised question whether small children paintings are work of art or not. A conception further explored by the group CoBrA and Paul Klee in the 1950s.

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Project 1.3 – Ex 1.2: Mapping / Diagram

  • Project 1.3 – Ex 1.2: Mapping / Diagram
  • Project 1.3 – Ex 1.2: Mapping / Diagram
  • Project 1.3 – Ex 1.2: Mapping / Diagram
  • Project 1.3 – Ex 1.2: Mapping / Diagram

“How do I activate thinking?”

What a powerful question that makes me wonder how  and what I think and how I move along, making decisions, new works, and eventually come to a conclusion.

During my previous research I related Fortnum’s article on ‘Not Knowing’ with some of my ways of working during the previous course units. Especially when it comes to projects and wider exploration of ideas and possibilities I tend to make visual maps as a working base and to hang images around me to move along the flow.

I can see my thinking, especially visual thinking like the waves of the sea, back and forth, like the tides. I need to distance myself from the work to get a wider view and I need to work close-up to immerse myself in my doing. While doing it, I do not think so much about how to place it in a wider context. One could decribe my way also as shifting between associated (immersive) and dissociative (distant reflection) states of mind. A terminology, I borrow here form my coaching and art therapy practice. Is this ideal? 

Another key aspect for me is a spatial articulation, as I tend to embrace the space around me, not only the space of the canvas or paper. I need to move around. Moving helps to feel loose and free my mind.

During my past personal projects for drawing 1 and painting 1, I worked outside and in the studio, trying to bring in site experience through my body movement or through re-called sensations into the studio. At times I work outside (sketches) to response directly to what I experience.


To represent the process of making and outcome in a free flowing, visual and spatial form.  A visual relection of my bodily movements of the previous exercises 1.0 and 1.1


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Project 1.2 – Ex 1.1: Painting without the brush

  • Project 1.2 – Ex 1.1: Painting without the brush
  • Project 1.2 – Ex 1.1: Painting without the brush
  • Project 1.2 – Ex 1.1: Painting without the brush

Gesture – throw, drip, splash, scatter, gravity

In my previous experiments I explored gestural mark making in space and time, focusing on my bodily awareness while applying marks, and with a sensibility towards visuals, sounds, and body movement. I am wondering how to expand on this through tools, in painting this is typically a brush. Gesture as a mean of human non-verbal communication (see my gesture reflection) , strongly connected with the human body and body movement. During my research on alternative painting tools, I came across some main areas that kept me thinking how to embedd in my own work:

  1. The body as painting tool:
    – connection body – surface (e.g. Kazuo Shiraga, Janine Antoni)
    – crossing boundaries painting-space (e.g. Murakami Saburo)
    – using body as tool (e.g. Murakami Saburo, Carolee Schneeman, Yves Klein)
  2. Use of ordinary tools with some kinetic force to juxtapose meaning, e.g. Gutai group,
  3. Spatial gestural art, expanding 2D into the open space e.g. Carolee Schneeman, Kusho Art
  4. Documention of the event more important than an aesthetic value of the work?
  5. Painting, gesture as transitive action in space and time. Mani-pulating material, as Richard Serra articulated in his ‘Verb list’ (1967-68
  6. Mechanical devices as painting tool:
    – to remove subjective and personal gesture (e.g. Kanayama Akira, Nicki de Saint-Phalle) – this will be a more a focus of the next exercise (and wondering how much can be removed)


Based on these three aspects I am going to explore further different ways of gestural, bodily, and painterly interactions. How to come up with actions and tools? Brainstorm? Make it meaningful? Looking up dictionary? Take the word of the day? E.g. the word of the day (on Merriam-Webster App), or anything from Facebook of Instagram (#wordofday)?  => a temporal dimension of actions what would resonate with my extended project and ‘daily’ routines


  • Corner space (e.g. Carolee Schneeman, Michael Croft) to exhance my spatial reach
  • Floor space with actions related to floor activities
  • Wall space related to floor activities
  • To reverse space and activity relationship
  • Actions and tools related to my art therapy and coaching practice
  • Actions and tools related to my daily movements, activities in space and time
  • ..

I am going to explore three approaches:

  1. Body repetitive movement with my hands as tool
  2. Body exploratory movement with my feet as tool
  3. Exploration of space with ‘cat wand’ as tool
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Part One – Extended Space Gesture: 6 days – 5m

Featured video: made from four long still-images – horizontal – back and forth motion, moving perception


After the first part of my extended project of body movement (12 days) I decided to adjust my approach without a clear separation of images per day. Instead to let my markings of the previous day inform my new gestural markings and body movement. Seeing how it will change my movement in space and my gestural response. I installed the paper roll at my wooden studio wall, at the top the already drawn parts fixed with bullclamps, and letting the full roll drop to the floor (gravity stretching the surface).

I kept 2 mins drawing time as before, although over time my embodied response to earlier marks extended my interrogation and eventually ended up with 3 mins – I just wanted to explore more. Time as opportunity, but also as restriction.

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Part One – Extended Project Body Gesture: 12 days – 8m

12 days – 8 m – 12x2mins Spatial Gesture

a gestural slideshow: