Category : Part 1 – Painting and/as performance

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:


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Project 1.1 – Ex 1.0: Smallest to largest reach

  • Project 1.1 – Ex 1.0: Smallest to largest reach
  • Project 1.1 – Ex 1.0: Smallest to largest reach
  • Project 1.1 – Ex 1.0: Smallest to largest reach
  • Project 1.1 – Ex 1.0: Smallest to largest reach

Project 1: Body gesture – Smallest to largest reach

The coursemateral relates to this exercise as a ‘series of warm up exercises or a meditation of sorts’. What made me think of actually using this exercise as a daily meditation exercise. It demands my presence and my awareness of the act of drawing, it is a physical as well as sensual exercise. Could this relate to a kind of choreographic activity in space and time?

To record my mark making is not new to as I already applied this as a ‘reflection tool’ during drawing 1 and my personal project – my blog post and a video recording of my assignment work.

Therefore I wanted to explore further my awareness of the following aspects:

  • my senses and my physical condition
  • space and time and my movement under those conditions
  • presence of my body and its relationship with the drawing surface and my drawing media
  • my consciousness (contemplative, anxious, exhausted, excited etc.)
  • being recorded, and possible impact on the way I draw
  • rythm and breath
  • quality of line

My tools and media:

– drawing paper, roll (width 70cm, 170 g/sqm)
– tracing paper, roll (width 70cm, 110 g/sqm)
– willow and compressed charcoal stick
– video camera and still camera, tripod
– daylight lamps (2x)
– Studio wall (plywood panels)


I decided to work at my studio wall, an installation og plywood panel attached to the wall. A system that I use for my art therapy practice (an introduction video for those who are interested in how I work, german language). It works quite well for my art practice as I tend to work either at the wall or on the floor. I like to slighty flexible tension of the wooden panels. To work at an easel feels at time quite restrictive for me (space and posture)

I will explore various options of seperated and combined drawings by:

  • Body restrictions: using my fingers only, plus my wrist, plus my lower arm, plus my upper arm/shoulder, right hand only, both hand, left hand only
  • Size of support


I am going to set up a double camera system, one looking sideways at my arm and body movement, and the other looking at my hand, charcoal, and surface. I will record audio to capture the sound of my mark makings and my own body ‘sounds’.

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