Category : Part 2 – Contemporary approaches to still-life; painting speaks to sculpture

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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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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