Living through the skin of materiality
How medical imaging becomes materiality for transformation in my practice
Developing assignment 6 meant to look back at the body of work created during this course. To step back to see and discern whether there is a red thread, a theme, a common interest, showing through. Working intensively on a project could make one blind for relations and links.
Eventually, commonalities became clearer what I wrote in my artist statement, my contextual notes for assignment 5, and last not least what got revised in my final draft of the critical review:
Transformation – vulnerability
disconnected – disruptive
Interdependent – ambiguous
Mapping this out in my sketchbook and trying to group or discern my diverse works, made it also easier to see some work not fitting well, some more from part 2 and part 3. Part 4 and Part 5 seemed to have followed a certain ‘logic of media’, a material approach and an embodied expression through art making. And I was quite surprised how much of my main interest already came through in part 1, though not that well-articulated, not yet expressed in a focused way.
Chaplin (Chaplin, 2005:8) mentioned in her essay how ‘perception and artistic expression are .. bodily affairs’ and, by quoting Langer, that the tactility of hands is the basis for aesthetic expression. In that sense, I can see now my ‘obsessive’ interaction and exploration of my touching hand in context of a bodily aesthetic expression, e.g. in my performative enactment video work Paint-Catch-Move (video, 2:34min, at: https://vimeo.com/306674208) . And perhaps as a ‘symbolic articulation’ of my way of not-knowing and seeking to understand.
My contextual notes for assignment 5 already mapped out how I want to continue in my practice. In relation to above aspects, it is mostly a continuation of the material interaction as a way of knowing and understanding. The features and the connotations of chosen materials and colors might have a wider cultural meaning, nevertheless, I want the works to speak or themselves, visually and opening up possible questions what it is that we might interpret a work in a certain way.
Furthermore, it is important for me to look at the in-between, between the visible and the invisible, the physical and the virtual, the outside and the inside. I am not satisfied with outer surfaces, I want to see not only behind or beyond, but also in-between. The surface has two sides, but it also has depth. It is that depth that I want to continue to explore through crossing boundaries and by embracing the moment of creation in itself.
Last not least, this assignment showed through my parallel project as collaboration, my critical review as enquiry and understanding what I am doing, and my discernment of my visual works, that it also about the expanded field of experience. For me painting is above all a spatial exploration, whether this results in digital audio-video works, in sculptural pieces, or more conventional flat physical works – my bodily experience of the space is what I want to share with the audience.
To have come to such an insight and focus is not what I expected at the beginning of this course. It was intense, many works were an attempt to interact, e.g. Object-Box’ shown at OCA showcase in London or trying to convey my bodily experience with the audience, e.g. the mentioned video Paint-Catch-Move. Today, I do see those as sketches on my way forward in exploring a more aesthetic and less didactic approach through materialized work.
On the other side, there is the sense of disruption and audience response. My parallel project was screened physically at Toynbee studios allowing the audience to immerse themselves in a visual soundscape. Viewing it online, as the assessment team would do as well, challenged notions of holding space, keeping attention, and allowing disruption to work effectively. Some felt it was too disruptive and too disconnected. How much disconnection and disruption is successful in art?
Looking forward, there are two media I didn’t explore deeply: sound and light. Not only due to time constraints, but also due to technology hurdles. I am hooked by sound conveying the invisible through non-linear perspectives. Sound is spatial and can create depth. My approach so far, was to combined visual and auditive spaces (e.g. the parallel project, ‘Cut-up words’). I feel this needs to get into a physical space, a gallery space. That means, I have to get to that point and space. Light is another tricky media. We see picture only due to light, but light is also performative as my lightbox installations trying to explore. Still a struggle to resolve, a quest to consolidate my body of work
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 I am very happy that my tutor provided me recently with this article that is spot on with my concerns.
- Chaplin, A. D. (2005) ‘Art and Embodiment: Biological and Phenomenological Contributions to Understanding Beauty and the Aesthetic’, in: [online]. At: https://www.contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=291 (Accessed on 23 Sep 2019).