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

12 days – 8 m – 12x2mins Spatial Gesture

a gestural slideshow:


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Research: Julie Mehretu

Some key works of Julie Mehretu (b. 1970)

I knew some of her works before, especially in context of her use of image projection to trace outlines. Having now looked deeper into her works, thoughts and motivation opened up a deeper insight and understanding. Also to see how it could related to my approach and my learnings in the first project.

(An overview of of her works is available at the Marian Goodman Gallery, and some on my pinterest board at:

  • Mind Breath Drawings, 2010 (Mehretu, 2012)
    => an exploration of ‘juxtaposition of looking at images and listening’ in her response to Das Rheingold of Richard Wagner. The drawings were shown 2011 at the Metropolitan Opera,  where the same Das Rheingold of Robert Lepage was played. Gestural mark makings as a visualization of the subjective response to music. Mehretu relates her drawings back to her interest in going to opera during her time in Berlin.
  • Mural, 2010 (Art21, 2010)
    => the largest and one of the most colorful murals by Mehrtu in some tradition of Suprematism, could be considered as geometric abstract work (one of two possible development predicted by Alfred. Barr, 1936)
  • Grey Area, 2007-2010 (DeutscheGuggenheim, 2010)
    => a change from color to grey tone, more gestural and layered
  • Mogamma, 2012 (High Museum of Art Atlanta, 2017)
    => in reference to the Tahir square in Cairo, a place of multi faith with church, synagoge and mosque, the works consists of mulitple layers, a tapestry of architectural drawing of worldwide square associated with unrest. All these layers are further obfuscated by gestural markings
  • Cairo, 2013 &  Chimera, 2013
    => in the aftermath of the Aral spring a large scale work portraing Cairo’s public squares with tumult and uncertainty
  • Invisible Sun, 2014 (museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, 2016)
    => Aftermath of Arab Spring and the collapse of architectural structure, searching for new forms of articulation and invention of a new visual language
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Project 1.1 – Ex 1.0: Smallest to largest reach

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

Project 1: Body gesture – Smallest to largest reach

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

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

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

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

My tools and media:

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


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

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

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


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

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Structure of learning blog

Reading through part one of the course material I noticed that the course is split into six parts, the last part kind of unique as it covers the critical review, and each part into project e.g. part one has five projects. Each project consists of exercises, reading point and further research points.

I was wondering how this differs from level HE4 courses (part and exercises plus research points) and how does this inform my the structure of my learning log as well as my studio practice.

The first thing that I truly appreciate is the grouping into projects. To work in projects is what I experienced and appreciated in drawing1 and painting1 in context of the personal project as last assignment of each course. Also, my parallel projects that I worked on during painting 1 (e.g. daily self portraits) as during UVC (collaborative work with SJField and Lottie, my ongoing project ‘Difference and Becoming‘) was informed by a more project related structure and less by a task oriented structure.

In conclusion, my researches and reading do inform my personal project work. And my project work need to be contextualized through research.

I understand that the exercises are the starting point for working on projects.

My blog structure:

  • Coursework: by parts and by projects
  • Assignment: All assignment work incl self evaluation against assessment criteria, but without preparatory reseaches that inform my work
  • Research & Visual Culture: All coursework related researches and reading related to projects, as well as what I call ‘visual culture’ at large that consists of exhibitions, books and films
  • Learning Log – all my reflection on my journey, other researches and reading, and work that will inform my practice
  • Parallel Project and Critical Review as separate category (to be updated)
  • Other aspects: under About and Other


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Tarkovsky Andrei Rublev: Cinema, Iconic Painting and the Artist

Trinity (c)2017, SJSchaffeld -c opy of Andrei Rublev 'Trinity'

Andrei Rublev is considered as one of the top cinematic masterpieces. Rubley was a iconic painter and was considered a hero in the 15th century in Russia during the time of the tatars. The film deals with the troubles of the artist’s soul and life between religion, war and cruelty, pagan rites, and his art – a commission for the palace of the Grand Prince.

Andrei Tarkosky‘s exploration of space and the human conditions of life as a deeply psychological encounter fascinates me already since my painting 1 course unit some time ago. This was reflected in my research on the sublime and on Juhani Pallasmaa’s argumentation on the embodied architecture in moving images.

Watching now Tarkovsky’s two part film Andrei Rublev (1966, 1969) and reading Angela Dalle Vacche article ‘Cinema as the Restoration of Icon Painting’, exploring the film in her book Cinema and Painting (1996:135-160) a couple of thoughts strike me:

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Heater – Typology

Stefan513593 - Typology Heater- feature image

Afterthought 12 Dec:

On the edited version the comment relating to the alcoves ‘disappearance’ was that it would be better to make the composition first with the camera and refine later. There is certainly something for me to rethink when making ‘quick’ snapshot on what vsually attracts me. It would have been truly better and more relevant for me to possibly make sketches and think visually in that place, to explore deeper on site what it is. Perhaps, I got sidertracked and the main reason for me being there was the exhibition of Stefan Burger.

Lesson learned, embrace such ‘disturbances’ and look what it makes it such way.


During my exhibition visit of Stefan Burger at the Kunsthalle Bern I felt attracted by the row and vintage looking row of heaters. I posted that quickly combined imaged in the discuss forum under ‘just because’ thread, and Clive gave some excellent feedback:

First, that it is a typology, a classification of types belonging to one group. Second, that it is accuracy if of importance in such subjects (perspecte, orientation, size)

Therefore, I adjusted white level, and perspective in photoshop and modified with the clone stamp the edges to make it more coherent. Although, this manipulation reduced the visual depth and impact of the alcove. Partly due to the perspective cropping as well.

Here the results (also posted in the forum):

Stefan513593 - Typology Heater

Fig. 1: Stefan513593 – Typology Heater


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Stefan Burger – Exhibition Kunsthalle Bern

  • Stefan Burger – Exhibition Kunsthalle Bern
  • Stefan Burger – Exhibition Kunsthalle Bern
  • Stefan Burger – Exhibition Kunsthalle Bern
  • Stefan Burger – Exhibition Kunsthalle Bern
  • Stefan Burger – Exhibition Kunsthalle Bern

I went to the exhition on Stefan Burger (Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland – Stefan Burger (14 October – 10 December 2017)

Burger’s photographs of flowers with their strong tonal contrast, a rather graphically appeal and  an expression of serenity, do remind me of some flower paintings by the Swiss artists Pascal Danz (brice marden, 2014) and Kotscha Reist (Vanitas).  I researched both artists during my painting1 course unit.

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Preparing my Studio Practice – First reflection

Stefan513593 - Mud Fall - work in progress - (c)SJSchaffeld, 2016

“What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event” – Harold Rosenberg, 1952

What is it all about? Painting as gesture, movement and performance

This is my first level HE 5 course unit, understanding that it will allow me more freedom to explore according what resonates most to me, to make truly a work of myself, and be authentic in visualization my ideas and sensations. Making paintings and gestural works as a key element in part one, I will be mindful in what will happen and to response to the moment rather than follow pre-conceived ideas. The latter that made my during previous level a bit too self-conscious. Thus, I will reflect on how I am doing in my practice-led research. Inspired since some time now by the book of Smith and Dean (2014). I liked especially the article  by Kathleen Vaughan on ‘Mariposa’.

Reading through part one made me aware of the exciting journey of bodily interaction with mark making, paint application, gesture and movement without my gesture. I understand the mix of exercices, reading and research as a starting point, or just as some idea input to set the stage.

Since my drawing 1 unit I was fascinated by the sensual approach with mark making, how my senses to interact and interfere with what I observe, see, and recall from memory.

Other resources that inspired my during the previous course units are on the one hand the article by Michael Croft (2016) where he described his phenomenlogical awareness of drawing at the wall with a corner, a video camera recording him, his bending and stretching informing his spatial mark making  (see my blog post for D1). Another work that inspired my personal project for drawing 1 was the  fantastic collaborative work Harty and Sawdon (2012) on exploring whether one could and if yes how draw the ‘taste of tree’. An iterative and layered approach with photo images, word associations and drawing. Eventually led the author to conclude that they were not that successful in drawing on the taste, as most assoications were based on sight and hearing, at times touch (see my blog post).

Further, I was and still am deeply influenced by the tactility of drawing and painting. With some inspirations from the exhibition ‘Prière de toucher‘ Basel (2016) I felt that visual art is also tactile art, with the human body, the artist body, a key aspect in the work. From that same exhibition the video installation oy Pipilotti Rist inspired me to wright my last assignment essay for UVC

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Course Aims and Outcome

Course aims

The aim of this course is to help you:

  • develop an understanding of processes pertinent to contemporary painting;
  • develop methods of generating, combining and transforming ideas through paint and other media, and recording, selecting and processing visual information;
  • expand the use of a range of media (both traditional and contemporary) and develop an understanding of linkages between various ways of painting and making a painting;
  • develop knowledge of the work of some important artists and movements in painting since 1900 and your ability to apply, relate and embody this knowledge in your work;
  • develop self reflective skills within a research led approach and Identify ways to solve problems and incubate ideas within an expanded painting practice.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • demonstrate your ability to develop ideas, create, record, analyse and translate visual information and explain key processes of contemporary painting;
  • use a range of processes and media to create an accomplished and competent series of paintings;
  • demonstrate knowledge of significant artists and movements in painting from 1900 to present and apply this knowledge in your work;
  • develop ideas and resolve problems in your practice through reflection on your own learning experience.

Reference: Coursematerial Painting 2 – Studio Practice. p. 8

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Getting ready for my next level

What an excitement is falling over me. Just in the last steps of my last level HE4 course unit Understanding Visual Culture, the moment I got hold of the course sample for the new painting 2 unit ‘Studio Practice’ brought to me by fellow student Catherine, I couldn’t hold back my joy.

Unfortunately, I still need to get feedback from my tutor on my last assignment till I can enroll officially to the next level. Subject to my pass for UVC at assessment next March. Where neither I nor my tutor have any doubts of.


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