Tag Archives: context

A5 – Contextual Notes

My last assignment 4 on materiality and skin and my critical review on medical imaging and ambiguity were the two most crucial sources that informed my assignment work. How medical imaging and skin are related. The transparent body, the disembodied medical gaze, visual images derived from transformed and machine code. The body as vulnerable object of the gaze being fragmented, distorted and displaced.

During the making, I felt reminded how earlier works done during this course had – subconsciously – informed my practice:


I found metal hangers as a good choice to work with. Hangers are used for clothes. Metal hangers are thin enough to provide enough support for stretching but also being not too dominant. I felt inspired to use them by Richard Tuttle‘s work in series Wire Pieces, 1972, although he explored a different subject through it (line, shadow, drawn line – questioning objectivity and subjectivity (Horn ed al, 2015:54-55) – see blog post.

I felt inspired by some of the layered works of Christian Bonnefoi. His works do show a semi-transparent appearance of layered shapes. The work are contained in a frame, something I wanted to overcome by using transparent Rhenalon plate as support, to play with the edges of the plate, the Parafilm material and the paint on it. This triple transparent-opaque dimension allowed me to be not to contained with the rectangle. However, my ‘sculptural skin’ series enabled me to cross even that boundary.

Another informing work that I looked at during writing my critical review, was the notion of Vesalius’s ‘Muscle Man’ studying anatomy (earlier medical gaze) and the skin as fashion accessoire that could be put on a hanger like a coat (see Juan Valverde de Amusco ‘Vivae Imagines’, 1566). The skin as dislocated and displaced material reminded me when I worked on paint materials as such, free from a canvas stretcher. The use of the metal hangers was flexible and thin enough to be even considered more of a material to draw with in space than a rigid frame.

The idea of fabric reminded me on the one hand of Tabita Moses‘s embroidered patient gown (2014) as her visual response to her IVF treatment. On the other and it reminded me of Sam Gilliam’s painted fabric and gown of coats as seen during my visit in Basel.Exhibition: Sam Gilliam ‘The Music of Color’, Basel. This shaping of the canvas and my earlier exploration of the patient gown made from mylar as the ‘object that stands for the body’ resulted eventually in appropriating a real patient gown (thanks to Alan Fletcher for shipping it over to my place from UK) with the transferred paint skin. 

Moreover, there are other artist that inspired with their approaches and body of works: 

  • Jaqueline Humphries and her embedded ‘visual text’ into her abstract paintings
  • Mona Hatoum and the sensibility of the body and its distortion that influenced my work on a back-burner. 
  • Helen Chadwick, especially her approach to interactive and interdependent aspect of embodiment, inside and outside alongside a drive for aesthetics in the resulting works. I explored these works deeply  in my critical review.



  • Campoli Presti Gallery (2019) Christian Bonnefoi, At: https://www.campolipresti.com/artists/christian-bonnefoi/bio (Accessed 03 Aug 2019).
  • Horn, R., Tuttle, R. J., Butler, C. H., Kläs, E., Tuerlinckx, J., Voigt, J., Gross, J. R., Chaffee, C., Roberts, V., Sullivan, L. L., Yale University, P. and DeCordova Sculpture Park and, M. (2015) Drawing redefined. Lincoln; New Haven; London: DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum ; distributed by Yale University Press.
  • Moses, T. (2014) Tabitha Moses, At: http://www.tabithamoses.co.uk/page10.htm (Accessed 28 Oct 2018).
  • SFOMA – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (s.D.) It’s alive! Richard Tuttle creates a wire piece at SFMOMA,[At: https://www.sfmoma.org/watch/its-alive-richard-tuttle-creates-a-wire-piece-at-sfmoma/(Accessed on 20 Aug 2019).
  • Schaffeld, S.J. (2018) ‘Exhibition: Sam Gillam ‘The Music of Color’, Basel’ [blog post] At: http://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=2175 (Accessed 27 Aug 2019).
  • Tuttle, R., Petersens, M. and Borchardt-Hume, A. (2014) Richard Tuttle – I don’t know : The Weave of Textile Language. London: Whitechapel, Tate.
  • The University of Cambridge (1566) ‘Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), ‘Vivae imagines partium corporis humani aereis formis expressae. Book 2, plate 1’, in Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), V. i. p. c. h. a. f. e. B., plate 1, ed., Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, print.
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Project 5.3: Locating Titles

The title of a work might act as a portal. Going to a museum or gallery, visitors tend to look at the name tag (often accompanied with listening to the audio guide at their ears). What always irritates me, first a surprise, then annoying, is how artists name works ‘untitled’ just to add another title in brackets:


‘Untitled (this is my title)’, 2019


What does this tell me? According to Danto (2006) , the title differentiates art from ‘mere things’. Mere things as a chair is just an object, a chair. Naming it like ‘Chair’, 2019 can place it into the realm of art. Naming a work is an artist’s gesture, reminding me of baptism, an un-named work not existing?

To name it ‘Untitled‘ can make the difference. Finally, I can write something on the name tag on the wall. It is one of my own experiences with recent local exhibitions, to provide a title and a price tag. As if these two are acknowledging as the final proof that it is really a piece of art.

The feature image above, a sketch I made during UVC1,  has no title (!?- is this already a title ??). The title is the work, or it is within the work, a statement, an intention?  If I consider giving a title to name it, perhaps it is just that- empty blackness filled with text.

It resonates how On Kawara (1932 – 2014) integrated the title as work. His painting series Today, 1966 – a repetitive series of painting the words of the day of making the painting for nearly five decades.  What normally would appear on the back of a painting, year or date of making, became the work as such. On Kawara applied a rigid working sequence in making these paintings. Interestingly, he also made for each painting, varying in size, a cardboard box, often lined with newspaper clippings. He considered the context of making by being informed by the country he stayed at that time. Overall, a massive archive created, a calendar materialised through painting. I could imagine that these minimalistic paintings turned into icons, as backdrop as decoration. The temporality of a day imprinted for ever in a painting.

It reminds me, although completely different and not made over that period of time, of Bruce Naumann soundscape installation Days, 2009. Multiple loudspeakers installed as a corridor, the viewer passes through, and can listen to the overlapping speeches from each loudspeaker, with someone saying the one day of the week. Those works are archives, lists, announcement of time in space. The title – the work – speech. I am intrigued by considering language not as written but as spoken words. 


An Oak Tree – Michael Craig-Martin, 1973

What is the title and what is the work? It is a three part piece of work: the title, the photographic image of ‘assorted objects’ and the text in the form of an interview. 

A sculpture, an installation?  With a longer text joining it, perhaps the text is the work and the sculpture is an illustration of the text? One tends to see text always as name text, guiding information as in leaflets written by a curator. The title is the gesture of the artist (always?). Artist writing tend to be either essays or something else. Joining visual and text. Since DADA a habit, expressed through self-made publication, quite similar to what we are doing as a group of students with edge-zine.

Can text be art? Writers, authors do it all the time. Are visual artist’s less prone to consider text as art? 

Craig-Martin made this work 1973, at the height of conceptual art. It resonates with conceptions of ‘Art as Idea’ as explored by Joseph Kosuth who quoted Donald Judd’s expression “if someone calls it art, it’s art” (2003). The idea is the gesture that turns anything into a piece of art. 

How serious does one takes it? In context of conceptual art Oak Tree might be just an institutional critique against commodification of art. Does art need to be easily understandable? This work might also reflect a viewpoint that one can’t argue with artist’s intentions. It is not science, it is not objective. One large portion of art is to ask questions (my view), what Oak Tree certainly does. 

To write the text in the form of an interview (Q and A) – apparently both sides written by the artist (!) – could mean to engage more and to be less obvious, didactic. 

Overall, what can one argue with? It reminds my of schizophrenia, a parallel reality that is true from a subjective point of view. 


  • featured image. Schaffeld, S.J. (2017) collage of screenshot found online


  • Craig-Martin, M. (2019) ‘Michael Craig-Martin’ At: www.michaelcraigmartin.co.uk/work-index#/early-work/ (Accessed  29 July 2019).Danto, A. C. (2006) ‘Works of Art and More Real Things’, in: The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,,pp. 1 – 32.
  • Guggenheim (2019) ‘Paintings: Today Series/Date Paintings’ At: https://www.guggenheim.org/arts-curriculum/topic/paintings-today-seriesdate-paintings  (Accessed  25 July 2019). 
  • Kosuth, J. (2003) ‘Art After Philosophy (1969)’, in: Harrison, C. and Wood, P. (eds.) Art in Theory, 1900-1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Malden, MA; Oxford, UK; Victoria, AUS: Blackwell Publishing,pp. 852-861. VIIA – 11.
  • Manchester , E. (2002) Michael Craig-Martin – An Oak Tree, 1973, At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/craig-martin-an-oak-tree-l02262 , London: Tate.(Accessed  25 July 2019). 
  • MoMA (2019) ‘Bruce Nauman: Days – MoMAJune 2–August 23, 2010’ At: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1057 (Accessed  25 July 2019).
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A4 – Contextual Notes

Vibrant Matter of Skin


Vibrant Matter -Touching my Skin – Stretching my limits.’


Latex: a material full of cultural connotations, derived a rubber from the rubber tree, used as latex-skin in erotica, as medium for latex paint, as material for medical gloves (what mostly are replaced now by nitrile gloves due to latex allergy). A material, only thinking of it at a later stage, I had explored on a molecular level during my master thesis in chemistry (my first academic degree ages ago).  

This part of the course was asking question around canvas and stretcher, mostly I did look at it from a surface versus body conception. All paintings at perceived through their surface and all sculpture through their physical body, was this the way I would differentiate both disciplines? I started to think of paint as body, and of object like the stretcher as pictorial objects. Paint with multiplied sides, as a skin with double faces, and paint as a material that can be modeled with. I found in latex a material that has some similarities with acrylic paint. I could apply it with brushes, I could pour it, I could use various colors. It also has similarities with e.g. plaster in the form of plaster bandage used for sculptures, to build form with it, to cast.

I eventually closed in the idea of skin, and was informed by the books of Lisa Cartwright (Cartwright, 1995) and Jose van Dijk (van Dijck, 2005) as well as Bernadette Wegenstein (Wegenstein and Hansen, 2006). However, I didn’t looked at it from a conceptual viewpoint rather as a possibility of reading material. I found skin as good metaphor for how I perceived the material of latex, body and surface. Paint only as surface is what I would relate to the spray painted works of Katharina Grosse (Art21, 2015). Paint as body is what I see in the work of Lynda Benglis (Tate Shots, 2012). I was curious to see how one material could move along those two poles: surface and body. Some other artists, I loosely do refer to are Angela de la Cruz, for her use of paint as folding materials (though still with a supporting canvas) especially in relationship with the stretcher (Wetterling Gallery, 2016), Simon Callery, for his drappery like suspended canvas sculptures (Fold Gallery, s.D.), Dana Molzan, for some relevance to hangings (Kaufmann Repetto, s.D. ), and Karla Black, for her fragile hanging ephemeral works (National Galleries Scotland, 2019) .

Informed by my parallel project on medical imaging, the transparent clinical body, and the medical intrusive gaze through the skin, informed my exploration of the vulnerability, the fragmented paint, and options of negative space making the opaque latex ‘transparent’.

To look at it from a different angle, I do wonder whether aspect of Minimal Art or mono-ha do not also play a role here, especially considering the perception of the work in space. It is just a fade sensation. Although, the works are rather small scale, I could envision to make them human scale, room scale, These are the dimensions that the works of both art movements (western and eastern) do embrace. I do can imagine it, but I can’t experience it with small scale works only. Possibly, a digital simulation could give a better idea.

Just as a afterthought, I read recently an article about extended MRI techniques that allows to measure brain elasticity by ‘sending vibrations through ..They move faster through stiffer material, producing … maps of tissue rigidity, that may correspond to brain activity.’(Makin, 2019)  This might be just too far ‘stretched’, but I found a certain resonance in how I worked with the latex paint material through sensing, feeling, stretching, responding to tensions – a vibrant matter.

(word count 491)


I visited the mono-ha exhibition at Cardi Gallery, London, and was intrigued by some works that embrace with tension: inside the work between two materials and in relationship to the viewer in the physical space of the room (e.g. Lee Ufan’s Relatum, 1969/2015). After our performance event in London where I showed my parallel project (a collaborative work with music student Vicki Downey) I was more convinced that the right perception of certain works can only be bodily experienced in a physical space as an encounter. It resonated with a quote from Nobuo Sekine (Fig. 1).

“My act is intended to open up the state of transparent world …
What we are doing is finding ways to have encounters today.” – Nobuo Sekine

But this might be just the biggest challenge as a distant art student. And what eventually would result in make actual exhibitions of my work and to have that experience being conveyed as part of my work. I possibly have to put this aside till level 3.






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A3 – Contextual Notes

My assignment work started with Richard Serra’s video work  ‘Hand Catching Lead’  (Serra, 1968). Knowing, that he made it from a sensible position of exploring video as a rather new media in combination with his ongoing work on a metal sculpture ‘House of Cards’ (1969). It is about performance and perception. Additionally, it was the notion of failure that intrigued me, relating back to my earlier performance and failure works for assignment 1.

Through my appropriation and enacting Serra’s work in a new situation, a painted TV-box in my studio space, I went further and appropriated even my viewing of Serra’s work on my computer screen in comparison with viewing it on a TV-box-screen in a museum.

Over time, I explored the performative aspect of the screen, the flat surface, an illuminated surface. A sensibility of screen-based imagery as the norm of our today’s multi-social-media overflow that not only cab be seen in Penelope Umbrico’s series ‘TVs from Craigslist’ (Umbrico, 2011) but also in the short intense performative act of Hito Steyerl’s work ‘Strike’ (2010) as seen in a past exhibition (Kunstmuseum Basel, 2018). Interestingly, the aesthetic of a broken flat screen is reflected once again in Umbrico’s series ‘Broken Sets / Bad Displays’ (2007).

With some further research I was excited to read Esther Leslie’s account of liquid crystals (the part that transmits to us the illusion of images) and her description of J.W. Goethe’s encounter with mirror and the way images appear and disappear by breathing onto a glass surfaces (Candela et al., 2018). A bodily encounter of touch (through breathing) and alongside above aesthetics of a colorful broken liquid crystal screen, I explored through recording and projection the performance of light and colors on the surfaces, artefacts and glitches through a repetitive cycle of recording-projecting. I wanted to capture these performative colors and the sense of touch through the gesture of the hand. The hand that has a high emotional and semiotic element in our life as humans, gestures are language and provide meaning, a viewpoint explored by Mark Johnson deeply (Johnson, 2008).

For me it was fascinating to hear the responses of peers on my initial ‘Time-Screen’ paintings (at: http://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?page_id=4515) with one reference to Jean Cocteau Orphée (Bradshaw, 2018), an exploration of the other world. What brought me closer into the territory of dissociation and reaching across worlds. Dissociation because that was the feeling I experience during enacting the ‘Hand Catching’ performance: my hand inside the ‘TV-box’ behaving rather independently from my mind and ‘outside’ body. And it resonated with an earlier peer feedback (at: http://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=4136) on my enactment performance with reference to Alexa Wright’s ‘Alter Ego’ (2005) that ‘investigates the familiar sense of being outside of (beside) oneself, and plays with the experience of a loss of control over an aspect of the self.’ (Wright, 2017) .

Partly, I was informed with rising awareness of my own previous works from part 1 and 2, e.g. the paper folding painting, as a repetitive and failing performance work (The Puzzle of Gesture and What is left behind at: http://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=1230) . Through my deeper exploration of masking and stencil as well as acrylic transfer processes I continued to work on composition, color, shapes and edges. Regarding the aesthetics of this approach I was much inspired by Jaqueline Humphries works, especially her ’emoij’ laser cut layered large scale paintings, as seen recently in a Modern Art gallery in London (Crown Point Press, 2016, Humphries, 2018, Modern Art Gallery, 2018)

In assignment 1, my approach to Perspex and other transparent materials was quite rudimentary, in this assignment I embraced the qualities much more. To an extent of facing technical barriers, but also of surprising elements, as the paintings with light coming from the back do show. My interest in light was further triggered by Helen Chadwick and her work ‘Of Mutability’ (1986) and ‘Lumina’ or ‘Blood Hyphen’ (1986) (Chadwick, 2011, James, 2017, Walker, 2013). Light as performative and painterly element. It resonates also with Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘White Paintings’ (1951) and Jaqueline Humphries ‘Black Paintings’ (2005) (Brown, 2009). Either ambient light or UV, light as impacting the way what and how we see pictures.

During my assignment work and working more with reflective surfaces I was inspired by the work by Sara Naim (Romdane, 2018), and for my exploration of painting as moving images I looked at the work by Naomie Kremer’s ‘Hybrid Paintings’(2014-15), paintings with overlay of projected images (Kremer, 2014-15).

Overall, I felt intrigued by my explorations and over time a remove from my moving images, my initial observational paintings, and resulting into layered ‘gesture-screen-stills’ that I hoped would embrace some of the ideas behind Mona Hatoum’s body of work ((Hatoum et al., 2018) through combining conventions of materiality with new sensibilities and meaning. Also to consider art as visceral encounter that may open up to new mental images. More concern was more on a reductive versus literal approach of handling material.


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A1 – Contextual notes: Gesture, Body movement and Failure

  • A1 – Contextual notes: Gesture, Body movement and Failure
  • A1 – Contextual notes: Gesture, Body movement and Failure
  • A1 – Contextual notes: Gesture, Body movement and Failure
  • A1 – Contextual notes: Gesture, Body movement and Failure

Some of my thoughts on how I do see the wider context my work, artistically or culturally.

One attempt of Failure: Folding and Unfolding

When I started to explore my folding and unfolding work, it was more a result of my earlier ‘paper’ work, expanding the flat surface of paper through a notion of the figure (the paper turning from support into the medium) of a collage (Fig. 1).

Paper ground in space #2 - sheet / skin collage

Fig. 1: Paper ground in space #2 – sheet / skin collage

A rising ground, or a reverse to ground and figure. It relates mostly with my earlier interrogation with the texts of Gilles Deleuze (Differences and Repetition) and related to my parallel work started during my UVC studies: Difference and Becoming 

Folding - a sketchy exploration - and failure

Fig. 2: Folding – a sketchy exploration – and failure

With some more sketches and further experiments I got hooked by the folding and unfolding as such, A human gesture, intention of making something. Considering the creative aspect, it truly brought up notions of Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.  But not the decorative aspect of it, the creation of something beautiful, rather the creation, the action as such. I always found Origami kind of magic – the end results made me wonder how theses were done. Thus unfolding helps to get more insight, knowledge on how to do. The issues with that approach is, that after some unfolding I found it so difficult to fold it back, to create the initial final result again. This is mirrored in my simple sketchbook exploration of folding (Fig. 2). 

What I realised here, was the idea of failure (as I explored during my reading of Emma Decker’s essay (Le Feuvre, 2010:162)

My execution of the work was done rather intuitively and I was very much occupied with what I do and how my body and thoughts are impacted by my doing. Quite a different approach to painting, as in the past and during drawing 1 and painting 1 I was so much self-conscious and trying to anticipate the outcome that I was perhaps less in contact with what and how I did at that moment. It changed with my parallel projects during UVC and the collaborative project with SarahJaneField. 

One aspect I experience with my moving of folding and unfolding was the applied structure, to make folds. I have the feeling that structure is something I more often rejected in my past life, but going to appreciated as part of the creative process, providing a foundation to start off (and to come back in case) into new realms.

Unfolded sheet #1 (ink, paper)

Fig. 3: Unfolded sheet #1 (ink, paper)

Talking about new realms I felt at times, especially looking at the unfolded sheets (Fig. 3), reminded or the work of  Katharina Grosse, especially her latest large scale works in Sydney The Horse Trotted Another Couple Of Metres, Then It Stopped , 2018  (Acrylic on fabric / 1000x4600x1500 cm, Carriageworks, Sydney).


Stefan513593 - Assignment 1 - folding#2 - Fragments #2

Fig. 4: Fragments #2

At the end of the process I was facing the fragments of the sheets (Fig 4). My approach to recombine back can be considered as failure and as an impossible task, a mental challenge. What is triggered though, was the association with Jean Dubuffet and his Assemblages. I was already during my visit to a major retrospective in 2016 in Basel intrigued by that fragmentation process and giving it another layer of meaning. 


I am not aware of other context. Also I didn’t ask other yet. Though, it would be good to see a wider context of my performative and repetitive action towards failure.


Another attempt of Failure: Dog Shit Performance

Stefan513593 - Part 1 - Exercise 2 - Painting without brush #1 - ground and sheet

Fig. 5: Wasbaord (Laundry)

My approach to this part of the assignment was mainly inspired by my own work for exercise 1.1 (Fig. 5).  I related my Washboard (laundry) work first with women doing household work, especially the past physical intense and repetitive action of using a washboard (see online images). Through my own painterly action I could feel the physical intensity, the exhaustive effect. It reminded me of Janine Antoni (1993) Loving Care, not as a nostalgia of childhood memories, rather as a cultural and social activity, mostly hidden and ignored. There might be some feminist elements associated with it, for me as man to wonder what it would mean?

Stefan513593 - Assignment1 - Dog Shit Ground view - final

Fig.6: Dog Shit Performance – final ground view

After peer review  I got connected with the IRA Dirty Protest in 1978, where prisoners in the Maze prison protested against the sanitary conditions in the prison and started to smear their own excrements on the wall. With some further research I found that Richard Hamilton (1981 – 83) The Citizen, who appropriated the at that times media circulated image of the prisoners alongside a gestural ‘smeared’ painting (also called blanketmen, as the rejected to wear regular prisoner clothes, communicating their wish to be seen as political prisoners, not criminals) 

I can see some connection with Carolee Schneeman (1973 – 76) Up to and Including Her Limits, with the stretching the limits, and embracing the floor and wall space. 

In the peer review on the OCA discuss forum fellow students could relate the work to Richard Long and his paintings with mud from the Severn Estuary onto the gallery wall. Or I could add his M-Shed work in Bristol. An artist that already inspired my during my personal project as the final part of drawing 1.

Another reference provided by Kate, was the work of Keith Arnatt (1990) Dog Turds. The artist interrogated in his work also rubbish as such. I am wondering what was driving me to dog poop, and the bags, the dog turds, the shit, or the human actions, the gesture, or even beyond that , the absence of gestures as an social agreement? An open question without an answer. My performative painting was done in the material I used before, shellac and gum solution, that after mixing and rubbing turns into a dirty dark brown ‘shit’. Is the material, the visual appearance what makes associations?  I think my work opened more questions as possible answers. The feedback from peers in relation to my moving images sequences gives me some idea about ambiguity of meaning and intent.

Visual Collection:

My Pinterest board capturing images and works in context relevant to my assignment work:





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