Tag Archives: studio

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHQ–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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Exhibition: Bruce Nauman ‘Disappearing Acts’, Basel

Bruce Nauman - image credit Schaulager Basel, photo: Jason Schmidt

Disappearing Acts

Bruce Nauman (b. 1941) ‘Disappearing Acts’  (17 March to 26 August 2018) at Schaulager Basel, Switzerland

“If I was an artist
and I was in the studio

then whatever I was doing
in the studio must be art” – Bruce Nauman (Tate, 2017) 

A major retrospective – the first since 25 years, now in collaboration with MoMA and shown first in Basel. A blockbuster show I would assume attracts massive visitors – and capital. And I was excited to discover Nauman’s works I knew only from my previous researches, and to see how studio space can be a subject matter and a work in itself, as the quote made me wonder.

It was my first visit to the museum Schaulager in Basel, a modern architecture full of various perspectives. I was early and enjoyed exploring the surrounding and different viewpoints (Fig. 1):

Stefan513593 - Exterior Schaulager - Bruce Nauman - June 2018

Fig. 1: Stefan513593 – Exterior Schaulager – Bruce Nauman – June 2018

Some works inspired me – not always clear why. Nevertheless, I spend more time there – and different things started to happen. The title of the exhibition ‘Disappearing Acts’ intriguing, as it doesn’t clearly communicate what it is all about, what is behind. The outside of the museum with double large screens (these are permanently there) with a lo-tech and ad-hoc iphone recording called Mr Rogers (2013) of Nauman’s balancing act of keeping a short pencil with two pencil, each touching each other just with the tip of the sharpened end. The arbitrary title Mr Rogers, because it is the name of Nauman’s cat and his paws appeared at one moment into view. Kind of work on the go, enlarged for the public. For Nauman, this was another physical reflection on optical illusion of the parallax phenomena where one can see a virtual third pencil. So less disappearing than appearing, a human physiological phenomena. For me also a good example to look at my own space , to explore it and to make discoveries. Presentation of the work might be another topic.

Venice Fountain, 2007 

Standing and sketching. How did it kept my attention? The fountain that relates to Nauman’s earlier work Myself as a Marble Fountain (1967) (see Fig. 2), a conscious self-image as an artist (he just finished his MFA) and reflecting the quote above, the artist as the master and genius, quite contemporary of his time back then.

For me, it was more about the water flowing out of the negative (plaster and wax) casts (masks of the artist face) in a never ending loop, a loop like video or endless sequence (what I do at times with vimeo videos – loop at the end), no start, no end. Negative casts, another example his work A Cast of the Space Under my Chair (1965-68), the latter reminded my strongly of Rachel Whiteread House (1993) and her negative casting technique.

Nauman’s work is an assembly of stuff from his studio (later I found out that the sinks were already staged in his ealier work Mapping the Studio (2001). For me an expression of absence and presence of the artist. And the reversal of two flow directions, external and internal, outside the body and through the body. I found especially the inside-out presentation of what may happen inside of us an intriguing thought, though it might not be what the artist intended.


Stefan513593 - Sketches; Bruce Nauman 'Venice Fountain' (2007)

Fig. 2: Stefan513593 – Sketches, Bruce Nauman ‘Venice Fountain’ (2007)

The following rooms to be curated in chronological order, starting with Nauman’s earliest work from the 1960s.

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Project 1.3: Visual Reflection

Stefan513593 - studio snap shot


Not Knowing is Knowing More


.. this seems to be the creative way explored by Rebecca Fortnum in her article on ‘Creative Accounting: Not Knowing In Talking and Making’ (2013).

What differentiates art and painting from craft, design, or science? And what is creativity?

Some months ago, creativity was a topic of discussion at the OCA discuss forum: relationship intention and making, restrictions, and experimentation. I took that opportunity to reflect on my own approach so far (see my blog post Notes on Creativity). 

Making of Uncertainty

Fortnum highlights three key aspects while taking some references to others :

  • a solution focused approach and embracing the unpredictable and uncertainty, the unforeseen 
  • a knowledge beyond rationale thinking, ‚feeling the outcome‘, a ‚visceral moment’, a sense of ‚epiphany‘, measuring success and failure by that reaction
  • a doing something new, a sense of originality. Knowing something as opposite to new.

I can relate to the approach of uncertainty, at times it feels like moving into uncertainty with assertiveness. To recognize the outcome through a non-rationale ‘thinking’ is often what I face in my works. How to recognize successfulm outcome? How to know what to do next, next brushstroke, next body movement, next decision? But are the ‘visceral moments’, as M Chevska expressed this, the measure for success and failure? Is my reaction alone the measure?

Her description of ‘originality’ brings me back to my earlier studies on Modernisim and Kant. The notion of authorship and originality was challenged and overthrown by post-modernist thinkers and artists, and is still today in contemporary art a rather ambivalent topic. Kant described a ‘genius’  the artist who ‘does not know, and so cannot explain, how he or she was able to bring them into being’ and thus ‘does not consciously follow rules’ (Ginsborg, 2013). Is this ‘not knowing’ just a modernist return with a Kantian affirmation?

Most interesting for me to follow her argumentation on space, process, and language related to painting. Where to make and how to make art, a painting, and now to talk about it? 

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