Shifting subordination – Painting and sculpure

Today I was thinking about the visual tension created by combining painting and sculpture. I was able to many different types of outcomes that I am going to review on this text, I have to say that I am excluding from this analysis those sculptures that have a coating of painting meant to protect them or to give them a certain finish, those tinted by nature and also those with mirroring materials as I think they deserve a separate analysis.

1- The life-like sculpture

For me, this is a pretty “straightforward” approach with no tension between painting and sculpture. it seems to me that artists use the direct association as a starting point to develop their own ideas, I think most of the times this kind of sculptures resemble “living things” and in many cases are even made from living things. This is a very broad category that includes stuffed animals, war models, toys, replicas, store mannequins, wax models of celebrities and giant humans inside of a gallery. In this case, The resemblance of the piece (both texture and 3D shape) is the main ingredient and artists use it in many ways in order to achieve different results.

shifting-subordination-painting-sculpure4Jake and Dinos Chapman – The Sum of all Evil

shifting-subordination-painting-sculpure3Ron Mueck –  Mask II

2- The realistic 3D model

I think this category is very special and quite unique, mainly because this type of objects do not have to deal with the restrictions of materiality.

3- The painted sculpture

These are pieces were the sculpture clearly acts as the dominant element and the depicted image rises as a subproduct that covers the surface, in my opinion, this is the most common and boring outcome. A common example of this would be embodied by the countless painted cows spread around the world, in this case, there is almost no tension between image and sculpture as the first is created to “enrich” the second.

shifting-subordination-painting-sculpure1 shifting-subordination-painting-sculpure2

4 – Functional and ornamental objects.

The “Portrait of Joella”, a collaboration between Dalí and Man Ray.

So a building has the shape of a building and it is covered by the image of a building. I also was thinking about my approach as For me the image tends to be the foundational element while the 3D form tends to adapt to it.

I am also thinking about the restrictions that a flat image imposes over a tridimensional form. But maybe this is just one of many approaches…

Anyway. it seems that this tension is actually a great asset for expression as it challenges the rules of physical reality.

So maybe I just need to explore this tensions between image and 3D form and how they are connected with anamorphic representation as it might be a fundamental charcteristic embebed inside modern visual culture.

Image library

I am riding the tube and I saw an add from an animal shelter. ai started thinking about the distressed dog in the picture. it made me think and recall another distresed dog I have met in the past.

So images do that, they act as triggers for memory, of course, you might also do that with words but it is a completely different thing. Ani way. I was thinking about the viewer and how he or she always bring their own memories and experiences. I just have to find a way to play with that

Mind and body: The problem with perspective systems

The physicality of perspective systems

Just now I was reading a paper about the perspective systems in Ancient Chinese painting. At some point I thought that maybe this obsession we have towards creating a sophisticated system that could act as an objective recipient for the depiction of reality has a lot to do with how we interact with the physical world. I mean, both Euclidean and not Euclidean geometry have proven to be useful for the making of blueprints and even build or change the physical world, so why not try to keep using them in order to depict our experience of reality?

This is an Idea that has been around for thousands of years but history has shown that Artists, specially painters have always challenged it’s rules, and I think this has to do with the fact that in order to depict reality, we have to experience it and we do this with both our physical body and our minds. So, a system that favours our physical body over our minds is not efficient.

The convenience of the Flat canvas


From the readings I made for my research paper, I now know that linear perspective was born as an objective system to depict reality on flat surfaces, according to history this started with mirrors and was reinforced by architecture and it is obvious that flat paintings fit easily on flat walls, of course there are examples of images that do not follow this rule, in some cases, architecture is setting the path and in others, images follow the functional or symbolic uses of the object.

When you think about canvases, sketchbooks, prints and photographs it is easy to think about the convenience of the flat image, it makes easy to present it, to store it and reproduce it, so it seems that this feature of the image prevails over the content of it. It is a condition that seems almost fundamental about image creation… but is it? or better yet, should it be?

What about painting? From my experience, is really confortable to paint over a flat canvas instead of doing it over a non-flat one, but the same true for medium size canvases if compared to big or really small ones, and that is not enough reason to prefer medium size canvases. Further more, although physical comfort might be a desirable thing to have when painting, it is not always the same for mental comfort.

Convenient entrapment

So apparently, the use of both perspective systems (specially linear) and flat surfaces is convenient for practical reasons, but it does come with a price, we are trying to depict reality using tools that privilege the physical side over the mental one.



Be wrong strong

A couple of weeks I saw a movie about the life of Miles Davis, I really liked it, I was particularly marked by a very inspiring comment by the character interpreted by Don Cheadle: “Be wrong strong”.

Actually this comment helped me a lot when a was trying to decide the deepness of two paintings I made for an open call from the Mall Galleries, at that moment I was uncertain about it looking a bit to much extruded and I was feeling tempted to play it safe, at the end I decided to risk it and went for a size three times bigger than the one I had in mind, now I think it was the right choice.


By now this idea is pretty stuck in my head and has helped me to understand that risks might take me closer to my most personal and honest work.

Multiple points of view – 3D composing

I was thinking that I could make a piece using different perspectives from different characters.  focusing on what they are looking at.  maybe painting what is important for them in a three dimensional shape.

In this way, I could use “focus” as an active element inside the composition, Like I did in my self portrait connecting my self with the reflection of my self in the mirror.


Impossible connections?

I was thinking about things that are imposible for me to connect in my mind. like George Bush’s smile and a Blooming flower.



I think this has to do with the fact that I am trying to connect images from memories in my mind that apparently do not connect with each other. The funny thing is that they overlap all the time as my mind bounces between lots of them on a daily basis, like little tragedies.

Maybe I have to learn to depict this gaps as there might be no connection.

Or maybe the connection should only exists outside of the piece of art.


Make it look like an accident

It’s been a while since I started reflecting about accidents and how they shape our existence. I am aware that my brain spends lots of energy just to mantain the illusion of an ordered reality and therefor, prevent me from going mad.

Although it is natural for us to stay captivated by this fabricated state of mind, it is fairly easy to unveil parts of the chaotic and unpredictable ways of “real reality”. After all, our brain basically blocks huge chunks of data coming through our senses while keeping attention on thoughts.

Today I was going back on my research, reflecting on the paths I took before developing a particular idea that I am exploring at the moment, as I was drawing a mental map,  it was easy to realize that there were a lot of small accidents that influenced my mind to follow an specific direction; a photograph I took of a particular person that was standing on the train station, a sentence I read on a particular poster while I was going to the Uni. Although it may seem that I am talking about chance, I want to go further by exploring the idea of provoking accidents as a part of active research.


By now I realize that my creative practice is modulated by a higher body that prevents my self from engaging in spontaneous actions that might end up in more interesting and unknown places. On one hand, I know I need a rational structure to support my actions in order to perform well. On the other hand, I have found that in some parts of the process I am able to give up a rational approach by consciously blocking my thoughts and letting my guts lead the way.

For this piece of a landscape, I created a 3D digital model that was meant to be made physical, however I had many difficulties trying to create a big sized 3D representation of it, so I ended up deciding to go for an experimental model sculpting, at the end, I had to adapt and work in a surface that was pretty unique and also different from the original sketch.


In the present, I am still working on this piece, but the accidental approach helped me to gain confidence and I feel that soon I will start to do more work without being so dependent on 3D printing means.


I definitely believe that accidents might help develop ones practice in interesting directions and I feel that those new paths might go really close to one’s true expression.

can you think without language?

I had had this idea for quite a while in my head, I think that Self-consciousness has taught me that the mind does not store information as chunks of text ant that the visual imagery I “see” in my reflections is more or less the most pure state of my recalled thoughts and memories.


I guess I think without language, and I translate mental images onto lenguaje often to rationalize them, so maybe a more important question would be, Could I reflect without language? Could I use a mix of images and language?. (I know that the answer to the last one is yes).

Reality as a Streamline – A trip through the Neurohighways

While working on my first VR project I could not help to think that for most of the time, we humans (I guess animals too) end up living our lives inside of fixed paths. I started to imagine that they are like tunnels that cut through reality offering us with a secure yet very narrow view over the physical existence.


From my research on neuroscience,I know that this phenomenon has a biological explanation and a big impact on the way we experience life.


This is a pretty interesting fact that I will explore by creating more VR experiences.