Ways of seeing – John Berger

   Recently I was accepted on a peer-to-peer event called Pop-up common room, and one of the things we had to do was to read a book called Ways of seeing by John Berger, I did not read the book although now I think is worth to take a look to it, instead, I saw a four-episode collection of videos on youtube.

I have to say that this was a very positive surprise, and I feel that many of the things said by him resonate a lot with my ideas.

There are particular passages on this videos that I am planning to share at the research discussion due on the 9th of March.

The first fragment is about how we see things and how images are manipulated and transformed by the use of the camera to reproduce them, I really feel that there is a strong link with my research paper.

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At the end of this same fragment, I found a strong connection with my present practice and how images could be used to create space.

The next fragment gains a huge importance within my current practice as I am able to use still images in combination with a moving camera and even sound. I really like it when he talks about the corridor between the viewer and the painting.

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This other little fragment resonates with my idea of the META-IMAGE

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This other fragment from episode 4 also enriches my idea of the META-IMAGE

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My reflection:

At the moment I am quite interested in two specific topics i.e. spatial metaphors and the Meta-image, Berger has given me wonderful insights about images and the way we use them and abuse them, I think I should take a look at his book and also look for references to other authors that reflect about visual culture.

Portrait of my wife

On January I created a piece called “Portrait of my wife”,  this was my next physical sculpture after the ones I made for the Interim show, I felt quite challenged by it and my research was focused on the ways one can depict the self, around that same time I finished reading “Picturing the Self” – by artist Geb Doy.

Up to this point, I feel that when depicting visual reality, I have to balance both the landscape and de subject in order to build the dynamics of my pieces; is not about people or places, it is about both.

Physically expanding the image

Again I was thinking about Zygmunt Bauman’s book “Globalization”. At one point, I felt that there was a connection between the dematerialization of information and my need to extrude the image. Maybe I am making 3D images in an effort to physically grasp the reality that is represented in them, to make them an object that exists inside my physical space rather than a flat image presented on a screen.

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Maybe this has to do with the fact that the huge flood of digital images makes us feel disconnected because the are not part of immediate physical reality. on Bauman’s book, he was referring to how time and space have been compressed in a globalised world

What is this relation between time and space?

The cheapness of images

I was reading Zygmunt Bauman’s book “Globalization”, and there he was referring to cheap communication. how the electronic means liberated information from its physical boundaries.

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When reading this, it is easy to think about how digital media and especially social media present us with a collaged reality that clashes with our immediate reality, so our brains are constantly challenged in order to make sense of this chaotic expanded reality.

Cheap images
Made Cheap / Cheap made

One could say that there is always a cost associated with the creation of an image and that this cost could be expressed in time and effort (including learning curves), in the cost of materials used and involved in the creation process and even in resources involved (like tools and places).

One could also add that thanks to the means of reproduction, these costs are most likely to be divided between the copies created from an original (something very different happens with value) and this could allow you to make images cheap. Thinking about digital images allows concluding that they are even cheaper thanks to the means of replication and transport.

I guess that a very important fact to take into account is that today, more than ever, people are exposed to images; both digital and physical images have flooded our reality. One interesting thing about this is that, although images have become cheap, common and ephemeral,  they had also become a fundamental part of how we communicate and interact with each other.

What does this mean for a painter?

A paradox!

 

My artist statement – 15-01-2017

I am interested in the representation of reality as a subjective experience built at the junction of both inner and outer worlds, I want to create meta-images that use naturalistic depiction as a point of entry into the inner world.

I believe that by liberating the image from the restraints imposed by the frame, the flat canvas and the geometric perspective systems, it becomes a meta-image that comes closer to how I truly experience reality.

The interface of reality

I watched this video and I was fascinated by the idea that our experience of reality is actually mediated by an interface that helps us to deal with it without having to deal with more complex elements of it, similar to what computer interfaces allow us to do when interacting with the machine.

My reflection:

I think that this video supports and validates my quest for a visual representation that escapes the restraints of de frame and perspective systems. I think that in the future I might use this analogy of an interface as a way to address the function of the work of art. An interface that represents my experiences on reality.

Jean Dubuffet

I found this artist by accident, at the beginning I was attracted by the way he combines painting and sculpture in his work, things shifted a lot when I discovered a video on a specific piece called “Happy landscape”.

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I was surprised as it was very difficult to find any image of this painting on google, at the end, I found a good enough image of the whole painting on Instagram.

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In this video, I also learned that Dubuffet was very influenced by primitive artists.

My interest: I am fascinated by the childish way in wich the landscape is presented, I personally think that there is a strong connection between this piece and the way I want to represent the context of

I am fascinated by the childish way in wich the landscape is presented, I personally think that there is a strong connection between this piece and the way I want to represent the context of an experience. I really believe that the lack of a fixed perspective system allows the piece to include much more within the frame.

Frames whitin frames

Today I was thinking about how we frame reality and how media allows our minds to access multiple views on reality.

 

I believe that this excessive flow of visual information tends to create a dynamic strong enough to destroy the frame and to merge all in a seamless ever evolving meta-image

The scale of reality

Today I was specifically  thinking about the scale of a piece I want to make for the final show, It is a hybrid piece; on one side, I have a small size painting-sculpture build like a place where the viewer is invited for a directed tour, on the other hand, I will display an immersive projection of that tour.

I realized that scale raises a fundamental question; how is the scale going to change the way in wich the viewer interacts with it?

I also thought about the scale of reality and how we humans interact with it, how much of it we are able to process and how social media distorts and expands this perception of reality.

SO scale is a really important issue for my work.

 

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.