Introducing a collaborative exhibition Land Over Sea by Conceptual Artist Laura Hepworth and Ceramicist Katie Iacovou, at the Jeannie Avent Gallery, opening on Wednesday 31st July-14 August 2019.
Amongst the many things Hepworth and Iacovou have in common, it was clear, through childhood memories and holidays, Laura and Katie shared a love for Cornwall, the natural beauty of its coastline and open spaces. Land Over Sea sees these two local artists come together to celebrate the definition of process, how process can be utilized as a means to experiment within their disciplines, creating a collection of works through the means of paintings and ceramics.
The main focus of Hepworth’s upcoming exhibition ‘III’ reflects upon a key moment in her journey as an artist. The significance of the 3 in roman numerals stand for ‘Three Days of Rain’, influenced by a first hand experience from the artist’s short residency in Greece during 2017.
Throughout the exhibit, the viewer is invited to discover and realise the appearance of chaos. In all aesthetics, the concept of process and transformation becomes a dominant motif with Laura’s work.
Tempus explores Hepworth’s adoption of repetition in mark making. Throughout, the viewer will be able to perceive and interact with a series of works ranging from archive drawings, to gigantic web installations. Conveying the concept of the unpredictable behaviour of texture within water, whilst reflecting upon Hepworth’s ongoing investigation of how connected to the universe we really are!
Laura Hepworth’s work examines the themes of creation and connection: “how few of us wonder how we were created and what connections we may have with endless vista of stars and galaxies. Do we ever stop to consider what lies in the darkness? Research implies that there is every chance the universe was formed from something undetectable by the human eye: dark matter.”
Laura’s practise utilises drawings and scale installations to define and explore the relationship between art and science. By creating a series of evolving works, Laura strives to make individuals more aware of their own connections to the universe.
The structuring of stars and galaxies becomes a dominant motif in Laura’s work, evolving from geometrical drawings to the making of gigantic webs.
“When one represents the optical geometry, the lightest elements were forged in stars.”
Looking up at the night sky, we see an endless vista of stars and galaxies, but do we ever stop to consider what lies in the darkness. How few of us wonder how they were created and what connections, we may have with them. Research implies that there is every chance, the universe formed from something undetectable by the human eye, dark matter!
Hepworth’s practise is well researched, utilizing drawings and scale installations to define and explore the relationship between art and science. Laura creates a series of evolving works, that strive to make the unrepresentable visible, enabling us to see, that as a species and as individuals, we are more connected to the universe, than we once realised.
The structuring of stars and galaxies becomes a dominant motif, evolving from geometrical drawings, to the making of gigantic webs. Laura challenges the stability of her work through the frailty of her medium, making contrasts between two and three dimensions within the process of alignment, connecting each strand to another, inherently risks its collapse, making the web a problematic and figurative method of working.
(This is a submission of text put forward for consideration as part of the selection process for the Turner Platform Prize Short listing.)
As my studies into the interface between art & science continue, my knowledge of the influence of astronomical real-time data has been enriched, in gastrophysical evolution and string theory. This supports my own dissertation thesis, “When does the representation of scientific data become art?” In consequence, I have identified the true nature of artworks and it’s significance in scientific areas depending on the mind set of the artist. Thus, I have gained understanding of two categories in which artists of the contemporary era, are found, “conscious thinking” and “unconscious thinking”.
I have decided that having adopted “conscious thinking” in view of the research and knowledge gained over the last two years. This has in fact been a restraint and has had a constraining effect. By taking the other option this allowed me more flexibility within my practice. The conclusion I reached was impulsive and imaginative. I.e, my recent work, "Undetected" (2015), a large scale web.
“Undetected” (2015) allowed me to understand the dimensions of the cosmos between single points, reforming the universe’s aesthetic through the joining of lines. The transition from drawing to installation, creates a movement between the two and three dimensional scale. Thus, the structure of the web installation appears changed, creating a contrast between drawings and installations. I have become aware of how these webs inhabit the space around them, with regard to the uniqueness of their three dimensional entirety. The problem remaining? The location of each strand and where to place it once it has collapsed.
“The web is symbolic of the “unconscious”. A substance formed through impulsive actions, resolving at every stage through the uniqueness of its form each time it is made.“
- Laura Hepworth
In "Undetected” (2015), I considered the reactions of the web within a larger space, the probability of a larger audience. During the Graduation Show at UCA Canterbury I noticed the public’s fascination with the web. The audience held an undying urge to touch it, feel it’s mass, the texture of the medium used to design it’s structure. This relates to my study of the “unconscious” and it’s characteristics that generate a feeling, an impulse to do something. My vision for “Undetected” (2015) has developed to encompass a much larger installation, albeit utilizing a stronger medium thus allowing greater interaction with the public. My intention is that this interactivity should remain throughout the exhibition.
Studio Practice 6
In attempts to further my interests on the interface between art and cosmology I have enriched the quality of my knowledge throughout the recent stages of this project through the influence of astronomical real-time data, including more specific topics such as, gastrophysical evolution and string theory. As well as, my own corresponding dissertation thesis, “When does the representation of scientific data become art?”, which closely observes and researches the work of several artists including a couple of major influences such as Katie Paterson and Tomas Saraceno. Through this, I have been able to identify the true nature of artworks and their significance to areas of science depending on the mind set of the artist. Thus, I have gained understanding of there being two categories in which artists of the contemporary era, such as myself, are placed. The categories are as follows “conscious thinking” and “unconscious thinking”.
Between these processes of thought, I have found myself caught between both categories. As a result of this, I have adapted to the way of “conscious thinking” purely through the research and knowledge I have gained over the past two years. However, by being a “conscious thinker” the outcomes I formed were resolved by science’s factual and sensible manner. In this way, I felt restraint in my work and too controlled in the processes I was generating. For example, the series of geometric drawings, influenced not only by string theory but also the shifting of formation in the universe that’s generated by an unknown source, dark matter.
This particular series of drawing, for me, represents the entirety of my research and practice. Defining the length and widths of the cosmos between single dots, and then reforming the universe’s aesthetic through the joining of lines. In this way, this process reformed purpose to a varied selection of techniques including, ‘dot to dot’. Which then became subject to transformation, from drawing to installation, forming a transition between the two and three dimensional scale. In result of this, the structure of the web installations appear differently, which builds a contrast in their representations as drawings and large scale installations.
However, from this I have gained an awareness of how these webs inhabit the space around them, in relation to the revealing of their full entirety, which also includes their height, depth, length and width. Thus, the problem to solve is to know where each individual strand goes and where to place it once it has collapsed.
“The web resembles a symbol of the "unconscious”. A substance of matter formed through impulsive actions, which becomes resolved at every stance through the uniqueness of its form each time it is made.“- Journal 02, page, 239
Since then, the nature of my practice has shifted to a abstracted aesthetic, fuelled by "unconscious thinking” I have been able to resolve my previous issues of control in order to form a regard for the 'impulse in doing something’ and capturing that within the drawings and installations I create. By doing this, I have observed the stretched and the collapsed aesthetics of the web installation, and have integrated new mediums into my practice to form perceptual representations of what the outcome could or could not represent.
In this way, I have been successful enough to capture the true nature of the web through experiments such as, my most recent series of works 'Ink & Water’. A series of drawings and paintings influenced by a live installation of ink colliding with water in the containment of a hourglass vase. By doing this, my intention was to capture the same detailed and fragile manner of the web, in the coils and of black ink as it journeys to the bottom of the vase in a steady frozen apparel.
To concatenate my thoughts, I have been successful in finding a link between the “conscious thinking” and “unconscious thinking” through the processes that control and reform the aesthetics of the transformational development between drawing and installation.
However, I have come to the conclusion that the web represents both the“conscious” and “unconscious”, a crossover to make a point that the compression of impulse put in place within this project has allowed me to extend and resolve the complexity of astrophysics through medium and process.
Forming a representational image through unrepresentable matter, and making topics such as cosmology more understanding and captivating to those ignorant to it. Therefore, finalising this project has adapted me as an artist for the future in all it’s forms and has prepared me for my forthcoming placement on the ArtsCollide programme at CERN.
STUDIO PRACTICE 5:
Further into my studies on the interface between art and cosmology I have enriched the quality of my knowledge throughout the previous stages of this term. Through an ongoing investigative study of dark matter, and it’s being as a substance of an undetectable nature, I have drawn an opposite approach to my recent body of work by exploring the possible structure and properties of the cosmos that we as humans are unaware of, that’s formed of dark matter. By doing this, I have been successful in finding relations to my own practice and have identified my work as developed sources of a chaotic and irrational nature, formed from a set of transformative actions such as, drawing, model making, sculpture and installation. Through these methods of process, I have been able to pursue a distinctive style of drawing through the findings of new and untraditional ways of using a pencil, or any drawing instrument, instead of going for the most obvious form of using one.
As my studies thickened I have found the subject of dark matter of major influence and in result of this I have been able to produce a series of processes involving the influence of works from Conrad Shawcross, Pablo Picasso, Tomas Saraceno, Matthew Barney, and Heather Hanson. This has informed a much more refined project that not only explores how to structure the small percent of the cosmos that we can’t see, formed of dark matter, but also what exactly is our placement in the universe, as beings made of atoms and matter caught within the paradigm of the universe we inhabit. I have stretched my limitations of medium and begun to work with cotton thread as it represents itself like silk thread as a means of building web formations, in response to my research of ’14 Billion’ (2010) by Tomas Saraceno and the artist’s philosophy of the universe relating to a black widow’s spider’s web. By doing this, I thought about how the presence of dark matter represents itself as the negative space, otherwise known as the in between. Through the formation of this concept, I have built a large scale installation of a web that conveys the possibilities of the structure that could be formed within that small part of the cosmos, which is dark matter.
“Here, the artist opens a door to new insights into the spider’s web, but also into how we can build a model of it so as to experience with our senses something that we cannot yet weave ourselves. Thus, art awakens hopes and dreams of something that has not yet been realized, and makes us believe in the impossible.”
– Schippers, Esther.
The experiments within my practice are developed from a series of drawings produced through untraditional ways of using drawing utensils, called ‘Orbit Restraint. This relates to the motion in gravitational paths which occur in orbit, creating a concept of travel and employs processes which relate to the drawing restraints and their metaphorical concept of mechanical performance which is generated from this idea of ‘puppet on string’. As time passed this term, I considered ways in which to push myself as an artist, and my practice, in order to create a platform to develop and refine my ideas further in order to be ambitious with the choice of scale and medium I work with. However, through the influence of topics such as, constellations and asterisms in relation to geometric shapes I begun to grasp how to create openness within in my drawings and installations.
However, in other works, I am still using Matthew Barney’s concept of drawing restraint as a main source of influence. Through this I realized over time that there is an evolving contrast in the process of my drawings and the way they transform into sculptures and installations. In response to this, I have continued to find ways in which break the boundaries of the current confinement in my work to find solutions that carry out the transition between the two to three dimensions. By doing this, I have approached the idea of what occurs in the event of a drawing leaving its resting place on a piece of paper, and how it would appear in a sculptural and installation form. Questions that needed addressing were how would this transition benefit the original state of the drawing, in relation to it’s current three dimensional form. This is something I feel I have successfully carried out throughout the developing of the web formation piece, through the instalment of the piece into a larger space (Cragg corridor). As the piece becomes a much more intricately designed installation.
Throughout the course of this term I have enhanced my understanding of the interfacing of the two cultures and been able to identify my style of practice through the processes produced during the past and current years of this course. Through gaining further confidence in the use of much larger scales for my drawings and installations, I was successful to achieve my goal for this term and now feel able to develop that idea of scale further in order to produce less confined pieces of work. This has allowed me to continue to pursue how the acts of restraint and resistance play a rather major role in the methodology of the work I produce.
Studio Practice 5:
Studio Practice 5:
Miller, Arthur I. (2001) Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty That Causes Havoc. New York: Basic Books.
Barrow, John D. (2008) Cosmic Imagery. London: The Bodley Head.
Wilson, Stephen (2010) Art +Science Now. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Jewitt-Harris, Jennie (2014) ‘The Art of Medicine’ In: Creative Update 10 August 2014 p.42-44.
Gamwell, Lynn. (2002) Exploring the Invisible: Art, Science and the Spiritual. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Arends, Bergit. Thackara, Davina. (2004) Experiment: Conversations in art and science. London: The Welcome Trust.
Grynszetein, Madeleine. Birnbaum, Daniel. Speaks, Micheal. (2002) Olafur Eliasson. London: Phiadon Press Limited.
http://www.guardian.com/artanddesign/2012/apr/06/katie-paterson-cosmicomical-artist Seen: Friday 19th Sept, 2014 at 16:14.
http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Cern:-where-art-and-science-collide/24678 Seen: Friday 19th Sept, 2014 at 16:18.
Harrison, Mark. () The Chemistry of Creativity and the Two Cultures? Art and Science in the 20th Century. London: BBC (55 minutes)
Schmidt-Garre, Jan (2005) Olafur Eliasson: Notion Motion. Germany: PARS MEIDA. (90 minutes)
Studies into Physical Cosmology
Further into my studies on cosmic science I have become more influenced by the occurrences of dark matter and the effects it has on the way the universe is structured and held together. Through this I have been more successful in finding relations to my own practice and have been able to identify a new fascination into the idea of transformative actions which has allowed me to become more adaptable and selective about my work as the year has passed. In continuation to the previous term’s work I feel I have been able to fully develop and refine the structure of the mediums and processes used through sculpture and drawing which has enhanced my own understanding of a physical cosmos and formed a rich and interesting body of work.
“I wanted my actual body to be combined with the work as an integral material– a further dimension of the construction… I am both image maker and image. The body may remain erotic, sexual, desired, desiring, but it is as well votive: marked, written over in a text of stroke and gesture discovered by my creative female will.” - Carole Schneemann, Eye Body: Transformative Actions (1963-2002)
As my studies thickened I started to find the concept of physical cosmology of major influence and in result of this I have been able to produce a series of processes involving the influence of works from Jane Griswood, Tony Orrico, Tom Friedman and Heather Hanson. This has informed a much more refined project that explores the purpose of dark matter and the way its mass holds the galaxies together and led to the formations of the galaxies including the motion of particles and how they react in the event of active matter causing the acceleration that changes the whole structure of the galaxies.This influenced me to work with salt as it represents itself, like sand, as a grain particle. By doing this I thought about how dark matter causes this evolutionary process throughout the universe and used it to relate to the artist’s work that has informed the processes within my own practice and still maintaining an art/science context.
Through the influence of Richard Wilson, Ai Wei Wei, and Richard Long I began to think about the motion of particles in the event of structure formation and how that could be represented through the drawings I have produced this term. However, this term I have felt the need to approach galleries and spaces outside of university including Stour Valley Arts (SVA) at Ashford in order to open up the possibility of exhibiting the larger sculptural pieces at King’s Wood in order to experiment with the concept of the value of dark matter and how undetectable it is compared to other things but somehow still conveying an existing presence within the universe. In some ways I was unsuccessful in achieving my goal but on a brighter note I received very positive feedback and have arranged to exhibit my works over a three day period at the end of April at Eastbridge Hospital, Canterbury. By doing this I now feel more adaptable to the curatorial process of exhibiting and may have a few ideas for next year when writing my dissertation.
In my other works I am still using Matthew Barney’s concept of drawing restraint as a main source of influence. Through this I realized over time that there is an evolving contrast in the process of my drawings which has divided the nature of the styles used in the drawings. For example, term 1’s project was based on restraining the marks that represented the gravitational paths caused by orbit and then Term 2’s project was based on being as playful as possible with the drawing tools in order to create new and individual formations representing the evolutionary changes of the universe.
Throughout the course of this year I have enhanced my understanding of cosmic science in an art context and been able to identify my style of practice through the processes produced during the course of this year. By gaining further confidence in my professional practice I was successful to achieve my goal for this term and now able to approach outside organizations, which has allowed me to consider how the transformation from drawing to sculpture can be informed as a longer term process and has influenced me to continue the concept of cosmic science over the course of next year and consider using astronomical equipment in order to produce new processes and experiments.
Of the theories that are the subject of attention there are plenty that relate to the human senses and this is something I have decided I will explore by looking at a series of philosophers such as William James and Rudolph Armheim. I have identified how certain aspects of attention play a major part in visual perception and blindness. This can also be known as ‘visual attention’, a topic that demonstrates how our vision is limited to see only one part of an object at a time instead of being able to see the entirety of the object at once, which can suggest cognitive or selective behaviour but can also bring about reasons to suggest how the concept of blindness builds strong roots within the working practice of Marcel Duchamp and Bruce Nauman.
Many of the theories subjected to visual attention examine how and why our ability to see is limited and determines what we intend to do. One of the most interesting theories of visual attention was written by William James who suggested that 'Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking possession by the mind in clear and vivid form, of one out of what is seen several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought…It implies withdrawal from somethings in order to deal effectively with others.’ (James, 1890) The process that James discusses here is the speed at which our eyes work, at three seccades per second.
So imagine you’re looking at an object but the thing you’re not realising is that your not really looking at it, your eyes are darting from each detail of the object which reflects that we all have a blind spot. What’s interesting is that artists today use blindness as a concept to influence their work, to approach an audience that encourages the blind man and involve him and his other senses. Rudolph Armheim, however, saw perception to be neglected as it disdained because it is not assumed to involve thought, unlike some philosophers I examined. I came to realise how much of a link there was between James and Armheim as they both seemed to share similar views on attention in a perceptive that integrated visual attention. 'Under natural conditions, vision has to cope with more than one or two objects at a time.
More often than not, the visual field is overcrowded and does not submit to an integrated organization of the whole.’(Armheim 1969:35) When comparing James and Armheim I began to consider how their theories could relate to the concept of blindness through the works of Duchamp and Nauman. There are similarities and differences to be drawn between the pair of philosophers and artists and the way they reach out to there intended audiences.However the theories of James and Armheim intwine and contrast within our own history and the timed events that have gone before. It has relevance with the way blindness effects a man, but also conveys how a concept such as this can be approached to settle the relation to theories put before us.
Duchamp and Nauman are two artists who have thoroughly explored the use of blindness and visual indifference with specific artworks. Both Artists have produced two very different but intriguing works of art in the forms of 'Brides Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even’ (1915-1923) by Marcel Duchamp, 'Green Light Corridor’ (1970) and 'Live Taped Video Corridor’’ (1970), both by Bruce Nauman. 'Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors Even’(1915-1923) is a much spoken about piece of work by Duchamp in the late 60s’. There have been suggestions that this piece of work resembles metaphors for sex, but opinions differ. The piston mechanism that connects both ends of the piece together still fails to gain contact with the other which suggests unfulfilled desires but also leaves other assumptions that even Duchamp made himself.
'Duchamp’s system of machine parts in the Large Glass may only literally reference sex. It is also possible to see it as a body: The top part is the mind, the chocolate grinder below suggesting the sexual organs.’ (Minissale 2012: 45) This suggests that not only does Duchamp generate concepts through his choice of medium but uses the medium itself as a metaphor to describe the happenings within the work and creates an opportunity for the viewer to become more involved in the piece.
As well as that Duchamp discusses the processes that demonstrate how natural light shines through 'The Large Glass’ and conveys an event in history that represents the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary in the way that it was described by St. Thomas Aquinas. I found this process influential to the concept of sight as it opens all perceptible view points on the work. 'The transparency of the glass engages different ways of seeing. We can think about the flatness of the work and the formal features of the machine parts, yet the glass invites us to see beyond them, thereby suspending our awareness of the perceptible elements of the work, as we would see beyond the shapes of letters on a page while trying to understand their meaning.’(Minissale 2012:45)
Duchamp also explains that for a richer involvement in the piece there are two ways of seeing which are ’(1) The processing of perceptible qualities using feature detectors or sensorimotor mechanisms, in addition to (2) drawing upon an area of the brain responsible for semantic processing and rational induction.’ (Minissale 2012:45) Through this Duchamp aims to distance the optical and interpret notions of transparency and light through poetic narratives which is a major subject in his works across his career as an artist, as Duchamp was very much associated with Dadaism and Conceptual Art. Marcel Duchamp himself was one of three that made the Dada movement influential, and began those long-held questioned assumptions of what art should be, and how it should be made. However Duchamp saw the processes of making the work 'based on a reaction of visual indifference, with at the same time a total absence of good or bad taste.’ (MoMa, 2014) Even today those long-held assumptions are being questioned purely because of the way Duchamp approached his own way of thinking and used it to influence the concepts of his readymades throughout his working career, but by doing this Duchamp set out the beginnings of what became Conceptual Art by acknowledging work that was 'in the service of the mind.’ (MoMa, 2014) instead of what appeared to be a “retinal” art work that would be made in the intention to only please its viewer.
'Live Taped Video Corridor’ (1970) and 'Green Light Corridor’ (1970) are both very similar pieces of Bruce Nauman’s work as the artist’s intention is made evident to challenge the perception of blindness through the uses of lighting, media and confined space. Both installations consist of a very similar set up which creates a very thin line between the boundaries of sculpture and theatre. In 'Live Taped Video Corridor’ (1970) Nauman pushed the limitations of the body even more than his previous work 'Performance Corridor’ (1969) and by doing that a series of question arose relating to how Nauman’s work didn’t quite fit the boundaries on either sculpture or performance 'What is the role of the, for lack of a better word, “viewer’s” body and the effect of the constraints placed on that body?
What is the place of vision in works in which there is nothing in particular to see (the blank walls), or in which seeing is frustrated (the image of the back of one’s head), or in which one is blinded (the bright lights)? And what is the function of representation in works in which nothing much seems to be represented?’ (Blocker, 2003:16) Through this Nauman puts the viewer into disorientation by making them believe that they are somehow diminishing or completely absent in a space they are clearly present in. This was achieved by using a series of media equipment including two television monitors that present live recordings of whoever enters the corridor. The top plays live footage from the video camera, while the bottom plays footage that was already taken of the corridor when it was empty from the identical angle of the top monitor.
But what the viewer doesn’t realise is that the closer they get to the monitor the smaller they become. With certain skills of the camera used it made the viewer disoriented, because of the sudden awareness that their movements are somewhat fastened on one of the monitors as they walk through the corridor, completely oblivious to the absence of themselves in the footage of the bottom monitor. 'You were removed from yourself, sort of doubly removed- your image of yourself was from above and behind.’ (Michele D, 2003:264)
'Green Light Corridor’ (1970) is very similar to the work I’ve already discussed, but the structure Nauman used in this piece specifically influenced me in a way that solved the relation between Duchamp’s work.
Again through the use of various lighting Nauman set another corridor installation to push the limits of something he had covered vaguely in his previous works, vision. Nauman explains how the installation 'Offers it’s participants a “fairly tense” experience of blinding colour.’ (Blocker, 2003:19) Through this the artist means to challenge his audiences perception and the indifferences of vision and blindness by the aftermath experienced by the viewer, although the viewers must acknowledge that once inside the corridor the artist keeps in control of the experience had. 'When she exits the piece she experiences an intense afterimage, a representation that colours everything she perceives and casts doubt on her conception of the real. Like Plato’s cave-dweller, the viewer who is installed here suffers from sight.’ (Blocker, 2003:19) It just shows that in the process of exhibiting this piece even Nauman shared the same reaction as the majority that found the experience traumatic, other than the small minority that believed that the piece was somewhat a relaxing atmosphere.
'I react very strongly to Green Light Corridor, but I think it is a very frightening piece. The manner in which it was structured made it necessary for participants to participate in it your way - and that is frightening.’ (Jan, 2003:179)
'Green Light Corridor’ (1970) is very similar to the work I’ve already discussed, but the structure Nauman used in this piece specifically influenced me in a way that solved the relation between Duchamp’s work. Again through the use of various lighting Nauman set another corridor installation to push the limits of something he had covered vaguely in his previous works, vision. Nauman explains how the installation 'Offers it’s participants a “fairly tense” experience of blinding colour.’ (Blocker, 2003:19) Through this the artist means to challenge his audiences perception and the indifferences of vision and blindness by the aftermath experienced by the viewer, although the viewers must acknowledge that once inside the corridor the artist keeps in control of the experience had.
'When she exits the piece she experiences an intense afterimage, a representation that colours everything she perceives and casts doubt on her conception of the real. Like Plato’s cave-dweller, the viewer who is installed here suffers from sight.’ (Blocker, 2003:19) It just shows that in the process of exhibiting this piece even Nauman shared the same reaction as the majority that found the experience traumatic, other than the small minority that believed that the piece was somewhat a relaxing atmosphere.
After looking at the works of Marcel Duchamp and Bruce Nauman I realised how each of the pieces of work shared relatively similar characteristics as the theories I have already discussed, many of which may of been generated from the subject matter of the artist’s work or even the processes developed from the choice of medium. A good example of this way of working I felt related very much to William James’ theory on how our experience is what we agree to attend as in a matter of choice that we make amongst ourselves.
Out of all the works I have discussed I found that Nauman’s 'Live Camera Taped Corridor’ (1970) set a great example in demonstrating the process in which Nauman captures the attention of his audience through the concept of limiting the mind and body, and confusing the viewer once they realise their presence in the corridor has become absent, when it is completely evident that the viewer is still present. 'What interested me was the experience of putting those two pieces of information together: physical information and visual or intellectual information.
The experience lies in the tension between the two, of not being able to put them together.’ (Chris, 2003:313) Looking back on and thinking about Nauman’s use of those two television monitors in the corridor in the intention to merely confuse and disorientate the viewer by what they focused their attention on in participation of the work, and from my own research into the theories of integrated attention, I have come to the conclusion that the relationship between this theory and art work in particular are purely based on the ways in which the subject matter is represented to not only convey the artist’s control of the situation of the piece but to create an experience that aims to leave its participants in a state of disorientation thus challenging the means of attention as something that should be tested.
Many of these works have a varied set of similarities set between each other that overtime made me realise how the theories of attention set by the philosophers discussed in this essay linked to the sole concept of how blindness plays a major part, not only in the working practice of the artist’s work but also our individual perceptive value of what defines attention. When looking at 'Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even’ (The Large Glass) (1915-1923) I thought about the ways Duchamp described this work in relation to neuro-aesthetics and this concept of “aesthetic experience” which draws a certain degree of attention to the medium Duchamp used in this particular piece.
'Neuroaesthetics tends either to emphasize the processes of neuronal groups in the visual cortex when artworks are perceived or to suggest that visual experience depends on a tacit knowledge of how to interact physically with art objects.’ (Minissale, 2012:43) Through this I have been able to acknowledge other ways ’The Large Glass’ relates to the William James theory and that is through the assumption of full understanding in the attention we agree to visually attend to in what we consider to be 'The Visible and The Invisible’.
However, reason so far suggests that the link between the two are generated through the understanding of the making processes of the piece and the concept that stood behind it. By doing this once again the viewer is limited in what they want to see as Marcel Duchamp always believed in the indifference of vision and how an art object should be made through the service of the mind and not by “retinal” terms. 'Duchamp’s well-known intention to “leave retinal art behind”.’ (Minissale, 2012:45) Through this we are able to acknowledge the concept of blindness within these pieces of art as they are both absent in the respect that the viewer is able to understand the practice of the work the way the artist’s do.
Further curiosity of these relative similarities between the theories and art work discussed which led to the realization of how visual attention itself creates a foundation for artists who use practices that challenge the mind and body in an experience that in many respects conveys the absence of vision. 'Green Light Corridor’ (1970) and Armheim’s theory on the limitations of vision generates a rather large relation between each other as the ordeal of Nauman’s various corridor installations set out to engage the direct attention of its participants through the experiences they have when walking through the corridor.
'In that sense the work, like the others discussed here, is the site of philosophy, a place in which the blind man contemplates the nature of the real and the trauma of representation, the conditions of art’s possibility.’ (Blocker, 2003:18) The differences between those previous installations and 'Green Light Corridor’ (1970) is to challenge the participants engagement of visual attention to the brightly coloured lighting present in the corridor, which over time subjects the participant to a state of blindness as an afterimage remains in their vision after passing through the corridor. By understanding the concept of Nauman’s corridor I have been able to link this particular piece of work alongside the idea of how we never see the entirety of the picture because of how fast our eyes work unconsciously, and by that we are considered to be blind or otherwise partially sighted.
’Under natural conditions, vision has to cope with more than one or two objects at a time. More often than not, the visual field is overcrowded and does not submit to an integrated organization of the whole.’ (Armheim 1969:35)
Through the exploration of Marcel Duchamp and Bruce Nauman’s work and the theories related to attention by William James and Rudolph Armheim, I have come to the conclusion that the relations were purely based on the type of processes used in the works that formed an understanding of what could be considered as “blindness”. By looking at the theories I’ve discussed in this essay, I have learnt how each of them formed the theories as if they were guidelines that specifically acknowledge the indifferences between the two artist’s way of working and their perception of what art should be in relation to the form of practice Duchamp and Nauman effectively pursue in their work. So in that respect, we realise how attention relates to the concept of blindness through the experiences shared with the work and not for “retinal” purposes.
Minissale, Gregory. (2012) Conceptual Art: A Blind Spot for Neuroasethetics?. In: Leonardo, 45(1) p.45.
Blocker, Jane. (2003). Blink: The Viewer as Blind Man in Installation Art. In: Art Journal, 62(7)
Blocker, Jane. (2003). Blink: The Viewer as Blind Man in Installation Art. In: Art Journal, 62(7)
Minissale, Gregory. (2012) Conceptual Art: A Blind Spot for Neuroaesthetics?. In: Leonardo, 45(1)
Blocker, Jane. (2003). Blink: The Viewer as Blind Man in Installation Art. In: Art Journal, 62(7)
Armheim, Rudolph. (1969) Visual Thinking. United States of America: University of California Press.
Michele De, A. (2003) Interview with Bruce Nauman, May 27 and 30, 1980 In: Please Pay Attention Please: Bruce Nauman’s words: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. p.264.
Armheim, Rudolph. (1954) Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye. United States of America: University of California Press.
James, William. (1890) Principles of Psychology. New York: Dover Publications.
Chris, D. (2003) Keep Taking it Apart: A Conversation with Bruce Nauman, 1986. In: Please Pay Attention Please: Bruce Nauman’s words: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. p.313.
James, William (1890). Chapter 6: Visual Attention At:
http://courses.washington.edu/psy333/lecture_pdfs/chapter6_Attention.pdf (Accessed on 09.01.14).
The Soloman R. Guggenheim Foundation (SRGF) (2004). Online Collection: Bruce Nauman At:
http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artwork/3148 (Accessed on 10.01.14).
Museum Of Modern Art. (2014) Marcel Duchamp and the Readymade. At: http://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/themes/dada/marcel-duchamp-and-the-readymade (Accessed on 10.01.14)
Figure 1. Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even, (c.1915-1923) [Image] At: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/duchamp-the-bride-stripped-bare-by-her-bachelors-even-the-large-glass-t02011 (Accessed on: 10.01.14)
Figure 2. Live Camera Taped Corridor, (c.1970) [Image] At: http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artwork/3153 (Accessed on: 10.01.14)
Figure 3. Green Light Corridor, (c.1970) [Image] At: http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artwork/3166 (Accessed on: 10.01.14)