top of page

FMP Primary Research

Updated: May 13, 2019

Exhibition Record

8th March, Tate Website

9th March, Royal Academy of Arts, Bill Viola / Michelangelo Life Death Rebirth

11th March, Tate Britain

16th March, Tate Modern

For the primary research, as what I stated in the pitch, I would classify the artworks in to video, material and concept based on my rough composition of the outcome in my mind as well as the draft that I did in the last project. The reason why I named in this way was because I wanted to integrate video into the installation and I need to seek for some artworks that inspire me on either the selection of material or conceptual idea. I want to find out some artists and artworks that specifically inspiring me in the primary research so that I can dig into them in the secondary research. In addition, I will try to use Harvard reference method to list all of the art pieces that I selected.


  • Richards, J. (2014). Raking Light. [Digital video with stereo sound]. London: Tate Britain

  • Piotrowska, J. (2015-2016). Untitled. [16mm film]. London: Tate Britain

  • Hosoe, E. (1961). Ordeal by Roses #8. [Vintage silver gelatin print]. London: Michael Hoppen Gallery

  • Hosoe, E. (1961). Ordeal by Roses #19. [Vintage silver gelatin print]. London: Michael Hoppen Gallery

  • Tambellini, A. (1969, re-edited 2016). Black Spiral. [Digitised 16mm transferred to video, black and white, silent]. London: Tate Modern


  • Tian, H. (2015). Water. [Metal]. Beijing: Today Art Museum

  • Tian, H. (2013). Girls. [Bronze, Acrylic and Blown Glass]. Beijing: Beijing Raycom Infotech Park

  • Hepworth, B. (1946). Pelagos. [Elm and string on oak base]. London: Tate Britain

  • Richter, G. (1991). Corner Mirror, brown-blue (737-1,737-2). [Pigment on glass]. London: Tate

  • Bell, L. (1967). Untitled. [Metal and glass]. London: Tate

  • Bell, L. (1969). Untitled. [Mineral-coated glass]. London: Pace Gallery

  • Bell, L. (1965-1966). Untitled. [Glass and chromium plated steel]. Los Angles: Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery

  • Bell, L. (1971). Untitled. [Glass]. London: Tate

  • Bell, L. (2017). VFZ 1. [Laminated glass]. Zürich: Hauser & Wirth Zürich

  • Lijun, L. (1968). Liquid Reflections. [Perspex, metal, water, liquid paraffin, motor, electrical components and lamp]. London: Tate Britain

  • Gabo, N. (1942). Linear Construction No.1. [Perspex and nylon]. London: Tate Britain

  • Morris, R. (1965, reconstructred 1971). Untitled. [Mirror glass and wood]. Singapore: National Gallery of Singapore

  • Kusama, Y. (2005). The Passing Winter. [Mirror and glass]. London: Tate Modern

  • Nakaya, F. (2014). Veil. [Fog]. New Canaan

  • Samaras, L. (1963). Box. [Mahogany box, wool, steel pins, glass and acetate film]. London: Tate

  • Smilde, B. (2018). Nimbus Diocleziano Aula V. [Digital C-type print on aluminium]. Umbria: Ronchini Gallery

  • Chryssa. (1967). Study for Gates No.4. [Perspex, 8 neon lights and timer]. London: Tate Modern

  • Yang, H. (2015). Sol LeWitt Upside Down - Structure with Three Towers, Expanded 23 Times, Split in Three. [Powder-coated aluminium, steel, plastic, LED lights and nylon]. London: Tate Modern

  • Haraguchi, N. (1969). Airpipe C. [Acrylic paint on canvas mounted on plywood]. London: Tate Modern

  • Grigorian, M. (1963). Creation of the Planet. [Soil compound on canvas]. London: Tate Modern

  • Abdalla, H. (1963). Defeat. [Silver, aluminium, tar and oil paint on board]. London: Tate Modern

  • Kim, K. (1964). Death of Sun I. [Oil paint and plastic on plywood]. London: Tate Modern

  • Dadamaino. (1960). Volume of Displaced Modules. [Plastic, paint and wood]. London: Tate Modern

  • Floyer, C. (2002). Auto Focus. [Light projection with Leica Pradovit P-150 projector and Unicol telescopic tilting stand]. North Miami: Museum Of Contemporary Art North Miami

  • Floyer, C. (2002-9). Light Switch. [Slide, 35 mm, projection, colour]. London: Tate

  • Turrell, J. (2013). Aten Reign. [Daylight and LED light]. New York: Guggenheim Museum

  • Irwin, R. (2008). Black 3. [A series of room-size white sheer panels stenciled in the centre with a black square]. London: White Cube Bermondsey

  • Irwin, R. (1971). Prism. [Acrylic]. London: Hayward Gallery


  • Song, D. (2015). A World In A Well. [Light, mirror and window frame]. Beijing: Pace Gallery

  • Nicholson, B. (1935). 1935 (white relief). [Painted wood]. London: Tate Britain

  • Frampton, M. (1939). Trial and Error. [Oil on Canvas]. London: Tate Britain

  • Erlich, L. (2016). Clouds. [unknown]. Tokyo: Mori Art Museum

  • Riley, B. (1967). Deny II. [Polyvinyl acetate emulsion paint on canvas]. London: Tate Britain

  • Asher, M. (1965). Untitled Painting. [Mirror on canvas]. London: Tate

  • Nauman, B. (1971). Corridor with Mirror and White Lights. [Wood, glass and fluorescent tubes]. London: Tate

  • Hein, J. (2009). Mirror Wall. [Mirror foil, wooden frame substructures and vibration system]. London: Saatchi Gallery

  • Hein, J. (2005). Invisible Labyrinth. [Headset, infrared sensors, infrared emitters, control board, charging board]. London: Hayward Gallery

  • Saraceno, T. (uncertain). Hybrid Webs. [Multiple spider species in glass vitrines]. Berlin: Hamburger Bahnhof

  • Warhol, A. (1982). Torso (Double). [Screenprint on paper]. uncertain

  • Warhol, A. (1977). Male Torso (Buttocks). [Screenprint on paper]. uncertain

  • Warhol, A. (1978). Sex Parts (F. & S. II.172-77). [Screenprint on paper]. uncertain

  • Warhol, A. (1985). Invisible Sculpture. [Performance]. New York

  • Klein, Y. (1958). Le Vide. [Installation with cabinet]. Paris: Iris Clert Gallery

  • Klein, Y. (1961). Void Room (Raum der Leere). [Empty room covered in white]. London: Hayward Gallery

  • Rauschenberg, R. (1953). Erased de Kooning Drawing. [Traces of drawing media on paper with label and gilded frame]. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

  • Gormley, A. (2007). Blind Light. [A luminous glass room filled with dense mist]. London: Hayward Gallery

  • Nawa, K. (2017). Foam. [Mixmedia]. São Paulo: Japan House São Paulo

  • Meireles, C. (2001). Babel. [Radios, lighting and sound]. London: Tate Modern

  • Tambellini, A. (1965). Black Is. [16mm, black and white, sound]. London: Tate Modern

  • Tambellini, A. (1965). Painted Poem. [Nitrocellulose enamel paint on cardboard]. London Tate Modern

  • Tambellini, A. (1965-8, digitised 2018). Cell Series. [Digitised glass slides shown as projections]. London: Tate Modern

  • Tambellini, A. (1965-8). Cell Series. [Hand painted glass slides]. London: Tate Modern

  • Tambellini, A. (1968-9). Videogram. [Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper]. London: Tate Modern

  • Silva, M. (1935). The Tiled Room. [Oil paint on canvas]. London: Tate Modern

  • Manzoni, P. (1985). Achrome. [China-clay on canvas]. London: Tate Modern

  • Sedgley, P. (1970). Colour Cycle III. [Acrylic paint on canvas, with 3 dichronic lamps and programmed control gear]. London: Tate Modern

  • Cattelan, M. (1991). Untitled (Denunzia). [Police report of stolen invisible artwork]. Paris: Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin

  • Asher, M. (1970). Untitled. [photograph of the architectural structure of the gallery]. Claremont: Pomona College Museum of Art

  • Jaar, A. (2002). Lament of the Images. [Plexiglass text panels (texts by David Levi Strauss), light wall, and mixed media]. New York: The Museum of Modern Art

  • Orozco, G. (1993). Empty Shoe Box. [Shoe box]. New York: The Museum of Modern Art

  • Malevich, K. (1918). Suprematist Composition: White on White. [Oil on canvas]. New York: The Museum of Modern Art

  • Duchamp, M. (1919). Paris Air. [Glass ampoule (broken & later restored)]. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art

  • Creed, M. (2000). Work No. 227: The lights going on and off. [Gallery lighting]. London: Tate

  • Creed, M. (2008). Work No. 878. [Boxes]. London: Hauser & Wirth

  • Eliasson, O. (2018). Wavelength lamp. [Glass lens, brass, colour-effect filter glass (blue), LED light, convex mirror, stainless steel wire]. Berlin: neugerriemschneider

  • Eliasson, O. (2004) The uncertain museum. [Steel, black-painted wooden floor, wire, motors, four glass/mirror disks, spotlight, black projection foil]. Durham: Nasher Museum of Art

  • Eliasson, O. (2003).The Weather Project. [Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding]. London: Tate Modern

  • Ondák, R. (2006). More Silent Than Ever. [An empty room supposedly equipped with hidden listening devices]. Paris: GB Agency

  • Philipz, S. (2010). Lowlands. [The empty space equipped with three speakers each playing a different cappella recording of Philipsz singing a 16th-century Scottish lament 'Lowlands Away']. London: Tate Britain


To gain more ideas about the nothingness in the art context, I searched some articles and highlighted some quotes and try to reflect my thinking at here.

Nothing works - The Void

Zeno’s paradox of Achilles and the tortoise:

“Zeno imagined a race, in which Achilles would generously grant the tortoise a head start of say 100 metres, and each would move at a steady, unchanging speed. His conclusion was that Achilles would never be able to catch up with the tortoise, because every time he came close, the tortoise would have had time to move a little further, so that the distance between them would endlessly decrease to a few yards, a few metres, one metre, 0.1 metre, 0.01 metre, etc. In the same way, every time the audience of modern and contemporary art is led to believe that the avant-garde reduction of the artwork to a minimal, barely perceptible form can go no further, along comes another artist who creates another even more minimal, even less perceptible, artwork.“

Although Zeno's paradox can be easily denied in the reality, the author still brought me a fresh idea about the limitation of void in art. Perhaps in the art realm, we cannot actually approach the true emptiness. The art is a frame designed by the artist's thought, and since the subjective awareness has been introduced, it is impossible to be purely empty. What the artist can do is to hide the subjectiveness as imperceptible as possible. However, after the artists like Yves Klein, Roman Ondák and Susan Philipsz have used the empty gallery space to reach the sense of void, I do not really think that the physical empty space can be a good clue to excavate further on the emptiness.

"Nearly ten noughty years down the line, and shortly after a museum survey entitled Voids: a Retrospective presented visitors with nine perfectly empty rooms, we are still none the wiser about ‘how much less 'nothing' can be'."

The reason why there is a quotation mark around nothing is because this is not the real nothing yet. We should not expect the nothing to be something, because nothing is a zero that cannot be add or minus anything else for a new zero.

"Maria Eichhorn, a German artist whose early work includes white texts written on white walls, speaks for many artists when she explains: 'There is such a fixation in our Western culture on the visible, which explains why we think that… a room is empty… because there is nothing visible. But I’ve never thought that an empty room is empty.'"

Maria Eichhorn indicated the difference between emptiness and invisibleness. As for me, I think the emptiness is something that relatively contrast with form, just like a cup with nothing in it. However, an empty cup is not invisible. The emptiness is a condition and the invisibleness is the extent of visibility.

"We come to realise that our relation to the work is predicated on knowledge, presuppositions and some form of trust in the authority of artists and art institutions.“

Truly, I could not directly realise the meaning of many artworks that I researched. As Cynthia Freeland wrote about the performance art in in the Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction, "For participants in a ritual, clarity and agreement of purpose are central; the ritual reinforces the community's proper relation to God or nature through gestures that everyone knows and understands. But audiences who see and react to a modern artist do not enter in with shared beliefs and values, or with prior knowledge of what will transpire." In many times, the art, especially the modern art requires a prior understanding of the relating realms, the artist and the context of the artwork. Can we really tell Klein's Void Room (1961) is an artwork if it is not the idea of Yves Klein?

“As Brian O’Doherty has shown in his well-known study of the modern 'white cube' gallery, such a gesture ‘depends for its effect on the context of ideas it changes and joins’. For the gesture to succeed, its timing, place and audience have to be just right. Sometimes it can be understood only retrospectively, as it becomes historicised."

Invisible: Art about the Unseen

"Our interpretation and experience of art is often contingent on information that exists apart from an object itself."

"Yet rather than comprising a conceptual end game or a rhetorical prank designed to flout our expectations, such works assume an important task: to keep us from forgetting that the true content of art cannot always be seen."

"At the end of the day, these works can only ever be fully realised in our imaginations."

In my interpretation, the artwork itself is only the object that can evoke the sense of the viewers, link with the memory that used to impress them in a similar way. Perhaps that's why the modern art sometimes requires an existed knowledge for entering the artwork. Therefore, to create an art piece that can let more audience can receive the right thought, we may subjectively retrospect how will they think about object that displaying in front of them.


"Formlessness was a concept first introduced by Bataille in 1929, when he wrote about ‘l’informe’ (formless) in the surrealist journal Documents 1929–30. To Bataille, l’informe was about destroying categories and knocking art off its metaphorical pedestal so that it sat in the gutter. He rejected high-minded humanism which he said elevated form to an idealised notion, and celebrated the debased."

"The concept of formlessness was re-introduced by the cultural theorists Rosalind Krauss and Yves-Alain Bois in 1996, when they used Bataille’s notion of ‘l’informe’ in an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris called Formless: A User’s Guide. "

Paris hosts new exhibition of nothing

"Nature may abhor a vacuum but art knows no such contempt. From silent music to invisible exhibitions, the last 50 years have seen the rise of a movement for which absence was presence, less was more and the void was full to the brim with meaning."

Hold Still

"This shift had been predicted by Allan Kaprow – often credited as the instigator of the ‘happening’ (though Klein might take issue with that) – in his essay The Legacy of Jackson Pollock, published in 1958, two years after Pollock's death. At this point, Kaprow wrote

Artists must become preoccupied with and even dazzled by the space and objects of our everyday life, either our bodies, clothes, rooms or, if need be, the vastness of Forty-second Street… we should utilise the specific substances of sound, movements, people, odours, touch. Objects of every sort are materials for the new art: paint, chairs, food, electric and neon lights, smoke, water, old socks, a dog, movies, a thousand other things that will be discovered by the present generation of artists… Young artists of today need no longer say, 'I am a painter' or 'a poet' or 'a dancer'. They are simply artists. All of life will be open to them."

"The medium is the message."

Yves Klein’s Legacy Is about Much More Than Blue

"Colour enabled viewers to 'bathe in a cosmic sensibility,' Klein said. He would sometimes refer to the literary critic and philosopher Gaston Bachelard, who wrote: “First there is nothing, then there is a deep nothing, then there is a blue depth.”

"'The Void,' in particular, conveys something of Klein’s interest in Eastern philosophy, cultivated during an early trip to Asia when he trained to become a master of judo, his first love. A concern with emptiness and the disavowal of the self—central tenets of Zen Buddhism—pervades many of his works, not least his Monotone-Silence Symphony (first performed in 1960), a performance in which an orchestra plays a single note for 20 minutes, followed by a 20-minute period of silence, to a large audience. "

“'People ask why we don’t put it on the internet,' says Moquay of Klein’s symphony. 'We’re not talking only about the song, we’re talking about the silence. It’s really something—to be with a community for 20 minutes of very deep silence. When you get to 10 minutes, when you have saliva going through your throat, it makes a noise. Suddenly you are meditating with hundreds of people.'"

"'An Immaterial is a very difficult work,' he wrote. 'In its final distilled aspect, it is probably pure art because nothing physical exists.'”

It is wired that I can not firmly judge Yves Klein's works. Obviously, he had a significant influence in the art history, but sometimes I just felt that he really tell the void in his works, just a feeling. However, I like what he wrote that the immaterial should detach with the physical existence.

Sound Art With Void

"Sound is omnipresent, so much that we learn to take it for granted. We can stop seeing by closing our eyes, but we cannot stop hearing by closing our ears. Even then, we will keep hearing the sound of our blood, our heart, our stomach, etc…"

"We could also think about Marshall McLuhan and his motto ‘the medium is the message.’"


After reading these articles, I arranged the artists that occurred in them into a list for research. On account of there artists in Invisible: Art about the Unseen were chronologically mentioned, I separated into another form to indicate the time periods.

  • Dezeuze, A. (2011). Nothing works. Tate Etc. [Online] Issue 21: Spring 2011. Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019]

  • Jobey, L. (2016). Hold still. Tate Etc. [Online] Issue 36: Spring 2016. Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019]

  • Hayward Gallery. (2012). Invisible: Art about the Unseen. [Blog] e-flux. Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019]

  • Davies, L. (2009). Paris hosts new exhibition of nothing. [Blog] The Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019]

  • Thackara, T. (2017). Yves Klein’s Legacy Is about Much More Than Blue. [Blog] Artsy. Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019]

  • Keats, J. (2015). A New MoMA Exhibit Reveals How Yves Klein Leaped Into The Void -- And Got Photographed. [Blog] Forbes. Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019]

  • Donna. (2017). Sound art with Void. [Blog] North East of North. Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019]

  • Tate. Formlessness. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019]

  • Tate. Anti-Form. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2019]

  • Freeland, C. (2003). Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press


March 24th, the last Saturday that I planned to finish the primary research, I have successfully done this part with abundant research result in various way and that is satisfying. To sum up this stage, I have classified the artists and artworks that I searched in three genre for ease of reference as well as the development of secondary research. Meanwhile, I have read some articles about the void in art, which truly broadened my horizon and made me think a lot about how far can art goes on the way of nothingness. I think the main difficulty at this part was to learn the Harvard reference because I needed to make sure the information of every artworks I listed is precise with correct format. For the next stage, I am going to specifically look into some artists while starting to study the void in Buddhism, Taoism and science. Hopefully, I can begin to do some hands-on practice based on the inspiration of the researched artists.


bottom of page