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FMP Secondary Research

Updated: May 10, 2019

General Plan

For the secondary research, I will further look at some artists and study the concepts of void. Basically, this section will help me to generate a clearer profile of the outcome. In the text study, I will read Frank Close's Nothing and Nan Huai-jing's Zen and Taoist to enrich my knowledge on different cultural context. Meanwhile, I will also search online and read some articles which are written in either Western or Eastern perspective. For the artist study, I selected some artists that I researched for a second look, and looking for the extension on the material and idea. Subsequently, I will organise the inspiring points into two forms and come out with a reflection eventually.


Due to the very limited time, I have to cancel the sketchbook for more time applying on research and experiment. Thus, I will record the whole process on the blog.



Text Study


Article/Journal/Blog/Paper




Nothing: A Very Short Introduction

Close, F. (2009). Nothing: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (English Edition). 1st ed. [eBook] Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005WSNRPK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_d_asin_image_o03?ie=UTF8&psc=1 [Accessed 2 Apr. 2019]




Timelapse of the Future: A Journey to the End of Time

melodysheep. (2019). TIMELAPSE OF THE FUTURE: A Journey to the End of Time. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD4izuDMUQA [Accessed 22 Apr. 2019]



Reflection

For the text study, I attempt to get deeper into the element of nothingness in Taoism, Buddhism, and Physics. Several questions are laying in front of me that need to seek for the answers step by step. Firstly, I need to establish a clear idea of the meaning of nothingness in Taoism and Buddhism, and then compare the similarity and difference between them. Apart from the spiritual realm, the scientific explanation of nothing will give me another perspective, which is also the motif of this project, to perceive the divergence of the definition of nothing on various context. Generally, the reflection can be an elaborated summary of my text study.


This is my first time to do such a big text study in English. Therefore, I met several problems while writing the reflection. Firstly, on account of I read both Chinese and English texts, so sometimes it is difficult to either translate the quotation into English or find the Chinese translation of the English one. Secondly, I realised the importance of recording the origin of the citation and making some simple reflection in the research stage because you may forget the where do the references come or pivot points in the articles. Finally, I found that I still missed many informations that were necessary, sometimes due to the limitation of research, I only had a single viewpoint which was not really persuadable.



Artist Research

This is the artist list which I selected 15 most inspiring artist from the primary research.


Video

Eikoh Hosoe

James Richards


Material

Ceal Floyer

James Turrell

Larry Bell

Lucas Samaras

Robert Irwin

Yayoi Kusama


Concept

Aldo Tambellini

Kazimir Malevich

Kohei Nawa

Olafur Eliasson

Peter Sedgley

Susan Philipsz

Yves Klein


However, after digging deeper into the artists and their works, some of them gave me a brand new impression, so I re-arrange them into different sections.


Video

Eikoh Hosoe

James Richards

Aldo Tambellini

Susan Philipsz


Material

Olafur Eliasson

Peter Sedgley

James Turrell

Larry Bell

Lucas Samaras

Robert Irwin

Kohei Nawa


Concept

Ceal Floyer

Kazimir Malevich

Yayoi Kusama

Yves Klein



Artist Analysis


VIDEO

I plan to make a 5-minute video based on the interview of the impression of emptiness or nothingness in different age level. I want to use the video to recur the scenes of where they experienced this feeling, what did they notice at that moment.


Eikoh Hosoe

Ordeal by Roses

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

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

These two pictures inspired me profoundly on what I can put into the video. Especially the second one which Hosoe overlapped the eye with Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus. The transparency creates uncertain feeling, which akin to the fading memory. I think this technique is really suitable for making the video about memory.


Kamaitachi

  1. Hosoe, E. (1968, printed 2006). Kamaitachi No. 12. [Selenium toned gelatin silver print]. Akron: Akron Art Museum

  2. Hosoe, E. (1968). Kamaitachi No. 31. [Vintage silver gelatin print]. London: Michael Hoppen Gallery

  3. Hosoe, E. (1968, printed 2005). Kamaitachi No. 36. [Archival Digital Print on Hahnemuhle Paper].

  4. Hosoe, E. (1968). Kamaitachi No. 35. [Gelatin silver print].

  5. Hosoe, E. (1968). Kamaitachi. [Gelatin silver print]. New York: Museum of Modern Art

"Hosoe was inspired and began photographing the Butoh dancer, a collaboration which continued for many years and culminated in the series Kamaitachi (1965-1968). This series, shot on various locations in the rural Tohoku region, integrated elements of dance, theatre and documentary into a cinematic work that aimed to recreate and dramatise Hosoe’s childhood memories."


Kamaitachi is the creature in the Japanese myth which appears as a wind. Hosoe used to say that : “The camera is generally assumed to be unable to depict that which is not visible to the eye. And yet the photographer who wields it well can depict what lies unseen in his memory.” In this series, though he did not directly dipects the feature of Kamaitachi, but the gloomy and mysterious feeling in the pictures are somehow telling the existence of Kamaitachi. The odor of the Kamaitachi is filled in the atmosphere. The high contrast, low lightness and monochrome pictures successfully depict the emotion.


Butterfly Dream Series

Hosoe, E. (1994). Kazuo Ohno (Butterfly Dream Series). [Photography].


This is the most impressive picture that I ever seen. After looking at it, the figure in the picture began to dance in my mind vividly and hardly to forget. The character in the scene is the one of the founders of Butoh dance, Kazuo Ohno.

"In honour of Ohno’s long-held conviction in the importance of achieving freedom of body and mind, Hosoe named his photographic exploration of Ohno’s unique art after the famous Taoist allegory in which the philosopher Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, but once awake, wondered if he was a man dreaming to be a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming to be Zhuangzi."


It is surreal, or more like standing in between the boundary of real and unreal. As if a ghost or spirit that crossing the bridge of dream and reality, the colour of umbrella just merging with the sky over the head. Maybe in the first glance you would feel histrionic, but gradually everything in the picture are becoming more and more natural and harmonious.

Art Gallery of NSW. (2011). Photographer Eikoh Hosoe on his work and inspirations. [video] Available at:https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/media-office/eikoh-hosoe/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgk98N8N9Ro [Accessed 30 Mar. 2019].


Resources:

  • Wikipedia, (2018). Eikoh Hosoe. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eikoh_Hosoe [Accessed 30 Mar. 2019].

  • Michael Hoppen Gallery, (unknown). Eikoh Hosoe. [online] Available at: https://www.michaelhoppengallery.com/artists/89-eikoh-hosoe/overview/ [Accessed 30 Mar. 2019].

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales. (2011). Eikoh Hosoe: Theatre of Memory. 1st ed. [pdf] Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Page 3. Available at: https://media.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/downloads/files/AGNSW_Hosoe.pdf [Accessed 1 Apr. 2019].

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales. (2011). Eikoh Hosoe: Theatre of Memory. 1st ed. [pdf] Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Page 8. Available at: https://media.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/downloads/files/AGNSW_Hosoe.pdf [Accessed 1 Apr. 2019].

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales. (2011). Eikoh Hosoe. [online] Available at: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/media-office/eikoh-hosoe/ [Accessed 5 Apr. 2019].



James Richards


Tate. (2014). James Richards | Turner Prize Nominee 2014 | TateShots. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2odvRwp2pY [Accessed 30 Mar. 2019].


Raking Light

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


Rosebud

Richards, J. (2013). Rosebud. [Video (black and white, sound)]. London: Tate


FACADES Lifestyle. (2013). Rose Buds by James Richard 2013. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_lILI5kK1 [Accessed 30 Mar. 2019].



British Council Arts. (2017). James Richards: Music for the gift - Wales in Venice, 2017. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojJNYIYkA5A [Accessed 4 Apr. 2019].


I am attracted by James' editing techniques. The resources in his videos are various, they are coming from "cinema, works by other artists, camcorder footage, late night TV and archival research." The combination of different types of video styles generates abundant visual texture. Not only the image, but also the background sounds and musics are inspiring as well.


"In some ways I’m trying to treat the composition of moving images in a way that has a lot in common with this malleability of sound and have periods of investigating with a given camera or looking for footage to appropriate from a particular source, be that, like, second-hand videos or looking online or recently I’ve been watching a lot of Blue Rays of 70’s, kind of, cinema."


The point that I am deeply agreeing is that "unfolding ways in which fragments of the present can connect with those of the past, the hidden with the visible, and the sentient with the body." Perhaps the "fragments of the present"is the key point for me to take the shots of "emptiness." The feeling of lost or empty usually not come when you subjectively aware of your consciousness. However, the blanks and fragments in the life could be more triggering the resonance.


Resources:



Susan Philipsz



Philipsz, S. (2008/2010). Lowlands. [Three-channel sound installation]. Glasgow: Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts


47 Film. (2010). 'Lowlands' - Susan Philipsz Turner Art Prize Winner 2010. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWeKzTDi-OA [Accessed 3 Apr. 2019].


Philipsz, S. (2012). Study for Strings. [7-channel sound installation]. Kassel: dOCUMENTA (13)

Madramor09. (2014). Susan Philipsz Study for Strings dOCUMENTA 13. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_yMZJkzbcw [Accessed 3 Apr. 2019].


"Susan Philipsz’s work represents a subtle and poetic approach to the use of sound, whose intention is to make us aware of our physical environment and of the sometimes invisible history attached to it, indeed very much like sculptures do."


The similar environment that we sense may can bring us back to the emotional state that we used to feel in the past. As Philipsz said: “Sound is materially invisible but very visceral and emotive. It can define a space at the same time as it triggers a memory.” Her untrained voice is resembling to Richards James' fragmented videos, both of them are common that we could hear or see at somewhere in our daily life, and that creates the possibility. It is more possible to trigger the audiences, because the sound and the image are common. Another distinct point in her work is the song matches the environment. Where it plays primarily sets the premise of culture background and the tone.


Resources:



Aldo Tambellini




















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

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

  3. Aldo Tambellini. (1965–68). Lumagrams. [Hand-painted glass slides]. Salem: The Aldo Tambellini Art Foundation

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

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

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


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


ZMK I Karlsruhe. (2017). Aldo Tambellini. Black Matters. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc4L1vBSspM [Accessed 2 Apr. 2019].


TiBOR Nagy. (2015). Aldo Tambellini - Cathodic works - 1966-1976 - Disc 1. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXn4T7fGu14 [Accessed 4 Apr. 2019].


“Film is the main object of this exchange, drawing on diverse elements that mix his classical artistic training with the influences of kinetic sculpture, camera-less film, hypnotic cinema, and direct animation.“


Tambellini is the master of using black and white. I love how he use the film or electronic devices to make the black abstraction. The most inspiring work that I saw is the Black Spiral, which uses the television to show the variation of the white patterns in the black background. Maybe I can do something electronical like this to represent the feelings and emotions.


Resources:


MATERIAL

For the material part, the focus point is the materials that the artists used in their works. What effects do these materials create? How can I further develop them? Is it possible to purchase and use right now? With these questions, I began to research these artists' works.


Peter Sedgley















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


"The paint I use is primarily PVA; in some paintings, I introduce fluorescent colour. Some control gear is assembled according to my requirements from Electro-sonic Ltd, some is ‘off” the rack’ from Lightomation Ltd."


I saw Sedgley's Colour Cycle III in the Tate Modern, the colour combinations in the circle was illusory, and that was amazing. Based on the research, the key point of this work is the reaction of light and paint. Therefore, mixing the colours in different media could be a method applying in the project.


Resources:



Kohei Nawa






















Nawa, K. (2015). Foam. [video] Available at: https://vimeo.com/121485455 [Accessed 1 Apr. 2019].


  1. Nawa, K. (2008). Pixcell (Flamingo). [Mixed media]. Tokyo: SCAI The Bathhouse

  2. Nawa, K. (2011). Pixcell-Deer #24. [Mixed media]. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art

  3. Nawa, K. (2011). Scum -Apotosis. [Mixed media]. Tokyo: SCAI The Bathhouse

  4. Nawa, K. (2013). Foam. [Mixed media]. Aichi: Aichi Triennale

  5. Nawa, K. (2018). Biomatrix. [Mixed media]. Tokyo: SCAI The Bathhouse

  6. Nawa, K. (2016). Kohtel. [Mixed media]. Hiroshima: Shinshoji Zen temple


“To our senses of vision and touch, the world is a continuum of surfaces, and all things are covered with some sort of skin. Because we sense and become aware of objects through their skin, it is the quality of the skin that determines whether or not we feel something to be real. The skin becomes an interface that links sensibility with matter, and images are produced through this interplay of sensibility and matter.“


Kohei Nawa is extraordinary creative in the material. He is very bold to experiment the materials. At first, I was inspired by his Foam, the long-lasting bubbles that he spent weeks of experiments ('he spent weeks mixing up various concoctions of detergent, glycerin and water'). Later, I found that he applied silicone oil in the Biomatrix was a good material of simulating the ripples of the water, which was thicker and waves slower. Nawa was influenced by the Buddhism and Japan’s native Shintoism in his early period. Hence, his works contains the subconscious attitude that derives from his culture background. For instance, the interior view of his architecture, Kohtel, was also illuminating because the slight beam on the water surface in a dark space creates the atmosphere of Zen. It gave me another idea of using the water reflection in the work. The water can be easily triggered by any subtle oscillation, as if the state of our emotion, thus the reflections of the outside world eventually become as the our own feelings, they are unreal and changeable.


Resources:



Olafur Eliasson



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

  2. Eliasson, O. (2010). Feelings are facts. [Fluorescent lights (red, green, blue), aluminium, steel, wood, ballasts, haze machines]. Beijing: Ullens Center for Contemporary Art

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

  4. Eliasson, O. (1993). Beauty. [Spotlight, water, nozzles, wood, hose, pump]. Montréal: Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

  5. Eliasson, O. (2018). Day and night lava. [Concave mirror, stainless steel, lava stone, LED, motor, paint (black, white), wire]. Berlin: neugerriemschneider


Olafur Eliasson is an artist who usually uses light as the material. His works commonly relate to the environment and globalisation. The most impressive works that I have seen is The Weather Project and Day and Night Lava. For the previous one, he created a large sun in the hall of Tate Modern.


"Olafur used humidifiers to create a fine mist in the air via a mixture of sugar and water, as well as a semicircular disc (reflected by the ceiling mirror to appear circular)made up of hundreds of monochromatic lamps which radiated yellow light. The ceiling of the hall was covered with a huge mirror, in which visitors could see themselves as tiny black shadows against a mass of orange light symbolizing the sun."


There are several points worth to highlight in this work. Firstly, the humidifier had been used in his early work, Beauty, which created gorgeous rainbow effect under the spotlight. Secondly, the lights he used are the monochromatic lamps that he also applied in the other works. Thirdly, the mirror is the common feature as well. However, I think the most striking material he used is the concave mirror in the Day and Night Lava, because it can magnify a small thing in a certain extent.


Resources:


James Turrell


Guggenheim Museum. (2016). James Turrell. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=MVoMJHSNyI0 [Accessed 5 Apr. 2019].


S. L. Sterling. (2013). James Turrell's Aten Reign at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. [video] available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk6gyQxkS-k [Accessed 5 Apr. 2019].

  1. Turrell, J. (1967). Afrum I (White). [Projected light]. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  2. Turrell, J. (1976). Iltar. [Tungsten light]. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  3. Turrell, J. (2011). Apani. [Computerized LED]. Zürich: Häusler Contemporary

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

James Turrell is the master of light art who influenced Olafur Eliasson. He did so many spectacular light installations and his Aten Reign gave me a lot of ideas on the material. On account of he installed the work on the celling of Guggenheim gallery which combined both LED light and day light. For creating soft light, he used fine fabric gauzes (PVC scrim), “a white one on the inside and a black one on the outside, which helps each section achieve a full saturation of color. It also prevents light from leaking out of the installation onto the museum’s ramps, which are isolated from the piece by white fabric walls.” To manipulate the light, he used the LED lights that produced by Philips’s Color Kinetics company with connecting to the colour mixer program developed by his studio. Nevertheless, after I searching this company, I found it is located at North America, and the order needs to be individually contacted. I think it is quick impossible to prepare my material through this way.


“So, without image, without object, without specific focus, what do you have left? Well, a lot of it is this idea of seeing yourself see, understanding how we perceive.”


I could somewhat understand the meaning of what Turrell said. Moreover, this sentence helped me to think about the demonstration of the idea of Dao. The Dao is both being and non-being, and the being is generated by non-being. Although we could not contemplate the non-being, Turrell’s work reminded me the white light, which could be a symbol of being. “Dao generates one, one generates two, two generates three and three generates everthing”, the white light could generate all the visible light, so this property somewhat akin to the Taoist theory of being.


Resources:


Larry Bell



  1. Bell, L. (2014). 6 x 6 An Improvisation. [36 individual glass panels]. Marfa: the Chinati Foundationin

  2. Bell, L. (2011). SF. 6.20.11A (Small Figure). [Mixed media on paper]. Laguna Beach: Peter Blake Gallery

  3. Bell, L. (1962-1963). The Aquarium. [Mirror, glass, paint, silver leaf]. Pasadena: Frank Lloyd Gallery

  4. Bell, L. (2013). L.K.L 4/15/13. [Aluminum and silicon monoxide on polyester film]. Laguna Beach: Peter Blake Gallery

Larry Bell is an artist of Light and Space movement who usually uses glass, brass and wood as the material. The diverse effect that coated on the glass cubes are attracting me, and I found that he used metallic vacuum-coating technique to achieve these beautiful colours.


“The aluminium acts like water, it raises the reflectivity.”


This sentence reminded me an extremely crucial problem, that the water will evaporate even in the room temperature. Therefore, how can I find a substitution of water, which does not evaporate but still has the similar properties to water? I considered the silicone oil that Kohei Nawa used in his work, but it was thicker than water, so it cannot easily form the ripple on the surface. Then I remembered Liliane Lijun’s Liquid Reflections (1968), which she sealed the liquid paraffin in a translucent ball. Surprisingly, the liquid paraffin is visually similar as the water with higher fluency than the silicone oil.


Resources:



Lucas Samaras



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


The main reason of researching Lucas Samaras is because he uses the boxes to represent the extension of him self. As the description of Tate wrote: “He created a small inner space, womblike and reclusive, where he could hold out against the world.” My favourite piece is his Box (1963), which have coloured thread pinned between acetate films and shattered glass inside. The acetate films reflected abstract images which as if the reflection on the water surface. Therefore, I think it is a good choice to substitute water or mirror.


Resources:


Robert Irwin


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

  2. 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

  3. Irwin, R. (2008). Light and Space II (1). [Fluorescent lights]. London: White Cube Bermondsey

Robert Irwin was a painter at the beginning of his career and then changed to installation art. His early works usually applied the scrims which recreate the sense of space.


"I then questioned the frame as containment, the edge as the beginning and end of what I see… consider the possibility that nothing ever really transcends its immediate environment… I tried to respond directly to the quality of each situation I was in, not to change it wholesale into a new or ideal environment, but to attend directly to the nature of how it already was. How is it that a space could ever come to be considered empty when it is filled with real and tactile events?”


Irwin believed that every single ideas in our minds can find their roots from the experience, which is quite resembling to the idea of Buddhism, that we are the results of numerous causes and effects. In the 1970s, he firstly used fluorescent light as the material and I am really interested in the lights groups that he made which have amusing colour combinations. As a result, in the further research of the fluorescent light, I found that it is slightly different from the neon light because it has an extra phosphor coat inside. Then I compared these two lights with the LED light, I learned that the LED light is actually the one has longer lifespan and less power usage. Meanwhile, neon light and fluorescent light are more fragile.


Resources:



Ceal Floyer























Floyer, C. (2018). Fallen Star. [35 mm slide projector, slide mask, mirror, telescopic AV stand]. London: Lisson Gallery

Ceal Floyer is familiar with using the everyday things as the readymade in her art. The intriguing part of her works for me is the works of projections. For instance, the Fallen Star (2018) and Light Switch (2002-2009) and Auto Focus (2002), that she used projection to create the unreal objects with ironic meanings.


Resources:



CONCEPTUAL

The following artists had given me abundant inspirations from their attitudes and believes which are containing in their works. All of them used to think their expression of emptiness or nothingness, what they did meaningfully get further on the exploration of the art of void.


Yayoi Kusama



  1. Kusama, Y. (1953). The Woman. [Pastel, tempera and acrylic on paper]. Austin: The Blanton Museum

  2. Kusama, Y. (1959). No. F. [Oil on canvas]. New York: Museum of Modern Art

  3. Kusama, Y. (2013). Infinity Mirrored Room - The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. [Wood, metal, glass mirrors, plastic, acrylic panel, rubber, LED lighting system, acrylic balls, and water]. Los Angles: The Broad

  4. Kusama, Y. (1966). Narcissus Garden. [Set of 800 stainless steel spheres]. London: Victoria Miro Gallery

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


CBS This Morning. (2017). Experience Yayoi Kusama's limitless "Infinity Mirrors" exhibit. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmFBlE4cg3w [Accessed 2 Apr. 2019].


Yayoi Kusama is known for her “psychopathic” paintings and sculptures with polka dots, which the idea is derived from her childhood. As she said: “I felt as if I had begun to self-obliterate, to revolve in the infinity of endless time and the absoluteness of space, and be reduced to nothingness.” To realise her thought, since 1960s, she had begun to do an significant series called Infinity Mirror Room, which she fills the rooms with mirrors and reflecting the things in them to the infinite spaces. It is worth noting that she applied water on the floor of the room to crate the mirror effect. In addition, referring to the room, her another work Narcissus Garden (1966) had somewhat similar idea.


Resources:



Kazimir Malevich






















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


Smarthistory. art, history, conversation. (2018). A new world after the Russian Revolution: Malevich, Suprematist Composition: White on White. [video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=NaxhuXIpdj0 [Accessed 4 Apr. 2019].

 "the supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts.”


As the founder of Suprematism, Kazimir Malevich is definitely one of the fanatical pursuers of the ultimacy of art. His most influential work to me is the White on White, which he painted in 1918. “And if you want everybody to participate and you want everyone to understand art, then you need to remove those culturally specific references that appear in still lives, and genre paintings, and landscapes”, as for Malevich, he chose to use geometric shapes and pure colours, such as white, to achieve the supremacy of painting. He simply use the most common things to convey his ideas; indeed, they are so basic and pure. Perhaps the artists like James Turrell and Mark Rothko were affected by the idea from Malevich. As for me, this work let me re-think the infinity and the limitation of expression. Firstly, Malevich regarded the white as the symbol of the infinity; nonetheless, how could we define the white? If we separately take a look at the colour of these two squares, we may define both of them are white. However, when they are put together, we may be hesitant to make a definition. When I was researching James Turrell, I read an article of analysing the white light. In face, the perception of colour is a physiological reaction, the white lights that we perceived are different in the spectrum even though they look identical. Meanwhile, different people have different standard of white and that is depending on our living circumstances. We can take the sunlight, the LED light and the paint on Malevich’s painting as white, but as the squares in the picture, they may have subtle differences. I also remembered Robert Irwin used to say: “we know the sky's blueness even before we know it as ‘blue’, let alone as “sky.’” Similarly, we can instinctively define the colour of sky as “blue”, but does the today’s blue same as the yesterday’s one? There is a limitation of the expression, so I think the literal supremacy in the White on White is not the whites in the picture, but somewhere out of the square.


Resources:


Yves Klein



  1. Klein, Y. (1960). Leap into the Void. [Photography]. Los Angeles: The Getty Research Institute

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

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

  4. Klein, Y. (1959). IKB 79. [Paint on canvas on plywood]. London: Tate Modern

Klein is famous for his unique IKB paintings and except from this part, his is also an explorer of the ultimacy of art. Klein was not only an artist, but also a master of judo, which bridged him to the Eastern idea. The concept of Zen brought him to think the meaning of void, “Klein's Void is a nirvana-like state that is void of worldly influences; a neutral zone where one is inspired to pay attention to one's own sensibilities, and to ‘reality’ as opposed to “representation.’” However, just as the Zeno’s paradox of Achilles and the tortoise that I learned in Anna Dezeuze’s article, it seems like Klein did not eventually achieve the state of void in his artworks, but all of them becoming as the evidences of his failure. “Being imprisoned”, such a common feeling that so many artists used to feel for centuries, Klein mentioned this feeling at a lecture at the Sorbonne in 1958. He was the one who trying to against this invisible cage; therefore since 1947 he had begun to make monochromatic paintings. However, maybe just like Blake Gopnik wrote: “weirder yet, its beauty seems to end up showing that transcendence is impossible”, the painting has not really made itself free from the edge of the physical world. Later on, he did the Le Vide (1958), the installation with an empty cabinet, then he did Leap into the Void with Harry Shunk and Janos Kender in 1960, and Void Room in 1961. Again, as Gopnik described the Leap into the Void:


“When Klein made his leap, he didn't levitate. He fell to Earth, as he knew he would. That inevitable fall — and the courage to jump that precedes it — is what his art is about.”


I think that is fairly true to Yves Klein’s art career, he was bold and consistent on pursuing the void; whereas in the Taoist view, everything which is dependent upon something else could not approach the nothingness, so do the art. Since the artist has created something, even designed an empty space, that’s already exist with the mark of being. Admittedly, Klein may had achieved the “here and now”, the void in Klein’s work, which is the momentary feeling before the audiences considering anything. However, I do not know whether this feeling is possible to be perceived before we make any conscious reaction. Consequently, this perplexity brought me back to the very beginning, what is art? Alison Brady regards the pure art as the pure experience that only exist in the here and now, and the physical object is the “representation of the art.” Is it possible that the art is an immaterial feeling that only last in a wink? What do we perceive before the action of cognition? Can an empty room really trigger the sense of void? I am not sure about these questions temporarily. Maybe that will be my next mountain to climb.


Resources:


Summary

After finishing the research, I arranged the resources into a form which is convenient for making bibliography and organising the key points.


Generally, this is the biggest research of art that I ever did and I am surprised that I can do such a lot research in two months. Admittedly, I did not thoroughly find all the answers that I want because of the limitation of the time and also I find that there are some questions we have not really reach to an answer, but I have to say that both my thought and skill are trained profoundly in this text study. I can feel that I started to think deeper than before.


Keep on and going further.

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