‘to have an artistic experience means to have a look from outside of a frame and simultaneously enter into it’
To communicate an idea from a new perspective.
To pose a question using different or unconventional terminology, or to pose a question from a different standpoint, accounting for a viewpoint other than your own.
To shine a light from a different position and illuminate an aspect as yet unseen.
A lightness of touch. Not necessarily generative, but perhaps adeptly communicating your unique insight. How do you feel/see/experience differently?
“It is a myth that reflection is only possible from the outside.” (Arteaga 2010). Artistic experience is a form of reflection.
Research as ongoing, constantly learning. Not a point of reflection once you have reached an ‘end’ point.
The peeling back of onion skins.
What have you removed?
What have you exposed?
What impact has this intervention had?
Not necessarily the begetting of answers, but the repeated act of asking questions. Perhaps the same question enacted again and again, generating layers upon layers of material.
Perhaps the question is the answer?
The ‘stuff’ or ‘substance’ of art practice is in the enquiry.
In my personal narrative Cased Caddisflies have held fascination for me since discovering their existence ‘pond-dipping’ on a school trip when I was 10. I wrote a detailed, illustrated report on these magnificent creatures, microscopic sculptors, intrigued by their unique superpower and their ability to exist not only within their environment but as part of it.
Turning over a rock in a clean, shallow, fast running stream you are likely to see squiggling in the sheen of water (the as yet to be cased caddisfly larvae) amongst small pellets of pebbles and organic matter, stuck fast to the stone.
There is astonishing beauty in the intricacy and fineness of this pixel-like pebbled creations. However, for me at least, existed a guilty, sinister desire to pull the cases off and itching desire to see what was inside. Regardless of my fascination with the exterior shell, I needed to reveal the interior.
Duprat’s work heightens this contrast between the exterior and interior. The reflectivity of the bright coloured precious golds and gems of his Trichoptères set up an uncomfortable Beauty and the Beast paradigm. They become miniature Hephaestus-es, hideous, deformed, metal-working magicians that create beauty which belies its creators.
In this way, Duprat work lies in parallel with my own research into eggs, their membranes, contents and shells. Playing upon the tensions that exist between the interior and exterior. Examining how it is to be inside or outside, empty or full, enrobed or naked.
I enjoy the idea of reversing the making process. Of returning the egg shell to its most basic chemical form. I’ve done this with chemicals – exposing the egg shell to acid and watching the calcium surface melt away.
This experiment saw me sand the shells down, applying minimal pressure as through drawing meditative cycles on sandpaper, the egg surface was slowly ground to dust. The contrasts of this process are particularly pleasing.
The soft smooth shell becoming a highly textural powder. Something of substance eroding into dust.
The abrupt meeting between the gently curving surface and a newly ‘cut’ linear edge.
The potential offered to gaze into and through the interior of a shell, to get closer to that embryonic stage of existence is also intriguing…
Reflecting on the intimate relationship I’m developing with the material. I can feel the smooth, matte, cold texture of the egg shell on my fingers even whilst typing this.
To continue with this theme of eggs and the human body/eggs as clothing accessories… 24/03/21
Merrymakers at Shrovetide, Frans Hals, 1616-17
The Met’s Object Description lists the revellers as performers from the Painters’ guild, putting on theatrical productions for the celebration of Shrove Tuesday. The figure on the left is Pekelharing, who sports a garland of what is described as ‘salted fish and eggs’. Though I see sausages, green beans and eggs more than salted fish.
A garland of eggs? Why not. They are like beautiful great gemstones. Seemingly divine in their mathematical perfection and otherworldly in their smooth, unblemished surface.
Seeing the array of different eggs produced by birds, particularly chickens that look quite similar and yet produce very different lays, I was struck by how the birds are known by their eggs as much as their plumage. The eggs are an identifier, unique to that species.
A material extension to the bird’s body. Existing apart and yet together. Of the bird, and yet so utterly different.
The only commonality I could draw is with the output of artists. You type an artist’s name into google, and whilst a few portraits may crop up: moody, ‘artsy’, maybe in a smoky black and white, the majority of the pictures will be of the artists work. Like a clutch of eggs they will may share a common superficial appearance, yet each work is distinct and irregular. From the same nest there will be smaller products, some irregularly shaped or more highly coloured. There may even be some that are cracked, the less successful works that languish at the bottom of the search results.
Born in 1938 in Mungyeong, South Korea, Tai-Jung UM graduated from the Department of Sculpture in College of Fine Arts at Seoul National University, studied at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London, and held positions as a research professor at Berlin Fine Arts University and professor in the Department of Sculpture in College of Fine Arts at Seoul National University.
두 개의 날개와 낯선 자 | A STRANGER HOLDING TWO WINGS, 2018