reduce the nude to a fundamental representation [reducing the elements exposes the soul]. the photograph flattens the image leading to a unification of object and background/environment – in doing this, substance/solidity is removed (made transparent) so that only ‘form’ remains [form/force lines]. the complementary process to this is the merging/layering of substance which removes form (bodies transform into mist/gaseous state).
an alchemical process
form and substance represent opposite truths
phenomenology: subjective ➝ objective
in an alchemical sense, the splitting apart of the body is so to transform it, not to leave it in a fragmented state but to recombine the elements, and in the process of doing this reveal truths that would otherwise remain hidden; the body is the same, but transformed…
this is not a reductionist process, it is about understanding how the aspects of a thing are constituted into a whole [the how as opposed to the particles]
the line drawings (form) and the layered composites (substance) can be recombined so that some previously hidden aspects are now visible in the transformed state. taken as fundamental elements, the form and substance might not necessarily need to be derived from the same source body – it is not necessarily the same body that is reconstituted.
the line drawing returns the crystalline (photograph) to a natural, liquid state.
the transition between subjective/objective is explicit when the source images are shown alongside the final derived image. for many of the composites, the source images have not been kept because i felt that they had no meaning after the transformation, and i wanted to treat the composite image as a source in itself, with no history… but it is not always clear where the subjective and objective assignments are – perhaps the source images contain the real objectivity and the transformed (irrespective of how automated or random the mechanics of it are) is really the subjective view?
there is a sense that ultimately art will always fail to disentangle the subjective and objective. what manifests itself is still an unhiding but what is revealed is deeply psychological / subconscious, an expression of intuition as a state that unifies subjectivity and objectivity because it operates on a level outside of these things – not at a fundamental level, but one which nonetheless touches knowledge at points inaccessible to linear logic.
body reduced to minimal, identification of lines on a surface (like a map)
for pencil drawing
identifying lines/contours on source image (threads of material)
series of pictures, each covering a different area of the source photograph
selection of areas intuitive / perhaps random?
possible different degrees of magnification in each section – some close up, others densely packed lines
close up lines reveal their complexity (fractal nature)
also introduce composite to this – drawing different segments over each other
shades of grey
if all lines are in a single shade, then the composite reaches a pure level of abstraction, where there is no explicit differentiation between texture and substance/colour
can also introduce shading into this series
shading on a line drawing might be derived from a different segment of the source image which would lead to a composite of different aspects of the source:
some aspects = lines
other aspects = substance
also the shading can introduce colour (e.g. substance = colour)
composition process: the compositing of source images into new image is a semi-automatic / intuitive process. the composition is not to achieve a structured / balanced collage where elements exist in spacial relation to each other. neither is the compositing process intended to be purely automated or random, where each source image is completely disconnected from each other. the focus of the compositing is the body, which remains largely intact and recognisable as a body. additional elements are introduced that may be relevant in both an aesthetic (graphical) sense but also equally in terms of subject/context of the source images. the compositing process introduces unpredictable elements and contrasts, new forms.
the next stage is reducing the composite to its essential elements, to unify the disconnected elements into a new (transformed) form. this is done by removing those elements of the composite which are weakly bonded to the new whole, and by representing all elements in a consistent way (e.g. by reproducing them all as pencil lines)
this new (transformed) element corresponds to the transformed body
how can the alchemical process be reconciled with Zen? alchemy can be described in a Jungian framework, but Zen makes this all transparent, without the baggage of religion or psychoanalytical theories? if it is all about the desire to find some unity, then the alchemists simply used what they saw to be elemental and tried to uncover what what made those elements special. they experimented to find the essential nature of catalysts, because they believed that if they could find a process that unifies/purifies the external, then this would also unlock the secrets of transforming the internal (their souls once purified would reveal God).
x + y = 0
x and y are both 0
x and y are opposites
without external support
not in a cage (the cage is internal)
process (a transformation, not a static moment, the revealing as opposed to the revealed)
at the moment of unhiding (unclothing), all attention is focussed on the body, the environment becomes invisible
as one thing becomes revealed, all else becomes hidden
escape this hiding/revealing dichotomy, and show in an impossible static image the moment when the body and its environment transfer (exchange) objectivity, loose their identity, merge, unify, become the same thing. as one thing disappears another is revealed and so at some point they must both pass through a state of equality, sameness. this state is where the object becomes equal to its place (its home).
the nude becomes invisible as soon as its true form is exposed
normally a frame (explicit in the sense of a structure of wood and glass, or implicit in the boundaries of the image surface) is used to make the art work discontinuous with its environment. this might seem even more appropriate to nudes, because the frame acts as a window into a scene that is not of this place. but this seems wrong for the doll moiré, which is trying to heal the dislocation (pinning the image to the wall also refers to the act of dissection). if the idea of nude is it being an exposed state, about the process of exposure, then the image – a materialisation of the concept of the nude – must also be exposed, not shielded, unprotected (also protection leads to voyeurism and false eroticism).