The Icon, the chair and the problem of perspective solved.
This came about through thinking about the dilemma of rendering Euclidean Space in a Euclidean plane. Renaissance development in perspectival illusion and the increasing skill with which the projection of 3 dimensional space was rendered in 2 dimensions was not a worry, not a problem. It was, however, an important event which marked the rise of rationalism, the incorporation of mathematical concepts and the building of an aesthetic which favoured 3 dimensional illusion over the 2 dimensional reality of a two dimensional plane.
Perspective, whether linear perspective, curvilinear perspective or reverse perspective are projecting conventions; they are mathematical and or metaphysical models, they are attempting a 2 dimensional understanding of a 3 dimensional relationship with all that surrounds us. The curvilinear perspective of Escher comes closest to grappling with the inevitable inconsistencies but even this is mirroring the effect of the eyes retina rather than dealing with the obfuscation which perspective introduces into the imaging of 3 into 2. Space is much more complex than this.
After spending many years attempting to teach perspective and being witness to the inherent difficulties, and pain, which are manifest with this I questioned its importance as an artistic tool. To be able to render the illusion of space is still held, by many, in high regard and seen as a badge of artistic merit. It may or may not be but for me the development of the lens, an eye emulator, was a much more conclusive resolution to the issue.
The work manipulates the concept of drawing; drawing as a conceptual tool. Mapping both physical and mental, creating illusion, visual investigation, that which can deal with the internal and external simultaneously. However whichever form is being explored it is an editing and modelling process. Only in drawing about drawing, a self-referencing form, is drawing itself itself. In all other forms there is a process of selection and exclusion.
Drawing is both a reductive and additive process. It is reductive in the sense of there is a selective process; what of the chair is to be drawn. Which information will be extracted and which information will not. All information is singularly the chair; the drawing is not the chair. Object and subject. In this case the subject is a chair the object is the drawing, which is very chair like in characteristic.
I perceived the chair in three ways. As concept of purpose and utility, as a form and material; a sensory experience and as an affective signifier; all matters related to the symbolism of a chair from the throne as an icon of power to the fashionable accessory to a basic accoutrement of 'civilised' living.
The reductive process is the extraction of material from the chair. Reducing the physical substance (the wood) of the chair to a point where I felt I cannot go further. The form remains, the material albeit in a reduced quantity is there, the structural element; screws, glue, joints are all still there. Chairness is clearly visible but its essential utility is undermined. The frame surrounding the chair is the repository of the removed material. There is in fact more of the original material of the chair in the frame than there is in the remaining form. Close inspection of the frame reveals its origins clearly. In terms of material the frame is more chair than the form one might postulate.
My solution to the perspective dilemma is a three dimensional drawing in which the subject and object combine. The symbolism of chair remains; it is part of that family of bentwood furniture which emerged in the 19th Century industrialisation of western and central Europe and is synonymous with mass, cheap production. This remains and is augmented by the re-description of the chair as an object of art.
Return to the Artwork Directory