Task for this week: Bodily engaging painting – body painting – painting with my body – another self-portrait
“The Eyes of the Skin”
Traditionally vision was considered superior and alongside words the dominant aspects in art history and aesthetics. Other senses as touch and smell were since Aristoteles considered as inferior. Pallasmaa (2005) looked into those aspects in the context of contemporary architecture and how spaces around us are meaningful with an embodied experience that goes further visual perception only.
Painting with the body was done by Yves Klein in his project Anthropometrics (1961). A project in front of an auditorium and with a chamber orchestra accompanying the painting process by naked female with blue paint covering part of her front body and placing imprints on a large paper laying on the floor or hanging on the wall – choreographed by Klein.
Another painting with the body – or rather drawing – was done by Carolee Schneemann who placed herself naked within a suspended harness in making a performance drawing on the surrounding walls / space. Here it is rather the gestural mark making through her body as in Klein’s project it was the body itself making full marks.
Schneemann says: “to vitalize the whole body as stroke and gesture in this dimensional space” (Carolee Schneemann)
For this week I will start with some various colors with gouache paint, starting with a rather ‘Klein’ approach, perhaps move on with more gestural movements and/or adding at later stage further color areas. My emotional response during the painting process and afterwards looking at it will inform me on next steps.
- A very engaging and interactive experience and approach to ‘self-portraiture’. What and how I perform my body on the paper, using gouache paint as the medium to leave traces. All my senses were involved and I could truly feel the embodied experience in space.
- I could feel the limitations of trying to get my three dimensional structure onto a two dimensional paper (laying on the ground for practical reasons).
- Pre wetting the paper makes the ‘imprints’ softer with a movement perception
- Colour mixing can be done on paper through layering, blending or by pre blending on my body.
- I could visualise human presence alongside self-portrait without the need to a mirror and refection. By that the painted image is not any longer an image seen by me and an observer. It is me as an observer looking at my presented self. Interesting idea that I would like to look deeper into.
- I have to see how to incorporate those experience within my more elaborated works. I can sense there presented presence of ‘Me’ can add personality, movement, atmosphere and expression.
- I am wondering whether those paintings could be valid as self-standing images or whether they need to be further elaborated. And if yes, than how?
56: ‘Wet movement: Blue, Red, White, Ochre – Head, torso, arms‘ – Gouache on 100×70 paper
=> Pre wetting the paper, and with blended colour on my ‘body-brush’. With movement. Atmospheric image with certain depth and tonal gradation.
55: ‘Sideways: Red, Blue, White – Legs, arms, torso‘ – Gouache on 100×70 paper
=> my right and my left side. At the end white imprint of my breast. Looks like two figures, symmetry.
54: ‘Pushing down: White, Blue, Red, Yellow – Head, torso, hands‘ – Gouache on 100×70 paper
=> Variation from #52. More space perception through tonal variations. Interesting imprint of my face. The bottom section seems to glow.
53: ‘Swimming: Red, White, Blue, Yellow – Torso, arms‘ – Gouache on 100×70 paper
=> Very different. Green and red brings up another atmosphere, the middle red section quite powerful. The green (blend of blue and yellow) from my moving arms brings weight. Overall I have the feeling of unbalance. The middle section (my torso) reminds me of a face (nose, mouth)
52: ‘Standing up: Ochre, White, Blue – Head, torso, hands‘ – Gouache on 100×70 paper
=> The hands add perspective and space. The dark bottom with the lighter and thinner middle section reminds me of some colon, stomach issues. Overall an image that could tell a narrative.
51: ‘Keeping flat: Ochre, Red, White – Head, torso, arms‘ – Gouache on 100×70 paper
=> A bodily imprint with some moving right and left. Feels stable and coherent. The empty space between head and torso adds a certain lightness.
50: ‘Ochre, Umbra, Blue – Head, upper body, arms‘ – Gouache on 100×70 paper
=> still more of an imprint with slight moving of my head – three times with three colors. I like especially how form materialises through my body imprint, how the colors are blending together and adding space, and how the arms are ‘hanging’ like a manikin. The form of the head (side) less successful. The blue color adds another aspect to the image, raises questions as it may feel awkward?
- ‘Tribute to the French artist Yves Klein and his Anthropometries of the Blue period (1961)’ (2012) Available from: https://youtu.be/VroXpfjH9ao [accessed 18 Sep 2016]
- ‘Carolee Schneemann – Up to and Including Her Limits’ Available from:
https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/moma/moma-artist-interviews/v/schneemann-on-line [accessed 18 Sep 2016]
Pallasmaa, J. and Holl, S. (2005) The Eyes of the skin – architecture and the senses. United Kingdom: Wiley, John & Sons.