Movement and its limitation within an environment is a visual-spatial presentation which responds to the vibrancy of partaking in an assemblage, and to the ambivalence of living in a borderland.
The movement of the city, and broader urban-rural relationships, viewed as an assemblage, is the becoming of human and non-human bodies: a material configuration that is constantly shifting along relationships of affect. While we may live our lives within these material-semiotic assemblages, our lives are constructed along different, but sometimes overlapping, borderlands. Movement is a normal part of human life, but it is not possible for everyone to move in the same ways. People, however, can dream to live another life, one with another set of thresholds, in the same urban-rural assemblage. This life can happen in a different relationship to the visible and invisible barriers and blockages present in their current lives.
It is seldom that the objects I make follow a direct route, or a highly planned sequence of steps to completion. A notion of sketching, being that of an observation which involves associations of informality and emergence through expressing, coding, and sensing, is useful to understand this contextually bound making-thinking process. Making-thinking, through sketching, involves the continuous reassessment to codifications, and adjustments to forms and relationships of aspects of assemblages.
I have found that I work in series because the meaning in painting arises in part in the relationship between paintings, and the way they come together in an environment. This broad idea has influenced my production over the last few years: from working in series of painting to working with series of painting as installations. When I started making installations I used my paintings to build structures. My conglomerations of paintings, however, have been moving towards a sculptural form for the last two years. While the arrangement of the sculpture in its relationship to other elements of an environment is important, a sculpture does not create an environment so much as create a presence within an environment. I am interested in what such a presence can do to influence my painting, and my printing. The interfacing of these different disciplines, painting, printing, and sculpture, offers a vast area to explore. What would the percept and affect be that is opened through this encounter? That is something I want to see and experience.
Sketches are sometimes considered to be a type of mediation that is not far removed from the original experience, but one entailing an expression, a coded message, or a sense that is still unworked into a final form. Linked to the ideas that sketches are unfinished or incomplete portrayals, there are the ideas that sketches are open to adjusting relationships, and are able to make visible previously unseen possibilities. Sketching, when understood metaphorically, can be considered a primary aspect of my image-object making process: I propose that my image-object making process could be characterised by the notions of informality, emergence, and possibility contained in the general understanding of the notion of sketching. This is a process of layering, and locking; of adjusting relationships; of coding details of the world. I am also starting to think that my paintings, sculpture, and prints are sketches for each other. I mean this in the sense that while there may be similarities in the forms made through painting, printing and sculpting, there are also material-conceptual properties in each form that can reveal, as a sketch, previously unseen opportunities for image-object making in one, or another form.
Movement and its limitation within an environment is a visual-spatial presentation on a hypothetical, or possible, configuration of bodies, interrupted in the world, and the borderlands in which they find themselves. It employs the notion of a sketching process through an interface between painting, sculpting and printing, and the affect these forms produce. The presentation offers a brief account, a tentative exploration, a provisional outline. The sketching process employed entails a movement between the painterly and the linear, and of opacities and translucencies. The sketches dwell on a sense of place, and an experience of place: they are speculative; they are arrangements of possible encounters; and they are expressions of the uncertainties entailed in a human relationship to place.
The becoming of people, and their intricate negotiations with people-place can sometimes entail as much profound contradiction as correspondence, and as much tension as solidarity: When do you have mobility in the world? What makes you a normalised person in the eyes of the state? What makes you a proper person in the eyes of a citizen? When do you belong to an African city? What is home? What are the clusters of influence in which people find themselves? How can people gain access to a humane life in an increasingly restricted world? How are these challenges different for people from different races and classes? I cannot answer these questions and I am not the first to pose them. These questions, however, are at the heart of our imaginaries of life in a city that is constructed along multiple borderlands. This city. A borderland for me, and for you.
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Malpas, J. (2010). Place and experience. New York, NY [u.a.]: Cambridge Univ. Press.