The art-making process occurs as a mediation process between materials, concepts, and lived experiences. I find this process one that interrupts my chain of thought, that slices into my life, and that takes me down a sometimes precarious, and sometimes unexpected path.
The word pendent has a general meaning of “hanging down” or “overhanging” and of being “undecided” or “pending”. Both meanings of the word pendent provide a way to think about a painting process. Much of the painting process, for instance, is one of being undecided, and of awaiting review. And through these undecided moments, a painting process entails a precariousness and delicacy, one could say, as when hanging down or overhanging.
A painting is an intricately produced bloc of sensation, a compound of percept and affect. A bloc of sensation involves percepts, which are forces that act on the body, and affects, which are the capacities to invoke or undertake a change in a body, and always implicates another body. Paintings are objects which involve a range of choices related to the production of percept and affect, and which result in an autonomous body. Deleuze and Guattari stress that works of art are blocs of sensation that function independently of humans:
“Sensations, percepts and affects, are beings whose validity lies in themselves and exceeds any lived. They could be said to exist in the absence of man because man, as he is caught in stone, on the canvas, or by words, is himself a compound of percepts and affects. The work of art is a being of sensation and nothing else: it exists in itself.” (Deleuze and Guattari, 2011, 164)
Paintings have a force, and they stake a position. Perhaps, following a Deleuze-Guattarian approach, they create through the bloc of sensation a possible world, that which is to come.
The percepts and affects of paintings are not only present in the relationship of a viewer to an individual painting, but also in those relationships between paintings. Inherent in the painting objects are ranges of possibilities that become active in the way they are exhibited. A painting exhibition involves the physical space it occurs in: an assemblage is created in the relationship of a viewer and a single or group of paintings, but also with other bodies in the environment. In Pendent, the paintings were placed in-between the roof rafters of a warehouse. Their placement, high above the ground angled down towards the ground, created a bloc of sensation which opened a range of associations for me: isolation and inclusion, a thoughtful moment, a watchfulness, an ominous gaze. I feel like this series creates a vantage point over a collection of movements, and through a watchfulness, and through a mirroring, became complicit in the viewers’ movements below.
Pendent responds to the rhythms that produce an environment. In this series, I superimposed details of human movements and urban environments as an observation of a movement through a place. The work functions as combinations, propositions, insinuations, or suggestions of possible interactions, and the incessant changes of the internal and external states of human bodies in their relationship to a place.
Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (2011). What is philosophy?. London [u.a.]: Verso, p.164.
Transitions at the Post Office
22 Solomon Street, Vrededorp, Johannesburg
Curated by Danny Myburgh and Richard Forbes