• Reality flickers: Writing with found objects and imagined sculpture

Palmer, Katrina, 2011, Thesis, Reality flickers: Writing with found objects and imagined sculpture PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This 'thesis' relocates sculpture in narrative writing. It creates and describes its own form, and produces its own spaces in order to make the writing an artwork. An art school and the studio are reconfigured as the fictional site of production that features in the story of the work, along with its institutional furniture, bureaucratic demands and idealised conceptual ideology. Found object, imagined sculpture, ideas and objects are pushed through the narrativised space of the work, for example, Absalon's Cells, Joseph Kosuth's use of chairs and Mike Nelson's spatially referenced fictions and installations are encountered alongside characters based on G.W.F. Hegel, Carole Schneeman and most prominently Slavoj Zizek.

Scuplture's medium might be seen as the matter of the everyday, or indeed anything, and by that token nothing in particular. From here comes the suggestion that reality flickers: as both subject and object, sculpture is part of reality, but it is contingent and essentially unstable - it moves back and forth between absence and presence. More specifically, without a delimiting medium, the subject of sculpture flickers , or becomes indeterminate. In pursuit of this subject one can only produce particular incidents of objects. The object of sculpture flickers too. As a result of its proximity to non-art, it fluctuates between absence and presence as artwork. The employment of found objects and the production of artwork that can function as non-art, highlights both this instability, and the role of language in recontextualising and re-defining everyday things so that they become objects of critical attention. Similarly, artists' writing can disappear into the everyday of literary work but can re-emerge as art if it holds open questions about the nature of art and reality and if it does sos within the discourse of spaces and institutions of art.

This thesis complicates the parameters of sculpture by relocating it as writing. It is a language-based artwork, but the stories are drawn from a sculptural environment, embedded with sculptural language and then re-inscribed with a sculptural context. And despite the apparent awkwardness of the sculptural object in the academy, sculpture turns out to be precisely not opposed to conceptual work and language but actually dependent on it, because sculpture is seen to emerge in the contemplation of what that object can be.

Finally, this artwork complicates the convention of the 'thesis'. In the same way as its story narrativises 'the tutorial' (with the skeleton of Hegel), or 'the seminar' (suspended and relocated as a footnote), the work as a whole proposes a narrative that unravels and problematises the form of the 'thesis' and in doing so, it becomes antithetic.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W130 Sculpture
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Date Deposited: 06 May 2014 12:52
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2023 11:13
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1627
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