• Metonymies: Four works by Julie Ault and Janette Laverrière

Stein, Amelia, 2023, Thesis, Metonymies: Four works by Julie Ault and Janette Laverrière PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This thesis asks how textual form and physical form relate in writing about art and design. In four essays about works by the American artist Julie Ault and the Swiss interior designer Janette Laverrière, the project explores how writing may be capable of enacting a theory of form’s transposition between writing and objects.

Each chapter addresses a single work by Ault or Laverrière by taking up a formal part or aspect of the given work—curve, refraction, fold, supplement—as its method and form. This approach, termed ‘metonymic writing’ in this thesis, explores how formal aspects might act as values—transubstantiating powers, per Simone Weil—that precipitate form’s sliding across texts and objects.

Metonymic writing in this thesis proposes how and also where writing can meet art and design and supposes a constitutive stake for writing in material practices, and vice versa. This experiment is interwoven with original research into Ault and Laverrière, two influential practitioners for whom form presents via affinities, histories, relationships, and narratives. Informed by Ault’s and Laverrière’s respective methods, the thesis approaches writing and research as inherently interdisciplinary and relational, prone to both incompletion and spilling over.

The project’s scope of reference draws Ault’s and Laverrière’s bodies of work together with bodies of thought on the basis of metonymic resonance or contiguity. The method of citation and reference changes according to the subject of each chapter, at the level of criteria for relevance and in the way the source is incorporated into the text — footnote, quotation, and so on. Citation becomes a key way for writing to show its in-formed nature. The scope of
reference includes texts from poetry, philosophy and literature, as well as theoretical, scientific and art historical writing that employs literary or poetic form.

Taken as both a creative and critical proposition, this thesis makes new claims for writing’s potential to presence or figure art and design objects in terms other than representational proximity or distance. Writing form’s sliding is also writing’s sliding, an experiment in form and practice as well as a methodological contribution to art and design research.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Uncontrolled Keywords: Writing; Art; Design; Metonymy; Form
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2023 15:33
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2023 15:33
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5516
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