Self Portrait Series
The Self Portrait Series (I-V) is a challenge to capture my own identity in one static image. The process in which I attempted to do this is vital to understanding the work because it encompasses how I perceive painting and the moving body to be of equal value as well as explains why the languages of painting and dancing are interrelated.
In much the same vein as Yves Klein Wannabe (2014), I felt the need to create a space that was alternate to traditional art production spaces such as the photographic studio, or the stage or the gallery. Instead, I produced a structure that consisted of scaffolding, a piece of wooden chipboard (2m x 1,5m) and a bulletproof sheet of glass (1m x 800cm). I then proceeded to jigsaw a ‘window’ into the chip-board that could adequately fit glass sheet securely in the middle of the board. Once secure I raised the glass and board platform approximately 2m above the floor onto the scaffold and secured the structure. Spaces I create whether they be on the ground or above it are always considered somewhere between the gallery and the stage.
I then proceeded to place my camera underneath the structure framing the glass window space in the viewfinder of the camera. I decided to use tempura paint as part of my performative act. Armed with paint, water and a remote controlled flash I climbed on top of the structure and choreographed a movement sequence using the tempura paint. During the performance I was able to activate the camera option at random times and the resultant images depict abstracted bodily forms integrated with more painterly gestures.
The homogeneity of the resultant photograph allows the dancing, the body and the paint to exist on one plane. The photograph fuses the imagery into a strange mixture of illusionistic and fantastical forms that both expose and hide my body. The images reflect on the conflicted struggle between wanting to perform and needing to manipulate a material substance such as paint. They speak of a certain shyness as well as a braveness that are predominant polarities in my personality. In my view, a portrait is far more complicated than a simple reproduction of imagery and it is therefore pertinent to examine the way in which these portraits were produced.
Performing my identity is crucial to creating a self-portrait. Iterability is about repetition in different contexts and as Butler suggests implies ‘that 'performance' is not a singular 'act' or event, but a ritualized production’ (Butler 1993: 5). In Yves Klein Wannabe 2014 and Self Portraits (I - IV) repeating the need to create an alternate space, understanding movement as the link between materiality and performance and using invention as a process in which limitations can be produced and boundaries can affect the nature of art production have become part of my ritualised production strategy.