Jon Clarkson – Post Perspective

This lecture addressed perspective and how this can change how we see things, making one questions what is actually real and how we see an object can change so drastically with a change of perspective. The idea of post perspective looks at how since artist discovered perspective and how it effect how we see things, how they can manipulate to create different effect making us question the image further. I find it a interesting topic and I enjoy questioning what is real and what isn’t. Its interesting to think that one doesn’t actually get a accurate representation of what is real by simply look at something from a single angle, but can only get a full view once you walk around the object. Perspective first became apparent to artists when the perspective grid was developed to aid artists to deal with issues such as foreshortening of the subjects which they were drawing.

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Albert Durer invented this technique, giving the artist a fixed point to look at the subject from and then using the grid to get the lengths of limbs and the like correct, dealing with the problem of foreshortening.
19th century photography confirmed the notion of perspective with Eadweard Muybridge`s photography of motion. Instead of taking a single shot of something “in motion”, he would take multiple shots of the subject in the full sequence of motion, for instance a man jumping over a fence. So, one could view each individual frame of motion, instead of a static single image of part of one stage of motion. This gives rise to the question what is the true representation of a sequence of motion. The picture below shows overladen images of different frames of a man jumping. One could argue that this is more realistic representation of the motion rather than just a single freeze frame. This concept of motion continued to be explored by futurist painters. I find this topic and the concept of realistic representation very interesting, I particularly like some of the futurist sculptures that emerged as a result of this concept.

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There are several techniques that artist use to challenge perspective. These are as follows:

1. The multiplication of views and points

This techniques involves creating many different vanishing points so rather than a single point you have a vanishing zone where all the different vanishing points converge to. This can have the effect of making the image looking a bit lopsided and out of proportion. An example of a artist practicing this technique is Clive Head, in his image “Rebekah”. There are multiple vanishing points converging to the head of the subject which makes the image seem a bit lopsided and makes you feel there isn’t something quite right about.

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2. Adopting a non-human viewpoint

I really like this technique because when you first see the image you think its normal and then you become a bit confused, thrown and fazed because you cant picture where the artist has placed themselves to take that particular image, leaving you a bit unsettled. I like images that make you thinks and question how the artist has achieved that effect, seemingly defying the laws of physics or the suchlike. Andreas Gefeller uses this technique in a very interesting way, taking many pictures facing down at set distances apart of peoples floors in their houses and then pieces them together to creat a plan view of a house. He manages to create the walls due to the foreshortening of the walls in the image.

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Marilene Oliver has an amazing take on this technique. She uses CAT scans of family members and has the individual sliced scans of the body printed onto layers of glass which she piles up on top of each other to recreate the form in layers. This gives a very eery 3D sculpture of what looks like a human form trapped in layers of glass. The figure is only visible from certain angles otherwise it fades away, making it even more ghostly. I really like this effect, I think they are beautiful pieces of art.

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Another artist who does something similar to this, to great effect is Angela Palmer, with her mummified child. This is a CAT scan of a mummified child printed and layered back together. The effect becomes even more ghostly with the context of the mummified child behind it.

3. Doubling and repetition

This technique is one that can really makes you question reality depending on how it is used. I can also confuse and can be quite scary to look at! An example of this is Charles Avery’s Eternal Forest. At first this image looks like a representation of a forests with a few cut down trees. But as you look closes you suddenly realise a single section of the forest is repeated across the whole picture, so where ever you look it is exactly the same as the last section you looked at with this repeating into the distance. You then start to imagine being stuck inside this ever repeating forest, trapping you inside with nothing but the same section of forests to see, into infinity.

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Another example of an artist who uses this technique is Vija Celmins. She made a series call “to fix image in memory” where she took a rock and made a replica so accurate that one could not tell which was real and which one was fake. When you think into this is become quite scary because you begin to question, if its possible to create something that accurate to the real thing how many things are there that are around us that are actually fakes and are not actually real. The more you look at the image you find yourself trying to guess which one is real and your mind starts playing tricks on you possibly making you see things that aren’t actually there to help you guess which one is the real one.

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4.Historical Perspectives
This final technique Is a very interesting one. With one only really being able to understand it if you know the actual context of the piece. The easiest way to understand this is by looking at an example where this technique is used which is evident in Hiroshi Sugimoto works. His “Dianna” photo taken in 1999 looks exactly like Princess Dianna however you realise that she died before it was taken. The photo was in fact of her waxwork. This gives the picture historical perspective . A second even more clear example is of Rembrandt. Its a photo like Dianna’s; a photo of his waxwork, but his waxwork is made from a self portrait of himself so the historical perspective has been taken even further. Basically a photo of a physical replica of a painting produced by the subject himself.

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