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Portrait of a process

Undro, M. D. (2018) Portrait of a process. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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This thesis presents an answer to the the problem of capturing Process in the art of oil painting. Process is understood here as constant motion and probability, a potential rather than a result, a movement dialectically opposite to the fixed, finished form. As a practical PhD research project, the thesis combines the author’s theoretical findings with a hands-on demonstration of the physical production of a work of art. In the theoretical part of the thesis the methodology of philosophical interpretation is used, allowing the use of quantum mechanics as well as philosophy and mysticism in answering complex questions regarding matter, detachment, constant change and probability. The art-specific/relevant critical context for these considerations is provided by analysing Polish matter painting, especially that of Tadeusz Kantor’s informel period (1955-1962) and his own struggle to achieve the expression of matter, a substance synonymous with life and process in Kantor’s thought, in the oil painting medium. Continuing this path, the present dissertation develops the Dimitto technique - a way of painting without attaching oneself to the outcome of the brushstroke on the canvas, as well as an ascetic exercise allowing the detachment and exclusion of the observer from the painting process. This leads to Multi-Meta-Form, i.e. an oil painting that was never witnessed by its creator, nor by an audience or anyone else. Thus, without the observer, whether the painter or any other audience, who inevitably reduces the movement to a single set of static elements presented on the canvas, the on-going motion is not stopped, but remains in a state of probability and ontological uncertainty, therefore expressing the essence of Process. The thesis therefore offers a practical and theoretical validation for the exclusion of the observer from the painting creation/reception spectrum, necessary for profound artistic expression of Process as such.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Garfield, R.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Arts and Communication Design
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Art
ID Code:83181
Additional Information:Figure 24 has been redacted.


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