This video explores ‘action painting’. Being completely white in a white environment black paint is thrown on me. Like in ‘Anthropometry of the Blue Epoch’ by Yves Klein (1960) I become a ‘living brush’ making imprints with the black paint.
‘For Klein making art was not solitary, but a spectacle intended to make painting active and metaphysical' (Wood, 2012, 108); the act of painting is lively and I wanted to portray this action full of movement as I use my body to paint the surrounding space.
Influenced by ‘Self-Painting’ by Gunter Brus (1964), who an exponent of the ‘Viennese Actionism’ using his body as a medium of expression using his own self as a surface for painting. ‘Self-painting is a further development of painting. The pictorial surface has lost its function as the sole expressive support. It was led back to its origins, the wall, the object, the living being, the human body' (Warr, 2000, 96). In the work 'Self-Painting' (1964), Brus uses his own skin as a painting surface painting a black line onto his white primed skin, which then went onto the wall behind. I, already painted white depicted myself as a blank canvas with expressive black marks sprung onto me.
As I attempt to fully paint black the surrounding white space I blend into the environment becoming a moving art form. The heavy amount of paint echoes Stuart Brisley’s performance ‘Moments of Decision/ Indecision’ (1975) who drenches ‘himself in white and black paint to the point at which he could hardly move or see, creating a state of sensory deprivation made more intense by his futile attempts to climb the walls of the room. This generated feelings of frustration and helplessness in the viewers.’ (Warr/ Jones, 2000, 65). In the video the huge amount of paint on the floor seriously limits my grip making me slide and slip creating helplessness to I the performer.
Warr, T. Jones, A. 2000 The Artist’s Body. London: Phaidon
Wood, C. 2012 A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance. London: Tate