Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This ancient fresco dates from around 450 bc. Recovered from central Italy, typical in its rendering reality of that time and place, from the provincial artistic backwaters, far from the art centers of Athens and Corinth. It reflects, though weakly, Greek painting. This area of Italy was colonized and influenced by Greek culture. Stylized shapes, linear outlines filled with unshaded, pure color are noticed. You aren't checking out this blog for Art history I guess, so I'll keep it brief.

The sense that is evoked on looking, is a sense of pattern. It is a ritual dance of some sort, just a small section is shown here. The exact meaning uncertain, and, for me, not as important as its visual form -it resonates beyond mere "identification" and speaks universally.This fresco inspired the light painting here.
I had seen this work when I was an art student, it has its place among the galleries in my memory.
The artists at SWPC were excited about the photographic technique of stitching together numerous photographs to form one continuous loop. You spin the looped images round and round in one dizzying whirl, its interesting. You can view some here.
Recalling this fresco, it occurred to me that the dancers poses could be exciting to try as a frieze with this photographic stitching.
I sketched out a composition, a long frieze of figures. But my own idea was to show blind people whose linked arms reflected more of a sense of mobility. We experience walking differently when seeing isn't an option, and need to be guided, So this guiding, informed by the locked arms of the dancers in the fresco, is central in my concept. I remember someone commented as I posed my models, that the correct procedure when walking is for blind people to put their hands on a persons shoulder. Sure enough, but I wasn't trying to imitate actuality, but to bring out my own "vision" of a concept. I've always been perplexed about the term"conceptual art", as if concept was ever absent from meaningful art
A figure behind is holding a lit torch, symbolising "lighting the way forward", while at the end of this trail of the unseeing a white blind cane is offered to a straggler, who's less sure of her whereabouts. Mark helped a great deal with figuring out the joins- where each separate image melded into the adjacent one. This image needed many separate exposures aligned. It took a considerable time to finish. Mark helped me light up the spaces. Part of my original idea, drawn in the sketch, were small flying figures who, like the torch bearer, assist the blind people through the dark. Left those out  though, preoccupied by the details in getting it all together. Maybe I'll retry this one at some point.
Above, Tomb fresco from Ruvo Italy, Mobility Frieze 

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