Rules, breaking free, and the Maidsinki projection project

Each piece I make is rooted initially in a set of self-determined rules that originate conceptually from my areas of research into the gaze. This affects the images I choose to work with, which superficially comply with the stereotypical notion of the image of woman as passive perfection, but that contain a hint resistance in terms of glint in the eye or bodily posture. It also influences the image pairings. I match on the irises of the eyes but allow the remainder of the image to fall where it truly does, either in alignment with each other or not.  However, at a certain point in its development, each image breaks free of the confines of such rigid structures, propelled by my desire to trap a visceral reality. To uncover a sensory beauty I experience as a tactile moment of sensation within my fingertips, and capture a Lacanian notion of the real that traps the inherent dynamism and energy involved in the instant of making. The object which results is other; something greater than I could have envisioned at the start of the process that surprises, or ideally, shocks me. An object that has its own imbued sense of identity that reveals – or perhaps creates – its own inner truth.

I will start by making twelve small pieces 254 x 158 mm in dimension, and these will be mounted on dibond. However, I suspect that such mounting – pinning down, forcing into place – may be unnecessary and that one of the new rules I should consider introducing is the de-formalisation of the way the images are presented. The raw components of formal presentation and mounting may be applicable – paper, photographs, light, board, dibond, wood, glue, nails, screws, clips, glass, tape, staples – but the traditional way I order and connect them may be inappropriate. Since I’m interested in exploiting the textures and physicality of the materials I use, scale may also need increasing to allow greater physical potential for manipulation. It may also be appropriate to consider alternatives to wall mounted pictures hung at a traditional height.

Last night I took part in Making Art Work’s Maidsinki project, part of RIBA’s Love Architecture project, to consider how architectural sites in Maidstone, Tallinn and Helsinki could be altered through intervention by artist designers. As a result, I saw one of my images projected onto the side of a church in huge bill-board scale. I’m interested how the shift to projection changed altered the way the image looked due to translucency and the way it was altered by the surface structure and materials of the building. It strikes me that projection offers another form of collage element to exploit.

Image 'Never look at me from the place where I see you, n. 02', by Claire Manning, projected onto St Faith's Church, Maidstone
Image ‘Never look at me from the place where I see you, n. 02’, by Claire Manning, projected onto St Faith’s Church, Maidstone

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