Gaston Bachelard proclaims "The image is everything except a direct product of the imagination." (Bachelard, 1958/2014, p.18). My notational impulse comes not from imagination, but from the temporal situation of shadow projecting on surface, particularly in the public space. These notations are based on chance encounters that accumulate over time. What occurred to me is that what draws me to composing the image is not the subject, but the interpenetration of opposing forces, during which "a reciprocal action is produced.” (Kepes, 1944/2012, p.100).
What purpose do they serve? Firstly they help me focus on form over content. Secondly I engage with shadows as they are a time restricted street art. Something which, unlike advertising, occupies the public space without enforcing its will or overstaying its welcome. Without being seen they cannot be remembered, yet they do not ask to be. Their aura is marked by their presence. The fact that they are unique to their space and time is what makes them engaging. The act can be reconstructed but its conditions never repeated.
Shadows are interceptions of light. They are a natural phenomenon that exist in a constant state of transience. This ebb and flow of light is reflective of the East Asian aesthetic and philosophical thought about impermanence and the veneration of nature itself. And as György Kepes says “A visual representation of nature can be vital in human experience only if it becomes a nature form itself by reaching an organic quality, a plastic unity.” (Kepes, 1944/2012, p.67).
I see the notational images above as a starting point to developing a practical exercise. Having experimented controlling light in still life, I would like to study shadows from a natural source (the sun) in a concentrated interior space making light and shadow the subject. From there I would like to formulate the study of shadows into a conceptual method of engagement.
Bachelard, G (1958/2014) The Poetics of Space. New York: Penguin.
Howells, R (2011) Visual Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Kepes, G (1944/2012) Language of Vision. USA: Literary Licensing, LLC.
Tanizaki, J (1933/2001) In Praise of Shadows. London: Vintage.