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On tangibility, contemporary reliefs and continuous dimensions

Bouvier Ausländer, Sophie; (2019) On tangibility, contemporary reliefs and continuous dimensions. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

I am a relief maker, who proposes "worldmaking" as a paradigm for works of art. The relief, whether it is an art category or a geological section, is a space that extends from the surface to the volume. Such a space is as tangible as it is visible. The notion of tangibility is paramount for making and receiving artworks commonly known as relief sculptures. My thesis examines my practice by establishing the territories of my artworks. Triggered by personal encounters and perceptions, each of these is a case study forming a section in my analysis. My purpose is to contextualise and underscore my practice, in a pragmatic rather than theoretical investigation. The public art commission Ways of Worldmaking raises my main questions. These relate to the topographical interconnectivity across the surface of the earth. The use of the books as a collection and an archive is another layer developed further in my concluding artwork Ways of Worldmaking / Self-portrait, that is, my thesis bibliography turned into a sculpture. My making of reliefs responds to sculptural and material dimensions of site specificity while examining its social and political features. Relief is an overlooked category of practice. It is a metaphor for observation, with qualities of elevation and depth and a variety of thickness that highlights notions of discovery and emergence of meaning. The history of Western relief sculpture informs my study of contemporary pieces. These articulate several sets of dimensions continuously from recessed parts to more protuberant ones. There is a tension between the desire to touch and the frustration of that same desire expressed particularly clearly in relief. I observe that dialectic through the senses of tactile touch and optical touch. Artists are constantly creating and exhibiting reliefs, but they rarely make full use of the physical complexity and the epistemological potential of this form of art. Relief making seems to me an interesting way of expressing our distance from or our relationship with the landforms, either theoretically or practically. Although the idea of category remains questionable in itself, I make textured world-versions, promote the relief as a rich space, readdress and redress its position among sculpture and painting.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: On tangibility, contemporary reliefs and continuous dimensions
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > The Slade School of Fine Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10087820
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