64x84 cm | Filler, oak frame
This image is made with my feet in the classic Kazuo Shiraga style. But where the Japanese master of abstract expressionism, one of the founders of the Gutai group, used ropes to elevate himself above the canvas, I have used the modern variant of clogs, made of plastic. This is the shoe of the common people, the shoe of the working class, from history in wood in the factories and on the fields, for example, today's healthcare workers widely use the plastic version. Still, it is also popular as leisurewear for the mainstream, or the so-called masses.
It is necessary for a group or an individual to rise slightly above the immediate material circumstances to become agents of change, to act instead of merely react. Maybe not hang in ropes from lofty ideals but to symbolize and understand ones position in a system of dependence. To perhaps wear the appropriate shoes. To identify not with one's privilege but instead with one's function in the logic of capitalism.
Where Shiraga's images are dramatic, sensual, with their different layers of colour in varying thicknesses, my work is flat and graphic, as it is actually a cross-section through the sculptural surface created by my footsteps in the wet filler. Restrained in tonality and size - I aim for a straightforward and accessible version of abstract expressionism.
This work is part of a series called Platform. Works made by bodily imprints in frames with wet filler while placed on the ground. This is inspired by Gutai, the experimental Japanese art group from the 50s, who focused on matter, body and process, and especially one member Kazuo Shiraga who painted with his feet, suspended from the ceiling over the canvas. These imprints can be made by me or others, to document, or record, an event taking place at a certain point in time. The happening is becoming the act that creates a work of art and thus challenging the boundary between documentation of art and art itself.
A platform is literally a stage and at the same time, an expression for a media channel. Modern mass media, and the internet, in particular, can be seen as an upgraded version of Michel Foucault's description of the panopticon, the hidden and internalised gaze of power. Now the power is instead hidden by the light from the media. Everything can be said and allowed, as long as it keeps our attention captured.
Res Ipsa is a compilation of works made by an act shaping the filler once it is prepared inside the frame. The works thus function as a recording device and give a statement of the event taking place while the filler was still wet.
Res Ipsa is Latin for "the thing itself" and is part of the juridical term "Res ipsa loquitur" (the thing speaks for itself), used when an injury or accident in itself clearly shows who is responsible, such as an instrument left inside a body after surgery.