Viewing Body as the Landscape--Exploring the Relationship between Space, Body and Objects
I am very keen on researching art and design for the experiences of making objects make me deeply understand the “Mono No Aware”. Compared with machinery products, handicrafts brought a more indelible feeling to people and were easier to cultivate people with value of cherishing things. In social industrialization process, pursuing the beauty of inner peace like craftsmen do is exactly what I seek for. “Viewing Body as the Landscape”, with an unique view, greatly attracts me.
Pierre Degen’s work
Allan Teger’s work Body Scapes
Pierre Degen, a Swedish artist, believes body is like landscape and thinks contemporary artists express the relationship between body and objects in static environment through using photography, images. Photographic artist Allan Teger’s works Body Scapes form an unique landscape by placing small objects on body. This is similar to the concept in Chinese Taoist Culture, in which the “landscape” is the representative of Yin and Yang and symbolizes the outer universe as well as the inner one. Huangdi Neijing, one of Chinese famous traditional medicines, compares the human body to the landscape, among which keeping the inner balance of Yin and Yang is deemed as one of the most important medical concepts.
I dislike defining things, as it will confine our ideas. In this project, I blur the boundaries of crafts, jewelry and sculptures and regard them as a medium to express my ideas and to explore the relationship between body and objects.
People deem that there is little connection between artifacts and body. However, I often reflect on that. Through the understanding of “Viewing Body as the Landscape”, I seem body as a small space while landscape as a big space and try to link them together and to find objects which could be merge into both body and environment. Being placed on exhibitions or living environment, the objects will reflect the artifacts of the outside world. When the objects are worn on body, the body will act as a display space. It not just reflects the external universe, but reflects the inner universe as well.
Majorie Schick’s work
When investigating the relationship between people and objects, I find the American artist Majorie Schick’s work is very interesting. In her works of wearable sculptures, she points out that it is not the body that needs objects, but objects need to be displayed on the body. By putting the work into an art space or wearing on the body, she creates more possibilities between objects and space, such as creating different characters in the performance process. In a performance with the topic of visual arts and dancing night, she mixes the body and objects together by placing sculptures on dancers’ body. Unlike the container which is placed at static position, the dancers’ body becomes movable space and gets distinct visual effects. This inspires me to explore the theme of the “Relationship between Space, Body and Objects”.
My main research methods include document retrieval, field survey, experimental analysis. As for document retrieval, I searched for relevant artists and their works and ideas. Concerning field survey, I often visited art exhibitions to find kinds of interactive modes between people and objects. I also observed the ways people treated objects in daily life. As for experimental analysis, I designed some objects, asked different people to wear them and analyzed their emotion and wearing ways. For example, I designed a set of jewelry, which adopted the part of bottle shape and was decorated with pattern of the Qing Dynasty’s porcelain, to show the beauty with excessive decoration. Being put on the table, it was like the porcelain. While wearing it looked like the gypsum with elaborate patterns. I asked different wearers about their visual and tactile feelings to the object in different cases.
In the future, I will continue to explore the changes of the relationship between body and objects. Different jewelry works have different expressions of emotion. The various wearers and different wearing ways also make the works present different vitalities. Meanwhile, the particularity of jewelry strengthens the change of themes.
In the survey, I find that “Viewing Body as the Landscape” has been reflected from both Western and Eastern cultures and this research benefits us to dig out the common characteristics between Western and Eastern cultures and philosophies. Relationship between space, body and objects is a fascinating realm. Wearable art can trace back to 1930s, among which there are also lots of artists’ works related to my research topic deserve to be studied.
During my undergraduate period, I always get creative inspiration by visiting Jingdezhen Ceramic Museum, library and kinds of design and crafts exhibitions as well as artists’ lectures. Likewise, I will utilize these resources to expand my scope of knowledge in my upcoming postgraduate period. As having equipped myself with knowledge of pottery and crafts in my undergraduate studies and got an acquaintance with ceramic materials, I intend to achieve my idea by continually using the technologies of jiggering, molding, applique, kilning etc. Besides, on account of both my strong interest and research project, I also aspire to study the handicraft technologies of carpentry, textile, glass and metal etc. Then, I will make efforts to combine handicraft with design well.
1. Rosolowski, Tracey et al. 2007a. Sculpture to Wear: The Jewelry of Majorie Schick.
2. Chen Liangyun, A Historical Survey of the Beginning of Chinese Landscape Aesthetics, 2003
3. Li Jing, Wearable Artistic Sculpture.
4. Ramljak,Suzane, Inside Out:Wearing Marjorie Schick’s Sculpture.
5. Jones,Amelie., Body Art:Performing the Subject.