Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Found picture

15 May 2010.

Taking a photograph of a "found picture" is a performative action, declaring these to be marks that make a picture. But it is a performative action that is motivated by the potential of fragments to fuse into analogy and refer by likeness: here to the left is a sailing boat - now see the wind and sea spray - what brought about the smudged out bold white line? - and so on. The canvas as field for projections, the start of imaginative flight. (Earlier I quoted Leonardo's famous notebook entry about how looking at walls can arouse the mind to invention.)

Rather than generating one's own marks, it is an appropriation of vestiges of language, diagrams, drawings. This complicates the way such an image is to be viewed, bound as it is with other intention. Framing such an image is subject to both chance (what one finds is not by seeking a particular thing, but by taking what one gets) and personal preoccupations (the memory of other images, the impotent will to make one's own).
There is a reversal in the modi operandi of graffiti itemized by Krauss in the paragraph quoted previously. Suspension of action in favour of representation: taking light imprints from what is already there, as one might rubbings from tree bark, and framing it, remote from the site of the original marks. No incursion of space, no use of another's surface for inscription. Conversion of the traces of a past event into the present tense of the performative, both in my action of declaring this another picture, found by framing, and also in the (imagined) return of the presence of the original mark-maker in trying to reconstruct intention: why were these marks originally made?
The marks are reanimated when torn from context and declared to be something else.

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