We transfer the experience of our own body movement into making figures out of aluminium foil. Afterwards we reread the recorded movement.
Quotations from participants:
“I didn’t know something like this could be made with foil. I didn’t know I could do anything at all!”
“It was relaxing and immersive.”
“It was nice to be in the body a while, after the exhausting working week and being constantly in the head.”
“I’ve never been aware of the proportions of the lower and upper leg, the arm joining the shoulder. I’ve never been aware of those dimensions and I explored that later while moving together. It was really good to feel how long each part is and how it moves, to become aware of my knuckles, as if I forgot that they exist, that I can do something with this part of the body, I just work automatically. It was great to be aware. ”
“Although it was terribly difficult for me at the beginning to form anything out of the foil, after the third, fourth time it took some form. It was just wonderful.”
“Sculpture is the result of movements, hand movements.”
„The experience of working on design is different, I am more connected with the sculptures now after this physical experience“
photo: Andreja Hotko Pavić
Records of Movement
“I see the body as a place, a structure – the surface of a body being less an image than a manifold for sculptural events to unfold.” – Charles Ray
As a prospective sculpture, the idea that an artwork could be conceived and understood in form of an improvised collective art event, also implies a kind of radicalisation. Such radicalisation is attained by acknowledging dematerialized psychic stimuli as formative, with the intention to delve into the exploration of the slippery area of the imaginary, as well as by deepening the relationship with the environment as a network of material and immaterial relations.
When making croquis figures out of aluminium foil it is important that one gives in to automatism, turns off conscious control in favour of intuitive speed to record and materialise the bodily experience of movement. In terms of form, body is composed of joints that divide it into proportional parts.
With Zrinka’s guidance, it is easy to go from the external experience of giving form to the space of the internal experience of the body, where the anatomical fact of being connected by joints becomes a rich topic on the perception of three-dimensionality. With eyes closed, all joints gradually start moving, but from the internal perception of the body – not from the visual experience: “A joint is the space between two bones, space that enables movement, by continuing the flow of movement we harmoniously think of the joint as the space between…This allows for the expressiveness of movement. We do not have to think, the body guides us. The space in the body is empty space, the space in joints is what connects us with the external spaces.“
The body has become aware of the somatic virtue that empty space is not non-existence, it is just the space between. Empty space is its internal connecting force that allows for the possibility of movement. The understanding of the three-dimensional character of the empty space on which the experience of three-dimensionality of one’s body also depends truly comes as a sobering realisation from the state of being adapted to the flat surface of the screen, one dimension in which we spend the majority of our daily life.
In the fundamental structural aspects, this encounter evokes Zrinka’s and Marina’s collaborative project Performance to Be Touched (2019). The performance had a dramaturgical flow with marked stations and thematic tasks, such as guided movement through the elements of the natural environment while blindfolded or walking barefoot on different surfaces (sand, clay, wool, coal…), but the structure was completely up to the visitors, and it all ended with freehand sculpting in clay. This performance also initiates a spontaneous reaction to a playful perceptual challenge because the formed models of movement serve as starting points in which, in the game of alternating imitation, the visitors mutually encourage each other to recreate thus created visualisations of movements.
In terms of form, the body is a figure, but forming figures is not the theme of this experience. It is about strengthening the presence, the connecting relationship with the privileged instrument with which we form our living environment – our own body.
. The Space In Between: A Conversation with Charles Ray by Joshua Reiman, Sculpture Magazine, July / August, International Sculpture Center, 2015, p. 41