Creating Terminology? Entropy?
Creating Terminology? Entropy?’ is a solo exhibition at The Bund Art Museum featuring a selection of work from Zane Mellupe’s Graphies series of work. Graphies explore the materiality of the photography medium by seeking to create a personal dictionary through which her work can be defined, allow the visual medium to be read and interpreted in much the same way as the written word.
Graphies are a series of conceptually exploded photographies, they represent an exploration into the materiality of the medium – the photography. While staying with the photographic image all the way, graphies are sometimes easy to grasp and other times they are very elusive. Every photo, possessing a unique message in its own right, aligns in a series, creating the differening graphies.
Series like Layerography, Pencilography or Traceography present a well known material – the film negative or the positive image – and experiments upon them. What would happen if I write with a pencil on a negative? What would happen if I trace the outlines of photography? What if I superimpose several layers into one photography? This playful surface tension, however, often conceals the message of the photo in slight details such as monochromatism, line structuration, and barely visible traces communicating a subtle story.
The second class of the graphies carries the experimentation with the medium to its limits beyond. In Metamorphography the subject medium of the photography is treated as the subject matter, e.g., a photo of a fish is cooked as would be a real fish. In Relatography a photo is printed onto an object, both entering into a meaningful interaction – three-dimensional object and two-dimensional image. In Mattography, the material used as a base for printing the image conveys the message of the photo.
Some series, like Distortionography or Patagraphy, become increasingly obscure and conceptual, where their meaning is hardly grasped by the audience, or to put it in other way – the process of grasping the message becomes the focal point of the artwork: will an audience try hard enough and get the message? is there any realistic chance to get the message? is there even a clear, unambiguous message to this photo?
The Naming Procedure is a crucial part of the project. The Author of the Artwork is the one who creates it, saying, ‘That’s how it is. That’s how it is, and it is so because I want it to be so.” An Artist is the sovereign of their art. Who said we have enough with one word – Photography? I am stating, “There are many graphies of the photo”, and each deserves its specific denomination. As there is one word for snow in English, and many much more in Inuit language, so there is one word for Photography in English, and many more in my vocabulary, in the vocabulary of I, Zane Mellupe.
Classification is the tool of the Power to implement its Knowledge and make it a universally accepted Truth, as Michel Foucault writes extensively. And what is more powerful than language in shaping the reality? graphies is a constituting project. A project where an artist tries to grasp the multiformity of the being and take control of it by naming it. Classification and self-classification which sometimes becomes obsessive in the process of exploring, “I HAVE TO NAME IT!” The procedure of naming brings something into being, into the circle of communion – a person without a name is not a human, is a stranger, an outcast. A thing with no name is nonexisting – one has no knowledge of what it is or what one should do with it.
Perception and Interpretation play an important role in graphies. In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with the Artist – but then, the audience has to understand the the Word of the Artist, and respond. The audience cooperates in reading the graphies and lending their interpretation to them. There is no abstract meaning of words – the use of words is their meaning, as Ludwig Wittgenstein said. There is no objective photography – the visual images have to be read and interpreted in very much the same way as words.
Public Exhibition: 16th November to 5th December
Tuesdays through Sundays, 10am to 7pm
The Bund Art Museum
201 Hankou Lu, Huangpu