I am currently working towards a Masters in Visual Art, with a focus on the Aesthetics of the Aftermath; interrogating the idea of Evidence, and the notion that crime and art can dually be seen as destructive and creative processes.
Linking act and perpetrator
Physical evidence can be defined as any object or collection of objects that can establish that an act, such as a crime, has been committed or can provide a link between and act and its perpetrator. In this case, the act is a positive, creative one. The evidence project’s purpose is to gather, analyse and interpret evidence gathered.
The creation of a new art work indicates an endpoint to one reality and the initiation of another. The point of initiation is formed in the Aftermath and indicates a change in the accepted order.
Elements beyond conscious control
As historian Carlo Ginsburg (1980:8) noted with regard to Art critic Giovanni Morelli’s Method of establishing authenticity, the marginal details in an artist’s work were some of the most revealing: “because in them the artists’ subordination to cultural traditions gave way to a purely individual streak, details being repeated in a certain way by force of habit, almost unconsciously … what is striking here is the way that the innermost core of the artists individuality is linked with elements beyond conscious control”. In a sense these details considered to be insignificant can be equated with minute traces of evidence that a criminal leaves behind at a crime scene, and allows the connoisseur to investigate an art work in the same way a detective investigates a crime scene.
When an investigator is initially confronted with the scene of crime / violence / aftermath, the search for answers to the questions that arise determines the direction of the investigation: Who (victim, suspect, witness); What (the narrative of the scene); When (timeline of the event); Where (the location of the event); How (the mechanism of the event; cause of pain or death; Modus Operandi); and Why (the motivation for the event; the preceding circumstances). Upon consideration, it is plausible that these questions can also be compared to those that are put forward in the study of artworks. This similarity offers the basis for us to view crime scenes and artworks from an analogous point of view.
The body of evidence
As part of this work it is my intention to form, through this evidence project, a collection of evidence that is the result of the physical making of work. To this end, I am collecting ‘evidence’ from both local and international artists. The individual characteristics of the evidence allows for the association with a specific artists work and potentially with a specific individual work. This evidence could take the form of essentially any material, liquid or solid, that accumulates as the result of the art-making process.