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Proceedings Paper

The death of the object: perceiving non-physical art
Author(s): Leigh Markopoulos
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Paper Abstract

This paper examines the modernist phenomenon of seeking subject material outside the realm of the purely physical. Starting with the Impressionist project to paint light or at least its effects, the paper traces a trajectory of related experimentation through Man Ray's "rayographs" or solarization images of the 20s and 30s, to the work of conceptual artists of the sixties and seventies who focused their attention on ephemeral media. For example, Michael Asher's sitespecific pressured air works, or Robert Barry's pioneering use of unorthodox materials such as inert gases or carrier waves. More recently Dan Flavin and James Turrell have focused their artistic endeavors on light and its color components, and the Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens has used light, color and fog to create interactive sculptures. Today what remains invisible to the human eye has taken on a more sinister, and often political, connotation of deeper forces at work as evinced most clearly by Trevor Paglen's The Other Night Sky (2008) series for which he tracked and photographed the movements of classified aircraft and geostationary satellites in the California night skies. All these works take the subject of art to be aesthetic perception, and consequently favor the means in which the experience of viewing is directed by the artist, rather than the traditional art object.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 February 2010
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 7527, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XV, 75271B (17 February 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.845800
Show Author Affiliations
Leigh Markopoulos, California College of the Arts (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7527:
Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XV
Bernice E. Rogowitz; Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas, Editor(s)

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