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Expanded Painting, Topography of Interaction

For me, „expanded painting“ means searching for sense and sensuousness in all aspects of life.

If a work is derived from life, new and unexpected outcomes are achieved because life itself is infinitely rich in possibilities. Art comes from life and goes into life.

„The picture“ has become our new global language. Is the artist’s role as creator of pictures in society being called into question?

Is information obtained from pictures more powerful than that conveyed by language? It is certainly easier for everyone to understand, whatever our age group, country of origin, social category, nationality or ethnicity.

What effect does this changed concept of the „picture“ have on our practices as artists?

„The picture“ has taken on new dimensions as a language of connective dialogue.

Billions of images race around the world along the new social media highways.

This new global language is spreading and becoming emotionally connective at a breath-taking pace.

„The picture“ functions as a document that relates to reality while impacting at an emotional level. But it is also a coded language element that vanishes with equal rapidity in order to create new, manifest, unresolved energetic tensions.

„The picture“ can, like life itself, reverse its polarity and take on a new significance and impact as it draws on fresh synergies. Does this transformation of the picture create an important opportunity for our work as artists – one in which there is a place for the poetical?

The picture is contact mediated through our sensors.

The picture is stored in the memory of body language.

The picture exerts its effect in the emotional and communicative landscape of life and never ceases to resonate.

The picture develops our values by the power of suggestion.

The picture is the memory in which our genes sing ancient songs containing everything that is part of life.

Traditional Chinese brush painting (like the language of the body) is a wonderful tool that will certainly not vanish in the computer era.

Step by step, we are entering a world of new insights that impact on all areas of life. How do we combine the mathematically organised world of the computer with our direct spontaneity, the rhythm of our breaths, our laughter and joy, our humour, our nature-given need for tactile sensory experiences? I perceive this tension as very fertile soil for a new kind of poetry and new forms of expression.

Expression and memory 

Memory is timeless, resulting from the stillness in which movement itself is stored. The language of matter is also the language of man; emotion is material; matter is both material and space; sunlight is material; water has its own flowing language; stone is the language of cooled magma; air is the vibrating energy of breath. The language of matter flows into our warm blood. The Earth’s interior pulsates in our hearts – red, like the magma flow that cools to become stone. Every pebble, every cloud and every breath of wind are imbued with memories of life, sustained over infinite expanses of time.

An interdisciplinary presence translates into a poetically coded dialogue in which a picture can be sound, or sound can be a gesture or the rhythm of our breath or a step between the many possibilities that life offers us. The work becomes a living space in which viewers can use newly created atmospheric codes to open up their own world of sensation. For every new subject, I look for the best interdisciplinary means: mathematically coded experiences, clearly defined proportions, frameworks and rhythms, and also content, sensations and emotions that belong quite naturally to other language elements. I create atmospheric effects in which each pictorial element has its own multi-layered presence and interacts with other pictorial elements. Each pictorial or sound element transmits impulses which, thanks to our broad range of feelings, we can continually read, interpret and incorporate into our own experience. The outcome is a newly created picture of a world in which boundaries do not act as separators but as fruitful points of contact that connect us without any interspace – skin-to-skin contact as it were. Thus, expanded painting allows new and productive interactions to open up surprisingly novel approaches, raise awkward questions and search tirelessly for answers.

Virtual reality: Where is the interaction between created tools and the actual person of the artist or viewer? Is this area an opportunity for us as artists or, because in virtual reality our body rhythms, breath, smell, touch, exchange, warmth, enjoyment and frustration are replaced by sensors, is it our downfall? Is the language of the new technologies opening up hitherto unrecognised approaches to our now artificial living space that separates us from ourselves, or is it an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves?

Maria Dundakova 2001 © “ I GO! “ /The old China / from MODERN TIME project,  Print and photo
Maria Dundakova 2001 © “ I GO! “ /The old China / from MODERN TIME project, Print and photo