Uncertainty and Doubt within the Theatre of the Moment
(cursor on photograph for detailed view,note: unless otherwise indicated all photographs,
by Michael Schreier and drawings by Hilde Schreier,
reproduction, without permission, prohibited.)
Uncertainty and doubt, two critical incentives when combined with the "theatre of the moment" may motivate an artist's work: initially privileged, later shared with another. As well, constantly changing rules of representation can be adjusted according to specific demands, some governed by a sense of place while technological invention may provide additional and welcomed assistance. Albrecht Durer's use of the window-grid establishing perspective could reflect an accuracy that for some might guarantee clarity for a more authentic and perhaps truthful experience. We can appreciate Canaletto's use of the camera obscura: his attention for a rendering of increasingly complex details. Each of these perspective interpretations proffers an accurate, although anonymous, witnessing of space associated with an implied moment in time.
light, library (office), she,
Vienna walk, 2007
While studying Durer's etching, I have come to realize that, apart from its illustrative function, Durer offers three distinct vantage points: the artist at his table studying his muse while resolving perspective issues; the reclining woman resting introspectively without regard for the artist's attention; and then the beholder of the work, witness to an event. The beholder's vantage, on the edge of the proscenium, echoes the artist's position using the frame as a suggested window to privacy. The grid-frame provides a viewing of minute separate elements that in reality are contiguous. It offers a similar attitude as the camera, selecting from the broader and extended moment. More importantly however, both artist and beholder have the privilege of familiarity, seemingly more complex than a simple study for perspective rendering. This image reminds me of both Duchamp's Étant Donné and of Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata's novella House of the Sleeping Beauties. When studied in this context, the work offers a very different and more profound understanding of the human theatre. It may also introduce ethical concerns.
Wine for the Architect
National Gallery of Canada
Theatre, conversation, and the directive may be inextricably linked. A moment in time is recognized, a directive given and then photographed. My intent with Wine for the Architect was a simple acknowledgment, not an observation, similar to my portrait of Lea included in the introductory layout to this post. The directive offered was " please, just stay like that". All participants are aware of the process as it happens. Does this mean, as Michael Fried has suggested in Absorption and Theatricality, that these moments although referring to absorption remain theatrical? Do the protagonists assume a pose of absorption rather than being absorbed? I am not certain whether this issue is so critical as to differentiate the value of experience, reducing the value of one while elevating the other. These moments occur sometimes casually but always offer a consideration more profound and inaccessible. What remains paramount for me is that the beholder is now, by proximity, complicit in the event observed. An artist always reflects the beholder's role either as a silent witness or as an active, although virtual, participant. It may also be true that he/she the artist remains the beholder, beheld.
Disturbances in Reading, Palimpsest
Michael Schreier, (artist book),