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Title: Play as evolving process in the work of Eduardo Paolozzi, Philip Guston and Tony Oursler
Author: Thomas, E.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This practice-related study uses a range of play theory to examine the creative processes behind the work of Eduardo Paolozzi, Philip Guston and Tony Oursler. All three artists express a need to create a semblance of life. Drawing on the work of D.W. Winnicott, Jean Piaget and Brian Sutton-Smith, the desire to animate matter is explored as the persistence of animistic play during adulthood. For Paolozzi, this desire is articulated as an attempt at “going beyond the Thing, and trying to make some kind of presence”;1 for Guston, it is expressed as a need to create “an organic thing that can lead its own life”2 and for Oursler, this manifests through a fascination with videoʼs ability to transform the “inanimate to animate”.3 By concentrating on the artistsʼ processes, the thesis explores the productive potential of moving away from a retrospective approach to childhood play. The particular form of play examined in this thesis is defined as a group of activities, objectives and perceptions that evolve. This enables the focus of the study to shift from the interpretation of a final image onto a potential toolkit of methods. The thesis uses this supposed ʻtoolkitʼ to activate the work in order to keep process alive in an object or image. The artistsʼ processes are seen to engage with the unforeseen and the unresolved. The repeated presence of stacking and piling in the work of Paolozzi and Guston is explored as a responsive process, whilst a notion of emergent narrative is proposed to place works by all three artists within change. Finally, the artistsʼ processes are discussed in relation to definitions of absurdity. In this context the artistsʼ uses of contradiction and incongruity are seen as means to suspend finality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available