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Title: A body of relations : reconfiguring the life class
Author: Ling, Yuen Fong
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 6155
Awarding Body: University of Lincoln
Current Institution: University of Lincoln
Date of Award: 2016
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The established practice of drawing from the life model elides the complexity of the life model in relation to gender, race, social status, sexuality, and identity. As a pedagogical methodology, the assumptions and protocols of the life class enforce separation and silence between the life model, artist and tutor, and uphold a framework of oppression1. Further, this form of education is widely viewed as outmoded, neglected and of little relevance to contemporary art practice. As a practicing artist, I want to re-examine the relationship between the life class and the theoretical positions of participatory and performance art practice. Theoretically, the challenge of this research, to the established practice of the life class is premised upon several concepts. Firstly, the “dematerializing of the art object”2 the process rather than art object as the primary site of the artist’s creative output. Secondly, the concept of ‘performance’ art is explored where the artist’s body becomes the potential primary site of the artwork. Thirdly, Bourriaud’s ‘relational aesthetic’, which posits other people’s participation and engagement with the artwork’s “interhuman relations”3 as the principle by which an artwork is mediated. In this practice-led research, I examine the notion of the artwork as ‘event’, and the subsequent ‘art object’ as document, artifact, or ‘trace’4 of the artist’s and other participant’s performativity; whether invited, co-opted or usurped into the artwork. The research is undertaken through the production of a portfolio of original new artworks and their reflection and written analysis. I examine the following lines of inquiry5: 1 Freire, Paulo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, translated by Bergman-Ramos, Myra, Penguin Books, edition 1996 2 Lippard, Lucy. Six Years: The Dematerialization of The Art Object from 1966 to 1972. University of California Press Ltd, London, 1997 3 Bourriaud, Nicolas, Relational Aesthetics, Translated by Pleasance, Simon & Woods, Fronza, with the participation of Copeland, Mathieu, Les Presses Du Reel, 2002 4 Benjamin, Walter, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in Illuminations, Pimlico, London 1999 5 Nelson, Robin, Practice as Research in the Arts, Principals, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, New York, 2013, p.26 - 4 - 1) To understand the implication of a process-orientated ‘performance’ and ‘participatory’ art practice to challenge the conventions of the life class 2) To explore the subsequent effects of this reconfiguration of the life class on our understandings of the role of the life model, and their subjectivity that the conventional life class elides 3) To examine the role and status of performance and participatory art’s documentation process on the life class, and the life drawing 4) To reconsider the educational possibilities of performance and participatory art practice on the teaching of the life class. I adopt a recognized multi-mode approach to evidencing this inquiry using videos and photographs, qualitative interview, historical research and strategies of display6. My research develops a theoretical trajectory to assert that contemporary art practice enables a return to the life class, but to a reconfigured life class that has learnt from the issues of power, play and subjectivity examined in this practice and commentary. The reconfigured life class provides a performative, discursive, social space to empower the life model to actively engage in the production of his/her own self-image. In addition the research re-frames the life class as a site in which the discourses of contemporary art as ‘relational’ and ‘performative’ can reach its apotheosis as a de-materialized performance event, whose trace exists in the dispersed materiality of the artist’s body and whose silenced subject, the life model, becomes a full individual subject.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W100 Fine Art