Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The condition of painting : reconsidering medium specificity
Author: Palin, Tom
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 2073
Awarding Body: Royal College of Art
Current Institution: Royal College of Art
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The aim of this investigation is to consider the extent to which the processes and material stuff of painting remain central to its identity and meaning. Within writing that supports painting, the role played by the medium of paint is too often sidestepped—sidestepped within writings that take as their starting point the interdisciplinary assumption that the message owes little of consequence to the medium through which it becomes disclosed. The retreat from medium specificity, in the 1970s – a move largely made in opposition to the hegemonic force of Greenbergian formalism and the expanded field ushered in by studio practices, as well as an embrace of the text (promoted through theory) – dislocated image from that from which the image is constituted. To a significant extent, particularly in the most vibrant approaches to the medium, the iconographic possibilities of a painting came to be situated in opposition to the characteristics of the painted object. This project addresses how the reduction of painting to linguistic schemas has rendered the material object of painting redundant. The conception of painting as image – free of material baggage and operable through language alone – serves to disguise the temporal nature of the manner by which a painting is constructed. A painting’s surface is built incrementally and, in its stillness, offers clues to what it has been—perhaps the only clues to what it is. I will redress this in two ways. First, through a body of studio practice I will demonstrate the indispensability of spatiotemporal concerns in respect of the processes and object of painting. My painting is reliant on responsiveness to methods of making, and I will foreground the image’s construction, staging it as an imbrication of language and material in time. Secondly, I will engage in a written inquiry comprising of five chapters. In Chapter 1, I attest to my concerns as a painter. Chapter 2 embarks on an investigation into the notion of a medium within the post-medium condition. Chapter 3 will consider the positioning of painting: examining philosophical omissions and historiographical oversights, which have, together, contributed to misunderstandings. Chapter 4 seeks, through the work of Martin Heidegger and Friedrich Hölderlin, to negotiate a new ontological model for the medium of painting, and Chapter 5 re-considers my recent practice – and position on medium – through the lens of the aforementioned inquiry. 4 The context for this work is the realm in which painting’s ontological status is questioned—targeting the nodal point where there is recourse to consider the extent to which the meaning of a painting is dependent on the specificity of its material conditions. To that end, I argue that Heidegger’s notion of truth (and of equipmentality) – developed in “The Origin of the Work of Art” and the Hölderlin Lectures – offers the possibility of replacing the redundancy of the medium with a notion of regeneration, against the backdrop of the endism that haunts painting.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W120 Painting