An exploration of movement and making art with the body
that transforms the way we feel and behave
‘Shift’ is a travelling artwork installation which explores why movement transforms the way we feel and documents the shifting of body and mind during and after movement.
The artwork consists of seven pieces of Perspex (some of which has been recycled from old bus shelters). On the Perspex are a series of body prints and movements. Some capturing the whole figure, others abstracting the body and focusing on single limbs or parts. This is an interactive installation where people can move in and around the suspended pieces of perspex.
Much of this project has been inspired by my own yoga practice and my observations of teaching yoga to young people, daily witnessing a shift in the way people feel: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually after moving.
“I believe movement transforms the way we feel and behave.”
Curious as to why movement has such a trans formative effect, this project explores the relationship between mover and surface and unities the practice of yoga and art.
The entirety of the making process involved having a tactile relationship with : surface, material and my own body and in doing so brought a sensation of awareness, stillness and presence; a sense of being.
The journey behind the work
The starting point was my desire to combine movement and drawing, the most obvious exploration was to lay out large pieces of paper and crumble large pieces of charcoal into smaller pieces which then dragged and pushed against the paper using my limbs, particular, hands, knees, and elbows. The aim was to capture movement. The below images show that experimental drawing process.
There was a limiting factor in this way of capturing movement, in that I felt I was still over thinking the mark making process, a sense of rigidness, the outcome and artistic expression seemed predictable. I saw these experimental drawings as the starting point. I wasn’t satisfied that these drawings had captured what I wanted to express.
As a means to explore self expression I began to use my body as gateway to creativity, allowing unpredictable mark making to occur through the shifting of body weight. This approach developed from a series of experimental charcoal drawings, that happened through a process of playfulness. This project was the first time I had used my body to make art, using my skin to remove the charcoal from the surface. I enjoyed the speed at which I could capture a pose or movement in a fleeting second of print. Moreover, I found the movement of my body freeing compared to drawing or painting by hand, where I felt more upright and controlled.
printing the body through the medium of charcoal
This image is of my first print using the body.
One evening, drawing by the fire, I noticed the resistance between charcoal and drafting paper, I became fascinated with these two mediums interacting with each other and in a state of curiosity, quickly covered the ground in paper, stripped off and made my first ever body print.
Drafting paper on Charcoal.
After the success of printing onto Charcoal (image above) with a singular pose, I decided to bring movement and dance into the print. The charcoal print here in the right was my first attempt to print movements, capturing a shift in body weight and posture/ attitude.
The drafting paper was hand stitched to form a series of movements, a twirling dancer as she flits across the page.
The Charcoal drawings had a fragility and subtly to them which was both a strength and a weakness. The issue was their fragility made it challenging to hang. In order to solve this problem I began to develop the idea and use Perspex and body paint, the photos below show my development onto perspex.