The world beyond the image

P.Laidler, Prop Idol, 2012, Inkjet Print

“One is playing with the world referred to by the image and the other world which is the image itself”
Michael Craig Martin

Some thoughts about Mr Martin’s observation on images and how they represent objects, albeit objects that we know primarily as images.

Something interesting things about props:
Many props are ordinary objects. However, a prop must read well from the house or on-screen, meaning it must look ‘real’ to the audience – or its appearance must resemble ones visual expectations of the object. Many real objects are poorly adapted to the task of looking like themselves to an audience, due to their size, durability, or colour under bright lights, so some props are specially designed to look more like the actual item than the real object would look – strange yet interesting.

Object traces:
Film props have an interesting physical presence as they are objects that are originally encounter through a mediated or often a screen based representation and therefore come with a certain amount of anticipation as physical objects. These expectancies are multifaceted, in so much as they are bound up in a specific type of image world where the object is designed for its onscreen and subsequent two dimensional presence. This potentially adds a further layer to Michael Craig Martin’s observation on how images operate -depending on which world we originally encounter them in – real or fictional. When drawing this kind of object one is accessing a further ‘world referred to by the image’ – the cinematic world. For example the prop is often bound up in nostalgia, connected to a narrative or wedded to a monumental protagonist who’s DNA resides within the fictional surface. Like Craig-Martin, it is interesting to consider what remains when flattening the object into two dimensions or in his own words, “You can see in my paintings, I’ve taken away the context, I’ve taken away the shadows, I’ve taken away expression, I’ve taken away the personal, and yet so much remains.” My own inquiry considers what type of minimal representation maybe significant to best capture a mediated quality of an object, and in this instance how a props fictional function can be preserved in an artefact that oscilates between multiple worlds.
See links to Craig Martin’s work on the Artsy website¬†here.

 

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