The flow of concepts – table trace

1. Inspired by Dieter Roth, I found table as a really important object to document artist’s life, thus I picked my table in the studio to make a start. I used a A1 tracing paper to trace all the marks left on this table, including knife cuts, paint splash, graffiti…though these are not marks from me, they are interesting for me to see as artistic vestige.

my table


process of tracing

finished painting


Then I traced a dining table from school canteen, with knife cuts left on like line drawings. Chinese ink is used instead of oil as the straight lines may look more fluent, though it eventually doesn’t work very well on the canvas.

the dining table in canteen

2. After these two paintings were made, I received a few comments from my friends, they assumed these are loose abstract paintings. Inversely, the marks were traced bit by bit with tension. The contradiction between the surface and actual painting process kind of became the second concept of them.

3. Then I started thinking about the term of ‘value’. What is the value of a piece of artwork? Is it the cost of material? Or is it the effort that you put in? Or does it depends on how great your idea is? These questions can cause too many debates, so I am going to keep it simple.

For me, the act of translating random marks on a table raises the value of the marks themselves. They used to be unnoticed, almost invisible objects in this world, by putting them through the medium of painting and be shown in the gallery, I would like viewers to discover the beauty of the table marks as what they are. I asked myself ‘Does the medium changed the value of art?’ Perhaps it could be referred to Duchamp’s Fountain in the museum, though Duchamp tried to address ‘What is art?’

4. For my exhibition, I planed to show the first table trace I made with it being framed and attached to four legs to be a table, and it would be shown with the original table, I intended to question ‘Which has more value as a piece of art? Is it the objecthood of the original table? Or is it the replication of the object through a medium?’. My tutor Jeff questioned me if it is necessary to do that, it made me realize the frame is not necessary; and the second painting is more powerful as the pictorial elements were reduced to address the main concept.

5. What is more interesting to show in the exhibition? I guess it’s the works that gain more questions and debates from the spectators. I found the piece of painting quite plain to show as a piece of painting, that’s where the idea of ‘table painting’ come from.

I made this table in the workshop (84x60x80cm), and found it quite strange with a canvas attached to the wooden legs. So I wrapped the table legs with canvas to enable the table itself be part of the ‘painting’.


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