Table White from Nov.5th to Nov.11th

The ongoing project of Table White passing around the school

I left it with a Lee Kye Sung in CG11(BA Fine Art 1st Year), as he basically works with painting, the table has been used as a palette tester. Before Lee starting applying paints to the canvas, he tests colours on this table. Different from last week’s experience, it is used as a tool here instead of part of someone’s work.

Lee tests colours before painting

Colour mixing in a bowl







Table in the studio

Except colours which has been splashed or tested on the table, some words(poem?)has been written on the table, Lee says it’s done by someone else in the studio, thus the table has been treated as a normal table for graffiti too. Not only a palette tester, or a planting pot.

Words written on the table:                                                                                Nothing, nothing, nothing, I have nothing to say. I get ? to ? on this table XXXX



More research on Dieter Roth

“It is the Tischmatten that lie, or rather hang-simply, in the time mentioned closest to my heart.”

I found this book in the library about Dieter Roth’s Tischmatten (Edited by Barry Rosen), the comment on both Roth’s work as well as the 20th century trend of ready-made art is very valuable to read

“Artists of 20th century, discovered the artistic value of the most simple by-products our civilization. Newspaper cutting, tickets, bottle dryers and toilet towels were organized as art works. All these trends became movements toward the end of the fifties and the beginning of sixties.

Dieter’s work forms the core of his self-conception and his principle of art. Through constant self-reference the artist gives the presence of his own existence precedence over his work.He forces the observer into a state of constant uncertainty, intangibility alienation and speechlessness.

Roth subject his work to a process of obstruction and blurring, which is linked to favouritism towards the personal and autobiographical presence, he concentrates on the redefinition of materiality.”

About Tischmatten

-About collage and DADA /the “trap pictures “of Roth’s friend Damel Spoerri /friendship and family /art and life /Pollock and painting /recurrence of printmaking in Roth’s lace work in the form of coffee stain

-The grey cardboard means to protect the table becomes the support for a picture, a canvas and for the dirt

-At first they only presented traces of his domestic activities, in that they have captured various drips and spills, they functions as pads of cooking, eating, painting… he then took those pads from the dining table into the painting and pasting dept, where they automatically became heavily soiled and covered with spots.

Ana Mendieta —Traces

Ana Mendieta’s exhibition—Traces at Hayward Galllery was very impressive for me, the artist uses her own body and elemental materials to create performance and earth-body sculptures.

The first part of the exhibition is quite violent, but powerful in vision. Many of these works respond to the violent crimes happened in society, mostly about women under violence. She used real ox blood in her drawing, or in the performance, audience may not get the intention behind instantly, but they can feel the idea of brutality straight forward by the bloody scenes

Despite her metaphors of life, death, spiritual things…I am very fascinated by her drawings, which for the first glance, has a primitive quality (and kind of Matisse like). The paper she used is called amate, a type of bark paper made in Mexico, the brownish texture enables strong, dark line drawing to stand out. The images are related to labyrinths, goddess but are reduced to an extreme in terms of colour and lineation.


Ana also used real leaves to make drawings, the leaves are from a species of tree called clusia rosea, the copey, with thick, leathery leaves that you can write on. The shape of leaf certainly has a relation to her early drawings and later sculptures. The presentation of these leaves are interesting, they are displayed in framed canvases, which echoes the nature and texture on the leaves.

Untitled by Ana Mendieta, incised leaf

Untitled by Ana Mendieta, incised leaf

Ana’s three stages of making work:conception, realisation and documentation. It was particularly important to make a permanent record of actions and performances that only existed for a brief time. Ana learnt this lesson during her student time, but used it throughout her whole life. Thus, the documentation section in the exhibition is interesting to see, films that record her performances and postcards that review her exhibitions and trips are especially impressive for me.

Table White from Oct.29th to Nov.4th

As the Table White project started last week, the table has finished its journey for one week in the first MA studio from Oct 29th to Nov.5th, it was taken care by MA student Sutin Hong.

I was very very surprised to see the changes on it this week, as four panels were added to the sides, the supporting stick across the middle has been chopped off. I could almost not recognize it’s the table I made!

table White in MA studio


So I asked Sutin about the changes she made, she replied:

“….because I make sculptures, I wanted to plant a tree in the middle…”

She then drew me this sculpture plan: the table is put in a reversed way, four panels are added for keeping earth for planting, as well as the chopped off stick. She told me she give up the idea eventually since the “table pot” is not steady enough to hold the tree upright and found something else to plant in.

Sutin’s drawing for her planting sculpture

After all, this starting point is very inspiring for me, especially the things happened out of my expectation. As I told people to ‘do whatever you want to this table’ and  expected them to use the table as a tool, but Sutin actually used it as part of her work in process, which gives the table more content as a background and enables it to gain more variation in short term.


Resin and Preservation of Instant

Resin is a material that I always wanted to try with, because of its transparency and stillness. I got one pot from the school shop and followed the basic resin tutorial on YouTube.

The following is my experiment piece, one step to mention is the mistake that I made while inserting the object into resin. As I charged the time wrongly, I couldn’t fit the whole flower in, thus I used a stick to insert petals in while it’s concreting, which resulted in cracks for the final outcome.

The intention behind this practice is the idea of preservation of instant moments or things happened. The first object that I chose is a flower that I received on my birthday on Oct.19th, it started to droop after few days and would eventually end its ‘life’, by preserving it in resin, the time of this flower stops on that day.

* An interesting thing to mention is: the flower went to droop faster after being put in resin, which is right against my original intention.

The flower received on Oct.19th

The problem of air bubbles was solved by putting resin into warm water


Following the same concept, I took some water from the Thames river at 11:45 am on Nov.2nd, therefore it is the amount of water that you can never find anywhere else. The act of keeping ordinary, almost non-significant objects in resin, raises the value and content of those objects. The object itself here is less important than the process and method of preservation.

Water from Thames on Nov.2nd


Using a tube to infuse the river water into resin

The following photos are final output of resins

A flower received on my 21st birthday, Oct.19th

A flower received on my 21st birthday, Oct.19th

A flower received on my 21st birthday, Oct.19th

A flower received on my 21st birthday, Oct.19th

10ml water from Thames River under Vauxhall Bridge on 11:45 A.M of Nov.2nd


10ml water from Thames River under Vauxhall Bridge on 11:45 A.M of Nov.2nd

10ml water from Thames River under Vauxhall Bridge on 11:45 A.M of Nov.2nd










Art and Objecthood BY Michael Fried

I borrowed this book by Michael Fried from library after a lecture, the essay Art and Objecthood is very inspiring for me, Judd’s claim of having definite whole view of a work and discarding visual, pictorial element; or Greenburg’s claim of non-art materials to be art; or the concept of value and quality…though this essay was written 60 years ago, the world of art has already been changed, some ideas are still interesting to see.

Here are my notes on the essay:

-Literalist art belongs rather to the natural history, it is an expression of general and pervasive condition

-Literalist case against painting

①ubiquitousness, relational character of almost all paintings

②virtual inescapability of pictorial illusion

-Donald Judd thinks you should have a definite whole and maybe not parts, not a vague whole with definite parts on a canvas

-elements inside the rectangle correspond closely to the rectangle, which is a definite form but no longer a neutral limit

-actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface

-Judd’s term of anthropomorphism: sculptures with specific elements separate from the whole, thus sets relationship within the work.

-the gestalt simply is the constant, known shape

-Greenburg claims that the borderline between art and non-art sought to be 3D, like sculpture, and where everything material that was not art also was.

-the literalist espousal of objecthood is a plea for a new genre of theatre, and theatre is now the negation of art

–the awareness of scale is a function of the comparison made between that constant, one’s body size, and the object. Physical participation becomes necessary

-Tony Smith’s conviction that painting were finished, “there is no way you can frame it, you just have to experience it.”→no way to make sense of it in terms of art, to make art of it; but as its happens, as it merely is

-War between theatrical and pictorial, is not a matter of program and ideology but of experience, conviction and sensibility

-Anthony Caro→an emphasis on abstractness, on radical unlikeness to nature

-Use of colour in sculpture:Jules Olitski→simply to translate his paintings into sculpture, to use painting as a medium of sculpture

-Claim of war between modernist and theatricality:

①the success of arts has come increasingly to depend on their ability to defeat theatre

②art degenerates as it approaches the condition of theatre

③the concept of quality and value

-materials do not represent, signify, or allude to anything, they are just what they are

The Birth of Table White—Statement of plan

Last year, I did many practice related to time, and there is always a time-based element in most of my work. Following my last concept of ‘table as the witness of memories’, I planed to use table as a medium to document the time I will spend in Chelsea, then I realized my own time may not get resonate responds from viewers since they are personal. Susan Hiller’s piece Delicated to the Unknown Artists inspired me again, the common memory/ time shared by a whole class, even whole school can receive more reflected views in the future. Therefore I decided to pass this table around the studios in Chelsea to enable people to recognize it all. Here,  table leads the project to carry on, I try to position it as a viewer, but not an object in the studio, the difference in interpretation about this object may leads to a new result.

Traditional interpretation for the role of table: object, still(in one place), scratch or paint left on due to human activities

↓ I plan to change it in this way

New interpretation for the role of table: witness, movable(around the school), scratch or paint left = human activities(may get to know what happened)

The beginning of this plan is rather simple, I went to the workshop to get this table done(Thanks for the help from John!) and painted it in purely white. It meant to show the table as a new born baby, as the time go by, it will eventually “receive” memories and marks from various people, and will “grow” into another appearance.


Statement of Plan:

-Time: at least three months, it would be interesting to carry it for next three years

-The table will stay in a studio for one week, and move to the next

-There will be no order when choosing the studio, I picked the first one because it’s close to where I was

-Documentation form: photos at a fixed composition, feedback from the person who used it

(The composition of photo)(Taken in BG03)

Dieter Roth & Daniel Spoerri

After the tutor meeting last week, Jeff suggested some artists for me

Dieter Roth works with variable media:painting, sculpture, installation, assemblage… almost everything! For him, art and life flow readily into each other, his everyday experience is the artwork itself.

Work Tables & Tischmatten

From 1980s, Roth decided to place cardboard mats on working tables in his studios and apartments: doodles, sketches, phone numbers, ink blots start taking their own places on those mats, they eventually become the assemblage of progression of shifting arrangements through time. His son, Bjorn Roth worked with him during later years, Bjorn described his father’s studio work as:

“Everything was nevertheless handled precisely and with respect — whether it was leftover paper or oil paint, a paintbrush or a canvas. The studio was at once a workplace and an apartment. There things flowed together or became isolated. It was a kind of laboratory, to search for beauty in nothing, and a workshop for assembling findings.”

I was fascinated by Roth’s approach of using tables as ‘diaries’ of his work progression, they are not kept in fine files with order, but being put at different working locations, thus you have no predictions for the output, progress, accidents, documentation form the work itself. I have similar intention behind my work: methods of preserving time and documenting experience which are instant but special.

Tischmatte, St. Johanns-Vorstadt (detail), 1995-2007

Matte vom Bürotisch Hegenheimerstrasse, Basel, 1996-1997

Bürotisch-Matte, Bali-Mosfellssveit, 1994-1996


Daniel Spoerri is famous for his snare pictures, which is a kind of assemblage art. He used found objects like left over meals, cutlery or cups and mounted them on the table, usually restoring the original position when they were found, they would be hung on wall, therefore creating an aerial view of the tables. Soperri didn’t composite or choose the objects randomly, they are from specific moments at particular location, which evokes artist’s own memories about them.

To me, the objects in his work are like the characters in fictions, they include elements like identification, time and location, which means they won’t exist at anywhere else as any other beings at another time, they have been fixed on the table, and they are there.

Portion of map of objects on table Topographie Anécdotée du Hasard



Consider about tables!

This idea suddenly came into my head while I was reading a book by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong called Art as Therapy, this photo↓ taken by Jessica Todd Harper is shows a family under agony, the smiling face of their child forms huge contrast with the cold air and anxious gap between the two. The woman lays her arms on a dinner table to support her despair, two wine cups on the table indicate this argument begins during/right after the meal. The man relies his body upon the kitchen table, looking anxiously at the woman.

“The Agony in the Kitchen”

As I loved this photo so much, I looked up other works by Harper that considers family scenes. This Christmas photo is from her book called Interior Exposure, which is a typical happy Christmas family picture, here, the table occupied the majority of space with objects fully laid on.

From Interior Exposure

What interests me in Harper’s photos is not the emotional figures,  but the role play of objects. As in the first photo, separated tables on both sides indicate the broken family; on the other hand, the table in second one gather all the people in union. Objects here could convey a humanized message that reflect the emotion, the situation and the atmosphere of the scene.

Then I started considering about tables in our lives as witnesses to many memories. We have family meeting on table, we talk about business on table, we brainstorm ideas on table, we love on table, we break on table……well, it’s surprising to find out most of my time is actually spent on tables.

So I did a drawing with tables that may appear in your life, they seems like geometrical shapes, since I want to indicate the variety through shape and size. For example, Business Lunch on left upper corner is one of those tables that you can see at Starbucks, with a man in suits eating sandwich alone. Or New Year’s Union in the centre, which indicates a big big family meal at New Year with probably 15 members around the table.


Two more drawings I made following the similar concept, which was inspired by the tables in our school. The purely white one is named First Year, it is the table in our studio; the message is the brand new beginning of our uni life, unfamiliar with the environment and haven’t started any work yet. In contrast, the Third Year is a table I saw in seminar room filled with paints; the richness of materials on that table displays the time and memories it has been through. The colours is almost like what students gained from Chelsea after three years, if I consider the tables in this way, even the objects become emotional.

First Year

Third Year


Wilfredo Prieto & Petra Feriancova

I found these two artists in the Frieze Art Fair catalogue this year.

Wilfredo Prieto

Prieto tries to stay himself away from traditional or historical way of making art, his use of material and method of working always change, you can’t find any limitation in his works. One of my favourite is THE MORE YOU ADD, THE LESS YOU SEE, it is part of the project called ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes” The work consists of a ball of transparent cling film, the more layers you added, the less transparent sphere became. Another piece called PAN CON PAN (BREAD WITH BREAD) is also a playful one relevant to the words. He is partial to such elegant paradoxes, and contributes to the tradition of Conceptual art in which  objects rely on artist-bestrowed titles to grant them meaning.

Prieto’s approach of using title to define the meaning of a piece is purely conceptual, he usually reduce/simplify the form to an extreme, by using ready-made object to give straight-forward idea to the viewers, thus the viewers could only focus on the object itself without any distraction from frame or shape or pictorial elements.



Petra Feriancova

The artist uses pre-existing material taken from her family’s archives, and reassembles these archives to bring contemporary context as well as to remain the intention behind original collection. “My work involving the external world has become saturated to such an extent that I decided to focus on material already accumulated.” She revisited the playground in her father’s photos in 2010 and took a series of photos, there is a quality of sensitiveness of emotion, alongside with private family archive. Her images are usually snapshots glorifying the narrative of photography but not the technical aspects.

Freriancova uses series of photos to recall certain memories, often personal, in her life. The difference between her work and tourists’ photos are the sensitive meanings she gave behind those pictures, she see them as the medium to reflect the world that she is living in, the place/view itself is less significant than the experience of her visiting.

Playground, 2010

Grand Tour, 2000





3. Freize Art Fair Catalogue 2013