Joseph Schneider

Primary page content

Joseph Schneider's MPhil/PhD Art research project

A compositional motif - Platform/Medium/Inhabitant - is explored through readings of ten paintings. And the three elements of the motif are variously inverted, transposed and reconfigured. In general though the motif performs the effort to find a vantage point on contingency. The platform is mostly surrounded by the medium in some way (although in some cases the medium is contained by the platform). The platform might be a means of transport or it might be fixed and static. The platform might be makeshift or enduring, porous or impermeable. The medium is generally liquid or vaporous. The medium can be both life-threatening or life-giving. The inhabitants might be trapped on the platform, hoping for rescue. The inhabitants might be beyond hope and be swamped and dissolved by the medium. The inhabitants might have the freedom to leap into or immerse themselves in the medium and then return to the relative safety of the platform.

Crucial to the functioning of the narrative is that the paintings do not make their appearance as “originals”. Into the distance from the original, some kind of discourse about paintings and images seeps. Modulated, dislocated and distorted because of this distance. This remoteness produces a voice autobiographical, fictitious and historical. Restaging the works to dramatise their autonomy and vulnerability. Seeing them dissolve and take shape again in relation to wider social and mental instabilities and dependencies. It reveals the motif not just as an arbitrary and spurious conceptual schema. But as a principle for a mind desperately attempting to find a vantage point on overwhelming contingency. Hoping to produce modest insights into the processes we use to repress or project our desires and memories. And think about how this affects our ability to represent the future.