Rebecca Harris

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Rebecca Harris' MPhil/PhD Art research project

Textuality, Forms of ‘Reading’ and the Encounter of Art

By thinking through the terms and uses of language in reading and writing, this research considers visual and non-visual moments in art, to test how we negotiate the experience, focusing on specific authors in art theory and beyond to approach writing as theoretical, fictional and biographical. I set out to explore how the materiality and non-materiality of the art relates to our physical engagement in relation to subject and object, to consider the conditions and the pre-conditions of the gaze and its relevance in the moment of perception.

A method of textuality will be presented to consider artworks by Gerhard Richter, Eva Hesse and Hanne Darboven: by engaging with writers including Georges Didi-Huberman, Hélène Cixous and George Steiner, I will present alternative methods to consider the possibility of imagining the visual and the identification of an artwork.

This project sets out to explore the potential of the artwork through modes of engagement as opposed to the physicality of the work itself; to test the status of representation, the location and form of the surface in reality versus in imagination. Here I present a critical practice embedded in theory, which challenges the conventions of traditional techniques in art history discourse, questioning certain expectations and habits found in interpretative texts. The aim of this being to analyse and evaluate, to negotiate how one experiences art through a consideration of writing as a method for engagement, but also to consider the gesture of the artist in parallel to the writing activity.