Art Schools/Art Stools
A ‘U’ shaped formation of high toped rectangular tables, flank the edges of the room, echoing the shape of the art studio at Sesc Ipiranga. Another tier, beneath, repeats at a lower level the delineation. The upper layer, a flat horizontal surface, the lower, punctuated, by a band of circles of wood, each one supported by four legs, that drop, to the ground below. When making art, since its opening in the early nineties, initially six, then nine additional art stools have supported students at Sesc Ipiranga; the original six stool tops became the focus of my recordings. Before the start of the art class assuming the place that the art instructor might take in the center of the room I placed the stools at head height so that in turn, each assumed the position of the absent instructor/teacher. With a shift of plane, the discs, when mounted vertically, behaved as flattened heads or portrait busts. Setting up the equipment I became aware standing behind the camera facing the disc that I was enacting the scenario of the portrait painter or sculptor. To make a complete bust, using what was to hand: reams of paper, pieces of discarded board stacked together, I forged the absent neck. The material previously used as the paper support for the drawing, became the prop for my own recordings.
Using the photographic, Reflectance Transformation Imaging process where sixty flashes, form a virtual domed arch, directed at the captured subject, I systematically recorded, the disk face. The results of each flash, revealed through the camera viewfinder a plethora of marks, scars and bruises compiled by its varied occupants. These indents ranged from gouged graffiti to the patination of the wooden surface; a collection of marks and incisions, creating the involuntary drawing of a collective face. Rather than an exquisite corps made from composite marks, (the stool’s surface under the viewer), during the digital compilation stage of the Reflectance Transformation Imaging process, the surface becomes animated and enlivened. As the process, reveals, the surface information that the naked eye is unable see, viewed by an archeologist, each mark allows for a retracing of the stool’s use and for the formation of its biography.
This unmasking is central to the working process of O Grupo Inteiro. Rather than a singular excavation of the Ipiranga site, a multiple scan of its current, recent and past, cultural history, architecture and community, is taken. O Grupo Inteiro’s technique is pre-digital and employs ‘pin point accuracy’ by utilizing the hand selection and extraction of material. They make an informed choice from diverse disciplinary subjects, where the material found occupies different fields of enquiry; that ordinarily would not be found in any composite form of alignment. O Grupo Inteiro, use the installation format as a ground to activate their material. In this instance they occupy the convivial area and the surrounding grounds of Sesc Ipiranga. This framing takes the form of a plywood assembly, modeled on the government’s debating chamber that acts, as a support structure for the users of Ipiranga to negotiate the collected material. Similar to the collation of marks on the surface of the art room stool, how O Grupo Inteiro have configured and layered their research allows the viewer, to occupy the position of both an artist and archeologist, to reconstruct the material that has now been made visible to them.
Elizabeth Wright, Artist and senior lecturer, 3D Pathway Leader on the BA Fine Art Course at Central Saint Martins.
The following videos were presented within "Aparelhagem / The Rig" (the main piece presented by O grupo inteiro, installed in the communal area of Sesc Ipiranga)
'Involuntary Works' at Sesc Ipiranga based on traces from the Sesc building and site. A dialogue between Elizabeth Wright (Central Saint Martins), O Grupo Inteiro, Zebra 5, Museu Paulista - USP and Sesc Ipiranga.
'Involuntary Works' at Sesc Ipiranga based on objects brought by the community and Museu Paulista Educational Program. A dialogue between Elizabeth Wright (Central Saint Martins), O Grupo Inteiro, Zebra 5, Museu Paulista - USP and Sesc Ipiranga.
Workshop 'Involuntary Works' at Sesc Ipiranga BY Elizabeth Wright WITH O Grupo Inteiro, Zebra 5, Museu Paulista - USP and Sesc Ipiranga.