Beth Luxton: Painting meets Animation Micro Commission – Initial Experiments

For this first stage of experiments, I started with an existing painting and paired animation. I was really excited to see them together for the first time, outside of a screen. I intentionally sourced a projector that functions well in bright light and a large space so I had more options and configurations to play with. Thank-you very much to Kosar Contemporary and Béa Kayani for allowing me to set up in the gallery for the day!

I mentioned in my last blog post, some of the questions I was looking to answer. The first of which was: how large do I want the projection? How does this change the interpretation of the work?

I first projected the animation onto a large screen, shown in the video below. The animation felt immersive; I liked that I could walk around and right up to it. The flexible, thin material seemed to compliment the imagery however the colours were muted.

Following this, I projected next to the painting at various sizes, example below.

What became obvious to me was that the best scale and location, whether close to the ground or at eye level, would largely depend on the imagery and content. In this instance, it felt right that the projection was close to the ground, where the animated ball falls, and larger than the painting, exaggerating the strangeness of the imagery, particularly as people have told me it reminds them of blood cells. What seemed more imperative to consider was the location in relation to the painting, and the question: Do I want the painting and paired animation to be in view of one another, or separate?

You can imagine the animation as a depiction of entering the painting, venturing beneath the surface of the paint and beyond. I wanted to experiment with reflecting this; the viewer first sees the painting, then moves forward and around or behind to unexpectedly find the animation. I found an interesting spot where I could do this, using a corner, as shown below.

Similarly, I liked the idea of continuing forward momentum by walking into another ‘space’. The closest I could get to this was in the set up below. Of course, the two are in sight of one another but the physical distance creates a journey of sorts. This is reminiscent of putting the video behind a peep hole however I’ve not gone down this route. I don’t want there to be a physical barrier, perhaps because the work is already frustrating but also because I want the audience to be as close to the imagery as possible, to feel as if they could touch it.

Lastly, I put the projection opposite the painting, at a large scale where it acts like a reflection. There is something interesting about having the audience in the middle, turning around to find themselves immersed in a ‘landscape’. There is an element of discomfort to it, but also play. Like using a corner, the two can’t be seen together easily; the painting and the animation have space to exist separately but they are connected. This is my preference, moving forward.

In my next post, I’ll be looking at projecting onto the painting itself and seeing where that takes me!