Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Baroque Imaginary

This semester I’m taking a class with Professor Lyon called The Baroque Imaginary and have therefore spent a considerable amount of time reading and thinking about the theories underlying Baroque art.  Something I have found particularly interesting in this course is the concept of layered realities.  The best description I have come across of this theory is William Egginton’s, in his book The Theater of Truth, wherein he explains that “the dreamer who dreams us is in constant danger of discovering that he, too, is living a dream in an abyssal cascade that never permits an end point to the situatedness of knowledge” (85).  We studied how these “dreams” are present in several Baroque works (i.e. Rubens’s Eucharist Tapestries), and I was intent upon trying to explore this theme in my own work. 

With this photo manipulation, my specific aim was to make several of these layers of reality visible while implying the existence of many more.  My hope is that a viewer will be able to both recognize a familiar scene (museum goers engaged in the expected act of observation), and a the reversal of viewer and viewed (figures from Velázquez’s paintings occupy the gallery), while also being forestalled by certain visual distortions or unrealities (i.e. the curtain and illogical reflections).  Ideally this print visualizes and perhaps even elaborates on Egginton's "abyssal cascade" and posits questions to an observant viewer about the nature of art, illusion, and reality.  

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