When first learning about ruled-based art, I hated the idea. In my mind, art is an expression of freedom, an opportunity to push the boundaries, and break the rules. This is something I’ve always admired about the European street artist Banksy.
So thinking about a form of art that forces you to follow rules? Sounds like the worst thing I’ve ever heard. As we kept talking in class, I could hear my mothers voice in my head saying to me “limitations spur creativity”. If I’m being honest, she was probably one of the biggest inspirations I had for this project. Her idea was that the rules don’t hinder my ability to create, but rewire my brain to create in a new way, in a way I wouldn’t have imagined before.
After this realization, Yoko Ono’s book Grapefruit was brought up in a lecture. Given just a few examples of her work, I fell in love. I ordered the book on line and spent the next two days reading it and making notes.
I really enjoyed her more conceptual approach, leaving much of the interpretation up to the reader. Many of her instructions left me thinking, “is she serious?” and I think that’s exactly what she intended. I later stumbled across a work by John Baldessari, which I found had a nice balance between the interpretive style of Ono, and the structured style of Sol Lewitt.
The piece that shaped my work the most was Yoko Ono’s Collecting Piece III, where she says
“Break your mirror and scatter the pieces
over different countries.
Travel and collect the pieces and glue them together again.”
I was fascinated by the idea of destroying something that reflects yourself, and then searching to put it back together. With that in mind, I created these instructions.
Here are the three executions.
I was extremely pleased with the results. Each pieces has a unique feeling of confusion and mystery, as if the girl is hiding something, or hiding from herself. Even though each artist were from very different backgrounds, the outcomes of their work was beautifully similar. I think because of the open interpretation of the instructions, it led the artist to contemplate what it means to cut up a self portrait, and that idea is what makes each work aesthetically similar. I also think using pencil for this project is essential because it allows the artist to be able to shade the portrait, which provides a necessary depth that would not be attainable with a pen.
Overall, this project showed me that my mother was right, rules don’t always hold you back. It is limitations that spur creativity.