questioning the frame

the physical frame: running through my exploratory making, i am also doing some exploratory reading. i came across a thesis discussing the form and function of the physical frame in contemporary art (Geraghty, 2008). while this thesis does not discuss its relation to gender, it does set out interesting theory, history and art practices related to the physical frame which may be relevant to my exploratory making re landscape, lens and gender. some notes –

defining the physical frame: the frame is defined as the material manifestation from the act (or set of acts) of framing which is created to mediate and protect an artwork, connecting it physically and conceptually to a context so that the work can be understood. frames are work sensitive in that they directly respond to the artwork. frame is not site or place which preexist and which the artwork is added but is added post artwork (does it have to be?). many contemporary artworks extend the artwork beyond the physical and pictorial frame and place the artwork in real space and time and as such may be physically frame-less. frame can be ‘immediate’ and attached to the artwork or ‘extended’ and an immersive frame within the artwork which the viewer experiences.

some categories related to frames

immediate frame: physically part of an artwork, immediately attached to an artwork, places viewer outside looking in, forms a boundary or containment line, e.g. picture frame, latrine, plinth, light box, sub-frame etc.

extended frame: an immersive frame experienced by the viewer which the viewer must pass through to experience the artwork, e.g. the circumtextual frame, the exhibition/curatorial frame, the institution frame.

the artist frame: made and conceived by the artist for particular artworks.

the post-production frame: frame for artwork post input  or control from artist.

the collaborative frame: dual input by artists and post-productionist.

the intracompositional frame: the artist makes and conceives of artwork and frame together, integrates artist, artwork and viewer together.

the parergonal or extracompositional frame: a frame that is not essential to the artwork, may be manufactured with no artwork in mind.

the institutional frame: the museum, gallery system, the institutional context and their value systems.

the first and second frame: within the institutional frame (first) there is another frame which situates the work, a frame that the artist uses to make clear to the viewer the institutional frame that is at play.

the circumtextual frame: the research frame for the work, may be evident in artist statement etc.

the exhibition/curatorial frame: both physical and conceptual framing of artworks, such as the exhibition design, selection etc.

history of the physical frame: in contemporary art, the frame has come to be seen as outdated form of display, mediation, presentation, staging – something of the past or a sign of commodification, containment and bourgeois values (and patriarchal values?). yet moving beyond the confines of the physical frame in contemporary art such as installation and video work etc. also involves a visual framing. how are they linked – how do the basic tenets of past physical framing relate to contemporary art installation etc?  and what constitutes a frame? not just the physical surrounds but something that involves the edge and moves beyond the static rectilinear pictorial frame (again, relevant to patriarchy?).

framelessness: the idea that contemporary art is frameless should be examined and challenged. the history of examining the edges, boundaries and containment of artworks echoes Derrida’s examination and challenge to Kant’s paregonal frame in relation to literature – frame is not simply a way of separating inside from outside. the residual ‘immediate’ frame exists in contemporary art and needs to be questioned rather than assumed and accepted or written of as redundant (again gender relevance?).

function of frame: the frame creates space for the artwork that the artwork itself is incapable or doing. the frame creates an invitation for engagement with the work – physically and/or conceptually.

relevance of frame: there is a need to keep reinventing the frame to make it relevant to today (exploratory making re landscape, lens and gender).

the frame as a contested space: the changing ways of framing work continue to evolve and cause tensions beween the main players of artist, context, viewer and therefore continues to be a contested space (especially in relation to patriarchy and gender?).

reference & link:

Geraghty, I. (2008) The Reconfigured Frame, Various Forms and Functions of the Physical Frame in Contemporary Art [online phd] At: file:///C:/Users/Elaine%20Crowe/Documents/my%20OCA%202019-20/contextual%20study/the%20reconfigured%20frame.pdf (Accessed on: 02.01.20).

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