The Mental Museum

Jacob Epstein, art within art

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What can one say? The art of copying. What isn’t copied or restated or reworded? Architecture perhaps? Landscape design? The Middle Eastern practice of island building? Innovation is defined as ‘the act of innovating.’ Even a definition is restating the word being defined! One within the other within the other. This brings to mind a fractal. A fractal is defined as a term used by mathematicians to describe certain geometrical structures whose shape appears to be the same regardless of the level of magnification used to view them.  A standard example is a seacoast, which looks roughly the same whether viewed from a satellite or an airplane, on foot, or under a magnifying glass. Many natural shapes approximate fractals, and they are widely used to produce images in television and movies.

‘Many natural shapes approximate fractals.’ One that does not is the human figure; (until we introduce reproduction.) Nonetheless, the more magnified the human figure, the more abstract it becomes. Sculptor Jacob Epstein is seen here duplicating on the third dimension. A fractal then must be on the fourth dimension? And the fifth dimension perhaps encompasses exponential reproduction? Nevertheless, the photograph itself offers a precise perspective and we are shown a new, maybe less organic form of depth that could possibly relate to a fractal.  In order to magnify or zoom away from we must have a center point. Here, the center point is the piece of artwork being made, the sculpture. (Not the photograph; Which has already been made). The photograph is not the piece of art. Or is it? Zoom towards the photograph and the scultpor dissappears. So does the model. We see then a clay figure in the background and the sculptor’s hand in the foreground and a prop that supports the central clay head.  Zoom closer and we discover the center point is where the figure’s trachea and its wooden support are adjacent. Keep zooming and we come eye to eye with the dip in the bust’s throat. Zoom closer and we would see the lumpy texture of the clay. Now imagine zooming out. The model and sculptor come back into view and the studio is revealed. Perhaps other artists are there and likely tools and more scultpures can be seen. Keep zooming and we see the walls of the space, the exterior of the space, the grounds of the building, the landscape, the trees, the horizon comes into view, the sky and the clouds. Keep zooming out and the studio building itself grows smaller and smaller the people inside have already disappeared. Keep zooming and the land becomes more vast. Out out out and out and there are no fractals seen. Are there? There is no visual one within the other within the other matryoshka from this visual journey our mind has just taken… accept for the linear journey the sculptor’s work takes in replicating the subject’s face in clay.  So, if no fractrals are seen zooming in and out, can one state that this scene is then unnatural? Or maybe all we had to do to determine this was to look at the facial expressions.

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Written by thementalmuseum

June 24, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Posted in 1

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