Schinster's Portfolio

Final Composition 2D


The project is to ultimatize the two-dimensional aesthetics of photography to its extremity by photographing a surface, printing the image in original scale, and superimposing the print right on top of the surface to reach a visual equilibrium.

In this project, I am interested in the visual essence of photography independent from theme and narrative. In other words, I am examining the ontological aspect of photography and its artistic value through form apart from content.

One of the elements that constitute the ontology of photography is that it is, by and large, in the form of ‘two-dimension.’ I chose ‘surface’ as main subject to directly correspond to the cause of the project. Since final representation of photography is in two-dimension, surface can naturally reflect formal essence of photography in the most undistorted and straightforward manner. It is the only subject one can photograph with an absolute composition, the perpendicular angle. Pushing such a two-dimensional quality of photography to the most extreme degree, one can photograph a flat surface at perpendicular angle and print it in 100 percent scale as identical to the original surface. Limiting the composition to one perspective calls attention to what photography can do in terms of its primitive and quintessential function, photocopying.

Photocopying is a mere visual reproduction of planar surface where there is little room for subjective artistry because compositional variations are completely limited to only one extreme angle. Ironically, however, such detachment from subjectivity provides a better chance to evaluate the subject's photographic visual power per se rather than semantic contents.

As the composition necessary for photocopying is the one that allows no variations in angle, I call it, “Final Composition 2D” which refers to the ultimate degree of composition to express the visual essence of two-dimensional subject through photography. It is the simplest as well as the most extreme composition that photography can resort to when portraying a flat surface with minimum visual distortion. Therefore, simplicity and extremity are the two most important virtues of Final Composition 2D as extremity helps simplify the subject to its essence.

The next step is to install the print right on top of the original surface. The installation is a straightforward translation between real and copy at the same time and place to manifest what it means to exist as photography in bold presence of the actual subject. The original and copy create a surreal interaction as they reflect each other back and forth, which not only challenges the perception of real in confrontation with its exact copy, but also brings out the aesthetic value of the copy in face of its original. The subtlety lies in the fact that no surface in reality is perfectly two-dimensional. All surfaces are technically three-dimensional when looked closely. Accordingly, the installation is an illusive contrast between technical reality(3D) and virtual image(2D).

The installation can vary depending on the characteristics of the subject. Besides the most basic one, superimposition of copy on original, other methods such as juxtaposition, arraying multiple copies, partial or divided superimpositions are also available.

Final Composition 2D also plays a role as a medium for the reversible reaction between two-dimensional subject and photography. Reversible reaction is a concept borrowed from the area of chemistry. Since Final Composition 2D photocopies a two-dimensional subject, the represented photograph can be cognitively re-translated back to the original subject as they are both installed together in the same space. Thus, the original and copy exist in the ‘Visual Equilibrium’ although they are technically two different entities.

This project becomes location-specific as it comes into effect when the image is installed exactly where the actual surface exists. Such location-specificity can naturally unfold various semantic contents as each installation will develop its own narrative in relation to the context of the location. This proves that the project not only is an ontological approach to photography, but also contains epistemic elements based on narratives of the location beyond the artist's intention.

In conclusion, Final Composition 2D is to go all the way back to the basic as well as to push to the extreme to reveal the primary aesthetics of photography inherent as a two-dimensional medium. It also creates a space where original and copy co-exist to generate a magnetic field of artistic confusion, separation, and integration.

Curtain Wall

Tilted Patch

The White Wall

Image detail of The White Wall