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Reflective embodiment of the four elements of nature as a metaphor for personal expression
van Zyl, Kirsti
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A personal. phenomenological expression and discovery has been conducted. through being immersed in the four elements of nature. namely water, air, earth and fire. Each series represents one of the four elements. The established, Westem interpretations of the four elements have been contrasted with my personal embodied interpretation. The result of this was a concept based on the discovery of my context within the environment, manifested into an artistic reflection of my appreciation of creation. Embodiment. therefore. provides the theoretical framework as it is the merging of the body and mind in our interactions with the outer world, as a way of gaining knowledge and experience (Hocking. Haskell & Unds (eds.). 2001: xviii). Phenomenology of perception, according to Langer (1989: 158). is the study of structures of perception. and as a supporting theory, it ties in with embodiment and how our thoughts and feelings are a result of our physical body's conversation and interaction with the outer world. Embodiment is a tool used to rediscover that dialogue. and is one I have applied in order to design and create subjective and conceptual fabric sculptures. I have embodied my sculptures. shaping and installing a meaning, dictated by my experiential body perception. These two theories were important for my research in order to engage with and interpret my body's experiences within the elements of nature Inspiration for my product was derived from Deepa Panchamia. for her structured yet organic. pleated structures and Annalisa Vobis for her use of organic inspiration and the resulting conceptual interpretations. Andy Goldsworthy was also inspiration to me for the emphasis he puts on the raw and natural aspects of experience and process. This is evident in the nonpermanent characteristic of his land art. An important factor of this range is the display and exhibition of the Sculptures. by recording each series within the context of each element it represents, it grounds and highlights the strong inspiration of nature and process. evident within each sculpture. The entire range is created from polyester organza that has been permanently pleated and then hand manipulated to create 3-Dimensional. abstract sculptures. The use of this fabric creates a transparent, ethereal atmosphere. where the inner and outer layers of the sculptures seem to merge and interact. reflecting and indicating a fleeting moment of ghostlike embodied expression. Apart from the sculptures being the result of a self-expressive. introspective process, they are also aesthetically based conceptual art pieces with great potential to being translated into a variety of applications.