Reflection, Richard Galpin essay

Robert Rauschenberg, Aziz and Cether, De Kooning are just a few of the artists that are mentioned throughout Galpins essay.

Galpin’s writing was incredibly eye opening and interesting, leading me onto very conceptual artists that I had thrown a blind eye at before reading this essay. Although the writing is very philosophical, so keeping up with the sides being taken and questions being ‘answered’ is quite confusing. As no question is answered, only considered. So many avenues are possible in Galpin’s way of looking at things. He has approached the subject of ‘Palimpsest’ very well. as it is a physical and conceptual way of working.

Palimpsest, that which is present, is an overlay of what was there before, yet the memory of what lies beneath of the absent presence remains.  Each image evokes remembrance of the past. Each inalienable object of everyday life represents the essence of what is absent; it creates a narrative and makes connections between those who are no longer present, leaving us with experiences, memories and emotion. Then those who remain.

The Mystic Pad, from Freud, is mentioned as,

“Surfaces upon which visual images are captured appear to act as windows on the past, through which one clearly sees and recognises a view of a person or place. Intact images such as these can bring an instant recognition of a sense of place or person, the ‘punctum’ of Roland Barthes’ ‘Camera Lucida’ [1], whereas others are viewed through the veil of time that here and there has erased parts perhaps from both memory and image. That veil is like a child’s plaything, the magic slate or, as Sigmund Freud called it, the ‘mystic writing pad’ [2]. A mystic writing pad, like a blackboard or slate, acts as a palimpsest. The pad’s transparent celluloid surface, upon which impressions are made, covers a layer of waxed paper over a wax base and text or images impressed upon it are transferred to the wax base below. What is inscribed can be erased by one sweep across the surface, wiped clean for reuse. However, although the impression appears to disappear when the band is drawn over the surface, it is in fact retained deep within the wax and is visible under certain conditions.

The pad still retains a trace; although all images and text appear to have been erased, some vestige of what was there before remains, a semblance of the past. Such are the images and text presented here, preserved in the layers, one behind the other. Each acts as a link to the other and creates its own narrative in the mind of the viewer. Together they begin to tell a story of another time and place and of an absent presence.

Linda Scott 2004″


Galpin’s research is great background for my project as i’m looking further into the layering of my work. The different replications and history it holds. What it could be depending of its background or environment around the pieces, connection to Cwy Twomby with a messy background and markings.

This can also be taking/stripping away important features that turn the piece into a completely different object such as Aziz & Cutchers Dystopia;


The most important aspect is immersing myself in the work. As Natasha is pushing us to do in the field, to become much more immersive and to throw our selves into the deep end and outside the box we enclose our selves in so much of the time. I really hope to get the opportunity to work in the dark room to photogram my work and to layer, erase, deconstruct, reconstruct and produce new pieces through repetition, connecting to Idris Khan.



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