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Research in/into painting discipline?

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posted on 01.03.2017, 00:53 by Rendall, Steven John
This PhD is formed through encounters between painting, writing and insecurity, as embodied by closed circuit television screens (CCTV). What once existed as convex security mirrors, requiring real time surveillance, have been transformed, via digital recording and flat-screen technologies, into an infinite array of fleeting images that are able to be stored for future viewing. These encounters are considered in relation to the existence of both CCTV screens and the position of painting as twenty-first century image-generating systems. As such, painting is considered in relation to the formal attributes and the insecurities embodied by these CCTV screens, resulting in the idea that the work should be considered a triptych of painting, writing and CCTV screens. The theme of insecurity is also played out through the writing about painting, as painting is translated for exegetical purposes. The question of how to proceed with a translation being foregrounded led to the problem of how to proceed as a painter who must produce exegetical writing on a project that is ostensibly about painting. Walter Benjamin and the translators of Derrida’s The Truth in Painting, Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod, demonstrate that the problem of translating is that there can be no perfect translation. This creates another sort of closed circuit and another form of insecurity in the work. This problem of translation flows through all components of the project: given that the paintings are partially based on snapshots of CCTV screens, they are translations of snapshots, which are themselves translations of CCTV screens. CCTV screens might be regarded as translations of the camera’s viewpoint. The writing then finds itself in the unfortunately dubious situation of being a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation. This cascade of translations informs and disrupts the exegetical component. Thus, the exegesis is used to consider the effect of translation as it plays out in different directions, but with close consideration of how the translation of painting into writing affects both painting and writing.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Euan Heng

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture