Kevin Champoux BFA Thesis Spring 2012
The Contours of a Possible Real: Toward a Poetics of Objects
I argue for a reality of objects as they exist beyond human perception. Paintings, as objects whose constitutive function is to be viewed and contemplated, can do the work of questioning our relationship to a whole world of objects. The goal of this paper is to form a trace around the imperceptible reality of a painting/object and to reveal the tension between our deep need to interpret objects, to assimilate them into our lives, and our inability to comprehend the vast complexities and obfuscating nature of objects that allow them to refuse us, or to meet us with their own demands, or to point always away and towards something else entirely.
The multifarious ways to engage paintings suggests a certain impossibility and a question: what do we do with paintings if not interpret them? I do not seek to answer this question here; rather, I suggest a shift in our relationship to paintings, from a hermeneutic and interpretive gesture to one of poetics, of cataloging form, and type. This shift is not without tension, its permanence possibly undesirable. But I hope to use it to explore the seemingly absurd notion of speaking of an object’s autonomy, of approaching, however cautiously, the Real Object.