All there is at the end is theory, art having finally become vaporized in a dazzle of pure thought about itself, and remaining, as it were, solely as the object of its own theoretical consciousness.
The End of Art, Arthur Danto, 1984
Although reminiscent of Arthur Danto’s well known essay, this series does not seek to ‘end’ art, rather to investigate the disintegration of meaning left behind by postmodernism. Challenging conventions about the nature of canvas, object and depiction, the Diagnostic Paintings bear witness to a process of deconstructing art, like a crime scene investigation. The subject of this series is an analysis of the paintings in itself. As a result, the meaning and nature of these paintings are layered multiple times over itself, both affirming and questioning their identity.
The vast majority of the visual language that we take in every day is nowadays mainly broadcast via the screen. As in this virtual exhibition, contemporary art is increasingly viewed via screens, on applications such as Instagram and websites, and no longer on location. The material appearance of the artwork is, as it were, converted into a weightless, virtual world. Texture, tactility, substance, and mass are thus given a subordinate place and the work of art becomes an exclusively readable image, greatly reducing the empirical, sensory experience.
The Diagnostic Paintings harbour a hybrid visual language in which the sensibility of the digital – iPad drawing applications, the diagram, and the use of light and color – are translated analogously. To create a transparent, ‘illuminating’ background the artist implements techniques that the 17th century painters in Western Europe used to create luminous elements, techniques in which light seems to resonate from within the canvas. In the Diagnostic Paintings these techniques create a background in which color resonates as light through the layers of white and forms – as in an analogy – a comparable effect with the backlight of digital screens.