Apollonia Saintclar – L’archipel du plaisir [Liquid joy II] (2016)
During my undergrad stint, I flirted with layout and design..
There was something heady about pre-CS Photoshop image manipulation that appealed to me. I could take existing pictures and turn them into reasonably compelling posters for campus events.
I called what I did graphic design. And for the most part, I never said it loud enough or in the company of anyone who was a legit graphic designer until after I graduated.
But as I came into contact with folks who paid their bills doing design related stuff. I quickly learned that being able to layout out a flyer was only a fraction of what graphic design entailed.
Pros were always obsessed with the pedigree of typefaces, serifs vs sans serifs, integration of content and form.
Generally, I found such people intolerable. The work they made was thoroughly accomplished in a utilitarian sense but lacked passion and flair. (It would take me a full five years to realize that although I wasn’t really interested in graphic design, I am very interested in the underlying notions of UX/UI in regards to design.)
Anyway, I mention all that because two terms that design folks toss around a lot are ‘minimal’ and ‘clean lines’. And those are two terms I would use to describe Saintclar’s work.
As far as terminology goes: ‘minimal’ with ‘clean lines’ might as well be pointless in their ubiquity. However, given a visual context, they can be useful when it comes to orientation.
For example: Saintclar’s work always reminds me of Dürer. But it’s an association in negative–by that I mean, although Dürer’s work is maximal, he uses space and line in a very similar fashion to Saintclar.
Yet, what I also appreciate about Saintclar is that the artist uses lines in a surprisingly varied manner. They can imply shape, give form to negative space or–as above–emphasize dimenstionality.
What’s more: the framing is actually ingenious. A lesser artist would’ve inched the frame back enough to include the full swath of the messy on the floor. By allowing that to trail out of frame, the viewer is given a sense of continuity of space beyond the frame edge. Combined with the fact that the perspective is render in such a way so that vanishing point of the image is hidden behind the woman’s hand, it presents an image that is both erotically charged and artfully composed. (This is definitely not some #skinnyframebullshit due to its internally consistent use of composition and the fact that it is mindful of the fact that the viewer’s eye is meant to wander up and down instead of side to side.)