Considering Horizontality (through painting,
performance and language)
Consider drawing a horizontal line on a wall, then bend down and draw the same line on the floor. Although the intention is to convey the horizontal in such a way, both the process of doing this and the outcome illustrate a certain lacking in the lines' intended representation. The key awareness is of the body, it's positioning in relation to the lines and how we then perceive their presence in relation to us. The line on the floor is under the foot, to see it you must look down, viewing outside the prioritised frame of viewing the traditional canvas hanging on a wall at eye level. The simple task of drawing on the floor allows one to experience to reality of the horizontal, crouched on the floor, the intellect of the mind is lowered to meet with the ground and the ground's companion, the foot.
Whilst the horizontal line on the vertical wall now seems out of reach, above, it is removed from the literality of horizontality and speaks in the language of figurative representation, symbolizing the horizontal in relation to our perception cased in a postured verticality. Now consider throwing a tin of paint at that line on the wall. That split second of swaying the can towards the wall is the last element of control, as the paint crashes to the wall, dripping and splashing it gravitates towards the foot. Swallowing up the line on the floor, the volume of paint forms puddles around you. This is a quick process, like slipping over or sneezing it awakens you to realise there has been a realignment, both of movement and energy, a new awareness of the body hits you.
The paint covered feet now trudge around, the medium which was once considered to create representation or make a visual comment to you is now between your toes, like mud in a field or sand in a sandpit it has been reduced to something base and filthy.
This simple consideration allows a breaking down of how accessible different perceptions of horizontality and verticality can be. The process of painting can be used to show or exploit the qualities of formless and horizontality but has such an extreme history buried in the formal both the artist's and viewer's expectations are narrowed. Although measureless and indefinable, formless could be seen to be hiding within form, it sits on the sidelines as our preconceptions are unable to allow an alternative to seeing and our system of understanding tries to categorise everything. But instead, formless should be considered as the operation of exposing this process of categorisation.