Will Fowler | Notes on Looking

CRAFTWORK – Yunhee Min on play and paintings

How does paint become a painting? For those of us who are in pursuit of this peculiar convention, making painting that is, the answer quickly becomes idiosyncratic as it pertains to each’s particular ways. Naturally, this is when things start to get really interesting. Craft, more or less a pejorative word in high Modernist lexicon goes back deep in Western history. In Greek philosophy craft or art, techne, describes activities that engage in making, that is, actually producing a thing or an affect – from arts and farming to medicine among others. Posited as a sister force is episteme understood as knowledge attained by reflective, analytical and theoretical mental activities. While the subtle differences were spoken and pondered at length amongst the Greeks, the relationship between the practical knowledge by experience and abstract knowledge by analytical faculties is a complex symbiotic one rather than one of exclusivity or of pure dialectics. From early on Modernism had different factions throughout Europe- Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau, Constructivism, De Stijl, Neue Sachlichkeit, Wiener Werkstätt, Bauhaus, International Style to name a few. While one’s relationship to the world as well as to oneself was to go through radical fundamental changes in material, social, and psychical terms, much of the common goal for these different groups was to change the social conditions and environment, hence, better the individual through means of innovation/technology, science and aesthetics. For William Morris, hand-production signified quality and beauty of individuation. Accordingly, he rejected standardization by mass industrial production. Conversely, the aseptic regimes of Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier had great contempt for craft and viewed it as...