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Perception and expectation: You can perceive my paintings, but my paintings can't perceive you
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Improvisation is generally understood to mean something that is created by spontaneity. It may result in something unexpected or an unplanned act. In this work, I define improvisation more specifically as action which only comes from a degree of discipline. My interpretation is similar to notions of jazz improvisation in music. Generally, jazz music has a structure, such as harmony, codes, rhythm or beat, etc. Musicians improvise in relation to these structures. We can hear examples of standard classic jazz tunes that have been played and interpreted by many musicians over many years. This notion of improvisation as applied in my practice relates to interpretation of gaps between the ways I document my painting practice and the general expectation of the way audiences perceive my painting practice. My definition of ‘gap’ comes from my experiences of the ‘gaps’ between Eastern based culture and Western based culture. For example, my New Zealand friends usually do not take their shoes off when they visit my house. I have to ask them to take their shoes off. Because I am poor I have to sleep on the floor and I do not want to sleep with dirt. The other example is that when I invite friends to my house for dinner, my New Zealand friends usually stack my dinner plates for cleaning the table up. I cannot believe this every time I see it happening, because when they stack dinner plates, I have to wash my dinner plates both sides instead of washing just a single side. It gives me more work to do and I do not need this kind of grief. Similarities and differences between these two countries in terms of new language, new customs, new people and new ways of seeing allow me to create a ‘subtle twist’ about our perception and expectation. The artwork I have submitted is based on the idea of documenting creative practice. It explores how certain criteria or rules (structure) in relation to notions of improvisation and the documentation of painting practice question the performative aspects of painting. These performative aspects are related to ideas about whether ‘I am really working hard’ or whether ‘I am acting to appear as if I am not working hard’, which in turn tricks people into a new interpretation about the way I act and the way I present my idea of painting practice. I am interested in using the documentary genre to create a new work of art, which is not a documentary in the traditional sense. This exegesis intends in the main, to discuss the philosophical background and the methodological orientation of improvisation. It will also outline the specific criteria and rules, through which I have created a sense of everyday improvisational experience in the artwork.