Liberated Perception and Reverse Perspective in Painting. Jack Azor

  • Research Unit: Image
  • Research Group: Art & Argument

Over the last centuries, different perceptual schemas have been used across different cultures and in different civilizations to interpret spacial arrangements and also to record the illusion of depth and distance on flat surfaces. For instance, profile and frontal representation has been profound in ancient Egyptian art and in cave drawings across the globe. Also, reverse perspective has been the primary schema used in Europe during the middle ages. Today this schema is still paramountly used across Asia . Focusing on Africa, spacial experiences have been translated into symbolic elements which are either painted, printed or engraved on walls or directly on the human body. Meanwhile it is evident that any chosen perceptual schema used for spacial representation strongly influences and defines the perception of society and its development.

Since the 15th century, the schema of linear perspective has been used in the west to define and interpret space. The schema being considered as the most accurate system of spacial perception and representation has assumed a dominant position in contemporary society not only in the west but also in those countries where western domination has been severe. For instance today in Ghana’s art and architectural institutes, western linear perspective has been considered as the only “correct” schema through which space can be perceived, interpreted and represented. This ideology I believe is and has been a strong impact on the development of Ghana both socially and politically. Meanwhile studying the arts from other civilized societies like Japan, space has been and is still perceived and represented through other schemas like reverse perspective. This, I believe has been the influence for the uniqueness of such societies both politically and socially.

It is an objective of this research to study the strong relation between perception and the interpretation of space via visual schemas and how this impact society and its development. Also by experimentation through the tools of painting and drawing diverse visual schemas and there implication on perception is researched. Finally, the result of the study will be implemented for the planning and building of a selected settlement of seven families in the volta region of Ghana using only local materials. The aim is to promote the liberation of perception in Ghana and the whole continent of Africa.

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