Imants Tillers uses elements of post modernism to recreate, appropriate the original painting and manages to make it a mystical experience. The motif is labelled ‘beacon’ after the fact that Tillers entitled one of the works in which he used the motif, The Beacon. The use of separate canvas boards is what gives this artwork a post-modern appearance. This juxtaposition involves a parodic play upon the provincialism issue. This is of significance because it indicates that some of Tillers’ most sophisticated articulations of authorial appropriation in his canvasboard project can be explained without recourse to the Marxian and poststructuralist analyses of postmodern appropriation developed by New York based theorists such as Benjamin Buchloh Buchloh , Hal Foster Foster , Rosalind Krauss Krauss , and Craig Owens Owens The Forming of Place Thus rather than being stereotyped as a typically antipodean ‘follower’ of an international style Tillers can be understood as having developed and elaborated his self-deconstructive strategy of authorial appropriation independently.

I just did it in sections. There appears to be a connection between Tillers’ turn to photomechanical reproduction as a metaphor for his notion of counter-rational parallel world and the two statements quoted above in which Tillers stages his problematising of authorship in the domain of photomechanical reproduction. The canvas boards were soon established as a highly efficient means of producing paintings on a monumental scale within a cramped studio space, and the process of assembling and de-assembling, stacking and unstacking, installing and de-installing became integral to the development of the canvas board system. The first indication that Untitled , , significantly informed Tillers’ approach to authorial appropriation occurred when he began using the work of the New Zealand artist Colin McCahon. A sense of balance is achieved between the stormy sky and the rugged mountain tops. Tillers became especially interested in McCahon’s evocations of divinity appropriating words such as ‘I’ and even more fortuitously for Imants Tillers ‘IT’.

Imants Tillers: This attempting to be That (1980)

However, in Tillers was informed that the Australian National Gallery had inadvertently disposed of the work which had been crated in the gallery’s archive. The background consists of a serene sunset sky, with a hint of an approaching storm in the top left corner.

In The Beacon, reproduced above, Tillers superimposes the beacon motif over an appropriation tillefs one of McCahon’s works and in so doing provides an indisputable connection between the beacon motif and Tillers’ appropriations of ‘I’ and ‘IT’ from McCahon.


imants tillers essay

Tillers makes the following observations on Untitled Once more he argues that the appropriated work ceases to appear to be that of another artist and seems to be his own.

As well as the enduring strands in Tillers’ theory and practice explored here there are other equally important threads. Untitled, was produced using the then cutting edge Neco reprographic technology. This work is extraordinary in that it consists of a small series of works that appear to be identical but which have different images painted underneath the surface image.

Imants Tillers | Art + Australia – Issue One ()

He experimented with charcoal, pencils, and oils, producing hundreds of images before he committed to paint. It is obvious that the gigantic ‘IT’ dominating The Bridge of Reversible Destiny can be read as a somewhat ostentatious statement of authorship on Tillers’ part.

The availability of such authorial and, or, identity motifs indicates a turning point for Tillers’ expression of his anti-anthropocentric position in his canvasboard project, An interesting notion in the context of authorial appropriation.

It is a bit like using your fingers. The shapes are irregular, yet the canvas-board system distorts the overall image to give a muted geometric feel. It has been noted that this statement reflects his observation on Untitledmade thirteen years earlier, when he suggests that via the Neco process it was possible to: Tillers has used warm colours in the landscape, reflected in the clouds.

The conclusion to this examination of Tillers’ deconstructive play with authorship in his canvasboard series,is that there is a great deal of evidence to show that Tillers assimilated the strategy of postmodern appropriation into his pre-postmodern theory and practice rather than vice versa.

Also the artwork references the old fashion analogue televisions, where the picture is made up of lots of little squares close up, like a dot matrix, but looks like a picture from further away. Tillers initially expressed his notion of a counter-rational parallel world via his rhetoric of mirroring alluded to above.

I just did it in sections.

Image ’16c’ is reproduced below. What is especially interesting about Untitledand the theory that surrounds it, is that its precocious and particular postmodernity can be shown to have influenced Tillers’ use esssay appropriation in the canvasboard works he produced during the ascendancy of international postmodern art in the s.


Artbrain » » Imants Tillers, Conversations with the Bride

Tillers’ Arakawean ‘I’ motif will be referred to here as the ‘beacon’, or beacon-‘I’ motif. For example, in his artist’s book Three Factspublished inTillers discusses Untitled in a manner that indicates he understood that the photomechanical reproduction of a photomechanically appropriated source led to a radical problematising of the issue of authorship.

The latter originated in Tillers’ theory and practice associated with Conversations with the Bride These underpaintings exist only as Polaroid photographs or photomechanical reproductions thereof. He stacks his canvas-boards as sculptural pieces, as well as displaying them as visual works. Another link can be added to the chain of connections between Tillers’ pre-canvasboard theory and practice of photomechanically mediated appropriation. Thus its physical existence is momentary in the manner of the hidden layers in Tillers’ One Painting, Cleaving series, In image ’16c’ Tillers uses arrow symbols such as ‘ ‘ which in the context of mathematics denote the process of mapping.

imants tillers essay

The relationship between Tillers’ theory and practice associated with Untitled and his canvasboard series is intimated when in Tillers observed that tlilers he had appropriated another artist’s work in his canvasboard works and then happened to see the original eessay in a magazine or book: Apropos Tillers’ expedition Scullion comments: Tillers saw a spiritual connection in the image of Mount Kosciusko, therefore, reproduced it with a slightly different meaning then the original romantic painting by von Guerard.

As in the quotation from Three Facts cited above Tillers points to a dislocation of authorship occurring in the domain of photomechanical reproduction. This juxtaposition involves a parodic play upon the provincialism issue. This work can be said to be a post-modern piece omants Tiller has utilised several techniques common to this style.

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