Facial reconstruction

Search LJMU Research Online

Browse Repository | Browse E-Theses

A veiling of identity : anamorphosis as double vision in contemporary art practice

Cheetham, A (2012) A veiling of identity : anamorphosis as double vision in contemporary art practice. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

570729.pdf - Published Version

Download (12MB) | Preview


The thesis examines the trope of anamorphosis as a formal dimension of art practice and as a critical tool for exploring subjective vision. Anamorphosis is a technique of perspective that produces a distorted image that may only be corrected and made coherent when viewed from a specific angle. In order to re-form an oblique anamorph, it is necessary to view the image from a position that is markedly different from the conventional, frontal viewpoint. This process of eccentric viewing relies on the observer of the work to actively locate the viewing position that will re-form the image and confer meaning. The beholder of anamorphic images becomes aware of herself as a viewing subject and consequently, this act of viewing affirms the construction of vision as reflexive and self-critical. The thesis takes as its point of departure the claim of the influential art critic and theorist, Rosalind E. Krauss that the art practice of the German-American artist Eva Hesse, specifically the work, Contingent, 1969, represented a reinvention for its own time of an anamorphic condition through a mutual eclipse of form and matter. Krauss deploys the device of anamorphosis as a means of addressing the problematic of the relationship between the categories of painting and sculpture, and the debates into which Hesse's work intervened during the late 1960s. The thesis outlines the history of anamorphosis and its relation to geometric perspective from its genesis in the Renaissance to contemporary artists' engagement with anamorphic strategies of disruption. The psychoanalytical model of vision proposed by Jacques Lacan deploys anamorphosis as an exemplary structure in the elaboration of the gaze. The thesis discusses various dimensions of the anamorphic in art practice since 1970, with reference to works by Hannah Wilke, Richard Hamilton, Rachel Whiteread, Christine Borland and Shirazeh Houshiary.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: Screen School
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2017 10:59
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:30
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6127
View Item View Item