How About 'Exiconic Painting'?

On 15 January, I began a painting class and soon got my first assignment from Uwe, one of the four teachers: Based on a painting I brought with me (from Lichtenscheidt’s class), I was to create five more, making a series of six.

Since August, I have been writing words onto my backgrounds before painting over them. I also ordered a Cy Twombly book around that time that reinforced these efforts. In October, I saw the Louise Bourgeois exhibit at MoMa. (In one stitched textile work of 18 panels, there were two with text: “I had a flashback of something that never existed” and “The return of the repressed”; see And in November, I saw Anselm Kiefer’s Im Gewitter der Rosen ist die Nacht (In the Storm of Roses) 1945, at the Albertina in Vienna. Both of these utilized text in their works.

At the time, my mind was busy processing repeated memory flashes of hurtful events with my mother. So when Uwe gave me the assignment, I got the idea to capture the memory flashes with the assignment. First, I sat down and wrote the memory flashes. Then, I started painting.

As the series evolved, I was selecting different words from the text for each picture. Each group of words represented a different emotional aspect. In the text, these emotions were conflicting. In the paintings, I separated them. For example, “heavy blackness unrolls” is the darkest picture, while “Sunday, rock me in your arms” is the lightest.

I recently discovered ‘Ekphratic’ or ‘exphratic’ writing. (Here's as nice current example by Zadie Smith.) Wiki tells us:

Wiki_en: The word comes from the Greek ek and φράσις phrásis, 'out' and 'speak' respectively, and the verb ἐκφράζειν ekphrázein, "to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name". According to the Poetry Foundation, "an ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art."

Wiki_dt: Unter Ekphrase oder Ekphrasis versteht man die literarische Beschreibung eines Werks der bildenden Kunst. Im weiteren Sinne bezeichnet Ekphrasis eine literarische bzw. rhetorische Form, durch welche etwas sehr anschaulich und bildlich beschrieben oder geschildert wird. Der Grad der Anschaulichkeit unterscheidet die Ekphrasis vom sachlichen Bericht. Es handelt sich um eine literarische Visualisierungsstrategie: Die Ekphrase versucht, den „Zuhörer zum Zuschauer zu machen“ (so Nikolaus von Myra) und eine quasi synästhetische, ganzheitliche Erfahrung zu suggerieren. Sie steht damit im Spannungsfeld zwischen Betrachtung und Ästhetik.

As I try to understand what I have been doing with my ‘assignment’, why not turn ‘ekphratic’ around. Instead of writing about a work of art, why not art about the written word? Instead of words (phrasis) spoken out about a work of art, how about pictures (icons) coming out of text?

Like ‘exiconic’.

That's my 'Money Honey'.


P.S.: Found this quote by media artist Matthew Barney: "I have a way of making narrative sculpture, where first you make a text and out of that text you make objects. I start with a story and then I make sculpture from that story, it's just that the stories become more and more elaborate."