Student Work

  • Fine Arts (MFA)

    Flynn Linehan

    Formlessness, Deformity, and The Uncanny: Processes of Defamiliarization

    “The informe would thus specify a certain power that forms have to deform themselves constantly, to pass quickly from the like to the unlike.” - Georges Didi-HubermanIn a series of eight digital C-prints, I have explored concepts of formlessness, monstrosity and deformation through the manipulation of a selection of latex Monster masks. This process began as a physical printmaking process, in which latex Halloween masks were pushed though a printing press. I was interested in pushing bodily forms to the limits of representation until they were reduced to pattern and texture. In continuing my investigation of these forms, I began to move into the realm of digital manipulation. The prints generated through the manual printing process were scanned, and could then be digitally altered to achieve further distance from their original source. I was struck by the uncanny effect of this digitization, especially in the way recognizable imagery was juxtaposed with the abstract and unformed.In these pieces, the formless is exercised in the smudges and traces of what were once sensible objects; they come together as an operation of deformation and disfiguration, much in the sense that Georges Didi-Huberman speaks about the formless in his text, “La Resemblance Informe, ou le gai savoir visuel selon Georges Bataille.” There is, of course, the question of whether the formless is dependent on the formed (derived from or extracted from the bound or formed) or if it precedes form entirely. Are these traces the moments where forms fall apart, or are the solid forms we trust just an assortment of fragile traces? Is my work a fetishization of the formless, and am I caught in a trap of resemblance? Or, is it that any encounter with the formless and the unknowable must be aestheticized and fetishized in order to be represented?