More trials for PLACE

I wanted to do an acetate transfer of an A3-sized printout of my diptychs onto tracing paper and then pierce holes into the paper. How it works is that you put the printed side of a laser printed/photocopied image onto the surface, then transfer the image by filling in the back of the printed areas using a Chartpak blender marker (not sure if it’s sold in Singapore). However, the marker that I had both ran out of ink (if you can call clear liquid “ink”) and was making the image run.

So what emerged was something that was actually quite interesting and organic, that actually visually resembled decaying paint/algae growing on walls. I could transfer several layers of these images to create a more layered pattern. I took a few different sized needles and pierced the empty areas in an abstract manner, following the contours that the ink had created.

Close-up, front

Close-up, back

Some issues with my initial ideas for installation emerged. If this was simply lit from the back, the pierced holes would lose it’s texture and the white colour that contrasts with the dark ink. But if it was overlapped with a dark surface, it would lose an ethereal feel.

Dark surface, front

Dark surface, back

Against the sky ("backlit"), front

Against the sky ("backlit"), back

Trying to compare "backlit" and if I had images underneath the paper that could be seen through the holes

Trying it against the surface of my lamp, front

Trying it against the surface of my lamp, back

I also realised that the textures of the “back” of the holes (i.e. the side opposite to the direction that I pierced the holes) was much more interesting texturally because of the ridges that were formed as a result of the paper being pushed aside. It might be an option for the viewer to be allowed to touch it gently.

I think I will also be considering forming some kind of pattern on the windows (if I still end up using them) and then using these pierced sheets on the grilles, which are a distance away from the window pane. My next experiment might be to play with black thread behind the tracing paper.

I don’t think I made all of my ideas clear visually so I’ll continue doing blog posts as I develop my work.


  1. yen

    actually now that i take a closer look (since it appears on your header), the holes are so intriguing because at first glance they seem like bubbles, but then one realises they are really the opposite of that – they are absence, not presence.

    • Berny

      wah so cheem sia. hahaha. yeah that’s something that i thought about and that i wrote about in my previous post. i’m thinking about that tension between creation and destruction, and how it manifests in the act of creating the image through destroying the paper, i.e. both an absence and presence of the image.

  2. zixin


  3. jia

    i love how it resembles a chinese painting in format and hue..and is not just that. tracing paper is very sexy, its grey and crunchy. also the holes remind me of how the Old masters transferred their cartoons onto the final surface – fresco, canvas, and were also how drawings were ‘taken’ by the printmaker (Raphael by Marcantonio Raimondi) – pricking the drawing and pouring powdered pencil through the holes. [i could also then go on to describe the tracing paper as liminal space but will restrain myself]

    i look forward to tiles and tiles of these in shades and shades of faded _s

    • Berny

      thanks for the constructive comments! and also for teaching me the word “liminal” – i think this work will be as much about processes in general as it is about textures/layers. the very labour-intensive piercing, the use of tracing paper, the experimentation with new techniques and the happy accidents that arise from it…

      yes, this project is definitely turning out quite “asian”. i’m very inspired by the work of shioyasu tomoko, and i think i will end up doing a long sheet suspended from the ceiling, quite like this:

      so it won’t quite be tiles and tiles but hopefully there will be shades. this is one of those works that, perhaps ironically, will become more ethereal the bigger it is. i’m interested to know how it appears in your mind in terms of installation based on these images though!

      • Berny

        (i just accidentally deleted an entire comment waxing lyrical about the word “liminal”, so here are all the remnants that i can recall)

        considering the term as referring to a space in between, it definitely relates to my basic concept of achieving tension between the concepts of creation and destruction. i am seeking to explore ambiguities in this piece, particularly within dichotomies, although this hardly seems obvious now at this more abstract stage. i’m hoping that this piece will turn out quiet, yet powerful.

        maybe i’ll call this work “liminal space” 🙂

      • jia

        hello! sorry, i had my last exam of term today and therefore the slight delay 😛

        with regards to the naming of your work, i wouldn’t want to put any kind of constraints on it by reducing it to this ‘liminal space’ but this could just be me post-8-art-history-papers talking..i think liminal space is something that is embodied by the work, but does not constitute all its potential meanings.

        oh my word, shioyasu’s work is fantatstic! yes, i must say that chinese work in particular is especially elegant, handsome and effective when exhibited in its vertical/horizontal formats. thats why my initial brainwave to have your work in a twist (think one single genetic spiral spanning from ceiling to floor) might come across as crude and rather literal. i guess it would be good to think about the viewer’s position: his/her eye greets your work first: what is that first impression/form/scale that you would like to create? and is there more you’d like to offer upon closer proximity?

        with regards to installation, yes, what is the space like? tiles of course, offer a cute and curio like feel to the presentation.

        i would think that lighting is the key. i would imagine that good daylight would suffice in a bright and airy space. if the exhibition continues into the evening however, i envision that raking light – a fancy word used by conservators to describe strong light coming in from the side that illuminates peinture – might create more interest in the texture of the work, aside from the inherent translucency. this is built on the assumption that the punctures have created a raised texture on the paper.

        from a practical point of view of course, this may involve additional cost in the form of electricity, but ikea does have some energy saving lightbulbs..

        and not to denounce conservators altogether, there has been talk of using raking light to authenticate van gogh paintings..

        seems like my diet coke isnt light on the caffeine! woohoopaz.

      • Berny

        i think i’m leaning a lot towards shioyasu’s format for that work, just not as long, and only one instead of three. i’m thinking of displaying it directly in front of a window, but i’ll have to test it out to see if it is the best way to illuminate the texture on the back (which is raised, yes). it’ll be on the second floor of a shophouse and hopefully when the viewer comes up the stairs that is the first thing that they’ll see – or, actually, if they only realise it’s existence after a while, it might work too.

        thanks a lot for your comments, really appreciate it!

  4. jia

    no, thank you, it was me pleasure!

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