Niki Hare: Hi Jane,
I really like this piece and admire the execution. Flags frighten me a bit, just all the things that lead on. I guess that is just something of my past and where I come from. This is a very open flag that implies something neutral.
Jane Boyer: Hi Niki,
Thanks very much for your comment! I know what you mean, flags kind of scare me too. When I painted this I had recently moved to Europe and was feeling very anxious about being American. I was thinking a lot about Jasper John's iconic handling of the American Flag. For me, my Flag is an anti-flag. It is neither symbolic, except of its own void, nor is it a call to action or allegiance, though there is a great deal of activity in it and it presents a clear distinction between right and left. I think it may be because these very things are brought to the fore in the work, that I think of it as an anti-flag. It shows all the things that flags actually do, without offering any symbolism which activates so much tension and conflict in their presence. Flags are simulacra, representing nations, values, and cultures. They stand in as an immediately recognizable symbol of all the history and actions a nation has undertaken. To present an anti-flag is to strip bare the simulacrum, undermine it, and induce its recurrence as something devoid of power when stripped of its symbolism. It turns the simulacrum into a simulacrum of itself, which is the ultimate destiny for any simulacrum. Simulacra never die, they just perpetually fold and consume themselves.
I should mention, an example of this is Enigma Wall, which is uploaded in my profile. It is a hyper-replication of Flag and it exemplifies this idea of perpetual folding of the simulacrum.
Thanks again for your comment. That is probably more than you ever wanted to know about simulacra!
Niki Hare: Thanks Jane!
You have both confirmed everything I was finding in Flag, and also strengthening my understanding of simulacra. Very helpful indeed ;-) Especially looking at your piece Enigma Wall now, the idea of this perpetual folding, nothing ever really goes away. I am thinking now of Richter's stripes, they were born of other paintings, so they were the other paintings, only in a different format, folded.
I am also thinking of a vast installation I made of a folded paper mountain last year, one of the things that fascinated me in it's process was the repetitive enlargement of my original image, and the changes that occurred in that process. My original image was less than A4 and was eventually printed out to over 160 sheets of A0, my process was rubbish, just a real bodge job of printing, enlarging and rephotographing by section, and reprinting and enlarging. However, little things started to happen with each reproduction, little dust motes and flecks of graphite would appear and then be enlarged to become significant features, there would be stripes of sunlight and shadows that weren't there before. It was an inefficient process but I loved it for all these flaws.
Jane Boyer: Thanks Niki, that's good to hear. Your installation sounds fascinating! Yes, all the flaws, imperfections, and crudities that get magnified are exactly what makes the reprographic process so magical. I love reprography, and have some of that in my profile too, in the Versions series! I hope to do more of that soon. All the things you mention in your comment are things that will apply to PHANTOM, in regard to translating your paintings into new works, so good luck and happy folding - in whatever form that might take! I can't wait to see what you come up with...