The Creative Ejaculate

Colour Me Dead - Chapter 12

The Creative Ejaculate - excerpt (compilation onto single-screen) 2' 34", silent - © 2015

Background

The Creative Ejaculate is the 12th production in the 18-part series of films, animations and prints collectively titled Colour Me Dead. All the productions in this project are based on research which is forming the basis for the in-development book Colour Me Dead: Art, Sex & Psychos.

The Creative Ejaculate is a suite of 12 digital animations which simulate the creation of abstract paintings famous for their splattered canvases and sloppy surfaces. Inverting the implicit fertile liquidity of artists who equated their creative energy and life force with symbolic expulsions of all forms of wet stuff, the animations literally redraw the artworks as if they were made of ejaculate. Strands, blobs and drips of white are flicked, spurted and tasselled from off-frame to land on a black void, simulating white gloop landing on a prostrate canvas. Part forensic re-enactment, part ‘artist’s visualisation’ of the act, the animations conclude by forming into the precise shapes and globules of key artworks from the splattery realms of seminal Abstract Expressionist works and their offspring in gestural painting and performance art.

The installation of The Creative Ejaculate features 4 rows of 3 flat-screens, rigged together and suspended from the ceiling to make a single large-scale screen. All 12 animations loop silently, non-synchronised. A large sheet of black plastic containing white paint splatters lies directly underneath the 12-screen frame.

Credits

Animation - Philip Brophy

The Creative Ejaculate - No.4 © 2015

Overview

All art is mocked in its day, but maybe none so much as Abstract Expressionism. Counter to the movement’s grand scheme to render the cosmological in the infinitesimal grain of painting’s frozen fluidity, general audiences baulked at the apparent lack of representational rigour and illustrative purpose. The once-cherished poetry of the child and its innocent mark-making was commandeered by Ab-Ex artists intent on levering abstraction onto a plane unto itself, wherein viewers could be immersed in a sensate world of pure painterliness. Yet many just saw childish doodling. This resulted in a Pyrrhic victory for Abstract Expression: the return to uncoded pre-linguistic painterly utterance was recognised but not congratulated for succeeding in this aim. The heroic chauvinism of Ab-Ex painters soon became an essential cliché of how megalomaniacal they could be with their self-important gestures of splattering paint everywhere like symphony conductors on speed.

It’s not a stretch, then, to consider the sexual implications of such uninhibited performances of subconscious febrility. If art is the ultimate sublimation of god-like creation by re-performing biological procreative tasks as momentous mythical actions, then surely all that wet paint has to be symbolic ejaculate. And as vulgar or dismissive as that might seem, it’s hard to ignore how the extreme periphery of Modernist art kept returning to essentialist performative actions involving liquid projectiles painterly and bodily, colliding with canvases hung and strung, drawn and quartered, prostrated and rotated. The Creative Ejaculate is the pool of these manoeuvres.

The Creative Ejaculate - No.1 © 2015

Technical

Production

Having selected a range of paintings bursting with splattery painterly energy, scrutinizing their massive complexity and chaotic markings proved a daunting task. Each painting required not only a complete breakdown of brushwork into discrete actions and events, but also a temporal imagining of which brushstroke and splatter came before the other. Consequently, a set of 15 action scripts were devised, each uniquely deconstructing the brush splatters into a set of components and layers. Then each component was actuated through 3 temporal phases: Emergence (how and where the paint comes from); Occurrence (how and when the paint impacts the canvas); and After Effects (how the paint sets onto the canvas).

Some animations are dribbles (Jackson Pollock and Bernard Requichot); some are scrawls (Wols and Cy Twombly); some are drips (Niki de Saint Phalle and Anna Mendietta); some are gloops (Lynda Benglis and Ceasar); some are splatters (Hermann Nitsch and Andy Warhol); and some are straight-out ejaculations (Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon).

Of course a truly definitive analysis is not forwarded: the cartoony splatters of white ultimately parody the original paintings’ dense materiality and textural richness. Yet they nonetheless actuate the sexual dynamics peculiar to the vulgar extremities of so-called expressionist compulsion. The animations ‘literally bring to life’ the mysterious origins of the mark-making, child-scrawling and pre-langue babbling so cherished of Abstract Expressionism and its brethren. Accordingly, half of the artworks referenced critique, re-invent, restage and even 're-gender' the original explosiveness of Pollock et al. But The Creative Ejaculate never loses sight of the base impulse which propelled so much of this art.

The Creative Ejaculate - No.10 © 2015

Action Scripts

Jackson Pollock - Summertime No.9A

Components/Layers: 1. grey strokes; 2. black strokes; 3. yellow/blue patches; 4. tan swirls
Emergence: 1-4. large off screen - various angles
Occurrence: 1-4. fast spat onto screen
After Effects A: 1-4. slow slight shrivel into brush stroke
After Effects B: 1-4. spatters after each splat

Wols - The Great Orgasm

Components/Layers: 1. large grey strokes/splats; 2. red/green/brown smears; 3. black flicks/splats; 4. scratches
Emergence: 1-4. small on screen
Occurrence: 1. fast blob-out on screen; 2. fast smears across screen; 3+4. fast blob-out on screen
After Effects A: 1-4. slow reconfigure into brush mark
After Effects B: 1. spatters after each move

Bernard Requichot - Untitled

Components/Layers: 1. smeared patches; 2. thick squidge lines; 3. paint trails
Emergence: 1. small on screen; 2+3. small squiggling on screen various angles
Occurrence: 1. fast wipe on screen 2+3. fast spat onto screen
After Effects A: 1. select occasional throbbing
After Effects B: 1+3. spatters after each splat

Yves Klein - Anthropomotrie

Components/Layers: body smudges
Emergence: small on screen
Occurrence: slow smears across screen
After Effects: dynamic splatters with each smudg

Niki de Saint Phalle - Shooting Picture

Components/Layers: 1. initial squib bursts; 2. misc squib drips
Emergence: 1. dot on screen; 2. small on screen
Occurrence: 1. explosion fast
After Effects A: 1. contraction slow to still
After Effects B: 2. drops gathered at bottom

Cy Twombly - Nine Discourses

Components/Layers: 1. blob/mess right; 2. blob/mess left
Emergence: 1+2. medium on screen
Occurrence: 1+2. general blob area fast & continual
After Effects A: 1+2. vertical smear slow to still vertical splats still
After Effects B: 1+2. small spots around blob

Lynda Benglis - Come

Components/Layers: 1. central form
Emergence: 1. large off screen
Occurrence: 1. fast spat onto screen
After Effects: 1. slight droop slow to still

Cesar - Expansion No.4

Components/Layers: 1. central form
Emergence: 1. small on screen
Occurrence: 1. expansion slow

Andy Warhol - Oxidization Painting

Components/Layers: 1+2. large spots; 3. small drips
Emergence: 1+2. small off screen; 3. large off screen
Occurrence: 1. stream fast & continual; 2. expansion slow; 3. enlarge fast
After Effects A: 2. retraction slow to still
After Effects B: 1-3. spatters continually

Anna Mendietta - Body Tracks

Components/Layers: 1+2. hand prints
Emergence: 1. small on screen; 2. large on screen
Occurrence: 1. hand shape fast; 2. smears slow

Hermann Nitsch - Splatter Painting

Components/Layers: 1-4. various splatters
Emergence: 1-4. large on screen
Occurrence: 1-4. splay-out fast
After Effects: 1-4. splatters above and below

Francis Bacon - Jet Of Water

Components/Layers: 1. emission
Emergence: 1. small below screen
Occurrence: 1. continual jet onto screen
After Effects A: 1. wither & shrink slow
After Effects B: 1. spatters & drips continually

The Creative Ejaculate - No.12 © 2015