Kings ARI Award.
BLINDNESS: A MODE OF ABSTRACTION
My practice harnesses my lived experience as a legally blind artist to explore and develop a pictorial language around perception itself. Conceptually, this project is concerned with destabilising the notion of blindness as one universal experience, as well as re-framing low vision as an alternative to, rather than disadvantage from, the sighted norm.
Through the layering of familiar and unfamiliar pictorial forms, my practice places the sighted viewer in a state of disturbed visual cognition, in which blindness is employed as a mode of abstraction. Intense contrasts of black and white, intercut with sharp scratches and smudges, create intentionally overwhelming imagery to express the overstimulation of my visual field. Here, visual comprehension is no longer an automotive process, rather a prolonged state of looking characterised by active intention. The work investigates the process of compartmentalising one’s surroundings and the specific ways in which images are formed in the brain. This project demonstrates blindness as a form of perception that can introduce, rather than reduce visual experience and, especially, one’s capacity for comprehending and appreciating such an experience.
Jana Papantoniou, ‘Two Figures Interwoven’, 2023 [installation view], 2.25 x 1.48m