The handbag as social idiom and carrier of meaning : inner self projected as outer person

Nel, Nanette Marguerite (2009-03)

Thesis (MA (VA)(Visual Arts))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The purpose of the thesis is to contextualise my art works in theoretical terms. As counterpart to my art practice and consistent with its subject matter, the thesis deals with the handbag as subject and investigates the formation of an idiomatic, metaphorical or symbolic visual language that emerges in my handbag Collections. The thesis traces how such language pertains to social, cultural and personal history as sources of its conception to also serve as foundation for the conception of my art works. Its central questions are formulated around ‘how’, thus investigating the formative, the developmental and the process. Its thinking is relativist, embracing the belief that no option is absolute, but rather as susceptible to change as it is open to interpretation. As events of change and change inducing events, developmental processes are posed in a framework of generative structuralism that comprises the internalisation of externalities and the externalisation of internalities. As such it structures an attempt to define the genesis of my aesthetic idiolect in and from a cultural context. The thesis therefore posits its secondary aims as investigative rather than determinist of how social and cultural context informs my art-making processes and how generation and development occur in my art-making processes in order to determine how these factors contribute to a personal voice becoming evident in my work. My art practice and art works serve as primary sources of information and the thesis partially serves as a process of textual re-articulation of my own art-making practices to reveal the relationships between habitus as generative structure, enaction of identity and aesthetic idiolect.

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