Compositional structures in mural design : towards a site-specific deconstructive mural methodology
AuthorsAbdelrahman, Akmal H.H.
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AbstractMurals have been the formal visual interpretation of the cultural, social and political life of all ages. Throughout they have been consistently combined with their architectural setting, for example, in ancient Egyptian tombs, in Renaissance churches and on the external walls of buildings in Mexico in the twentieth century. This is a central feature of mural painting. However many contemporary murals do not integrate with their architectural settings, in other words, do not fulfil the site-specificity of the architectural spaces for which they were made. This means that the most important aspect that distinguishes murals from other types of painting is absent. I studied and analysed a number of murals produced in the Italian Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo as this particular period is considered to be not only one of the most significant in the history of art but also a period in which painting and architecture were very closely allied as practices. In particular the radical developments in painting of pictorial space took place along side the developments in architecture. I argue that Renaissance murals could be described, using the terminology of contemporary art, as site-specific art. By identifying the relationship between pictorial space, architectural space and compositional structure I was able to test, through my own practice, the importance of these relationships in understanding the site-specificity of the compositional structure of murals. To address the issue of sitespecificity in murals, I investigated and developed a set of compositional structures through my mural practice that could be applied in the design, execution, and teaching of contemporary mural design. I have developed the notion of a deconstructive method of mural design in which the illusory space of the mural derives its compositional structure from the architectural space in which it sited. I have applied it, tested it and refined it through the execution of a number of hypothetical and live mural commissions. I believe that the approach to the study and practice of mural design I have developed from the perspective of a practice lead researcher contributes to the furtherance of mural design as both a profession and field of study. In particular the identification of compositional structures in mural design and the proposal of a deconstructive method contributes to our understanding of what a mural is as well as current notions of site-specificity in contemporary art.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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