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Two Parts Invention – Written Painting by Peter Ablinger

129 x 400,5 cm

32 photos, 30 x 45 cm, each



Written Painting by PETER ABLINGER


32 photos



For the series WRITTEN PAINTINGS of Martinho Dias one needs:

- 1 camera which is to be used manually and preferably with an established time of exposure (e.g., 4 to 20 seconds).

(maybe better: “establish-able” time of exposure – means, that you can choose the time and fix it)

- 1 roll of film of 32 Photos (min.), not very sensitive to light (e.g., 100 ASA or less)

- 2 rectangular plaques of card, with the dimensions of a postcard (10 x 15 cm), one red and one black, both bright less (no reflections)

- 1 white wall, with at least 3m high and 4m of width

Lighting (eventually also natural and thin lighting).

(better probably: thin natural light, or: damped natural light)

Short description

Each rectangle will be photographed from 16 different distances with a camera in motion and with a long time of exposure (photo 1-16 red, photo 17-32 black).


The 32 photos will be directly placed (unframed) on the exhibition wall, according to the described order.


The 32 photos result in the piece “Two Part Invention”, whose interpreter is the photographer.

Detailed Instruction (Score)

The motif

Firstly, the red card will be placed in the middle of the white wall, transversally, at the height of the eye level (there should be at least 190 cm of white wall to both right and left; there should be at least free 130 cm upwards and downwards)

(maybe: “transvers - rectangular”: means, that the longer sides of the postcard – the rectangle – are above and below, while the small sides are left and right)


16 distances

Each card should be photographed 16 times from different distances. It will not be used neither zoom nor a distant angle (about 45 mm).

The largest distance will be of 2 m, the shortest about 27 cm. The shortest distance should be measured in such a way, so that with the camera still and with the centered card, the outline of the photo and the card almost coincide: there should be few millimeters of a narrow margin (white wall) left. The biggest distance should be chosen in such a way, so that the motif forms about 1/30 of the outline of the photo; therefore, the length side would have about 5,5 times of space side to side (the width side would have 5,5 times of space, one over the other).


The 16 stages between the most distant photograph and the nearest should be chosen in such a way, so that the difference from one image to the next is equally significant. Therefore, the first step (the difference in distance from photo 1 to 2 and 17 to 18, starting with about 2m), should be plainly bigger (about one foot) than the last one (the difference in distance from photo 15 to 16 and 31 to 32 is only of 1 cm). The steps are becoming shorter and shorter.


Focus, diaphragm, time of shutter (or exposure)

The focus should be settled in a way, so that (with the camera still) only the most remote image (1 and 17, respectively) would be focused. The focus should be established and should remain unaltered.


The diaphragm and time of shutter should be settled according to the disposable light. The time of shutter should be of minimum 4 seconds. Therefore, one needs an indirect, weak and homogeneous light (with no reflections in none of the 16 positions!) and one roll film less sensitive to light (100 ASA or less). The measuring of light should be made from a middle distance – e.g 90 cm – and onto the corner of the red postcard, so to measure the red AND the white.) When a value for the diaphragm and time of shutter has been found, it will not be changed any more (such as the focus), for all 32 photos.


The “agitated” camera

During the time of shutter (min. 4 seconds), the camera will be permanently agitated, vertically or horizontally. In the vertical oscillations, the opening of the lens alternates up and down; in the horizontal oscillations, right and left. The center of the camera remains in the same place.


The center of the camera would be a hinge: at the vertical movement the camera is “nodding”, - by no means the whole camera is moved up and down; at the horizontal movement the camera is to be turned, and not moved to left and right as a whole.)

(((in other words: vertical movement is like “yes”; horizontal movement like “no”)))


The oscillation degree depends on the distance from the card. In photos 1 and 17, the oscillation will be strong, in photos 16 and 32, slight. The oscillation movement should be conducted exactly until the corner of the card touches the margin of the photo outline in the display (the upward movement will develop itself until the inferior corner of the card touches the inferior margin of the photo outline; the downward movement reaches the contact of the superior corner of the card with the superior margin of the outline; etc.)


This movement will be performed several times in the available time of shutter: half of the time, it will swing vertically; the second half, horizontally.


The camera should never be stopped, as long as the shutter is open!


When you pull the trigger, the movement has already been started!


In both swinging movements, the card should be kept as centered as possible (centered horizontally in vertical oscillations and vice versa). This movement needs some training, so that the deviation of the horizontal and vertical axis, respectively, is not too evident.


Nevertheless, every photograph should be done by hand and without tripod; inevitable deviations are parts of the composition.


When all the arrangements have been made, the photos will be taken one after the other. After the first sixteen photos the red rectangle will be replaced by the black one and this, without changing the focus, (and the other adjustments), will be photographed 16 times equally.


We must keep in mind that the 32 photos belong to the same roll film; this way, the change of roll film will not be necessary. No isolated picture should be corrected afterwards; only the set of the 32 photos can be repeated, if the result is not satisfactory.



It is important to notice that in the development of photos (bright!) all of them get the same tone, specially because there is no big difference between the tint of photo 1 and 16 ( 17 and 32) and also because one does not distinguish the tint of the wall of the 16 red photos from that of the 16 black photos.



The format of a single photograph in any case keeps always the relation 2 (height) for 3 (width). The measure depends on the exhibition room: the ideal was that the 32 photos fulfilled the wall. If the single picture is 30x45 cm large, the general format (- in the respective order; see below) will be of about 400,5 cm of width and 129 cm of height.


The sequence and place (hanging)

The photos should be placed unframed in the exhibition wall, in the following order (all the rectangles placed transversally, as they were taken):



 7       8      9    10                                26   25   24   23

 6     15    16    11                                27   32   31   22

 5     14    13    12                                28   29   30   21

 4       3      2      1                                17   18   19   20



Between each photo is left some free space (wall). The width of that space is 1/10 of the width of each photo (for a measure of 30 x 45 cm, the width of the space is 3 cm).


Between the left block (red) and the right (black) there is a free and broad gap. The width of that gap is 1⁄2 of the width of each photo (for a measure of a photograph of

30 x 45 cm, the gap is of 22,5 cm).



Peter Ablinger

Berlin, 8.7.2003

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