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Richard Zeiss

MPhil work

Moments of Pure Materiality in Painting

Michael Fried once said 'The materials do not represent, signify, or allude to anything; they are what they are and nothing more.' My interest here is twofold: how barren of referents can material vision become? And how and where can the viewing subject be kept close to the threshold where material vision turns into phenomenal vision? Paul de Man, re-reading Kant’s Third Critique, suggests the notion of pure material vision – a kind of vision that exists before phenomenality 'occurs'; however, he comes from the text. How does this relate to painting, and can it relate at all?

The materials I use such as tarpaulin or egg tempera may ultimately cancel each other out, with their individual phenomenal character breaking down into non-relational materiality, where tarpaulin is just a polyethylene surface with no external referents.


  • MPhil


    School of Humanities


    Painting, 2013–2015

  • Degrees

  • MSc Finance, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, 1993; MBA General Management & Social Studies, IESE Barcelona, 1999; Academy Certificate, Fine Art, Freie Kunstakademie Rhein/Ruhr, 2003; MA Fine Art, Byam Shaw at Central Saint Martins, 2006
  • Exhibitions

  • Re: SEARCH, Dyson Gallery, London, 2014; Dromology: The Logic of Speed, South Square Centre, Thornton, 2012/2013; Sequences, Galerie Asbæk, Copenhagen, 2012; Guangdong Reel, Da Wang Culture Highland, Shenzhen, 2011; 10/4, Galerie Asbæk, Copenhagen, 2011; Zurück zum Paradies, Wertfart / Kunst im Hafen e.V., Düsseldorf, 2011; The Speed of Light, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna, 2010/2011
  • Awards

  • LICC, London International Creative Competition Award, 2009; Sovereign European Art Prize 2006/07, Finalist, 2007