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In the history of art up to now, I wonder if there have been any times where tools (art supplies) such as brushes, paints, and palettes, which were used to create works, were treated as artworks?


The intention here is not in the sense of instances such as when tools are incorporated as materials in art pieces, when tools, unused in creation like readymades, are treated as artworks, or when tools exist as objects within an installation space; it refers to cases where the tools (art supplies) directly used by artists in their art creation are treated as art pieces as is.


There's a human assumption that tools (art supplies) are used to create artworks, leading to a divide between artworks and tools. It is always the primary artwork that garners attention, while the art supplies always go unnoticed and meet their end.


You might say that tools are inherently like that, but is that truly the case? Who decided that?


Can there be an innovative expression down the road of following the common sense someone decided? I don't believe so. Because everyone already knows about that. If innovation means expressing something unknown to the viewer or presenting a new perspective they've never felt, then it can only exist outside of the norm.


In other words, if one can realize an expression where the tools (art supplies) take center stage and the artwork goes unnoticed, existing outside of the general common sense, then it could be said to be innovative.


Throughout art history, numerous artworks exist, but behind them all, lies the presence of tools. This means that art supplies are essential for artwork creation. They are inseparably tied together and can be said to hold equal value.


Additionally, along with the progression of time, expression has evolved, but behind this evolution lay the transformation of tools (art supplies). Examples include oil paints, tube paints, cameras, image editing software, 3D modeling software, and image generation AI. You can probably imagine how these tools (art supplies) have dictated the nature of artworks.


Taking these into consideration, it can be said that the vast majority of expressions throughout art history have been dictated in their nature by the tools (art supplies). In essence, what this means is that an expression that exceeds the scope of the tools (art supplies) cannot emerge.


This essentially means that the history of artworks is the history of tools (art supplies), and the history of tools (art supplies) is the history of artworks.


If this is the case, and one could use tools that have been employed throughout art history, capturing the expressions created by these tools on a single screen, wouldn't this piece be an accumulation of the history of art pieces?


Condensing art history into a single screen. It's about integrating the evolution of art from the past to the present into a single artwork, using art supplies from each era that can still be used today.


Oil paints, silkscreen, digital prints, among various other techniques, merge and are crystallized onto a canvas with a history that spans over 500 years. Within this canvas, the traces of past artists come together.


However, in this form of expression, the canvas is not the artwork. The artwork here is the tools (art supplies) used.


The essence of this expression lies in the relationship between the use of tools from each era and the single screen formed by them. On the canvas, traces representing the characteristics of each era will be left, but they will not be exhibited; only the art supplies used to form that screen will be exhibited.


And from those traces, viewers will come to imagine the history of art— such as the colors and shapes depicted on the canvas screen. In essence, what's visually presented are only the tools (art supplies) and the traces of their use; viewers can never see the accumulation of history depicted on the canvas.


Didn't I say that artworks and tools are inseparable? Without using those art supplies, that artwork cannot exist. In other words, by looking at an artwork, one can imagine the tools (art supplies) that were used to express it. Similarly, by looking at tools (art supplies), one can also imagine the artwork that was expressed using them, or so I believe.


For example, one expands their imagination from traces left by tools such as brushes, palettes, stencils cut out into specific shapes, and digital data on a computer, you see.


You might be curious about what is to be depicted, but in this piece, what is to be depicted isn't that important. Defining it would limit the freedom of imagination, so no specific details of the depiction are set.


In this artwork, the tools (art supplies) themselves hold the value as the artwork, while the expressive object that would normally be treated as the art piece becomes the tool to realize it. In other words, the relationship between the artwork and tools is reversed from typical artistic expressions.

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