Painting Scenographics

Rachel Hann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

16 Downloads (Pure)


My starting point for this essay is a simple premise: that paintings orient feelings of world. This follows the idea that paintings afford access to the feel of other places. Paintings connect different senses of world together. Paintings orient physically as well as emotionally. Accordingly, I ask can these place-orienting traits of paintings be understood as in some way “scenographic”? Silke Otto-Knapp’s paintings regularly take the stage environment as their subject. Notably, her 2017 exhibition at Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis) was titled “Bühnenbilder”, which is often translated as “stage designer.” Yet I suggest that Otto-Knapp’s paintings also evoke a quality of scenography, by which I mean the multiple methods used to evoke atmospheres of place in theatrical performances, such as set, light, sound, or costume. Silke Otto-Knapp’s paintings could be seen to represent stage environments. But at the same time, one could argue that, as with the stage environments they evoke, her paintings enact a feeling of place that others, complicates, and reveals normative orders of place. This is my starting point for proposing “painting scenographics.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSilke Otto-Knapp
Subtitle of host publicationIn the Waiting Room
EditorsSilke Otto-Knapp, Solveig Øvstebø
Place of PublicationChicago
PublisherThe Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780941548816
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2021

Cite this