Negative Space – The Art of Pause

間 – This is “Ma” it is the Japanese symbol for “gap” “space” or “pause”I want to look at the utilisation of negative space, gaps and pauses.

So how are we thinking of the negative space in things. I found some poetic descriptions that fit quite nicely.

Thirty spokes meet in the hub,
though the space between them is the essence of the wheel.

Pots are formed from clay,
though the space inside them is the essence of the pot.

Walls with windows and doors form the house,
though the space within them is the essence of the house.

These poetic sayings, appear to be accessing the “soul’ and being of the objects. Im not sure I would be able to 3d model the soul..yet.

Ma is not something that is created by compositional elements; it is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements. Therefore ma can be defined as experiential place understood with emphasis on interval.

with this in mind. if i can create such a piece that embodies this. the user should find an enjoyment in viewing the piece. or at least leave with a little more.

I found some great images that could help.

Adolf Hitler was certainly not the smartest man. But he was one hell of a public speaker. Some identify that hitler was so good because of the pauses he took before he spoke. he built anticipation in the crowd.

There is negative space in music that can make it memorable to.

Henry Spencer Moore once said this in The Listener in 1937:

“The first hole made through a piece of stone is a revelation. The hole connects one side to the other, making it immediately more three-dimensional. A hole can itself have as much shape-meaning as a solid mass. Sculpture in air is possible, where the stone contains only the hole, which is the intended and considered form. The mystery of the hole – the mysterious fascination of caves in hillsides and cliffs.”



I am finding that these sculptures by Bruno Catalano hold negative space that connect one piece to another. its through shape and position that embody a shared experience of 2.




I find that in the opening titles for Hannibal the Tv series. the use of negative space is profound. And it adds to the ambiguity of what the show is really about. A rather beautiful interpretation of cannibals with wine turning into blood or even vice versa. not to mention the emphasis on what the mind and its psychology brings to the show. how the mind breaks and the people break, is really characterised in this opening. It reminds me of Mark Quinns Blood sculpture of a face.


I thought this was good, putting Sauron inside the iris of the eye. was rather striking.

I dont want to look at sculptures so abstract that interpretation becomes almost incessant, cant it be simple but engaging?



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