MA Project Proposal

Working Title: Ambiguity in art Ambiguity is the best medium in art, because It can bring more possibilities to art. In fact, all kinds of artists, such as photographers, filmmakers, painters, and collage artists prefer this kind of expressive art form. They are all trying to use ambiguity to create a deeper meaning in their artistic work.

Aims and Objectives: This part of the project will be investigated through practice and research.

Aims 1: Exploring many possibilities with ambiguity in art,such as metaphor, montage, collage and illusion.

  • Objective1: Is there a neutral and ambiguous background which is suitable for artistic work? How does the artist create artistic work with ambiguity?Reference:  E. H. Gombrich , The story of art
  • Objective2: Understanding the meaning of illusive, allusive and elusive aspects in art. Reference: E. H. Gombrich, Art and illusion
  • Objective3:Researching different types of montage. Reading Eisenstein ‘s book , thinking about Sergi Eisenstein’s concepts.
  • Objective4: Reading theories and applying them to artworks as well as testing ideas. Conducting experiments regarding ambiguity in different ways.

Aims 2: Researching the relationship between the beholder and the artistic work.

  • Objective1:  How important is the beholder who gives different responses to unique artistic work?
  • Objective2:Analyse the responses of the beholder and their significance.

Aims 3: Research the relationship between ambiguity and contemporary advertisement.(Graphic and Television)

  • Objective1:Compare Chinese advertisement and foreign advertisement. What is different between these?
  • Objective2: in what way does ambiguity affects advertisement ?

Aim 4:  Work (Documentary)

  • Objective1:Study relative software such as Final Cut Pro,After effect.
  • Objective2:Understanding the essential knowledge of  how to make a documentary.(The documentary could be informal)
  • Objective3:Research narrative stories and theories in the documentary.

Context: Historical: Eisenstein summarized that montage is combination. He states that the juxtaposition of two film shots,which is not a simple addition but it is a new creativity. He also claims that these films shots are boring and are not aesthetic before editing, but montage can make it more magical. So we can see that montage is the principle of restructuring and selection. ‘Eisenstein argued that the collision between two adjoining images creates a third meaning. He said editing should make people think, not just see what they see.’I am trying to find this kind of  principle of montage to do photo collage or documentary, hoping to discover the ambiguous ways in art. At the same time, I will look to explore different forms of montage ,such as repetition and remix, and look at how montage attracts audience’s curiosity in art.

Contemporary: “Transcript– We don’t have a deep understanding of the Beholder’s Response, but it’s interesting that if you put together what we know from disorders of brain function and the normal physiology, we begin to understand an outline what the beholder’s response is. And this is so important because in 1906 when Freud was active and Klink, Tolkuchka and Sheely, the artists, were active, there was a major person at the Vienna School of Artistry called Alois Riegl. And he said that the problem with art history is, it’s going to go down the tubes because it’s too anecdotal, it’s too descriptive, it doesn’t have enough of a science base. It’s got to become more scientific. And the science it should relate itself to is psychology. And the key problem that it should address right off is the beholder’s share. You have a painting, that painting is not complete until the viewer responds to it.”—Eric Kandel I considered that viewer’s responses have a close relationship with artwork. In fact, many artists need not explain their works , which give more spaces for viewers who can have their own interpretations. There is no doubt  that viewer’s response is a part of the artistic work.I am interested in  how the beholder’s response plays a distinct role in  artwork. In some ways, interactive installation and some ambiguous artworks are useful for this research. For my perspective, I think that ambiguous artwork could be contemplative as it brings more possibilities for audience to think about that.

Theoretical contexts:

  • Representation
  • Illusion


  • Collage:Do collage in daily life. Use material from old magazines and books to practice and research how to reconstruct fragments from different integrated images in ambiguous way with my intuition.
  • Reading relative books
  • Photography:Continue to record everything, which I met in my daily life but is neglected from society.It could be an event, a story or a person. I prefer to record something I met and remind people to focus on it as soon as possible.
  • Experiment
  • Reflective journal

Outcomes: Final project could be divided into two sections.

  • Several short informal documentaries
  • Collage

Work plan:

10/13 – Research what ambiguity is looking for different artists’ work with ambiguity.

11/ 13  – Test idea and conduct experiments with ambiguity. Reading book and try to research further.

1-7/14 – Continue to do some experiments and try to find appropriate way.

7-12/ 14 – Research and prepare for the final project.

1-9 / 15 – Developing ideas, prepare for final project.

9 / 15 – prepare for exhibition in final show.


Gombrich.E.H,1986. Art and Illusion, Princeton University Press.

Gombrich.E.H,2006.The story of art, Phaidon Press Ltd.

Carolyn.B.G, 2000.Time and Image ,Manchester University Press

Willsdon & Costello,2008.The Life and Death of Images, Ethics and Aesthetics, Cambrige University Press.

Richard.C, 1979.The Social Role of Art, Roundwood Press.

Karen.R, 1998.Black and White Media, Polity Press.

Jacques.A,1987.Montage Eisenstein,Indiana University Press.

Daniel.H,2013. The Beholder’s Response: How the Brain Responds to Ambiguity in Art. Available at:

<;, [Accessed on MARCH 31, 2013].

Scott.R,2009. “Images are not a representation of reality”. Available at:

<;, [Accessed on July 8, 2009].