top of page

surface bpm. 2023





My proposal is to make a series of paintings, with the working title Surface BPM, as the continuation of my enquiry in limitation, restriction and repetition. I am questioning theoretical and scientific concepts of movement, motion and speed. My intention is to push the paint mixture along a surface for as long as the silence between the ticks of a metronome. Concentrating on keeping an even pressure, each completed painting will be the result of following specific beats per minute - from 20 BPM to 300 BPM - contained within a 2D surface area of 150x100cm. I describe the tempos from slow to quick as ‘knead’, ‘stroke’, ‘sweep’, ‘swipe’, ‘slice’, ‘dash’, ‘strike’ and ‘attack’. As I have explained, in my work movement and rhythm play a critical part in maintaining an even continuity of tone, and the Italian term 'tempo rubato' describes the discretionary timing I use to control it.  being constrained by an exact beat imposes further restrictions and limitations. In my preparatory work I have discovered that as the tempo increases, the push and pulling of paint during the silence shifts to harmonise with the beat, so that by 70 BPM whether I am moving on the silence between beats or on the beat itself is ambiguous. By 300 BPM, the speed is so fast, I'm unable to evaluate it as I focus on the stability of my movements and an consistant pressure.



Surface BPM. extremely slow (knead) at 20 BPM

Surface BPM. very slow (stroke) at 40 BPM

Surface BPM. rather slow at (sweep) at 60 BPM seconds per minute

Surface BPM. at ease (swipe) at 70 BPM

Surface BPM. heart-rate sweet spot (slice) at 85 BPM 

Surface BPM. heart-rate sweet spot (dash) at 100 BPM 

Surface BPM. extremely fast (strike) at 140 BPM

Surface BPM. extremely fast (attack) at 250 BPM



Link to Online Metronome:





If my movements are dictated by near exact measurement of time, how will this tempo affect the nature of the mark? I have realised that limited, restricted and nuanced factors create infinite differences, but by constraining my movement to beats per minute the mark-making will be contained, while the results still boundless. How will the viewer react? Will their sensibility reflect the rhythm? Will they experience synaesthesia, even though I do not intend the work to be musical? I'm curious if the heartbeat sweet spot tempo is satisfying or relaxing; if 20BPM causes calmness or impatience, if 200MPM is an actual attack on their senses or hypnotic.


This is a hugely challenging path, with time being elusive to scientific understanding, and extremely exciting for me as at last I am bringing to the fore my ever lingering interest in the questions of Eduardo Chillida, and his concern for time in his presentation “Preguntas”, his academic speech read on the occasion of his investiture as doctor honoris causa by the University of Alicante in 1994. [online] available at I am drawn in particular to Chillida’s question on the how the ‘present’ in time has no dimension and yet exists, and would like to explore why Joan Miró asked for his studio in Taller Sert to be left untouched. The picture of moment in time. Still the same, ever changing.




Concepts which are intrinsic to the investigation are:


movement | momentum | inertia | mass | velocity | acceleration | infinity | force | friction resistance motion | time | flow | speed | rest | space | pressure | weight | matter | intention action | rhythm | tempo | push | pull | repetition | limitation | restriction | accident  assessment | reassessment | decision.


I will investigate Deleuze's response to Neitzche in "Difference and Repetition" (Gilles Deleuze (author), Paul Patton (translator) Columbia University Press 1995-05-18, New York, 1995) and the question of the Eternal Return, the concept which states that time repeats itself infinitely, that the same events will continue to occur in exactly the same way, over and over again, and "the eternal recurrence is the denial of any absolute beginning, any creation, and any god.". The word "exactly" is, for me, a critically contentious element in the philosophy. It challenges my reasoning that repetition in time makes duplication impossible, whereas in Nietzsche's contentions, duplication must be possible. The denial of any absolute beginning is cohesive with my understanding of eternity, which I perceive, not linearly, but as infinite directionally. If eternity can be imagined in a perceived future, why not in a perceived past or infinite directions? Does the perception have a centre point? Is the rejection or inclusion of a god objective or subjective as a matter of faith? Is it possible for no beginning and a god to be compatible? 




Dr. Stuart Clark, Astrophysicist and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In May I was in dialogue with Dr. Clark on the theory of inertia and movement. Our dialogue will continue.

Professor Anders Rydberg, Uppsala University, Department of Engineering Sciences.

ProfessorRydberg’s experiments on the wave-like nature of something called a Rydberg state reveal a way to measure time that doesn't require a precise starting point.

Professor. Francesco Arneodo, Professor of Physics, New York University Abu Dhabi.

In September I will have the opportunity to meet with astrophysicist Prof. Arneado, on the subject of infinity and exploration and play as key factors in discovery and development in Art and Science.




Eduardo Chillida: “Isn't the limit the true protagonist of space, like the present, another limit, is the protagonist of time? I don't represent, I ask.”  “Preguntas”, his academic speech read on the occasion of his investiture as doctor honoris causa by the University of Alicante in 1994.


Juan Uslé . “Soñé  que Revelabas” “…discontinuous brushstrokes produced by intermittent contact: I move the brush and press down until the next heartbeat occurs. I try to follow a sequential rhythm, marked by the beating of my pulse.” John YauIn in conversation with Juan Uslé. [online] available at


Rudolf Laban: Laban movement analysis (documenting LMA), the method and language for describing, visualizing, interpreting motion and movement. 


Friedrich Nietzsche and Gilles Deleuze. "Difference and Repetition" and the question of the Eternal Return.


Isaac Newton: Notions of time. A continuous magnitude, a continuum generated by motion. 


Heraclitus of Ephesus. Change and Flow.


Augustine of Hippo: An Analysis of the Concept of Time in the Confessions, Book 11 by Augustine of Hippo.[online] available at



I propose the exhibition will take the form of an installation in the gallery space. The paintings will be supported on pedestals or, if technically possible and preferably hanging from the ceiling at waist height. This will allow the viewer to walk beside them and have an intimate dialogue with the surfaces; observe and absorb at close and. I anticipate that the the 6m picture plane will be covered during the slower beats per minute. However, marks made to the faster beats will stop when I lose momentum due to lack of stamina. The viewer will follow the space left untouched on the surface due to the limitations of my endurance.




As process is the fundamental element of the creation of the work, I would like to propose that an edited a film collage of my studio practice, interviews and dialogue might be shown as a part of the exhibition for viewing on a monitor, and included in my documentation and report to The Miró Mallorca Foundation.



Chillida | Newton | Uslé | Galileo | Laban | Nietzsche | Deleuze | Heraclitus | Augustine of Hippo.


In conversation with Dr. Stuart Clark, Astrophysicist and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Researchers: Professor Anders Rydberg and researchers from Uppsala University | UU Department of Engineering Sciences, whose experiments on the wave-like nature of something called a Rydberg state revealed a way to measure time that doesn't require a precise starting point.

Francesco Arneodo, Professor of Physics at New York University.

research of movements.


Process Art | Minimalism | Futurism

the paintings.


bottom of page