August Gallery is an intimate space located at 224 Shoreditch High Street, run by the fab Winnie Szei.
The current exhibition:

    Noisome Fly- 14 Jun – 7 Jul


 Raaf’s work reminded me of the surface of billboards, with stains and tearing and traces of mulitple images and fragments of text. It is hard to decipher the meaning behind the work, but as Raaf says, there could be many interpretations of his art. The paintings include mysterious symbols, diagrams and illustrations and when combined as a whole, they become open to different possibilities.
mixed media on paper on aluminium diabond
This painting reminds me of a figure bending over with a head made of a Rorschack. Packing tape is laid horizontally over the surface which looks melted. There is a decayed or broken feeling to this work with its distressed surfaces and fragmented imagery.
mixed media on paper on aluminium diabond
mixed media on paper on aluminium diabond
 Mixed media on paper
This mixed media piece also uses a Rorschach image. Is Raaf van der Sman’s work a confrontation of the accuracy and purpose of the Rorschach? This repeated image appears as a fragment and part of something bigger.


This man on you tube has created a Rorschack test where he actually draws different images into the ink blots. I did the first couple, but I don’t see how it can determine whether someone is crazy or not.
AUGUST art presents “Noisome Fly” With Raaf van der Sman

“Raaf van der Sman’s painting “Double Rorschach” is a diptych that prominently features one of the shapes from Rorschach’s inkblot testi. That most viewers could probably identify the inkblots points to their pervasiveness into everyday culture. In the work, one of the inkblots is repeated. Whilst they seem identical at first, subtle variations point to a conscious decision to set them apart – which one is the “correct” one? Van der Sman’s painting wonders about the ubiquity of the inkblot test and what it might really be testing?

Since interpretation of the form of the inkblots is the substance of the test, the forms’ origins, and whether they are arbitrary or the result of a subjective decision is of interest. Most assume the forms are arbitraryii. But the prototypes in the archive are less detailed, suggesting that Rorschach might have modified their composition. The forms were also changed by the publishing printers, made smaller, and some colors and degrees of shadings of gray changed. These plates have been used to print all subsequent inkblots. Van der Sman’s painting of 2 inkblots, similar but different, might be taken to ask the question: how does the form matter?

 The test’s usage has changed over time. Rorschach originally conceived it to test the differences of visual perception between different groups of people; he also stressed the need for more research into the validity of his findings (which he could not carry out, passing away 4 months after publication). His study languished in obscurity until 30-40 years later, when their use shifted to personality assessment. “Rorschach experts” performed blind analysis on people’s personalities based on the test results, although arguably these performances had more in common with horoscope assessments than scientific analysis. By the 1990s, its use grew wideriii and the test is taught in 80% of psychology graduate programmes in the USAiv. There have been academic revisions and growing criticism along the way, but the history of the test raises the question of whether it is a valid scientific tool or an example of conventional wisdom?

Van der Sman’s painting’s response may be in found in its quiet build-up of colour and textures, in its “found object” quality. The image seems to merge into our vision until it feels like we’ve always seen it. Perhaps van der Sman’s painting can be read as a test? One of what we might want such tests to answer for us? An exhibition of “Double Rorschach” and Raaf van der Sman’s other paintings runs from 14 Jun to 7 July.

“Noisome Fly”
224 Shoreditch High Street Shoreditch London E1 6PJ

The Rorschach test is named after its author, Hermann Rorschach a Swiss psychologist, and consists of 10 inkblots, printed on a white background. Subjects are shown the inkblots, and asked what s/he sees, and the specific features of the image that made him/her draw the conclusion. Assessment is based on how the subject’s response compares to a database of others’ responses. H. Rorschach, Pyschodiagnostik, Bern, Switzerland: Hans Huber, translated, 1942 (original 1921)

ii Rorschach wrote very little about the production and seems to suggest the process is arbitrary: “production of the arbitrary forms is very simple: a few large ink blots are thrown on a piece of paper, the paper is folded, and the ink spread between the two halves of the sheet”. H. Rorschach

iii The Rorschach test ranks 8th in outpatient mental health facilities, is the 2nd most used test by Members of the Society for Personality Assessment, and is requested by psychiatrists in 25% of forensic assessment cases. C.B. Gacano & J. Reid Meloy, “The Internal World of the Psychopath” in Psychology: Antisocial, Criminal, and Violent Behaviour, edited by T. Millon, E. Simonsen, M. Birket-Smith, and R.D. Davis 95-109. New York: Guildford Press, 1998


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