Imponderabilia, a performance by Marina Abramovic and Ulay, her then lover. This performance involved the lovers standing and facing each other while naked in a narrow doorway. This was the only doorway through to a part of the exhibition, forcing visitors to walk through the two artists with skin on skin contact if they wanted to get inside the space.
It is a poetic gesture, for if there were no artists, there would not be museums, and so the artists become the door into the museum. The purpose of the performance was then placed upon the visitors and their reactions, who became the protagonists of the performance with their raw reactions.
Tony Smith began his career through Minimalism, working with architecture and painting. His work soon turned to monolithic, system-based sculpture that was based on intuition. Throughout his work is an interest in repetition and multiplication of the visual and physical world.
Smith was not constrained by the boundaries of medium, which was seen through his transition from architecture to art and realising his creative principles. The development of his works throughout the career can be traced back to the natural and human universes of repetition and multiplication. There is a presence of his works, no matter the compositional technique used nor the angles of the repeating forms.
The sculptor Marie Lund works with stone and metal work to create intimate, self-contained works that involve some of the every day. The works often frame a number of temporal and material concerns due to their hanging, leaning or swinging composition.
Working between the lines of beauty and dysfunction (as well as function), Lund deals with the specific site and moments of every-day life, re-establishing the relationship to solid matter. The works make their remark against disposable consumer products through casting.
Lund work reflects the texts and audio pieces that she is currently interesting. There a dual in/ability to express materiality and physicality through language that forces Lund to remain in the sculptural. This is particularly seem in the series of ‘Beginning Happening’, 2011 and the accompanying catalogue with reflecting text by Pieternel Vermoortel:
‘What happens when we consider sculptures through their representation, when we can’t walk around them, when we can only look at them from one possible position? […] And what happens if I write about these sculptures, can I still speak about spatiality and time?’
The self-build property, named after the creator Walter Segal, is a bolt-together post and beam form of timber frame constructor which relies on using all materials in standard sizing, which is how they are delivered, producing almost no waste. From the concrete base to the pre-fabricated panels that the house is built of, the aim is to reduce waste, emissions, cost and time. It has been said that anyone who can use a hammer and a saw can build a Walter Segal house. Some of these can be seen in London, as part of a 1980s self-build housing project.
Rachel Garfield is an artist that has travelled through mediums to portray their ideas surrounding racial based criticism, racial history and identity, specifically in the Jewish culture. This has grown from their personal experience of racial based criticism throughout childhood and adulthood.
As a new artist, Garfield hung around with those who made art-based film, but did not understand how the films translated between one and another. Through the lack of understanding of this, Garfield created text-based paintings. These reflected the racist history in Europe, in which historical texts contained obvious racism. It was often found that people who were valued in society were to write some of the more horrible items. Garfield painted contemporary leaflets and historical texts in layers and layers of translucent colours with deep underlays. This technique pushed the layers out into the viewer to create a confrontation.
Through the investigation of their own work, Garfield read a lot about sociology and the construction of society. They wanted to make work about Jewish identity and was annoyed about those who concentrated on nostalgia and the Holocaust. This is where Garfield related to Ali G, someone who was unidentifiable from their skin colour or the way in which they presented themselves. Identity is often portrayed as skin colour, but it can be about so much more. Both Ali G and Garfield are English, but are not, and are white, but are not.
At this point through their identity investigation, Garfield was also trying to make videos. What was evident was that the way we are is also shown in how we talk about the storied of ourselves, and how we are entrenched in the ways about ourselves. If you look as someone, we define them as one or the other, but they might not consider themselves as that at all, unravelling the idea of a stable identity. This is something Garfield wanted to contest this, with racism at the root.
Garfield then becomes interested in portraiture and people, both in painting and film. The Portrait of Jason by Shirley Clarke (1967) is a prime example of what Garfield wanted to achieve. Clarke interviewed Jason all night, where he performs for her, however you do not know when he is or is not performing. ‘The camera never lies’ falls apart, destabilising the idea of a stable identity and questioning whether we are powerful or powerless. Filmed in an amateur way, in a bedroom with a small crew allows the films authenticity to shine through. Garfield was interested in the ability to be authentic.
Garfield is interested in art from the day-to-day basis, telling the same story in different ways as a play on the self, hierarchies of victim-hood, and the development of identity.
Churchman’s enthusiasms include that of British Folk Law and traditions. Folk law and contemporary art practices have like domains in the eyes of Churchman, bringing about a strange and temporal mess. This leads her to find the strange and wonky things of daily life to bring into the artwork. A very visual and residual culture is built through an affective drive and finding this within folk law, and the question of how to bring it back to the art.
Working in performances, there is a connection through likeness. Video and sound works also come into play with a time nased technique. Churchman thinks through magic and ritual domains rather than logical ones. This causes the layering of lots of things that don’t particularly make sense or fit well together. One example spoken about is how in midsummer, you stand on church steps, churches are supposedly on leylines and this means there is a hotline for the spirits.
Through the performance work, Churchman sets out a space through the language. When making a work, she considers the time of year and what is happening and where, for this affects the folk law that is used. Exhibition spaces are turned into portal or spell-like areas. The rituals performed call for a certain amount of collectivity and are presented with ‘we’, adding spirits.
A strong narrative structure is seen throughout Churchman’s work, extending the fiction of the folk law and the space of an unknowing and shifting manner. Magic exists as something else within the art practice of Arianne Churchman.
Judd, associated with minimalism, sough autonomy and clarity for the constructed object and the space created by it. Throughout the lifetime of work, Judd achieved a rigorously democratic presentation without compositional hierarchy. He sought clear and defined objects, often made out of wood, to articulate these ideas of a direct material and physical presence without grand philosophical statements.
Many of his works are permanent installations and reflect the continuing diversity of his work. These installations would be in areas including studios, living quarters and ranches, many of which he purchased in Marfa in 1973. The permanence of these works help to define the objects and materials and create a further presence in the day-to-day lives of many rather than the few.
Judd also advocated for the importance of art and artistic expression.
Utopian architecture holds its principle that brings nature into every aspect of urban life to help cities become more dense while lessening the human impact on the environment.
This term has often been applied when talking about post-war periods to build up cities and jobs, without largely impacting the environment. The advancement of architecture is thanks to strong economic growth, advances in technology, and new forms of social behaviour.
Caro uses found industrial objects that engage the spectator on a one-to-one basis. Using various bright colours, the sculptures confront the spectator into conversation, displaying a radical departure from previous sculpture works of the generation. There is no recorded reason for the colours used in specific instances, however each colour of the works is unique. Caro often worked in steel, but also in a diverse range of other materials, including bronze, silver, lead, stoneware, wood and paper. The exploration of each material is portrayed in the larger sculptural works within the manipulation of curves and folds that might otherwise seem impossible.
Puryear is recognised for a fiercely independent visual language of object making. There is a strong combination of practices adapted from different traditions to create objects based on abstract organic forms with rich psychological, cultural, and historical references. Wood carving, joinery, boat building and technology are just some of the practices involved within the design and creation of such works.
Puryear’s reductive forms explore human and identity and politics in a subtle manner, engaging the viewers in conversation. Hand-making each of the sculptures allows the craftsmanship to shine through and allows an intense appreciation of the natural materials he chooses to use. ‘The artist’s approach to his materials, his ability to use them to define both interior and exterior spaces, along with his inherent sensibility, all combine to produce profoundly considered works, infused not only with poignancy, strength and fragility, but also with subliminal readings of out collective history.’
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