My work is starting to take physical form. Yesterday I began installing the work in my slightly restricted studio space, I instinctively plotted five plaster stones on and around my stretched translucent fabric. I was immediately triggered by the visual result, the stones, as I had hoped, caused a rippling tension on the fabric, reminiscent of the rhythmic raked lines around the Ryoanji Zen garden stones. These ripples appear illusory and alter as one moves around the frame.
This morning, Richard and I re-located the work in order to gain better perspective and navigation. Although entirely necessary, this act encouraged us to ask whether or not precisely planning installation taints intuitive and performative placement. Would the work remain more energetic if I were to delay installation until the day of critiques? This also poses a further, less relevant question; does an artwork hold more charge as a concept or an idea, prior to becoming an object?
Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970 (Great Salt Lake, Utah)
We often experience artworks, in particular land artworks through a far-removed and reproduced image. This image becomes object, and therefore we consider it an adequate representation of the experiential phenomena. Robert Smithson’s ‘Spiral Jetty’ may have gained such intrigue due to its photogenic construct, however I doubt this documentary photograph is an accurate translation of the sensorial experience. Ultimately these photographs attempt to condense the experiential gain, and with each reproduction/reiteration the information is condensed further.
(Through these repeated detachments may eventually come a brief and fleeting clarity, a comprehension through deconstruction. This moment of sense will exist within the framework of the art object, and then will once again tremble due to an external and re-occuring interruption from reality).
Richard and I discussed the truth of the materials in amongst the fakery of my practice. In my attempt to achieve true balance and sense, am I performing a forgery? I have replaced each element of the traditional Zen garden with traditional art materials which have grounded my practice. My fascination with the Ryoanji Temple became apparent through visual imagery, indirect and most likely inaccurate representations of the Buddhist Zen garden. I have invested in the information and knowledge I have gained online and in books and now feel it necessary to attempt to reproduce such definitive completeness. This attainment may eventually be successful, although tainted in the process. My lithography limestone grounds my practice, and is true to me. I have therefore reproduced it multiple times and it has become detached, yet symbolic of the organic Kyoto stones. My stretcher mimics the garden itself, its raked pebbles and perfectly calculated scale. I hope that the stretcher exists as a portal, one in which (accurately or inaccurately) condensed clarity and calm fleetingly appears.
Despite its obscurity, I am concerned that my work may not be detached enough (Richard Serra). I am hesitant to accept and embrace psychological and political readings of the work. Audience members will inevitably react with informed responses as it is impossible to disregard external influences and prior knowledge. In order to achieve true meditative enlightenment, one must not allow for external thoughts to cloud their minds and judgement. However when it comes to analysing an artwork, it is rare that we are able to completely disengage culturally and socially. Focused on achieving calculated sense, I have not allowed for the inescapability of reality. Moving forward, this is something I must acknowledge and consider. Clarity and calm is often followed by incomprehension, as I offer a temporal space of sense, I must also remain true in offering the opposite. (I should maybe re-consider scale, installation, colour, and sound).