Monday, March 23, 2009

How Do They Work?

Dead in the Water, 1999, by Fiona Hall(1952- ). 106.5 x 128 x 128 cm.

There are two "sections" in this piece of art work: on the top, the standardized, mass-produced polyvinyl chloride pipes with punch holes all over; at the bottom, the family of organic looking sea creatures made out of glass beads and silver wires. These two "sections"-each appears to be encased in a glass box framed by wood membranes, and organized by a plane- allude to a narrative whole as interpreted by J. Ewington in 2005: “filth of cities flowing into the oceans, man-made conduits connecting, but ultimately destroying, the natural world beneath".
However, being an enduring piece of art work, the meanings embedded in it are always complex, multi-layered, and impossible to have a final word. It gives us pleasure and brings forth associations as much as we, the beholders, are capable of "looking" at it and articulating the emotions stirred up inside of us.

Instead of the irreconcilable polemics between the man-made city and the natural system of organism as depicted by Ewington, I see the pairing of mechanical infrastructure(plumbing) and organic life forms(sea creatures) as one symbiotic whole joined together by a sheer plane of transparent synthetic polymer resin. It is not a happy voluntary union, but that's what we have now and we have to make both entities live: the mechanical + the organic.

All that Jazz, 1989, by Rosalie Gascoigne(1917-1999).  131 x 100 cm.
Of course this assemblage reminds us of Mondrian’s ‘Broadway Boogie-woogie’(1942-43), 127 x 127 cm:

The differences between them? Many, and easily expanded to a book length. Let's just focus on the materiality for the time being: "How were they made?".

Made out of sawn and split soft drink crates gathered onto plywood, All That Jazz is at once an assemblage of found objects and a quilted color field painting. (to be continued...)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009