Performance: Alvin Lucier I am sitting in a room, Langham Research Centre. Saturday 26 January, 6pm-8pm. RSVP essential
Yun Ling Chen
Curated by Tom Benson
Forms of Address is an exhibition of painting, music, text, photography, sculpture, and performance, in which the contingencies of space disrupt and expand the linearity of time.
The spatial may be a precondition for the production of art, music, performance (the privacy of the studio, the space of the page, the architecture of the gallery), but here it is located in the work and its temporal unfolding. If we experience time’s direction as relentlessly orientated to the future, then space in its capaciousness may give us a moment of generosity, a slowing down of things, that can allow new perceptions and awarenesses to emerge. Mindful of the neglect so often meted out to precedent now, this exhibition places works by new artists side by side with the old masters of modernism, extending the liberality of space across the generations, and reinvigorating the project of art in its conceptual idealism. The exhibition asks visitors to attend minutely to the works, to the allusions within the work, to the names of the works, to the histories of those who made them, to their relations to the gallery space, to their relations with each other, and to their own relation as visitors to the presence, spatial and temporal, of the work.
b.1866 Hon eur, France
d.1925 Arcueil, France
I took to my room and let small things evolve slowly.
b.1874 Allegheny, USA
d.1946 Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Gertrude Stein, in her work, has always been possessed by the intellectual passion for exactitude in the description of inner and outer reality. She has produced a simplification by this concentration, and as a result the destruction of associational emotion in poetry and prose. She knows that beauty, music, decoration, the result of emotion should never be the cause, even events should not be the cause of emotion nor should they be the material of poetry and prose. Nor should emotion itself be the cause of poetry or prose. They should consist of an exact reproduction of either an outer or an inner reality.
b.1912 Los Angeles
There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.
Words are phonetic and written characters for concepts. They consist of crooked and straight lines like a drawing or like the outlines of an object: but we connect them with a particular meaning. Daily association with the written word blinds us to the unusual nature of this phenomenon. When we contemplate writing which we are unable to read, the problem may become easier to understand. How is it possible that particular arrangements of lines are connected with particular thoughts? We may not expect a satisfactory answer to questions such as these, but that does not make them futile. In visual poetry the mutual permeation of that which is seen and that which is thought has always presupposed this correlation between symbol and concept.
b.1931 Nashua, New Hampshire
Lives and works in Connecticut
I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but, more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.
Lives and works in Tucson, Arizona
I think there’s always something interesting about a work that you don’t really understand. If you know where it comes from right away, it looses a kind of quality. This is what’s interesting about these more radical types of works in contemporary art: a viewer will try to reduce it to something and the work tries to escape that. This is the quality of the work, that back and forth. That’s what I try to do with painting. If I can do a painting that says simply “shut up,” I’ll be happy.
Lives and works in Hertfordshire
I like to think my paintings are a direct act against composition. I would never want composition to act within the paintings, my composition is within the installation. How the paintings are positioned is my act of composition within the space. I also have no hesitation in showing the same painting in a different place even though it will look a completely different painting and that is because making the painting is about activating the space that it is in. My paintings are completely against the framed two-dimensional painting which creates its stage set for you to make-believe to go into. The reality of my paintings can be found in the reality of the space.
b.1954 Baden, Switzerland
Lives and works in Zurich
Over the past three decades my work has concentrated almost exclusively on the medium of oil paint on canvas. I use an assortment of source materials, various images I’ve gathered over the years; book covers, illustrations, lm stills, posters, magazines, things from the internet, and, above all else, images of work by outsider artists. Each of these images designates important stages of social development for me, and thus my outlook on
my time. I understand the targeted and at the same time open collection of these documents as community statements, in the broadest sense. The painting, the material, and the particular way of dealing with each subject can be clearly observed. I try not to determine things too much and work alla prima – wet into wet, spontaneously, without corrections. Things should fall like dice.
b.1958 Sutton, Surrey
Lives and works in Axminster
The typed books don’t have title pages and my name doesn’t appear, they have a sort of anonymity. eachonebutonewithoutit (1994), the Stein text is about direction. It was a paragraph of 94 words and I set the
text above the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force which is a series of classifications, for example, “at zero miles per hour smoke rises vertically”, or “at four miles per hour, leaves start to rustle”, so there is a velocity which changes through the pages until you reach 76 miles an hour which is devastation—galeforce. The Stein text is linear but its meaning is about a backwards and forwards motion whilst the Beaufort Scale is about getting faster but is not necessarily about any direction of wind.
Lives and works in Maussane des Alpilles, France
This series of photographic sculptures were made by taking graphite rubbings of intentionally fractured paving stones that I found on my daily walks from home to the studio. The rubbings are used as negatives to produce photograms exposed directly on to double sided, hand painted, photographic paper. The prints are folded along the fracture lines to form three dimensional photographic images, held in place with magnets on steel substrates. They hover between a practice of drawing, photography and sculpture, and continue to shift during installation as they have no defined top, bottom, left or right, and can be rehung depending on the context, placement and surroundings.
Lives and works in London
I have been experimenting with Ph testing paper for a number of years. In 2004 I ordered Ph testing strips online to use in a spoken performance, spit that came out of the mouth when speaking was ‘recorded’ on the Ph testing paper strip. The image has a duration to it, fading away over time. I work with a factory to produce huge versions of the paper. The paper acts as a continuous measuring device for the room and the breath of the visitors throughout the duration of the show. The yellow paper will gradually turn green in relation to shifting acidity levels in the room. The paper has the potential to change (but the results are not certain).
b.1991 Taipei, Taiwan
Lives and works in London
I am playing a waiting game. Invariably nothing much happens other than combinations of this and that. But I continue, as if fascinated by such a task. Is there a difference between a task and labour? I think this might be fundamental. Sometimes there is futility at the heart of the endeavour; not in the arrangement of parts but that there is nothing in place that would secure a look. Everything requires a look, or at least that is what I am told. I must admit I have no way of testing such things and feel that the experiment might be to simply keep going, to keep working. There are lines in my work but no linear progression, I think I am crisscrossing. Assembled on a wall or the floor, I await the welling up of stuff. I think of this as welling.