Wednesday, April 18, 2007

brian's song...



there are some artworks that i simply can't get out of my mind, and one of them is this work by brian lane. lane ran a small press and an artist space in the mid 1960's, and eventually published many "distilled performances in print" in the early 70's under his "editions brian lane" imprint. his own works included performance, publications, and object/ephemera in small editions.

these images are from a 1975 performance and the edition that came out of it. the activity, a kind of combination of yves klien dropping gold leaf into a river, and a fluxus/cage chance operation; involved 150 red and 150 yellow polystyrene balls dropped from a bridge onto a river. lane took photographs of the shifting arrangements of red and yellow drifts. the title of the activity was "quiet yellow sounds on the river / red with menace".

the balls were retrieved by the people who had come to witness the event; and they became the beautiful little edition in the second photo as relics of the activity.

i love the idea of a temporal moving painting of colored dots in a landscape being arranged by river flow. (makes me think of cage's comments about using nature's manner of operation literally.) and for some reason the little box always tugs at me, no idea, but it seems poetically perfect.

with a title like "quiet yellow sounds...", i can't help but think of this work as a score for a potential sound work. i've often thought about a kind of re-working of the piece, dropping all the balls in the river at once and then collecting them in sequence down river a bit and using that sequence to determine next compositional moves... maybe someday...

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Blogger greg davis said...

never heard of brian lane. very intriguing. ill have to check out more. are there any good starting points for his work?

itd be nice to update the piece a bit and use environmentally friendly balls that would decompose and return to nature when they are done making their way down the river....(or even benefit the river or be food for animals or fish eventually) how wonderful would it be to see a bunch of yellow and red balls accidentally while hiking in the woods along a river somewhere? thatd be special.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

stunnning work. i also would be very interested in tracking down some information on brian lane as i was unaware of his works as well. thanks for posting this beautiful work steve.

1:16 PM  
Blogger sroden said...

yeah, i didn't know it either, and when i saw this image in the book - the printed performance, brian lane works 1966-99, i fell in love with the piece. it's the only book on him that i know of. weirdly he became a crime writer in the mid 80's, and even wrote a book on forensics. 'the printed performance' is available and a small enough paperback that its usually pretty cheap.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How nice to see your piece about this piece. I worked on the Printed Performance book, and knew Brian later on during the 1980s. I have just made a small online work in response to 'Quiet Yellow Sounds...":

6:11 AM  

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