Wednesday, October 29, 2008

more corner forms...

serra casting corners in johns studio 1970

after posting the image of richard serra's Gutter Corner Splash: Late Shift, 1969/1995 yesterday morning, today arrived in the mail a book of interviews with serra from 1980 which i won on ebay. serra had not been much on my mind of late, but as i already had scored an incredible book from the seller (one which will definitely make an appearance here soon!), the serra book was cheap and seemed a potential good read, and the combined shipping was too good to pass up.

as these things tend to happen, the serra book arrived right after i posted the image related to his gutter corner splash, and lo and behold in this book are some wonderful images of serra making the first incarnation of the piece, entitled 'casting', inside jasper johns studio!

beyond the visual similarity of the corner forms, i think the relationship between the images of serra and an imaginary gardener making corners on the ground is interesting. both involve a physical process, both involve tools specific to the environment and materials, and in both cases, beautiful geometric wedges are built with the help of both dirty hands and gravity. i don't often think of serra's work in relation to ritual and alchemy, but i like the idea that one can find more of a connection between these two images than one would initially suspect.

serra never seems like a card carrying minimalist, fitting much more uncomfortably between things like minimalism and someone like smithson. certainly throwing molten lead into corner forms is not indicative of most of his processes, but it is insightful as to a potential ritualistic nature in his works. in some ways, it opens the door to a different kind of dialog, where one sees him not only in relation to the gardener (the sculptor), but to a shaman, with his larger works in relation to totems, and perhaps altars. i highly doubt this subjective view holds much water, but it is a beautiful thing when two images collide and can generate ideas, even if they are full of holes, and far from reality...

Labels: , , ,

5 Comments:

Blogger susan heggestad said...

Who says they are far from reality?

6:36 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

well, one never likes to assume unresearched gleanings are truths, at least in terms of the artists intentions, but then again, i love so many things for all the wrong reasons. there was a show a few years ago here pairing agnes martin with two mystics - hilna af klint and emma kunz - and seeing her work in the context of spiritualists rather than minimalists was absolutely wonderful, and only served to expand the dialogue around her work. while it would be difficult to attach alchemical concerns to serra's work based on what he's said, and what has been written, i love that the work can still reference these things, as if it is not hermetically sealed and only in the service of the artist's intentions, but is open enough to allow coincidence and collision to shift one's view. the artwork should be open to any conversation that a viewer might find within it, or bring to it, and it's nice to feel that serra's work, which is unbending physically, is still flexible in terms of the potential experiences it offers...

11:04 AM  
Blogger susan heggestad said...

As an artist myself, it is actually a relief to remember than a piece I make will ALWAYS have so many more meanings than just the ones I've intended for them. And just because I've not intended them, this doesn't mean that the meanings attached by others are any less real...

8:34 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

yes, indeed i speak with students all the time about intentionality and openness. i generally hope the works themselves can be bigger than my ideas - to transcend them, at least when a work is really successful. i think too much work can be bogged down by its intentions and is unable to speak about anything else, and then it becomes so one dimensional it has no life. works that are open also contain a kind of vulnerability that is human, and perhaps even things as seemingly 'solid' as serra's do have this vulnerability, as i believe all great works have this, because it refers one back to the artwork rather than the artist - who generally gets in the way.

11:34 AM  
Blogger ArtSparker said...

Images colliding brings up the Large hadron infernal device, the "nothing like clashed edges of two words that kill, and the umbrella and the meeting of the sewing machine and umbrella on the operating table.

And yes, an independent existence for the work in which they engage in their own dialogues...what we wish for our children.

11:47 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home