Saturday, 31 March 2007

Pierre Huyghe - Timekeeper


Like A geographical cross-section, Timekeeper uncovers and shows the successive layers left behind by previous actions (wall paintings) on the walls of the Wiener Secession. Just as the rings of a tree tell its history. Timekeeper is a caption that tells the story of its location. It allows the work of different artists to coexist. A kind of retrospective and group exhibition. 2003
Image and text from Pierre Huyghe, Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, 2004.

Pierre Huyghe - Billboards







Jan Dibbets


















Panorama Bloemendaal, 1971.
(Bloemendaal is a beach in Holland)














Shortest Day at My House in Amsterdam, 1970.

Arial Orozco at Suzanne Tarsieve Paris

Click on image to see enlargement.














Doble Desgaste, 2005.


















Detail: Doble Desgaste.

Doble Desgaste (Double Waste) 2005 . . . speaks to a striking ephemerality. In this transformative piece, the artists systematically drew the portrait of a handheld eraser, which he then proceeded to erase with the same eraser, starting over on the same piece of paper until both eraser and its double (portrait) were gone. Each stage of the dwindling eraser was documented with a photo, making in total 120 photos. When initially coming across this splendidly compact allegory of vanity, I was dazzled by what I deemed to be its status as the self-erasing masterpiece par excellence, and yet strictly speaking the case, engendering, as it does, an accumulated archive of its own methodical elimination.

Above text: Chris Sharp
Taken from exhibition guide.

The history of this piece of paper is recorded by photography, but the process seems to be encased in the paper; surely the repeated use of erasure must leave some mark, if only damage on the paper? I find it intriguing that the piece progresses with the destruction of its subject - that one has an adverse affect on the other. Its strikes me there is a poignant loyalty to the clear depiction of something. The repeated rubbing and removing, its self-consumption, reminds me a little of the endeavour of Auerbach's drawn portraits where prolonged energy and commitment to the subject would often work through the paper until it was left pitted. Such happenings however would not bring the end; continuance would come with repapering the reverse until it was strong enough to continue. In some ways this seems the inverse of the rational, methodical system of Arial Orozco who's piece is not the residue, but the revelation of the process from opening to culmination.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Home of Newtons Tree?

Exercise in progress

Icons.org.uk run by cultureonline.gov.uk


'In the back garden of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge is an apple tree. There is another in the University Botanic Gardens. Each is said to be a descendant of the one at Woolsthorpe Manor near Grantham that inspired the founder of modern physics to inquire into the nature of gravitation and the laws of motion.'


Massachusetts Institute of Tecnology

'Ed Vetter (S.B. 1942) gave MIT an apple tree that is a direct descendant of the tree under which Isaac Newton sat when he is said to have conceived the theory of gravity. This fall, the beloved tree bore bright, healthy fruit--a sure sign of flourishing and a link between past and present days.'




DESCENDANTS of the apple tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton's laws of gravity are sprouting again in Canada thanks to two Ontario men. It took 10 years and two unsuccessful attempts to get a viable graft from an offspring of Newton's tree, but Bob Prince, a dean of science...

(Article seemingly unavailable (not found 9/05/07). No picture available)


(Picture entitled 'Newton's apple tree Master's Garden', belonging to the album 'Mich Term 2003' from 'PWF Personal Web Page Server - people.pwf.cam.ac.uk for students at Cambridge. This student also has a funny little blog type set up of their own with a little archive of items: http://www.neilcopland.com. On the page 'Who am I?' the second line states: 'This is what I said a few years back.' Although it is seemingly written from his present.)




York University, Canada. From Profiles; in house magazine.

'LEGEND HAS it that Sir Isaac Newton's initial theories about gravity came about in 1666 while sitting under his famed apple tree. Now that tree has come to York - or at least part of it.
"The trees are genetically traceable to the family home of Isaac Newton and the site of the legendary falling apple," said Robert Prince, Dean of the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science.'






'THE history books say that Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation was inspired by a falling apple. But what happened to the tree? Clones claimed to have been grown from grafts of the great mathematician's apple tree stand in Britain and elsewhere. The time is now ripe to weed out any imposters.
Newton's tree, which grew at Woolsthorpe Manor, his Lincolnshire home, was blown down around 1820, nearly a century after his death.'


Physics and Astonomy Department - University of Nedraska - Lincoln

'Newton's Apple Tree Bears Fruit Nine years after it was planted outside Behlen Laboratory, the cutting from Newton’s famous apple tree has flourished and matured and in fall 2000 produced its first apples.

Lyman and Young took back with them a cutting from the tree (which had to be quarantined as per U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements). It was then grafted onto Nebraska rootstock (so that it would survive Nebraska winters) and was planted on April 4th, 1991 just south of the loading dock of Behlen Lab.'

The Lunar Society











During the Enlightenment there was a change in professions of the men who influenced people; instead of the authority of the church; with priests; men who interpreted the bible, 'thinkers' and practical men became paramount. A group of such men formed through the prevalent coffee house culture, including James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, Josiah Wedgewood, the potter, William Herscel, an astronomer, and Benjamin Franklin, pioneer of the science of electricity and founding father of the American Republic. They were also joined by Erasmus Darwin, poet, evolutionist and physician, who, it is rumored, is said to have had a semi circle cut out of the table at which he sat with these friends, to comfortably fit his large bulk, without the discomfort of being unable to draw up to the table to talk because of his stomach. Grandfather of Charles Darwin, during his life over two hundred years ago, he planned to tow icebergs to the equator to control the global climate.

Back to the men; formed in Birmingham, the group would meet once a month, on full moon, and christened themselves 'The Lunar Society'. This was not however down to any pagan tradition, rather a more practical solution; the presence of the full moon, if out, would hopefully cast more light in the darkness, allowing them to ride home in comparative safety after their meeting; in slight intoxication they were more likely to see the pitfalls in their road, and avoid an accident! They nicknamed themselves the 'lunaticks': a pun on the work lunatic.

Another quote from What Painting Is

A painters problem:

A fixed element in a work, such a dried passage where the painting is effectively finished can be a cornerstone around which the work is constructed. It is necessary, but it also hurts. It is often possible to look at a painting and guess which passage was fixed early in the process. It may be a face, or a beautiful passage of drapery, or a brilliant gestural mark, usually it is whatever is so obviously successful that the painter could not bear to efface it even when the painting changed around it until its very existence became a luxury. At first the perfect in the image is a happy discovery, what in French is called trouvaille, and then the painting gathers around it, it wears out its welcome and becomes an annoyance. Often, too, it is possible to see paintings where the perfect place, prematurely fixed, has outlined its value and continues to exist only as a fossil of some earlier notion of what the picture might have been. Paintings tell the story of the creation that way . . . The painting swirls around the fixed spot, protecting and enclosing it like a bandage. But the thoughts rub against it and it aches.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Work by Karen Knorr


















Featured in "Painters of Modern Life" at the Pompidou Centre when we went there in February.

'The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Production'

Work also includes the following:


















'Contemplation of the Essential Forms'























'The Invention of Tradition'

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Both the Egyptian Aviary and the Monument to a horse in the previous blog feature in the PG tips card collection posted earlier. Intriguingly I think these men may actually be related, certainly George Durant, who built the aviary is related to "Mad Jack" Fuller who I'm sure you've all heard me harp on about at some stage; he is the one buried in a pyramid in East Sussex. I have got slightly lost in exactly how they are related due to all the different accounts, but as they are if does explain something of their influences, and explain how several pyramids got build in 18th and 19th century Britain, all by men unlikely to have travelled far out the own counties and those neighbouring, let alone on the Grand Tour (The Pyramid of Cestrius in Rome is often stated to be an influence; if was a popular attraction for those young men who went on a Grand Tour) let alone to the pyramids of Egypt.
'Andrew Lanyon has been bringing out the Rowley books in beautiful limited editions for the past 20 years. This selection from the first 12 of them is the first time their remarkable content has been made more generally available. The author is the son of one of the foremost of the St. Ives artists, Peter Lanyon, and so was brought up in the strange atmosphere of a fishing village overwhelmed with “high culture"; his ambivalent feelings about this invasion underpin the narrative.'

Text from Atlas Press website.

Exert - page 98 from Circlular Walks Around Rowley Hall by Andrew Lanyon






















Text reads : 'The Progress of Art'
A chronicle of the disintegration of the real world, broken up through the loss of its image components.

Obsessions with pyramids, church spires and pets

An Egyptian Aviary at Tong in Shropshire. Built in the 18th century by a man who inherited his father's estate at four years old, the aviary included a two doors, a small chicken-sized one and another almost as small, for the egg collector. The yellow brick building is dotted with comfortable nesting holes, and egg shaped ventilation holes. On the walls are inscribed the words "Trail by Jury" and "Scratch before you Peck" and bizarrely "Teach you Granny".

Illustration from Follies, edited by Sir Hugh Casson, National Benzole Books, 1963.


















Photograph from Monumental Follies: An exposition on the eccentric edifices of Britain, by Stuart Barton, Lyle Publications, 1972.


















When hunting one day, a man rode over a hedge, only to find on the other side was a huge chalk pit, 30ft across. Luckily for him, his horse stretched out a little more, and reached the other side safely, saving his life. This man, Mr Paulet St. John, was so overwhelmed he renamed his horse "Beware chalk Pit" and together they went on to win numerous races. This monument is St. Johns memorial to his horse, at Farley down in Hampshire, standing 25ft high, marking the resting place of his saviour. The monument was built around 1733.

Photograph from Monumental Follies.


















Robert Stephen Hawker a poet and vicar built his home, the Rectory at Morwenstow in Cornwall, with five chimneys - four of which are miniaturization's of his favourite church spires. The fifth, somewhat larger, seems somewhat different. Apart from its function - it is the kitchen chimney and so larger than those for heating the lofty building, it could possibly depict something much more morbid than a church spire. I have found various different accounts, which tell of two different accounts. One opinion is that it is some kind of trap for the devil, so that he may be trapped and roasted alive, the other is that it is a replica of his mothers tomb. They are united in one thing; the both state uncertainly that this is the truth, they know Hawkers intentions. Unfortunately I haven't found a photo of the fifth chimney, although I can say one thing; it does exist; I've been there; the rectory is now a great place for Cornish cream tea!


One miniature church spire chimney. Photograph from Monumental Follies.








Hawker also built himself a hut, a solitary refuge for one in which he sat; reflecting and writing poetry. The hut still exists, and is also visitable. It sits by the cliff, almost dug into its side, and faces out to the ocean. Despite the only presence between this point and America being the sea, Hawkers view was not uneventful; the frequent storms combined with treacherous rocks and ignorant sailors, brought many boats and ships into danger along this stretch of coast, and Hawker was often witness to terrible events as he looked out in the darkness. It appears he was not the only one who looked on; soon after this accidents locals would flood to the sight, relieving the stricken vessels of their contents, their dead sailors being unable to prevent such robbery. Hawker was horrified by this practice, but it seems his power as the local vicar of multiple parishes did not stretch so far as to stop them.














Photograph from Hawker of Morwenstow, Portrait of a Victorian Eccentric, by Piers Brendon, Pimlico, 2002.

In the blurb on the back it is stated "He talked to birds, invited his nine cats into church and excommunicated one of them when it caught a mouse on Sunday."

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Streamside Day Follies















An exhibition with moving walls;

Pierre Huyghe,
Streamside Day
Shown at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, 1995.
http://www.imma.ie/en/page_72394.htm
Originally commissioned by DIA:Chelsea, New York in 2003. Presented under its original name Streamside Day Follies.
http://www.diachelsea.org/exhibs/huyghe/streamside/

Several books have been written on the subject of follies; buildings built without a specific purpose, and of their creators. The most authoritative texts on this subject were written in the 1970's and since then few have attempted to decipher the rumours from any hidden truths. To understand or justify a happening never understood in its own epoch, from a latter distorted perspective, is understandingly difficult. Nonetheless many have tried, and not surprising together they form a beautiful collection of contradictions. At times they seem to vie with each other for the most outrageous reasoning behind these stone edifices.

Pierre Huyghe advertised for participants for a celebration of a new suburban settlement in upstate New York called Streamside Knolls. The events that the community participated in were intended to become new traditions. With activities and a parade designed and conceived by the artist, proceedings were filmed and became part of the film at the centre of his installation. In its original form the film was contained by a structure labelled as a folly, described by one review as reminiscent of a building site. In an earlier work Huyghe documented the 'half-built buildings surrounding Naples and Rome that circumvented tax legislation by never reaching completion. These buildings are often constructed in their owners spare time without proper plans or an architect and their significance for the artist is their open-ended or never-ending nature; they exist with the sole purpose of being eternally created.' 1

These statements insinuate the artist believes that these constructions are more of an on going hobby for their builders, rather than something ever meant to be completed. Its seems the artist sees these buildings as follies. A folly building could be defined as one that has no purpose; a purpose insinuating it has a use. To be used it would be imagined that it would need to be finished, complete.

The structure in the exhibition moved to contain the viewer of the film; their inhabited space changed around them;

"In its original form the installation was called Streamside Day Follies and was presented within a temporary-looking folly-like structure that would slowly arrange itself before each screening of the film in a mournful or graceful movement (on wheels) and slowly deconstruct itself afterwards. A folly is usually an ornamental building and not functional at all - in contrast with the houses that are being built in Streamside knolls which are soon to be inhabited by families." 2

In its most recent display at the Irish Museum of Modern Art the show was scaled down, with the folly structure removed.

1 & 2 http://www.recirca.com/reviews/2005/pierrehuyghe2/ph2.shtml

The Monkey's Paw exercise

I heard of another; one Individual. A writer by all accounts. Unhappy with his work, he dreamt of a moment in which he might find a solution, and with it respite from his torment; the cause of his escapist habit. Had he refrained, by all means he may eventually have found his salvation, yet he was unable to halt this anecdotal tendency.

Immersed, accidentally on purpose, he was removed from the necessity of dealing with his reality; he dwelt instead on anticipation of what it would feel like; that moment of relief when he would find a direction which he could then devote himself to.
At some point, after much spent time, an idea came to him, quite unexpectedly: abruptly. Relief swept in, with focus and eye opening clarity. He no longer secretly willed the descent of his daydreaming habit that diverted him; it was obsolete.

Lucid, he sat, noting it down. Next to continue. He stared at the page, but the next step, the next movement was hidden from him. It had started in his dream; but no longer lost, he seemed unable to follow it. He willed his mind to drift back into diversion, by it was no use seeking it. To his detriment he knew this idea, this one thought, was the one he had been looking for, and within it hope - the only problem was he seemed to be constantly chasing it. The first line lay written, but each after could not catch its glory. He tried returning to the words, recounting them, attempting to continue his train of thought. Like the retracing of steps to retrieve a forgotten intended task. However he was only greeted with the realisation that his hopeful idea has rid him of the facility of escapism.

A new dream tempts him; to return to that previous state so that he might relive that long desired moment of finding a solution, and this time gripping tightly so he may know the next. But, a moment later, he realises the flaw; encapsulated in his reverie he would be unable to record his thoughts. Severed from his skill they may yet be lost again. I heard he stopped, avoiding the risk.


I heard of another; one Individual. A writer by all accounts. Unhappy with his work, he dreamt of a moment in which he might find absolution, and with it respite from his torment; the cause of his escapist habit. Had he retrained, by all means he may eventually have found his salvation, yet he was unable to halt this antidote tendency.

Immersed, accidentally on purpose, he was removed from any necessity of dealing with his reality; he dealt instead on anticipation of what it would feel like; that moment of belief when he would find a decision which he could then dote to.

At some point, after much pent time, an idea came to him, quite unexpectedly: abruptly. Relief swept in, with focus and eye opening clarity. He no longer secretly willed the descent of his daydreaming habit that diverted him; it was obsessive.

Lucid, he sat, noting it down. Next to continue. He stared at the page, but the next step, the next movement was hidden from him. It had started in his dream; but no longer lost, he seemed unable to follow it. He willed his mind to tip back into diversion, by it was no use seeking it. To his detriment he knew this idea, this only thought, was the one he had been looking for, and within it hope - the only problem was he seemed to be constantly chasing it. The first line lay written, but each after could not snatch at its glory. He tried returning to the words, counting them, attempting to continue to rein in his thoughts. Like the retracing of steps to retrieve a forgotten past intended. However he was only greeted with the realisation that his hopeless idea has rid him of the fiction of escapism.

A new dream tricks him; to turn to that previous state so that he might retrieve that long desired moment of finding a solution, and this time gripping sprightly so he may know the rest. But, a moment later, he reached a flaw; trapped in his reverie he would be unable to hoard his thoughts. Severed from his skill they may yet be lost again. I heard he stopped, avoiding the risk.


I heard of another; one Indistinguishable. A writer by all accounts. Unhappy with to work, he dreamt of a moment in which he might find absolution, and with it spite his torment; the cause of his escapist habit. Had he retrained, by all means he would eventually have found his salvation, yet he was unable to arrest this antidoting predisposition.

Immersed, accidentally with purpose, he was removed from any necessity of dealing with his insanity; he knelt instead at anticipation of what it would feel like; that moment of belief when he would find derision which he could then dote to.

At some point, after much pent time, an idea came to him, quite unexpectedly: bluntly. Relief crept in, with focus and eye opening clarity. He no longer sneakily willed the descent of his daydreaming habit that diverted him; it was obstructive.

Lucky, he sat, noting it down. Next to condense. He stared at the page but the next moment was hideous for him. It had started in his dream; but no longer lost, he seemed unable to feel it. He willed his mind to tip back into diversion, by it was no use seeking it. To his detriment he knew this idea, this only thought, was the one he had been looking for, and with it hope - the only possibility to relentlessly chase it. The first line lay written, but each after could not even snatch at its glory. He tried returning to words, counting them, attempting to rein his thoughts. Like the replacing of steps to relieve a forgotten past intended. However he was only greeted with the realisation that his hopeless idea has rid him of the fiction of escapism.

A new dream tricks him; to spurn to that previous state so that he might reseed that long desired moment of finding a solution, and this time gripping despite so he may show how the rest. But, a moment later, he reached a flaw; snapped in his reverie he would be unable to hoard his thoughts. Severed from his skill, now lost again. I heard he stopped, avoiding the risk.



Italics - Words and phrases changed in second and third repeats.

The second block is a manipulated repeat of the first; the third, the second. In some instances I have changed words to those similar in sound, easily misheard. Sometimes they rhyme, sometimes they share similar meaning, sometimes they exaggerate, sometimes they over react. I have attempted to keep it making sense, although at times it may seem less so.