07 September 2007

I Never Promised Objectivity...

Okay, there will be writing about Jedediah Caesar's show at D'Amelio Terras. But I want to start by expanding my own bias. I don't know an artist that doesn't occasionally get a crush on something another artist says or does. And this crush is never about a better understanding of the crush's work.

It's a crush because it leads you to understanding your work.

I came across these paragraphs, spoken by Jedediah Caesar, in the AiA interviews with 19 LA Sculptors when I was trying to make this specific leap from representing little versions of broken systems to actually breaking shit:

I got to the point where I was completely tired of the process: I was going to Home Depot, buying more material, getting another tool, and then eventually I'd end up with this object. Was it a good object or a bad object?
The rationale for making a better, or worse, object was that there was going to be this new form. It was going to justify all this work that I'd put into it. I wasn't quite sure where to go with that, and I found that I was more interested in histories and the resources that formed the materials.

I read this a few times, and internalized it. And it led me to some specific realizations about form and how one arrives at it, and I want to thank Caesar in writing for that. What stuck with me was this idea of winding up with an object, and then having to figure out whether or not it's good based on what you did. That's a top-down approach in which you tell the sculpture about form. And what I wanted was a bottom-up relationship, in which form is a necessary result, but in which I have little say over what the form is.

That relationship, in which form is not dictated but allowed to happen, seems more like the way life works. It seems more interesting, more about managing the crazy shit that happens to you in the course of a day and less about being the master of anything.

So, reading this was interview was a serious tool for understanding how to not get in the way of making this body of work, that is more about subjecting stuff to traumas of puncturing, torque and weight and allowing the results of that stress to emerge, than it is about anything else. You all remember this stuff:

Twist, 2007, carpet, cardboard and drywall screws over a found auto-body armature

What Caesar is doing has nothing to do with this. He's not interested in form as much as he's interested in volume and internality. And so he needs to start with some sort of form--you have to pour the resin in something--and so he relies heavily on known forms: circles, blobs, and at D'Amelio Terras, the grid.

And, of course, because I invested some energy in using these words for my own purposes, they are full of my own meanings now and so I look at all this grid stuff and feel disappointed, and that's not exactly the Good Foot. It is kind of selfish to hold someone accountable for how you used their words, so I am going to the park to dig some holes and loosen my grip on my own ideas of form, and approach this later.

By the way, there is an opening at Socrates Sculpture Park on Sunday, and you should come. Not only does the park and the Emerging Artists Fellowship show look fantastic, but you can see me and Takashi taking on New Orleans.


Blogger Mark Creegan said...

This is very interesting to me because, during my LA visit, i saw both your sculpture AND Ceasars'. In fact, i held your work in my arms as I helped Tim move it to storage. I can see your interpretation of his quote as a focus on the process and perhaps emphasizing chance operations. I read it (interestingly in terms of my own work:) ) as a highlighting of intrinsic properties and associations found in the materials themselves. Which is a factor in process oriented art so i get your drift also.
I see in your work no predetermined form, the twisting and torquing occurs under the volition of the materials and gravity and...you too!The result of your efforts are there. They may not be as direct as a Mondrian painting but its there. You zigged when you could have zagged, you chose to put that color patch of carpet there instead of here. I know you know this and your words are an admission of aspiration more than complete achievement. I guess i am proposing this is true for Ceasar as well AND true for my desire to allow the materials to speak for me.

great postage!

08 September, 2007 01:18  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Question: what is the determining psychological factor regarding the amount of control one has over the product?

08 September, 2007 01:21  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

okay, so in order to make work consistently its important to not wait for formal inspiration correct? SO the very act of making starts with a simple urge to, for example, put two pieces of carpet remnant together. So, one wants to respect that simple urge by doing it thousands of times, the result is not important. SO its a matter of being true to that initial response, not circumventing it or diluting it.

08 September, 2007 17:11  
Blogger fisher6000 said...

Hey Mark,

I don't think it's about being true to anything psychological, or about respecting an urge.

Honestly, I think that what is going on inside my mind is probably stupid and probably getting in the way of some truth that's out there and not inside me at all. And if I can figure out a few rules for minimizing my mind's input and narrowing down the kinds of choices it can make, and maximizing the input and choices the form has to make in order to make itself...

...this is going to sound ultra-corny, but I honestly think that the form has some truth to tell me. If I can step aside and let it.

I certainly know that I am making choices, and that it would be disengenuous of me to say that I am not involved. But my involvement is really problematic. It injects arbitrary choices that skew truthfinding.

I am interested in that process of minimizing my own input in order to find more truth.

I hope that makes sense.

08 September, 2007 22:04  
Blogger fisher6000 said...

Question: what is the determining psychological factor regarding the amount of control one has over the product?


08 September, 2007 22:09  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

I hear you and understand. Its as though you want the form to self- manifest with as little influence from your esthetic prejudices. And from my vantage point, it seems your work successfully achieves this. Is there an aspect of your process that is lacking for you where this is concerned?

Here is sumpthin good and related: Anastasi says...

09 September, 2007 01:24  

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