Helen Rousseau, sculptor and artist educator presented Intersections -connecting and disconnecting the dots. My initial reaction, and reaction when asked to respond in a group to the questions What is Sculpture? What else is it for me? was bewilderment. The feelings I had at this time last year surfaced. It felt like Helen was talking in a foreign language. I just couldn’t grasp the point she was trying to make.
Is it that I am not a sculptor, even though in relation to time and space, and the transparent layering I employ, it could be loosely argued that I was sculpting in 2D? Is that why I didn’t connect? I do work in a studio, where others don’t, so there was some connection there.
At the heart of my reflection is that I haven’t grasped the essence of her message.
Gilbert Ryle is new to me, I will read Concept of the Mind, a subject I am already reading around. Gilles Deleuze is also new, I will read Difference & Repetition. I watch Au Jeu de Paume by Valerie Mrejen, a film maker who procrastinates over entering her studio. A gentle study of human nature. I am reminded of the book I am reading, Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, a gentleness that suits the French creative.
I read around Jan Verwoert, an essay on why conceptual artists are painting again http://www.afterall.org/journal/issue.12/why.are.conceptual.artists.painting.again.because. and a video on his lecture https://vimeo.com/60549110 . Tim Ingold’s Lines – A Brief History looks interesting.
Helen talks about the need to know when enough is enough. What is happening when we use the word intuition. It is difficult to articulate, suffice to say that there is rigour in the process. She talks about materiality, the drawing out to see what will appear, referring again to Ingold’s book Image and Materials. Allow what arrives. Jane Bennett in her book on political ecology, Vibrant Matter, refers to material having its own agency, not as an abdication of responsibility.
Brian O’Doherty writes about the artist’s and their work’s relationship with the gallery in Studio and Cube, a follow on from his essay Inside the White Cube- the Ideology of the Gallery Space. Helen refers to the new relationship when the gallery takes responsibility for the work. Verwoert in Control Here I Am, talks of ‘the intuitive capacity to gently, but firmly, keep things focused..’ Anna Cutler in Who will Sing the Song? quotes Felix Guarrari’s The Three Ecologies ‘transit station for changes crossings and switches’.
So What is Sculpture? Audience involvement with the work, the ability to move around, the work to move around the viewer, to experience, to feel both tactically and emotionally, negotiating the space to become part of the work. It exists in time and space, claims the space, which can affect how you look at it. Monika mentioned the work of Swiss artist Pamela Rosenkranz and French artist Celeste Boursier-Morgenot at the recent Venice Bienalle. Helen mentioned Brian Cox’s programme about time, where the photography is slowed right down.
Ines concluded with the work of Iris Van Herpen, fashion designer or sculptor?
There is much to interest me in Helen’s presentation. I trust that all will become clear as I move forward.