cover photo

blog archive

main site




View current page
...more recent posts

The three Charles Ray installations at Matthew Marks right now, all brilliant examples of post-minimalist/conceptual sculpture, each created in the late eighties and new to New York, rattled my perceptions, jangled my faculties, and made me go “Wow!” They exemplify a drug-addled view of the world. Ray’s sculptures, part of a long tradition of minimal installations, are also forerunners to much of the theatrical Festivalism of recent times (e.g., Maurizio Cattelan and Olafur Eliasson). Each piece is nearly invisible and formally economical. Yet each is outrageously labor-intensive. Ink Line, the best and showiest of the three works, is a sculpture/drawing/fountain consisting of a stream of jet-black ink pouring from a dime-size hole in the ceiling into a dime-size hole in the floor. Initially Ink Line looks like a strand of yarn strung the height of the gallery, a pulsating Fred Sandback sculpture, a free-floating Barnett Newman zip, or a disembodied Sol LeWitt. Get close and you’ll realize the line is liquid, glimmering, the consistency of syrup, moving fairly fast, fluctuating slightly, and thinner at the bottom than at the top. The ink forms a weird climatological aura around itself, slightly changing the humidity of the room. I was blown away when I was allowed to see the elaborate apparatus that makes this simple effect possible. There was a large, noisy electric motor in the showroom beneath this gallery, all sorts of wiring, and plastic tubes that go under the floor, behind the wall, and above the ceiling. A gallery assistant arrives two hours early each day to drain the ink, “de-gas” it (!?), heat it with lamps to between 90 and 95 degrees, and put it back into the system. Anyone who looks at Ink Line can figure out how it works—yet the piece is as much a phenomenological event and a mystery as it is a work of formalist sculpture.
good examples of "plug-in" art. (art requiring a power cord.)
[link] [add a comment]