Unreal Nature

December 2, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:04 am

… It is not that within art closure is abandoned, but rather that it is postponed, ‘delayed’ …

This is from the essay ‘Detour and Access’ by Jeremy Millar in Peter Fraser (2002):

[ … ]

I did not believe that it was possible to talk about the kinds of things that Eggleston’s photographs talked about using photography — in other words a whole new world of possibilities opened up. And what was fabulous was if that was possible, then what else was possible? Up until that point, the potential of photography to engage with a person’s response to the world around them seemed to fall within tightly constrained and, to my mind, relatively predictable areas, but here was somebody who could almost photograph a smell — he could almost photograph something that was impossible to photograph and that was, and still is, an idea which for me is incomparable. It opens up the future of photography, of everything that can come afterwards. — Peter Fraser

[ … ]


… The viewer might be reminded of the sculptural concerns of Robert Morris, with his notion of anti-form, which we find in the 1968 work, Untitled (Threadwaste), or Robert Smithson’s explorations of entropy, in Glue Pour (1969) or Asphalt Rundown (1969), for example, and in many ways Fraser shares these artists’ fascination with the interactions and processes of the material and its place in the texture of the world. Jean-Paul Sartre referred to the ‘sticky’ as essentially ambiguous because its fluidity exists in slow motion (one might think also of [Fraser’s project] Ice and Water in this regard). The materials in these pictures often do not seem fixed or static in any meaningful sense either but, in Fraser’s words, are ‘striving for another state.’


That these materials exist, that they were in a certain state at the time that they were photographed, that they were photographed at all, are all forms of ‘closure’ … [A]s [philosopher Hilary Lawson] remarks: ‘It is through closure that openness is divided into things.’ He goes on:

Closure enables us to realize objects of every type and variety. Closure is responsible for our being able to describe the atoms of hydrogen and the molecules of water that make up the sea; for our being able to experience a sunrise over a field of corn; or hear the sound of a log fire and the warmth that it brings; it is closure that makes possible the kiss of a lover or the pain of injury; closure that allows the crossword puzzle and its solution; the words of language and the meanings they offer; Newton’s theory of gravity and Shakespeare’s sonnets; the state of peace and the activity of war; a society based on democracy; the universe, its beginning and its end. Without closure there would be no thing.

There are many different levels of closure, however …

… It could be argued, in fact, that art is the thing that most resembles what we could possibly imagine as openness. … It is not that within art closure is abandoned, but rather that it is postponed, ‘delayed’ …





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