Unreal Nature

August 1, 2016

Takes Its Own Place

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:38 am

… It’s not an amorphous field.

This is from ‘Rigging’ [1980] in Richard Serra: Writings Interviews (1994):

… I think that sculpture, if it has any potential at all, has the potential to create its own place and space, and to work in contradiction to the spaces and places where it is created in this sense. I am interested in work where the artist is a maker of “anti-environment” which takes its own place or makes its own situation, or divides or declares its own area.

[line break added] There seems to be in this country right now, especially in sculpture, a tendency to make work which attends to architecture. I am not interested in work which is structurally ambiguous, or in sculpture which satisfies urban design principles. I have always found that to be not only an aspect of mannerism but a need to reinforce a status quo of existing aesthetics.

This is from a 1983 interview with Peter Eisenman:

[ … ]

Peter Eisenman: … You say you reject chance, which is totally random, and you reject judgment, which is totally closed. You say experimentation is somewhere in between, but that your experiments with chance, influenced by William Burroughs and John Cage, led you to a dead end. What is the difference between a judgmental viewpoint and a viewpoint of chance? Would you say there is chance in Jackson Pollock’s action paintings, for example?

Richard Serra: Absolutely not. I saw Pollock’s retrospective in Paris recently. In these paintings the skeins don’t touch the edge, they never leave the border or boundary; the passage of paint is absolutely controlled. People misunderstand the “how” of the process and think that because someone is standing over a canvas working on the floor in a spontaneous manner, he must be out of control.

[line break added] But the decisions as to how much paint to use, where to put it, in fact, all the formal conditions that go into making paintings — line, massing, overlaying — are tightly organized. In hindsight it’s obvious how much structure is contained within the overall field and how much the overall field is a structure. It’s not an amorphous field.

PE: When Pollock says that his paintings are not representations of his feelings but expressions of his feelings, you know that they must be controlled by an unconscious reality. The imagery that comes up — the black holes that appear larger, the white and black, the pulsations — finally overtakes him.

RS: I have great difficulty with spurious psychological interpretations. One’s psychological makeup at a given moment is developed from the womb on; and one’s activity at a given moment is an intersection of congruences that will vent certain emotions. But to say that works are the result of an emotional state is to use a knee-jerk causality that simply does not follow.

[line break added] Critics have tried to explain one of my works — splashing molten lead — as a temper tantrum. It’s hard to keep up a temper tantrum for seven days, the time it took me to complete the sculpture. The same confusion surrounds Pollock. Pollock was never out of control. Look at his paintings.


My most recent previous post from Serra’s book is here.




Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: