Unreal Nature

April 21, 2017

Fill in the Blanks

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:38 am

… I suppose I am tiring of chatter about people’s lives/problems. … Too much information to use; too much confession.

This is ‘Black Curtain’ (1970) found in More Than You Wanted to Know About John Baldessari Vol. 1 (2013):

The video screen is considered as a painting ground. The camera is continuously focused upon a black plastic curtain that moves imperceptively because of a slight breeze thus causing minor shifts in the dark-light ratio.

As a result of the mimimal visual information offered, attention is focused upon the ambient studio noise — a radio playing, people talking, and etc.

I think Baldessari meant imperceptibly rather than imperceptively in the above, but I give it as I find it in the text.

Next is ‘Walking Forward — Running Past’ (1971):

Sequential color photographs of two actions in two directions are pinned to a wall and removed one at a time. It is an equivocal action that locates in the territory between still photography and movies/video. The sound of breathing can be related to the action of mounting the photographs or to the actions they depict.

Moving into Vol. 2 of this two volume collection, the following is ‘Car Color Series’ (1976):

Color as a memory. At various times, I would quickly shoot a color sample of each car parked along a city block. Always the same section of the car — the center of the door. It is the syntax of colors that is important and not a well-composed photograph. One might call them “street sentences.” They are installed in the order that the cars are parked and if there is a vacant space on the street, there is a vacant space on the wall.

In the 1968 Volvo, Dirty and Polished piece, the idea is the condition of the color. The unpolished shot is sprayed matt and the polished shot is on glossy paper.

Last, for today is part of ‘Alfred from Berlin’ (1979):

… I suppose I am tiring of chatter about people’s lives/problems. An age where I know more than I care to about people. Too much information to use; too much confession. And usually multi-track sound. I longed for something simple …

Lists give as much information as novels. Consider: boy/girl/tractor as a Russian novel. Perhaps as much information as one needs and quite possibly as interesting as a novel. The creator shouldn’t have so much ego that it is forgotten there is a sophisticated audience out there that can participate and fill in the blanks.

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

-Julie

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