Unreal Nature

June 21, 2018

Since the Beginning of Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:35 am

… art functions as a kind of freedom. … You can invent any idea …

This is from the title essay by Anne Seymour to Richard Long: Walking in Circles (1991):

… One of his first works, done out-of-doors and dating from 1964, consists of a photograph of a snowball and its track. At the beginning of a long line of objects rolled, thrown or kicked this lumpy, rotating, roundish object was created basically of and by itself and its surroundings. It had a specific cycle explicit in the traces of the journey which caused its existence and in the substance from which it was made.

[line break added] This idea of something made of almost nothing, containing both end and beginning simultaneously, as nearly as possible self-begotten, achieved with such simplicity and ease that it is both magic and mysterious, and in the making of which the artist appears to be simply the privileged transmitter, has been part of art since the beginning of time. Richard Long has found a way of using it to make art which reflects the human predicament in the late twentieth century with equal relevance.

… Every path, like every work of art, has a mysterious sense of purpose about it deriving from the traces of energy of its making and the withdrawn presence of that energy.

From ‘Fragments of a Conversation’ these are Long’s own words:

… the tide was out and there was this beautiful bed of wet, soggy, bubbly seaweed on this stony beach, and I made a cross of stones on the seaweed. My idea for a sculpture was just to make a cross of stones on the seabed as the tide went out. When I woke up the next morning and unzipped the tent and looked out over the bay, the tide had come in and instead of seeing my cross of stones I actually saw the image of my work suspended on the surface of the water because the stones were keeping the seaweed down.

[line break added] So that work was made miraculously a lot better by the tide coming in and covering it. That as a kind of amazing bonus. So it actually became a work about half-tide, because of course, when the tide came up full all the seaweed was completely under the water.

Half-Tide, 1971

[ … ]

… It interests me very much that art functions as a kind of freedom. It’s like an open point of view. You can invent any idea and that’s enough — you can just do it.




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