Thursday, 30 April 2009

concrete floors make copacetic mattresses

Some thoughts...

I'm using the opportunity to work freely in such a large space to take a step back from my practice at this stage by documenting a series of wall drawings. Past works can be described as fugitive in that they often are short lived and occupy ancillary spaces in museums and galleries. The drawings at PSL will be filmed being made and then erased shortly after completion. The project is structured in two 6 week phases: the first of which resembles studio practice in public and the second stage (which we're calling 'the exhibition') has more of a conventional feel of a group show.

The next stream of consciousness rant concerns the work pictured in the image above...

I'm not usually interested in revealing or emphasising the process and act of making a drawing. I'd rather start with a projected notion arrived at by research into the site and/or the context of issues dealt with in a group show and end up with a work which attempts to communicate a message via text and image and places its emphasis firmly on the viewer and their perspective. Past work has incorporated literature and narrative (both visual and verbal) which encourages the viewer to read the architecture as they read the drawings. This convention in art reached its zenith in the frescoes of the Quattrocento.

In a way this new work relates to the title Morphic Resonance, as on a formal level; stereomatic motifs and familiar insignia allude to notions of collectivity and Sheldrake's collective memory theory.

The grammar of the ornament here speaks of interplay and transition.
However, above all else, this drawing is an aesthetic consequence of time and space. The optic-illusionary elements serve to reinforce the idea of art as paradox and multi stable. The hyper-temporary nature of the work draws into question the very function and value of art itself. The found insignia are geometric shapes of the sort which have regularly appeared in the 60's movement of Op art as well as in the sophisticated 3d illusionistic pattern design of many cultures including Rome, the Middle East, India and Greece.

Ornament in the context of a culture is a form of social amelioration, an act of relieving ills and changing for the better, perhaps linked to humankind's striving for Godliness through order and dominion over nature or an improved society towards utopia. Or an indication of a race's identity and their societies stage, gauged by their ornament's level of sophistication. You don't need to look further than architecture to see the signs this vernacular expression of power through design. Is the idea of relieving ills related to the compulsion artists feel to make objects and statements? What do we share that makes us artists? A gene? Was the Beuysian positivist notion of trauerarbeit due to individual or collective collective guilt? Why am I so cynical? Can art really make a difference? Can it change the world? When I ask the question 'What is art for?' by making temporary site specific drawings. I think the answer for me lies somewhere in this line of enquiry. I like to think of these works as conversations on these ideas.

Working in the space and getting an insight into, not only my praxis - which was the original intention - but also the work of the other artists has been unusually helpful. It has in addition, generated more questions than answers at this stage, which I'm rather happy about...

For the opening on the 12th of May intend to display the black and white photographic documentation of each drawing (6 in total) before erasure as the work in it's final form hung over the painted-out drawings. This project for me has been about duration and gaining a new perspective on my praxis. More to follow... In the meantime you can see more photos and video of work in progress on my faceplant page

hakol b’seder,

Ant Macari

workplace gallery


  1. Hi Ant, Responding to your Q's “Can art really make a difference? Can it change the world?” I have some questions...... Do you think art needs to make a difference? If you do, what to? And should it change the world? If so, what aspects of the world?

    I'm intrigued to break down these seemingly huge concepts and would love to hear your views.......

    Latie Kou

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