Oceanic Undifferentiation

Winter-Field---CloseupC

In what Robert Smithson called the ‘entropy of technique’ such processes plunge the imagination into the oceanic undifferentiation. To circle around a distinction between what could be rendered as limitless fragmentation and what could be reinscribed back into artistic determinants is bound to fail given that it is often the case that in the making of the work of art the borders are just not there. In any case, the abyss has no narrow bounds.

In my previous post Mutability I tossed out a few quotes from Robert Morris on the reconstitution of the object of art which as Morris pointed out has no necessary recourse to idealist images or “pre-thought” images invested prior to the event of the making of the work – i.e. the end is not in the origin but found within the process itself. Even if I initiate a plan within the event of the making towards an achievable goal,  when I work I have no clue how it is going to end. Indeed, that could end up being a most difficult task:  the best works are born out of the labor pains of a dying ego.

In the activity of making a work of art that bears truth of its materials in a process of change, the artist allows themselves to be caught up in the excitation of matter. Smithson mentions Malevich’s Non Objective World: “the artist who is physically engulfed tries to give evidence of this experience through  limited (mapped) revision of the original unbounded state.” At this juncture there are no finished works of art but only sensations. The work of art that the artist helps bring into existence is a limited container of larger processes, itself being an event or occasion in the transient momentum of the world.

 

 

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