Collective Properties: Locality and Interactivity

The exhibition includes a multitude of artworks that juxtapose eccentricity with forms of convention to emphasize the locality and interactivity of the artist, the artwork and the artworld.  

Created as an experimental piece, it marks a development of her preoccupations with optical effect towards painterly effect.
In part inspired by the pointillist technique of Seurat, Riley turned to abstraction around 1960. In the Arts Council’s Movement in Squares (1961), a chequerboard goes haywire. As the grid approaches the middle of the composition, it distorts, accelerates and then plunges towards infinity. People talk about painters striving to create the illusion of depth — here, Riley accessed another dimension altogether.
Many of Christo's Packages give few clues as to what lies under the fabric. While the contents may be cans, bottles or other refuse of daily life, what is inside matters only in the shape it gives the work of art. Another important aspect of the Packages is their quality of nomadic fragility. The coarse, unremarkable and seemingly left-over fabrics used to wrap the everyday objects create an artwork that is both difficult and unpolished. These materials suggest the temporary and transitional nature of the work, much like the traveling bundles of nomadic life – the package exists, but for a short time and can cease to exist in the blink of an eye. The works of art make permanent what is usually an impermanent creation.
‘Spyrogyra’ captures the general good humour of Cragg’s sculpture while embodying some of the most profound aspects of his work as a whole. The bottle rack is of course a reference to Duchamp’s famous Readymade, ‘Egouttoir’ (bottle rack) 1914 1; this alludes to the playful conceptual aspect of Cragg which so often makes witty allusions to art history. The structure is however far more open and intuitive than Duchamp’s original. The spiral immediately suggests DNA and organic couplings, which are ubiquitous in Cragg’s forms. Each rod attached to the spiral can take certain kinds of bottles, not a unique bottle but one of a general kind. As a result every time it is assembled it changes in the particular but maintains its essential form. In this way it mimics the genetic accommodation of kind and individuality. The reference to scientific structures is invariably a key theme in Cragg’s work.
Rosalie Gascoigne came to art late in life. Holding her first exhibition in 1974 at age 57, her career spanned 25 years, during which time her work was exhibited widely both in Australia and internationally until her death in 1999. Gascoigne used mostly found materials: wood, iron, wire, feathers, and yellow and orange retro-reflective road signs, which flash and glow in the light. Some of her other best-known works use faded, once-bright drinks crates; thinly-sliced yellow Schweppes boxes; ragged domestic items such as torn floral lino and patchy enamelware; vernacular building materials such as galvanised tin, corrugated iron and masonite. These objects represent, rather than accurately depict, elements of the world around her: the landscape around her home in Canberra and the materials and textures of rural life. Text is another important element of Gascoigne’s work; she would cut up and rearrange the faded, naive lettering found on these items to create abstract yet evocative grids of letters and word fragments.
The ‘Incomplete open cubes’ are a sequence of open-sided cube structures, each missing between one and nine of their sides. At once repetitive and varied, this series lays out 122 possible variations on the concept. The ‘Incomplete open cubes’ exemplify LeWitt’s conceptual practice and have been widely interpreted as embodying systematic rationality; they are based on an arithmetic concept which they then take to its logical extreme. While they are internally consistent, they also manifest an irrational, obsessive quality reflected in LeWitt’s own comment that ‘irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically’. Here he presents a binary between the rational and the irrational.
In Onus's sculptures, irony, wit and whimsy are the predominant features. 'Fruit bats', 1991, is made up of a flock of fibreglass sculptures of bats decorated with rarrk (crosshatching), hanging on a Hills Hoist clothes line. Beneath this icon of Australian suburbia are wooden discs with flower-like motifs, representing the bat droppings. In this powerful installation, the sacred and the mundane combine. The work was inspired by Murrungun-Djinang imagery, which Onus was given permission to use. In 'Fruit bats', the artist shows a head-on collision between two contrasting sets of values, and throws in a few inversions of his own. The backyard – suburban Australia's haven of privacy – becomes spooked by the formidable presence of these noisy animals. The pre-colonial bats seem to have taken over and reclaimed their place, in a story worthy of Alfred Hitchcock.
‘What Goes Up Must Come Down’, a ping-pong ball floats in the air supported by a jet of air coming from a hairdryer, was produced for the magazine ‘Parkett’ in 1994. The work is part of the ‘Mental Escapology’ series, a ping-pong ball floats in the air supported by a jet of air coming from a hairdryer.
Oil barrels proved to be suitable working material for Christo because of their sculptural effect and their low cost, and they soon became a dominant factor in his work. From 1958 onwards, many structures were created out of wrapped and unwrapped barrels. Whereas the wrapped cans and bottles were comparable to classical still lifes, the dimensions of the columns of barrels gave them a life-sized form. Their large size, coupled with their arrangement in groups, enhanced their physical effect over that of the smaller works. The use of oil barrels gained the upper hand from 1961 onwards when Christo erected a column of unaltered drums only in the courtyard behind his studio at 14 rue de Saint-Senoch for the first time. Christo carried the barrels he had collected and cleaned into the yard, stacked them one upon the other, had them photographed and then finally disassembled them.
From the early 1960s to the present, Sol LeWitt has been at the forefront of minimal and conceptual art. LeWitt's "structures" (a term he prefers to sculpture) are generally composed with modular, quasi-architectural forms. For many of his works, LeWitt creates a plan and a set of instructions to be executed by others. Four-Sided Pyramid was constructed on this site by a team of engineers and stone masons in collaboration with the artist. The terraced pyramid, first employed by LeWitt in the 1960s, relates to the setback design that had long been characteristic of New York City skyscrapers. Its geometric structure also alludes to the ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia.next-arrow(10 of 17)next-arrow
Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007) executed drawings by hand throughout his life; in 1968 he extricated his work from the confines of the frame and transferred it directly to the wall. The wall compositions were designed for limited duration and maximum flexibility within a broad range of architectural settings. Initially executed by drafters, these works in their finished state were most often slated for destruction. A seminal practitioner of Conceptual Art, LeWitt emphasized the creative idea that generates a work of art, as opposed to the work's material existence. "For each work of art that becomes physical," he wrote, "there are many variations that do not."
The trees are located in the park around the Fondation Beyeler and in the adjacent meadow as well as along the creek of Berower Park, northeast of Basel, at the German border. The height of the trees varied between 82 feet (25 meters) and 6.5 feet (2 meters) with a diameter from 47.5 feet (14.5 meters) to 3.3 feet (1 meter). The project was organized by Josy Kraft, project director and by Wolfgang and Sylvia Volz, project managers, who also surveyed the trees and designed the sewing patterns for each tree. J. Schilgen GmbH & Co. KG, Emsdetten, Germany, wove the fabric. Günter Heckmann, Emsdetten, Germany, cut and sewed the fabric. Meister & Cie AG, Hasle-Rüegsau, Switzerland, manufactured the ropes. Field manager Frank Seltenheim of Seilpartner, Berlin, Germany, directed eight teams working simultaneously: ten climbers, three tree pruners and twenty workers. As they have always done, Christo and Jeanne-Claude paid the expenses of the project themselves through the sale of original works to museums, private collectors and galleries. The artists do not accept any sponsorship. The wrapping was removed on December 14, 1998 and the materials were recycled. Christo and Jeanne-Claude have worked with trees for many years: In 1966, Wrapped Trees was proposed for the park adjacent to the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, and the permission was denied. In 1969, the artists requested permission for Wrapped Trees, Project for 330 Trees, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris. This was denied by Maurice Papon, Prefect of Paris. The Wrapped Trees in Riehen were the outcome of 32 years of effort. The branches of the Wrapped Trees pushed the translucent fabric outward and created dynamic volumes of light and shadow and moving in the wind with new forms and surfaces shaped by the ropes on the fabric.
Little Bay, property of Prince Henry Hospital, is located 14.5 kilometres, southeast of the centre of Sydney. The South Pacific Ocean cliff-lined shore area that was wrapped is approximately 2.5 kilometres long, 46 to 244 metres wide, 26 metres high at the northern cliffs, and was at sea level at the southern sandy beach. 90,000 square metres (1 million square feet) of erosion-control fabric (synthetic woven fibre usually manufactured for agricultural purposes) were used for the wrapping. 56.3 kilometres of polypropylene rope, 1.5 centimetre diameter, tied the fabric to the rocks. Ramset guns fired 25,000 charges of fasteners, threaded studs and clips to secure the rope to the rocks.
In the mid-1960s Warhol carried his consumer-product imagery into the realm of sculpture. Calling to mind a factory assembly line, Warhol employed carpenters to construct numerous plywood boxes identical in size and shape to supermarket cartons. Then, with assistance from Gerard Malanga and Billy Linich, he painted and silkscreened the boxes with logos of the different consumer products: Kellogg's corn flakes, Brillo soap pads, Mott's apple juice, Del Monte peaches and Heinz ketchup. The finished sculptures were virtually indistinguishable from their cardboard supermarket counterparts. Warhol first exhibited these at the Stable Gallery in 1964, cramming the space with piled-high boxes that recalled a cramped grocery warehouse. He invited collectors to buy them by the stack, and though they did not sell well, the boxes caused much controversy. In reference to his boxes, Warhol later said that he "wanted something ordinary," and it was this mundane, commercial subject matter that infuriated the critics. The perfectly blank, "machine-made" look of Warhol's boxes contrasted sharply with the gestural brushstrokes of Abstract Expressionist paintings.
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