Monday, September 28, 2009

Walking In A Moving World


English land/conceptual artist/sculpture Richard Long's recent retrospective at the Tate Museum is discussed at Revolutionary Boredom, excerpted here:

"In terms of artistic production...more how [these works] produce an artwork from such immaterial practices. Not only do they attempt to represent a walk, a fleeting experience in itself, but they represent that walk via experiential factors rather than reference (as in a regular map) to solid and identifiable objects like trees or castles or whatever. Most typical of this category is the ‘textwork’, usually a list of observations, feelings or conditions from a walk. The status of one of Long’s textworks is complicated, as it presumably has some personal meaning to Long himself yet remains only suggestive to the observer. Most of the details – including the date and place included on each work – are irrelevant and unverifiable. What these textworks comment upon is not the walk itself, nor the place walked, but the relationship between experiential moment and material representation."

Beyond the originality of Long's art (and its transitory nature), what interests me here is the notion of a text commenting in some unique and immediate way on "the relationship between experiential moment and material representation." This insight can be generalized to a great many modernist and postmodern practices, and relates to many of the narratives/discourses we might consider innovative.

In terms of form, Long's "textworks," collected here, can be seen as a form of concrete poetry, (though they also remind one of Francis Ponge's "object" poetry, in their refined consideration for the evocation of specific moment) and could be of considerable interest to students of writing.

(Note: Richard Long was one of the many sixties artists surveyed in Suzaan Boettger's comprehensive Earthworks: Art and Landscape of the Sixties.)

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