30 October 2012

Book du jour

Isn't it a good feeling to finish a project? This bit of over-writing was started in the spring, and now that the clocks have gone back to winter time, I've finally finished it.
The work used is Pamela M Lee's essay about the temporality of drawing, in an exhibition catalogue from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles -- "Afterimage: Drawing Through Process", loaned to me by Jean (thank you!) -
Lee looks at three aspects of time in relation to drawing: entropy, transitivity, and contingency. The latter includes chance and uses the "blind drawings" of Robert Morris - who set himself a drawing task to do with eyes closed for a predetermined duration - and William Anastasi, who drew in his pocket or with a pen in each hand on the New York subway on the way to play chess with John Cage every week.

I was also interested in what Lee said about the Wire Pieces of Richard Tuttle, which traverse genres, being both drawing and sculpture at the same time. He drew lines on a wall, then traced them with wire unwound from a coil, held with a screw at both ends. "The very presence of wire confirms the marks of the pencil, which are rendered with such quietude that they threaten to pass unnoticed." And the shadow is important, confirming the impermanence of the work:
Copying the article in handwriting, I find that at some points I'm paying attention to the words and what they are saying, and at other times my focus is on making the writing "look nice" - which can lead to mistakes in the copying, leaving out words or using the wrong word. But later the line is covered over with another layer of writing, and not only the sense is lost to the viewer, but the imprecision of the handwriting is transformed into a different kind of mark. This individual, selfish labour leaves only a quickly-viewed, easily-dismissible trace.

But is this project really finished? When starting, I hadn't thought through to the end, the presentation; perhaps I'd assumed it wouldn't be "worth" presenting. What can it offer a viewer? Only the aesthetic qualities of the writing - the physical handwriting, not the careful conjunctions of words - and the choice/use of materials [felt pen on "satin" letter paper], and the puzzle of "why do this in this way". I'm still puzzling on the Why. Is there more to this copying, this overwriting, than the pleasure it gives me? can that be "shown" somehow?

The meaning of the particular text is erased, transformed such that the mental state of the viewer parallels the simultaneous mental state of the writer, having written out the words some time ago - and now forgotten their exact meaning. It becomes a matter of what can be salvaged from this wreckage - some gist, or a starting point for a conversation.

Meanwhile the pages are gathered, the source noted; the folder sits in a drawer with other "finished" over-writing projects. 

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