15 February 2014

Museum labyrinth - week in review

Inspiration, stumbled upon - "Archipelago" by John Carter -
ink, gouache, crayon on paper, 50x50cm, 2012 (via)
Carter describes his work as "between painting and sculpture" rather than as construction.

How to connect different places, without mapping them, is shown on the video -
Is it a maze? Is it a map? No, it's a Kuba cloth (via) -
So is this, but it's definitely on the high-functioning labyrinth spectrum -

After photographing the floors at the V&A, I tried some pattern drawing -
 and noticing tiled floors elsewhere - this is National Portrait Gallery -
My thoughts are veering towards a "walking the labyrinth" theme, so I'm reading about walking in general and artists who use walking in their practice, starting with a careful reading of the "Walk On" catalogue, which is sprinkled with bon mots: "The walker's mental activity, freed from the self-interested activity that urban life entails, turns either towards free association or disinterested thought. In all three scenarios, walking enables either an intensity of observation, or a kind of daytime dreaming or introspection that cannot be undertaken when one is occupied in ordinary or 'productive' activities."

A book to find: The art of walking: a field guide.  "The introduction relates peripatetic art now to a wide range of historic precedents, and is followed by a series of visually led 'Walks' dealing with seven overlapping themes: footprints and lines; writers and philosophers; marches and processions; aliens, dandies and drifters; slapstick; studios, museums and biennales; and dog walkers." Slapstick??!

Says its editor, David Evans: "The Art of Walking is a book that seeks to blur the usual distinction between exhibition and its catalogue…. emphasis is on picture editing that acknowledges the proximity of the pages of a book and the walls of a museum. ... A major preoccupation has been the editing of the images and texts of others that aims to be more stimulating than the standard art surveys that tend to foreground an authoritative text, with the artworks under discussion treated as supplementary illustrations."

Interesting to discover that there's a Walking Artists Network, with a helpful booklist. Another booklist is on the Walking and Art blog.

Another possible source of input is poetry about walking ... which, as in some previous encounters with poems, I might over-write somewhere/somehow. (For instance Auden's "the crack in the tea-cup opens / A lane to the land of the dead" or Traherne's "To walk is by a thought to go;/To move in spirit to and fro;/To mind the good we see;" or Eliot's "Who is the third who walks always beside you? / When I count, there are only you and I together / But when I look ahead up the white road / There is always another one walking beside you"

Useful page of quotes from Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust: A History of Walking, including: "Walkers are 'practitioners of the city,' for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go." and "A path is a prior interpretation of the best way to traverse a landscape.".

And: "A labyrinth is a symbolic journey . . . but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world." along with "The poet Marianne Moore famously wrote of 'real toads in imaginary gardens,' and the labyrinth offers us the possibility of being real creatures in symbolic space...In such spaces as the labyrinth we cross over [between real and imaginary spaces]; we are really travelling, even if the destination is only symbolic."

Noting the Louisiana Museum's 1996 exhibition "NowHere" - about getting lost. " isn’t our whole conception of art a way of negotiating the particular coercion of the white museum space?" A section is called "Walking and Thinking and Walking".

Some websites and blogs:
stephenshanabrook.com/walking.htm ("snowshoes" reminds me of something by Francis Alyss)
stefanhagenphotography.com/pages/crossings.html (entire walk taken in a long exposure)
pavement graffiti - !
It's about pipes and cables... (via)
Find out what it all means here


Sandy said...

walking artists - or writers? When we visited Victor Hugo's house on Guernsey, his writing studio was a sort of green house thingy on the top of the house where he could see the sea. Apparently he used to walk back and forth writing and looking at the sea while naked!

The house is extremely odd in so many ways but rather fascinating in a incredulous sort of way.

Anonymous said...

Blimey! Who knew walking was so much more than a foot in front of a foot - not that there is much inclination in this windswept, saturated corner. A fascinating post with wonderful links. To quote Arthur Askey - I thank you
PS Sandy's comment reminded me of our trip to Laugharne and DH imploring me not to be nosey when we came upon a bright blue 'garage'. Yes I did miss having a peep into Dylan Thomas' boathouse....