#162 Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys (b. 1921, Germany – d. 1986)
How to explain pictures to a dead hare, 1965

It took me a while to put Beuys on the list. Not that I would be unaware of him or dislike his work, I simply did not see any intersection with what I am up to.

But since I’ve started to work on “How to explain colours to anti-plagiarism system” there is a strong enough connection to bring this work up.


#161 Liliana Porter

Liliana Porter (b. 1941, Argentina)
Wrinkle, 1968

Conceptual photo-etching… sweet 🙂

Just the kind of print I may find myself doing. Print of a paper on paper. Simplicity full of graphical beauty.


#160 Cildo Meireles

Babel 2001 Cildo Meireles born 1948 Purchased jointly by Tate, London (with the assistance of the Latin American Acquisitions Committee) and the D.Daskalopoulos Collection, 2013, as a promised gift to Tate

Cildo Meireles (b. 1948, Brasil)
Babel, 2001

Sound sculpture is very cool. Conceptual sound sculpture is even cooler.


#159 Gustav Metzger

Gustav Metzger (b. 1926, Germany – d. 2017)
Auto-Destructive Art, 1960

I am quite fascinated with stuff that self-destructs. Possibly, I am not even interested in destruction part per se. Destruction and construction are two sides of the same coin – you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. And I am curious about the creative potential of destruction. Both on conceptual and on physical level. What do you make when your focus is on unmaking?

Ideally, my graduation work would self-destruct from examiner’s examination of it.


#158 Mel Ramsden

Mel Ramsden (b. 1944, UK)
Secret Painting, 1967-8

AGNSW attributes this piece to Art & Language although it also states that it is signed by Ramsden. I did not dig into reasons behind. They may remain secret to me as well.

A lot of interesting things are going here. Another take on the Black square. A question to what extent artist’s intention for the work can ever be known for sure. A question of how and by whom meaning of a work is created. A question of what and to what extent needs to be made accessible to the audience for an artistic experience to be had. A question of the difference between the content and the form. An epistemological condition of the artwork in general.

I am testing many of those aspects myself, so this is most relevant.


#157 Ian Burn

Ian Burn (b. 1939, Australia – d. 1993)
Looking through a piece of glass, 1967-8

So, we are back again to self-referential works. I can only extrapolate and speculate why they were interesting in the 60s, and that is not so interesting for me. What is interesting is why I find them appealing today – in my present circumstances, regardless of the conditions of their making.

One new speculation is arising at the back of my head that it may be some unconscious opposition to contemporary attempts to make art “useful” for society at large by expecting it to deal with contemporary issues and reflect contemporary ideologies. Moreover, a lot of nonsense that is going on in the world may also be traceable to some kind of overthinking, of reading everything out there through interpretive ideological glasses, assigning excess meaning to things and then investing energy in fighting those self-created windmills. Maybe works that insist on their most direct – tautological even – reading, are offering a much needed escape or a wake-up call from it all? Maybe that’s why I am tempted to make them, too?


#156 Perpetua Butler

Perpetual Butler (b. 1947, USA – d. 2008)
Negative Space Hole, 1967

I was unable to find a photograph of this invisible sculpture – perhaps for the rather obvious reasons. Even if there are some reports of it having been exhibited, or at least the labels on the wall have been seen to claim so.

I am working on some works that may not have so much more materiality than that, either, so it is good to know what the predecessors have been up to. However, I work on those in my spare time from making visible and/or audible works – just to make sure I can get equally visible grades.

In her quest to understand the dematerialization of art, Butler once boldly asked for permission from Jim Melchert, her art professor at UC Berkeley, to take a semester off from school and receive all “A”‘s so that she could study invisibility, to which he agreed. I wonder if I should make a similar request myself. On the other hand, what would I do with “A”s at RMIT?


#155 Jan Dibbets

Jan Dibbets (b. 1941, The Netherlands)
Land and Sea Horizons, 2007

Yet another modality of non-verbal engagement with concepts. I guess, it operates on the level of pattern recognition that brings together unexpected things triggering some consideration of what meanings might be extracted of that particular likeness and difference. And again, meanings that do not have to (although they may) be verbalised.

I am playing quite a lot with photography, but only very recently realised that I did not seriously consider it as a part of my practice for real – not only as documentation or auxiliary process, but as artistic practice in its own right. That also has clear conceptual underpinnings. Dibbets’ work kind of ‘legitimises’ that approach for me, haha.


#154 Franz E. Walther

Franz E. Walther (b. 1939, Germany)
Sehkanal, 1968

I like the idea of audience physically engaging with the work and often look for ways to incorporate such elements in my work. Here is a nice example of how it may work – and I especially like it for its conceptual quality. It is not just something you are allowed to touch in order to include tactility of the texture into your sensory reading of the work, but bodily engagement that activates concepts of distance and connectedness, seeing and not seeing, communication etc. Concepts materialised in ways bypassing verbal articulation are cool. I also like that audience engagement (beyond simply looking at work) is needed in order to complete the work.


#153 Atkinson & Baldwin

Air-conditioning Show / Air Show / Frameworks 1966-7 Art & Language (Terry Atkinson, born 1939; Michael Baldwin, born 1945) null Purchased 2011

Terry Atkinson (b. 1939, UK)
Michael Baldwin (b. 1945, UK)
Air-conditioning Show, 1967

A tricky one. I tend to hate exhibitions that only show documentation. And yet, I do rather frequently realise nowadays, that some ideas are just too complicated for immediate execution – but nevertheless are interesting ideas. So, possibly, it is better to document them (which also may lead to a later execution – like this piece being executed in 1972 by Kosuth) then just to dismiss. And for that purpose it is good to have some art historical examples like this to be able to refer to in the case of emergency.