#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?


#149 Bernar Venet

Bernar Venet (b. 1941, France)
Indeterminacy, 2014

To be able to do things like that after quitting from art… Awe…

I’ve done a couple of works on much smaller scale and of much smaller beauty that have certain resemblance with this.

But it is for his early conceptual works (after which he resigned from art, to come back a few years later) that I wanted to place him on my list – only that I could not find any relevant images. And I was surprised to find plenty of this… monumental, almost minimalist.

I find support to some of my thinking in his avoidance of subjectivity and exploration of the border – or the interface – between art and science.


#148 François Morellet

François Morellet (b. 1926, France – d. 2016)
La Défonce, 1990

Paris, France

Monumental minimalism again.

But I do like his smaller works a lot, too.
His obsession with mathematics and geometry appeals to me, as I do see a lot of aesthetics in there, too – and very conceptual aesthetics at that. That nevertheless are embodied and eye-pleasing 🙂


#146 Ralph Rugoff

Ralph Rugoff (b. 1957, USA)
Invisible: Art about the Unseen, 2012

Hayward Gallery, London, UK

I wouldn’t have considered Rugoff for my list as he is a curator. And exactly because I wouldn’t have considered him that I had to add him. Curatorial practice nowadays is clearly overlapping with artistic practice, so it actually could be quite interesting to test making a work based on a curatorial process. To some extent – or some particular versions of it – are actually pretty close to hand. Firstly, I am doing quite a lot of seemingly ‘random’ stuff, so in order to present it as ‘coherent body of work’ takes some curatorial effort. Secondly, as I am seriously considering what options I may have to make art without making more stuff, a ‘curatorial approach’ could also be a part of a solution.

And then, of course, it is always exciting to deal with invisible works. Reasons for that may remain invisible for now.


#145 Michael Asher

[The image is intentionally left out]

Michael Asher (b. 1943, USA – d. 2012)
Untitled, 1969


This refers to the piece in ‘Spaces’ exhibition at MoMA where Asher installed a tone generator in a gallery wall that cancelled out other sounds at the centre of the room.

I like two aspects of the work – it being a sound piece and yet presenting something to be perceived as removal or absence rather addition (even if it clearly took an addition to make it happen).

I am considering some works that have to do with removal / disguise / replacement, so this seems highly relevant and inspirational.


#143 Jan Dibbets

Jan Dibbets (b. 1941, The Netherlands)
Perspective Corrections

I am also looking for new perspectives.


#141 Jean Tinguely

Jean Tinguely (b. 1925, Switzerland – d. 1991)
Study for en End of the World, 1961

I did not anticipate Tinguely making my list as his kinetic sculptures do not really inspire my work. But I was not aware of the study for the end of the world. I do not even care much what the project entailed (although based on the image above it seems reasonable), I am happy with just the title. There is so much in it – wit, pessimism, sublimation, juxtaposition, reversal of anticipation, …


#130 Saburo Murakami

Saburo Murakami (b. 1925, Japan – d. 1996)

Body. Movement. Frame. Painting.

Or whatever. Odd combination of recognisable elements creates something that is difficult to categorise – and I like things that subvert too entrenched categories, provoking new thoughts and opening new horizons.


#128 Sadamasa Motonaga

Sadamasa Motonaga (b. 1922, Japan – d. 2011)
Sakuhin, 1956

Whatever that is, it’s unexpected, odd and outdoors.
Just one of those categories-breaking works that I find inspiring when trying to do the same.


#124 Catherine Sylvain

Catherine Sylvain (b. 1976, Canada)
Femme-Chute II ou La demeure, 2001

Transgression of borders and categories – conceptually and physically..