Monday, 18 January 2016

Carl Andre & narrative

I stumbled across this interview and thought his opinions on both language and meaning in art were interesting. Is art really free of ideas and just an experience, a physical reality devoid of any narrative or linguistic meaning?

I have always struggled with the term 'narrative' when applied to  how one understands abstract works. The term implies a work has a set meaning or story which is to be decoded and understood by the viewer. To my mind this is not how abstract work functions, meaning is brought to the work by the viewer. implying that there is a narrative implies there is a correct way of understanding the work. This can alienate a viewer, in thinking they cannot decipher an obvious meaning in the work they think the work inaccessible.

However there is no narrative to follow, in fact the abstract image is empty, no recognisable signposts to provide direction, it is what it is. The formal qualities of the work alone creating a sensation the viewer is free to interpret as they wish.

Moving into animation I am stepping into a territory where the term narrative is rightly used in the telling of stories however linear or fractured. Yet I still do not feel the term as applicable to my current works, while they are animations with sequential images therefore creating a beginning middle and end they are no more that sequential sensations.

I was also drawn to his comments about being a location artist, making work which responds to the space it is exhibited in rather than imposing itself makes me think of my recent Letheringham Lodge project and Au Courant. Here the building blocks of the work have or are been constructed before hand but then adapted and developed once in the space.

Link to Carl Andre interview

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