Detail: 'situation no. 41: happy new year', 2000 - Gail Hastings
Detail: 'situation no. 41: happy new year', 2000 - Gail Hastings

The sculptural situation (sculptuation) begins with an invitation sent by the gallery to announce the work in the exhibition. The invitation is also a ‘Happy New Year’ card, as the exhibition opened around the time of the Chinese new year on 5 February 2000.

The format of a card is generally recognised as an automatic invitation to open its cover to look inside. Once this card it is opened, however, the print inside reads ‘You didn’t look, did you?’. Read at the level of an invitation, the artwork is self-defeating. The point of an artwork is to be seen.

If, though, one were to engage with the card as a hand-held art object that one has the power to open and close at one’s will, the card is instead an invitation that initiates a circular opposition between its open and closed states. Although this, in itself, is not a circular space, it is one of many loops that comprises the work’s overall circular space.

The blue pattern on the card is made of elements that replicate those comprising the physical work at the gallery.

Yet again, the two-dimensional pattern on the card is ‘closed’ to our physical entry, while the three-dimensional pattern at the gallery is ‘open’. These two opposite states, however, never settle as one or the other, but keep shifting. For upon visiting the sculptuation, the top third of the card’s pattern is replicated on the gallery wall, while the remainder continues on the floor. Although a cacophonous array of sparring loops fluctuate, this way, to appear at times incomprehensible; in opposition to this they are also, at the same time, all part of a repeatable pattern.

Situation no. 41: Happy New Year