In one way of looking at it, everything that occurs does so at a specific place; it occurs at a specific latitude, longitude and point in time. The ice-cream you bought the other day while guiltily looking over your shoulder occurred at a pin-point on a map with a timestamp, whether someone saw you or not.
While a pin-point in time and place isn’t necessarily accompanied by a value judgement (except, perhaps, our own in this instance—of guilt), it is still a rationalisation that enables the location of occurrences in space and time.
Everything that occurs, then, automatically has a slot, a position, in relation to everything else that has a slot, a position. On top of which, value judgements doubly slot something in—especially when it comes to art. Through judgement, one type of art is given a position in relation to another.
The reason why I am running this crowdfunding campaign is that a type of art, generally known as Minimal Art, was judged incorrectly back in the 60s and put into the wrong slot. Its proper place, the slot the artwork defines for itself, is not there, it is missing.
Many ramifications follow but, on a simple level, let me explain one through my studio as an example.
At the moment, my studio is a mess—everything is out of place. To be in it causes me anxiety, as I cannot find that thing, the tape-measure for instance, where it should be. Instead, I have to try and remember where I used it last and go hunting for it over there. This involves a mental process that consumes energy and taxes an overall sense of exhaustion—as well as take extra time. Also, once I have found my tape-measure, I have often lost my place in the activity I was trying to complete, given the convoluted process.
So putting things away in its proper place is functional. For one thing, we know where to find it. This is also true for different types of art. So-called Minimal Art, however, is in effect my tape-measure—it has been misplaced. Its true nature has not been given a proper place.
When one looks at a work of Minimal Art and reaches for its understanding, that understanding isn’t there. One might search under every scrap of wood in my studio for the understanding as I do my tape-measure, if one had the time or inclination. Most, though, don’t—so just moves on. The work of art remains a bafflement. If someone tells us it is reduction, our bafflement reinforces the reason why for, as far as we could tell, nothing was there.
The Missing Space Project, which is part of my studio activities this year, will endeavour to allow so-called Minimal Art to define, for itself, its proper place.
You may have little interest in Minimal Art and so have little interest or see the value of this project.
Yet, practically every work of art since so-called Minimal Art is seen in relation to it. This is how the ‘slotting’ of art works and how our judgements follow. The work of art may be completely different to Minimal Art for this or that reason, but this or that reason only makes sense in reference to Minimal Art. For instance, a work of art may be a return to figurative painting. The very word ‘return’ means the artwork refers to a time before Minimal Art changed everything.
If so-called Minimal Art has been misplaced then, effectively, all art since has, as well.
Support for ‘Studio: Key’ will be far reaching. Your support is needed.
When art is misplaced, we are as well.