I and two other researchers are attempting to bridge our artistic concerns to form a collective. We began by choosing a short piece of writing and sharing with each other in the hope of revealing cross-connections within our individual research.
My chosen text is from a book published by Tate Modern; Lost Art: Missing Art of the Twentieth Century by Jennifer Mundy:
Decline and Fall, Partially Buried Woodshed 1970, Robert Smithson 1938-1973
Robert Smithson made Partially Buried Woodshed in the grounds of Kent State University, Ohio, in January 1970. The American conceptual artist had been invited to the university for a one-week residency and, while there, created this work with the help of students. The work consisted of an old woodshed that was partially buried on one side by twenty truckloads of earth, piled around and onto the structure until its central roof beam cracked. Smithson intended the shed to break up slowly under the weight of the earth, and vegetation to grow over the mound, and he wanted the university to take appropriate care of the artwork and the surrounding site until this process had run its course. He once said he hoped the piece would not only go on to decay but also would acquire ‘its own history’
When Robert Smithson came to prominence in the mid-1960s he was mainly concerned with minimalism but toward the end of the decade, he increasingly began to work with natural materials and the landscape. Many of these works were preoccupied with time and the force of entropy- the gradual dissolution and decay of matter. This relates to my current practice; I am experimenting and researching the anticipated ruin in the wake of climate change and rising sea-levels. According to Nancy Holt, the artists’ wife, these works are “entropy made visible”
Fascinated by ruins and the idea of habitations and culture being buried by natural eruptions and debris, Smithson saw geological change as a metaphor for the workings of the mind:
One’s mind and the earth are in a constant state of erosion, mental rivers wear away abstract banks, brain waves undermine cliffs of thought, ideas decompose into stones of unknowing… Slump, debris, slides, avalanches all take place within the cracking limits of the brain.
We spoke to the MA group about the three individual pieces of writing that we came with and our resulting shared “manifesto”. Jesse Jones( artist and facilitator) suggested that we research “Commonage”, an architecture/curator/historian collective who are representing Ireland in the architecture biennale, Venice. They have developed an abandoned workhouse together, set up archives, among other projects. Rosie Lynch is the name of the woman that we should email to arrange a coffee meet-up. This is to research how this type of collective forms- artists and architecture. Heres a decent article about them: