Monday 6 June 2011

Communicating Intention

With Plinth?         Suspended?

When creating in a new area, beyond your comfort zone, how do you know whether a piece 'works' or not?
This is something I've been thinking a lot about this weekend  having viewed my 'Taplow Vase Reconstruction' on display at Slough Museum as part of 'Whatever Floats Your Boat' exhibition.
I'm used to looking critically at my quilts and assessing their content, composition and craftmanship , and whether they meet my intention. But in 3D it's much more difficult to assess, I don't have past experience to compare with, many of the considerations are different.  

What inspired me about the Taplow vase were the gaps as much as the solid pieces, the ragged bottom of the vase, and how your mind fills in the holes. I wanted to make something that had the opposite characteristics to  pottery- floating, light with movement , not attached to earth but of the air with the potential for multiple viewpoints.

Another discovery (which shouldn't be a surprise) - how you display 3D items makes a huge difference to how it looks and functions. It's relatively straightforward with quilts (although they can be hung upside down or in poor light- I once had a very thick batton inserted in a piece on display in a local art open exhibition that distorted it terribly. ) How much control does the maker have once work is submitted for display?  How much should they have?

Unfortunately I wasn't able to be at the 'grand reveal' whether makers talked about their inspirations and making of the piece although I did print instructions on hanging it with photos of how I wanted it to look. I obviously wasn't clear enough about my intentions for the piece. The curators ( who worked incredibly hard to put together the exhibition in  a couple of days) had attempted to make my piece look like a museum exhibit which is a perfectly valid point of view but not mine. But then if you put work into the public arena, is your view important?   It was suspended from the ceiling but had a plinth underneath it so it looked as if it was resting on it.These plinths worked very well for some of the other pieces but in my view it made my piece look solid and clumsy, that the plinth was part of the work. At least it made me realise that no , this piece doesn't work: it shouldn't need to rely on how it's displayed to reveal the intentions behind it.
I'll have to think carefully about whether I include it in my portfolio- too much like a lampshade !!I don't think I'll be in too much of a hurry to make further 3D work!I've learnt such a lot from making this piece ( much of it unexpected ) but most of all the importance of communicating intention both through the piece itself but also in providing statements and instructions.

1 comment:

Olga Norris said...

I tried to comment yesterday evening, but Blogger wouldn't let me. Here I go again:

Yes! I so agree about the questions raised about the presentation of 3D work. I have been pondering 3D for several years now, and must admit not to having got far at all. I have been looking and thinking, and now have a much better understanding of sculpture - or maybe I'm just beginning to understand what questions to ask.

Do not give up - keep asking the questions. It's difficult to represent 3D well in 2D of course, and so I do not feel able to comment on your piece, except to say that I do like the way you have taken the 3D inspiration to a 3D manifestation of 2D elements. I like the ethereal quality of the line and space on ?tissue when compared with the solid, hard-edged original with its more substantial feeling gaps. History seems to be part of both works.

Anyway, don't give up.