Page 15 - Studio International - December1996
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could be made use of, contradicting the   in any way be subdivided into component
            utility of those household items which are   parts, assemblages, as collages in three
            commonplace enough to cause surprise     dimensions, depend on the very opposite.
            when placed on the more elevated level of   Whether in relief or in the round, they
            objects for spiritual use. His boxes with rope,  operate on the basis of relating elements
            metronomes, sealed bottles containing metal   which under normal circumstances do not
            balls, pipes and other items are characterized  belong together. These elements are placed
            by a sense of mystery and often sentiment-  in a different context—in a new amalgam,
            ality, stressed further by the fastidious way   full of contradictions, which utilizes the
            in which they are presented.  What we all lack  associations that various objects evoke, as
            (1962) is an association between a clay pipe   well as their formal qualities. Assemblage
            on a small stand, surmounted by a glass
      	                                              includes junk sculpture, Rauschenberg's
            ball. It is a poetic object and the words   combines, Oldenburg's environments, Jim
            written on the pipe's stem not only tell us   Dine's outfits, and John Latham's books.
            what the object is about— they also suggest   Pioneers are Joseph Cornell and Kurt
            the way in which it should be looked at.   Schwitters. Unlike object-making—a poetic,
            The physical aspect of this work may seem   myth-making process of transformation,
            subordinate to the idea about this sort of   devaluation and elevation to a new status—
            relationship of forms and words—the      assemblage is a technique. As such it has so
            reproduction of this piece conveys the   far implied an inherently expressionist
            message nearly as accurately as the actual   ordering of things; with images growing
            work. The emotional response of the viewer   and disappearing, allowed to emerge and
            is based on the association of ideas provoked   to be recognized and later buried. It is as
            by the object rather than the physical   if the various items that go to make up an
            relationship of a white clay form and a glass   assemblage passed through a period of
            sphere. This does not imply the arbitrariness   brainwashing, until the entire complex is
            of formal relationships in Man Ray's work,   allowed to emerge as a sculpture. Assemblage
            but it suggests that the idea expressed in   is rarely geometric or totally abstract, or
            the work takes precedence. This is yet   even non-referential. The term was first
            another aspect which serves to separate   used in 1961 with  The Art of Assemblage
            objects of this type from assemblage and   exhibition at the MUSEUM OF MODERN ART in
            from structures, with the importance of   New York. The exhibition included a great
            pure formal relationships inevitably     variety of works ranging from Burri's sack
            increasing in that order.                collages and Cesar's crushed motors to
             The supremacy of the idea over the actual   Marisol's groups of figures and George
            physical reality of the object is relevant to   Brecht's Repository—a veritable compendium
            Duchamp's 'ready mades', the uniqueness   of memorabilia of a sportsman. The
           of which he himself rejected when he started  meaningfulness of an assemblage is the
           signing numerous shovels, bicycle wheels   result of a sum total of relationships of   demonstrate the measure of ambition and
           and bottle racks nearly fifty years after   incongruous components each loaded with   the sort of values the artist wishes to
           endorsing for the first time these very items   the significance of its own past. The com-  associate himself with. The probability of
           as unique works of art. This also applies to   plexity implied in this process suggests that   seriousness of content according to the
           Warhol's soup cans and packages, where the   the work at its best will operate on a number  artistic means used cannot be assessed, but
           idea of recreating a common object as a   of levels simultaneously. It may seem that   one can say that certain idioms are more
           work of art is more significant than each of   this is true of any work of art of a certain   accessible and more readily effective than
           the many identical tins and packs he      quality—yet this is not so. There are very   others—this is true of most painting under
           produces.                                 few abstract paintings, for instance, which   the respective banners of Post-Painterly
            Objects such as those by Man Ray have a   engage the entire range of the viewer's   Abstraction and Op Art.
           certain privacy of scale and concept, and   possible responses, and which will directly   each art idiom carries with it its own
           this is also true of those surrealist objects by   appeal to memory, intellect, associative   problems and idiosyncracies, but the
           Marcel Jean, Tanguy, Brauner, as well as,   powers, emotion, and the senses. Most   multifaceted dimensions in assemblage
           more recently, the various products of the   paintings in the range of Op Art, for   provoke more polemic and suggest more
           Fluxus Group.                             instance, appeal primarily to the latter.   potential than the private world of object
            Whereas the character of the objects is   What comes to mind is that if one employs   making and the architecturally evocative
           based on the integral unity, which cannot    a language which is loaded, this stands to   structures.

           and other journals, and frequently takes part in radic   London (1936) and for the Guernica exhibition (1938),   Acknowledgements  We wish to thank Oyvind Fahl-
           programmes connected with the arts. His publica-      and organized the Tate Gallery retrospectives of   strom, Ulf Linde and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm,
           tions include a monograph on Soutine.    Picasso, Max Ernst, and Miró.             for permission to publish articles on Claes Oldenburg;
                                                                                              Oyvind Fahlström's article was first published in the
           F. N. Souza, the painter, was born in Goa in 1924. He   Öyvind Fahlström,  leading Swedish artist and   catalogue to the Oldenburg exhibition at the Museum,
           is the author of Words and Lines, and his work was   writer, was born in 1928. Since 1961 he has lived in the   as was one of Ulf Linde's articles. We also wish to
           the subject of a monograph by Edwin Mullins.   U.S.A. He represented Sweden at the 1966 Venice   thank the following for the loan of blocks: Faber and
                                                    Biennale.                                 Faber; Thames and Hudson; Ravi Kumar; White-
           Sir Roland Penrose,  chairman of the I.C.A., was                                   chapel Art Gallery; Marlborough Fine Arts.
           responsible for the first Surrealist exhibition held in   Ulf Linde, the Swedish critic, has been art critic of
                                                    Dagens Nyheter since 1956.
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