Page 31 - Studio International - July/August 1967
P. 31

Les Levine
          Disposables 1966
          Polyexpandable styrene
          12x 12 in. each
          Fishbach Gallery, New York

                                  only through the mind that a message can be handed   ments: in particular the work of Pistoletto who confronts
                                  down from generation to generation and leave a durable   us in his mirrors with fictitious, painted silhouettes
                                  impression. When all the works by Mondrian have col-  mingled with the real silhouettes of persons reflected in
                                  lapsed into dust, it will still be true that Mondrian   the mirrors. Le Parc's portable mirrors are less 'surrealis-
                                  played a decisive role in the development of modern   tic' but have a triple significance. In the first place they
                                  creative art. But if the lasting quality of a work of art no   express almost symbolically the importance of the re-
                                  longer resides in its material nature, if the 'concept' is  lationship of the spectator with the work of art. Above all
                                  all-important, it is possible to envisage works which   they are expressly created to integrate within the oval
                                  would be handed on by word of mouth without any  frame all the reflected, external movements: head and
                                  material trace whatever. In 1919 Malevitch suggested   limbs of the spectator and persons next to him, lighting,
                                  communicating his compositions by telephone, and three   walls of the room etc. Finally they reflect the spatial con-
                                  years later Moholy-Nagy followed his advice by tele-  cepts of the man who happens to be the spectator at a
                                  phoning instructions for sculptures to a German factory.  given point in time.
                                  Taking this idea further we can envisage purely mental   This extreme example of the integration of surrounding
                                  works which are 'visualized' without support from a  space into a work of art has its counterpart at the other
                                  physical object. Soto remarked that there was no need to   end of the scale: the extension of the work of art until it
                                  see Malevitch's 'white square against a white background'   attains the dimensions of external space. Labyrinthine
                                  in order to understand its decisive importance; for his  structures, 'environments', gigantic  Nanas  which the
                                  part he said that he gained nothing by actually seeing the   visitor can explore, gaming halls: once again the aim is to
                                  work recently in New York. Tomorrow art may perhaps  burst the ancient bonds of the art-object and to envelop
                                  be expressed by a mathematical formula: 'Take a cube of  the spectator in an 'ambience', to place him at the very
                                  Plexiglass with a side length of x centimetres etc.'   heart of plastic and sonorous 'manifestations' which
                                   Ephemeral, constricted in time, the modern work of  surround him and transform his relationship to art from
                                  art also bursts out into space. Boccioni dreamed of inte-  a partial, visual experience into a global experience
                                  grating real elements from the surrounding world into   (involving the entire mind and body). In this way the
                                  his sculptures: walls, furniture, windows, sky. Marcel  conditions of daily life are recreated—the spectator is
                                  Duchamp was the first artist to achieve this visual inte-  exposed to conflicting visual demands which lead to a
                                  gration with his great, transparent 'glass' (1915 —1923)   permanent division of his attention. Two different trends
                                  in which the elements of the pictorial composition are  can be distinguished today as far as the creation of
                                  confused before our eyes with what is happening behind   `environments' is concerned; these trends are typified in
                                  the glass (decor of the museum, visitors walking round   the contrasting experiments of the GRAV group.
                                  etc.). This 'open-ended' work which has continued to   The aim of certain artists is to enclose the spectator in a
                                  fascinate many American artists—John Cage for example   cocoon (a tunnel or labyrinth) which is usually oppres-
                                 developed from it his theory of automatic integration  sive and in which a variety of surprises await the visitor:
                                  with a musical work of accidental, external sounds— this  flashes of light, uneven floors etc., which he generally
                                 work which is based in no small measure on the interven-  accepts with resignation. For other artists the environ-
                                  tion of chance, was soon followed by further develop-   ment provides above all an opportunity for participation.
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