Page 14 - Studio-International-January-1974
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writes about aesthetics he moves over to the role   `turned' in relation to the vertical rectangle of   concerned. 14 Whether we refer it to paint or
    of art philosopher or art historian, this does not   the page.                      babbling brooks, reading 'flowed' in an
    constitute part of his art.                 A lot of the most successful painting of our   intransitive sense sets the works at a distance
      Lawrence Weiner's book Statements is    time — it seems to me — has succeeded by   from the intervention of the artist, gives them
    divided under two sub-headings 'General   deferring the determining of content as a   a quality of serene detachment, and it seems
    Statements' and 'Specific Statements' but each   function of the process of production. I   appropriate that this book was not produced by
    refers unmistakably to individual works. There   personally find this the most rewarding way to   Lawrence Weiner himself but by Nova Scotia
    are twelve of each type. Seven of the General   approach the 'thrown' paint of Pollock, the   College of Art. Using high-grade paper, a
    Statements are related to entries in Seth   `painted' canvases of Franz Kline, the 'poured'   glazed cover and a small very subtle old
    Siegelaub's catalogue, and three of the   paint of Morris Louis, the 'stained' paintings of   Roman type-face, they made a very good job of
    Specific Statements appear in precisely the   Helen Frankenthaler and the 'sprayed'   it 15
    same words. Three General Statements relate   paintings of Olitski, but these readings only   In the same year, Lawrence Weiner did
    quite clearly to Specific Statements, and a   become definitive with verbal realization as   produce himself 10 Works through the Yvon
    fourth somewhat ambiguously. The General   pure designation, and this is precisely what   Lambert Gallery in Paris,16   and this completes
    Statements simply represent an earlier stage in   Lawrence Weiner supplies in his second book   the transition from verbal to adverbial forms.
    the formulation of individual works as they   Traces.12                             The ten works each consist of a pair of adverbs
    emerge from the thought processes of the    Traces includes all of the standard art   of place (in one instance past participles)
    artist, a stage at which he is not prepared to   processes I put in quotation marks in the   which is then reversed, and then (preceded by
    submit the work to the conditions of a receiver   passage above and others from his own earlier   `and') reversed again, and again: Under and
    (a note at the front of the book informs us that   working methods like Bleached, Turned,   over — over and under — and under and over —
    `Certain Specific Statements are reproduced by   Removed, Sanded and Cratered. There are fifty   and over and under. The material art potential of
    kind permission of the people who own them').   in all. The first is Reduced, and compared with   each work is perhaps most easily realized by
      The word 'statement', if it orientates the   Statements the entries are reduced indeed, no   imagining its sets of paired adverbs qualifying
    book towards the art context, also holds the   more than the single word in block capitals   one of the traces: `(painted) over and over',
    words at bay, so to speak, and prevents our   about a fifth of the way up the page and a   (`stained) through and through' or '(flushed)
    interpreting them too easily as a sort of art   translation into Italian (the book was produced   down and out', but actualization still demands
    poetry. Many of the statements represent a   in Italy) at a similar distance from the top.   that some thing or things be so treated and this
    recapitulation of previous themes : the field   `Traces' suggests the finality of an historical   elicits from the adverb a prepositional function.
    cratered by explosions, the rectangular canvas   fait accompli, but in the prospect of alternative   A lot depends on how we imagine this to come
    with the removal and sprayed paint, and the   conditions of receivership they are projected   about. In reading the comments of Bernard
    series of stakes with string between whose   into a future perfect condition beyond the   Bergeaud who did a review for Arts Magazine
    destruction by students at Wyndham College   reach of present nostalgias. The beauty of   when 10 Works appeared in Paris, we see the
    about this time is said to have caused the artist   Traces is that the words do not just stand there   book (despite his initial doubts) projecting itself
    to realize that the piece did not have to be built.   preening themselves and asking to be   as exhibition, or perhaps performance, into the
      The book itself evokes the same         admired. In the imminent prospect of material   space of the gallery.
    presentiments. The statements are printed one   realization, they mean 'art' in the most directly   `On this highly abstracted level of thinking
    to a page with the verso left blank. They use a   practical sense and often in the sense of our   "in" and "out" no longer signify anything
    small Helvetica fine type in lower case just   most habitual expectations.          because they can be considered equivalent; that
    like Ad Reinhardt's statements in Artforum  —  The Random House Dictionary offers as   is, in an empty space, under, over, out, down,
    and doubtless a hundred others. The printing   definition eleven of the word 'flow', `to cause   back, forth, about, around, etc., designate no
    begins in each instance almost exactly half-way   or permit to flow: to flow paint on a wall before   more than the space itself. Nevertheless, in
    down the page and continues as far as the words   brushing' .13 'Flowed' is not included among the   reading the book, and being aware of oneself and
    take it. Apart from the general sparseness,   processes listed by Traces, but the omission is   one's surroundings, one is executing a true
    there are only two ways in which the      made good in a book of 1971, where it forms the   mental ballet.'17
    presentation is at all unusual, the absence of   general theme of a series of individual works   Alternatively we may refer the directions to
    punctuation marks, though not of capitals,   specified more precisely as Flowed Within,   the physical structure of the book, and we
    and the cutting of each line of type abruptly at its   Flowed Out and the like, offered in no less than   seem invited to do this by the way pagination
    stipulated length regardless of where within   six languages besides English. I can see no   serves as a substitute for punctuation as the
    a word the break may come, and without any   logical reason why paint should not be 'flowed   four pairs of adverbs in each work space
    hyphenation to carry over to the next line. Two   gently' onto a wall or canvas, and if the canvas   themselves through four leaves with French
    things happen and both appear at their most   was unprimed, it might well be 'flowed through'.   translations on reverse sides. Somehow and
    pronounced in the fourth General Statement.   Everyone who has ever touched a paint-brush   somewhere the term 'word sculpture' has
    This begins, 'One regular rectangular object   can recall instances of paint that was 'flowed   attached itself to Lawrence Weiner's art and
    place'. Then the line ends and we have to   despite', and yet the addition of the adverb   `over', 'back', 'through', 'under' and the rest
    look to the next to see that the word is not, in   somehow makes this reading less likely. 'Flow'   run like more than a literary thread through the
    fact, 'place' but 'placed across an international   is primarily an intransitive verb. That same   sheets of standard French paper.
    boundary a'; and we look down again to see the   dictionary's first definition reads, `to move along   It would be an interesting exercise to go
    indefinite article disappear in 'allowed to rest   in a stream as water or other liquid: The river   through the list of Lawrence Weiner's early
    then turned to and tu', and then on the next line   flowed slowly to the sea', and this is the sense   works and count the references to standard units
    `rned upon to intrude the portion of'. It comes   that is taken up by the translations. It is as a   of measurement and standard materials, and to
    as something of a surprise that 'of' survives the   metaphor of the fluid forces of nature that we   note the frequency of words like 'standard' and
    final leap to 'one country into another' These   follow the flow of type, three lines to a side   `regular'. So too, when it comes to making the
     jolts remind us of the separate physical   through the pages of the book, and the flow of   books, he opts for the most readily convenient
    existence of the printed signs and the things they   meaning between translations that not only   pattern, but this does not prevent their being
    signify, but there is more to it. The squaring   present very different visual images, but evoke   very attractive, nor is the artist indifferent to
    off of the lines makes of the horizontal block of   contrasting vocal timbres even when we are not   their attractiveness, but as the book is not the
    type a 'regular rectangular object' and it too is     quite sure of the identity of the language     art but a means of presenting the ten works as

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