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Instead of causing us to remember the past like the old monuments, the new monuments seem to cause us to forget the future. Robert Smithson. Wh… Read More
Instead of causing us to remember the past like the old monuments, the new monuments seem to cause us to forget the future. Robert Smithson. While on assignment documenting the olive harvest in Viesta November 2012 Hugh McElveen made it a daily dawn ritual to photograph bedsprings in the borders of olive groves as defence against wild boar. What started as a choice of flat subject and a method of testing the extreme shallow depth of field of a new lens became a series of images. Upon reflection these images became a meditation on wabi-sabi and the observations of Robert Smithson. Wabi-Sabi at its most basic is an aesthetic contemplation finding interest in the simple. It accepts and celebrates the imperfect and temporal nature of existence. Aesthetic features of wabi-sabi value a lack of symmetry and an economy of creation resulting in works which can appear unfinished. Japanese aesthetic contemplation “allows ideas and philosophies to evolve from the finished work as a natural progression rather than to approach the process of creativity with preconceptions and fixed ideas.” The open simplicity of wabi-sabi facilitates such contemplation. And the contemplation completes the work. The viewer therefor, is required to finish the piece. Smithson was also concerned with notions of temporality as a feature of entropy. Entropy as decay destroys or changes, depending on the point of view, the finish and perfection of a work. Smithson argued entropy homogenised objects contributing to a minimalism of expression. Entropy is a continuous it is a process without completion. It is because these frames through the temporality of entropy have flaws they have now lost their function in a private and intimate setting and given a new public function dependant on the same entropy. Their presence in the landscape is directly related to the properties of wabi-sabi they posses. The images have been framed to echo the metal support of the springs and retain the simplicity of wabi-sabi. Likewise the images have been arranged in series circumnavigating the exhibition space recreating the border-barrier they occupy, delimiting the extent of land ownership, surrounding the viewer and placing them a the centre of contemplation. The shallow depth of field separates the bedsprings from their environment prompting a more minimal reading. All artworks are archival pigment prints 21cm x 21 cm framed to international conservation standards in a strict edition of 7 and one AP. Further reading Exhibition Juniper, Andrew. Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence. Tuttle, 2003 Kai, Akira. The Dancing Wind, hoobism. Little More, Tokyo 2004 Lee, Pamela. Chronophobia. MIT Press, Boston. 2006 Reed, William. Shodo. Japan Publications, Tokyo, 1989 Flam, Jack. Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings. 2Rev Ed. University of California Press, 1996. Olive Oil Gyngell, Skye. My Favourite Ingredients. Quadrille, London. 2008 Mueller, Tom. Extra Virginity. Atlantic Books. London.2012 Segnit, Niki, and Segnit. The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook. Revised. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2012. Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne. A History of Food. 2Nd edn.Wiley-Blackwell. Sussex. 2009 Read Less
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