As part of my art practice, I look to my immediate surroundings to gather objects and information as I walk in my daily routine. My natural inclination to collect intersects with my intention to primarily make work with things that I find. To make work of and from the world.
Often these found objects become the material in which to explore a specific site or space, as a way of articulating it’s peculiarities and perhaps our habitation of it.
These found or discarded objects, become my art materials. They are “recycled’ for use in making multiple artworks, sometimes as repetitive units or as assemblages.
Francis Alÿs works with video as a means to document actions that often occur in public spaces. In the iconic video-performance work Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing, (1997) the artist pushes a large block of ice around the streets of Mexico City until it completely melts away.
While Alÿs’ videos are both documentation and the work itself, in the gallery context the spatial arrangement of different works, and whether they are projected or on a screen, adds to our understand of these works.
Alÿs’ work offers us some interesting examples of expanded drawing. In his work The Greenline (2004) Alÿs literally takes a line for a walk by ‘following the portion of the ‘Green Line’ that runs through the municipality of Jerusalem’ while carrying a leaking can of green paint.
For months I followed strangers on the street. For the pleasure of following them, not because they particularly interested me. I photographed them without their knowledge, took note of their movements, then finally lost sight of them and forgot them.
At the end of January 1980, on the streets of Paris, I followed a man whom I lost sight of a few minutes later in the crowd. That very evening, quite by chance, he was introduced to me at an opening. During the course of our conversation, he told me he was planning an imminent trip to Venice. I decided to follow him.
—from Suite Vénitienne by Sophie Calle
It is hard to imagine Jackson Pollock’s work without thinking of Hans Namuth’s documentation of his painting process. Namuth’s photographs and film (Jackson Pollock 51) profoundly influence how we look at and think about Pollock’s work.
2005 has been about trying to learn how to draw. It may sound simple but it’s had me stumped ever since I arrived at art school.
Ilya Kabakov, Que sont ces petit hommes? Galerie de France, Paris, 1989
During winter time last year, when I decided to tidy my room and wash the floor, I gathered together all the furniture, tables, chairs, shelves, and planks and put them on top of each other in the corner. By mistake I knocked over a large can of paint which was on my desk. When I lifted up my head from that large white stain, I saw multitudes of little white men, unexpectedly appearing on the edges of the desk, on the seats of the chairs, and some even turned out be on a crooked wire ring hanging above the bed. Some of them had already begun to depart toward the upper corner of the room, where my large window on the ceiling meets the wall . . .
In 1956 the French director Henri-Georges Clouzot, working with Claude Renoir as cinematographer and editor Henri Colpi, collaborated with Pablo Picasso to produce a 78 minute documentary film entitled Le Mystère Picasso (The Mystery of Picasso). The film shows the making of a large number of drawings and paintings by Pablo Picasso. Picasso appears in some sequences, but in many the camera is placed at the back of the surface he is working on, allowing the viewer to see lines and forms appearing through the translucent material without seeing the artist himself.
Robert Smithson documented his ‘sites’ with ‘nonsites’.
Robert Smithson writes;
By drawing a diagram, a ground plan of a house, a street plan to the location of a site, or a topographic map, one draws a “logical two dimensional picture.” A “logical picture” differs from a natural or realistic picture in that it rarely looks like the thing it stands for. It is a two dimensional analogy or metaphor – A is Z.
The Non-Site (an indoor earthwork)* is a three dimensional logical picture that is abstract, yet it represents an actual site in N.J. (The Pine Barrens Plains). It is by this dimensional metaphor that one site can represent another site which does not resemble it – this The Non-Site.
Large Reclining Nude (also known as The Pink Nude) is a painting Matisse executed over a period of almost six months in 1935. He documented more than twenty states of the painting in progress with these black and white photographs. The photographs are not an artwork, but document the process of an artwork’s development.
Site 144/404 is a MFA dissertation composed of text and multiple drawings/plans and photographs that include the images below. They document her excavation of Site144/404, a location that had once been a garbage tip and was near the site of the exhibition of this documentation.