“An installation does not present itself to visitors as a stage that can only be observed from a certain position, but as a space for the flaneur, for walking from one art object to the other. The viewer’s movement from one art object to the other is guided by the same system of rules that determines the space between the individual artworks in an installation by linking those artworks by a series of reiterations and modifications.”—Open Systems: Rethinking Art (56).
“If the creative act itself is part of a certain system and guided from the beginning by a certain set of rules, then the artist has a unique inner access to the system. And this means that the artist has a unique competence and power in dealing with this system, and potentially with any possible system.”—Open Systems: Rethinking Art (52).
“Accordingly, the advanced art of this time understood the individual act of art production as being originally regulated by a ‘system’, as following a certain general rule from the beginning, and as being inscribed into a certain social practice”—Open Systems: Rethinking Art (52)
“Minimal & Conceptual art: ‘In this context an individual artwork was understood as being inscribed in a certain system of image production and communication from the start’.”—Open Systems: Rethinking Art (52).
“Many artists of this period deliberately used the words ‘all’ (or its synonym, ‘every’) in the titles of their works, mimicking their generational predecessor’s desires for an art of totality and trancendence, but emptying out these pretensions at the same time.”—Open Systems: Rethinking Art (46).
“Open systems is offered as a term that characterises the widespread preoccupation in art produced by a cross section - In the mid- and latre 1960’s words such as ‘system’, ‘structure’ and ‘process’ has particular currency in art and in culture.”—Donna De Slavo - Open Systems: Rethinking Art history. (13)
“Works whose materials and means are determined less my traditional media that by the efforts to realise a concept or idea with whatever means are most effective”—Donna De Salvo. Open Studio: Rethinking Art c.1970. (13).
“Many artists were eager to re-engage reference without forfieting the lessons leaned from the narrower formal problems that defined the early 1960’s”—Donna De Salvo. Open Systems: Rethinking Art c.1970. (13).
One of the things that I think is really important for an artist is how other artists look at him or her, and especially how the next generation looks at you - how you influence them. This is not given, but I do definately believe that it is how the younger generation of art makers are influenced by your work as much as possible and arguing for it. You really had to claim your intellectual property rights - for lack of a better phrase - especially if you were not building something, or if the work was not some physical object - or at least a picture of it - that everyone can concur about seeing somewhere.
- Seth Siegelaub interviewed by John Slyce. In Playmaker. Art Monthly (327).
“One this is very clear to me - that art really is a social activity. It is not just one person who comes up with great ideas and everyone else follows. When you look at it - when you live it - it is a very comlicated mess.”—Seth Siegelaub. In The Playmaker. Art Monthly (327).
JS: One of the moves that can specifically be ascribed to you was a move to bring the secondary forward to absolutely displace the primary. For example, The Xerox Book with Jack Wendler in 1968 and further to that, the catalogue - or the interviews - that were put forward in place of anything more concrete.
SS: It was also, in part, to do with the realisation that many people knew art (rightly or wrongly - I would say mostly wrongly) from what they saw in magazines. In other words more people know art from reading about it or looking at pictures of it, than they ever do from seeing the physical object. And, obviously, seeing the physical object is absolutely critical - with sculpture it is scale, size, place and that stuff. But also, for my part, it was to do with going some place - I mean, the whole cultural situation. These people were producing work - other people were too - which wasn’t information about something, it was the thing itself. And so you didn’t have to go any further. You didn’t have to go to a space to see a Huebler, it was presented to you and me in the format of a book - which obviously led me to work on the idea of the book as an exhibition space, if you like.
JS: Also the form of advertisement. The ad for the Huebler show, combined with the page, is the final form of the piece.
SS: Yes. The idea of specificity of place got picked up and became a very important aesthetic issue. Before us, to a large degree - maybe entirely, now that I think about it - an artwork was more or less autonomous. Obviously, it related to artworks before and alongside it, but basically you could stick it anywhere. The Huebler ad is a documentation, but it is also a documentation that only makes sense in a certain space, in a certain time, and is defined in terms of that.
JS: It established a radical equality between the work and its publicity.
SS: Yes, though for me publicity for me publicity has a negative ring.
“Grahams dialectical conception of visual representation polemically collapsed the difference between the spaces of production and those of reproduction (what Seth Siegelaub called primary/secondary). Anticipating the work’s actual modes of distribution and reception within its very structure of production. Homes for America elimated the difference between an exhibition f art objects and the photograph of its installation, the difference between the architectural space of the gallery and the space of the catalogue and art magazine.”—Benjamin Buchloh. 1990. Conceptual Art: From the aesthetics of administration to the critique of institutions. (124).
“One of the things Conceptual Art attempted was the dismantling of the heirarchy of media.”—Benjamin Buchloh. 1990. Conceptual Art: From the aesthetics of administration to the critique of institutions. (122).
“Conceptual art replaced both ‘handcrafted original’ and ‘mass produced industrial’ to focus on administrative / legal organisation and institutional validation.”—Benjamin Buchloh. 1990. Conceptual Art: From the aesthetics of administration to the critique of institutions.
“Disturbance of the purity of perceptual experience, but it is performed as well through a literalist act of denying the viewer practically all visual information.”—Benjamin Buchloh. 1990. Conceptual Art: From the aesthetics of administration to the critique of institutions. (116)
Formal arrangements in art is extremely complex in execution - a factor in the individuality of each single work - yet quite simple in theory: it consists largely of repetition and variation and includes symmetry, progression, balance etc.
As matter is appropriated from the continuum to substantiate the form of the expression plane, it is apprehended as having certain elementary characteristics generally thought to be the products of the apprehensive processs.
Fred Lerdahm & Ray Jackendoff describe a cognitive theory of the way in which such ‘mentally produced’…
“THe signifying process that is the source of our meaning has several sources. At the beginning it assumes the selection by a communicator of some sort of material with which to fashion the physical sign: verbal, gestural, auditory etc. This material part of the total sign becomes the signifier and constitutes the expression plane.”—Art, Culture and the Semiotics of Meaning. (13).
“The power of the symbolic mode of signification to represent things or ideas not represented is at the very centre of civilisation, but this very power to stand for but not to be is radically antithetical to the power of art to be that which it represents.”—Art, Culture and the Semiotics of Meaning. (3).
“On the other hand, symbolic conventionality soetimes underlies what we may take as pure iconicity but that on further analysis turns out to be resemblence that we have been trained to see and that others not so accustomed may completely miss.”—Art, Culture and the Semiotics of Meaning. (3).
“The symbol refers to its signifier by convention and is best exemplified by words in a natural language, in which words stand for the things or ideas they name not because they look like these things or have been caused by these things but because arbitrarily accepted conventions have designated it.”—Art, Culture and the Semiotics of Meaning
“these qualities, often described as unique, idiosyncratic, and immediately tangible, interest a kind of scholar, the semiotician, who must see them as uncoded and materially accidental, hence nonfunctional in the production of meaning.”—ECO 1976, 265. Art, Culture and the Semiotics of Meaning.
“adresses the viewer directly as a literal presence in the space.
rather than imagining the viewer as a pair of disembodies eyes that survey the work from a distance, installation art presupposes an emboddied viewer.
the insistence on the literal presence of the viewer is arguably the key characteristic of installation art.”—Claire Bishop. Installation Art- A Critical History. (6).