narrative projects is delighted to present Notes on Objects, a group exhibition featuring the work of Teresa Braula Reis, Braco Dimitrijevic, Harm van den Dorpel, Marte Eknaes, and Carlos Noronha Feio, as well as a new site-specific work by Anton Ginzburg.
The artists, whose works and references span time, geography, and media, are brought together by their overarching dedication to the expansion of the definitions of sculpture, and an embrace of text, painting, data, found objects, and materials both organic and inorganic, in a questioning of sculpture's physical and structural limitations, toward an exploration of its experiential possibilities. Decades on from Robert Morris’ 1966 Notes on Sculpture, while artists have continued to affirm and reaffirm the importance of Morris’ conceptual approach to forming and making, Notes on Objects responds to this essay with a selection of artists and works that represent a progression of its ideas through a range of approaches. These artists work as pathfinders connecting times and places, and culminate in an exhibition that celebrates their post-conceptual ability to work with a more broad view of the passage of history, and create a Morris-esque ‘experienced variable.’
The works on display are situated around Braco Dimitrijevic’s I'm Not Maker of Objects But Creator of Vision (1969-2017), a marble plaque formed in the 1960s, the carved words of which set the tone for the exhibition. Transformed into a grand, enduring marble that is both text and sculpture, the piece expresses the artist’s position not as a producer, but as an orchestrator who sees the relationships and interconnectivity between moments and objects throughout time, collating and compounding them accordingly. Dimitrijevic defines this work as post-historical, separate from Arthur Danto’s definition, in that it holds historical references as well as uses its form to communicate a concept—the form here being a material and structure appropriated from traditional monuments. This format presents a sense of the ‘accessibility, publicness...equanimity, [and] directness’that Robert Morris describes in experiential sculptural works, and a continuation of the historic rectangular forms and grid patterns consistently present throughout art history. Teresa Braula Reis’ Little Souls #1 (2018), which hangs close to Dimitrijevic’s piece, takes on this pattern with clear lines, structure, and monochromaticity almost presenting as a minimalist piece. The variety of rubble pieces, sensitively placed, transform this hanging work into a curtain of curiosities, combining sculpture and found objects to create a kind of postmodern or post-historical assemblage, sharing Morris’ focus on context and intention, with Braula Reis compiling and curating much like Dimitrijevic describes.
Looking over the second room is Anton Ginzburg’s monolithic mural installation Glyph Color-Space Initiative 1 (London) (2019). A different kind of compilation, Ginzburg brings together paintings and glass panels toward an alternative sculpture form. Ginzburg’s vision appears as a more literal notion of interconnectivity, where the mirrored panels allow for a play between the surrounding works and building, and a dynamic, immersive viewing experience in the narrative projects space for which it was imagined. This strong physical presence gives the work what Morris might call a ‘quasi-architectural focus,’ with a ‘romantic attitude of domination and burdening impressiveness.’ The references in the work move to Mikhail Matyushin and the visual experience of colour perception, but the unknowable fragments of time remain, now in the form of an abstracted alphabet of runes, where dead languages and glyphs nod to Morris’ looming ‘humanitarian sentimentality.’ Focusing further on the architectural experience, and the viewer’s ability to experience a work whilst moving around it and the space it occupies, is Marte Eknaes’ I’m in the wrong place (2017), which hangs over the beams of the gallery space. Almost appearing as a found object, the custom-made boat fenders seem to reference postmodern installation and readymades, with a sense of humour or folly in their inflated state. Their cleanliness, and kitschy, sharply defined primary colours removed from their usual context present a kind of reverse Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985), taking an icon of wealth and leisure ‘out of water,’ and creating a simulacrum of genuine affluence—its referential connections are, as Morris explored, to manufactured objects, giving it an affinity to Pop art, but the way in which it is adjusted to the space, with two parts flexibly relating to each other in response to the environment, keeps it an experiential, ever-evolving piece. Eknaes’ 2008 manifesto, which states that ‘all structures are also arrangements’ brings this work back to the concept of the artist as arranger, director, or conductor, becoming both the ‘visionary’ and ‘artificer’ that Clement Greenberg imagines.
Carlos Noronha Feio’s (wildness is contextual!) (2018), punctuated as if to accentuate its factuality, is a statement that becomes truth, text, object, and sculpture, all at once, holding a Morris-aligned ‘sumptuous physicality’ that is both an actuality, and an ‘actual object.’ This both contrasts and corresponds with Harm van den Dorpel’s piece. Van den Dorpel, whose work interprets visual inputs and lived experiences through computer programming, code, and logged information, transforming them into tangible entities, here presents a humble, simplistically recognisable readymade—a paper bag—but intercepts its presence with contemporary technology. Incorporating part of the surroundings in a distinctly post-historical, or post-conceptual way that Morris might not have yet imagined, van den Dorpel moves us away from a focus on surface, and pulls from Morris’ traditional value of negative space, in a less structured, modular way, and a new kind of ‘industrial sensuality.’ This presents the post-historical, post-internet, post-post-conceptual work being made today that continues to progress the ‘experiences’ that Morris imagined, whilst creating the ‘visions’ that Dimitrijevic describes.