summer madness: solving formalism’s problems

If you have ever come to the realisation that the frame is the key problem for the appreciation of a sculptural work of art, you will have already realized there’s probably not much going on upstairs. Whether it’s the problem of the plinth, the problem of the floor, the problem of the white cube, the problem of the architecture, the problem of the garden setting, or the problem of the landscape, you can see that peripheral vision has a lot to do with the way you understand your engagement with the aesthetic object.  Remember how radical it seemed to eliminate the plinth? Such weighty matters consumed the artists of the formalist era.

So here’s the octogenarian sculptor Marr Grounds, resplendent in his trademark gitmo outfit, attacking the problem with characteristic post-formalist gusto…

There are many kinds of sculptural objects in the grounds of Narra Bukulla, at Penders, on the south coast of New South Wales. So for the toolophile Marr Grounds, even the stump left by a house-threatening spotted gum posed a sculptural problem. And your Iconophile supplied this 60s-era angle grinder, a remnant of his misspent youth, as a readymade solution. The evil-smelling black jack completes Marr’s iconoclastic gesture.

P.S. And apropos the problem of the plinth, watch this video. Some artists carry their plinths everywhere they go…


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