Untitled (Cat´s Eye View), 2000
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Deutsche Bank Collection
stopped moment in which everything appears to have a logical format, even
at the height of the fury
In London there's this
Picasso painting at the
Tate Modern. It's kind of a fucked-up painting. We looked at this with the
husband of Anne's friend, the Australian director
Peter Weir, who made some great movies, such as
Mosquito Coast. I said look at the frame, see the whole thing at once.
That's the visual field. That opens up a lot. Everything is accessible. I
call them remedies.
Throughout the writing on your work, there's
a constant drone about elusiveness, that your work refuses categorization
– as though it had to be categorized.
This makes me surly.
Your inclusion in Lawrence Alloway's show at the
Whitney in 1974, "American Pop Art," might have fueled this talk. Critics
still comment on how you manage to do sculpture, painting, drawing, and
photography. After your Whitney retrospective in 1988, Donald Kuspit wrote
that your art "hovers in an exalted limbo of its own narcissistic making."
I can go with that. If you take narcissism as a vehicle to pick your own
Your work is often called enigmatic.
bad. Enigma happens when you're putting more into it than what's coming
out. When you're getting cheated. Someone's got their finger on the scale.
I had a background in science. I didn't take seriously the programmed art
scholasticism. There's no attention paid to what actually happens and
there's no essence. The apparatus generating the phenomenon is the getting
of the art.
It 's a way of avoiding an experience with the work
One does want to connect. That's the job. Other things
being equal to me, it shouldn't be all that difficult.
Time Piece, 1989
Your work changes lanes
It's starting from a different basis. Whatever
there is for a basis,
Post-Impressionism, and after that – the whole thing with
Cubism is grossly misleading.
Picasso and Braque were doing and the arguments between them were far more
compelling than the later packaging, which became a programmatic way of
breaking up space. I'm interested in the way you collapse an extreme
close-up with a distant space and the physical time it takes to experience
that. It's a cinematic methodology. How have these ideas changed since
your first use of Formica, where you capitalized on the pictorial quality
of the wood grain as an image laminated onto the surface which was both
ultra-fake and super-real?
If you have a collage material,
which is what Formica is, you can even stand up one of these collages; it
will be a bit wobbly, and if that's a problem, you make a box and apply it
to the box and you can really get into a dirty pool, which is to have a
very intense image that's flat but does the space thing.
Chair 1955-2000, 1965-2000
Courtesy Gagosian Gallery New York ©VG
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Journal II from 1991 is similar to the exclamation point in the corner; it
uses laminate wood grain on one side, the other is blue and white jutting
out. Two opposing Formica slabs are wedged against each other, retracting
and zooming out. They reference real wood but also tamper with reality.
If you take a look at a Braque collage – that was 100 years ago, but it was
all there already. I don't want to belittle what I've done, but I'm
certainly standing on several people's shoulders.
But what you
did was and still is tremendously contemporary and volatile.
a social sense you're saying?
I wouldn't say
I've gone looking for that, I'd say, do I mind it? A little bit.
No, that it's hip.
I didn't mean that
it's hip – that's always dangerous because it means the work is complacent
on some level. Your work is fresh and fast.
It holds up well.
It's the material too. There's no patina.
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