“The light from the East is not only the liberation of workers, the light from the East is in the new relation to the person, to woman, to things. Our things in our hands must be equals, comrades, and not these black and mournful slaves, as they are here.”—
Aleksandr Rodchenko, ‘Rodchenko v Parizhe. Iz pisem domoi,’ Novyi Lef, 2 (1927), p. 20. Trans. and qtd. in Christina Kiaer, ‘Rodchenko in Paris’, October, 75 1996), p. 3
“Imagine you were a burrowing animal like a mole. Your world would consist of corridors and chambers rather than artefacts and monuments. It would be a world of enclosures whose surfaces surround the medium instead of detached objects whose surfaces are surrounded by it (Gibson 1979, 34). I wonder whether, if moles were endowed with imaginations as creative as those of humans, they could have a material culture. Anthropologically trained moles, of a philosophical bent, would doubtless insist that the materiality of the world is not culturally constructed but culturally excavated . . . In their eyes (if they could see), all that is material would reside beyond the things of culture, on the far side of their inward-facing surfaces. Thus these things could be phenomenally present in mole culture only as material absence – not as concrete objects but as externally bounded volumes of empty space. The very idea of material culture would then be a contradiction in terms.”—Tim Ingold, ‘Materials against materiality’, Archaeological Dialogues 14 (1), 1-16
Jörg Hausmann: “Artists today have always dreamed of producing art for everyone…It seems to me that artists today do anything but that. The opposite is even the case. As soon as an artist becomes in any way known, gets a few good reviews, or can fall back on an astute manager, the prices rise. What do you think of this development?
Fred Sandback: I’m not sure if what you’re saying is quite true. But if you want one of my objects, for example, you can simply imitate it. All you need is a piece of string.
JH: But would I then have a genuine Sandback?
FS: Are you claiming that there’s something special about my strings that other strings don’t have?
Interview with Fred Sandback, 1969.
1. Writing about Fred Sandback is turning out to be more difficult than I’d initially imagined.
2. The last sentence of Michael Fried’s “Art and Objecthood” (‘Presentness is grace.’) makes me cringe every single time I read it.
“If you let it go too far it would be the end of everything. You would have bicycles wanting votes and they would get seats on the County Council and make the roads far worse than they are for their own ulterior motivation. But against that and on the other hand, a good bicycle is a great companion, there is a great charm about it.”—Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman