My first foray thinking about sculpture not as an object, but as defining physical space was in a workshop with artist Ann Whitlock.
She gave each of us a ball of string and said, ‘Do something with this.’
Our group must have looked a bit bewildered; we were second year art students at the time. She went on to say, “You don’t have to use the whole ball, and you can incorporate anything else you wish, but you must use some string. You have a week. If you want to discuss anything, I am here”
Rob took a bit of his ball of string and used it to hang an empty frame, thereby capturing a view without the need to reproduce it. Brilliant.
Three of us pooled our resources and took over a local quarry. We tied string to rocks and made a spiral labyrinth that traversed the pit from top to bottom. It was a very temporary installation. We rushed in Friday after school and called everyone together to ride share (few of us had cars) on Sunday. Monday it would no longer exist.
I am thinking about this long ago time because a few friends want me to lead them on a workshop to make cement sculpture for the garden. I left off doing that years ago, have given away all my equipment and tools, pigments and supports and molds. So, I am now trying to think of something we can all learn from instead of just me teaching.
The big problem is permanence is what they are after. So not a tent but a house. Pity. The other way of doing is so much fun and more flexible as well. This amuses me.
At this point in my life permanence is as elusive as life itself, and an illusion. There is a good reason why much of our historical artifacts are broken ceramic sculptures. If they were bronze or iron they had to be buried very deep not to be recycled into implements of whatever war was raging at the time.
Christo understood the beauty of the temporary, so does Mother Nature. Isamu Naguchi did his best to make that vision permanent.