Doctor of Creative Arts
Faculty of Creative Arts
Wallen, Lawrence Paul, A grammar of space - drawing the intersections of exhibition, media, performance and architecture, Doctor of Creative Arts thesis, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 2012. https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/3689
‘A Grammar of Space’ refers to the search for the first memory of space, and to the construction of a framework that explains artistic approaches to space, through the process of reflecting on a spatial practice. The research asks what is the interstitial space between image and text? It is this junction, potent in contemporary practice, that I argue underpins my artistic research.
This is both an artistic and scholarly investigation, and it engages with my search for the origin of (cultural) memory as manifested in works from a range of media: architecture, installation, scenography, drawing, and time-based media.
The study is distinctive in its exploration of a contemporary global trajectory as it traces geographic, psychological and cultural landscapes as it revisits central works created in Europe, Australia, Asia and New Zealand since 1992.
The investigation turns to early artistic mentors, including American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt, French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois, German artist Gerhard Richter, Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, Italian semiotician and writer Umberto Eco and French philosopher Michel Foucault.
By acknowledging that ‘The idea itself, even if not made visual, is as much a work of art as any finished product’ (LeWitt 1967: 79), and noting the relevance of engagement with autobiographical events, spaces are revealed as belonging to the core of the practice. The description of spaces, of landscapes, of nature in texts (both personal and borrowed) – as accidental notes, diaries, documentary material or in the forms of libretto or dramatic text –places the work beyond individual biography.
This wide context carries meanings that uncover a social, cultural and political understanding of the construction of space as a processual, continuous creative act. While the search for the origin of memory may be elusive, and as in Borges’ words ‘the catalogue of catalogues’ (Borges 1964: 52) is never to be found, it is the search itself that uncovers a unique presence in the unordered and unsystematic wanderings of artist and work.