Monday, June 11, 2018

Found, framed. Involuntary sculpture.

"Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning."


I have walked Jazz the dog the same route countless times.  

Yesterday, it seemed that every few feet I had to stop to contemplate an art installation. 

How is it that I hadn't noticed these gallery pieces before?

Was it the storm which made me more sensitive to the environment?

Was I less caught up in my own thoughts?

Was I more open to venturing off the path, to bending down, to wandering off into the undergrowth, to varying my point of view?

What of the people who assembled the installations?

To what extent was there any aesthetic intention to the arrangement of these objects in their allotments?

Lot 1. Giraffe and bean poles.

What on earth was this elongated giraffe doing, standing jauntily amongst the bean poles?

Was there symbolic meaning to its angled emplacement?

Did it have a role of watch-giraffe, or scare crow?

Had it been bought especially for the garden or had it been unceremoniously dumped?

What had determined the plan of the planks laid out as walkway?

Had there been any thought as to the relationship between verticality of the bean poles and the neck of the giraffe?

There was no sign, no name of an artist, no leaflet to accompany my visit.

Lot 2. Pallet, panels and branches.

I suppose the pallet, panels and branches had a practical function.

They had been arranged to form some sort of obstacle.

It was an obstacle to what?

There had been some thought which had gone into the propping of the branches.

Whatever the method behind the assemblage, it had apparently been pretty haphazard.

No tools had been used to attach the pieces.

No rope had been used to bind the branches together.

No attempt had been made to minimise the space taken up by the objects.

Whatever the story behind the grouping of the objects, they stood there waiting for somebody to pay attention.

Lot 3. Sheet metal erosion.

It has obviously been standing there for some time.

The corrosion on its surface had begun to eat away at its structure.

Holes were appearing, light was boring through its solidity.

Why had noone thought to throw it away?

Why had anyone thought to leave it standing there?

What possible purpose did it have?

What might have been its origin?

Had it been part of a vehicle?

Had it been ripped off a piece of furniture?

How long had it been there?

No answers were available.

Only questions.

Had anyone else ever thought to stop to pay attention to its rotting beauty?

Lot 4. Oil drum totems, oil drum cemetery.

What is the line between tipping, pollution, and art?

I can imagine people complaining about the eyesore.

I can imagine people complaining about the abuse of nature.

I can imagine people complaining about the thoughtlessness of others.

All I could see was the cylindrical metallic form and the fading colours of the barrels framed, overgrown, accepted perhaps by nature.

I found a funereal peace, a strange spirituality associated with the place.

Was it some sort of cemetery?

Whose heads are these drumstones memorials to?

Were they totems for a rite?

Was this a shrine to unknown gods?

Had there been any decision as to whether the green drum was on the red drum rather than the other way round?

Had there been negligence or care here?

I stop and carefully frame them.

Jazz is impatient to explore.

I pull him back.

He sits down panting...waiting.

Lot 5. Wild-framing, digital filtering.

"It's not entirely representative of reality." I might hear you say.

Yes, I played with an app - Prisma, to search for an intensifying of the colour. (I had written insensifying and I hesistated before "correcting it.)

Once the colour heightened, a wildness of the fence framing is what hits me.

How many fences have you seen with such a design?

How much would you have to pay for such sculpture if displaced in a gallery?

"Oh! What Junk!" I hear you say.

"Rickety rubbish!" I hear you say.

Not to me.

Lot 6. Ramshackle dump.

There is a joy in writing, in hearing the word "ramshackle".

I go and find a quote to celebrate it.

“The windows of the houses - even if the house is ramshackle - are always beautiful because windows represent light!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

OK, I agree I may be reading into things more than exists.

There may be serendipity in the geometry of the sculpture figured left.

It may be a complete and to some an unpardonnable accident.

But to me, there is beauty, there is wonder.

I wonder if others have stopped to celebrate this ramshackle dump?

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” 

― Edgar Degas


Involuntary Sculpture.

"A selection of photos taken by Brassai and captioned by Dali in surrealist periodical "Minotaure" in 1933 bearing the title "Involuntary Sculpture."

"Scraps of everyday débris,  - including rolled up bus tickets, a piece of bread roll, a curl of soap from a sink, and a blob of toothpaste - featured in photographic close-up as 'automatic' sculptural configurations. These banal and non-artistic objects (one of the bus-tickets was allegedly found screwed-up in the pocket of a bank-employee) were intended at least in part as a riposte to the prevailing perception of sculpture at the time."

"Brassai and Dali's photo essay provides a tantalising evocation of sculptural possibility, where forms are both shaped by human hands, sometimes with little conscious thought (the rolled bus ticket) and subject to organic growth (the piece of bread rising and changing shape in the oven). It also freezes its array of objects at a particular moment, before they are discarded, swept or wiped away, dissolved or eaten. Nevertheless, their photographic capturing does give them a certain solid presence, particulary through Brassai's use of dramatic chiaroscuro."

Chiaroscuro (English: /kiˌɑːrəˈskjʊər/Italian: [ˌkjaroˈskuːro]Italian for light-dark), in art, is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.


"Sculpture, especially in the case of antique copies and casts in white plaster, stone and marble, had exceptional photogenic qualities, setting up striking contrasts between light and shade as well as nuances of texture. In this sense both media (sculpture and photography) share a manipulation of the effects of light, as well as a concern, potentially for framing and apprehending an object from a specific point of view. Through photographic representation, sculptures can take on another life, eternalised as images in their own right in what André Malraux would call a 'museum without walls'." 

"In a late essay, Brassai would argue that the photograph developed in the dark-room acted as a metaphor for Marcel Proust's well-known accounts of 'involuntary memory', a latent remembrance suddenly triggered by an everyday object or experience, such as the taste of a madeleine dipped in tea. In that kind of moment, past and present locations are telescoped, and according to Proust, 'our whole person...totters between the vertigo of an uncertainty like the kind we sometimes experience before an ineffable vision, at the moment of falling asleep, - a state of demi-sommeil."

Anna Dezeuze and Julia Kelly in "Found Sculpture and Photography from Surrealism to Contemporary Art. 


  1. Pallets, panels
    and branches …
    connector points
    in a poem
    about a post
    about a poem
    then quite suddenly,
    I hear the soft padded
    footprints of Jazz,
    for there is where
    there is wonder,
    where there is beauty,
    where the poem
    has surfaced

    1. Jazz connects poetic pallets of sound in a branching balade.

  2. If we take the time to look around as we walk through life we can see many forms of man-made and naturally occurring art. Each of us will see and experience these differently.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Drumstone memorials
    Blood beats pumping
    In my inner ear
    In this sense of wonder
    Can we see that He intended
    This common ground
    To sensitise us to our surroundings.