Dirt Paintings

Robert Rauschenberg held the artist in irreverence. After all, work made could change, evolve, metamorphose even into something entirely different from the initial intention.

It has been the case with Rauschenberg’s series of elemental sculptures, made for John Cage, avant guard musician. In this piece, Dirt Box 1953, the artist watches over the process of growth. Soil and mould and growing things in frames and boxes, the artist even watered the works he in part discovered by chance.

(Remind anyone of Dust breeders).


The sculptures have not survived, there are simply a few pictures  of the decay.  Here is a great article about the artist.

Today, post-process art and given the mainstreaming of performance art and ephemeral art (read: no one bothers to learn how to paint anymore) it comes as no surprise that artists investigate change in spite of or because of the artistic unconditional regard for the work, a work framed for doing its OWN thing.

If Object oriented ontology has done anything for us as laypersons, its got us worrying again * about what things do when we are not using them or gazing at them. Afterall they might have lives of their own. And the living organic ones most certainly do.

Much like the French artist Michel Blazy, or chinese artist Gu Dexin’s rotten apples in Battersea Station there is an invitation to hold in estime temporal cycles, even if this means subjecting visitors to the spectacle and odiferous assault of rot. How much goes to waste, how much is thrown out, how do we even pay attention to what we keep and what we don’t …all important questions meriting responses for “the long emergency”.

* the quality of pre-modern cultures (la Belle totalité) is that all things are enchanting/enchanted and have a voice.

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