Sculptural Boundaries: Essays On Sculpture
Have come to the conclusion that in the culture of the 'eye' it's impossible to discuss beauty, --as it's been usurped by commercial interests. Seeing that vision is our primary means of interaction with reality, we're genetically programmed to respond with set responses. The sense of proportion and symmetry is so ingrained that, to use Benjamin's thesis, it's impossible in the age of mechanical reproductions to consider the sense of beauty without being confused by degraded copies, or worse, --seeing ourselves as unique--, unable to distinguish between quality and quantity.
So to discuss this in any meaningful way i need to use (or invent) new terms; tactical and auditory, rather than the literary/visual, so that instead of looking for explanations (what does it mean or say?) we ask what an object does/ as we do when we 'understand' music, rather than understand' a book. Contour, volume, mass, texture/ space and size/scale are the vocabulary of sculptural forms--beauty doesn't enter the equation. If it exists it's outside and in spite of the forms. Utilizing musical (for the rhythmical) and chorographical (for spatial) might prove more useful, as they tend to be descriptive without being so interpretive, --like Sontag, in place of hermeneutics we're looking for an erotics of form.
The old school are Reductionists in pursuit of an interpreted unity, where technique is content and the image is imaginary. They follow Berkeley's dictum that objects are simply a 'collection' of sensations in the mind of god. In other words, art only exists when it's being seen (in a gallery) and the function of art is to make the viewer realize this by forcing them to 'see' it in their minds. Now it's a nice idea, too clever by half, but it was this idea that's swamping the art world as Conceptualism.
From having works be abstract they moved to the level where nothing's real but the abstract --that old Platonic idealism rearing its head in sheep's clothing--and reduced the shape/form/substance of sculpture to it's most simple. Not that i don't appreciate, in fact their contribution's surprising but not so original, and in the end the mind grows bored by its own cleverness. As Arendt pointed out, the most personal --and therefore completely private-- is thinking but reality's a shared view, the world exists with or without us in some form, and form is the medium of sculpture, it's not line nor color, not even shape (those are painterly).
The phenomenal world is contour; contour is related to shape, it is three-dimensional shape, due to bifocal vision. Contour is what two eyes perceive. Implicit is that the contour changes as the viewer or eye moves across volume, which occupies space in the sense that it is not simi-imposed. Two real objects cannot exist in the same time, same space. Forms therefore have mass with the solidarity of weight, the 'feel' of reality is in an object, --that if dropped on your toe it would cause pain--, a true measure of reality. Perceived texture is part of the evolutionary process whereby a surface is 'understood' before being identified. All reality has texture, both as a physical sensation and as the mental apprehension; as opposed to space that is the void that separates objects but also joins them. It is the surrounding medium that defines and modulates size, which is to obvious to define. On the other-hand scale isn't, the world is measured in scale, all scale is defined by the human and is the only valid perceivable measurement.