the grid

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The grid has functioned to declare the emergence of modernism. It declares the autonomy of art; walls the visual arts into a realm of exclusive visuality and defends them  them from the intrusions of text;  signifies art turning its  back on nature and its embrace of  geometry with its ideal forms and perfectly precise lines;  and rejects linear perspective and its representation of reality.

If the grid is the figure of modernism, then the "formal layout" of the grid signifies the prefabricated order  of a mathematical coordinate system. Right angles and straight lines were deemed to be so quintessentially modern, so expressive  of the machine age, that it functioned as the cornerstone of Western visual culture for much of the 20th century.


This picture entitled Burning by Mark Valentine and Floebee transgresses the grid of modernism by undercutting it as a figure of static repose and introducing dynamic movement. The flow of energy within the spaces of  the grid indicate that grids are obsolete in network culture.
True the dynamic movement is caught within the grid's white lines, and as there is no attempt to deconstruct the simple  straight lines, we have a contradiction between a static geometric order and the complex, dynamic movement of becoming. We remain within the pristine forms and rigid structures rather than the grid  morphing into forms that are dynamic rather than rigid, organic rather than mechanical, and complex rather than simple.


fascinating oberservations! there are some works that go even
a bit further than this one, one in particular of mine what pulls
away from uniform squares and clear boundaries. floebee has some
recent work that introduces different angles, and pushes the
disintegration of the grid even further.

it's also of interest to investigate what's going on within the
panels, and the implicit spatial disorientations, and irreconcilability with actual physical space were another important aspect of the attempt to disrupt the grid

finally, there were a number of paratactic connections that should
disrupt the notion of "series" within the panels as well

Mark you say:

there are some works that go even a bit further than this one, one in particular of mine what pulls away from uniform squares and clear boundaries. floebee has some recent work that introduces different angles, and pushes the disintegration of the grid even further.

Is this the work that you have in mind re Floebee? "ensemble" does seem to be closely allied with 'Burning' even though the content within the panels is the body, dancing and sensuality rather than abstract movement. It still works within the grid though.

Which is the work of yours that you refer to? The one entitled partial: complement of courses? There is more explicit spatial disorientation taking place here with images being over laid on grid's straight lines.

partial: complement of courses does have more explicit
spatial disorientation taking place. one of the works
by floebee i was thinking of, is the work ensemble [] and
the work that appeared as an announcement for plateform
magazine [
- after looking again, except for those two, maybe some actually
don't so much push the disintegration of the grid. it seems
they rather render the borders of the grid ambiguous, and perhaps,
malleable. Sound Check (by floebee)[]is one that creates an intense ambiguity
of edge along the grid, and multiple opportunities for contiuation
across the borders of the grid, made possible by continuations
of color, tone, line, and shape. Some of the other matrices
she has created acomplish similar kinds of ambiguity by way
of connections made possible between shadows

I have two other images that try to challenge the rectangle or square frame of the image, although they do not really tilt with a grid Disjointed Crescendo []Disjointed Overlapping Crescendo [] is another.

thanks. Floebee's Plateform 2 picture does address the grid per se for sure. The grid's rigidity is addressed through different lines, merging no boundaries etc. The grid has disintegrated in sound check where an organic flow emerges. We stand outside the modernist grid here----a different understanding of connectivity and interpenetration that opens to the world outside the frame.

Gary, Mark and floebee, This is such an interesting conversation.

Around the time this discussion was current I noticed that Andrei Rosetti from Roumania has an interesting assemblage in his flickr stream made up of "teaching windows".

I did not have time to make comment then even though I was moved to.

Looking at the interface of presentation of the images in Issue # 1 of the altfotonet ezine there is a grid 5 x 7 squares - almost. There is one needed to complete the matrix (at least to satisfy my anal sense of order). The concrete canvas could so easily have been complete - and, of course, I could not have been so precociously presumptuous, as to suggest one of my own images to fill the gap - even though, in my mind's eye, I could see one eminently suitable. Such are the rigors of peer review.

Congrats on issue 1. Looking forward to seeing more exciting things eminating from you people down-under.

At the risk of further shameless self promotion on my part I would like to contribute links to gridworks that have arisen in the context of interfaces for my interactive artwork for public spaces. In a way they relate to what floebee has been doing with the grid but, because this was achieved in real-time with movement and dissolving transition it does not work so well as a still. Because the content of the interactive work is fundamentally photographic, I persevere with discussing it in contexts such as this.

If interested refer to:

I am currently working on video documentation of these works for the web.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Sauer-Thompson published on February 1, 2009 1:38 PM.

pictures + music was the previous entry in this blog.

'Concrete canvas' exhibition on altfotonet is the next entry in this blog.

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