Place. The Future was Here! 2019


Site and context, these are the concerns of artists and curators; the viewer has none of these worries. Their role is in imagining and interpretation, however, place identity is of great relevance. The question of how artworks create and contest place identity is explored through notions of identity of place within the context of temporality and duration especially in relation to the everyday. The political implications of such a placing are pertinent whether viewer, artist or curator. New forms of spatial practice relate to the everyday, to interventions that are unmonumental but relate to the monumental, challenging both artist and viewer to innovative ways of thinking. 

The ideas, particularly of French theorists such as Augé with his ideas of non-place and  ‘superabundance’, Lefebvre and Bergsen whose coexistence of temporality is relevant to challenging the notions of identity and spatiality, together with primary visual research, are used to gain an understanding of the problem.

Whilst taking as given, “sculpture” in its expanded field (Rosalind Krauss, Sculpture in the Expanded Field), the existence of artwork in the public arena presents both a myriad of problems and benefits. When an artwork is temporary (or just fleetingly seen, either have a similar effect), the co-existence of the physicality of the sculpture and the experience of the viewer form a place in history. Its future is larger than its past or present. It becomes part of folklore and myth, each recalling of the event layered with a patina of new experience.  The wonder of sculpture is its plurality of viewpoints. Siting a work in, for example, the everyday, invites a plurality of points of view. To misquote Joe Moran (Queuing for Beginners, Reading the Everyday), it can “re-enchant the everyday”. An artwork claims a site for its own, for its duration, the original identity of the space superseded by the artwork. Even after it’s removal, it is never the same place and can never return to its original identity. Permanent siting of artworks presents a different set of problems to the temporary. 

It is my intention therefore to examine the challenges that are presented through physical, mental and social aspects particularly of temporary sculpture but alluding to permanent siting and place identity through the presentation of visual examples with reference to French theorists.