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4.6296 Cubic Feet of Earth

(Performance, Installation)Selected for an Honorable Mention by Juror David S. Rubin, Curator of Contemporary Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art

DESCRIPTION

A site-specific performance / installation created for the 2007 20″x20″x20″ Compact Competition at Louisiana State University’s Union Art Gallery.

4.6296 cubic feet (the volume of a 20″ cube) of earth was incrementally relocated to the gallery over the course of the exhibition. The receiver was instructed to remove the earth from the shipping container, discard the container and place the earth on the gallery floor. A small vinyl sticker with the words “4.6296 cubic feet of earth is being incrementally relocated from Richland, WA to the gallery floor over the course of the exhibition” was temporarily adhered to the wall.

STATEMENT

In the 1790 text, Critique of Judgment, Immanuel Kant put forth his belief that the “aesthetic object” must have certain intrinsic qualities such as beauty, value and meaning that are distinguishable from all that is extrinsic: monetary value, process and location. The boundary between the intrinsic and the outside, the “frame,” is connected or attached to the work, but is not part of its form and it does not create meaning. The frame does, however, enclose and protect the art, focus the viewer’s attention and communicate with the outside world.

Jacques Derrida’s contends (and so does this artist), in his 1978 essay, The Truth in Painting, that the frame (in this case the 20” cube) is “undecidable.” It belongs to the art, to the outside world, to neither of them and to both. Not only does the frame hold the work together (conceptually uniting process and form, a 20” cube of earth), it is the point at which it falls apart (in the case of form, the media absent its container, unable to hold its shape); the creator and the destroyer. “In spite of Kant’s efforts, there can be no assured limits to the aesthetic object, telling us where to begin and end, where our attention must stop.”