Monday, June 14, 2010
After our last discussion I continued to think about Nina Hole's artwork. The video we viewed in class showing the event surrounding the creation of the sculpture in Boone, NC was very much a performance. Nina Hole Video There is no reason to pull the insulating fiber off of the sculpture mid-firing other than to put on a show.
I visited the sculpture today. It has a plaque with the words "Permenent Collection" at the top, the artist's name, the title (Two Taarn), and the medium (Wood-fired Stoneware.) The plaque explains the sculpture was created as part of an international artist residency, who helped build the sculpture, and who sponsored the project. The sign doesn't mention anything about the performance that was part of the creation of this artifact.
Is this performance art that just happens to leave an artifact, is it a sculpture that integrates aspects of performance into the process, or whole thing just a matter of playing with fire to create a public spectacle and whatever remains is abandoned to the weather? I'm inclined to believe the latter. There is no sign to explain the importance of the fire and revealing the sculpture while it was flaming hot. The kiln bricks at the bottom of the sculpture are not hidden, but at the same time they are not integrated into the sculpture. The fact that this structure is now on view seems to be an afterthought. Even the longevity of the sculpture is questionable. It has been outdoors through four mountain winters and is starting to show minor signs of spalling.
I find it hard to consider this a serious sculpture. There are too many unresolved remnants of process. At the same time, if the performance was what really mattered, the whole thing should have been torn down a month or two after it was finished. This object exists between performance and sculpture and has too many loose ends to reconcile to be considered successful in either realm.