Archive for the ‘Sculpture’ Category
I have written before about signs and art.
This sign is art
whereas this sign is not
The function of the Leo Fitzmaurice sign is different to the function of the caution sign. However this could simply be that they are differing kinds of sign. One is a label and the other is a warning.
Though Arcadia is a label sign, the thing (or place) labelled is absent, bringing our attention to its absence. It reminds us that the map is not the territory, the name is not the thing named (Korzybski).
The Arcadia sign refers to a past, almost forgotten, inaccessible reality (or myth) and elicits action which is more like not-acting: the act of reflecting. For me, that makes it different to other label signs.
In one way the caution sign is similar, it requires a ‘slowing down’ a reflectiveness of sorts. Though its hardly a reflection on signs and their relationship to our experience, or on art and life. If the caution sign were to elicit this kind of reflectiveness it would have failed to do its job, we would no longer be proceeding with caution.
Here’s another sign from YSP (again not art)
It is a sign about signs! (You might need to click on the image to get the smaller print.)
It reminds me of an episode of the Simpsons where Homer gets obsessed with putting up safety signs and eventually resorts to putting up signs exhorting us to take note of the signs.
The sign says
yet the art work says
The meaning of the communication is the response it elicits, not necessarily the intention of the communicator.
My guess is that Sol LeWitt knew that one of the meanings of this piece would become “climb on me”, maybe it is the message of all public sculptures ( some more than others).
The sign not to climb, the verbal communication, is incongruent with the non-verbal communication, the sign that is the art work itself. Possibly, that’s why people ignore it, or notice it after they have already transgressed! I suppose it’s a lot like “do not walk on the grass”.
Sheep can’t read the sign that says “please do not climb on the sculptures” but they do seem to be able to read the non-verbal ‘sign’ that says “walk around me”.
I didn’t want to watch a wedding on TV, so to somewhere outdoors with art….. Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Surely, the most accessible modern and contemporary art venue in the UK. I went with six members of my family, some of whom were less interested in art than others. We did get some of the usual comments resembling “anyone could have done that” along with genuine surprise to find that certain pieces were actually exhibits. And just for a moment Arcadia, my favourite piece, took me by surprise. I mistook it for a real sign! (I don’t believe I am admitting to that, and it was only for moment).
On the way back to the railway station my son said that he had become conditioned to seeing sculpture in with the landscape and was expecting to be surprised by an exhibit here and there on the journey. No exhibits, but lots of signs, none of them for Arcadia. I missed the sign for the railway station.