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Mariana Siracusa on Passages in Modern Sculpture
24 June, 2021
Up close and personal: This is how Marguerite Duras in ‘Écrire’, Lucy Luppard in ‘The Lure of the Local’, and Rosalind Krauss in ‘Passages in Modern Sculpture’ describe the ‘spaces’ and ‘places’ they write about. The stories they tell are always about personal experience, even private in Duras’ case, and this allows readers to picture themselves in the narrative. It is a very effective technique, one that architects have often taken advantage of, both in the design process and after the fact when the time comes to communicate the work. I find the cinematic intensity of these excerpts very inspiring.
The underlying premise of the following study of modern sculpture is that, even in a spatial art, space and time cannot be separated for purposes of analysis. Into any spatial organization there will be folded an implicit statement about the nature of temporal experience. The history of modern sculpture is incomplete without discussion of the temporal consequences of a particular arrangement of form. Indeed, the history of modern sculpture coincides with the development of two bodies of thought, phenomenology and structural linguistics, in which meaning is understood to depend in the way that any form of being contains the latent experience of its opposite: simultaneity always containing an implicit experience of sequence. One of the striking aspects of modern sculpture is the way in which it manifests its makers’ growing awareness that sculpture is a medium peculiarly located at the junction between stillness and motion, time arrested and time passing. From this tension, which defines the very condition of sculpture, comes its enormous expressive power.