brad brace contemporary culture scrapbook

February 15, 2013

Metaconstruct (80’s installation components) on Belmont Street

Filed under: art,culture — admin @ 8:57 am

metaconstruct.1984 —————————————————————————–

…part of a series of an original that never existed…

[The following file is, as you will see, from a printed Proposal sent in 1984 to dozens of art galleries primarily in North America. It is of some interest as it espouses and enacts a method for the creation of a great life-enhancing narrative, full of situationist-drift and revision. There was marginal financial, political and critical support for this project at the time. The various series of art-objects are occasionally altered but they usually remain sequestered in beautiful cork-lined, shellacked, plywood boxes. If you have any questions/comments they can be directed to Brad Brace, Portland, OR 97219 USA. —————————————————————————–

*** M E T A C O N S T R U C T

(Art-objects carry their own space The corporate-interior is its own image Tattoos all ablaze)

An open letter to the Gallery Curator/Selection Committee:

Having no commercial or institutional representation, (an unusual choice these days) I am writing to you directly with the hope of procuring an Installation engagement in the Gallery at your earliest convenience. You are welcome to retain this promotional material as long as required. Included are a resume, documentation, imagery, and texts which I feel most effectively re-presents the intentions of the Work. There are no slides! The use of conventional slide documentation would either obliterate the intentions of the Work or would merely serve as a temporary refuttal of the convention. The documentation that I have chosen to employ consists of reduced xeroxed/photographic details, or stills from (thus far) eleven interdependent installations occurring over the last few years. These amalgamated details enable the viewer to reconstruct for his/herself the `metafictional’ conditions of the total installations. (While the Gallery allows an emergence of a potential poetic structure, each gallery is architecturally and historically specific; but at a given point in time is also socially deemed to be the equivalent of any other gallery. The installations chart a course through a infinite series of art galleries.) The method (in retrospect) whereby one Installation (any exhibition is an installation) is seen to collapse into the remains of the others (hence the intermingling and juxtaposition of various photographic fragments in the documentation) is not unlike the method (means) I employ to arrive at a subsequent installation (in this case, the twelfth). At any time, the `work itself’ can be understood to consist of varying quantities, (positionings/juxtapositions), and inclusions from a number of installation Components. The number of available Components has gradually increased, and each is subject to continual re-vision, reassessment, and modification as required. The specificity of their inclusion within (and as a part of) the confines of a particular gallery-space provides an elucid, poetic, encapsulation of the Present. (And in so doing, suggests for me, future alterations and additions to the Components.) Appropriate written descriptions of the Components are included herewith. Some pictorial sense of their past qualities may also be gleaned from the enclosed fragmentary photographic documentation; but only at the peril of understanding an imaginary present exclusively in terms of the past. And yet, this all-too-human condition is also perhaps, an adequate definition of Poetry. How else can we know who we are? Certainly we cannot continue to afford to exclusively relegate this essential basic need to the vulgarities of a stifled marketplace and the maddening certainty of a technocracy. The inflated price of such a reversal of fortune is high. It is no less than a nurtured trust in individuals over the singular homogeneity of an eclipsed Modernist culture.

The Work will continue in any event, but I hope you are able to afford me with the opportunity and some financial means (it is of course essential that I am present to install the work) to construct a specific realization at the Gallery in the all-too-distant future. I think you`ll see that I cannot provide you in advance with a specific itemization or description of the proposed installation. It would necessarily be inaccurate and improbable on a number of counts. I can only indicate what the work has been by means of this proposal and trust that you will find the material interesting enough to allow the work to continue in the direction of your gallery. If your response is positive please inform me of the future dates of the installation, send a contract, and provide a floorplan and photographs of the exhibition space. I will provide a Title and if required, a short text, in time to meet any publication deadlines. An allowance of at least 3-4 days is required for the installation proper. An agreement concerning accommodation arrangements, transportation costs, artist fee, and printing costs for the mailer/invitation can be reached based on the resources of the gallery and art agencies. This proposal is perhaps unavoidably and appropriately slanted towards the empirical nature of the Work and its re-presentation in its present form. The poetic and whimsical nature of the Work is equally prevalent at the actual time of the realized installation . I trust that you will have adequate time to peruse the following pages and can lend your support to this endeavor.

Thank-you. Sincerely,

Brad Brace. November 13, 1984

[ All the following components still exist. They are housed in cork-lined, shellacked, plywood boxes situated in various Public Storage facilities. Occasionally I make alterations, some day there may be an invitation for a formal exhibition. The following descriptions are unencumbered by punctuation and standard capitalizations.]


(a) STICKS The Sticks speak for themselves Whittled eight foot lengths of Pine An atavism of Painted Plank Ptgs and photographed Verticals Currently painted a high gloss Black Displayed in a near vertical position Single Corner Cluster Evenly Spaced Sporadic increase in quantity To be joined by Greys Yellow and White Sea Gull Non Signifying Objects The periods of the Immediate Past

(b) NUMERALS Charred Western Red Cedar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Accidentally break forming additional fragments Take from all things their number and all shall perish The cessation of Time The consumption of ordering systems

(c) COGNIZANCE Stencils derived from the predivided Frontal Image paintings Flat grey primer spray paint on gallery walls and Ground Tone Cardinal Afterimage How societies represent themselves and are themselves shaped by these representations Causitive Formation Morphokineticism De divina proportione

(d) GROUND TONE Usually requires about a gallon of semi gloss latex applied to the gallery walls A singular subjective colour Tecnica di Spruzzatura

(e) FRONTAL IMAGE PAINTINGS Basic Forms Extracted Selves Mirrored Identities Cut plywood forms derived from various Aspects of anthropometric area bounded for example by edges of jacket and neckline An Identity reduced to an implicit perspective Repeatedly painted Oil base Years allowing the paint to shift slightly before drying Slightly Concave Varying in scale and actual shape Small gelatin fish lie in the surfaces Were vertically divided in Two and rejoined with Other sections Janus Destiny Receive a specific painting treatment for a particular installation Eventually cast in glass A fish devoid of memory incapable of thought Aquarium He once painted a portrait of Vollard the Paris art dealer It required 115 sittings and when it was finished Cezanne said The front of the shirt isn`t bad

(f) TRELLII Dead Branches Fountain Originally a trellis with the horizontal members removed A flexible template occasioning ebony pencil and turpentine drawings on gallery walls Wing Now also as six models Fir pine and redwood White prime finish Commercial Green Enamel i Fan Flair 24 pieces 116 flat brass screws ii Windmill 45 pieces 186 flat brass screws iii Diamond X 31 pieces 126 flat brass screws iv Flair 16 pieces 64 flat brass crews v Colonial Wider Stock 19 pieces 72 flat brass screws vi Georgian Wider Stock 20 pieces 74 flat brass screws Equations of Time Reverse equations of Space

(g) PICTURES First comprised of scattered but systematically related white shapes laminated on clear plexiglass rectangles Small pictorial spectres A little fragment borrowed from the truth throughout the shapes are provided with an edge from very thin coats of white plaster which extend to provide each white shape with its own sense of directive surface which is further enhanced by the thin plastic lamination Simulated White Age Building around the first impressions The Momentum of Inertia Next in the form of long tall picture columns embodying several systems pale blue shapes on silver aluminum painted black paper To isolate and excessively schematize the moment of intellectual abstraction With further passage of time once familiar scenes flattened out Graphic Arts Term of Close Cutting elimination of background

(h) HOOKS Silver Coat Hooks Ectoplasm

(i) PROJECTIONS Projected Dominoes Carousels of eighty one 35mm transparencies Prophetic or sacred malady i Blue Universal Film Leader Two frames per mount ii White Uniforms Chronic and thus destined to continue Ends with the death of the patient The sacrifice and consecration of the self for those who come after iii Glassware and Circular Mirrors

(j) OTHERS Trace elements Residual items subject to subsequent incorporation Small Used Landscapes Conch shells Gleaming Tusks Dominoes et al

(k) VISIONS Speculative factors Spruce parting strips painted alternately in shifting white and black bars Course of Events House of Formation White Plastic Domes WhiteBlack painted triangles Mounted on blue moulding with fringe Saw tooth picture hangers I could see that happening Beyond intentions to fallacies or failings Involuntary Memory Next inset in longer wider sections of mouldings Be that as it may Possibly combined with Landscapes

(l) CENTREPIECES Double Standards Also with spruce parting strips painted alternately With inserted broken cross pieces Hands and blades all black and white Bulls fighting and a man hunting boars in a thicket Integrated on spiral sections or mounted on a high gloss yellow textured lozenge boat shape in progress Standards Vertebrae Conjunctions chandelier Totem Erections The Reversibility of Events

(m) LIGHTS Umbilical cords Serpents Existing gallery fixtures are not employed A string of Incandescent lights Hanging Sockets Temporary indoor outdoor lighting Construction Patio Used Car A series of vacuums Tightly wrapped with #4 Butchers Twine Blue Flood Light Stream of absent minded thoughts Vergil A yellow flickering flame in a garage lamp

(n) THE PROLIFERATION Marble off-cuts Clear glass marbles Speech (And the possibility of Fiction To be published)

(o) HIGH GLOSS QUARTERS Seven Seas Panels Originally an eight foot square plywood studio table top cut into Eight approximate Quarters Edges are rounded Carry a smooth substantial surface of Flecto varathane Plastic Enamel Colours The Tomorrow Finish Currently have flat white stencil anamorphoric images of a clown face Aura splayed across the surface Previously leaned against walls now in the form of very low small tables 4inch orbit 2 position Furniture Legs Some panels are to be repainted and a new stencil image applied Polar Bear Head Rear Leaping Tiger Half Flame Parrot

(p) HORIZON Derived from the 1979 exhibition Catch A blue snapped chalk line which horizontally divides the gallery inhalf Perimeter The line begins and ends from the midpoint of the greatest vertical rise in the installation space This site of no return when the escape velocity is equal to that of light is called the event horizon It forms a one way membrane around the collapsing matter allowing things in but not out

(q) VOICES & BELL Pretransitor Radio Local? Rudimentary culture The mechanization of post literate acoustic space

(r) EFFIGIES Tomato cages Martyr Turquoise shimmey Geo-synchronist orbits Immaculate conceptions Conjectures Objective Correlate Impersonations Trans Figuring Figuration Derived from truncated Frontal Images El Greco Dynamic Metallic Copper Leaf Finish Paint Urethane Finish Blue Incised Enamel Lines Flat Black Varathane Triangular Shaped Masonite te Three Triangular Cuts Bound in Copper Magnet Wire Accumulates Imagines Masks Ancestors The closing days of the Saturnalia The negative moment of a Tendency The mystique of purity

(s) TELEVISUAL SCULPTURE And Drapery Fabric of Reality Blue Painted Wood Construct In the Wake of Codes Collective Amnesia The essential absence of subject A distilled absence of memory In Progress Television as travelling medicine show Inhalations Steps (as across sound-stage)

(t) MELANCHOLY A future component Saturn and Moons Photo Reproduction As eight large ellipsi paintings Constellations Celestial Bodies Ceremonial Drums A goat skin stretched over a hollow log becomes a living membrane for the ancestral voices

(u) ELECTRO MECHANICAL CONTRIVANCES Mechanisms for Disbelief Interventions Mitigating Circumstances i Fall red braided hair spinning from point on the ceiling The taste for action for action’s sake the dynamism inherent in the very idea of movement can in fact drive itself beyond the point of control by any convention or reservation ii Fear a suspended rattling teacup iii Fan sky blue sky nine inch Boxer fan Nihilistic Moment Obscure Self Ruin The terror of balance The balance of terror

(v) LANDSCAPES Formerly Paradise Panels Originally eight four by eight tempered masonite panels Could form one large tropical photoreproduction Initially a backdrop for the Sticks Then in the forms of a few hundred long rectangular panels Currently the panels are cut into arched shapes The bottom dimension remains linear while the arc itself is cut along a freehand line Now assembled tripled up with keystone Drilled domino eye configurations and joins are filled with putty Worked into highly detailed oil painti Wall mounted with Brass Tentor Hooks The sky panels are lost Proscenium Aquaduct Distant Detail Phenomenologically Picturesque Distant Hills Oasis South Seas Unknown Territory Unoccupied Future

(w) DECOYS ANCHORS BRIDGES In progress Cut filed sanded pine plywood constructions Shelved up close to ceiling or positioned on gallery floor at interstices of projected grid Tooth Miracle prodigy and portent Cones Cast aluminum castings of pine cones Scale Clock weight Rectangle of the Whirling Squares Pineal gland

(October 1984)

**XEROX DOCUMENTATION: Photographic Details Records of Existence Mnemonic Aids

[There are approximately two-thousand 35mm images from these installations. If there is interest, they may be scanned into a WWW database or hypercard-stack environment. Some individual images make intriguing b/w grainy posters.]


.i REMUDA Eye Level Gallery, 1672 Barrington Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1981

.ii D’ACCORD Anna Leonowens Gallery, 1889 Granville Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1981

.iii CARNIVALE Mercer-Union Gallery, 29 Mercer Street, Toronto, Ontario. 1981

.iv FLURRY Great George Street Gallery, 88 Great George Street, Charlottetown, P.E.I. 1982

.v CADENZA Centre for Art Tapes Gallery, 1671 Argyle Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1982

.vi IOTA Eye Level Gallery, 1585 Barrington Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1982

.vii RENT YYZ Gallery, 116 Spadina Avenue Toronto, Ontario. 1983

.viii SAVA Off Centre Centre Gallery, 118 8th Avenue S.E., Calgary, Alberta. 1983

.ix KNOX Plug/In Gallery, 175 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba. 1983

.x L’AURA Struts Gallery, 11 West Main Street, Sackville, New Brunswick. 1984

.xi INFINITO A.K.A. Gallery, 813B Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 1984

[ Two subsequent installations took place in Ottawa, Ontario, 1985 and Windsor, Ontario, 1986. ]

**Kurt Schwitters: Merzbau (detail), in his own home in Hannover, started about 1924, destroyed in World War II.


An idealistic striving toward a paradoxical and improbable classicism.

At any time, the Work consists of a number of Components which are subject to Continual re-vision, reassesssment, and modification so as to encourage a Synthesis of these essentially dissimilar Components (possessing conceivably individual histories) with in a theoretical shell of an Archetypal Exhibition: As Single Entity.

Nomadic Distributions. Consecrated Anarchy. Far from being a new foundation, it swallows up all foundations, it assures a universal collapse but as a positive and joyous event. The power of Affirming Chaos, Divergence, and Decentring. Heterogeneous series (`complicating’ within itself all series). Continually eccentric circle with a constantly decentred centre.

The nonhierarchical work is a condensation of coexistences, a simultaneity of events. Identity persists, but it is produced as the law that complicates all series, causing them to return within each one as the course of compulsion.

The Work has sought to be a product of the manners and places in which it is seen.

The speculator is playing a mathematical game into a set of random events.

An Insatiable project, endlessly producing and consuming `systems’, metaphorhaunted classifications of an ultimately opaque reality.

The set of objects the gallery displays is sustained only by the fiction that they somehow constitute a coherent representational universe. The fiction is that a repeated metonymic displacement of fragment for totality, object to label, series of objects to series of labels, can still produce a representation which is somehow adequate to a nonlinguistic universe. Such a fiction is the result of an uncritical belief in the notion that ordering and classifying, that is to say, the spatial juxtaposition of fragments, can produce a representational understanding of the world.

Ideally these Interdependent Installations can chart the course of the cultural Mould in today`s Age of Scandal, Strategy, Style, and Social Reform; bearing witness to the current Generalized Cultural Implosion which heralds Schizophrenia as the new Emancipatory Principle. A Shared World.

Thus its validity is limited to generalized unstable orientations, cultural situations more in potential than in execution, to tendencies in a fluid or raw state.

The role of the Exhibition is Speculative and is an engaging Intrusion into the Systemic development of Constructed ideas.

A matter of different and divergent narratives, as though to each point of view there corresponded an absolutely distinct landscape.

“For a long time I`ve prided myself on possessing all possible landscapes and I`ve thought the fame of modern poetry and painting laughable.”

The tragedy of desire is that it must perpetually seek without satisfaction and ultimately can desire only itself. Desire`s desire for itself is in the space between the subject`s eye and the object of excitation. This voyeurist distance symbolically and spatially evokes the fundamental rent of the self.

Thus, the dialectic of Components is transformed into a system of almost metaphysical relations. Such a system, even though it is only an effect or product, is transmitted in turn to a cause, and then exercises on the conditions generating it an influence both formative and deforming. It becomes a dogma and a mystique, transforming avant garde praxis into principle and doctrine.

“You may seek it with thimbles — and seek it with care; You may hunt it with forks and hope; You may threaten its life with a railway-share; You may charm it with smiles and soap–”

In recent years, accumulating data have firmly shown that one key mental faculty, called crystallized intelligence, continues to rise over the life span. Crystallized intelligence is a person`s ability to use accumulated bodies of general information to make judgements and solve problems.

The public that understands is not formed within a socially or intellectually privileged order, the unique repository of knowledge and taste, but away from any centre, an almost unforeseeable diaspora of isolated intelligences.

Japanese scientists have recorded phenoma which indicate elementary particles such as protons, which some scientists say exist forever, disintegrate into smaller particles.

Within these basic series a sort of internal reverberation is produced, a resonance that induces a forced movement that overflows the series themselves.

In a so-called open universe, everything will just expand forever.

The symbolic interventions of the avant-garde now represent neither the refusal nor any critique of reality, but are used to represent that reality as a dislocated complex of free-floating signifiers.

This is art as a collision and a cry, which searches among the facts for the point of fracture and boundary, for the point where the fury of the individual crosses into history and the social realms in opposition to and criticism of the monstrous universe of conformity.

And so Culture is everywhere, since artifice encompasses the very heart of reality. And so Culture is as good as dead (Post Modern) not only because its critical transcendence is gone, but because reality itself, entirely impregnated by an aesthetic which is inseparable from its own structure, has been confused with its own image. Reality no longer has the time to take on the appearance of reality.

—————————————————————————– metaconstruct.1984

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