Response to two pieces in Walker:
Pierre Huyghe: A Journey That Wasn’t: 2006
Of all the pieces on display at the Walker, I definitely enjoyed this one the greatest (in fact many of the others simply earned my disdain). At first I had reservation about the pitch-black, narrow entrance to the viewing area with the creepy music playing, but curiosity won out. I ended up watching all 24 plus minutes of it out of a resounding need to see what could possibly come next in this certainly odd viewing experience. The misted orchestra almost had a quality of Disney’s Fantasia to it as the lights lit the vague players in time with the disjointed (but strangely intriguing) music. Shifting back and forth between the players and the stadium lights with the city in the background gave a delightfully fantastical air to something we view as a nitty-gritty reality. The sudden change the artic came as a bit of a shock (I’d thought it had switched to a different art piece!) but worked itself together with the coordination of the ever-blaring lights and the ever-blaring notes. It felt like they were going to signal aliens, but how it was cut almost seemed like the little albino penguin was somehow being drawn by these strange intrusive lights and people. At times it seemed like a penguin’s documentary of the aliens that visited his shore. The artist truly created a pocket in reality, a peculiar fiction, with its lack of resolution leaving a variety of paths for the viewer to consider when leaving. Was the penguin calling out to the boat? Was that just an angle trick? Where does this combination of wetlands and city exist? What do the lights mean? Who understands this jilting clash of music and lights? All these questions and no answers but the one’s our imaginations can concoct to fill the blanks.
Sigmar Polke: Mrs. Autumn and her Two Daughters: 1991
First of all, its massive size was enough to instantly bring attention to it from across the gallery room. Then it drew me close with these tiny little (what I first believed to be imperfections on the canvas) snowflake protrusions. It was interesting to see the reactions of the synthetic fabric’s reaction to the watery acrylics smeared across its surface. What I found most perplexing was that the work of a German artist almost had a tang of Chinese nature paintings. Drawing attention with the black print of Mrs. Autumn and her daughters spreading what appeared to be snowflakes. These women have a highly European appearance to them, but the softness of the imagery in the background, to me, spoke to a more Asian landscape in watercolor (sans color). The dim black paint builds a rounded mountaintop and as it recedes into the top right corner it is almost as mist is obscuring more of the range from being seen. The interactions between the white swath and the black also create a frozen waterfall, to my mind at least, and the yet unfrozen river that spans the bottom of the piece. Perhaps I’m just seeing things, but the soft interplay between the materials is what makes this piece work, bringing something natural to that which is synthetic.
And personally? Most of the Walker could rot for all I care. The most pleasant thing about that place is the free outside area, especially at this time of the year. Sculptures framed by the natural splendor of golden autumn leaves? The Standing Glass Fish glittering clear and sharp in the glow of an overcast day? Canadian geese going about their lives in the pond surrounding the Spoonbridge and Cherry? Not much exists that’s better than that. The more I think about it, the two pieces I picked out of the gallery involved nature, no surprise though. Nature is inspiration. Simple as that.
MCAD works also, too me, seemed only describable as meh. Nothing terribly impressive, the student works on display did not speak to me in any way whatsoever. The building was certain amusing though, very open.