This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Viewing the anthropomorphic as a study for the miniature object
DANIEL LUKE DORALL
Master of Fine Art
Faculty of Art and Design September 2011
SUMMARY This research involves inverting the traditional concept of architectural or scale models seen as studies for full-scale buildings, or final creations. I intend to show that the miniature-scale object can be the final object. I have been exploring this concept by building human-scale walkthrough mazes and placing the maze-object within these installations. The viewer is asked to walk through the installation maze and experience its journey and, when they finally discover the maze-object, get a better understanding (through their recent firsthand experience) of the narratives involving the figurines within the maze objects. This exegesis begins with an explanation of how I decided on this research subject. It then explores the topic of the maze from an historical, mythological and personal perspective in relation to my work. The next chapter discusses the idea behind the scale model and the miniature, while relating it to the maze objects. It also includes examples of scale models and debates the idea of viewing the maze object/miniature-scale model as a final object. The final chapter reviews installation art, focussing on the ‘dream scene’. It also explores the concept of the ‘gaze’ in context of my own work. It concludes with descriptions of previous examples of anthropomorphic mazes I have constructed, examples of related installation artworks and my proposal for the final exhibition.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface to the Maze
The Labyrinth and the Maze
The Miniature and the Maze
The Maze Installation
This exegesis contains no material which has been accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma in any university and to the best of my knowledge and belief, the documentation contains no material previously published or written by another person, except when due reference is made in the text of the documentation.
DANIEL LUKE DORALL 21352828
PREFACE TO THE MAZE
In 2008, when I first began my Masters by Research, I held a major solo exhibition at a gallery space in Fitzroy. The show consisted of 10 pieces of sculptural maze-objects and a large photographic print of a work completed in 2006. The exhibition titled Shaft continued my theme of building miniature mazes out of cardboard – each containing narratives played out by figurines. As part of the Monash Masters Seminar Series, I arranged to present a seminar at the exhibition space to other postgraduate students and staff members. The most interesting part of the seminar came about during the question and answer session when one of the attendees asked ‘So now that you’ve made all these models of the mazes, when are you going to eventually realise them as a full/human size maze?’ I explained that my educational background was in architecture and one of the key parts of the training which I enjoyed most was model making, and thus decided after I had completed my degrees to venture into creating art which is based on working cardboard and creating miniature worlds and scenes. I replied that the sculptural objects were in fact the final product and were never intended to be resized to the human scale. Months after the exhibition had closed, this issue stayed in my mind and made me question the perception of my work to the viewer. Coming from an architectural background, where the model is seen as a precursor or Marquette to the final construction, worked against me.
As part of my efforts to clarify the ideas behind my artwork while exploring the possibility of my work being recreated in full size, I began building human-scale walk-through mazes. These efforts led me to further think about the ideas and reasons behind the miniature and the model as well as question the traditional notion of a miniature – small scaled – Marquette – handmade object being seen as ‘the study’ and the full size – large scaled – fabricated object being considered ‘the conclusion’. Is it possible to get the visitor or viewer to use a large scale or human size item as the study towards a miniature object? Could the traditional concept of the miniature and model as a study be inverted so that the human scale could instead be used as a precursor to better understanding a model which in itself is the final object?
THE LABYRINTH AND THE MAZE In English, the terms ‘labyrinth’ and ‘maze’ are interchangeable. Romantic languages such as French, Italian and Spanish, only have one word from the Latin: ‘labyrinthus’. In English, there is the second word, ‘maze’. Some scholars take the labyrinth as being different to the maze, defining the labyrinth as unicursal (one path) and the maze as multicursal (involving many choices and directions). But writers from Chaucer to Milton to Defoe did not make any distinction between the two. 1 These days, the word ‘maze’ refers to the Greek and Roman definition of the word labyrinth:
A constructed network of winding and intercommunicating paths and passages arranged in bewildering complexity … once entered, such a structure is virtually impossible to extricate oneself from without the assistance of a guide.
The form of the maze or labyrinth has a historical context. It was used in medieval cathedrals and abbeys to symbolise the war between good and evil and as a metaphor for purgatory. Later on, the use was to conjure a meditative/spiritual journey. By the 17th century onwards, the term was used regularly for the hedge mazes which were a form of enjoyment or entertainment. The maze also has a mythological context. There is the story of Daedalus designing and building a maze to house the Minotaur. Theseus manages to navigate the maze with Adriadne’s thread, and kills the monster. This also links in with the concept of the daidala – meaning to make, to create, to manufacture, to forge, to weave - and its relationship with Daedalus as the first architect. 3 --The tale of Daedalus, and how the maze was created, goes as follows. Daedalus was (by birth) an Athenian of the Erechtheid clan. 4 He made his name as the finest master builder in Athens, where advanced figurative sculptural abilities were ascribed to him. He carved heads with open eyes and bodies with stretched out hands, making them appear lifelike. 5 He also invented various objects, such as the axe, glue and the plumb-line. 6 He was also said to have possessed metis – a propitiatory power or cleverness in overcoming disorder. 7 Daedalus was banished for murdering his nephew Talos. The murder has been ascribed to jealousy as Talos was also his apprentice and was showing very promising skills. He is said to have invented the first saw, modelled after a snake’s jawbone. 8 On being banished, Daedalus made his way to Crete where his reputation gained him work in the court of King Minos.
Wright, Craig, The Maze and the Warrior, p. 4 Swaim, Kathleen, ‘The Art of the Maze in Book IX of Paradise Lost’ in Studies in English Literature 1500 – 1900, 1972, p. 132 3 Pérez-Gómez, Alberto, ‘The Myth of Daedalus’ in AA Files, 1985, p. 50 4 Nyenhuis, Jacob, Myth and the Creative Process, p. 25 5 Ibid. 6 Pérez-Gómez, p. 49 7 Ibid. 8 Nyenhuis, p. 25
Every year, as homage to Poseidon, Minos would make a sacrifice of a white bull. However, one year, just before Daedalus’s arrival, when an especially fine bull was to be sacrificed, Minos decided to keep this prized animal and switched it with another, inferior bull. This angered Poseidon who then inflicted Pasiphae, Queen to King Minos with an unnatural passion for this bull. 9 She coaxed Daedalus to use his skills as a maker of life-like models to transform her into a mate for this bull. His invention succeeded; he had created a ‘daidalon’, a life-like wooden cow covered with leather in which the queen would hide in order to seduce this magnificent bull. 10 She mated with the bull and “produced the hideous Minotaur, a flesh-eating monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull”. 11
Fig 1: The Minotaur at the centre of the labyrinth Fig 2: Theseus dragging the dead minatour out of the labyrinth
Minos then commanded Daedalus to build an enclosure that would hide the monster from the outside world as well as entrap it in its confines. Thus the labyrinth was created. Thomas Bulfinch writes, "The creation of the labyrinth by Daedalus may be connected with the creation of architecture. The labyrinth serves as a metaphor of human existence and that Daedalus' creation of the labyrinth can seem as a paradigm of order, the "primordial ideal of architecture". 12 Every year, seven male and seven female virgins from Athens would be sacrificed - they were thrown into the labyrinth to be hunted and devoured by the Minotaur. In the third year, Theseus, the son of Aegeus, the Athenian King, was amongst those chosen to be sacrificed. After arriving at Crete, the handsome prince caught the eye of Adriadne, daughter of King Minos, who agreed to assist him to defeat the Minotaur.
Adriane supplied the warrior with a ball of pitch and a clew of golden yarn, one end of which was to be fastened to the entrance of the maze, and the rest unwound as he proceeded. Once in the centre of the maze, Theseus threw the ball of pitch into the Minotaur’s gaping mouth, slew him with his sword and followed the golden thread back 13 out of the maze.
Ibid., p. 26 Smith, Albert, The Monster and Daedalus, p. 2 11 Wright, p. 7 12 Smith, p. 2 13 Wright, p. 8
King Minos, upon finding out about Theseus’ escape, and subsequent eloping with his daughter, imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in the labyrinth he had built. However, the skilled Daedalus crafted wings for himself and his son from feathers, thread and wax and flew out of the labyrinth and over the waters towards Cumae. But the young Icarus was too confident in his new found freedom and flew too high towards the sun. The sun melted the wax holding the feathers together and singed the thread and he fell to his watery death. 14 --My interest in Daedalus goes beyond the fact that he created the labyrinth and was hailed as the first architect. It ties in with the pre-Classical use of the word daidalos (Daedalus) and its other form, daidala. Perez-Gomez writes that the word daidalos was used when designating the representation of art and technique. He goes on to state that daidala, too, is used, when referring to the manufacturing, forging, weaving placing and seeing/viewing of such precious detailed objects such as gold, helmets, belts and other defensive weapons and when referring to certain pieces of furniture and to ships. 15 This word is also used in the context to words “denoting light, luminosity or brilliance. Its functions are related to fear and admiration as well as to deception and illusion”. 16 In my creation of miniature sculptural objects, and in the depiction of the narratives within these maze objects, I often try to imbue this similar identity into the sculptural piece, transforming it into a magical special object. The miniaturisation of the scene also promotes imagination from the viewer and gives a feel of ‘preciousness’. This starts to set my sculptural maze objects apart from architectural scale-models. As in the examples given by Perez-Gomez, the daidala, or art objects, appear to be what they are not. I, too, aim for my work to be seen not as a study or model for a full-scale maze, not as a diorama or scenario, but as a final object, standing on its own. He states that “the principle value of daidala is that of enabling inanimate matter to become magically alive, of reproducing life rather than representing it”. 17 In my work, I assume that my maze objects compel the viewer to imagine the happenings in the maze; not representing the actual happenings, but by giving clues within the narratives. These clues leave the viewer with an open-ended storyline in which they can conjure up various readings of the pieces. It is hoped that, like a daidala, it is “therefore capable of creating dangerous illusions”. 18
Fig 3: Distance, 2009, cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl
Ibid., p. 8 Pérez-Gómez, p. 50 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid.
The Maze: Pre-Christian and Christian
From its mythological origins as a place of physical and psychological punishment and certain danger, inhabited by a monstrous and unnatural embodiment of evil that feeds especially on the innocent, a place provoking loss of what is most valuable, life and reason and community, the term maze carries with it an aura of destruction, evil and grim death.
Following on from the tale of Daedalus, the pre-Christian, Greek and early Roman mazes were associated with fear, bravery, tenacity, bewilderment and a sense of evil. It can be seen as being derived not only from its complicated form but also from the story and myth behind it. 20
Fig 4: Drawing found on Etruscan wine jug – the Tragliatella Pitcher – the Trojan ride and the labyrinth formed by it.
The pre-Christian labyrinth was also linked with warriors coming of age and their funereal rites. Depicted in the carvings in the Tragliatella Pitcher 21 (Fig 4), are warriors making their way through the maze, here named the City of Troy. In becoming a warrior, the novice would have to traverse the symbolic maze, face his demons and emerge victorious, while at the end of his life, his fellow warriors would retrace the maze as a symbol of his bravery and in honouring the fallen hero. This idea of the honourable maze would later be assimilated into Christianity by first relating it to the story of David and Goliath. 22
Fig 5: A 15th century copy of the original 12th century Liber floridus which recounts the myth of the labyrinth Fig 6: "Theseus-Mosaic", floor mosaic from a Roman villa, Loigersfelder near Salzburg, Austria
Swaim, p. 134 Wright, p. 10 21 Capitoline Museum, Rome, Italy 22 Wright, p. 31
With the Christianisation of Rome, ancient pagan symbols, such as the labyrinth, began making their way into the church. The labyrinth was used as a metaphor for the human soul, trapped in a maze (representing life), asking to choose the right way and finally, after going the wrong way (making bad choices) and then turning again towards the right direction (repenting), is eventually redeemed. Roman Christian poet Prudentius wrote that there are two forms of the maze, unicursal, with only one path, and multicursal, with a variety of paths. He goes on to state that the unicursal maze is symbolic of the path of Christ and in the multicursal maze ‘Satan leads the way’. 23 By the high Middle Ages, every character in the myth of Daedalus was given a Christian ‘replacement’. Theseus was equated with Christ and Satan with the Minotaur. Adriadne’s thread becomes the lifeline of salvation. The maze is downgraded from something on Earth, memorialising the fallen hero, to something in hell, linked to the resurrection: Jesus descends into hell after his death, to free the souls, and then rises again. The labyrinth thus becomes a symbol of purgatory – a place where souls go to wander while waiting for judgement day. Craig Wright writes:
Purgatory had extended the Christian narrative, which began with the incarnation and ended with the last judgement. The story of how and where the individual might gain salvation in this ethical tale had become longer and more vivid. A zone for both visualizing and dramatizing Purgatory had to be identified within the architectural ambitus of the church. That zone was the maze.
Fig 7: Interior of Chartres Cathedral, original engraving 1696, retouched and published by Bulteau, 1887-1892 Fig 8: Jacques Callier’s drawing of pavement maze at Reims Cathedral
At about this time, labyrinths began appearing in the naves of the cathedrals and enlarged and adopted into the theology of the gothic architecture used to construct these buildings. Church
Wright, p. 74 Ibid., p. 80
builders started using this tale and translating this pagan symbol “as a metaphor for Christian salvation through divine grace”. 25 Most labyrinths in churches were placed on the opposite side (west) of the high altar (east). This strengthened the theological approach to the design of the Gothic cathedral by using it to represent the labyrinthine Hell (as opposed to ultimate salvation: the high altar). These aimed to allow Christians to better understand the torments and punishment that awaited them. In another link to architecture and the myth of Daedalus, labyrinths in churches also were used as memorials to the architects and builders of the cathedrals. In Reims Cathedral in France, a now-destroyed labyrinth once existed in the nave of the church. In each of its ‘towers’ were depicted the architects who had built the church, within an octagonal shaped labyrinth. 26 Interestingly, this early labyrinth was called ‘The Path to Jerusalem’, at a time when the links to the layman, walking the labyrinth (as a sign of sacrifice) was not yet established. This uniquelyshaped, octagonal labyrinth, also tied in with the ‘christening symbolism of the octagon’, signifying, new birth, new life, resurrection. 27 --I have previously written about my work being influenced by religious/Catholic imagery and theology. It is this sense of mystery surrounding the parables and pageantry within the church which interests me, and which is depicted in the narratives within my maze objects. In the piece Lot’s Wife (2011), the biblical tale of Lot is depicted: the last righteous man, asked to flee the city of Sodom before it is destroyed. He escapes the city before the destruction but his wife, in defiance, looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt. The piece focuses largely on the debauchery within the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as the lone figure or pillar on top of the hill. The placement of the lamb links back in with the medieval and current notion of the Mystical Lamb of God, ‘a redemptive creature adorned in heaven by those who have benefited by the spilling of his blood’. 28
Fig 10a & 10b: Lot’s Wife, 2011, cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl
Wright, p. 35 Kern, Hermann, Through the Labyrinth, p. 160 27 Ibid., p. 161 28 Wright, p. 102
Fig 11: St Omer
Fig 12: Reims
Fig 13: Chartres
Fig 14: St Quentin
The pavement labyrinths within the churches were up to thirteen-metres in diameter and could span the entire width of the nave. From the ground, or in human scale, the visitor to a maze would look at its winding paths as complex and daunting. In some mazes, such as the labyrinths at St Omer, there were mirror-image paths as well as rotational symmetry applied to the design, which also incorporated crosses. 29 For a maze-walker, meandering through the pattern, none of this symbolism would be apparent. Only when viewed from above can the whole concept for the design of the maze be appreciated, from a God’s eye view, so to speak. Thus, the design of the maze, which can only be fully appreciated from above, and therefore is assumed to be a resemblance of the heavens, is linked as a symbol of divine creation. This idea of imbuing such symbolism within buildings, especially churches, was a major part of Gothic architecture, especially in the usage of sacred geometry and through the positioning of spaces. --The miniature maze objects I create are often viewed as dioramas, with the figurines playing out scenes within these creations. As the objects are of a small scale, the viewer often towers above the maze object and peers down, with a God’s eye view, into the sculptural pieces, in order to appreciate the scenario within the mazes. In walking through my human-scale installation mazes, the visitor gets a different view of the labyrinth, and, as most of the full-size constructions are large, they are not able to appreciate any aesthetic design elements, such as repetition, symmetry, mirrored angles - which might have been used in the design of the installation. If we relate this to the design, symbolism and use within the church mazes, as written about earlier, the maze objects can thus be linked to the idea of the divine, and the installation maze is thus connected to the human experience. Continuing from the idea that the human experience is subset to the divine – man strives to be like God – when a visitor goes through the installation maze, he is on his way, on a life journey, to overcome the confusion within the maze, and then he finally reaches the end, he is the ‘divine’: he gets to see the maze object (from above) as a whole, and thus can better appreciate the concept and the narratives. In reading it this way, installation is seen as a precursor, a study or the first step towards reaching the final ‘divine’ end, which is the maze object itself.
Wright, p. 65
Fig 15: Hermann Hugo, Pious longings maze Emblematic, 1624 Fig 16: John Amos Comenius, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart, 1631
By the 17th century, the idea of the labyrinth expanded to include the whole earthly world. John Amos Comenius famously depicted the world as a labyrinth as part of his book, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart, which aimed to put forward the Protestant notion of the pilgrim, destined to traverse the labyrinth, which is this world, making the right choices until his death. This is a progression from the medieval Catholic notion of the Christ-soldier warring and defeating the evils within the maze. This is the beginning of pilgrims using pavement labyrinths within churches as a tool for contemplative meditation and self-discovery.
Fig 17a: Picnic, 2008-10, cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl Fig 17b: Detail view of Picnic, 2008-10, cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl
Kern, p. 209
While the journey within my maze installations are not meant for religious contemplation or self-discovery, they do aim to evoke in the viewer the feeling of being lost, trapped, watched and confused. Upon reaching the maze object, all these feelings can be used to gain better understanding of the narratives being played out. The maze objects and narratives within them do have a relationship to the late medieval Christian notion of the labyrinth as representing the earthly world. The narratives within my maze objects often depict everyday scenes, often with a tragic/dark twist. In the work Picnic (2008-10), a family is seen having a picnic by in an open field (Fig 17a & 17b). Some of the children play by a cliff side, the adults are drunk by the picnic table. No one notices the infant crawling closer and closer to the jagged cliff edge.
The Maze and the Labyrinth in my work The usage of the maze in my work also has a personal meaning for me. It is the form I have chosen to create a relationship between architecture and sculpture. My move from architecture to fine art and sculpture was spurred on by the desire to allow myself to explore more thoroughly the free and boundless creation process in object-making, as well as distancing myself from the constraints of architectural design, in terms of budgets, external pressures from clients and regulatory bylaws. Kant explains this situation when he writes that architecture is “the most constrained, the most tied to money and ‘interests’; in it genius is fettered, unable to create “purely” or “freely”, that is on its own, from itself”. 31 German art historian August Schmarsow clarified that architecture was a form of art – an art of the manipulation of space. 32 In this sense, architecture could be seen as a form of fine art. But I also wanted an art form in which I would be directly involved in its construction. Architects usually use drawings and models to express a design concept, but this limited involvement in the process became an obstacle for the creative process. Charles-Francois explained that “architects, unlike painters and sculptors, did not learn their metier by actually making buildings.” He went on to state that drawings, full-scale models and other forms of architectural expression could not perfectly determine what a building would look like when constructed. He recommended that to perfect his art form, the architect would have to be directly involved in the construction process or at least be around to correct any errors that may be made by the builders. He concludes by explaining that it is the final part of the creation of an architectural art piece – the construction process – which often fluctuates and “follows an uncertain road”. 33 Sol LeWitt, in his essay Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, writes about the utilitarian-ness of architecture and the need for it to be functional. He also goes on to say that art is the opposite and cannot be functional or utilitarian, and if art displays such properties and has characteristics of architecture, then it “weakens its function as art”. 34
Rajchman, John, Constructions, p. 4 Pérez-Gómez, Alberto, Built upon Love, p. 63 33 Ibid., p. 179 34 LeWitt, Sol, ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’, in Art Forum, New York, 1967, p. 79
However, it is Deleuze who grounds the situation of the importance and relevance of architecture to the arts. He writes that a piece of work, an installation, a painting, sculpture, a movie, a piece of fiction, is always a type of construction: a montage, a composition, an assemblage, and because of this, we should not disregard architecture and should see it as an integral part of art, he calls it the “first of the arts”. 35 My take on this is to search for a medium and method in addition to a concept for portraying and realising my artwork through the use of miniature architectural models and the labyrinth. --I want to create art with close links to my architectural background and architectural modelmaking. In looking for a connection between architecture and fine art, I decided to re-analyse architecture and architectural model-making and, in a sense, to deconstruct the idea of architecture. In describing his theory of deconstruction, Derrida writes that the question of architecture “is in fact of that of the place, of the taking place in space. The establishing of a place which didn’t exist until then and is in keeping with what will take place there one day”. 36 He goes on to explain how this setting up of place is not at all natural and is something technical and predetermined. In other words, the actual act of designing and building is not a natural process. However, this statement can be linked in with Schmarsow’s statement that architecture is fine art when it involves the manipulation of space, and thus is the creation of place in space. 37 Derrida explains that “the concept of deconstruction itself resembles an architectural metaphor”, where we imagine a construction - a philosophical system, a tradition, a culture - as a building and then deconstruct it stone by stone, analysing the structure and dissolving it. However, he clarifies that it is more than this process. He writes:
It is not simply the technique of an architect who knows how to deconstruct what has been constructed, but a probing which touches upon the technique itself, upon the authority of the architectural metaphor and thereby constitutes its own architectural rhetoric.
He goes on to relate the theory of deconstruction to writing, of a storyline which does not have a beginning or an end, and states that it ”is truly like a labyrinth since it has neither beginning nor end” and is constantly on the move. 39 Deconstructivist architect Peter Eisenman wrote that the labyrinth is
a construction which according to classical myth, was the invention of Daedalus. Daedalus, as the only architect of mythology and the supposed inventor of many ‘wondrous’ works of architecture, has become for history the symbol par excellence of the
Rajchman, p. 4 Derrida, Jacques, Where the desire may live, p. 320 37 Pérez-Gómez, Alberto, Built upon Love, p. 63 38 Derrida, p. 321 39 Ibid.
humanist architect. As such, the labyrinth, Daedalus' creation can be considered emblematic of a humanist condition of architecture.
Eisenman further explains that the labyrinth also has another meaning. It also represents the idea or is a “psychological figure” of transitions and transformation, as one journeys through the labyrinth and the path opens up before them, a process to and from the unknown takes place. Therefore the labyrinth can be seen as an idea or a concept which does not have a beginning or an end. The idea is always on the move, constantly changing and transforming. It can be described as a symbol for transition and the unknown. --Within my work, I would like to use the labyrinth/maze not solely for its shape or form but also as a concept of transformation and transition. It will be considered as the container to transform the functional, usable object of the architectural model – the precursor or study of a construction - to the contemplative aesthetical sculptural object. The narratives within my work often depict happenings in everyday life, albeit often in a sexual, confronting, tragi-comedic manner. The labyrinth also has links to notions of and for understanding of society. John Rajchman quotes Nietzsche on how society is a labyrinthine construction that we must enter and exit in many ways and by many ways, since “the way – does not exist.” 41 Rajchman also wrote that artwork is no longer the Kantian ideal of an organic system developing a beautiful form but
“a singular irregular construction built from many circumstances capable of quite other strange things than reflecting a beautiful self-accord of nature … It therefore has a loose unfinished plan before it acquires a recognizable “form” or “represents” anything”.
If we relate this back to the previous discussion on the labyrinth, we can say that the construction of art is in itself a labyrinthine process. A construction which is constantly changing and transforming, unregulated and undetermined by a prior plan, without a starting or an end, “to allow for sensations of something new, other affects, other precepts”. 43
Rossi, Aldo, The Architecture of the City, p. 3 Friedrich Nietzsche quoted in Rajchman, p. 5 42 Rajchman, p. 7 43 Ibid., p. 8
Creation of the Maze I have been making sculptural maze objects for the last 6 years. The final section of this chapter gives a background to how this idea was first presented and the intent behind it. For my first solo exhibition, Maze in 2005, I was asked to submit two images for the press release, which coincided with the exhibition. I had earlier secured the exhibition with a simple proposal of what I intended to develop, a full size walkthrough cardboard installation of a maze and 10 small objects embedded into this installation, and used the summary that ‘The purpose behind this proposed exhibition is to enable me to produce models and images free from the usual constraints of functionality inherent in architectural model making.’
Fig 18: The Creation of Maze, 2005, digital image Fig 19: The Building as Maze, 2004, cardboard
So for this second submission I produced a digital image (Fig 18) titled The Creation of Maze (2005) and an image of an architectural model (Fig 19) for a conversion of a derelict hospital into affordable student housing – the image showing just the perimeters of the blocks – The Building as Maze (2004). These two images, especially the digital image, typify how I originally came up with the concept of using the maze as a tool to link my architectural training and model making and translate it into making fine art. By taking the two tools that I had, architectural drafting and architectural model making, both skills which can be thought of as purely functional skills – as architecture is at its basis/core a practice to build works/building for use, I sought to develop them and use them in a less practical and rigid manner. Louis Sullivan, a master architect working in America in the late 1800s, was among the first architects to design successful multi-story buildings (skyscrapers of the time). He later went on to design buildings with a high level of architectural ornamentation in the early 1910s – which did not go down well with the classical movement of that time. 44 In 1924, he published a book called A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers in order
Wiseman, Carter, ‘The rise of the skyscraper and the fall of Louis Sullivan’, in American Heritage, 1998, p. 74
to ‘illustrate systematically a literary treatise concerning the metaphysical origins and philosophical principles of his design procedure’. 45 He wrote this book as part of his quest to define an American style of architecture derived from nature. Sullivan gives an example in this book of how a ‘seed-germ’ in nature acts as the starting point in forming the organic structure of a plant. He goes on to demonstrate how this seed can be translated using axes and, most importantly, ‘man’s free choice, intelligence and skill’ 46 into complex geometric forms and organic ornament styles. I often think of the plans and maps I use in my architectural practice as the ‘seed’ for the making of my work. They act as a starting point in creating the mazes. And while I still mainly planned my mazes on 2D maps and plans, I have since evolved the concept to include shapes, such as flags, a heart and skull and various other common and familiar forms. Louis Sullivan writes about how he derives his ornaments from geometric shapes – such as triangles and hexagons – which when morphed and manipulated eludes a more organic form. He calls this process morphology. My work also deals with a form of morphology, the plans, that are generally an outline/border of a building within a city block, are ‘offset’ to create corridors, the lines are broken to create doorways and connecting lines are used to create bridges. Sometimes the borders are not offset to create ponds and rooms, or offset 47 in a different direction to create breaks in the grid like corridors. And while Sullivan’s morphology process will at the end aim to form a more fluid and organic shape – which is still 2 dimensional to a certain degree, my drawings, when finished, will be then translated into 3 dimensions through the building or extruding of the lines to form walls.
Weingarden, Lauren, ‘Louis Sullivan’s System of Architectural Ornament’ in Louis H. Sullivan :A System of Architectural Ornament, p. 11 46 Ibid., p. 126 47 An offset in architectural drafting terms is when a line is duplicated at a predetermined distance. When a square is offset within itself, a duplicate square but of a smaller scale is formed.
THE MINIATURE AND THE MAZE
The scale model is a mechanism for creating definition, mediating between perceived chaos and human designs. Positioned in the marginal area between lifelessness and the uncanny, the visible and the invisible, the architectural model appears to offer architects 1 an understandable way with which to develop and define concepts.
The scale model has been used in various forms since antiquity. The earliest recorded use of a model was when Herodotos mentions a model of the Delphi Temple in Book V, Terpsichore. 2 Ancient Egyptians also used scale models in order to magically control nature, and these were typically found in burial chambers. Except for structural sections, the model was not apparent during the medieval era as costs for producing detailed models were high. From the early Renaissance, more and more models started being produced, both of buildings and whole cityscapes. Examples of these models were also being depicted in art, most famously in the painting by Dominico Cresti di Passignano of Michelangelo showing Pope Paul IV the model of the dome of St Peters Basilica (Fig 1). Not all models were miniature in scale. During this period some models – mainly of churches – were built large enough for clients to either walk through or place their head into, to experience the space inside. The models built in this era were mainly used as presentation and communication tools between architect and client.
Fig 1: Dominico Cresti di Passignano, Michelangelo shows Pope Paul IV the model of the dome of St Peter’s, 1620 Fig 2: James, Gibbs, Wooden model of the Church of St Mary-le-Strand, London, c 1717
Smith, Albert, Architectural Model as Machine, p. xvi Janke, Rolf, Architectural Models, p. 8
After another long period of decline, the model began to make a comeback within architecture circles as a study and design tool. This idea was brought about through Walter Gropius and the founding of the Bauhaus in 1919. 3 Since then, the model has been used by architects to communicate their ideals and to develop their design concepts. They can show forms, complicated shapes, shadows, intersections, spatial usage and materials and texture. Models offer an opportunity to “experiment with imaginary ideas, impractical or unbuildable. They offer creation without responsibility, a release from the real world”. 4 Models can generally be divided into three categories: a model which is used for learning; a model which is a tool in the design process; and a model which is used to present a future building: “The model is not only an aid in the decision making process, but also a means for inventing, searching and investigating”. 5 They are used as a tool and not seen as the end product, but “as a vehicle for thoughts”. 6 --The maze object is also seen as a vehicle for thought. The difference between it and the architectural model is that the maze object is not a presentation/defining tool to define an outcome: it is the outcome. As I have indicated in the previous chapter, it was my aim to find a mode for transitioning between architectural model making and sculpture: I have chosen to use the idea of the maze. In the wider arena, this transition from architectural model making began with a move from the discipline of architecture to the discipline of fine art. Therefore, even before the introduction of the maze to represent the specific idea of transformation, the architectural model, defined as a mechanism for inventing, investigating, explaining and “making the invisible, visible”, 7 was already well established in this process of transformation. Thus, in this context, ‘the model’, even before taking on the form of the maze, already enters the realm of object-hood. The Maquette as the Maze Object The French word maquette means “a demonstration designed to gauge the general appearance or composition of the thing planned”. 8 This word is probably the best description of the type of architectural model I choose to make in the form of the maze object. The key word here is ‘demonstration’. Albert C. Smith writes that the word demonstration from the Latin monstrum, means to divine, portend or warn, and goes on to explain that this offers a clue to the future
Dunn, Nick, Architectural Modelmaking, p. 16 Moon, Karen, Modeling Messages, p. 28 5 Ibid., p. 9 6 Ibid., p. 8 7 Smith, p. xviii 8 Ibid., p. 2
events and “allows a certain prophetic indication of mean through marvel, prodigy and wonder”. 9
Fig 3: Gothic light: Three tiers wall structure of Chartres Cathedral Fig 4: God as Architect, From the frontispiece of Bible Moralisee, mid-13th century, France
The Gothic cathedral is often thought of as a ‘model’ of the heavens and as an explanatory evidence of the theology of the Christian church. These buildings, were replete with depictions of Biblical stories, via stained glass windows, in order to reach the illiterate masses; they also made use of sacred geometry to calculate height and width of the naves, as a measure of the perfect proportion of God; and they introduced the ‘Gothic light’ 10 to create an aura of mystery and presence never before seen in any other building (Fig 3). And the labyrinth, as a symbolic depiction of Hell and the war between good and evil, was in itself a model. It represented both the type of model which alludes to a future event as well as a model which makes the invisible visible. It is a scale model which mediates “between the order of the known and the chaos of the unknown”. 11 While the Gothic cathedral can be quantitated by measurement and scale, its complex system of symbolism, allows for multiple interpretations and readings of this model, resulting in different views from visitors to the building. 12 My work is consciously or unconsciously influenced by theology and Catholicism through the narratives depicted in the maze object. This model: the Gothic cathedral would be the closest form of a maquette which I would relate to the maze objects I create, in the sense that the
Smith, p. 2 This ‘Gothic light’ was not really meant as a source of light used to brighten up the interior of the church, but rather as light that gives a spiritual feeling and mood to the congregation. Hans Jantzen wrote in his book High Gothic: The Classic Cathedrals of Chartres, Reims & Amiens (Princeton University Press, 1984), that the Gothic interior when ‘bathed in an ethereal light’ gave the believers a spiritual feeling not felt before in a Romanesque building. This light when entered through the windows tends to blend into the walls and merge making the walls seem transparent. The interior becomes a supernaturally illuminated space, in which the light itself is part of the structure enclosing it. He stated, “… Gothic light is not a ‘natural’ light and, secondly, that this ‘unnaturalness’, when experienced in conjunction with the inspiring power of the architecture, becomes a ‘supernatural’ light.” p. 69 11 Smith, p. 65 12 Ibid.
works, while alluding to an idea, are also left open-ended and left to the interpretation of the individual viewer. Additionally, ‘divine’ can also stand for ‘divination’: to foretell through inspiration, intuition or reflection on the shape of future events. 13 It can be used not only to demonstrate what is in a building but what can be imagined of a building. It can be said to make the invisible visible in the mind of the viewer. This concept ties in with my notion of the maze object and the narratives within it. The viewer here is asked not only to see what is going on in the maze object, but to interpret the stories within in and to further expand the narrative beyond what is shown. Therefore, the maze object – like the Gothic Cathedral - is a model for something greater. It is not merely a construction that can be enlarged and built, but suggestive of a larger world which lives only in the mind of the viewer. The Allusion of the Maze Object As with the maquette, my maze objects aim to create an allusion, not an illusion. The creation of the maze object, with its narrative, is kept minimal and symbolic, to avoid any false illusions. This is another way in which the maze object diverges from the architectural model. The maze object, while displaying certain scenarios within its confines, does not include specifications of materials. A major component within my work is green grass. This element is not meant to represent real grass, the same way that ponds within my works are not meant to represent real multi-coloured ponds. They merely allude to some figurative or symbolic reference. To have a piece which alludes to a certain scenario, as opposed to one which creates an illusion of a future event, allows the viewer to once again let their imagination take over when experiencing the work. By presenting a piece which is multi-interpretational, I hope to avoid forcing singular interpretations and to allow play. The playful element occurs when the viewer ‘completes’ the object through the projection of his or her ideas. 14
Fig 5a: The Field, 2007, cardboard, plastic, hydrocryl Fig 5b: Detail of The Field, 2007, cardboard, plastic, hydrocryl
The piece entitled The Field (2007), made to explore personal ideas of composition and juxtaposition in my work (young children and the start of life; graves and the end of life) gave
Smith, p. 2 Ibid., p. 28
the viewer a very open-ended narrative of young children walking through a field of cows, by a cemetery. But the ideas of fantasy and imagination invoked by the miniaturisation of the work, allowed viewers to form their own reading of the scene (Fig 5a & 5b). For example, viewers have interpreted the scene as symbolising the odd (and medieval) portrayal of language, in the instance where societies have separate descriptions between livestock and food. The culinary name for a cow, for instance, is beef. In this scene, the children looking at the cow indicate the notion that because of this renaming, aforementioned, children often do not associate eating beef with eating a cow, or eating lamb with eating a young sheep. The tombstone in the connecting maze points to death – or in this instance, to the slaughter of the cow, most usually for use as beef. The reading points to the understanding of how children often do not understand the concept of vegetarianism as they do not associate cows with beef, and thus meat. This specific reading of the work might seem obscure, but became possible as the creation of the maze object was left open-ended. It allowed the viewer to play with the imagery and symbolism depicted, and come up with their own personal interpretation. The Model and the Maze Object The architectural scale model may also be linked to the myth of the creation of the labyrinth by Daedalus. As discussed in the previous chapter, the design and placement of the labyrinth in the pavements of medieval cathedrals symbolised not only the struggle between good and evil, but also signified divine creation. As the Gothic cathedral, too, was a symbol of the heavens, thus the labyrinth “might be interpreted as signifying the marvellously articulated complexity of the building that contains it”. 15 Albert C Smith writes that humankind has the need to create order from chaos. He explains that Daedalus creates the labyrinth as a form or symbol to control the Minotaur (chaos) 16 and that “the labyrinth at Knossos, serves as a scale model of man’s attempt to formulate such an order”. 17 Thus, the maze object, both a model and a labyrinth, is an object for transformation and also an object of control and order. --Architects generally make models to explore, develop and present ideas and concepts of a future construction in three-dimensions. Historically, models have been used as a method of
Dobb, Penelope, The Idea of the Labyrinth, p. 123 Smith explains “Daedalus designed the labyrinth to contain Pasiphae’s monstrous offspring, the Minotaur, half man half bull. The idea of the Minotaur as monster is derived from the Latin monstrum, which means portent (an omen or prodigy) and from monere, which means to warn. Monsters have similarities to soothsayers. The divine monster symbolized a seemingly chaotic message from the divine Gods. Consequently, the paradigm-like (scale model) labyrinth attempts to demonstrate and define an understandable boundary of standards around the message of the divine”. p. 43 17 Smith, p. 42
communication, as they are excellent tools when trying to explain ‘deficiencies in knowledge’ to clients and contractors. 18 As opposed to painting or sculpture, where the visual and conceptual is key, architectural models and drawings often have a role to play, or a function, and can be used to address concerns surrounding inhabitation, climatic considerations and maintenance. They are used to allow viewers to fully perceive the three-dimensional experience, rather than merely imagining it. 19 The maze object alludes to the idea behind the narrative. Because it does not contain specifics (i.e. there is no wall, no door, no window, and no colour, but a complex system of monochromatic corridors), the narratives played out within become the focal point in this construction.
Fig 6: Incomplete maze object: Change of Heart, 2005, cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl Fig 7: Complete maze object: Change of Heart, 2005, cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl
In Change of Heart (2005), the first image shows the completed maze object, devoid of the narrative. It is at this stage that it perhaps most resembles an architectural model. The second image, with the narrative in place - a woman lying face down in a pool, another woman and baby within a small claustrophobic outdoor enclosure and two men waltzing on a black marble floor – transforms the cardboard model, into the maze object (Figs 6 & 7). This juxtaposition of figurines within the maze object, thereby creating a narrative, brings the model across the threshold of being a mere representation or presentation tool of a future construction, to a tableau or depiction of a narrative scene. The figurines are not merely props to show off the building, as in architectural models. Neither do they work to show scale, as they would scarcely fit into the corridors of the maze which encloses them. They form the idea which the work alludes to: the genesis for imaginative thought on behalf of the viewer.
Dunn, p. 6 Ibid., p. 7
Christian Hubert writes “If buildings are thought to be the ultimate referents for architecture, then the model could be thought of as its semi-fictional account”. 20 He goes on to compare the model to the frame of a painting, lying on the border between representation and actuality “neither wholly inside nor wholly outside, neither pure representational or transcendent object. It claims a certain autonomous object hood, yet this condition is always incomplete”. 21 It is incomplete because an architectural model is always seen as a precursor or a study or a maquette of the finished building. The model is always a model of. The maze object does not refer to a future construction. In fact, the maze object is a fully fictional account. It is closer to the architectural model described by Mark Morris as an object “which denies the model’s power of mimesis in exchange for something more open-ended. These models are not really made to represent that which will be built, they are free to represent other intentions”. 22 Therefore, the maze object is never a model of. It transcends and transforms, via the maze as described in the previous chapter, beyond the capability of the architectural model and becomes the object. The Miniature Model and Scale
Thus the miniscule, a narrow gate, opens up an entire world. The details of a thing can be the sign of a new world which, like all worlds, contains the attributes of greatness. Miniature is one of the refuges of greatness.
When we think of a model, we think of a small object. As written earlier in this chapter, this was not always the case, as the model, when used as a presentation tool, can also manifest itself as a large object capable of allowing the visitor to enter and experience its space. However these creations are still always scaled-down or miniaturized versions of the final building. Size and scale are not to be confused. A large object could still be a miniaturized or scaled-down version of an even larger object. Thus, a model can be either big or small in size but always smaller in scale than the end construction. This idea has always been thrust upon us, as we assume preliminary objects to be less defined, less finished, smaller and simpler, as in an artist’s sketch for a larger painting, for instance; to take this notion further, and in a biological sense, a baby is always smaller, underdeveloped and unfinished, compared to an adult. 24 However, Susan Stewart wrote to the contrary. She states that the miniature is in fact significant and its significance continues to increase rather than decrease by its small scale. 25 In addition, she writes that the miniature is linked to the realm of fantasy, promoting imagination from the viewer. This fact is important in relation to my own work. As the mazes in my work contain narratives of events, the miniature scale of these narratives make the scene
Hubert, Christian, ‘The Ruins of Representation’ in Idea as Model, Kenneth Frampton, ed., p. 17 Ibid. 22 Morris, Mark, Architecture and the Miniature, p. 67 23 Bachelard, Gaston, The Poetics of Space, p. 155 24 Morris, p. 9 25 Stewart, Susan, On Longing, p. 38
almost unreal and removed from actual events. This has allowed me to explore different ideas and concepts in portraying narratives within my work, as well as to allow the viewer to make up their own stories and endings about the scenarios being portrayed. This is in opposition to the early concept of miniature books and creations or dioramas which sometimes aimed to promote didactic thought. 26 However, what if there is no final building or future object? Can there then be a case for a miniaturized model to be the final object? If there is no large scale to refer it to, can the maze object be seen as not merely a study for a future anthropomorphic 27 scale but as an object on its own? And can we take it one step further and build large versions of the miniature object which will then act as studies: essentially an inversion of the role of the architectural model?
Fig 8: Eero Saarinen testing his design for the stairway for the St Louis Gateway Arch on a full size model, c. 1958 – 59 Fig 9: I.M Pei with a diagrammatic model of the Louvre extension made from cables, c. 1982
Above are two examples in contemporary architecture of how full-size constructions have been used as models. Eero Saarinen built a full size model (Fig 8) of the stairs which were to be constructed in the St Louis Gateway Arch to test the slope and walking conditions within the monument. 28 In this case the anthropomorphic model was purely for technical purposes. Secondly, I.M Pei set up a diagrammatic skeletal model of the proposed pyramid for the Louvre extension project (Fig 9), in order to convince the French about the scale and positioning of the structure. This model although light and non-solid, managed to capture the scale and proportions of the project and also allowed visitors walking beneath the frame to imagine experiencing the pyramidal glass enclosure. It is the latter example which is close to the question I am asking about creating a full-size study for the maze object. If we create a full-size, walk-through maze, based on the maze object, and allow visitors to meander through this model, they too will be able to better imagine – not
Ibid., p. 43 The word anthropomorphic in this paper is used in an architectural context. An anthropomorphic architecture or construction (or object) is one which is related to the human body in terms of scale and proportion. When I write about ‘viewing the anthropomorphic’ in this paper, it refers to the human scale maze installations which form a major part of my work. 28 Moon, p. 58
about being within a future construction (as architecture would ask of the visitor), but to imagine and project themselves into the miniature maze object. Albert C. Smith concurs with this idea when writes about the architectural small-scale model machine:
The scale model provides architects with a mechanism by which they can test and reexamine their ideas. Sometimes however the projection of thoughts on to the scale model machine can make it appear to take on a life of its own. This happens in the realm of our imagination. Aristotle (De Memoria, 449631) believed that the imagination served as a mediation and that the soul never thinks without an image. For Hume, the imagination was also a mediation between ideas of memory and judgment. From Aristotle to Kant, imagining is seen as a mediating or middle range power. This is the area in which the scale model machine dwells. In this way the scale model is a machine for imagining, for developing 29 the free associations needed to develop new ideas.
--Models in their density of visual information have clarity in complexity and gain energy from being small. 30 On their own, models already have intrinsic value and it’s not necessarily those of the future building. The model while delivering an idea is, at the end of the day, also an object with identity and presence which demands attention. 31 This might be what gives the miniature model an aura of its own, which is lost when the scale of the model goes from the miniature to the anthropomorphic. If the model is the semi-fictional account of the object, a certain amount of imagination is needed by the viewer to bring the creation to life. It is this assumed and understood need which gives the model a status of its own. It is understood as an entire world which can be inhabited by our imagination but not by our body. This is the existing concept when reading the maze object. The Maze Object and the Miniature The use of lightweight, utilitarian material such as cardboard, together with the small scale of the maze objects, and the usage of the term ‘miniature’, often lead to viewers’ assuming the possibility of the maze object being an introduction, experimental or scaled-down version of a ‘final product’. As a trained architect, I chose to use the medium most common to me: cardboard. Additionally, because of my interest in the handmade and on producing skilled-based work, the objects that I create, even though miniature in size, are the final product and the final outcome of the labour. Just as we would associate a drawing or a watercolour as a final product for someone who is primarily a watercolourist or a drawer, these maze objects are the end product.
Smith, p. xxii Ibid., p. 12 31 Moon, p. 18
Fig 10: Vincent Fecteau, Untitled, 2003, Papier-mâché, acrylic paint, burlap and balsawood Fig 11: Vincent Fecteau , Untitled, 2002, mixed media
American artist Vincent Fecteau, who makes strangely familiar and yet unrecognizable modellike sculptures out of Papier-mâché and Foamcore, expressed similar sentiments when he wrote about his own experience:
(L)arge sculpture was out of the question. Technically and conceptually, it's very intimidating to me. I never studied sculpture in school, and my only experience dealing with 3-D visual problems was in an amazing architecture class I took as an under grad at Wesleyan, which was probably one of the reasons I started making model-like sculptures and using foam core. My working practice is very intuitive, and decisions are made in the process of making and taking things apart. It seems too difficult to me to work this way on a large scale. I wanted to find a size that could accommodate the range of materials I was interested in using--foamcore, paper, craft items like pinecones, Popsicle sticks, balsa wood, etc.--to make a place where all these materials with their individual scales could meet. Papier-mache was necessary to support the larger size of the sculptures while allowing me to manipulate the surface color and texture. I could remain interested in the handmade object, experimenting with its idiosyncrasies and imperfections, approaching 32 the idea of the handmade on both conceptual and physical levels.
The maze objects are never intended to be scaled up, as they would then lose the handmade quality and labour intensive effort involved in making the work. The maze object would also lose the aura, the illusion, of the fantasy world and the narratives which are linked to each maze. This will also result in the loss of any compositional qualities of spaces, colour and placement of figures, which have been applied in the object-sized mazes. Susan Stewart writes about the handmade and the miniature in her essay At the Threshold of the Visible, when she states that they “retain the power of the concentrated labour that has formed them. This power is not an accumulation of materiality, but rather an accumulation of transformations made in time; the laboriously hand-made object results in a representation of temporal magnitude”. 33 She elaborates that this laboriously handmade object is imbued with the worth of ‘time’ which has no relation to the size of the object. The worth of the object lives in the handmade and the detailed construction of the miniature.
Hainley, Bruce, ‘A Thousand Words: Vincent Fecteau’ in Artforum International, 2001, p. 127 Stewart, Susan, ‘At the Threshold of the Visible’ in At the Threshold of the Visible, p. 77
--The question is, then: How do I build an object which retains the aura of the model as a promoter of imagination but removes the notion of the ‘model as study’, as a mere representation of the final object? Peter Eisenman elaborates on this point:
In figurative sculpture, the size of the maquette is usually known, since its represents some known object. Modern sculpture shifted from representation to abstraction and thus from scalespecific to scale non-specific – that is, it became self-referential. How large is a Brancusi or a Sol Le Witt? When sculpture ceased to be anthropomorphic, it became scale non-specific. Since architecture on the other hand, was always scale specific, an architectural model could always be 34 related to at its own level, as it was evidently smaller than the scale of human use.
Within my maze objects, I present various narratives with miniature figurines. The object is then given a scale: a miniature scale. Thus, the object becomes scale-specific and the assumption is that the work is representational of a final (or in this case, larger) object. However, the narrative played out within the maze does not only give it scale, it also gives it a story. As the viewer looks at the work and deciphers the narratives by imagining the events as they are played out, they are required to take this one step further and to imagine the possible future happenings; the work then becomes not only, merely, about what the actual object represents as a constructed model, but as a fulfilment of a projected idea; the idea of selfdiscovery and wonderment through imagination. It, thus, no longer belongs to the external world but to one of internal self-reference. How we view a miniature is crucial in this discussion. When a visitor views my work, he or she may seem like a giant, viewing from above, commanding the scene. However, it can also be said that the visitor has to use his or her imagination to go ‘inside’ the work and experience it in its miniature scale. Richard Pommer describes this: “The spectator stands or soars far above, as powerful as a god; but in his imagination, he shrinks to Lilliputian scale to enter these structures”. 35 The actual viewing of the miniature object can only be done at close quarters. Because of the miniature scale and intricate detail, the viewer is drawn into the work and takes a step closer to view the narratives. Before they realise it, their whole field of vision is encompassed by the object. The repetition and monotony of the cardboard struts surrounding the scenario adds to the visual effect by creating a boundary of the benign, thereby not alarming the viewer in their even more intimate relationship to the work. When the viewer is close enough to experience the work, the intricate detail not only allows them the time to study the work but also the time to start the imaginative process. Susan Stewart describes this effect of the miniature when she writes:
The miniature offers a world clearly limited in space but frozen and thereby both particularized and generalized in time – particularizes in that the miniature concentrates
Eisenman, Peter, ‘A Poetics of the Model: Eisenman’s Doubt’ in Idea as Model, Kenneth Frampton, ed., p. 121 Pommer, Richard, ‘Postscript to a post-mortem’ in Idea as Model, Kenneth Frampton, ed., p. 13
upon a single instance and not upon the abstract rule, but generalized in that that 36 instance comes to transcend, to stand for, a spectrum of other instances.
Thus, the viewer observing the maze object not only sees the narrative played out within the maze object, but also gets to imagine future happenings through the narrative. It is this visualization of the future which is the ‘idea’ – in relation to Eisenman’s argument. Marc Valli vividly describes the narratives found in miniature creations in his essay Growing concerns in an ever shrinking world. He states that these miniatures “reflect a very contemporary vision of the human element: virus-like, unpredictable, irresponsible, out-of-scale-and-control, guilt of irreversible disasters such as climate change and capable of destroying the world with the push of a button”. 37 The Model as Final Object
Fig 12: Model: John Hedjuk , Bye House (Wall House), 1979, mixed media Fig 13: Building: John Hedjuk , Bye House (Wall House), 2002
In 1973 architect John Hedjuk designed the building, Bye House (Wall House), and completed a series of models and drawings which were displayed in the 1979 exhibition Idea and Model, curated by emerging architect Peter Eisenman (Fig 12). The exhibition aimed to explore the idea that an architectural model can be more than a representation of future building or a tool to explore design concepts and technical specifications. It could also be seen as “studies of a hypothesis, a problem or an idea of architecture”. 38 The exhibition aimed to establish whether the model itself could be the final product. After his death in 2002, Hedjuk’s model and plans were built as a full size construction (Fig 13). The resulting building ended up looking like a scaled-up version of an architectural model, rather than a “manifestation of a model idea”. 39 Mark Morris, writing about this in his book Architecture and the Miniature, asked the question: “Is the model a representation of the building to be constructed later, or is the building merely the over scaled representation of the model”? At what point does a model becomes “sufficiently materialisable to be a model, but not sufficiently materialisable to become a building”? 40
Stewart, Susan, On Longing, p. 48 Valli, Marc, ‘Growing concerns in an ever shrinking world’ in Microworlds, p. 8 38 Pommer, Richard, ‘Postscript to a post-mortem’ in Idea as Model, Kenneth Frampton, ed., p. 3 39 Morris, p. 65 40 Ibid.
Architects struggle with this issue of the model crossing beyond the threshold of representation into the world of object-hood where the model is autonomous of its representational function and is in itself complete. In the creation of my sculptural forms, it is this threshold which I seek to cross, bringing the maze object from a representation of a larger human scale construction to a whole and finished object. Christian Hubert writes about this rogue model:
Because some models represent either something that will be built or something that has been built, others are in the position to assert the same privilege of representation and receive similar attention with no real aim of being built. Model intentionally built outside the circuit of manifestation tend toward extreme representation having no place outside themselves and are typically utopian or dystopian, both are a stake in ideality, one by example, the other by contrast. They have nothing else to prove being freed from certain 41 constraints, and can therefore be the site of purely critical work.
It is this kind of model, one that does not refer to anything outside itself, which I make: the maze object. The maze object aims to be a representation of an idea or an ideal and is never meant to be subset to a future creation. It is an object which is meant to represent not to present. 42
Fig 14: Langlands & Bell, Logo Works - Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt, 1990, Wood, paint, lacquer glass Fig 15: Langlands & Bell, Stammheim - Basement, 1990, Wood, acrylic sheet, paint, glass, lacquer, sculpture triptych
Artist/architects Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell create sculptural reliefs based on plans and elevations of known buildings, such as Le Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation and Millbank Penitentiary (Fig 14 & 15), as well as sunken plans (resulting in negative spaces) which play with light and shadow. The sculptural presence of these works are further enhances through their display; they are usually hung on walls or in special vitrines, the artists stipulating that “the objects claim to the gallery rather than the architect’s office”. 43
Morris, p. 66 Hubert, Christian, ‘The Ruins of Representation’ in Idea as Model, Kenneth Frampton, ed., p. 17 43 Morris, p. 141
These works would be considered models which represent the idea of plans and elevations of buildings but are not presentation models, as the monochromatic render of the models keep them at a conceptual, descriptive level. Additionally, since they work with plans of buildings already created and in existence, there can be no confusion as to the question of whether these plans will ever be enlarged. On the whole, the works evince a sculptural, object-like quality. How, then, are my own maze objects to be seen? These works, too, are derived from plans of the city. However, because they are not directly derived from the grid - the streets and alleys are manipulated, reworked and recomposed, and a city layout is generally not as recognisable, compared to a model of a famous building - there sometimes is doubt as to whether this maze objects will be realised on a large scale in the future. The Romans discovered when building their scale models and the future larger constructions based on them, that not all things can be enlarged. Roman architect and writer Vitruvius wrote:
Not all things are practical on identical principles, but there are some things which, when enlarged in imitation of small models, are effective, others cannot have models, but are constructed independently of them, while there are some which appear feasible in 44 models, but when they have begun to increase in size are impractical.
Fig 16a: Andy’s Garden, 2008, cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl Fig 16b: Detail of Andy’s Garden, 2008, cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl
However, there are streams within my work in which I create maze objects based on popular imagery, such as the skull, the heart, the Campbell soup can (Fig 16a & 16b), or even instantly recognisable floor plans, such as the cathedral. It is in these works where the question of the possible recreation of the miniature maze in anthropomorphic scale may be put to rest. As with the case of Hedjuk’s Bye House, if these creations were to be created on a large scale, they would merely be enlargements of the model. In a sense, the enlarged maze object would still refer to the maze object, or as a tool to explain and experience the maze object. This can be referred back to the idea of the inversion theory: the anthropomorphic as study to the miniature object.
From Vitruvius, ‘The Ten Books of Architecture’ quoted in Smith, Architectural Model as Machine, p. 15
THE MAZE INSTALLATION Claire Bishop defines installation art in her book Installation Art: A Critical History. She writes that installation art is “a term that loosely refers to the type of art into which the viewer physically enters, and which is often describes as ‘theatrical’, ‘immersive’ or ‘experimental’”. 1 She goes on to state that the various elements found within an installation piece are to be considered as a whole, as a singular entity. In most installation pieces, the participation of ‘the spectator’ is also ‘integral to the completion of the work’. 2 Since its inception in the 1960’s, installation art has been engaging with its viewers in a variety of ways. Installations can be recreations of entire rooms and spaces, which will “plunge you into a fictional world”. 3 Others are minimal in nature and “offer little visual stimuli” and some are designed to heighten one’s awareness through smell or touch. There are even politically charged installations which evokes spectator participation. Of the four areas of installation art described by Bishop in her book, I wish to concentrate on the section of installation art which is most relevant to my own work: the type of work which “plunges the viewer into a psychologically absorptive, dream-like environment” 4 – the Dream Scene. The dream scene, or a ‘total installation’ as described by Russian artist Ilya Kabakov, involves installation works which envelop the viewer. Entire spaces or rooms are recreated, drawing the viewer into another, often private, world. This type of installation is not only physically immersive but also psychologically absorptive. Kabakov describes “the effect of ‘total installation’ as one of ‘engulfment’: we are not just surrounded by a physical scenario but are ‘submerged’ by the work; we ‘dive’ into it and are ‘engrossed’ – as when reading a book, watching a film or dreaming”. 5 --American sculptor George Segal created installation works with human-sized plaster figures as part of the art works. Viewers looking at the works, from the sidelines, imagine themselves as the figure in the scene, rather than recreating a story about the scene by themselves. Bishop calls this the fantasy: the viewer is asked to fantasise what it would be like in that scenario without actually immersing themselves by touching/sitting within the actual work. Greek American artist Lucas Samaras, on the other hand, built installation works where visitors could walk into, sit on the bed, look through the drawers etc., with the aim of allowing the visitor to totally immerse themselves into the work (as described by Kabakov) and enter into a dream, thinking of themselves as the occupants of the room. Unlike Segal’s work, Samaras’ works do not merely illustrate the situation, but give the visitor a first-hand experience of the piece, allowing them to be within a complete installation work.
Bishop, Claire, Installation Art, p. 6 Reiss, Julie, ‘From Margin to Center: The Spaces of Installation Art’ (1999), quoted in Bishop, p. 6 3 Bishop, p. 8 4 Ibid., p. 10 5 Ibid., p. 14
Fig 1: George Segal, The Diner, 1964-6, mixed media installation Fig 2: Lucas Samaras, Room or Room 1, 1964, mixed media installation
I would like to think of these two examples as being related to both the maze object and the maze installation. The maze installation is positioned as the first encounter for the viewer, which they will have to meander thorough before discovering the maze object. This allows the visitor to immerse themselves into the journey within the maze: getting lost, encountering dead-end corridors, bumping into other visitors. This section of the work would thus refer to the dreamscape installations created by Samaras. After going through the installation and arriving at the maze object, the viewers then find themselves ‘external’ from the scene. They are asked to contemplate and translate the miniature scene, not only imagining themselves as the figures but also any other possible future happenings – as described in the previous chapter. This section of the work is similar to what is asked by Segal from visitors who view his installations. In a way the maze object, too, is an installation or a model of a future world. As the maze installation is placed at the start of this exhibition, it acts as a model or a study for the maze object; giving the visitor a clue to what is to come. The Gaze and the Maze In his essay The Gaze in the expanded field, Norman Bryson writes about Sartre’s dismembering of the Cartesian ideal in his references to the scenario of the watchers in the park. 6
Sartre enters a park and discovers that he is alone: everything in the park is there for him to regard from an unchallenged centre of the visual field. All of the park unfolds before this absolute center of a lived horizon: the subject resides at the still point of the turning world, master of its prospects, sovereign surveyor of the scene. … This reign of plenitude
Bryson, Norman, ‘The Gaze in the Expanded Field’, in Vision and Visuality, Hal Foster, ed., p. 97
and luminous peace is brought to an end: into the park and into the watcher’s solitary domain there enters another, whose intrusion breaks the peace and fractures the watcher’s self-enclosure. The watcher is in turn watched: observed of all observers, the 7 viewer becomes spectacle to another’s sight.
My installation maze is set in a darkened room. It invites the visitor to enter and walk around the darkened corridors. As with Sartre’s scenario, after wandering the maze, the viewer may then notice another person entering the maze or coming out from the dark along another corridor. He is thus being watched as he meanders through the maze and is no longer the centre or the sole subject. He is being watched by, as he watches, the ‘other’. The installation can also be seen as part of Nishitani’s view of the gaze – of blankness and nothingness. When a visitor walks through the installation maze, his vision is not boxed (or framed) to a certain point. 8 As he meanders through the darkened corridors he discovers more of the nothingness around him and goes on and on, getting glimpses of others emerging from the openings, until he reaches the end point. This is where he encounters the maze object. It is through this ‘open-minded’ journey that the visitor is allowed to grasp the full effect of the experience. This object at the end of the maze is seen, in Sartre’s viewpoint, as a static ‘object’, and the viewer who reaches it as the ‘subject’. 9 Foucault gives a contradictory reading of Nishitani’s idea of what happens when the frame is removed. He states that:
… not all ways of visualizing or rendering visible are possible at once. A period only lets some things be seen and not others. It “illuminates” some things and so cast others in the shade. There is much more regularity, much more constraint, in what we can see than we suppose. To see is always to think, since what is seeable is part of what “structures 10 thought in advance.” And conversely to think is always to see
He calls this ‘positive unconsciousness’. It “determines not what is seen by what can be seen”. 11 Therefore discussing the experience of the viewer in the installation maze, it can also be said that during their journey, walking through the corridors, searching for a way out or the endpoint, they may encounter others in the maze and experience emotions of claustrophobia, intrigue, self-discovery; yet the viewer may not actually realise or be conscious of the experience that he or she is having. This unconscious viewing may act as a positive slant on the journey through the maze, as it may give the viewer an indirect perspective when reviewing the maze object at the end of the maze journey. In fact, Deleuze writes that even when the viewer within the maze sees the ‘other’ coming along the corridor or meandering through a separate part of the maze, he could imagine
Ibid., p. 88 Ibid., p. 97 9 Ibid., p. 96 10 Rajchman, John, ‘Foucault’s Art of Seeing’ in October, 1998, p. 92 11 Ibid.
the other as an ‘impersonal possibility of perception’ and is neither another person nor another object but no one at all; a fragment of the imagination. 12 --In the proposed installation maze the construction is placed next to a large glass wall. It is not a window for looking out of the maze, but a window for onlookers to view in. This window forms a frame. If the viewer within the installation maze realises he or she is being watched from outside the window, they will notice the boundaries of the space. This turns the installation maze into the Sartrean representation of the gaze. In this scenario, when the visitor reaches the end point of the installation maze, and encounters the maze object and observes it (in a Sartrean subject-object gaze), it depicts the installation maze in a miniature scale. This realisation of observing the journey within this object will in turn lead the viewer to explore the rest of the maze object, and see the possibility of the wider universe beyond the installation maze. This makes his or her gaze move from Sartre’s Gaze of Object-Subject to Nishitani’s Gaze of blankness. As established in the previous chapter, from Susan Stewart’s discussion on the miniature, miniature objects promote the idea of the fantasy of fiction of imagination. She also mentions how the miniature might show a short and small scene, but it is this brief scene which is filled with symbolism. Linking this with the viewer’s gaze of blankness, the maze object transcends from merely a depiction of a narrative in a maze, to an object of fantasy offering the viewer a chance to imagine the situation within the narrative and beyond. --A piece of work I produced in 2010 entitled Target (Fig 3a & 3b) ties in with Lacan’s and Sartre’s idea “that vision is portrayed as menaced at that vestigial center, threatened from without, and in some sense persecuted, in the visual domain, by the regard or Gaze.” as outlined in Norman. 13
Fig 3a: Target, 2010, Cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl Fig 3b: Detail of Target, 2010, Cardboard, sand, plastic, hydrocryl
Rajchman, John, Constructions, p. 94 Bryson, p. 88
In the work, the maze is set in the form of a four-ring target. The narrative focuses on the centre of the object – the bullseye – where a hostage situation is being played out. There is no apparent reason for this hostage situation, the gunman is not immediately threatened, except for being approached by a male child. A stampede occurs when the gathering of visitors in the centre flees through the narrow openings. Elsewhere in the outer rings of the maze, other visitors are unaware of the torment at the centre, lying around in the parkland and arriving for a picnic. --Going back to the context of the inversion theory, where the full size installation maze is used as a study for the miniature maze object, we can tie in both Sartre’s and Nishitani’s ideas. When a visitor walks through the installation maze, he or she not only has the first-hand experience of the narrow corridors, dead ends and winding routes, but also experiences being watched, both by others within the maze and viewers from outside the scope of the maze. As he or she approaches the maze object, they then allow themselves to study the object and realise, unconsciously, that the installation that they have just experienced is depicted in the maze object. As the maze object also expands the boundaries of the installation maze through its miniaturized setting, the viewer is allowed to cross/transcend the frame of the gallery walls via the miniature. Then, because the miniature object shows not only a single significant event but also transcends and shows ”a spectrum of other instances” 14, the viewer can be allowed to tap into his or her imagination to continue the workings and journey of the maze (and its narrative) as “the object opens out omnidirectionally on to the universal surround”. 15 The inversion theory - the use of the full-size installation as study for the maze objects - can also be seen to be similar to Foucault’s use of ‘before and after’, or historical pictures. Foucault shows a picture from one period in history and then one from another period, and the viewer is then given a chance to visualise how one system of thought is passed from one to the other. 16 John Rajchman explains “we have pictures of not simply what things looked like, but how things were made visible, how things were given to be seen, how things were “shown” to knowledge or to power – two ways in which things became seeable”. 17 Thus, if we relate the ‘before’ picture to the full size installation maze and the ‘after’ picture to the maze object, after going through the installation maze, the viewer will be able to ‘see’ the maze object in a new light and in a different way “in the light of their underlying, unseen concepts”. 18 When the visitor enters the gallery and walks into the installation maze, he crosses from being the observer, who examines the maze, to the visitor who experiences the maze. The passage through the corridors and the occasional encounters of ‘the other’, as well as the feeling of being watched by the other and the onlookers, heightens the experience for the viewer at both an unconscious and optical level.
Stewart, Susan, On Longing, p. 48 Bryson, p. 100 16 Rajchman, ‘Foucault’s Art of seeing’, p. 90 17 Ibid., p. 91 18 Ibid.
The Anthropomorphic Maze The maze installation for the final exhibition will recreate the gallery space and allow the visitor to walk within the installation work. In a sense, the installation will not completely envelop the visitor. The walls will be low, allowing the visitor to view his or her surroundings outside of the maze as well as the other walkers within the maze. As described in the previous section, this allows the visitor to have the additional experience of being watched, while making their way through the complex maze. Additionally, the materials used are ephemeral: corrugated cardboard sheets. This is because the aim of this installation is to work as a study, a temporary structure and a precursor to the maze object. The usage of monotone-coloured cardboard walls and standard, repetitive heightand-width dimensions gives the visitor a visual sense of being lost in a recurring forest of cardboard struts. The darkened gallery space adds a nocturnal element, thus further evoking emotions of being lost in a dream within the maze. I have built 3 anthropomorphic mazes in the past and they have all been used as a support element to the maze object or as a study for better understanding of the maze object. These anthropomorphic mazes should not be considered as an artistic work on their own.
Fig 4a: Plan view of Maze installation 1, 2005, digital drawing Fig 4b: Three-dimentional view of Maze installation 1, 2005, digital drawing
I first started building room-size installation mazes in 2005 (Fig 4a & 4b). The concept behind the first work was to alter the shape of the gallery so as to recreate the effect of a cave-like maze. The construction was a simple cardboard maze with wide corridors and walls of varying heights which loosely remodelled the room into a maze-like cavern. The configuration started off at the main entrance into the gallery, obstructing the view of the visitors into the maze in the main space.
This maze installation did not have a focal point or end point as the maze objects were embedded into the walls and platforms. Also, the route through the maze appeared to continue through an opening at the end of the galley, where the viewer would encounter a flight of stairs. These stairs did not lead anywhere except to a locked door. The concept was similar to Derrida’s idea of a labyrinth, which does not have a beginning or an end, or, in this case, gives the impressions of continuity into an unknown space. 19
Fig 5a & 5b: Installation view of Maze installation 1, 2005, corrugated cardboard
In 2008, I constructed a second anthropomorphic maze installation (Fig 6a & 6b). Built in a small gallery space, the installation consisted of a corrugated-cardboard maze with narrow corridors, similar to the narrow corridors found in my maze objects. Although it only involved a short journey, this maze was more complex than the previous one and provided alternated ‘wrong’ routes. It was built with walls 1200 mm high, which would not transform the atmosphere of the room (as the first installation did) but rather act as barriers. It also divided the space into two sections - the maze and the open area beyond the maze, which became the ‘prize’ for getting through the maze. The widths of the corridors were kept at a narrow 600 mm.
Fig 6a: Plan view of Maze installation 2, 2008, digital drawing Fig 6b: Three-dimentional view of Maze installation 2, 2008, digital drawing
Derrida, Jacques, Where the desire may live, in Rethinking Architecture, Neil Leach, ed., p. 321
This maze was more successful as it allowed the visitor to go through the corridors, explore the alternate routes and get a ‘prize’ in the end. Additionally, because it did not enclose the visitor, it did not give an overbearing claustrophobic environment that the first maze did, and did not distract the viewer with the maze objects which are embedded into the walls and platforms. This maze installation was the first to explore the concept of being watched: the gaze which I have spoken about at length above. As the maze was positioned at the entrance to the gallery space, every visitor to the gallery was compelled to make their way through the maze. As they meandered through the maze they were constantly being watched by the other visitors to the gallery, who had already gone through the same ‘ordeal’ and reached the open space. While there was no maze object to be viewed at the end point of the maze, this maze installation gave a good indication to the viewers of what it would be like to be lost in a maze and watched from within and outside the installation.
Fig 7a, 7b & 7c: Installation view of Maze installation 2, 2008, corrugated cardboard
In December 2009, I built a third human-scale maze in a windowless gallery space (Fig 8a & 8b). This time, the installation covered the entire space of the room (5 x 7 meters). This room was entered through a standard doorway from another larger, light-filled gallery room. The concept remained the same: the maze was built from corrugated cardboard, but I enlarged to width of the corridors (to 700 mm) and raise the height of the walls (to 1400 mm) to test out alternate dimensions for the installation. As this windowless room was completely dark and without an electrical light source, I decided to test another idea: that the maze installation could be more effective in a darkened environment. The entrance of the room from a bright, naturally lit room, would also assist in the contrast by adding a mental juxtaposition of light between the two spaces. The viewer would then enter the room and installation in a nocturnal dreamscape, evoking Freud’s comparison of psychoanalysis to archaeology where “viewers were cast into the role of excavator, uncovering the works one by one as if retrieving for analytic illumination the dark and murky contents”. 20
Bishop, p. 22
Fig 8a: Plan view of Maze installation 3, 2009, digital drawing Fig 8b: Three-dimentional view of Maze installation 3, 2009, digital drawing
A spotlight was the only light source in the room and was focused on the maze object (Fig 9a & 9b). This enabled the visitor, while meandering through the corridors of the installation, to have a focus on the end point. While the form of the maze object at the end point of the installation was unrelated to the layout of the human-scale maze, it allowed the visitor to experience the installation: as a study for emotional elements (fear, claustrophobia, confusion) and project it from their memory when contemplating the maze object. Thus, the installation is used as a tool to give the audience an engulfing view of what the maze in ‘dreamscape’ would be like. They can then take this experience of the dream and use it to ‘fantasise’ about the finished objects which are then presented to them.
Fig 9a & 9b: Installation view of Maze installation 3, 2009, corrugated cardboard
The Installation Maze as Study In 1972, American sculptor Alice Aycock built a full-size maze installation (Fig 10) in rural Pennsylvania which changed the way a visitor would look at an object. The sculpture was built with six-foot high plywood walls and required the visitor to walk through and “become an active participant to comprehend and eventually visualize” the artwork. 21 Aycock set up the work as an exploratory situation for the perceiver, one which can only be known by moving through the work itself. 22 The visitor meandering through this psychophysical space (the maze) had a set goal, to reach the centre of the maze. Through the process of trial and error, finding dead ends and having to retrace their steps, the visitor would become disorientated or lost and would have a feeling of being trapped within the sculpture. The fact that the installation was set in a raw outdoor setting added to the fear of being lost, far away from civilization.
Fig 10: Alice Aycock, Maze, 1972, wood Fig 11: Robert Irwin, Part 2: Excursus: Homage to the Square3, 1998, mixed media installation
The 1998 gallery installation by American installation artist Robert Irwin at Dia Center for the Arts (Fig 11) involved the construction of a series of eighteen small rooms. The walls were made of stretched scrim and the rooms lit by daylight and four florescent bulbs (some white and some coloured). As the visitor wandered through the endless maze of rooms, the light changed and shifted from “bright, almost full-day illumination to a lovely quiet glow”, giving a varied effect throughout the journey. 23 As with Aycock’s installation piece, the visitor was enveloped within this installation as they were unable to see from one end of the installation to the other. The walls in Irwin’s maze may have been translucent, but they still gave the effect of being in an enclosed space, in total inclusion.
Risatti, Howard, ‘The Sculpture of Alice Aycock and Some Observations on Her Work’, Woman’s Art Journal, 1985, p. 28 22 Aycock, Alice, ‘Work’ in Post-Movement Art in America, Alan Sondheim, ed., p. 105 23 Glueck, Grace, ‘On a Journey Through a Maze, Contemplating Light and Color’, The New York Times, p. 37
Fig 12a, 12b & 12c: Mike Nelson, Quiver of Arrow, 2010, mixed media
British artist Mike Nelson constructed an installation work, Quiver of Arrows, in 2010 within a large gallery space in New York (Fig 12a, 12b & 12c). The work was set-up inside four salvaged travel trailers. Nelson arranged and connected the trailers into a maze-like formation and recreated various rooms, littered with remnants of past inhabitants. Nelson likened his work to reading a book: “It’s like when you read the first few pages of a novel. You know it’s not real, but you agree to go along with it and enter its fictive realm”. 24 Nelson’s maze-like construction of darkened rooms creates a mood for the visitor to insert themselves into the narratives implied within these spaces as they experience the narrow spaces, connecting corridors and musty surroundings. --The three examples of installation works above have similarities to my maze installation. They all have various rooms or complicated corridors. They each aim to give the viewer a psychophysical experience, hoping to extract various emotions from the visitor. Both Nelson’s and Irwin’s works are set within a gallery space, and play with mood lighting. How then can my maze installation be considered as a study for the maze object and not a standalone piece: a finish entity? Firstly, the maze installation does not totally envelop the viewer physically, as is seen in all three examples. The walls are kept at chest height, so as to allow the visitor to see the ongoing outside the maze (and allow them to be gazed upon), as well as to give the visitor the options of taking in the maze construction as a whole, from eye level; something which is not available in any of the other three examples. It also does not have a specific narrative as in Nelson’s rooms; the viewer in the installation maze does not view scenarios within the structure. As discussed through Foucault’s writings, the journey aims to address the audience at an unconscious level; there is no need for the deciphering of the meaning of the journey. The installation study only aims to give the wanderer a first-hand experience of being lost in a maze, in order to better understand and expand on the narrative within the maze object at the endpoint of the maze installation. The visitor uses the experience learnt from the maze installation to better appreciate the maze object, thus the maze installation is subset to the maze object.
Mike Nelson quoted in Grant, Simon, ‘Maze Maker’, ARTnews, March 2002, p. 94
Fig 13a: Plan view of Maze installation 4, 2011, digital drawing Fig 13b: Three-dimentional view of Maze installation 4, 2011, digital drawing
In my proposal for the final Masters exhibition, the installation maze created will be sitespecific. This is not to say that the installation cannot be recreated in a different space, but just that the work is not related to the specific history of the site. 25 This maze has been designed and will be built based on the specific dimensions of the gallery space. There needs to be a distinction between the installation maze study I am creating and an installation work as final object. This maze that I am creating is to be considered a study for the maze object which will be located at the end point of the installation maze. Therefore this installation maze is to be considered only in terms of materials and form. It has no specific narrative to tell, in itself. The same material (corrugated-cardboard) and design specification (wall-height, corridor width) can thus be reused to build another installation maze in the future with a completely different configuration. While the layout of the journey might be different, the material, wall height, corridor width, etc. will stay the same, thereby giving the visitor the same experience of walking through an anthropomorphic maze. The reason for keeping the construction of the maze installation specific to the site, but monotonous in design, is to provide the visitor with the same experience every time, thus relegating the installation maze to a study; as a structure used only to provide the immersive experience to the visitor. The exhibition will also be held in a darkened gallery space. This not only mimics a dream scape but also simulates imagination through dim light and shadow. Juhani Pallasmaa, in his book The Eyes of the Skin explains: “In order to think clearly, the sharpness of vision has to be suppressed, for thoughts travel with an absent-minded and unfocused gaze”. 26 By composing the gallery space with the installation maze at the entrance, through which the visitor would have to walk, before reaching the maze objects, the installation will help to enhance the works, and thus reduce this full-scale cardboard creation into a study, and cement the object-based mazes as the final, completed pieces. Thus, the idea of miniature scale models as studies for anthropomorphic sized objects is inverted.
Bishop, p. 39 Pallasmaa, Juhani, The Eyes of the Skin, p. 46
Aycock, Alice, ‘Work’, in Post-Movement Art in America, edited by Alan Sondheim, pp.105 – 108, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1977 Bachelard, Gaston, The Poetics of Space, Boston: Beacon Press, 1994 Bishop, Claire, Installation Art, London: Tate Publishing, 2005 Bryson, Norman, ‘The Gaze in the Expanded Field’, in Vision and Visuality, edited by Hal Foster, pp. 86 – 113, New York: The New Press, 1988 Derrida, Jacques, ‘Where the desire may live’, in Rethinking Architecture, edited by Neil Leach, pp. 319 – 323, London: New York: Rutledge, 1998 Dobb, Penelope R., The Idea of the Labyrinth, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990 Dunn, Nick, Architectural Modelmaking, London: Laurence King Publishing, 2010 Eisenman, Peter, ‘A Poetics of the Model: Eisenman’s Doubt’, in Idea as Model, edited by Kenneth Frampton, pp. 121 – 125, New York, N.Y: Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies: Rizzoli International Publications, 1981 Glueck, Grace, ‘On a Journey Through a Maze, Contemplating Light and Color’, The New York Times, November 13, 1998, sec. E, part 2 Grant, Simon, ‘Maze Maker’, ARTnews, March 2002, p. 94 Hainley, Bruce, ‘A Thousand Words: Vincent Fecteau’, Artforum International, no.39, part 7, (2001): pp. 126-127 Hubert, Christian, ‘The Ruins of Representation’, in Idea as Model, edited by Kenneth Frampton, pp. 17 – 27, New York, N.Y: Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies: Rizzoli International Publications, 1981 Janke, Rolf, Architectural Models, London: Academy Editions, 1978 Jantzen, Hans, High Gothic: The Classic Cathedrals of Chartres, Reims & Amiens, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984 Kern, Hermann, Through the Labyrinth, Munich; London: Prestel, 2000 LeWitt, Sol, ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’, in Art Forum, vol. 5, no. 10, (Summer, 1967): pp. 79 – 83 Moon, Karen, Modeling Messages, New York: Monacelli Press, 2005 Morris, Mark, Architecture and the Miniature, Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Academy, 2006 Nyenhuis, Jacob, Myth and the Creative Process, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, c2002
Pallasmaa, Juhani, The Eyes of the Skin, Chichester: Wiley-Academy; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005 Pérez-Gómez, Alberto, ‘The Myth of Daedalus’, AA Files, no.10, (Autumn, 1985): p. 49 – 52 Pérez-Gómez, Alberto, Built upon Love, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, c2006 Pommer, Richard, ‘Postscript to a post-mortem’, in Idea as Model, edited by Kenneth Frampton, pp. 10 – 15, New York, N.Y: Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies: Rizzoli International Publications, 1981 Rajchman, John, ‘Foucault’s Art of seeing’, October, Issue 44, (Spring, 1988): pp. 89 – 117 Rajchman, John, Constructions, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998 Risatti, Howard, ‘The Sculpture of Alice Aycock and Some Observations on Her Work’, Woman’s Art Journal, vol. 6, no. 1, (Spring – Summer, 1985) pp. 28 - 38 Rossi, Aldo, The Architecture of the City, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1982 Smith, Albert C. and Kendra Schank Smith, The Monster and Daedalus, Paper presented at the 8th Global Conference for Inter-Disciplinary Net, Oriel College, Oxford, 19 September – 22 September 2010 Smith, Albert C., Architectural Model as Machine: A new view of models from antiquity to the present day, Boston: Elsevier, 2004 Stewart, Susan, ‘At the Threshold of the Visible’, in At the Threshold of the Visible: Miniscule and Small-scale Art 1964-1996, by New York: Independent Curators Incorporated, c1997 Stewart, Susan, On longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection, Durham: Duke University Press, 1993 Swaim, Kathleen, ‘The Art of the Maze in Book IX of Paradise Lost’ in Studies in English Literature 1500 – 1900, vol. 12, no. 1, The English Renaissance (Winter, 1972), pp. 129 – 140 Valli, Marc, ‘Growing concerns in an ever shrinking world’, in Microworlds, pp. 6 – 9, London, Laurence King Publishing, 2011 Weingarden, Lauren, ‘Louis Sullivan’s System of Architectural Ornament’ in Louis H. Sullivan: A System of Architectural Ornament, pp. 11 – 43, New York: Rizzoli, in cooperation with the Art Institute of Chicago, 1990 Wiseman, Carter, ‘The rise of the skyscraper and the fall of Louis Sullivan’ in American Heritage, Vol. 49 Issue 1, (Feb/Mar 1998), p. 74 Wright, Craig, The Maze and the Warrior: Symbols in Architecture, Theology, and Music, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.