Not Art 3

Not Art3

Materials: Welded mild steel
Dimensions: 16.6cm tall, 16.6cm wide, 16.6cm deep.

Words as art fascinate me. At the 2004 Sculpture by the Sea exhibition a piece by Duncan Stemler ('d.y.i') caught my imagination. Here were the letters spelling 'A R T' created from fibreglass and wood painted with chalkboard paint.

Alongside the 1.5 m tall entwined letters was a small container of chalk, inviting anyone to draw, doodle, or write on the piece. As I looked at it I thought that an artist can define anything as 'art' by saying that it is. Visitors to the exhibition created 'art' by drawing on the piece. A lovely idea!

Conversely, I felt that anything could also be defined as 'not art' by the artist. Hence my other 'Not Art' piece from plate steel, and this piece based on a steel cube.

You can take this idea even further by thinking about composer John Cage's silent piece, 4'33" where a pianist sat at a piano for that duration but played not one single sound. Interesting in its own right, but even more interesting when modern composer John Batt was sued by the estate of John Cage for using 60 seconds of silence in his piece, 'One Minute's Silence.' Apparently a long legal battle ensued with Batt and Cage's estate eventually settling out of court for a lot of money.

John Batt was interviewed on radio and it was fascinating (and hilarious) hearing him talk about the concept of the silence in his piece and whether it was different than the silence in Cage's piece, and the legal wrangling that ensued.

So now something that does not actually exist, but is claimed to exist, can be legally protected.

Exhibited at: Charles Nodrum Gallery, Sculpture Inside (Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi); 'Rick Clise - Metal' - Sub12, 2009