Tag Archives: Robert Smithson

Thursday Thoughts: Robert Smithson Quote

“In the illusory babel of language, an artist might advance specifically to get lost, and to intoxicate himself in dizzying syntaxes, seeking odd intersections of meaning, strange corridors of history, unexpected echoes, unknown humors, or voids of knowledge..but this quest is risky, full of bottomless fictions and endless architectures and counter-architectures…and at the end, if there is an end, are perhaps only meaningless reverberations…

Here language ‘covers’ rather than ‘discovers’ its sites and situations. Here, language ‘closes’ rather than ‘discloses’ doors to utilitarian interpretations and explanations. The language of the artists and critics become paradigmatic reflections in a looking-glass babel that is fabricated according to Pascal’s remark, ‘Nature is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.’ Language becomes an infinite museum, whose center is everywhere and whose limits are nowhere.

Language is built not written… Words for mental processes are all derived from physical things.”

-Robert Smithson from “A Museum of Language in the Vicinity of Art”

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Thursday Thoughts: Logical Pictures

I recently came across this quote in an essay by Robert Smithson, “A ‘logical picture’ differs from a natural or realistic picture in that it rarely looks like the thing it stands for. It is a two dimensional analogy or metaphor. A is to Z” 

I realized that in my practice my primary interest is in logical pictures rather than representational work. Within that idea I’ve been thinking a lot about 3 categories: maps, diagrams, and notations.  A map records an overview; a diagram distills the material of an indefinite field into a logical set of terms or relationships; a notation is a form of symbolic representation or record. I’m currently working on a series of drawings to explore and clarify these distinctions. 

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