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An Investigation into the Ontological Significance of Sculptural Objects

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Langridge, C (2006) An Investigation into the Ontological Significance of Sculptural Objects. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The research is developed through sculptural artworks that seek to raise
the question of their being. They do this through their indeterminate
presence, which often awakens people to ask ‘What is it?’ I ask how
sculpture can encourage people to wonder about what things are, and
how the relationship/s we form with art can then lead us to reflect upon
our other more worldly relationships. I also pursue the questions of what
is sculpture, and what is contemporary art, in order to map out an
understanding of the domain of my practice, and the issues at stake
regarding the making and display of sculpture.
Through a reading of the ideas of Martin Heidegger and other
Continental philosophers, I have focused upon the way our (Modern
Western) relationship with things in the world is problematic, and how
art can help us to address some of these problems. It is through art’s
poetic ambiguities that our usual determined and closed relationship with
the world can be opened up to other readings. An investigation into
contemporary art practices reveals several issues that put the artwork
into context and shed light upon difficulties facing contemporary artists
particularly in terms of: what am I to do, why should I do it and how
should I proceed?
My artworks are aimed at raising questions for the viewer about being,
sculpture and contemporary art. I have developed the coopering
technique of wooden construction to make unusually shaped wooden
container-like sculptures. I have also investigated other semi-industrial
working methods to construct sculptural objects that oscillate between
various possibilities for the viewer. These artworks operate in the field
between the familiar/unfamiliar, functional/non-functional and the
known/unknown. They resist the viewer’s efforts at stilling the
oscillation between possible readings and evade some of the common
roles of contemporary art such as being a site for social and political
dialogue or being a reflection of contemporary/pop/consumer culture.
This project contributes to the dialogue already in play between several
Post-Minimal sculptors whose work touches upon constructed and or
manufactured ambiguous forms. It further develops the language of how
to discuss these issues through my philosophical readings. It extends the
coopering technique beyond the simple cask form to discover the
technical possibilities for this method of construction. It brings to the
gallery visitor an actual experience of what Heidegger writes about art,
particularly in terms of his ideas about ‘the truth of being as
revealing/concealing’. The research also develops our understanding of
the nature of contemporary art through questioning several aspects of it
and through adopting outmoded and laborious methods of making that
are at odds with our digital age. The artworks are the result of working
toward a position of indeterminacy that is alluring, by partially resisting
the viewer’s efforts to know them.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2008 01:25
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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