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Is it me, or does Anish Kapoor’s “Shooting into the corner” resemble Danish artist Henrik Menné’s “56L”? Both installations present a situation in which a single canon fires a (brightly colored) squishy substance towards a static target, timed at regular intervals – the resultant ‘geometry’ of which is a component both of these parameters and a great deal of chance. However, these ‘art making’ machines at least differ in character…

This video, displays the violence with which Kapoor’s wax firing canon rapidly defaces the walls of the Royal Academy exhibition space. The wax is delivered to the wall with great speed, lots of noise and a good ‘dollop’ of chaos. Aside from the thrilling event of the wax hitting the wall, the preparation of the artwork also presents a ‘performance’ in which an anonymous operator refills and activates the canon at set intervals throughout the day. How exciting!

In contrast (I can’t seem to find a video of 56L) Menne’s installation (pictured left) is seemingly self operating and the resultant heap of melted glue exists as a result of processes which are characterised as: ”silent, controlled and structured by repetitive movements”

However – character aside – both artworks present a similar outcome: a heaped sloppy mess of stuff in the corner of a room which eventually assumes a form of repose. As I may have mentioned before, flexible materials are capable of “hallucinating their own forms” – which, in the case of familiar materials such as wax, glue, fabric etc… may produce predictable outcomes.

Nevertheless, I am personally interested in the exciting element of chance inherent in both of these artworks: The unknown and undetectable variables which influence the trajectories of these fired substances, the ways in which the complexity of the target surface impacts upon the form of repose, and so on…

I expect I’ll be writing/finding more about “chance” and “art” over the next few weeks!


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