In Making Memory Matter: Strategies of Remembrance in Contemporary Art, Lisa Saltzman (2006) presents a model of interpretation for a number of art works that whilst informed by/ concerned with memory, challenge C.S.Pierce’s linguistic-semiotic approach to the index, and a signification based on physical contiguity/material-relation/trace-of-touch.
“This indexical work of the 1990s, predicated as it is on absence rather than presence, represents a fundamental shift in the indexical logic of modernist practice” (p.104). This shift can be traced back to Rosalind Krauss’s “Notes on the Index 1” and “Notes on the Index 2,” on American art of the 1970s, in The Originality of the Avant-Garde and other Modernist Myths (1985) [google excerpts here].
“What is interesting about the artists of memory of the present is the way these artists each pursue something of that indexical capacity of that image, of the visual field, only to question that capacity. What we see, then, in this art of the present is the index as a form rather than as a function of representation, the index as a vestige rather than a viable means of representation.” (p. 12-13)
For Saltzman, whose focus is on the question of method/practice, these postindexical or not-quite indexical strategies can take specific forms: animated monuments (with the use of projections as in Krzsztof Wodiczko’s work), carnivalesque and ghostly silhouettes (as in Glenn Ligon and Kara Walker’s practice), architectural casts (as in Rachel Whiteread’s public art work), to characterise memorial-historical art of the present.
Lisa Stalman’s discussion of the “Notes on the Index , Parts 1 and 2 ” inspire me to include these in next year’s seminars on semiotics and memory.
- 2011/12 edition
- art practice as research
- art research essays 2007-2011
- #106 (no title)
- Barbara Hammer: tender fictions
- The Marco Polo Syndrome
- World as Archive
- Globalisation as universal Art
- Travelling Images: Memory, Time and the Analogue Media Experience.
- Indian Arts on Film
- My approach to documentary making
- Project CrashBack – in The Everyday
- writing about the research dimension of artistic practice
- new journal “Sensate”
- Globalisation as Artist Theory
- essay map: next deadline is january 11 2012
- Artist redefined
- Transexperience and Artist’s life
- Can artist be theorist? (Week 4- Artist as Theorist)