“My sister asked whether I understood the label for Julius Koller’s Continuation/Stoop (Universal-Cultural Futurological Operation):
Koller has defined his work as a sort of ‘anti-academicism’. The photographs show a door constructed from two glass panels, the lower of which has been removed. The absurdity of the artist’s pose as he stoops to step through the lower half of the door recalls Koller’s early enthusiasm for Dada. The second part of the title is one of Koller’s many variations on the initials UFO. Koller’s work aims at a constant questioning of the world and the cultural context, opening up possibilities for utopias in unexpected places.
I didn’t. There are a lot of unexplained ideas here that aren’t clarified by the two tags ‘Infinite permutations’ and ‘Entropy’. We went back through this constellation, which centres on Robert Morris’ Untitled 1965/71, and managed to cobble together something about the interface with the body as providing ‘infinite permutations’ and a sort of ‘entropy’ as the body wears down the environment and vice-versa. But even with an above average amount of cultural literacy between us this was hard work, and not especially satisfying.
Good Writing Citation # 4
On the flip side, a really good example of demystifying terms was in the same constellation:
Morris insisted that … forms should ‘create strong gestalt sensations’ – ‘gestalts’ being patterns or configurations in which the whole has a significance greater than, and different from, the sum of its parts taken individually. Untitled 1965/71 is a perfect example of gestalt: its four elements together produce complex interactions with the environment in which they are placed and the spectator who walks between them, whilst retaining their simple identity.
Brilliant! A new definition for my internal dictionary.”
This is an excerpt from Hannah’s longer and very thoughtful piece “Choosing Words Carefully at Tate Liverpool” published in full on this site as part of the audience perspective. Read her full article here.
Hello and welcome to this brand spanking new Interpretation Matters site! It’s your place to discuss all aspects of written interpretation in galleries, and I hope you will become a regular visitor and subscriber. As time goes on we intend to host discussions, case-studies, interviews, resources and two regular features – our Good Writing Citations, giving praise where it is due, and our Tortured Language Alert! where we think it could be done better. (You can see who has won the first Good Writing Citation in the featured post below).
We want to reach out to everyone involved in making written interpretation happen – to those working in the visual arts sector, and to gallery visitors, for whom interpretation is written. We will be hosting a plurality of perspectives and opinions and as you explore the site, you’ll see that we’ve structured it to feature the:
But the aim is not to put these different views into silos – we want you all to interact, respond and discuss. I suspect gallery educators may have a thing or two to say as well – say enough and we’ll create a page for you! As things get going, we’ll summarise specific discussions and post them as blog entries so that they don’t get lost.
In the next few weeks watch out for:
There are a range of ways to make your voice heard. You can comment directly via the comments box that appears on every page and post. We also welcome contributions of research, resources, case studies and guest bloggers with strong – but informed – opinions. We’re very much looking forward to receiving entries for our Good Writing Citations and our Tortured Language Alert! The intention with these is not to “name and shame” but to offer genuine and sincere feedback, focusing on the sin rather than the sinner. So if you have entries for either of these categories, do please bear this in mind! You can find out how to submit these on the Audience Perspective page.
You can also contact us by:
So – enjoy exploring the site, and we very much look forward to hearing from you!
Interpretation Matters is all about the written material found in galleries - the text panels on the walls, providing context for the work on show, and the printed booklets that describe the works or overall programme. Usually "under-the-radar", the aim of this site is to highlight this important area of gallery practice.
Interpretation Matters is conceived and directed by arts writer Dany Louise.>