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UAL Research Online

Iterations of Phenomenology: From Minimalism to Joëlle Tuerlinckx

Chesher, Andrew (2016) Iterations of Phenomenology: From Minimalism to Joëlle Tuerlinckx. In: Minimalism: Location, Aspect, Moment, 14-15.10.16, Winchester School of Art.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Chesher, Andrew

Minimalism in the U.S. during the 60s is closely associated with the Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of the body. Although it pervades both Robert Morris's apologia for Minimalism in his Notes On Sculpture essays as well as the counter attack of his most articulate critic, Michael Fried, by the end of the decade phenomenology becomes a tainted word for the likes of Robert Smithson and Dan Graham. What the artistic intelligencia of late 60s seems to balk at is the apparent emphasis in phenomenology on presence and the unity of the perceived Gestalt reflecting a unified subject. However, not only do the generative models of Minimalism contradict this emphasis, there is a strand of phenomenological thinking, especially prominent in the late Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Francois Lyotard's first major book, Discourse, Figure, which in relating the sensible to the ideal, the visual to textual, bridges the apparent divide between Minimalism's primary structures and Conceptual art's propositional formats and instiutional critiques. Taking the Belgian artist Joelle Tuerlinckx's practice as heir to both the minimalist and conceptual frameworks, this paper will use a reading of her work to illustrate the benefits of revisiting phenomenology to read post-conceptual art perceptually and Minimalism textually. Often consisting of accumulations of objects and signs, her exhibitions rearrange collections of elements from previous shows and other contexts. As a consequence, the items displayed oscillate between being perceived as present within the current situation and system of display on the one hand, and reading as a quotation of another instance and context on the other. Where the former quality evidences a debt to minimalism, the later draws the Conceptual heritage closer. In particular, this paper explores the iterative structure of Tuerlinckx’s work and begins to map out the aspects of phenomenological analysis that apply to it. In Limited Inc. Jacques Derrida called iteration ‘an ideal concept’, but added that it is ‘the concept that marks the essential and ideal limit of all pure idealisation’. The iteration of a term or object within a series, or across media and exhibitions, in Tuerlinckx’s work exemplifies Derrida’s philosophical take on the term. On the one hand, it produces a movement towards an ideal identity – the ‘dematerialised’ idea of classic Conceptual Art. On the other hand, it simultaneously alters the meaning or perception of the element, causing it to oscillate between text and perception, or figure and ground. This returns the object from its identification with an idea to the empirical facitity of contigent perception – a return of a phenomenological dimension, itself altered by iteration.

Official Website: https://minimalism2016blog.wordpress.com
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Phenomenology, Minimalism
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: 15 October 2016
Related Websites:
Event Location: Winchester School of Art
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2018 13:23
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2018 13:23
Item ID: 13121
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/13121

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