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Almost NothingObservations on precarious practices in contemporary art$
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Anna Dezeuze

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088575

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088575.001.0001

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‘At the point of imperceptibility’

‘At the point of imperceptibility’

Chapter:
(p.78) 2 ‘At the point of imperceptibility’
Source:
Almost Nothing
Author(s):

Anna Dezeuze

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719088575.003.0003

This chapter hinges on a comparison between George Brecht’s 1961 concept of a ‘borderline’ art ‘at the point of imperceptibility’ and the concerns with invisible forces and energies of an international group of kinetic artists, associated with the Signals Gallery in London between 1964 and 1966. While the evolution of Brecht’s work from 1957 to 1962 was shaped by a search for the concrete and the changeable in which other ‘junk’ artists, such as Allan Kaprow, were engaged at the time, the Signals Gallery artists were more closely linked to a trajectory of abstract and constructive art. Nevertheless, both the Signals Gallery artists and Brecht shared a similar desire to create experimental forms that would reflect a new vision of reality, inflected by both scientific discoveries and Zen Buddhism. In particular, the issue of perception was closely tied to the role of the spectator, whether in Brecht’s participatory ‘arrangements’ and ‘borderline’ event scores or Lygia Clark’s manipulable sculptures and her conception of an ‘art without art’. Brecht’s work is shown to have contributed to Allan Kaprow’s reflections on precarious ‘activities’, while both the artists’ work impacted Lawrence Alloway’s definition of an ’expanding and disappearing’ artwork in the late 1960s.

Keywords:   Kinetic art, ‘borderline’ art, Immaterial, Invisible, Event scores, Happenings, Dematerialisation, Zen Buddhism

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