Jannis Kounellis, Untitled
Kounellis’ grid facilitates the piece’s 3D perspective. Beside the piece it mentions that the idea of “theatrical space” as being integral to Kounellis’ work and it does feel very much like you’re looking at the painted flats at the back of the stage.
I like how there are two walls/two planes involved in creating the piece’s third dimension.
Alexander Calder, Mobile
I think the ‘grid’ of the mobile is made of the rod holds the objects in place. It’s not a grid in terms of there being horizontal, vertical or equally spaced lines, but the fact that it provides the piece with it’s structure and determines the positioning of the focal elements essentially its the function is the same as a traditional grid. For me this created an idea of ‘non-flexible movement’ and reminded me of planets in orbit – each object is able to move but the objects will never come in to contact with one another – the grid constraints them.
Ellsworth Kelly, Mediteranne
Jean Arp, Constellation According to the Laws of Chance
This piece doesn’t use a grid – each wood block has been created without guidelines and painted and attached without following a formal structure.
Max Ernst, The Entire City
The rows of roof tops and black windows create horizontal and vertical lines which seem quite grid-like. The technique of grattage (scraping) which Ernst has used in the creation of the piece, whereby he placed the canvas over textured objects and then scrapped paint over, introduces ‘chance’ into the piece. Grattage was one of several techniques Surrealist artists used to give their work an element of chance. This juxtaposes the overall grid like construction of the piece. A bit similar to some of Lygia Pape’s work.
Kasimir Malevich, Dynamic Suprematism
I really like Dynamic Suprematism. The push and pull movements in the piece are all created without any reference to the physical world, but through angles and spacing.
Alternatively, Trip Hammer‘s power and dynamics relies on its relation to the physical world. It creates anxiety for its observers due to the huge weight of the piece and how it balances on such a thin ledge and with its corners only just touching the wall. When you walk around it you do think how much would it take for the balancing platform to fall…
Having the two pieces together in the same room at the Tate I think enabled me to appreciate the skill of each artist. It’s a bit bizarre, but I think I understood the concept of Malevich’s abstract piece with greater ease than I did with Serra’s Trip Hammer. For me, I think as soon as I go into an art gallery the ‘physical world’ goes to the back of my mind and relating things I see to the abstract world becomes the much more natural response.
Pablo Picasso, Head of a Woman (Fernande)
Picasso uses lines of different widths and directions to communicate the woman’s facial bone structure and curved lines to create her wavey hair.
Georges Braque, Bottle and Fishes
Lots of lines and geometric shapes collide to create several different layers. It’s cool how the curve of the wine bottle is maintained as is the shape of the fish. Bottles and fish are both smooth and curved – things that are ‘calm’ in their form and associated with relaxation – very much juxtaposed by the sharp and dynamic lines which create a sense of energy and drama to Braque’s piece.
Bridget Riley, Evoe 3
Riley’s use of curves and pastel colours deceived me – I could see any grid at all – everything seemed flowing and unconfined. The positioning of the waves are all determined however, by an invisible grid which Riley uses to align the shapes, which probably adds to the sense of calm simplicity of the piece – the order and pattern the grid provides.
Richard Artschwager, Table and Chair
Table and Chair really emphasises the grids we see in furniture by blocking all the gaps so the horizontal and vertical lines are explicitly visible.
Carl Andre, Steel Zinc Plain
This piece reminded me of what its like when making grid compositions in class – the looking at the floor is like looking at down at the desk. This is perhaps the most obvious example of a grid but I think grids seem less like grids when they’re on floor to when they’re on a wall. I see kitchen tiles.