an unknown lamp
a certain desire to transcend(ed) material
I didn’t want to work with the truth in materials, except in a limited way...
I no longer contain the information, the work does.
I don’t like material as such, whether it’s oil paint or anything else, because it leads you into a trap. The trap is that materials, in themselves, present a certain truth which one has to work with. I didn’t want to work with the truth in materials, except in a limited way. The paper curls because it comes on a roll, and I don’t mind that. It can have that much license but not too much more, because I'm interested in the ways in which I can experience myself, and my work is really about making myself.
Yet it isn’t possible for me to work without materials. There are some artists whose work I admire who don't use materials as such, but that’s not the way I think. Among the various levels of thought, the visual is paramount. So, when it came to dealing with materials, I chose paper because it has no weight and isn't a bother to store: all practical reasons. Also, I didn't want to manufacture antiques and I like its impermanence.
Materials present situations which are unexpected, and I enjoy that. It is possible to think things out before hand and know the answers, but the materials will then present unknown visual systems that could not have been anticipated. It is a kind of dialectic: I have an idea and the material; then I put them together, and it is always dreadful—invariably it’s just dreadful. There is a separation between the idea, the materials, and me. The work is there, so it’s a matter of understanding all aspects more clearly. How to bring it together? It is taken down and put up several times. When near completion, it’s as though the work and I exchange places; I no longer contain the information, the work does. Then there is a process of small adjustments, to make the ideas and the process more cogent.
Dorothea Rockburne, an interview from ARTFORUM 1972.
image is unknown image taken from EBAY. color bleached out. faded. sold to unknown purchaser. it's the life of a lamp, man.