JOINT GAME - Doctoral Thesis

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Art is uncompromising and life is full of compromises. G端nter Grass

Cover: Joint Game before it was inflated for the first time, 2012, Culture Park Huanchaca, Antofagasta, Chile, photo D.W.


Table of contents 1. Introduction 3 2. Ball in the Desert 5 History and Territory The Driest Place on Earth Stones Landscape Irrationality Cosmos Proof of Existence

3. Radius 16 Robert Smithson Nancy Holt Robert Morris Walter de Maria Gordon Matta-Clark Richard Serra Richard Long Andy Goldsworthy Yayoi Kusama Anish Kapoor

4. Scale 32 Fernando Botero Wang Quingsong Paweł Althamer Ron Mueck Jeff Koons Claes Oldenburg Florentijn Hofman Piotr Lewicki and Kazimierz Łatak Rodrigo Mora, Angel Muñoz and Jorge Lankin Tadeusz Kantor Robert Therrien Mona Hatum Ximena Zomosa Charles Rey Christopher Boffoli Elisa Grand Isaac Cordal

5. Map of Connections 54 6. Description 56 7. Quoted Literature 56 8. Digital Sources 57 9. Filmography 58 10. Table of Illustrations 58


INTRODUCTION Joint Game should be entered into the spectrum of operations in the outside space, open space; space which is understood as a stage facing the Cosmos and extended by a movement which takes place in time. It explores the meaning of emptiness. It is the result of my research and personal experiences in the Atacama Desert and, at the same time, of a personal creative search. Similar to the way it was done in Polonus Populus, I was also trying to find a form here that would provoke contemplations of the phenomena of history understood as a course book about ourselves. The examples collected here propose, in an indirect but suggestive way, an understanding of artwork as a mirror, a magnifying glass or a macro-lens of the contemporary world whereby the choice is subjective. I mention what provoked a significant interior resonance during my search for references and relations and what influenced the conscious shaping of my own creative vision. The first part of the thesis is an introduction into the graphic and cultural context of the village of Quillagua; into a reality which is an integral part of this work. It is accompanied by the deliberations from the initial work stage of Joint Game. Radius is a chapter devoted to works which are built according to a geometrical dimension. In the chapter The Art of Relation I focus on violations of customary dimensions of an object as an artistic procedure. Problems of radius and scale intersect in this place creating a map of ties and references for Joint Game. I want to thank Chrisitan Nuñez. Muchas grazias for making my dreams come true. I want to thank the Regional Office in Antofagasta for financing the production of that object. Alex Moya for translating the intervention in an open space into the language of video installation. Fernando Godoy and Zofia Moruś, for creating the unforgettable sound. Fido, Pancho, Poli and the entire technical crew for their devotion and determination. The citizens of the village of Quillagua for their warmth, interest and support. Valeria Foncea for achieving the impossible - the permit to enter and work on the Chajanator plain. ALMA General Director Pierre Cox for authorization and sponsoring the Joint Game participants’ stay at the astronomy observatory. Pablo Carillo for out-of-this-world positive energy. I also want to thank my tutor Dr. hab. Krystyna Orzech for her enthusiasm ever since our first meeting, her faith in the project, valuable advice, suggestions and corrections, and for the time she devoted. Ewa Urbaniec and Krzysztof Gutfrański for introducing stylistic and linguistic order. Mrs. Dorota Rumin for invaluable technical guidelines. And to all the above people – thank you for your patience.



BALL IN THE DESERT HISTORY AND TERRITORY The name of the village of Quillagua comes from Quechua (Spanish)1, in which the noun “Killa” means the moon and “Wa” is an exclamation expressing “surprise” or “amazement”. So Quillagua means “amazing moon”. To the citizens of the village in their oral tradition and custom it means “The moon on water”.2

Annual average rainfall in Quillagua3 depending on the source, oscillates between 0.0 and 0.2 millimeters. The oasis is the driest point, in the driest desert, on Earth. NASA scientists carry out tests in this area on machines that are intended for space travel. Microorganisms are lost here – before organic matter starts to die – it dries out. Everything turns to dust. Little clouds that sporadically appear on the skyline do not provide shade and the ever-present sun helps to understand why, in all religions of the Andean Plateau, it has been regarded as God. Gigantic figures – or maybe reliefs – scattered around the local hills reach up to 30 meters in length. They date back to the period between the 10th and the 15th century of our era and their condensation is the highest in that particular region (about 400 geoglyphs). They were supposed to win Inti’s4, grace or maybe they were just guideposts for caravans moving along the desert wasteland. The oldest evidence of the oasis’ existence reaches back to the 7th century B.C. There are a few hypotheses pertaining to the meaning of the figures but so far, there have been no comprehensive specialist publications on the topic. Maybe then, the world’s largest set of earth drawings, Chug Chug, is not what people used to think it was – a sacral object – but a pre-Columbian system of visual communication, promoting a village which has always lived on merchandise, bartering with products and farming. For over a thousand of years, the village’s location was strategically attractive – on the Incas’ route, by the only river that intersects the desert, midway between the Andes and the Pacific coast. Quillagua was a place of rest, a watering hole and a crucial center of cultural and material exchange for the tribes that live today in the areas belonging to Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile.


Quechua, was an official language of the Inca empire. Currently Quechua is spoken by about 11 million people, mainly in the Andes, from Argentina, Equador and Columbia, and in Peru and Bolivia it is one of the official languages (the other being Spanish). 2 Juan Vásquez Trigo, Quillagua. Luna que asombra. Historia y turismo del pueblo, del valle y su desierto. Published by Ograma, Santiago de Chile, 2014. Translation by D.W. 3 Quillagua, a village in the north of Chile in the Atacama desert on the Loa river. It belongs to the Antofagasta region, in the Tocopilla province. It is 280 km away from Antofagasta and 70 km away from the Loa River estuary where it flows into the Pacific. NASA has announced it the driest place on Earth. 4 Inti - the god of Sun in the beliefs of the Inca culture’s tribes, including the Aymara tribe to which the majority of today’s citizens of Quillagua belong.


Figures from the Chug-Chug group in the Quillagua area, X century, photo D.W.

Pedro de Valdivia, who was responsible for the conquest of the areas (which today belong to Chile), and was the first Governor nominated by Francisco Pizarro, stayed in Quillagua in 1540. He was probably the first European who reached the oasis. In 1541, he received the title of the General Captain of the Kingdom of Chile for crushing the resistance of the locals in almost the entire south-western area of the continent (Araucanía5 was the only region in South America that never submitted to the conquistadors). The Spaniards’ attention in the 16th century was, however, mainly focused on the south of the Vice Kingdom of Peru; the main cities were founded at that time, the difficulty of controlling the area and its unfriendly climate, for some time after that maintained the status of a captured area but was not occupied. Only the independence war and the creation of new countries changed the situation radically. In 1841 Quillagua became a village on the border between the Republic of Peru and Bolivia. Just as in the past it used to be the border between the Atacaman and Aymara cultures, now on both banks of the Loa River there were two different flags and uniforms. The Pacific war was another turn in the history of Quillagua. This time the Atacama6 Desert was accessed by Chile, Peru lost a significant part of the southern territory and Bolivia lost its access to the sea. The


Araucanía, Region in southern Chile, south of the River Bio Bio, historically belonged to the battailous tribe Mapuche, it was never conquered by the Spanish and was pacified only by the Chilean army in the 19th century. 6 Atacama Desert, stone-sandy desert in South America in the Northern part of Chile, between the Chilean Coastal Range and the Andes, it belong to the driest areas in the world. In some places no rainfall has been recorded since rainfall recording began. The approximate area of the desert is 900 km in length and 100 km in width. The area is rich in various mineral resources.


oasis on the river was still a village on the border but this time not between countries anymore but between regions within the borders of the Republic of Chile.

Location map of major Chile niter settlements in the Antofagasta region in North Chile (

In the second part of the 19th century the Chile niter7 rush broke out which was comparable to the gold rush and included numerous European businessmen – mainly British business people and investors – who were ready to take up the challenge of settling the driest desert in the world with a workforce in exchange for realizing their vision of an international, lucrative business. This new incarnation of conquistadors brought in banks, railway and electricity. The Europeans did not have


Niter also known as potassium nitrate (with the chemical formula KNO3.)Used to produce fertilizers, black gunpowder and a preserving substance.


to score the land anymore travelling on a horseback through endless space; now they were given the land for pennies from the state. At the beginning of the previous century Chile became the largest exporter of niter in the world. The vision of work and a better tomorrow had brought tens of thousands of emigrants from the poor south to the Atacama desert. The English brought the Charleston and the habit of drinking tea to the desert but they also introduced extreme, almost slavery-like exploitation. The unequal rules of the game between the Europeans and the aboriginal citizens ended along with the discovery of synthetic potassium nitrate by the Germans before World War II. The history and reality of the niter villages is still an essential element co-creating the feeling of identity and belonging of the citizens of northern Chile to these sun burnt, endless space of earth and rocks.

Santa Filomena, niter village in northern Chile, 2009, photo by Sergio Adaro

Although the routes have changed and new roads have been built which has left Quillagua on the logistic margin, near the village there is still a border checkpoint, which accesses the duty free zone in Iquique. Few travelers, however chose to travel through the middle of the desert when they can travel along the coast. The Indian cemeteries were ravaged. Treasure hunters who started the destruction quickly changed into smugglers; then the illegal collectors and their suppliers and finally the village citizens themselves, who in the 50s and 60s of the previous century exchanged mummies for baby formula. After the Loa River was polluted by the Codelco mine in 1997, the number of the citizens of Quillagua dropped from over 1200 to 500. The lack of crops due to soil pollution with heavy metals forced most of the farmers to immigrate to the cities. Those who stayed, years later became victims of fraud: they lost most of their river water rights to the benefit of mining corporations.


Currently, during harvest between December and March, as a result of misuse by mining companies, the Loa riverbed dries out. Drinking water is brought to Quillagua by a cistern from the village of Maria Elena which is two hours away. At night the oasis, in which 120 people still live, is lit by stars and flashlights. In the search for a way of survival, drawing the public’s attention to the dramatic situation of the oasis and putting pressure on the local political scene, in 2007 thirteen families formally registered an ethnic community of Aymara tribe Indians from Quillagua. Currently they are trying to find their roots; find the roots of their faith in Inti and Pachamama8 again; resurrect the forgotten rituals; give meaning to words and signs; save their almost completely forgotten language – in the belief that the resurrection of the Indian identity will work as a shield or an amulet in their fight for survival.


The accumulation of climatic, anthropological, political, sociological factors, along with others, has meant that in Quillagua, the Society SE VENDE (‘For Sale’) that concerns themselves with galvanizing the local scene by organizing a Week of Contemporary Art SACO (there have been four gatherings so far), didactic programs, residencies and publishing projects, has decided to open a center for artistic and research residencies ‘The Driest Place on Earth’. As the president of that society for the last three years, I have welcomed over three hundred artists, mainly visual artists, people from the film industry, seekers and those who create on the border between various disciplines. Amongst others they have included the following people: Marisa Caichiolo (Argentyna / USA), Arcangel Constantini (Mexico), Karen Perry (Mexico), Andrea Juan (Argentina), Fernando Prats (Spain), Luis Arango (Columbia), Mariano Gusils (Argentina), Roxana Ramos (Argentina), Carolina Lara (Chile), Natascha de Cortillas (Chile), Ana Maria Saavedra (Chile), Luis Alarcón (Chile), Ilze Peroni (Argentina), Jorge Sepulveda (Chile), Marcos Figueroa (Argentina), Cristóbal León (Chile), Joaquin Cociña (Chile), María Esperanza Rock (Chile / USA), Gustavo Buntinx (Peru), Harold Hernández (Peru), César Cornejo (Peru / USA), Elliot Túpac Urcuhuaranga (Peru), Lucía Querejazu (Bolivia), Juan Fabbri (Bolivia / Equador), Andrés Bedoya (Bolivia), Jaime Achocalla (Bolivia), Rodolfo Andaur (Chile), Damir Galaz-Mandakovic (Chile), Catalina González (Chile), Luis Gómez (Cuba), Fernanda Mejía (Mexico), Roberto Huarcaya (Peru), Tomás Rivas (Chile), Alejandro Turell (Uruguay), Saidel Brito (Equador), Marcos Benitez (Paraguay), Krzysztof Gutrfrański (Poland), María Eugenia Menendez (Spain), Elisa Balmaceda (Chile), Rainer Krause (Germany / Chile),Natascha de Cortillas (Chile), Julio Escobar (Chile), Celeste Rojas (Chile / Equador), Luciano Paiva (Chile), Francisca Gazitúa (Chile), Gonzalo Santander (Chile), Rafael Silva (Chile) and Camila Díaz (Chile).


Pachamama - Mother Earth, the goddess of nature and its cycles, fertility, motherhood and crops, according to the beliefs of the native people of the middle Andes of South America.


N.N. noche y niebla, Luis Arango (Columbia), 2012, Quillagua. Photo by D.W. Ritual minimalista, Mariano Gusils (Argentina), 2012, Quillagua. Photo by D.W.

Elisa Balmaceda and Rafael Silva, interventions in open space near Quillagua, documentation from an artistic residency carried out thanks to the cooperation of the Chilean Ministry of Culture and the SE VENDE society. September 2015, photo by Felipe Coddou.


STONES But people say, and they speak knowingly, That they are not tears, but stones9

At the beginning of 2013, I made a decision to implement my own, large format, open space intervention: in the Quillagua area, in the Meteorite Valley. The story of that vast, space studded with craters is not clear. The moonlike landscape stimulates the imagination, the space seems relatively close. The deep and sheer voids of even a few dozen meter diameters seem like proof of physical contact with something that comes from outside the atmosphere. The stones, which after the sun sets, give off a metallic sound, are almost evidence of someone’s presence. After the ecological disaster the citizens of Quillagua turned from farming to tourism counting on the fact that the pre-Columbian reliefs, dusty remains of mummies and most of all, the Meteorite Valley, would attract foreigners. Signposts were put up and a parking lot was created near the biggest of the craters. Slowly the first tourists started to appear, more like wanderers, hungry for authenticity outside of the main, more heavily treaded trails. But the problem appeared to be one of authenticity. According to the Chilean Geologists’ Society it was the underground water springs in connection with the subgrade of the particular geological composition that caused rocks to dissolve and in consequence, resulted in these crater depressions. Nothing has ever fallen here; nothing unusual had happened here. They are just some washed out holes. The citizens of Quillagua send visitors to the Meteorite Valley. It is their valley. You can take a piece of a meteorite home. Apparently, they have incredible energy.


C.K. Norwid, W Weronie [In Verona], fragment in: Wiersze [Poems], Algo, 2007, trans. Agata Hamilton, Jeffrey Judson Hamilton


The great crater, Meteorite Valley, Quillagua, 2012, photo by D.W.


Feudal relationships have existed in South America much longer than in Europe and that is one of the reasons many Europeans moved there and started their businesses in Argentina, Bolivia or Chile. The incredibly cheap and defenseless work force reduced the cost of labor to a minimum. Ruling the new countries was limited to maintaining order which encouraged the development of entrepreneurship and ruthlessly crushed any form of resistance. In Chile, as opposed to Peru for example, slavery has never been legalized. The population of the poor, farming south signed on to work in the desert which was two of three thousand kilometers away. Enganchador, an intermediary at that time, earned commission per each head brought to a niter village. The Longino train traveled for about a week and it stopped at many stations, but when it entered the desert, there was no place to run away to, there was also no return trip. In the niter villages all kinds of people worked, independent of their age, sex or health condition. They were paid with tokens which you were able to exchange for products only in the same village. The tokens from a nearby village had no purchasing value. That eliminated the possibility of migrating between the villages or to the coast and cities. The only store belonged to the owner of the village, in which the owner also set the prices and gave (or did not give) loans. The smallest children were well suited to put dynamite into the openings in the rocks. The dynamite sticks often exploded in the process due to movement or rubbing. The Atacama Desert is covered by a carpet of abandoned cemeteries. Today they are regarded as a national heritage site and they have found their place on to the pages of multilingual photo albums. 12

Cemetery by a niter village in northern Chile, 2009, photo by Sergio Adaro


Joint Game introduces an enigmatic, but at the same time visually synthetic element into the absolute emptiness of the landscape. The historical-social context associated with the minimalist nature of the desert became the starting point in the creative process and a deciding factor in the selecting the place for the project. The open space of Atacama may only be compared with endless snow or endless water. This area’s history is endless. Endless emptiness also belongs to this area. NOTHING. A vast, terrifying nothing. Every physical presence is materially limited; it ends somewhere. Only absence is endless. Only emptiness, such as silence, can be uninterrupted and absolute. A sphere is the closest to emptiness, because it starts and ends nowhere. All its points may be brought to one. From a planet to an atom, it seems to be the most perfect and simultaneously the simplest of existing forms. A golf ball with a diameter of twelve meters refers to the notion of a (lack) of scale and (dis) proportion. The absence of reference points in the desert creates an uncertainty in the scale of what we see, and it is uncomfortable to not have clarity, not to know whether what we are looking at is big or small. At the same time, the observed situation is an actual act, we are not dealing with a computer simulation or photomontage. The lack of artifacts, plants, or humans suggests that we may also be on a different planet. There is nothing for your vision to hold onto, to capture


what we see. Only the rocky, naked hills on the horizon call up a feeling of the abyss, and an object in this context reaches monumental dimensions.

Joint Game near Quillagua, 2013, photo by Rodrigo Pacheco

The open space intervention rebels against being closed in a gallery, it seems impossible to translate into white cube language. The process of moving is a creative challenge due to the extremely different conditions in the open space and in the gallery room. I “translated it” that way in a presentation that will take place in Kraków in January 2016 in Otwarta Pracownia (Open Studio). The adapted strategy is to return to the effect of depth by surrounding the viewer with the desert. The simultaneous large format projection onto three adjacent walls creates the effect that the viewer is physically present in the open space. I mostly care about that swathing (or embattling) by the landscape. Three different moving pictures give the impression of movement. Although physically the viewer may be in one place, he or she has the impression of moving. The idea is to create a sensual fiction which will enable me to translate the experience of observing the object in the landscape through moving projections. The video installation aims to transport the viewer to the desert and to provoke a palpable impression of the ball. The effect is reinforced by the visual connection of the projection (you cannot run away from the sight) and mostly y the sound. The sound effects were composed by Fernando Godoy especially for this piece – he was attempting to submerge the viewer in a created reality. COSMOS

In the same region where Quillagua is, in the Andes, 5000 miles above sea level, the world’s most modern and largest international astronomy observatory ALMA10 is located. The American, 10


Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (

European and Japanese antennas, sixty-six in all, search space for answers to questions that have eluded humankind. The object I introduced to the Chajnator plain near the antennas may suggest that due to constant and intense exploitation, probing and sending signals into space, SOMETHING has finally appeared. I assume that this something is not what we would have expected in response to our interest in the universe. At the same time, the antennas have turned out to have an intelligence and will of their own because they turn and watch the ball which is an intruder – white, big and round, it tries to pretend it’s one of them but in the end, its cover is blown and it has to leave.

Joint Game in the astronomical observatory ALMA, 5000 m.a.s.l. 2015, photo Alex Moya


There is also another lead taking us further from questions of a scientific nature and pointing us towards a transcendental search. The spherical object may suggest Beings in the cosmos, or the existence of forces and dimensions which are not of an earthly nature. Its dimensions force us to consider that it is not compatible with human experience. It is a ball, so ostensibly, any relationship with the religious world would seem to be scarce, but on the other hand, it is not just any ball - but a golf ball. We may assume that somewhere in the


cosmos Someone who has supernatural powers might have a hobby – playing golf for example... Golf balls get lost easily, they fall into cracks, fall out of play on the golf course. Both these leads seem important but at the same time the video installation is open to the interpretation of a moving, geometrical, abstract visual digression or simply – a joke.

RADIUS Earlier I wrote about the shape of the sphere which belongs to the same family of figures as the circle, cone, cylinder and spiral. Their common characteristic is the radius which, with the use of one number, defines the entire figure. In some of the figures the height is also included. In this chapter I will analyze a few works in which the mathematical starting point is the radius. ROBERT SMITHSON

Undoubtedly one of the most renowned interventions in the history of Land Art is the Spiral Jetty by the American artist Robert Smithson, built in 1970. The limited, geometrical and monumental form comes out of the Utah desert and penetrates the Great Salt Lake, turning anti-clockwise in a 460 meter long path. You can walk on it if it’s not covered with water. Walking the spiral to the end (or to the beginning) and returning the same way resembles the experience of climbing up a mound.11 The desert landscape without points of reference, makes it impossible to specify the scale of the work at first. Only some tourists walking on the jetty can help us understand its dimensions.12 Spiral Jetty is the most recognized work of the artist, but not the only one of his whose design is based on the circle. In 1971, the artist received a commission to produce an intervention in open space in Holland as part of the Sonsbeek’71 Beyond Borders exhibition. For his work he chose the sand mine near Emmen situated in a landscape corroded by the erosive impact of nature and industry. This is how the only permanent land art created by the artist outside of the United States came into being. Spiral Hill/Broken Circle is composed of two independent parts – both based on the circle. Broken Circle is a symmetrical, round structure 43 meters in diameter, breaking or turning the natural shore line of a lake. The work is composed of two opposite semi-circles which penetrate each other similar to the yin and yang symbol, where half of the surface is water and half is land. Spiral Hill is a 22 meter high cone made of sand. The path, as in the case of the Spiral


The thesis that mounds were the predecessors of Earth Works in Western Europe and proof of an atavist, timeless need to create forms that are not subjected to functional explanations is not unjustified. Of course that approach does not take into consideration the religious dimensions of the phenomenon, observing it through a prism of human intervention in the landscape. By accepting such a selective and formal approach we see the abstract character of the form which is associated with contemporary art. 12 Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970 Kanał: Art. History. Conversation. 2011.


Jetty, rolls counterclockwise. It is surprising that it is indeed a mound13, which is an anthropogenic landscaping form which has been present in Europe since prehistoric times.

Wanda Mound in Kraków, VII century ( Broken Circle/Spiral Hill, Robert Smithson, 1971, Emmen, Holland. (

Amongst Smithson’s works which belong to the category of earth art and were designed on the basis of the circle, one should also mention Amarillo Ramp. The stone circle, 43 meters in diameter and 4.5 meter high, was submerged in water. The artificial lake in north-west Texas does not exist today and the artworks are slowly melting back into the landscape which surrounds them. The erosion and disappearance of form however, is not the effect of negligence in the case of Robert Smithson’s works but the final execution of the artist’s vision, his fascination with entropic processes both in the landscape and the artwork. The dilemma whether to preserve his works is symptomatic for process-based art; because preservation means stopping the process. Smithson died over forty years ago and the transformation which he initiated in each of his works in open spaces is still ongoing. That process alone is part of the artwork. NANCY HOLT

Nancy Holt reaches for a circle to deliberate on the cosmos; the movement of stars and the cyclical nature of the equinox. The word wife probably does not fully describe the type of relationship she had with Robert Smithson. For ten years they lived and worked together, they did not share the authorship of their works but supported each other in production and documentation. The coincident search field extends far beyond the circular, geometrical forms, which have become the way to ask questions which are difficult to posit, or even impossible. Waldemar Januszczak the director of a 2014 documentary on Nancy Holt - Sun Tunnels says: “One of the things I really like about land art is that it is always about big issues”. Sun Tunnels is a composition consisting of four cement cylinders in the Utah desert, purposefully arranged and perforated. With the four cardinal directions and the starry sky above them – seen exactly the way Nancy Holt had planned it with a team of astronomers. Today this outback is visited


Did Robert Smithson, who lived and worked in New Jersey, know about the existence of mounds and their symbolic meaning in Slavic countries? Spiral Hill might be a reference to the continent’s tradition on which the works was produced, or, what is more probable, another minimalist search based on a circle the result of which is a cut off cone.


not only in search of direct contact with art, but also in a meditative, spiritual context or even in the context of alternative medicine. This is probably related to the fact that the work depends on the light, which is the energy source. The movement of sun on the skyline is its vital part, it activates the form which is born every dawn and disappears at dusk. The project has both something bold and intelligent about it at the same time. It turns the sun into an actor of a perfectly directed play. Holt cuts in light, cuts out form with cement. Everything takes place and is repeated exactly the way she planned it.

Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels, 1978, Utah desert, USA. (

The Sun Tunnels became so to speak a bestseller of Outdoor Art, casting a shadow over other no less interesting art works by the American artist, for example Up and under. That composition includes a cymoid embankment made of earth and sand, which is drilled through by cement cylinders that function as corridors and round pools. Like many of her other works it was inspired by archeology, particularly by Nazca signs from the Andes and the impossibility of grasping them from the level of the Earth: “It is planned as a work which you have to experience from the top and from the bottom, only on the top and at the bottom are all its elements visible – in all visible forms – walking along


the path and looking down from various viewpoints in the rocks.”14 The circle, cylinder, sphere and ball or fragments of these shapes are present in all 3D works by Holt, they constitute a glossary of elements out of which she built theses (or questions) in an open space. Their interpretation depends strictly on the point in which we are standing: inside it, near it or outside of it. ROBERT MORRIS

In 1971 as part of the exhibition Sonsbeek: out of bounds organized in the open space of Sonsbeek, apart from Robert Smithson, another key artist of the first generation of Land Art artists was also invited to Holland – Robert Morris. They both worked with circles, Smithson made the Spiral Hill/ Broken Circle mentioned before and Morris made Observatorium – a site specific work consisting of two concentric earth mounds one inside the other the exterior measuring a diameter of 91 meters. The landscape surrounding his work was so flat that if one climbed the mound it was possible to observe the endless plains of Holland. However, in Observatorium Morris was not only aiming at contemplating the landscape.

Observatorium, Robert Morris, 1971, Emmen, Holland, (

”Through a steel viewer located in the middle one can observe the sun rise at the beginning of Spring and Autumn, when the day and night are of equal length. On both sides of the viewer on


Fragment from the author’s presentation of the project Up and Under, made in 1998 in Nokia, Finland. Nancy Holt,


the north-eastern side and the south-eastern side of the concentric mounds there are two stone wedges. On the eastern side through the wedge you may watch the sun rise on the longest day of the year – 21 June. The dawn seen through the viewer from the west side signallizes winter and the longest night – 21 December. The actual topic of the earth work by Morris is the passing of time.”15 Traces of the same search, studying the logic and the rhythm of sunrises and sunsets we find amongst the pre-Columbian ruins of Tiwanaku16 in Bolivia. The sun gates are always placed here in a way that facilitates the observation of the dawn in a particular way (for example exactly along the middle vertical axis) on a particular day of the year. The same method was used while constructing the Moon Gate and other elements of Andean architecture. Arrangement of the structure was never accidental and the result of observing the movement of stars on the skyline. Undoubtedly this connection of human space with the cosmos provided a sense of coherence and belonging.

The Sun Gate, Tiwanaku, La Paz, Bolivia XIII century B.C. ( Observatorium, Robert Morris, 1971, Emmen, Holland, (

The first generation of Land Art artists was characterized by a fascination with archeology, monumental artifacts of pagan cultures such as Machu Picchu and Nazca in Peru, or Stonehenge in Wiltshire in Great Britain, along with their physical and mystical dimension on the one hand, and on the other hand, the astronomy, star movement, the cycles of phenomena in nature and in the sky, the connection of what is here with what is there. The Earth in a universal context, searching for dependencies, logic, energy and signs characterized common areas of investigation carried out by the artists who at the end of the 60s and at the beginning of the 70s abandoned the white cube and went out into the open space. In their works they connected the Earth with the Cosmos, with the symbolic, large form staring into the sky, searching for contact with Something, as in the past various tribes had done; in that same way mathematical calculations helped them in achieving perfect forms synchronized with the movement of the Earth and the stars. Similar to Machu Picchu or Stonehenge, megalithic

15 Eva van Diggelen (assistant curator at the Art Museum in Rotterdam, Holland, specializes in land art history) 16

Tiwanaku, the biggest center of Andean culture from the regional period, entered into the list of UNESCO cultural heritage. It’s located near the Titicaca Lake in the department La Paz in Bolivia 3800 m a.s.l.


monuments by Smithson, Holt, Morris and other artists of that generation, became the subject of the pilgrimage and a place of new rituals in the primeval search of humankind.

Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE, Great Britain XXVI century B.C. (


An American artist, Walter de Maria, engaged himself in creating an artifact which connected what is here with what is there in a tangible, visible and expressly electrifying way. The Lightning Field is an intervention organized in New Mexico between 1971 and 1977 on the expansive open space of the southern United States in a place which is characterized by frequent lightning discharges. It consists of four hundred polished rods (from a geometrical point of view they are cylinders) made of stainless steel, spaced in an adequate order over an area of 1000 x 1600 meters. The height of the rods oscillates between 4.5 and 8.15 meters so that all the tips are on the same level. The lightning rod field attracts lightning which causes a repetitive spectacle of energy and light. If we regarded Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels as a bold project, then The Lightning Field definitely beats it. Because it is not about observation, understanding and employing natural phenomena in a creative process anymore, but about interference with nature’s rights and using them for one’s own needs. Returning to forms designed on the basis of the radius, let us stop for a moment by the large spheres which were also created by Walter de Maria. Seen/Unseen Known/Unknown, is a couple of sculptures made in 2000 on the Naoshima Island in the south of Japan. On both sides and from


the seashore promenade. The reflections in the polished surfaces resemble cat’s eyes, which are safely hidden, focused on themselves and motionlessly observant.

Seen/Unseen Known/Unknown, Walter de Maria, 2000, Naoshima, Japan (

25 tons of polished red granite is the only object of the permanent exhibition in the Turkentor Gallery in Munich. The exhibition space is a former foyer in a neo-classical style which is what is left after the barracks in which Hitler gave some of his first political speeches and where for the first time there was an attempt to assassinate him. The disturbing color, a form that is impossible to break and the crushing weight coupled with that particular place make this dialog between history and art palpable. The sphere which measures 260cm in diameter is put in the central position on a platform, surrounded by columns and lit only by the moon or the sun, is transformed into a totem, a cult place, presumably of a god of power or a god of war. “There is nothing else to see here, although the enveloping architecture, and the way light cascades around its shapes and spaces, is striking. Yet it is hard not to be wholly absorbed by the Large Red Sphere, which watches you and the world beyond like some giant unwinking eye. It has a hypnotic quality: your own eye is drawn to both its surface and into its core. You can watch it for hours – and some people do. You can even touch it. “I like people to do that,” says De Maria, although most visitors are too intimidated.


De Maria made his first sphere in 1990, for the Assemblée Nationale in Paris. With their highly polished or intricately worked surfaces, his orbs all offer unexpected – and beautifully distorted – reflections of their settings and anything that happens in them. In this way, paradoxically, they seem to contain their surroundings, making them the perfect accompaniment to sensitive architecture.”17 GORDON MATTA-CLARK

The works chosen here by artists who were inspired to create by the circle are limited to spatial artifacts, two-dimensional techniques are not considered here. However it is impossible not to think about a drawing or a cut-out when you observe the photos of interventions made by Gordon Matta-Clark. The son of the most renowned Chilean artist Roberto Matta and the American artist Anne Clark was born, grew up and created in New York where he died in 1978 at the age of 35. He was quickly hailed as one of the most crucial American artists of the 60s and the 70s. He was the founder of Anarchitecture, a movement or artistic ideology, the aim of which is easily graspable if you look at his works. The Deconstructivist interventions of Matta-Clark create new depths, they perforate the solids of buildings and allow the gaze to penetrate cuboid, enclosed spaces. To fulfill dreams of breaking unbearable structures, opening walls, freeing airflow and light and of setting space free. It’s a dream about looking at the buildings across the street from you despite their walls and about looking at the stairs through the floor. It is also an escape through open tunnels drilled through urban solids. Most of the cutout forms are round, in opposition to cuboid architecture, questioning its logic and omnipresence. A void cutout in the shape of a circle, surrounded by cement or brick, surprisingly create a cylindrical space, sometimes repeated through many levels in a vertical or horizontal direction, is much more than an anarchist gesture of a rebelling young artist of the 70s. The circle for Gordon Matta-Clark is a tool for questioning and the deconstruction of the existing order.

Conical Intersect, Gordon Matta-Clark, 1975, Biennale in Paris ( and


Jonathan Glancey, Walter de Maria´s all-seeing eye, The, the article was published on 20 February 2011 in the Culture section.



Melting away borders between what is outside and what is inside; a soft, folding and unfolding labyrinth, in which you don’t always know whether you are inside or already outside of it... New ovals that live with their own independent lives inside an architectonical order – these are the permanent elements of Richard Serra’s work. We have to wander, often go round in circles to experience the artifact. Not only the sight but the entire body is mobilized to achieve cognition. But even after a longer stroll, the sensation of insufficiency remains because from the level of the floor we can’t grasp the entirety of the form. Only motoric memory, the movement of our bodies inside the closed space, the path we walked along ourselves – suggest its shape to the visitors’ imagination. Narrow corridors suck into the streamlined rooms or unexpectedly spit you out onto the gallery’s wall. We do not have control over the space, we are small and our perceptive abilities are constantly cut off by the high, impenetrable steel solid. One has no choice but to surrender to the experience and be led and lost, observing how, with each step, the composition of the figures change, creating an endless collection of minimalist, abstract images.

The Matter of Time, Richard Serra, 2005, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain (



In the English kitchen of Richard Long, are all teaspoons in one drawer the same color and size? Do the cups on one shelf have the same shape? I assume, that if it were up to him, they would be. But undoubtedly his favorite game pieces are stones and sticks. He arranges circles, semi-circles and spirals on the floors and walls of galleries, in the woods, on the snow and on the grass, outside of a volcano and on the beach. Sometimes he also paints (especially recently) or rather he stains, by pouring the paint out of a watering can or by putting it on with his hands. Segregating the building material, selecting only elements very similar to one another, always out of the same material in a very similar color and size, results in a natural contrast with the form created that way, clean and minimalist with a varied, accidental and chaotic surrounding, especially with the landscape. It is order and logic and a closed form at the same time, so it is safe – discovering it is pleasurable – it constitutes something of an oasis.

Leaving the Stones, Richard Long, 1995, Svalbard, Norway ( Making Paddy-Field Chaff Circle, Richard Long, 2003, Maharashtra, India (

Rolling balls on the table out of bread crumbs spontaneously and arranging them in some order, thoughtless, self/creating forms out of matches, leaves, buttons, fruit pits or out of something else, or even automatically drawing figures during a telephone conversation, are frequent small obsessions or manias, which may obviously be a starting point for the creative process. But how to lead that passion for the process of arranging, ordering, segregating things to sublime and conceptual acts of Land Art? The repetitiveness of elements and their round form have something of Zen philosophy about them, tantric repetition and the blurred line of time. The optimal choice of form and matter in each work in the context of a place, that is a strike home in the site specific category – creates an effect of absolute synchronization of the artifact with its surrounding, or even a feeling that it could not not be there. ANDY GOLDSWORTHY

After graduating, Richard Serra worked in metal foundry; Andy Goldsworthy as a teenager was a farmer. Maybe that is not enough to prove that you get saturated with a certain material, but


undoubtedly being close with the matter creates and deepens one’s sensitivity to it. According to studies on the perception of color the Eskimos recognize a few hundred tones of white, much more than any other ethnic group. Living in whiteness sensitizes one to its variety. Where a local sees a wide palette of shades, to a stranger everything is monotonous and achromatic. The same happens with fishermen with their perception of the shade of the sea color which is never – as they say – the same. Noticing those nuances requires time, time not measured by a watch or a calendar, but by the movement of clouds and shades that appear, birds setting off to fly, the splashing of water in a blowhole and the sound of the wind. When Goldsworthy talks about the need of the earth, he means that contact, more sensual and spiritual than visual. “I want to understand that state and that energy which is inside me and which I also feel in plants and earth. That energy and that life which flow in the landscape, is something ungraspable, something that is and then quickly vanishes.”18

Hawthorn Tree Snowball, Andy Goldsworthy, 2001 ( 18


Andy Goldsworthy, Working with Time - Rivers and Tides, directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer, Finland, 2001.


On the other pole of emotional, psychedelic and jittering vibrations, Yayoi Kusama covers the world in sharp-colored dots. A dot is a flat figure so it is beyond the subject of this thesis, but the waving surfaces and organic shapes which are spotted with a sea of round stains – is a sculpture. “The moon is a dot, the sun is a dot, the Earth on which we live is a dot”19 says the Japanese artist. Her personal psychiatrist in the 50s advised her to go to the United States because he was aware that only there would the liberal system allow her to spread her wings. And he was right. Kusama conquered New York not only with dots but also with performances of a political and social character. She was the first one to give a symbolic wedding to a homosexual couple and sent a letter to President Nixon offering him sex in exchange for stopping the war in Vietnam. It is a paradox that she is included with the minimalist artists, because she fills exhibition rooms with claustrophobically replicated forms to their very last centimeter. Uncompromising and disturbed, for conservative people – sick; for people looking for new sensations – ingenuous; for many she’s both of these. Kusama belongs to the artists for whom life and art is one. For almost forty years she’s been living and creating – painfully, tangibly and voluntarily – in a Japanese psychiatric hospital.

Endless Obsession, Yayoi Kusama, 2015, Art Center CA660, Santiago, Chile (


Yayoi Kusama: Earth is a Polka Dot, Museum of Modern Art’s channel in Lousiana,,


Returning to the infinity of dots, points, lights, in many of her works the search for other dimensions is noticeable: each point is Being; unique, but at the same time endlessly repetitive, in the abyss of oblivion. In the text Absolute Awareness Yayoi Kusama, Carolina Lara writes about her exhibition Endless Obsession in the Art Center CA660 in Santiago, Chile: “White, red or lit points, which are shiny, vibrating or mutating, like exploding particles or energetic spots, covering the entire surface, they annihilate objects and our shapes. There is a lot of psychedelic and mystical experience in it, a lot of hallucinations with the microcosm, the universe or Absolute Awareness.”20 The artist searches for the relationship between what is here and what is there by highlighting our inappreciable role in the universe, and at the same time, the fact that we belong to Infinity. It is apparently obvious, that the Earth is not the center of time and space. That geocentric theory was overthrown five centuries ago, however, we live as if nothing has happened, blindly navel-gazing. Kusama provokes us to change our optics. In this operation the relationship with Joint Game seems to be self-evident, not only on a formal level but also on an existential one. The sign of the presence of anything (symbolic and graphic) in the void is the point, the simplest of any beings, yet without a form. Its scale is without meaning, because a point is dimensionless. So it is a being on the border of materiality. A point is also a presence; it’s a sign, it’s an opposition to nothingness, to nonexistence, it is the equivalent of the word “is” in the big “it’s not”. Moving on the horizon line it draws a circle, the first shape, pre-form. Maybe Kasuma is only joking and playing with the viewer and herself because those dots also show up on her dresses, on walls, furniture, paintings and animals. In excess the transcendental message gets lost, it is substituted by a joke, obsession or absurdity, or rather an unbearable chromatic mixture of the three. At the same time – humor is present. Bringing everything down to polka dots allows us to grow humble and distance ourselves from the world. Because, if our planet is a polka dot, any further struggle makes no sense. Such a colorful and pop art-like approach to absolutely everything is a pin piercing the balloon of “serious art”. The road from the most important questions asked while looking into space, through one key absurd presumption coming from accepting that assumption (the Earth is a polka dot, god plays golf), going onto logical and concrete conclusions coming from accepting that presumption, and finally, the humor, distance and finally – the return to transcendental reflection from the beginning of the game – that is a common script of Kusuma’s work Infinity Mirrored Room and my Joint Game. ANISH KAPOOR

I came across Anish Kapoor when I was already working on Joint Game. For me it was one of the most significant and revelatory moments of recent years. Is there any sense in dealing with the sphere after Leviathan (2011) Or rather with a giant, rubber sphere. A dangerous similarity was fueling my curiosity, I started looking for all the differences and analogies, even those which at first glance were not related to work such as emigration, fascination with geometry or a weak spot for mirror-like, deformed reflections. The gigantic form consisting of four, connected spherical vessels of a maximum height of 35 meters, fits perfectly into the interior space of the Grand Palais in Paris, and it fills it – which before Kapoor seemed impossible – almost entirely.



Carolina Lara, La conciencia absoluta de Yayoi Kusama, daily newspaper La Tercera, section Crítica de Artes Visuales, Santiago de Chile, 4 April 2015. Trans. D.W.

I remember when I stood next to the inflated Joint Game, not only a sketch or a photomontage, but in real life in an open space. It was humongous, monumental. I climbed onto the roof of some nearby high-rise blocks to look at it closely. Then it was rolling down the desert giving one the impression of an irrational power; that it was capable of destroying everything that stood in its way. That is why we let it go slowly only in places with nothing else but endless space and rocks. I was a little afraid of it, I asked myself: what have I created? When the wind blew stronger and it got out of control, it squashed me and my team members a few times, which fortunately was not dangerous but a claustrophobic experience of finding yourself under such a gigantic balloon and creeping out from under it on all fours. It created the impression of an animated being, like blowing air into it filled it with life. The movement is what gave it visual strength, its majestic way of rolling revealed a large and heavy solid. Because, although it was empty inside, the pressurized air inside it weighed three tons. And it was only 12 meters in diameter - three times less than Kapoor’s work. Leviathan is a metal structure covered with a thin layer of PCV, uninflated. Immovable, and maybe – it is better that way. Static, four-module, accessible to viewing from the outside and on the inside. It is site specific; designed by the sculptor for that particular, secessionist interior. The minimalism of the solid and the finesse of the architecture create a surprising couplet complementing one another: not fit for each other, belonging to different styles, however so well-suited and highlighting the good sides of each other. At first glance Leviathan and Joint Game have a lot in common but after a more insightful analysis, there’s even more that differentiates them.

Next page: Leviathan, Anish Kapoor, 2011, Grand Palais, Paris, France (



THE ART OF RELATION This chapter includes a comparative analysis of chosen artifacts which like Joint Game, use scale or the lack of it, proportion or rational relations and their deformations as a tool of creative expression. The examples refer to universal topics: power, interpersonal dependencies and the need for implementing hierarchy as people’s atavistic drives. SCALE

The objective dimensions of an artifact do not exist. The perceptive dimension is inversely proportional to the compaction of distracting elements in the environment. We know examples of sculptures which nobody has ever seen although they are not small and they are located in strategic places in cities. Unless they draw attention with something well-known in paradoxically unnatural size. Mute, static and monochromatic, they are lost when put against with crowds and commercialization. Then the size gains its full meaning, it becomes objective and intriguing. Using a rescaled utility object as a matrix, is a procedure used in contemporary art more and more often, and it undoubtedly draws everyone’s attention. It sounds exaggerated but that’s the way it is, a passerby looks in fascination at a large shoe, without being conscious that she or he is looking at a work of art and thanks to that she or he does not feel embarrassed. Admitting to experiencing art is awkward for most people, they feel as if they are stepping on unstable ground. But it’s just a shoe, there’s nothing in it that is impossible to understand, besides the fact that it’s big and comfortably literal. From my experience with Joint Game situated in a public space it turns out that the more coincidental the viewer’s contact with the object is, the more spontaneous the reaction and the stronger is the impression. Not being prepared for a sudden meeting with something ‘atypical’ is a desired state. In that sense that is the polar opposite to a visit to a museum, where we go on purpose to see something that we know is there. In the case of an intervention in the open space it comes upon us. Among the gigantic objects we can count today we have: rubber duckies, forks, chairs, spiders, apple cores, clothes, badminton shuttles, shoes and many others. A golf ball obviously is formally included in that set. The procedure of changing scale is fascinating because it is so banally simple, so obvious and literal, that it astonishes us with the richness of its possible interpretations and visual metaphors. Mutation and an unnatural size influence the imagination and provoke the senses. It is not a particular art piece from art history, or a thought of a famous philosopher or a sociopolitical situation which is the point of reference here. It is our own bodies. There’s nothing more democratic or universal. The collective imagination of western culture is populated by Greek giants, the Brothers Grimm’s giants, wood goblins, Gulliver, Alice, Thumbelina, dwarfs, Peter Pan and many other anthropogenic characters. From the myths about the children of Uranos and Gaia through Rumblebuffin in The Chronicles of Narnia, we grew up on and we live among, creatures created in similarity to humans but who are different sizes than we are or even of changeable sizes. A meeting with a rescaled object takes us back to the time of our childhood, the time when on the one hand, the proportions of our own


bodies to the surrounding world were changing constantly, and on the other our imagination connected the real world with the fantastic one without much difficulty. That return to a state of rational weightlessness and the hope, stored away since our school years, that the division between the possible and impossible might just turn out to be a little less definite. At last, the completely physical and tangible relation with that kind of artifact causes a strong and deep internal resonance. A man, however, is most eager to exaggerate himself or herself. And although monuments are not the subject of this thesis, writing about rescaling in sculpture it is impossible not to mention the roots of an effective procedure. The human figure has been present in art since the beginning of our cultures. In line with our anthropocentric nature, gods are humans – only bigger. The sculptures at the entrance to The Great Temple of Ramesses II in Abu Simbel; the monumental statue of Buddha in Kamakura; gigantic moai on the Easter Island; the huge heads of Olmecs in San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán are only a few of the most spectacular examples of giant gods. That enlargement manifests worship, fear, admiration and a willingness to be endeared. It is a tangible presence; surety that we are not alone. The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro was completed in 1931 and is 30 meters high not counting the pedestal. The conviction that bigger is better is present to this day, it even flourishes in the view of religious and nationalist competitions. The statue of Christ the King in Świebodzin, Poland, from 2010 refers in form to the one in Rio de Janeiro but it is 6 meters bigger. So it leaves the Brazilians behind and has taken over first place in the ranking of the large Christ statues of the world. The Peruvians in 2011 unveiled a 37 meter Christ of the Pacific in Lima, but the figure without the pedestal is only 22 meters high so the leading position of Świebodzin for now remains unchallenged. FERNANDO BOTERO

Big Woman, Fernando Botero, 1986, Medellín, Columbia ( Bird, Fernando Botero, 1990, Singapore, photo Andy Wright de Sheffield, England. License – Public domain under Wikimedia Commons – (,_Bird_(1990),_Singapore_-_20040616.jpg#/media/File:Fernando_Botero,_Bird_(1990),_ Singapore_-_20040616.jpg)


An escape from the giant mania and rescaling as socio-technical procedure is offered under the shade of effuse of Fernando Botero’s sculptures who also resizes but differently. The body fascination of the Colombian sculptor is shown in the dignity he affords his sensually big people. The majestically overflowing rotund sculptures mock the anorexic models on billboards. Is this a proposal of a new canon of beauty, liberation from the regime of 90/60/90? But maybe the author does not care about aesthetics at all or a promotion of this or that body model but only uses it as a metaphor of human nature and its deformation? Formally speaking, Botero’s work – paintings and the naturally following sculpture21 - is a deformation by use of a distorted scale. Three dimensional stone forms are disproportional, oversized human and animal bodies, spread more in terms of their width than their height, differently and on different levels, usually the most at a hip level. “Fernando Botero (...) is the favorite of the not very demanding public. He feels the atmosphere of suburbs and bazaars, countryside parties and hearty advances.”22 For those who remember the times before the fall of the Berlin Wall, monuments provoke more ideological than religious associations; maybe even ideologically anti-religious. I grew up in Nowa Huta. At the end of the 80s the meeting spot for the youth from the ‘city’ was outside of the Adam Mickiewicz statue at the Market and for the youth from Nowa Huta it was outside of a statue of Lenin. The stigma on this working class neighborhood was crowned with that person / symbol and did not end with the removal of the statue. Now the empty square gives the impression that it has undergone an amputation. Today many citizens of Nowa Huta miss the times when you could see the walking statue of Vladimir Ilyich through the window. Currently he is not threatening because he has been decontextualized and breeds nostalgia. As many people who remember those times say, the neighborhood at least had an identity at that time. What type of identity is a different question, but it had one. And now it has to be invented and built from scratch. But out of what? The milk bar in Aleja Róż slowly but not without resistance has been turned into a fast food place. The young generation is fascinated by socialist culture – idealized in stories about the heroes of strikes and manifestations – they now collect gadgets, memorabilia and photos.23 At the time there were many statues of Stalin and then Lenin, mainly in former Soviet-bloc countries: the most famous ones are the ones from Kiev, Ulan-Ude, Novosibirsk, Kharkov, Nowa Huta, Gdańsk, Prague, Budapest, Volgograd, Khujand, Moscow, Vilnius and Minsk. Most of them, including the biggest ones, were recently demolished. Although the leaders of the revolution have seeded the cities and villages with their marble and reinforced concrete effigies, they did not manage to beat the Statue of Liberty. The symbol of the United States is outgrown by the Mother Motherland Monument in Kiev. And the statue of Buddha from Lushan in China is three times larger than the statue in Kiev. What is the giant statue mania about? Surely, it is about the conviction that a statue – it doesn’t matter whether it’s a religious, symbolic or ideological one – is more powerful when it’s bigger. So if the biggest one is ours, we can sleep in peace.


Compare: Monika Małkowska, Botero i jego zaokrąglona wizja świata [Botero and His Rounded Vision of the World] . Published in the Culture section of Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper, 11 October 2007.

22 see above 23

Compare: Łukasz Stanek, De-/signing the Urban. Technogenesis and the Urban Image, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam, 2006.



Unless it is the Buddha by the Chinese artist Wang Qingsong, the creator of group photographs who is referring in a more or less direct way to the contemporary reality of the Middle Kingdom. “While Wang may not be as outspoken as his Chinese compatriot, Ai Weiwei, the photography genius joins artists like Wang Xingwei and Liu Wei in openly criticizing the societal atmosphere of China. Using sensational imagery and a complex melding of Western and Eastern iconography, Wang pushes the boundary between dark fantasy and the reality of his country’s future.”24 In the work Temple the Buddha is not sitting in a lotus position anymore but he’s spread out and has an amused look on his face as he welcomes the bows of animalized and humiliated people. Fear, the massive scale and pleasure visibly emanate from the power he has. The monument of a bad god, or a demoralized god, makes it possible to reflect on whom or what we worship today.

The Temple, Wang Qingsong, 2013, Venice, Italy (


Let’s leave the investigation of the weight of monuments to the sociologists and let’s look for new examples of rescaling as an artistic operation. Can an enlarged human body be a statue? It can be. Paweł Althamer’s form, lighter than air, challenges the foundations of gravity with respect to sculpture. The author fills his own three dimensional portrait with helium and he must tie it to prevent it from flying away. Paweł Althamer says about One of Many: “Body is only a vehicle for


Katherine Brooks, Wang Qingsong Addresses Chinese Urbanization In Massive, Impressively Crowded Photographs, article in Huffpost, section Art & Culture, 8 September 2013 (


the soul. I feel like an astronaut dressed in my own body, I’m a trapped soul”25. The male, 22 meter nude is swinging above the heads of pedestrians in Milan as part of the individual exhibition of the artist in Palazzina Appiani. The colossus detached from the ground encourages us to reflect on human nature, the relationship between the material and non-material within us. What lifts us and sets us in motion is invisible to the eye. Many skeptics do not have anything besides the cover. But at the same time someone who is uncomfortably similar to us is looking at us from above. Someone who – it’s not impossible – could play golf.

Baloon, Paweł Althamer, (work constructed as part of the exhibition One of Many, Milan, 2007, photo Fundacja Galerii Foksal (

An enlarged human body is not a statue then, if it does not have the weight which corresponds to traditional materials, when it is inflated as in this case, when it floats or at least rocks in a horizontal position and it definitely lacks the statue-like dignity and seriousness.26 One of Many is the most literally out-of-the-realm-of-possibility interventions in the open space right above our heads. RON MUECK

In Ron Mueck’s works we are dealing with enlargements and miniaturizing which do not result in statue like effects. The artist, a TV set decorator by profession, plays with scale by creating giants and dwarfs which are so convincing that they provoke a disturbance in the viewer. It is still a human

25 Agnieszka Sural, 11 najważniejszych prac Pawła Althamera [11 most important works by Paweł Althamer] article published 30 October 2014 on 26

Compare: Sławomir Mrożek, Słoń [Elephant], in: Opowiadania [Short Stories] Volume 1, Noir sur Blanc, Warsaw, 1992.


being, with all its imperfections, ordinary, seemingly uninteresting, but at the same time so atypical for a sculpture. Exactly the same human being who would not consciously pose and whom nobody would want for a model. The body created by Mueck gives the impression of being alive, you want to touch it to shatter the disturbing impression that the person is breathing. The obsessive and denuded physicality or even physiognomy strikes you when you look at each ear, nose, and fingernail. Sweaty armpits, lips collapsed in sleep, puffy eyelids this is the truth about us; brutally inescapable, exposed to be looked at. We stare at the reflection of our humanity with a particular mixture of disgust and fascination. But Mueck’s sculptures are not only about physiognomy. With the help of hyper-realistic silicone forms we spend time with humanity on many levels: fear, uncertainty, discouragement, tiredness, reluctance and weakness. They feel - and they don’t feel alright. Empathy is probably the most appropriate description of the viewer – artifact relationship.

In bed, Ron Mueck, 2011, San Ildefonso Museum, Mexico ([ll_gallery]/0/)


Undoubtedly the most famous creator of large things nowadays is Jeff Koons. Inflated dogs, identical to the ones which are made with twisted balloons at fairs, but much bigger ones, on pedestals and made of polychrome steel; monkeys, rabbits and snakes, all shiny and vivid, simplified in the form of


a serially produced cheap toy. Luxurious kitsch: plush Puppy in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, overgrown with live, continually blooming plants. It is over 12 meters high and it’s charmingly disproportional. It grows over and surely it has to be trimmed or the dry tufts have to be replaced. The sculpture changes depending on the temperature, sun exposure, and the humidity of the place in which it is exposed and is therefore animated. The unbearable lightness of Koons’ creations contains the essence of what for many Europeans is gross about Americans. Everything is for sale and there’s no shame in that; including the artist’s pervasive smile presenting his immaculate teeth. The artist also resembles more the owner of a corporation or a man of show business. He used his short marriage to the porn star Cicciolina to produce a provocative series of works which brought him fame – even if it was not in the artistic press but in the tabloids. He wears designer suits and ties; he’s slim and sporty. ‘Popular’, ‘influential’ and ‘important’ these are the most common descriptions of him which can be found when his name is mentioned in the media. Undoubtedly there would be no Koons without Warhol and pop art, but also not without Salvador Dali. The artist as a product, a marketing self-creation.

Puppy, Jeff Koons, 1997, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain (,_Guggenheim_Museum_,_Spain,_Bilbao.jpg)

Elżbieta Ogrodowska - Jesionek devoted an article to the artist with a pejorative title Plastic Idol27. “The stunning media commotion around Koons’ exhibition is (...) proof that the phenomenon of a 27

Elżbieta Ogrodowska-Jesionek, Plastikowy idol [Plastic Idol] Dialog: miesięcznik Związku Literatów Polskich [Dialogue: monthly of the Polish Writers’ Union], ISSN 0012-2041, 2000, Volume 45, Number4, pp. 189-192.


pop-culture artist who turned his atelier into a factory and art into a prosperous business is still fascinating”. On the other hand, Ewelina Chwiejda in the article Tickling with Koons in Pompidou28 writes: “Jeff Koons is everywhere. For the last few weeks, a long time before the retrospective which opened on 26 November, it was impossible to walk down a Parisian street without stumbling upon posters, magazine covers (not only the ones specializing in art) or even the popular advertising of a clothing store chain promoting the artist and his well-recognized aesthetics of kitsch. “That peculiar visual attack as a result of which as it is a custom to say in the era of information flood, (...) the message is clear: it does not matter whether you belong to the world of art or not, whether you are interested in contemporary art or whether you are completely indifferent to it, this is the event of the season, a must see event which you can’t overlook if you think of yourself as of being up-to-date with the hippest stuff.” And further: “That easiness – one may argue if it is not only apparent – of Jeff Koons’ art is its strongest and the weakest point and it lays at the basis of the old discussion of whether the American artist is an ingenuous whistle-blower of the contemporary global era society or an usurper who knows how to take advantage of the naivety of the society under the cover of irony and criticism.” CLAES OLDENBURG

Between Koons and Oldenburg there are acres of blessed weightlessness, childish dreams and sweet kitsch. The presence of a critique of consumerist society in Koons’ works is a far-fetched intellectualizing of critics and curators, who are horrified by the lack of a deeper message of the

The Saw, Sawing, Claes Oldenburg, 1996, Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Tokio, Japan Shuttlecocks, Claes Oldenburg, 1994, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, USA (both photos come from the website:

attractive sculptures. Is Oldenburg criticizing? Or perhaps he is laughing? Or maybe both, because intelligent humor is the best critical evaluation. So what that he’s from Sweden, since Claes Oldenburg 28


Ewelina Chwiejda, Łaskotanie Koonsem w Pampidou [Tickling with Koons in Pampidou], Obieg, 11 Decemeber 2014.

is an effective and full-bloodied American artist – although of Scandinavian origin – although the influences of that subtle and minimalist culture of the North are hard to find in his works. Pop culture is all that strikes us. Each epoch sculpts what it values and what it wants to leave to the descendants. From that perspective Oldenburg could be a postmodernism medium. He creates monuments to glorify ordinary objects and gives them a status. That is a caricature of the world fascinated by gadgets. A flashlight, an apple core, lipstick, a shuttlecock and a clothespin will talk about our world and about what was important to us in some years to come. The artist thinks of himself as a realist who wants to give some space to the imagination. He says straightforwardly “I opt for art that is heavy and vulgar, direct, sweet and stupid, just as life is”.29 Oldenburg is probably the most famous contemporary artist who consistently uses rescaling. How inexhaustible that source of inspiration is you would have to ask the artist. For me it is obvious that each new object raised to the rank of a monument is a new experience, full of unexpected allusions, humorous associations and existential reflections. FLORENTIJN HOFMAN

The Dutch artist’s Florentijn Hofman’s floating toy is a phenomenon which belongs to the world of children’s imagination. The author says the following about his work: “A rubber duck does not

The Duck, Florentijn Hofman, 2015, Los Angeles port, USA (


Nathalie Sroka-Fillion, Claes Oldenburg, in: 501 wielkich artystów [501 Great Artists] ed. Stephen Farthing, MWK, Warsaw 2009, ISBN 9788361065326, trans. Dominika Zielińska, Ryszard Jacoby, page 487.


know any borders, it does not discriminate and it does not have political connotations. A friendly, floating rubber duckie has some healing properties: it can mitigate world’s tensions and define them. A rubber duckie is soft, friendly and appropriate for all age groups.”30 The world is a bathtub. A yellow toy is made in many sizes to be able to float effectively into large ports but also into small bays. In Sao Paolo (2008) and Auckland (2011) the 12 meter version was anchored, in Osaka (2010) it was 10 meters high, in Beijing (2013) it was 18 meters high, in Hong Kong (2013) 16 meters big and in Sydney (2013) it was 15 meters. The record height, a giant 26 meter duck appeared off the French coastline in 2007 and the smallest one, 5 meters, floats on lakes and in cities; it rocks sleepily in park ponds. The toy calls to mind images of a small child’s evening baths; the feeling of safety, warmth, the touch of cotton clothes and the smell of soap. Is that still an individual memory or has it already become a group memory? That thing that looms there in the background, is that a personal image of a duckie from a particular childhood or maybe it’s a global duck of a certain generation or generations here and there and somewhere else too? Whichever it is, the fact is that it relieves everyone’s tension, it takes stress, competition, aggression and intolerance out of the picture – disarmed, not dangerous and insignificant. If the world is a bathtub then our problems are not proportional to it. It sometimes seems to us that we won a war and what happened was, that we just splashed out some water. It might be water in the Thames which was set into motion by a 22 meter body of a charming hippopotamus. Hippo Thames (Hofman, 2014) is a sculpture made out of plywood and steel beams to commemorate the ancestors of that animal which a long, long time ago, according to the author, were paddling in the area of today’s London. The waves beat rhythmically on three pianos abandoned on the beach of the nearly unpopulated Dutch island Schiermonnikoog. A few fishermen stare with curiosity, some solitude-seeking tourist takes photos. Because generally nobody is here and nothing is here, only that water from all sides and some grass brushed by the wind. And these three pianos, spat out, soaked. “For some it is an inestimable loss, for others it’s some abandoned wood.” 31 A destroyed musical instrument, unable to produce sounds, becomes a wooden, worthless box. A vehicle of soul degraded to its physicality, a medium of the most subtle desires and sensations,

Signpost 5, Florenijn Hofman, 2006, Schiermonnikoog island, Holland (

30 31


created on the model of man, and like man, completely defenseless in the face of the forces of nature. There’s no relationship with a physical scale and a symbolic scale. Signpost 5 in the memento mori tone reminds us of our neatly constructed world of values, they are houses of cards, and the only thing which is undisputed is the matter that is left after us. “Withdrawal from the traditional model of dependence opened up a completely new chapter of the relationship between architecture and sculpture – exceedingly deep, complex and polysemous. Bilateral penetrations, common searches, mutual fascinations and inspirations, borrowings, connotations, modeling and assimilations have been happening on many layers and with varied intensity. The canvas of the processes was the vivid XX century program transgression of borders between all artistic disciplines and coming outside the established, traditional notion of art.”32 PIOTR LEWICKI I KAZIMIERZ ŁATAK

The Plac Bohaterów Getta [Ghetto Heroes Square] in Kraków undoubtedly goes beyond the frames and organic entanglement with architecture. One may have the impression that such a jump from an anecdotal clothespin and rubber duckie to a monument commemorating the liquidation of the Ghetto in Płaszów [a neighborhood in Kraków] and the mutual formal common denominator for both works is a rescaled object, which is the theme of this thesis. At the same time, it seemed essential to indicate that such an uncomfortable nearness, the same formal operation, may be used for conceptually different aims. In 1978, Rosalind Krauss introduced the notion of sculpture with an extended field is today very useful, when thinking about architectural land development design, and not about the design of a monument. That extended area also opens up Land Art, Installation Art, interventions in city areas, readymades. Krauss understands that sculpture must assimilate new means of expression as its part, thanks to which it is renewed and thought up from scratch. Otherwise only one of the old drawers of art history is left. Transgressing borders between all the fields of art that Monika Rydiger talks about, is also opening up to borrowings from everyday life, in this case it’s a chair. “A chair is a skeleton piece of furniture, openwork, so both literally light and giving the impression of lightness. Thanks to that when it is rescaled to the size which is fit for the outside space it will not be received as too massive (...). A skeleton made of wooden boards of a real chair, or metal profiles in the case of chairs-monuments, slightly resembles an anatomized animal skeleton which even if brings up associations of death (organism to which it belonged used to be alive), that association is filtered through, more implicit than explicit.”34 “A chair in the street “taken out of a home”, displaced, on its way to the dumpster is an even dramatic view. It leads onto thinking about the fate of its owner also mercilessly displaced like an

32 33

Monika Rydiger, Architektura i rzeźba. Sztuki uwikłane [Architecture and Sculpture. Enmeshed Art], in Rzeźba polska [Polish Sculpture], year, volume XI: Rzeźba – architektura. Wzajemne relacje i strategie [Sculpture – architecture. Mutual relations and strategies], Centrum Rzeźby Polskiej, Orońsko, 2005. Winskowski Piotr, O nagrodzonym projekcie zagospodarowania placu Bohaterów Getta w Krakowie [On awarded project of the development of the Plac Bohaterów Getta in Kraków], in Gazeta malarzy i poetów No. 2 (52) 2004


object, thrown about on the way to death.”34 This is what Piotr Winskowski wrote about the development project of the square before it materialized. A chair is a universal material and at the same time, a personal one. It accompanies us at work, when we are resting, when we eat or talk. It’s like a dog – it is always waiting for us. That is why throwing it out into the street evokes strong emotions. A square full of chairs directed in many directions is like the quiet yip of a split, of brutal detachment. The repeated prototype of a chair, its multiplied essence (because it is not a particular brand or style but the essence of that piece of furniture) overtook the square. Each uncovered seat is a monument of somebody, the emptiness included between the horizontal surface and the rest

The implementation of the development project of the Plac Bohaterów Getta [Ghetto Heroes Square] in Kraków, Piotr Lewicki and Kazimierz Łatak, 2005 (

is heavy with their former presence. The chair represents all other furniture, so implicitly, they are also present here. The most astonishing and least obvious aspect is their arrangement. The material belongings of the human beings were thrown onto the square by the Gestapo and created irregular heaps. Destruction and elimination in history are usually barbaric acts causing chaos. However the designers decided to give the arrangement some logic. “The chairs-monuments were designed in an unnatural order, in the rhythm which I would call urban and not in an accidental layout of heaped furniture thrown onto the street. The impression of rhythm, module, order or asystem, according to which they are arranged, is a very valuable characteristic here which activates many ideas and formal contexts.”35 One of the most terrifying and inhuman features of Nazism was that the optimization of resources and energy was helped along by an order that aided in extermination of people. 34 see above 35

see above



In Santiago, Chile we can also find chairs in the public space that symbolize the emptiness left after those who have gone to another realm, but never into the oblivion.. By the highway linking the city with the airport, three pieces of school furniture, iron and 10 meters tall, were created as a monument to genocide. The authors of the project are Rodrigo Mora, an architect and teacher, and Angel Muñoz, an architect, and Jorge Lankin, an artist. The project was the winner of a contest put on by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Space. The sculpture is dedicated to three brave and just teachers – Manuel Guerrero, Jose Parada and Santiago Nattino – who in the time of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship were like many the victims of torture and who died in circumstances which have not been explained to this day. The place chosen for the monument is not accidental the massacred bodies of the three teachers were found by this highway, in March 1985. They did not give into the political indoctrination despite the pressure. One of the authors of the project said before the artifact was built: “The idea of this work is a journey from death to life, from absence to hope. From a distance you can see them stand out

The monument to commemorate the victims of Pinochet’s dictatorship (Slit Throats), R. Mora, A. Muñoz and J. Lankin, 2009, Santiago, Chile (


in the suburban landscape, three huge steel chairs abandoned on the side of the road. The lack of someone who would sit on them and the subtle disorder in their arrangement refers to the dramatic events.”36 In the case of both sculptures, in Kraków and in Santiago, the projects were born out of a particular place and out of the need to preserve their history in the memory of a nation. The location gives the monuments a meaning, it is an organic part of the work, it jogs the memory of the space in which the terror was manifested with particular cruelty. The powerlessness which we feel when in contact with a rescaled chair in the city space creates a tangible emptiness in the place where trust in humanity should be. TADEUSZ KANTOR

A chair in the city is also gives form to the idea of impossible architecture which in accordance with the author’s idea has to be in a place where the city is bubbling with life; in the epicenter of movement. Out of Tadeusz Kantor’s projects in the city space we can directly experience only one object for now, a chair in Wrocław, the enlarged version of which has been standing in Hucisko by the artist’s summer house. Kantor did not live to see any of the projects come to life.

Bridge-hanger upon Wisła, Tadeusz Kantor, II part of the 70s, Kraków, Poland (



Interview with Rodrigo Mora for CEME (Research Center Manuel Enríquez), Chilean Archives, Political and social history division, 2003.

Amongst the ideas for sculptures from the collection of impossible monuments, the most volatile and metaphorical but also the least realistic to implement is the clothes hanger which joins the two shores of the Wisła River by Wawel Castle. If it were possible to hang it on something, would the map of Poland with Kraków at the top look like a coat with the Wisła River as its scarf? It is witty and with a deep message, ambiguous and provocative. It is not out of the question that conceptually this work is one of the closest ones to Joint Game out of the works presented here. ROBERT THERRIEN

A new chair straight from a factory or used and slightly rusty, in a classic set for a dining room or for a terrace – that is the proposal of Robert Therrien. We return to the world of childhood, hiding under the table, we can go under it without lowering our head. An experience straight from Gulliver’s Travels that affects everyone, a walk under the chair activates our imagination: be that small, so small, for a moment. Some tables are complete, of others we see only a fragment, they melt into the wall, the invisible part we can add ourselves without strain. There are also stacks of plates, pots and pans, proportional to the furniture. The operation is repeated in many places essential for art in the Tate, MoMA, Gagosian Gallery, LACMA the same sets appear: classic furniture in two variants, metal or wooden, monochromatic or chromatically well-arranged stacks of plates and metal pots and pans with black handles, occasionally an oil can, a jug or one more element. That’s all. The circulating opinion on blogs is that Therrien is an enigmatic artist. I have the impression that he is an artist of one idea in many variants, and out of all his compositions the stack of pots is the most interesting in form, the most sculpture-like. It looks even better when

Untitled, Robert Therrien, 2015, Los Angeles, USA ( Untitled, Robert Therrien, 2015, The Contemporary Austin, Texas, USA (

it is not alone but left in its natural size when it is near a rescaled stack of bowls and plates. In 2008, in the Gaggosian Gallery in New York, that arrangement created an interesting tension, allowing us to search for a relationship between what could be produced and compared with how much is 45

it is not alone but left in its natural size when it is near a rescaled stack of bowls and plates. In 2008, in the Gaggosian Gallery in New York, that arrangement created an interesting tension, allowing us to search for a relationship between what could be produced and compared with how much is needed to fill the plates. The normal pots, taken out of a kitchen, looked like they had been taken from a “Little housekeeper” doll set and they had more or less the same actual possibility to respond to the needs signaled by the size of the plates. Our needs are always bigger than the possibilities we have to satisfy them. In other works by Therrien the chairs are tiny (normal) and the pots are like those in Wonderland after eating the cake. The reading changes by 180 degrees; now we are small, and the scale of production is absurdly big. This not only violates the proportions between the objects from the same family but most of all the changing relationship between them is the field on which the game of the artist is played. The size of objects are not defined once and for all but they change and as in connected vessels when one shrinks the other one grows and vice versa. Incompatibility hangs in the air. It is either related to our body or to the body of a giant who left a stack of his plates there. The permanent elements of the exposition come from mixed sets and the way in which it is all received depends on what in the given case is (too) small or (too) large. MONA HATOUM

If we stay in the kitchen, it is impossible to indifferently pass near the egg cutter, or one or three part grater by Mona Hatoum, a Palestinian artist born in Lebanon and living in London. Although her artifacts were mainly associated with video and performance, her installations, sculptures and objects are currently the most recognizable in her oeuvre. “My works are often about the conflict and contradiction which can be found in a real object”37 Hatoum says in one of her interviews. What conflict can you find in real life, everyday utensils? What is sleeping in the nature of a kitchen utensil? The object with which a house wife skillfully grates fruit and vegetables changes into an instrument of torture. It is only a change of scale and from a decent tool with small or big eyes it becomes a dangerous object. This is probably because now we are the size of a carrot or an egg, and consciously or not, we identify with them. Our skin is now the peel. The object-torturer, cold and a perfectionist, discloses the nature of the relationship with the house wife who is its victim. In this way, from a scene of surrealist horror we smoothly pass to social topics with a feminist tint although Hatoum would be outraged with that classification because she often says she is against labeling art.



Mona Hatoum in an interview for Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014, (

Grater divide, Mona Hatoum, 2002, White Cube gallery Hoxton Square, London, England (

”I want the work in the first instance to have a strong formal presence, and through the physical experience to activate a psychological and emotional response. In a very general sense I want to create a situation where reality itself becomes a questionable point. Where one has to reassess their assumptions and their relationship to things around them. A kind of self-examination and an examination of the power structures that control us: Am I the jailed or the jailer? The oppressed or the oppressor? Or both. I want the work to complicate these positions and offer an ambiguity and ambivalence rather than concrete and sure answers. An object from a distance might look like a carpet made out of lush velvet, but when you approach it you realize it’s made out of stainless steel pins which turns it into a threatening and cold object rather than an inviting one. It’s not what it promises to be. So it makes you question the solidity of the ground you walk on, which is also the basis on which your attitudes and beliefs lie. When my work shifted from the obviously political, rhetorical attitude into bringing political ideas to bear through the formal and the aesthetic, the work became more of an open system. Since then I have been resisting attempts by institutions to fix the meaning in my work by wanting to include it in very narrowly defined theme shows.”38




Mona Hatoum’s grater and the apron by Ximena Zomosa quickly bond in an intimate, feminine dialog. They know each other ‘from the kitchen’. They are connected with the intimacy of the house rituals of cleaning and cooking, taking out and putting away objects, the light bulb in the pantry, order on the shelves and evenly arranged plates (Therrien?). The unchanging rhythm, fixed hours of preparing, serving and washing up, the absolute repetition of clothes, sounds, smells, and gestures would give the impression of being tantric if it were not for their uselessness in deepening spiritual consciousness. Mechanization and routine dehumanize, Robert Therrien’s neatly stacked dishes speak to the scale of production and consumption brought to one role, a mass devoid of reflection. There’s no room for an individual in that industrial view of society, and an individual is without meaning in the fight for survival. Man, that does not sound proud in Therrien’s works. If we were looking from a different planet to get to know the contemporary homo sapiens through the installation of this artist we would understand it to a schizophrenic, shortsighted, compulsive and what is worse, not a very intelligent being, the cognitive effort of which is focused only on increasing the production of what the being can eat. Seemingly close to Therrien, Zomoza sews aprons for giant nannies. A kitchen also appears here, rescaled too but the sense however is very different. House help in South America is a basic pillar of the family, a very important figure in many middle class and higher class households. There are millions of them. Women from the suburbs, without an education, often the daughters of teenage mothers, single mothers and grandmothers under forty. It is not uncommon that they know more about each of the family members where they work than the family members know about themselves. For the children of wealthy families they are a stand-in for the absent mothers. They sing lullabies, they listen, wipe away tears. Sometimes they are discriminated against and humiliated due to the color of their skin or simply for having different habits. They are not aware of their rights convinced as they are by the experience of previous generations, that justice is for the rich. The tow aprons – patterned and white, correspond to two models imposed on women, related to housework and virginity. The uniforms are cut according to a pattern that has existed for generations, which does not leave open the possibility for the slightest variation, interpretation, change or admittance of personal character. The negation of the right to be an individual is done only on the level of external appearance and the outfit normalized to an extreme is a visual symbol of that phenomenon. The five meter apron by Ximena Zomoza is a monument of a woman living with the life of another, stranger family so that her own family would be able to eat. In the operation of rescaling the Chilean artist sees a way of speaking about the phenomena which until recently was a taboo not only in her society. “A Nanny’s or house help’s apron is a part of clothing which changes the person who wears it and makes her invisible. By enlarging them something strange happens: you are augmenting something that should not be disclosed.”39 39

Uniforme de nana gigante da la vuelta al mundo y vuelve a Chile, Jasmin Lolas E., interview with Ximena Zomoza in the newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias, Santiago de Chile, 30 May 2015.


Apron, Ximena Zomosa, 2010, La Sala Gallery, Santiago, Chile (


Out of significant enlargements in contemporary art the manikins of Charles Rey should be mentioned. The artist brought up in the spirit of minimalism of Serra and Morris, similarly to Mueck, enlarges and miniaturizes the figure of man avoiding the one-to-one proportion. The basic difference obtained that way is realism; Mueck’s figures horrify with credibility and humanity, they evoke empathy independent of the artistic sensitivity of the receiver, whereas Rey’s forms are empty, repetitive templates. “Kitschy, pornographic and throughout plastic, Charles Rey together with Jeff Koons belong to the group of big, postmodern grifters who announce the approach of the era of sculpture after sculpture.”40 The rescaling operation in art is usually an enlarging of figures or objects thanks to which meaning is given or changed, the features of the original unseen on a daily basis are augmented and a new relationship between our body and the observed object is built. A large object draws attention and defends itself, both in a gallery and on the street. Minimizing, in spite of appearances, is a much less effective operation. In contact with minimizing we turn into giants, gods or torturers.


Jack Bankowksy, Thomas Crow, Nicholas Cullinan and Michael Fried. Sculpture After Sculpture: Fritsch, Ray, Koons. Ostfildern, Germany, Hatje Cantz, 2014.


Puzzle Bottle, Charles Rey, 1995, Whitney Museum of American Art, Nowy Jork, USA ( Charles Ray with his Fall ‘91, (from exhibition: Charles Ray: Escultura, 1997-2014), 2015, Chicage Art Institute, USA (


All of us have heard at least once that we shouldn’t play with our food. Christopher Boffoli with his photography series Big Appetites takes us into the world of those games by the table or in the kitchen, which met with the disapproval and lack of understanding of adults. Isn’t it fun to teach a Play Doh figurine how to swim in a puddle of milk, put your own look-alike in a birthday cake or imagine that a cucumber is a space ship? The fantastic world of Boffoli straight out of Thumbelina revolves around colorful food items, mainly fruit and vegetables, but also cookies, eggs, seafood, pasta, coffee, rice or even toothpicks. Among my favorite compositions is the chocolate mine of black and white lodes with hard working miners, the gardener mowing grass at the top of a piece of broccoli and divers sitting on the rim of a coffee cup ready to get down into the tea. Is that still art? The art by Christopher Boffoli forces you to ask questions about the limits, at least for the purpose of questioning it. The workshop of professional, commercial photography takes us to the ludic, dwarf-like reality, proposing a selection of funny situations. There’s a doubt whether beyond the image’s attractiveness there is any message. Or maybe a message is not needed at all.


Chocolate Mine, from the catalogue Big Appetites, Christopfer Boffoli, 2003 (

Oh his internet website the creator explains: “There were so many films and television shows that exploited both the dramatic and comedy potential of a juxtaposition of different scales: tiny people in a normal-sized world. It is a surprisingly common cultural theme going back all the way to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels in the 18th century and perhaps earlier. I think it is especially resonant with children because as a child you live in an adult world that is out of scale with your body and proportions. And you constantly exercise your imagination around a world of toys that are further out of scale (…). When I began shooting some of the very earliest images in this series around 2003, food was a conscious choice as one of the components of the work as it can be very beautiful – in terms of texture and color – especially when shot with available light and macro lenses. Combining what are essentially food and toys makes the work instantly accessible to virtually everyone. Regardless of language, culture and social status, almost everyone can identify with toys from their childhood. Whether you eat with a fork, chopsticks or your hands, everyone understands food. Sitting down to a meal makes us feel most human. The sensual experience of eating accesses primal instincts that stretch back to the earliest days of our evolution. Whether we are reflecting on the comfort food of childhood, celebrating food’s tremendous diversity, or obsessing over calories and nutrition, cuisine is one of those rare topics that most people can speak about with authority and yet largely without controversy. So the choice of food as a backdrop of the environments of the Big Appetites


series was certainly calculated. It is rich subject matter for artwork.”41 ELISA GRAND

Small Consequences and Microworlds are minimalist studies of a Chilean artist of the younger generation – Elisa Grand. Characters a few centimeters tall and cut out of newspapers, removed with scissors from their original realm, cross the border of a collage towards sculpture. The compositions are tiny but unsettling, because something is not right about them. The cardboard three dimensional elements create the provisional character of each scene. They symbolize spatial situations in an abstract way which in connection with a flat but fully detailed figure creates an astonishing contrast. That flatness of a human being disturbs, and presumably, the artist wanted to achieve that.

From the Small Consequences series, Elisa Grand, 2012, Santiago, Chile ( From the series Microworlds, Elisa Grand, 2012, Santiago, Chile (

“The minimalist scenes by Elisa Grand help us understand the nature of presenting; starting with a detail and coziness, they close the distance between the viewer and the art piece, they welcome us in a tempting and mysterious way, to understand scenes from some unclear, prosaic and cruel reality. In her works the continuity of the story is suspended, we know that there’s a before and after, but there’s no access to either of them”42 ISAAC CORDAL

Isaac Cordal also works with coziness. Cement Eclipses. Small interventions in the big city is a project in many scenes by a Spanish artist whose terrain is street scenography under a magnifying glass. Cordal crushes the routine of everyday routes of inhabitants; it gives new meaning to the abandoned corners of the city environment. He changes the perspective of looking at a puddle, a drain pipe, a bus stop, a street, the city. His figures don’t have it easy; it’s probably harder for them than it is for us. They are forced, incapacitated, resigned; some internal imperative makes 41 42

52 Daniel Reyes León, artist’s presentation,

it impossible for them to be set free from the vicious circle of life which becomes completely unbearable. If they only could reach the elevator of Maurizio Cattelano and run away to different, better world.

From the series Follow the Leaders, Isaac Cordal, 2013, Art Biennale in Bogota, Columbia (

series was certainly calculated. It is rich subject matter for artwork.�41

MAP OF CONNECTIONS Joint Game inscribes itself in the vast collection of works constructed on the basis of a radius and into the endless list of those works which in search of a message utilize the procedure of changing scale. The selection of works presented here shows the carrying capacity of these operations, their often timeless and transcultural characteristics. The limitless, desert space of the Chilean plateau refers to the landscape present in the works by Robert Smithson and the creators of Land Art in the 70s, and the question of whether the relationship between what is here and there present in the Sun Tunnels by Nancy Holt and in the Observatory by Robert Morris reverberates the most in the astronomy observatory ALMA. The big golf ball is in some way a continuation of the monumental traditions of works in the open space, staring at the Cosmos in search for some logic, mystery play, the truth about us, or all of the above at once.


The basic questions that appear in the works by Walter de Maria are also present in Joint Game. A sphere, as the first spatial figure and the closest to the mother form of infinity, connects the atomized internal world and forces us into focused self-reflection, and in the appropriate spatial context, can sometimes become a sculpture. On the other pole of possible relations between Joint Game and works mentioned here, we come across the psychedelic world of Yayoi Kusama. The ever-present polka dots bombard us with color. A golf ball is originally dotted and its form is shaped by round indentations on its spherical surface, which can be explained by aerodynamics – this type of shape can fly much further than a sphere. Despite the pragmatic explanation of the English golf ball design and entirely coincidental similarity, it was suspected of formal relations with the works of the Japanese artist especially when they both showed up in Chile at the same time at the beginning of 2015. There is an actual closeness to the works of Anish Kapoor, not only expressly (Leviathan) but conceptually. Kapoor inspires by both the form and the content. “Scale is of course much more mysterious, scale is another one of those unknowables. It doesn’t have to do with size; it’s the relationship between size and meaning”43 Introducing God into the game or at least a higher realm by way of scale is a common element in the Chinese artist Wang Qinsong’s; God is the one who plays with people as if they were pawns. Joint Game is more unenlightened in that sense but it also leaves open the possibility of that kind of interpretation. A delicate movement, rocking in the air of a light breeze, an inflated form connects the blown up sphere with Althamer’s self-portrait. He is however looking down at us so the presence of an uncomfortable god returns. At the same time that big fetish is also us, as in Qinsong’s, Althamer’s and Mona Hatum’s works. We are reflected in their works as in a funhouse mirror and in the case of the latter one we become torturers; the enlarged grater points a finger at us. Oldenburg’s Saw in spite of the fact that it’s bigger, does not blame anybody for anything, does not touch uncomfortable topics, doesn’t complicate things, it only surprises and pleases every eye. The question to be asked at this point is how is it possible that two works that are formally so similar to one another, which are both a result of rescaling a household tool for cutting and cutting materials may in the end act is such diffrent way. The difference lays in the details – Hatum’s work is a fathfully enlarged object and Oldenburg’s object is a big toy, a saw from a Little Carpenter set. The violation of size is a distortion of order and a demolishment of the staid harmony of the known and mundane world. Irritating the scale, both ways, gives it the effect of a lens; we see differently, precisely in a way we did not see before. Some surfaces appear; the existence of which we did not suspect. And even further, past those surfaces, we find ourselves, enlarged or minimized. Or perhaps this is not our fault that Hofman’s pianos are perishing on the beach and only nostalgia resounds in the emptiness of the landscape.



Anish Kapoor in an interview for Kochi-Muziris, Biennale, 2014;

DESCRIPTION The doctoral thesis Joint Game consists of the following elements: 1. Video installation: three parallel large format screenings of the Joint Game intervention in the Atacama Desert, screened on three touching screens. The object entered on the landscape of the Meteorite Valley in the area of a Quillagua village in Northern Chile is present in one screening and forces the audience to attentively observe the three screens simultaneously. The golf ball appears gradually and enigmatically, its form, energy and momentum slowly becomes clear. This micro-history takes place from the time before noon until nighttime. Sound: Fernando Godoy. Duration: 7:13 minutes. 2. Object 1, spatial: a sphere mimicking a golf ball. Decreased 1:2 copy of the object from the Meteorite Valley. 3. Object 2: original fragment of the ball from the Meteorite Valley. Framed behind a glass pane. 4. Video. Small screening from the intervention of Joint Game at the Chajnator Plateau at an elevation of 5 thousand meters above sea level in the Andes, the location of the largest and the most state-of-the-art astronomy observatory in the world. The golf ball appears in between 66 antennas of 12 meter diameter and is detected by them. Sound: Zofia Moruś. Duration: 4:07 minutes. 5. Text. Introduction to Joint Game. Plotter.

QUOTED LITERATURE Brooks Katherine, Wang Qingsong Addresses Chinese Urbanization In Massive, Impressively Crowded Photographs, article in Huffpost, section Art & Culture, 8 September 2013 (http://www. Chwiejda Ewelina, Łaskotanie Koonsem w Pampidou [Tickling with Koons in Pampidou], Obieg, 11 Decemeber 2014 Kastner Jeffrey Land Art y Arte Miedioambiental, Estudio Brian Wallis, Londres, 2005 Lara Carolina, La conciencia absoluta de Yayoi Kusama, daily newspaper La Tercera, Santiago de Chile, 4 April 2015, trans. D.W. Lolas E. Jasmin, Uniforme de nana gigante da la vuelta al mundo y vuelve a Chile, interview with Ximena Zomoza in the newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias, Santiago de Chile, 30 May 2015 Małkowska Monika, Botero i jego zaokrąglona wizja świata [Botero and His Rounded Vision of the World] . Published in the Culture section of Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper, 11 October 2007. Marino Valeria i Recabarren Floreal, Historia del agua en el desierto más árido del mundo, Matte Editores, Santiago de Chile, 2011


Mrożek Sławomir, Słoń [Elephant], in: Opowiadania [Short Stories] Volume 1, Noir sur Blanc, Warsaw, 1992. Norwid C.K., W Weronie [In Verona], fragment in: Wiersze [Poems], Algo, 2007, trans. Agata Hamilton, Jeffrey Judson Hamilton. Ogrodowska-Jesionek Elżbieta, Plastikowy idol [Plastic Idol], Elżbieta Ogrodowska-Jesionek, Dialog: miesięcznik Związku Literatów Polskich [Dialogue: monthly of the Polish Writers’ Union], ISSN 00122041, 2000, Volume 45, Number 4, pp. 189-192. Rydiger Monika, Architektura i rzeźba. Sztuki uwikłane [Architecture and Sculpture. Enmeshed Art], in Rzeźba polska [Polish Sculpture], year, volume XI: Rzeźba – architektura. Wzajemne relacje i strategie [Sculpture – architecture. Mutual relations and strategies], Centrum Rzeźby Polskiej, Orońsko, 2005. Sculpture After Sculpture: Fritsch, Ray, Koons, Bankowksy Jack, Crow Thomas, Cullinan Nicholas and Fried Michael. Hatje Cantz,Ostfildern, Germany, 2014 Sroka-Fillion Nathalie, Claes Oldenburg, in: 501 wielkich artystów [501 Great Artists] ed. Stephen Farthing, MWK, Warsaw 2009, ISBN 9788361065326, trans. Dominika Zielińska, Ryszard Jacoby, page 487. Stanek Łukasz, De-/signing the Urban. Technogenesis and the Urban Image, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam, 2006 Świtek Gabriela, Gry sztuki z architekturą. Nowoczesne powinowactwa i współczesne integracje, [Games of Art with Architecture. Modern Affinities and contemporary integrations] Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń 2013 Vásquez Trigo Juan, Quillagua. Luna que asombra. Historia y turismo del pueblo, del valle y su desierto. Ograma, Santiago de Chile, 2014 Winskowski Piotr, O nagrodzonym projekcie zagospodarowania placu Bohaterów Getta w Krakowie [On awarded project of the development of the Plac Bohaterów Getta in Kraków], in Gazeta malarzy i poetów No. 2 (52) 2004 Interview with Rodrigo Mora for CEME (Research Center Manuel Enríquez), Chilean Archives, Political and social history division, 2003.


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FILMOGRAPHY Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels, dir. Waldemar Januszczak, 2014 Nancy Holt: Photoworks, in: Haunch of Venison, dir. Ben Harding, England, 2012 Andy Goldsworthy, Working with Time - Rivers and Tides, directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer, Finland, 2001. Yayoi Kusama: Earth is a Polka Dot, Museum of Modern Art’s channel in Louisiana,


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FILMOGRAPHY Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels, dir. Waldemar Januszczak, 2014 Nancy Holt: Photoworks, in: Haunch of Venison, dir. Ben Harding, England, 2012 Andy Goldsworthy, Working with Time - Rivers and Tides, directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer, Finland, 2001. Yayoi Kusama: Earth is a Polka Dot, Museum of Modern Art’s channel in Louisiana, Robert Therrien at Gagosian Gallery, West 24th Street, Gagosian Gallery, USA, 2008 Sculptor Charles Ray at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, USA, 2015 59

Mona Hatoum in an interview for Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 Anish Kapoor in an interview for Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2014 Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970 Kanał: Art. History. Conversation. 2011 Paweł Althamer, Artyści w sieci [Artists in the net]

TABLE OF ILLUSTRATIONS Cover: Joint Game before it is inflated for the first time, 2012, Culture Park Huanchaca, Antofagasta, Chile, photo D.W. Meteorite Valley, Quillagua, 2013, photo Christian Nuñez, page 4 Figures from the Chug-Chug group in the Quillagua area, X century, photo D.W., page 6 Location map of major Chile niter settlements in the Antofagasta region in North Chile (, page 7 Santa Filomena, niter village in northern Chile, 2009, photo by Sergio Adaro, page 8 N.N. noche y niebla, Luis Arango (Columbia), 2012, Quillagua. Photo by D.W., page 10 Ritual minimalista, Mariano Gusils (Argentina), 2012, Quillagua. Photo by D.W., page 10 Elisa Balmaceda and Rafael Silva, interventions in open space near Quillagua, documentation from an artistic residency carried out thanks to the cooperation of the Chilean Ministry of Culture and the SE VENDE society. September 2015, photo by Felipe Coddou., page 10 The great crater, Meteorite Valley, Quillagua, 2012, photo by D.W., page 12 Cemetery by a niter village in northern Chile, 2009, photo by Sergio Adaro, page 13 Joint Game near Quillagua, 2013, photo by Rodrigo Pacheco, page 14 Joint Game in the astronomical observatory ALMA, 5000 m.a.s.l. 2015, photo Alex Moya, page 15 Wanda Mound in Kraków, VII w. (, page 17


Broken Circle/Spiral Hill, Robert Smithson, 1971, Emmen, Holland (, page 17 Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels, 1978, Utah desert, USA (, page 18 Observatorium, Robert Morris, 1971, Emmen, Holland (, page 19 The Sun Gate, Tiwanaku, La Paz, Bolivia XIII century B.C. (, page 20 Observatorium, Robert Morris, 1971, Emmen, Holland (, page 20 Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE, Great Britain XXVI century B.C. (, page 21 Seen/Unseen Known/Unknown, Walter de Maria, 2000, Naoshima, Japan ( html), page 22 Conical Intersect, Gordon Matta-Clark, 1975, Biennale in Paris ( and, page 23 The Matter of Time, Richard Serra, 2005, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain (, page 24 The Stones, Richard Long, 1995, Svalbard, Norway (, page 25 Making Paddy-Field Chaff Circle, Richard Long, 2003, Maharashtra, India (, page 25 Hawthorn Tree Snowball, Andy Goldsworthy, 2001 (, page 26 Obsession, Yayoi Kusama, 2015, Art Center CA660, Santiago, Chile (, page 27


Leviathan, Anish Kapoor, 2011, Grand Palais, Paris, France (, page 30 Big Woman, Fernando Botero, 1986, Medellín, Columbia (, page 32 Bird, Fernando Botero, 1990, Singapore, photo Andy Wright de Sheffield, England License – Public domain under Wikimedia Commons (,_Bird_(1990),_Singapore_-_200406 16.jpg#/media/File:Fernando_Botero,_Bird_(1990),_Singapore_-_20040616.jpg), page 32 The Temple, Wang Qingsong, 2013, Venice, Italy (, page 34 Baloon, Paweł Althamer, (work constructed as part of the exhibition One of Many, Milan, 2007 photo Fundacja Galerii Foksal (, page 35 In bed, Ron Mueck, 2011, San Ildefonso Museum, Mexico ([ll_gallery]/0/), page 36 Puppy, Jeff Koons, 1997, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain (,_Guggenheim_Museum_,_Spain,_Bilbao. jpg,) page 37 The Saw, Sawing, Claes Oldenburg, 1996, Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Tokio, Japan, page 38 Shuttlecocks, Claes Oldenburg, 1994, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, USA (, page 38 The Duck, Florentijn Hofman, 2015, Los Angeles port, USA (, page 39 Signpost 5, Florenijn Hofman, 2006, Schiermonnikoog island, Holland (, page 40 The implementation of the development project of the Plac Bohaterów Getta [Ghetto Heroes Square]in Kraków, Piotr Lewicki and Kazimierz Łatak, 2005 (, page 42


The monument to commemorate the victims of Pinochet’s dictatorship (Slit Throats), R. Mora, A. Muñoz and J. Lankin, 2009, Santiago, Chile (, page 43 Bridge-hanger upon Wisła, Tadeusz Kantor, II part of the 70s, Kraków (, page 44 Untitled, Robert Therrien, 2015, Los Angeles, USA (, page 45 Untitled, Robert Therrien, 2015, The Contemporary Austin, Texas, USA (, page 45 Grater divide, Mona Hatoum, 2002, White Cube gallery Hoxton Square, London, England (, page 47 Apron, Ximena Zomosa, 2010, La Sala Gallery, Santiago, Chile (, page 49 Puzzle Bottle, Charles Rey, 1995, Whitney Museum of American Art, Nowy Jork, USA (, page 50 Charles Ray with his Fall ‘91, (from exhibition: Charles Ray: Escultura, 1997-2014), 2015, Chicage Art Institute, USA (, page 51 Chocolate Mine, from the catalogue Big Appetites, Christopfer Boffoli, 2003 (, page 52 From the series Small Consequences, Elisa Grand, 2012, Santiago, Chile (, page 52 From the series Microworlds, Elisa Grand, 2012, Santiago, Chile (, page 52 From the series Follow the Leaders, Isaac Cordal, 2013, Art Biennale in Bogota, Columbia (, page 53



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