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In response to Naum Gabo

Linear Construction 1 plus text

A reflection –

We were asked by the Barber Instiute to create an artistic and musical response to the piece Linear Construction 1 (Naum Gabo) for one of the Nocturnes. 

During the research of Naum Gabo I soon found his Realist Manifesto, created in collaboration with his brother (Pevsner). This lays out a constructivist approach to sculpture and the visual arts. It seemed that most of Gabo’s work since is imbued with the affirmations of the manifesto. Linear Construction 1 seemed particularly to embody a lot of the manifesto. 

Daniel and I decided to structure the piece in a way that would include the entire gallery space, as well as the exhibition space itself. In order to achieve this we decided to split the event into two parts. The first would consist of a parade around the gallery space, and the second would be a kind of ritual in the exhibition space and in front of the sculpture.

Upon reflection we were able to see how the structure of our work reflects the sculpture. Firstly there was the physical structure of the piece (the parade leading to the exhibition) which is relatable to the perspex frame. Secondly there was the music played by the musicians. The musicians were arranged so that they were spread across the gallery. This meant that as the musicians follow the performer (in this case myself) around the gallery the different instruments become louder and softer as they move closer and further away from them. Eventually the audience are lead to a part of the gallery where all of the musicians are distant. In this respect the musicians and the sound of the music was representative of the nylon strings that are wound around the perspex. Finally the central performer (the singer) is the point of focus and represents the way your eye is drawn around the sculpture. In this sense we were attempting to capture the kinetic within a static piece, just as Gabo achieves in his work. 

Thanks to the Barber institute for inviting us to create this work and for introducing me to the ethos and philosophies of this seminal artist. It was certainly an inspiring and beautiful artwork to think about for so long.

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