In the late 60s, Richard Artschwager (American, 1923 – 2013) coined the word blp to define his marks, elongated lozenge shapes that made unexpected appearances inside and outside museums. Applied to surfaces using stencils or vinyl stickers, blps act like punctuation marks in space, letting the viewers’ gaze linger on walls and buildings, drawing their attention to structures, places and things that often go unnoticed. While they could be mistaken for redactions or obstructions, these black dots are at the same time openings or “portable holes” to what is beyond the wall, enabling both perceptive and imaginary experiences.
Nick Bastis (New York City, 1985. Lives and works in Vilnius) will present the video Making Friends (2014). Protagonists appear as three young men casually shooting at bottles hanging from a tree; two of them are wearing a mask depicting the face of the third. Footage of trees, bottles, and municipal pipes protruding from the ground repeatedly create static counterpoints to the action of the three young men. This elliptical juxtaposition of images triggers a mechanism of substitution in which narrative connections are replaced by a visual alliteration of shapes.
In combination, the blp could be imagined as an echoey tunnel through which the alliterative devices (sounds, images, etc) in Making Friends are seen being sorted, like a keyhole receiving misfits, copies, hurried lock-pickers, and the eye of a neighbour.
Actually I was thinking of another time not too far back in the Blessed Past, a time spent with a close companion of the day and of the night. My companion chose to torment our simple twosome by planting between us a pernicious vegetable, Scheffleria by name. And then preceded to devote to this vegetable a passion which had the quality of a perpetual handshake, this shaking...a parody of our simple live-and-let-live twosome. But by Grace not perpetual, not forever; the Scheff passed through the four stages of earth, air, fire, and water, but not in that particular order; finally 86'd the Bottom Line which is the only reasonable answer to Where It's At.
Whoever you are Whoever you are Whoever you are Are you listening? Are you listening? Are you listening?
Get it in at the end about one hand shaking.
Richard Artschwager, Lecture given at Franklin Furnace, New York, in 1976, and at the La Jolla Museum of Art, San Diego, California, in 1980.