Lisa Le Feuvre on curating, sculpture, and Making work

Curating. Curators need to always talk to artists. Why this show, why here, why now?

On Henry Moore.
What would he think of the institution being run by someone who is now saying we need to move beyond Moore? She says that remembering he was a radical artist, pushing things in his day, so he may well approve.

Sculpture is defined by gravity, by the light that falls on it, by the space it occupies. Scale. Space and depth. It has to be encountered. Pedestrian space. Pushing these and challenging them today is relevant.

Robert Ryman. Grounded in painting.

Karla Black, grounded in painting.

Applying those principles of sculpture to them would be an error.



The place work occupies is relevant to the work. Today the place it is made or conceived- the studio- is increasingly irrelevant. It is an intellectual activist.

Check out ubuweb for Fillieu’s whispered history of art.

Making the perfect 2013 artwork is simply replicating the idea of what artwork is. Moving the thinking on would require thinking about what is it going to take to be able to leave the studio and communicate to people.

LF believes that art does actually belong in an art institution. This is the place to look at it because it is the correct conditions to see it in. It brings a set on conventions and cannon to the experience. You enter the space prepared to engage in that way.
Eg showing RF in the HMI is relevant engaging with the solidity and seriousness of the space juxtaposed with the flippant fragile nature of his work.

The crisis of the encounter today. The physical reaction to the encounter is paramount. Looking online does not count.

Belief in art. Belief has to travel with doubt. Artists must believe in what they are doing but they also need to proactively bring in doubt. Eg Carl popper talks about falsity of real??
We gamble with doubt and failure. The studio is a private place where you can try things out which might be terrible. Just like how science, the CERN exists to find something it hasn’t found yet.

Sculptural thinking references scale and depth and time and plane. Eg Picasso collage from 1913.
Activity of making an exhibition is a proposal for thought. Reexamining set of ideas or set of thinking can be applied to existing works, proposing a different way of seeing them. Exhibitions include work which has to be good neighbours. They need to interact, discuss, not boring, but not aggressive.

How do you know when you know an artwork well enough? You can never know. In some ways you can never see it enough, in other ways it will become so familiar it becomes decoration. Sometimes things need to leave and return for you to really see it again. Similarly, seeing the same work over and over in different shows offers the opportunity to interpret it in different ways.

Lisa Le Feuvre on Robert Fillou: The Institute of Endless Possibiliites

Robert Fillou: The Institute of Endless Possibiliites.

Le Feuvre writes including ‘Failire’ Director of the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. Research Center.

‘Henry Moore changed the way we understand sculpture. His Foundation continues to do so today’
Institute has outstanding library.
They also put on shows which engage with sculpture today:
Helen Chadwick. Will inherit legacy of Moore.

The Shape of time, 1913, year of Duchamp, ramifications for design, writing, etc.
Check out current Barbican Duchamp show.
The Shape Of Time includes objects which reference and recreate other artworks. Including Sturtevent’s duchamps wheel.

Le Feuvre tests out ideas on other people, sees this as a role of a curator. Filliou asked when does an action or object become a sculpture. HMI will run 40 days of tests of his artworks.
He said ‘art is what makes life more interesting than art.’ ‘ A permanent endless process deply embedded in daily life’
This is his first solo institutional presentation in UK. He has history of involvement with Leeds. He made The Game with yoko Ono, Brecht, Robert Page, etc. This Game involved blindfolds, cards and mutual trust in all players, acting as allegory for how we engage with artworks. This was later expanded. Looking at what is art.

This relates to the crisis we are in today where we do not look at art enough today. Reproductions do not count. Art-light reading of works where we don’t actually engage.
Research is key to Fillous work, and Le Feuvre, and informed them and must inform now too.

Roulette poem. Festival of Misfits . Presented at ICA. Happening. Recreating it this year at the HMI.
RF Often associated with Fluxus, but he rejected being defined. He kept ‘his own council and independence’ :Art needs to be constantly shifting to the limits of its own horizons.

RF was in French resistance. Traveled to USA studied politics and economics, traveled to s Korea where he discovered bhuddism, then around Europe. Broad philosophical theories on society. ?
When asked whether he could contribute to the current proposed show Robert Page responded ‘doubt that I can add much at present to a better future for the past’

RF was interested in Fourrier’s writing which deconstructed social structure. He made a series of galleries in his hats. Multiples, miniatures, conformed to rules o a gallery in gathering and presentations but it was a mobile museum.






RF made works which could be extended, including cup hooks ans stamps, so he could post them as editions (Fourriere had made his manifesto available by subscription too)
This made the artworks available to the public, engaging them with it, a la duchamp who declared that the audience completes the artwork.

‘Well made, badly made, not made’. Equalitarian value of artworks.


Baldassari said ‘art comes out of failure, you have to try things out. No use saying I won’t do anything unless I do a masterpeice’

RF made work of dusters with dust from old masters in the louvre ‘gathering dust’. Even masterpiece gather dust, could the dusters not just as easily be masterpieces?


Towards end of life he made telepathic music, telepathic sculpture. Gathering people round the art, referencing Duchamp saying that he wanted to ‘place painting at the service of the mind’.

Art. Work. Work is about pleasure, engagement, and rethinking the way we might enjoy our part in the world.

Art Review, Design, Sam Jacob, Objects make the man / Art Review


Stone chopping tool, 1,8m yrs old, from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Art Review, Design, Sam Jacob, Objects make the man / Art Review.

The philosophical relationship proposed in this article suggests a symbiosis between ourselves and materials. Although at first ‘materials’ were simply natural objects. The physical evolutionary evidence echoes this theory, as quoted from the BBC’s Wonders of Life, “Our ability to process visual signals required larger brains, which in turn hungered for more input of visual signals,” which, it could be argued, has driven the quest for manufacturing the tools that facilitate this. We are caught in an evolutionary loop.

This article made me imagine we are sourcing so much from beneath the earth that it will just deflate and collapse one day, revealing a new surface with which it can start again. With small-brained beings.

Light Show at Hayward Gallery

You and I, Horizontal, Anthony McCall
You and I, Horizontal, Anthony McCall

Lighshow at Hayward didn’t appeal at first, but I went along with other enthusiasts and was won over. I think I had preconceptsions of decorative and illustrative (may I be struck down by an Arc inside a Cube)- I am all too pre-occupied with the materiality of works, and assumed that work would be about the effects of the materials, rather than the mechanics of the sources. This was both proved and disproved:

Anthony McCall successfully overcame my prejudices with his installation in a dark space with some smoke effects, creating the illusion of a cone which took on more solidity the more I played with it and tried to mentally establish it was pure light. The wonder of the other audience members was fun and slightly self-consious- we all knew it was just light, yet even I found myself trying to walk round it rather than through it on leaving….. I think this was an intimate conjoring trick which wanted to be intimately interracted with. For me this was the most abstract and successful projection peice- others such as Ann Veronica Janssens ‘Rose’ which emplyed lights in a red space with smoke effects felt more laboured to me.

Slow Arc inside a Cube IV, Conrad Shawcross
Slow Arc inside a Cube IV, Conrad Shawcross

The illusion I had feared was square-on engaged with by Shawcross, who exploited the industrial light source and the manufactured precision of the cube to distort my spacial understanding of the space- it was hard to move around as the shadows played on all surfaces, constantly changing. It invited us to focus on the effects of the light source, of the industrial mechanics, and gave me a sense of forboding and uncertainty, as if the now and future could slip at any moment.

Chromosaturation, Carlos Cruz-Diez
Chromosaturation, Carlos Cruz-Diez

Chromosaturation flattened the colours available to my eye, as if we had stepped into a solid space of colour. Sharing the space with all sorts of people was unifying, and the contrasts were provided by white cubes which were facing 2 zones at once, marking the changes in the hues. I was not prepared to be so engaged by pure colour on a conceptual level: in some ways it was the lack of colours we were looking at. Fantastic.

Magic Hour, David Batchelor
Magic Hour, David Batchelor

The quiet conviction of Magi Hour was undeniable, and the more I looked at the work the more I liked it- the reclaimed light boxes, the mixed screens of different hues and opacities providing a wide halo of colours speak of metropolis. The intimacy of the workings made them seem less relevant, and the tangle of wires spoke to me about the assumed networks which enable the effects of modernisation which we take for granted. Thanks to Gin Dunscombe for this image.

Carl Andre: ‘I’m using materials to change space’

BBC News – Carl Andre: Art shouldn’t be democratic.

Interiew where Andre defends minimalism and denounces conceptualism. I am struggling to find the difference here on a base level- conceptual art which remains an idea, fair enough, it’s not quite art yet: As Susan Hiller told us, you really need something- object, documentation, happening, with which to start the conversation, the discourse you are participating in. An idea in your head is impossible to share visibly.

But minimalist art feels to me like the distillation of the concept, the shortest line between two points of thinking sometimes, so where is the distinction? Something about one artist scoffing at a different meme sticks in my throat. Andre himself quotes Duchamp ‘Art is anything the artist says is art’, so odd, then, to condemn conceptualism……