Title unknown, Orest Keywan 2017
Awful to still have prizes, especially when the winner is chosen for its excellence and durability in equal measure. We will never know which were the purely excellent works. Time to re-appraise, Sculpture by The Sea, even when, why change what ain't broken? The prize should not be acquisitive. That would loosen things up.
Time for change.
My award goes this year to Orest Keywan's indoor work which took my breath away, left me thoughtless, uncritical, completely in a sea of pleasure.
Why not make a sculpture and then build a room for it within the sculpture, a white cube no less, to bask in the pleasure of it. The black is the sculpture, left to its own resources, to fiddle and roam about the little room in which it sits.
One need not explain the means by which the experience of joy is achieved.
Ok. I'll try.
It's been very difficult for art and the world to move on from the very earliest achievements of Picasso and Braque when they first ventured into the language of cubism. They both quite quickly lost their way as fame belittled them. We all subsequently, with few exceptions, floundered in our attempts to carry the project on. Art has been scrambling to find footings on the rocks of a narrative or purpose or reasoned meaning since, to get away from the challenges of it. We cannot bear to swim with it, to luxuriate in the cool clear water of it, to glide through it from the arm strokes we make and the splashes we leave in our wake, for some reason I cannot fathom.
Cubism in its purest form was laid waste by the first world war, (lower case), a hundred years ago already, and still we shrink at what was promised.
If not having taken the idea further, Keywan in this work and in his work more generally, honours the project of cubism. He leaves no stain of his own signature. We are allowed to make of every little part what we may, and none of it makes any sense at all, and still our eyes wander slowly and quickly along and through. The trick of any great work is to take you and hold you and to make you not want to look away. To be held by such precise ordinariness, spiky and unfinished looking, seeking to make no friends at all and yet so compelling.
This work and all Keywan's works are highly 'inconvenient', with their awkward objecthood, their 'nuisance' value to any space. Where does it go? Nowhere! they valiantly declare. They are too vulnerable in the outdoors and too spread-eagled for the indoors.
Dare to own me, they all declare. This is truly useless courageous art.
Even if, sometimes, the sculptor himself is inclined to posture with notions of a noble purpose, here we find his words are full.