The Archival Impulse
 
"Bryant's work plays with histories and questions whether we can indeed shed the past, like an old skin that no longer fits or pleases, and remake it from a new vantage point, a project that risks omission, fabrication, distortion, or utter reversal."
- Christine Schmidt
Ernest Arthur Bryantt III, Untitled, 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Kelly, Post-Partum Document, 1973 - 1979

 

Deals with the mother's relationship with her son from birth until he enters school / the public realm

  • Visual images of the mother and child emphatically avoided
  • Subjective elements like diary entries are juxtaposed with distant, quasi-scientific elements like diagrams
  • Articulates the mother's feelings of possession and loss
  • Importantly, focuses on the invisible work of motherhood
 
The objects stand for the mother's "memorabilia" and how she makes sense of the gradual separation from her child
Mary Kelly with Son, Kelly Barrie
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Post-Partum Document, 1973.
Documentation I, Analyzed fecal stain, 1974.
Documentation II, Analyzed utterances, 1975.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transitional Objects

Documentation III, Analyzed markings, 1975.
Documentation IV, Transitional objects, 1976.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diagram and Research

Prewriting Alphabet

Documentation V, Mounted specimen 9, 1977.
Documentation VI, Prewriting alphabet, 1978.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Art historian, Hal Foster's 2004 essay An Archival Impulse defined archival art as a genre that 'make[s] historical information, often lost or displaced, physically present. To this end [archival artists] elaborate on the found image, object, and favor the installation format.' Whether this happens in the form of projects dealing with real archival material or artworks in which artists use the archive as a theme (sometimes even inventing material), the idea of the archive continues to be an undeniable force and organizing structure in exhibitions today." - Artspace
Chris Burden, Urban Light, 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Burden, LAPD Uniforms, 1993.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Archival artists seek to make historical information, often lost or displaced, physically present. To this end they elaborate on the found image, object, and text, and favor the installation format as they do so. (Frequently they use its nonhierarchical spatiality to advantage-which is rather rare in contemporary art.)" "These sources are familiar, drawn from the archives of mass culture, to ensure a legibility that can then be disturbed or detourne;but they can also be obscure, retrieved in a gesture of alternative knowledge or counter- memory." - Hall Foster in An Archival Impulse
 
Ashley Bickerton, Self-Portrait, 1988.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Prince, Untitled Cowboy #2, 1989.
Richard Prince, Untitled Cowboys, 1989.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Prince, Girlfriends, 1993.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

various zines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Archival art is as much preproduction as it is postproduction: concerned less with absolute origins than with obscure traces (perhaps 'anarchival impulse' is the more appropriate phrase), these artists are often drawn to unfulfilled beginnings or incomplete projects - in art and in history alike - that might offer points of departure again." - Hal Foster in An Archival Impulse
   
Carrie Mae Weems, BLACK WOMAN WITH CHICKEN and LOOKING INTO THE MIRROR...from the Ain't Jokin' series, 1987 - 1988.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Mae Weems, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995 - 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"More than mere postmodern instability and uncertainty, the work emphasizes this quality of coming apart in the way the pieces are mounted: flaps of fabric stick out, bulge into ostentatious three-dimensionality, and/or hang limply. The artist statement 'rather vague and un-illuminating' invites us to re-contextualize, to speculate, and to free-associate. Yet the tricky part lies in actually pinning down the purpose of the many references, allusions, and appropriations in Bryant's work. In the end, what all the hems, sutures, and zippers share with the process of making meaning is the steady promise of a controlled and inevitable unraveling." - Christine Schmidt
Ernest Arthur Bryant III, Trick Baby, 2005.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"However, the girls pictured are not victims of genocide: the photographs, of anonymous children, were culled from magazines and newspapers. The boxes are not truly old, and the cloth contained in them is generic and has no special origin. Boltanski creates an atmosphere of general, unspecified mourning through means—photographs, relics—traditionally valued for their privileged claim to specificity, uniqueness, and authenticity. A vocabulary of documentary signs is used movingly, but deceptively, for symbolic effect."
Christian Boltanski, Storefront, 1988.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Boltanski, The Reserve of the Dead Swiss, 1990.