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Unseen Examples

A retrospective to the previously unseen

Folding Table presents examples of “The Unseen”
A retrospective into the previously unseen

The series of examples of “The Unseen” begins with a retrospective to an exhibition from 2012 in London’s Hayward Gallery titled “Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957-2012.” The Guardian has an article about the exhibit, and Al Jazeera gives video introduction.

Sight is very much privileged in the arts. We appreciate art with the physical presence of something, an object we regard as art. Hayward’s 2012 show, Invisible compelled its audience to consider art in the absence of something, without a physical object to experience. The gallery showcased 26 artists who have played with the idea of the invisible in their work, including Gianni Motti’s 1989 Magic Ink invisible ink drawings, a platform where Andy Warhol once stood, Robert Barry’s photographs of noble gases mixing into the atmosphere. Jeppe Hein’s Invisible Labyrinth, 2005 is a room with invisible walls and infrared markers, where visitors donning headsets would hear a buzz when encountering a wall.

Magic Ink, 1989

Gianni Motti’s Magic Ink drawings

Absurdity is a reasonable response to these works, but consider a more somber piece by Teresa Margolles, En el aire (In the air), 2003. Her tribute to Mexico City murder victims is a room cooled by a humidifier using the same water used to wash their bodies in the city morgue.

Musicians will quickly compare John Cage’s 4’33” as an acoustic analog to the art of the unseen. However, as Cage would agree, even the absence of something exudes its presence. A space of nothingness is filled with the audience’s markings of what is nothing and what is something; it is filled with expectations for something (and perhaps disappointment), to which our imaginations and thoughts fill what seems to be a physical void. Listen carefully to David Tutor’s performance; Cage’s narration at the beginning gives a quick introduction.

Folding Table extends the unseen, the invisible, the hidden, the overlooked, or unnoticed to all aspects and modes of interpretation.

Welcome to “The Unseen.”



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