No.2: Arthur Gibbons
Covert Sculptor, Durational Performance
‘A Brick Knows What It Wants To be.’ -Louis Kahn.
Report Viewing Station fulfills at least two functions. It is a storefront display platform engaging the passerby. And it
is a barrier; a visual obstruction existing in protection of the space behind. The program of IR exists physically as a paradoxical,
symbiotic architectural condition. Projects staged are layered into this existing circumstance of broadcast and concealment.
Arthur Gibbons is a covert sculptor. His work exists as an assertion of the object, and yet as a refusal of the object
to be identified beyond surface. Its skin is another kind of deceptive barrier: Armor. Cloak. Smoke. Gibbon’s objects
have a fixed identity and use the appearance of haste as subterfuge.
As sculpture, Gibbons’ objects are two
kinds of an image. He employs the image of The Contemporary as a non-permanent vernacular object, where sculpture is produced
inseparable from a criticality of its own making. These covert works are shielded by a device of a fugitive traditionalist
not to snare a mis-viewing, but to be quietly insinuated past the guards of an abject, vanguard battalion armed with plastic
bats. The second image is a trick of the eye performed by the deceptive object. A trick that produces speed from slowness
and weightlessness from gravity. That Gibbons’ plastic, on closer inspection, is bronze, is what betrays its objecthood,
and proclaims, as did Rodin, ‘...a piece of sculpture without reference to subject.’
In the language
of sculpture, the materials selected as clarion articulation of impermanence become a human shield (a youthful, grafted skin)
to stretch over skeletons of the past. The chair-pedestal here is: 1) plastic.
2) A body on all fours. 3) A pig. 4)
A concealer of the detached condition of the head (globe). 5) It belongs to a child.
In the whirling world of Gibbons’
spinning globe, the cap has come undone from the body, spinning ceaselessly. As a model of the earth in orbit (depicted in
this installation) time has been accelerated (to the eye) to cue us to the idea that we exist, under these altered viewing
conditions, in an unnaturally slowed state allowing for rumination. This staging prompts an experience not unlike what is
often described by those that have endured a car wreck. (The reanimated head is perceived to have left the body, once we have
observed the sculpture from its back). Now, imagine this entire situation of viewer and object being captured by surveillance
(or history’s clock): If the footage of the orbit were to be slowed, we viewers would correspondingly become immobilized.
This planetary clock is the Rosetta Stone to reading the population of objects that creep around the rest of the installation.
We now can understand the funny, wantonly placed assemblages as unbreakable, in the conventional language of legible sculpture
materials (understanding the plastic to be bronze is an understanding of the commitment to form). -Objects are slowly
unveiled from informal cladding, becoming linked to a more grand tradition of Things. The Thing on the left that had once
appeared to be defying spatial logic by walking right up the wall before our eyes, becomes fixed, and bound again to gravity;
not disintegrating into a verbal/textual discourse. The object standing on its own is muted until this process of decoded
materiality. The privacy of the studio is an inhabitation of a fortress.