Two Installations

by Richard Nonas

Richard Nonas, Dniee, 1988, steel, 24 × 15 × 2 feet. ACE Contemporary Exhibition, Los Angeles. Inset: Lucifer Landing (Real Snake in Imaginary Garden), 1989, rock, 135 × 354 feet. Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan.

I distrust sculpture that emphasizes process, duration, or growth. I trust sculpture whose making, and being, is finished immediately.

I trust the instantaneous presence of changeable things: of objects as objects in a present and immediate world—things unified precisely by their mysterious ability to instantaneously transcend their pasts—to instantaneously undermine and deny even their own parts. I trust sculpture that is the suppression, or even destruction, of everything it effects; sculpture that is the tyranny of its own changed boundaries (wherever those boundaries fall in the new world it has made).

I trust the paradox of juxtaposed partless parts instantly transformed into larger part-less wholes. I trust the immediate coming-together, the coalescing to unique and flashing single-thingness, the jump to new-born separate-objectness that makes sculpture powerful.

I distrust theatricality in sculpture. I distrust archetype and the evocation of nature. I distrust attempts at the primtive or the sacred. I distrust objects that act as a role. I distrust sculpture that does not disdain the theater of its own creation. I distrust sculpture that plays to an audience, or even to its own maker. I distrust sculpture that needs a text.

I trust only the sculpture that is immediately and wholly there. I trust sculpture that means its specific world by instantaneously becoming it. I trust sculpture that does not grow, but simply appears—shuddering, like a knife stabbed into wood.

—Richard Nonas

installations (visual works)
steel sculpture
site-specific works
Summer 1989
The cover of BOMB 28