Invoking-Evoking

by Leila Peacock 07/05/2020

The word ‘diagram’ comes from the Greek dia (through) graphein (to write) and it denotes something ‘marked out by lines’. Often they are simplified drawings showing the structure of a mechanism or concept in a graphic form. They serve an illustrative and explanatory function.
These diagrammatic lines-of-intention that dart in all directions can ascribe meaning to spaces, establish relations, conjure new understandings. But these dexterous demarcations can invoke as much as evoke. They are by their nature conceptual and experimental, finding forms of geometric notation to make ideas legible. They turn thinking into drawing, but also drawing back into thinking, thoughts into things and things into thoughts. They invent for themselves a codified language, which in turn can sing with its own unresolved complexity. This would be a fitting description of many conceptual artworks. Diagrams in many senses function in a similar way to certain artworks, all the diagrams seleted here function as both inforgraphical figures and enigmatic abstractions. In his 1957 lecture ‘The Creative Act’, Marcel Duchamp, who frequently resorted to diagrammatic figures in his work, outlined his idea that there exists an ‘arithmetical relation between the unexpressed but intended and the unintentionally expressed aspects of an artwork’. Ossccilating from order and distillation to the mapping of productive uncertainties. Describing relations but also creating relations with the logic of poetry, diagrams can become hieroglyphs that can be reverse engineered to reveal new figurations.

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