Diagrammarians

by Leila Peacock

This is a selection of 20th-21st century artworks that invoke the power of the diagrammatic. You could start this train of thought with many great artists of the diagram. But here we start deliberately with the aesthetic of the unaesthetic, something not produced by an artists at all. A badly xeroxed technical drawing from Mel Bochner’s seminal conceptual exhibition Working Drawings and Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art that took place at the SVA, New York in 1966. It marked a new way of marvelling at the diagrammatic. This badly copied image is nonetheless a thing of mystery and beauty. Diagrams we cannot decipher hold a fascination for us, they become open oracular figurations, complex portraits of something invitingly unreachable. In the conventional sense diagrams facilitate understanding, but here they are used to uncover conspiracies and forge new ones, satirise knowledge, map visions, mark time and construct new poetic forms.

Mel Bochner, xerox, from the exhibition Working Drawings and Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art, School of Visual Arts, New York, 1966,
melbochner.net

#technicaldrawing #conceptualpoetics #xerox #uncreativeart

Marcel Duchamp, The Large Glass, 1967, aquatint


#diagrammatic #mechanicaldiagram
#allegoricalmachine #knightsmovethinking #love #sex #electromagnetism

Ian Hamilton Finlay, Sea/ Land Sundial, 1970, etched on glass, steel rod, wooden base. In the collection of the Tate, London, tate.org

#glasspoem, #sundial #concretepoetry #sail
#figuresofthought

Hanne Darboven, Ein Jahrhundert ABC, 1970, drawing on graph paper.

#minimal #notation #time #numerology
#universalintelligibility
#writingwithoutdescribing

Joseph Beuys, Untitled (sunstate), 1974, chalk and felt-tip pen on blackboard with wood frame, in the collection of the MoMA, New York, moma.org

#thinkingisform #socialsculpture #myth #alchemy #astrology #anthropology #theidealstate

Mark Lombardi, George W. Bush, Harken Energy, and Jackson Stephens, ca. 1979-90 (5th version), 1999
From exhibition catalogue Mark Lombardi Global Networks, Robert Hobbs, Independent Curators International, New York, 2004


#conspiracy #narrativestructures #sociograms #networks

Ad Reinhardt, How To Look At Iconography, 1946, part of the ‘How to Look’ series of cartoons published in the daily newspaper P.M.


#satire #cartoonmetaphysics #didacticgraphics #learningbylooking #unlockingart #laugh

Suzanne Treister, HEXEN 2.0/ Historical Diagrams/ From Arpanet to DARWARS via the Internet, 2009-11
suzannetreister.net

#alchemicaldiagram #conspiracytheory
#configurations

Tacita Dean, The Roaring Forties: Seven Boards in Seven Days, 1997, chalk on blackboard, in the collection of the Tate, London, tate.org


#stormforce #forecast #cinematicdrawing
#storyboard #directionalnotations #figurations

Matt Mullican, Untitled (5 lecture boards), 2018. Set of five boards, marker on whiteboard, photograph: Roberto Ruiz


#signs #semiotics #ordering #perception
#mysteriousclarity #seeingpatterns

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