Decline into formlessness :a study in semiautonomous sculpture

Irani, Zara (2009) Decline into formlessness :a study in semiautonomous sculpture. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This practice-based discovery-led research, uses sugar syrup as a sculptural element, to create sculptures in which the dynamics of the syrup's viscocity show a semiautonomous kinesis indicative of a decline into formlessness. A major influence on this research has been the 18th century chemist Elizabeth Fulhame, and her experiments with substances that involved a high level of improvisation, repetition and acute observation. The syrup is made by boiling ordinary granulated sugar until it becomes viscous; it is then cast in moulds or poured into receptacles. The latter frequently consists of familiar domestic objects such as bottles and funnels. The casts and receptacles are then located within supporting structures, which may be constructed for this purpose, or alternatively they may be found, but whatever the circumstance, they are an integral and influential element in the sculpture. Over time, environmental influences (temperature and humidity etc) cause the syrup casts to change, so that they lose their apparent solidity and definition and proceed through unpredictable patterns towards entropy. The sculptures were documented through text, video and photography in order to record patterns of aesthetic activity, which sometimes extended to 26 months. The slow and usually almost imperceptible creeping motion of the melting syrup had a subversive presence that increased over time as it interacted with the objects that contained and supported it. Over long periods of time, the sculptures degenerated to the point that they existed in the border zone between opposing states: fonn/formless; animate/inanimate; solid/liquid; technological/organic. By linking semiautonomous sculpture with the abject and Mary Douglas's conception of domesticity as an ideological system of rituals and taboos, this research extends the field of dynamic, process-led art, building upon work by Arte Povera, Andy Goldsworthy, Anya Gallaccio and the 'antiform' works of Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, Robert Morris and Robert Smithson.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
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Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Arts
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2022 14:00
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 14:01

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