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April 24, 2006 | by  | in Visual Arts |
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Art To Know For Dinner Party Conversations

Robert Morris: Untitled, 1969

When I learnt about Process Art in a third year art history paper it was a revelatory experience for me. I was intrigued by this idea of art that was defined by its action. Process Art is all about the verb, not always movement but often about stasis and balance between materials. And these materials are fascinating; tin, lead, wire, rubber, and here, felt.

Robert Morris was a key figure in the development of Process Art in the 1960s. In works such as this one, Morris strove to get away from ‘planning’ his art in any way. The medium of felt was particularly appealing to him in that however he cut it on the ground, it would always fall in an unexpected way when he hung it up. He would often pin the felt up against the wall and then let it slowly fall and change, morphing into something completely different from where it first started. Gravity has as much power over the outcome of these works as the artist himself – the ‘hand of the artist’ is effectively removed.

There is something enormously tactile and appealing in these works as well. The soft folds and drapes of the felt invite touch, and remind one of the human body with its natural curves and gradual response to gravity and the vicissitudes of time.

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