Monday, October 18, 2010

Vito Acconci, Following Piece, 1969

Sophie Calle, The Shadow, 1981: "In April 1981, at my request, my mother went to a detetctive agency. She hired them to follow me, to report my daily activities, and to provide photographic evidence of my existence."

Jeff Wall, The Destroyed Room, 1978

Henry Darger, from The Story of the Vivian Girls 

Roni Horn, Dead Owl, 1998

Giuseppe Penone working on an Atlas Cedar, 1999

Shana Lutker, Dream Book, 2003-2004

Las Meninas, by Michel Foucault (Required reading)

Also, a
profile of Baldessari by Calvin Tompkins was published in the New Yorker last week in anticipation of the opening of Pure Beauty at the Met October 20.

Last week we talked about the role of narrative in art history and about various narrative strategies. The images above include works that are based around blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality in storytelling. Many of the two-dimensional works include more than one panel or page, in order to directly address the perception of a linear passage of time, something that is often fundamental in narratives. Some are more performative and are experienced by the viewer either as an image with text, as a text alone, or as a sculpture. 

Do you think that it's possible to tell a story using a single image or object?

Also, can you think of any examples of current non-filmic work that employs narrative?


  1. i think you could suggest a narrative in a single object. my favorite narratives are ambiguous and suggested so they feel 'filled out' by the witness. that's what these art looks like. thinking of narratives in the concise form of a single object made me think of the shortest short story I'd ever heard. "For sale: baby shoes, never used."
    Stories like these are kind of fun you might like them. They are here.

  2. Maybe it is possible. Often though to just have one image is like just getting the title of a book or the summary.It is not as rich as the full story.

  3. i think it is certainly possible and maybe even more interesting to tell a story with a single image. i think if the photographic work of carrie mae weems as her images tell us stories about her family, the african-american community and certain histories. in this work and in other single-image narrative works the story is to some extent open-ended. i find that these works are successful when they lead the audience to some common ground while also allowing for a multitude of paths on which interpretation can emerge.

  4. i think that stories in one image often become for the viewer a personal experience that doesnt relate to a bigger, common experience but one that only relates you a single persons highly individual life