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Crickets
1991
No. 1: wood, cloth, synthetic fibre and rope No. 2: wood, cloth and rope
Dimensions: Variable dimensions
Reference: ACF0508
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Card artwork Card artwork

Crickets was made for an exhibition held at the Sala Montcada of Fundación ”la Caixa”. Tuttle travelled to Barcelona some months before the piece was set up, and this visit helped him to learn about the local culture, find out some of its characteristics and, most importantly, familiarise himself with the exhibition room for which the work was conceived. According to Tuttle, the piece alludes directly to the work of the sculptor Julio González (1876–1942), whose welded metal sculptures are unquestionably one of Tuttle’s models. In addition, the title of the exhibition (Crickets) reflects his interest in insects, creatures that are small and delicate, like his sculptures. The minuscule forms of their legs ‘are little drawings in the cosmos, much like my own’. In the form that it was presented at Sala Montcada, Crickets consists of six fixed elements that face each other on two longitudinal walls. Five of these structures are made of wood that is covered in fabric in three colours: dark blue, beige and pink. The sixth is a piece made up of a number of strips of wood, to which a few centimetres of bright fuchsia-coloured synthetic fibre, like billowing marabou feathers, are attached. The exhibition was complemented by a 36-page publication filled entirely with abstract continuous-line drawings (apart from the back cover, which featured a brief article by the artist). Crickets illustrates many of the constants found in Tuttle’s work. In the piece he uses everyday materials that can be bought at any hardware store. The artist’s handling of these materials does not require any great skill; the result is simply a series of rudimentary structures covered in fabric. Despite this, the viewer’s initial reaction to the work is one of surprise. The simplicity of the construction has a strong impact due to the emptiness of the rest of the exhibition room. In addition, as in many of his works dating from the 1980s, Tuttle insisted on attaching both groups of works to the floor, one by means of the structure made of wooden strips, the other using two long boards that rest on the stone surface. Richard Tuttle says his aim in all his work is ‘to make something which looks like itself’. He puts his trust in the self-sufficiency of the artwork, and by steering clear of any naturalistic or anthropomorphic reference manages to create a pure, corporeal visual language that distances him from any conceptual interpretation. His works therefore suggest that we focus our attention on their form, through which we are able to observe and perceive them—on the very fact of seeing. Tuttle once said he is convinced that in order for an idea to be effective, a certain state of ‘mental emptiness’ must be involved. As a result, his work defies any conscious attempt at analysis, suggesting instead that we seek a new, personal definition of art.

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