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– MN

Not of transparency exactly

I web-stumbled this week upon Michael Fried’s 1967 essay on Anthony Caro, in particular his painted steel work Carriage. Fried writes of the overlapping mesh establishing ‘a plane of variation, not of transparency exactly, but of visual density’, a layer that is simultaneously looked at and through. Though I imagine this reference is problematic for all sorts of reasons (I intend to read more around flatness / opticality, objecthood etc.) there seems to be something that chimes with my thoughts on the aviary – which similarly is ‘not transparent exactly’, its netting ‘seen as cross-hatching’ such that birds and people appear both inside and outside at once – also on optics, lenses, view-finding:

During our second studio meeting I photographed Rob’s latest glass tests (which are looking and feeling beautiful – visually complex, so solid after my acetate maquettes! and with a fragility and sharp-edged-ness that I’m not yet sure how to handle…) Set to auto-focus but unable to settle, my camera whirred between the pyramids’ layers of shadows and reflections in wonderful ocular mimicry. They were a pleasure to photograph and even in these quick snaps the difference/distance between the objects in space and their flattened screen-images is significant.


[“The glass-world citizen then abandons his old house and moves into the conservatory, which is aesthetically linked to the garden by glass walls and screens that extend its structure into its surroundings…”

: In his 1959 essay The Glass Paradise, Reyner Banham recasts Paul Scheerbart as an important, visionary player in the history of modern glass architecture.]