Where My Eyes Can See

19 Oct
by Kevin Czap

Frank Santoro

It was quite a coincidence that Darryl made the post he did on Friday about poster-sized one-pagers, since it’s in line with something I’ve been thinking about recently. One of my bigger concerns when I was at school was to try and figure out how comics could work in a gallery context. I was never satisfied with just sticking pages up on the wall – they’re designed to be held in your hands and engaged with on a personal level. My self-righteousness on this subject has cooled over the years, but I still hold to that basic concept. I stopped worrying about trying to fit comics into a gallery and just focused on making my books (or websites). Needless to say, I never figured out the answer, which left me unprepared for when I was asked to have my first solo show.


Eleanor Davis

So all of this brought me back to that question – how do you present comics in a gallery setting? One of the things I thought of was to make comics work that is large enough to be understood from a certain distance. Very much like what Darryl was talking about – I’d like to see more poster comics. Have there been wall-sized comics? Eleanor Davis has done some jaw-dropping large scale work in collaboration with David Mack (see above).

Olly Moss

When I was in Pittsburgh I was able to talk about this a bit with Jim Rugg, who’s got some fascinating ideas of his own for solving this issue (not sure how much of a surprise they’re supposed to be, so I’ll leave it there). Still, he told me to check out a recent show of the amazing designer Olly Moss‘ work. It’s impressive set up, and it only helped to spur my mind to thinking, could a Salon-style hanging arrangement be used to make a comic? I guess my question isn’t so much could it be done (of course it could), but more has someone done it before?

Olly Moss

That’s about all I have time for today, got a lot to do to get ready for this show (opening is tomorrow night). But I’m curious what thoughts you guys have about this. Something you’ve thought about before? Hit me up.

Talk to you kids when it’s a little less crazy.


Image credits: Frank Santoro, Eleanor Davis and David Mack, Olly Moss

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4 Responses to “Where My Eyes Can See”

  1. darrylayo October 19, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Salon style! Brilliant, I like it a lot!

    The only possible drawback is that the work ceases to have the same kind of meaning individually and instead becomes inextricably linked with its companions. Not a problem if the artist approaches the situation as an installation piece, but extremely problematic if the artist wishes for each panel/component to hold its own continuous meaning, with or without that aforementioned gallery context.

  2. Jessi Z October 19, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Sort of like….this http://tommyrotter.livejournal.com/69917.html#cutid1 ? I think I linked you it before, can’t recall.

  3. Frank Santoro October 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    I think you have to have the work on the wall and have a take-away comic for the audience also like this:

    http://www.tcj.com/pittsburgh-biennial-2011/

  4. Alex October 19, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Viewer/Piece proximity is always one of the most important factors in the effect of artwork. It accounts for so much of the experience; small and hand-held naturally differs in effect from large, immovable, and dwarfing. As Kevin mentioned, traditional comic book form is intimate–a personal experience. It’s appeal may have to do with the process of living itself: being with oneself, contemplation, personal sorting, and perhaps for artists: the ideation process, the construction, the “behind the scenes” work so to speak.

    People presume the gallery showing legitimizes (and it may technically do so professionally) art work; gallery’s, for many people, are the ultimate context for a work of art. Maybe this is residue of museums/art viewing venues having been heavily based on monasteries- the behavior followed suit; aristocraic, hushed, *reverent*. It can be thought of a final resting place, a last stop. In this way, one can follow that implication to say that a work of art is dead (has died?) in the Gallery/Museum. And don’t touch it!

    Following this logic, comics are more alive when in book form.

    My reason for bringing this to the discussion is i suppose to further support the idea that the ideal context (for emotional/intellectual potency- what else is really desired from art?) of a work of art might actually be in a person’s hands, either being made, or just being experienced first hand (no pun intended). It’s a reminder that one can be genuinely touched by art (all these puns), or that one is another physical object in the world-an equal with it. Art of this nature slows the viewer down, allows them to become closer to it (last one, i swear), and thus have a more potent experience.

    Or I’m full of it :/

    -Alex

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