I have recently discovered the work of artist Anya Gallaccio and have been particularly interested by the temporal, theatrical, participatory and site specific nature of her work. As the materials that she uses often interact with the senses and decay over time there is a sense that the work as it is experienced is happening, changing and therefore completing itself anew in each consecutive, perhaps crawling moment. With work of this kind the artist becomes a facilitator of an event, creating space for something to happen without direct control over the outcome. As Michael Archer commented 'beauty is not engineered, fashioned, crafted, but it is ushered in, allowed to develop'. I have never seen any of Gallaccio's work for myself but I wonder whether the aliveness is tangible and creates an effect of being more present and alert in the moment.
Her work often involves using floor space either by pouring material onto the floor or laying a collection of composite parts in collection on the floor like roses or oranges. The horizontality of this placement disrupts the visual order of the gallery space where work is traditionally hung at eye level on the wall. Whilst suggesting a kind of humility or 'inconspicuous presence', it has also been said that by locating her work on the floor, Anya Gallacio encourages her audience to use the other senses rather than relying solely on sight. Whilst her work often activates the senses, particularly smell, the work in turn is sometimes activated or altered by the audience walking through the exhibition space.
I like the idea that living, growing organisms can be used to create work and that what is brought into being in a piece of work also passes out of being without creating waste or the accumulation of things. I also like the aesthetic of creating a situation that is heightened and unusual, almost fantastical, yet also very much about being with the boredom of the present moment.
In Anya Gallaccio, Chasing Rainbows, Ralph Rugoff talks about the apparent effortlessness and the overall effect of simplicity in Gallaccio's work which masks the reality of hours of preparation often with a team of helpers and sometimes quite major structural interventions. He also talks about the risk and 'the possibility of failure that hovers over each of Gallaccio's installations' and it occurs to me that making work without guarantee like this, indeed making work full-stop, requires the artist to be brave and to constantly go beyond doubt.