Commission: Martin Boyce
For this issue’s MAP Commission, Martin Boyce (born Hamilton 1967, lives in Glasgow) presents a series of images from his personal archive and an accompanying text extract from Haruki Murakami’s 1985 short story ‘The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday’s Women’.
Boyce’s practice often examines the recent history of design—its functional aspirations, architectural expressions, and the uncertain poetic spaces that arise out of such structures. The slippages between the urban and the natural world also provide key points of reference for the artist’s installations.
The images and text presented in the following pages extend such engagements, and explicitly take Boyce’s forthcoming Venice Biennale exhibition No Reflections as their backdrop. Variously culled from magazines, newspapers and journals, the images represent a fragment of Boyce’s collection of clippings that he has amassed over a period of ten years. Initially accumulated as personal source material rather than works for public display, these images take on the role of ‘an aside’ or pictorial essay to the artist’s Biennale exhibition. Cropped, erased, and cut-up, they are loosely assembled as a visual collage—a series of visual cues that inform Boyce’s highly sculptural practice. In each photograph the artist has removed
the presence of any human figures as a means of prioritising the visual effect of each landscape and erasing any tendency towards narrative.
The text, meanwhile, hints at Boyce’s previous projects—most notably his solo exhibition entitled A Lost Cat and Alleyways, Back Gardens, Pools and Parkways, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, 2006. Presented here as a counterpoint to the images, the text’s physicality and dream-like engagement with urban space offer a way of negotiating the juxtaposed images, while also serving as a prelude to No Reflections.
Martin Boyce: No Reflections, Palazzo Pisani, Venice, 7 June-22 November, 2009; DCA, Dundee, 12 December 2009-14 February 2010.
Haruki Murakami’s ‘The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday’s Women’ appears in The Elephant Vanishes, Random House, 1985