It is All a Matter of Scale: the Miniature Museum and the Monumental

Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase.

Marcel Duchamp, 1952

No matter how large a work is, it can exist in, and emerged from, the mind. The mind is at once an infinite and without boundaries and a confined claustrophobic space. The translating a work made to exist in the real world into the virtual world of computer generated illusions is such a case.

I came across a paper by Susan Rosenbaum, ‘Elizabeth Bishop and the Miniature Museum’, that has got my mind firing away at a thousand beats per minute. This idea is nothing new for me, I have always worked on a small scale ocassionally straying into the large and at times monumental. But my daily thinking is firmly fixed on what I can encompass with my hands. This may be because I am shortsighted; maybe it is because I micro manage elements in my life while trying to keep an eye on the whole. It could also be a constraint of the practicalities of making work that would soon outgrow the studio and need resources that would project me into the world of project management rather than creation. All these explanations are valid but the fact remains, that what I do is conceived in the mind to begin with: the physical scale is not so important.

With the end of year show, the limitation of not being able to finish work due to lockdown has validated the small works I have made along the way. They are models, therefore ideal representatives of the large scale works. Scale becomes irrelevant on screen. In the physical world, scale is a primary element in how we relate to an object, but on screen, even the infinitessimal can take on the proportions of giants and vice versa.

But I consider scale, even in the illusory world of the screen, important. The online show offers the opportunity to subvert scales of things or augment relative sizes. For example, the large pieces or microscopic worlds under scrutiny. This might also relate to differing time scales, in a space that may offer ambiguous frames of reference due to the lack, in this case, of imposed architectual constructs.

What all this means is that I could envisage the online showing as a museum in miniature.

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