Seán O Sullivan is a writer and curator whose work focuses on the politics and preservation of localities. He has curated projects and written critical texts dealing with subjects such as architecture, ecology and the bonds between people and places. He is a former chair of Black Church Print Studio, Dublin. He holds an MA and a BA in Visual Arts Practices from IADT, Dún Laoghaire. He is Visual Arts Adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland / An Comhairle Ealaíon.
This page: A short text on an untitled sculpture by Sofie Loscher, which exhibited in Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2010, by Seán O Sullivan.
This untitled work was initially constructed as an experiment while Sofie Loscher was an undergraduate, and was recently reconstituted for an exhibition entitled Liminal Margins in Dublin’s Pallas Contemporary Projects. She chained two thick, clear sheets of plastic to the floor and ceiling so that they could be pulled to within two inches of one another, and stacked two magnets on the outer side of each sheet. The magnets are quite large – each is roughly the size of a hardback book, and the entire construction is held up by their force field; its bulk appears to float in mid-air, and can be pushed and prodded without collapsing. The magnets themselves are about as dark as any object might be; the blackness is so stark that the sheer fact of its existence feels disruptive, their deep reflections create visible lines in the plastic that perceptually connect to one another forming a non-existent cuboid. At first sight, her work is fluent in the language of structuralism, its presentation is stark and industrious, and its crisp geometry offers an interplay descendant from the twentieth century. However, the true triumph of this artwork is in delineating the borders of a practice that is replete with its own functional concerns, but it is not attempting to be, nor is it naturally, about anything.
There is some irony in an artwork that so directly employs stillness, having the kind of appeal that provokes interactive response. This tendency runs throughout Loscher’s entire practice, her work does not particularly ‘want’ interaction, but it will always prepare for it. She provides a consistent arc of thought that uses anticipation as a format, and speaking prescriptively, her instructive device is distinctly brought forth from notions of liminality. The untitled piece is offered in a position of temporal suspension, and its suspension is vital to an empirical understanding of her work. Liminal action is the threshold point where an object transfers from one condition to another – a moment of non-place. She compares her understanding of this flux to the moment when a bubble has filled to its absolute capacity, and stops growing for a split-second before it ruptures. This is predicated upon the theory that objects cannot be static, and must always be becoming something else – that objects themselves are a process. Her method of promoting a slim moment of experience shows a clear utilitarian outlook. The untitled piece is devised solely as an operative form. She has focused on the machinations of the natural world, and allows its phenomena to instruct the element of her minimalism. This adroit simplicity emphasises Sofie Loscher’s consistent rejection of any mode for narrative, and a confidence in the appeal of natural action, geometric structure and feelings of expectation.