The Wall Blood Series was a two part project that began indoors at P.S. 1 in 1976 with Mementoes of a Schoolbuilding and continued outdoors with Rust Decay through 1981. Indoors, I used handmade paper pulp to cast walls, doors, sewer covers, plumbing fixtures and other architectural elements. Outdoors, I used the same technique on cars, trucks and other outdoor surfaces.
Mementoes of a Schoolbuilding
That fine art was nonexistent in P.S. 1 before it became a workspace for artists, I don’t think can be disputed. But, in the seven months that I’ve been working within its decaying walls, I’ve come to believe that the building itself possesses some of the qualities present in the best art being produced today. One cannot escape the building’s presence: due to its enduring a great deal of passing time, as well as absorbing the many lives that have walked in its corridors, the building now exists like an elderly person who has acutely perceived his experience of life. The passage of time has been recorded in and on the structure itself and this constitutes its personality.
When the inevitable restoration and renovation started to take place, the future caught up with P.S. 1. There are people who block out the past, for fear of it being a constant reminder of one’s own aging process. For me, there is something special in the immediate past of one’s family, friends, neighborhood and acquaintances. I find it equally interesting that motes and specks that were in the air decades ago, are possibly still present in the interior of P.S. 1. This school has affected and molded the lives of those who attended, and, in a slightly different context, will affect mine.
One of my first experiences in the building was seeing and touching a particular molding, and thinking that some child, sometime, might have idly felt this same piece of wood on his way to the lunchroom everyday. The child is gone, but the wood remains a reminder of the act. With these thoughts in mind, I want to bring to the attention of those who view this work all the different parts of the building that have kept their silent vigil to the passing of time.
In the actual execution of this body of work, my control and physical touch were virtually absent; I let the paper pulp react and “record” the characteristics of the pieces I had chosen. I then installed these “mementoes” throughout P.S. 1 where they have existed for months undetected. These pieces are the offspring of the original fragments of the building.
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