The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.
I prefer, simply, to state the existence of things in terms of time and/or place.
More specifically, the work concerns itself with things whose interrelationship is beyond direct perceptual experience.
Because the work is beyond direct perceptual experience, awareness of the work depends on a system of documentation.
This documentation takes the form of photographs, maps, drawings, and descriptive language.1
What I say is part of the artwork. I don’t look to critics to say things about my work. I tell them what it’s about.
People deny words have anything to do with art. I don’t accept that. They do. Art is a source of information.2
My work is concerned with determining the form of art when the role traditionally played by visual experience is mitigated or eliminated. In a number of works I have done so by first bringing “appearance” into the foreground of the piece and then suspending the visual experience of it by having it actually function as a document that exists to serve as a structural part of a conceptual system. The systems used are random or logical sets of numbers, aspects of time, or propositions in language; the documents of “appearance” are photographs that have been made with the camera used as a duplicating device whose operator makes no “aesthetic” decisions.
Whatever is visual in the work then exists arbitrarily and its real existence remains as itself – in life along with everything else – separate from art and the purposes of art.3
1 From catalogue statement, January 5-31, 1969, Seth Siegelaub, New York City.
2 From “Thinkworks,” by David Shirey in Art in America (May-June, 1969)
3 From an independent statement.