NOTES FOR A VIEW OF ADRIAN HALL'S DRAWINGS & SCULPTOGRAMS
'(it does need to be noticed that the present is post the Modern)'
Adrian Hall was a visiting lecturer in sculpture at Elam in 1972. He'd been at the Royal College in the 60's and he'd been in New York and California for some years before he came here. Along with Jim Allen he was an influential teacher and model for younger sculptors, such as Bruce Barber and Maree Horner. He worked very closely with Jim and with Greer Twiss. The funny thing is, he's a 'leading young innovator' from overseas, but Barry Lett's was like a morgue for a fortnight. I had a good look at some of the drawings at the opening, but people kept interrupting with conversation that had nothing to do with the drawings. Well not directly, I mean, they were in the room with them, but nobody noticed.
Short Cut / Centre Stripe
(Barry Lett Galleries)
I'd like to have had at least half an hour with each of the drawings, 20 of them, and 21 sculptograms. But I did get a good hour looking mostly at a drawing called Short Cut/Centre Stripe, which had a stripe alright, of half blue half black acetate tape and wobbly strips of water-colour on either side, or was that ink? I went back to a Belfast Gymnasium drawing too and the sculptograms. These are the notes I made:
How long since Adrian Reginald Hall was presented in Auckland by , Plasma Cast Iron Foam Co. Who remembers that? 1972. ... five years now. Here is Adrian Hall in 20 drawings and 21 sculptograms. ' Cross room to 14: '1.75 Short Cut/Centre Stripe' printed 'DATE' ' left blank. Turn head to see that photo is a contact sheet, striped with four strips of printing. There's a photo of a car park he's drawn wriggling lines on. It's actually two sheets of paper, the drawing? Down the middle black and blue glossy acetate tape, watercolour or ink, stripes either side. Ruled lines at various intervals run across left part and re-emerge as red then blue lines of acetate tape unruly at angles... some detached from the masking centre stripe, so they're bits in their own rite. Given the photo of the car park the drawing is a plaza or open space for the moment inside which disparate actions take place, blue scribble, red patch, ruled purple rectangles spots stickers in pairs, markers where something happened.
Adrian parked here, a day's business, tracks across a white desert. Anything can happen and does. The photograph gets stuck there which is a possible point of departure, or starting from, say the red stickers, a point of arrival. His pen point moves and he reappears in another guise on the end of a brush or blue pencil. On the right hand sheet sinuous overlapping tracks leading at either end to white paper, two are curved dashed-not dotted lines, bent versions of the lines on the contact sheet. Above the razor-cuts, splits, leave shadow lines. The other drawings track. .. like 'Belfast... (illegible) . .. as a Gymnasium' (1974) (check newspapers, of 7th/8th March), that's where he's living doing this drawing... through photo (museum postcard?) of metalwork object on puce ground, arabic writing, fragments of letraset in tiny squares scattered, missing from fragmented letters on the letraset sheet pasted on, lower right, band-aid and so on. Pieces of material things, band-aid, ink, applied in a field are the day's materials at hand, Adrian's world as it is at that time, fixed. Not remarkable, but that it's exceptional to so bust up syntax of drawing, to release pure exformation. ex... out, mysteriously.
Robin White's drawings lean against wall below Hall's today. Her 'realism' below his. I turn now to face Sculptograms. 'The past conjunctive making the present, tense' he says in the catalogue intro. Or how to make the camera instant frame and preserve an arrangement of pieces on a field, like those drawings, in recent sculptograms on a shallow uptilted bare space, and the work goes on of selecting from the prints, he says, until he affixes his stamp and signs and dates each one. That last act appears to affirm the past act of arrangement and photography and selection as of the moment, an act of himself today affirming his previous acts. Also one encounters the photograph now as something that takes place continuously. How did he come to select and arrange things like that, if not out of his continuing life. and one reads in from this point to the things, figures, in the photos... miraculous balancing of objects, strange juxtaposition of edges so that a 'line' in one photo is the light/dark of a piece of broken glass running on to the colours red black white of a piece of? weaving and look closely the white bit bleed into the near white ground,? line. Or a map of Ireland foreshortened floats like blue sprayed on bronze plate cut out above shades and appears a white tube of ACE to stop radiator leaks penetrates the bronze to be capped by a fat condenser lens. The reality of photography gives way always to actuality, Adrian's activity.
POSTSCRIPT Now for a quick stab at the intellectual. The point of the puzzles that the size of the little "bits and all their wild disparities set you begins a literal dance back and forth and all over. Over all one might say, anxiety to get Hall's point here, he gets stuck, until he find out that what he's engaged with is a dance of intellect, movement in space the whole works. Cf. Jim Allen's O-AR and McCahon's Teaching Aids and Noughts & Crosses.