Jonathan Schipper, The Inherent Beauty In A Failure to Reconstruct (detail), 2007. Mixed media. Approx. 9 x 5 x 2.5 feet
Jonathan Schipper’s mantra throughout the 3.3.15 Tuesday Evenings lecture seemed to be that destruction is the by-product of creation and a necessary component of moving forward. He emphasized that it is important to embrace the use of what has been to compose what will be. While his kinetic works are materially complex with a substantial range of subjects (from tea cups to muscle cars), the mechanisms that operate those subjects are key and may in fact be the subjects themselves, with the cups and cars operating as foils. Schipper’s mechanisms hold, manipulate, isolate, elongate, and question our relationship with technology and nature. They put us in the presence of great force while neutering that force by slowing it to a snail’s pace and breaking down a split-second occurrence, such as a head-on collision, for prolonged examination and consideration.
While Schipper’s work is clearly dependent on in-person experience, his lecture full of videos and still images from varied perspectives gives the imagination a lot to work with. This was a frank and open presentation that laid out the how and why of the work.