R&D 7 | The cage, the cell and the frame

The constructed containing space of the cage or cell of modern art is what comes to mind following your blogposts ‘Portable gallery’ and ‘The Frame’ Danny.  I know you are really into Louise Bourgeois so it got me wondering why you are into her art and in particular why she made so many cages and how this related to her figurative work.

v0_masterThe Cell (Choisy), 1990

cell-the-last-climbCell (the last climb) 2008

And it may be true that this is autobiographical and in reference to her Agoraphobia but for our purposes it shows it as a device to frame things, as you mention: “Perhaps originally it stems from a desire for control over chaos. A frame is an ultimate series of straight lines. Nature ‘framed’ is generally more appealing than wilderness. The parts within that frame are able to be contained and seen without distraction.”

Giacometti’s drawings and sculpture all have a linear cage,

giacometti_la_cageThe cage, 1950

giving figurative work a context of domesticity or modernity; the man in a modern world.  Always concerning the constructed modern world, whether seen as safety or imprisonment.

jpg_giacometti_nezThe nose, 1947

Guston’s late night painter/klan member/self portrait is always trapped in this claustrophobic

443145c11c29e8cf4d3e5a07a618a595The studio, 1967

s04ccon2xPainting on floor, 1978

modern-manmade-world of lines, edges, nails and stitches.  I am resisting the urge to put Bacon’s caged Pope up here with its reference to Adolf Eichmann, as I feel it is overused and overstated.  How about Peter Halley’s paring down of the modern world into the post modern one where the figurative element has been abstracted and outsourced.

tumblr_ncbdzsgiS21t51cv6o5_400Two cells with Conduit and Underground Chamber, 1983

PHP-85-22LRGGlowing cell with Conduits, 1985

This ubiquitous device is clearly a way of framing art (literally like the frame has now been integrated within the work) and also is a response to the constructed modern world and its constricting industrialised and now computerised society.  What I want to know now is what you would like to achieve with through using it? What autobiographical content is there in your using it, will that ever be explicit?


This blog-post forms a part of an Arts council funded ‘Research and Development’ project.

The artists involved are Daniel May, working in collaboration with the artist Ben Lloyd


This project is sponsored by The Arts Council of Wales

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