Frozen Sentences

Frozen Sentences

A few words of explanation are probably necessary. The sentences that follow this introduction were ‘produced’ by reading Sol Lewitt’s “Sentences on Conceptual Art” diastically through a series of Frieze magazine exhibition reviews (I seem to be a bit obsessed with Lewitt/Frieze at the moment). Diastic, as in, with – for example – the word ‘art’ from Lewitt’s sentence, you find the first word beginning with ‘a’ (from the Frieze review) then the next word having ‘r’ as the second letter, then the next word having ‘t’ as its third letter: thus generating a series of words (at least this is how I (mis?)understood what Jackson MacLow does in his diastic poems). So the following sentences use the vocabulary so generated – and are, in a sense, translations of Lewitt’s sentences. I have not, though, simply transcribed the vocabulary in the order it came: I have – as Charles Bernstein says of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets’ uses of text-selection procedures “used the program to generate material … while freely composing [the] text” (Charles Bernstein, Pitch of Poetry, 70).
Perhaps the sentences could be seen as a form of ekphrasis – though one at a further than usual remove from the object, in that they are highly edited re-compositions of exhibition reviews.






Interior of artist’s birthplace; vegetables declaiming, tarragon complaining.


Cubist doubts hence! (See Speckles on Contemporary Pineapples and Cigarettes).


Reality accessing the internet, highlighting sense, features the wherefore against painting the real far city.


The sniper said the shadows are perfect over by the distant buildings.


Take this handwritten note on definitively enclosed rectangle, negotiating the jarring turns, the reduced language: and take this transmuted palette which goes with the architectural weightlessness: reflect the place’s character by positioning prudently nails letters and bombs.


Embrace miracle afresh as it emerges; the gussied paper trail asserts its legitimacy and wakefulness reappears daily.


A grey sea mist, oddly resonant of that within, collects listlessly.


The Christmas process begins.


Obvious seasonal verdant constraints with existential statement acid-pink bathtub: the theme is feeling, she says.


Commercial forms recall this she, showing her assumptions. Monochrome products became popular between the wars in the bloodthirsty country of fulfilled cowhide, bringing her forces to their soft fall.


Her nuclear family sculptures get your attention in the end. The expanding never-to-be-completed bathroom is based on a complex computer numeric and features recurring pictorial group scenes.


The process suggested we hang curtains from the ceiling. Consider the light muffled.


The film is of flames.


Loudspeakers broadcast propaganda. Obscure Christian spectres result in populism and our interests in salt compound production.


Your mind has prehistoric tentacles.


Really articulate though extinct representations are pointlessly re-animated today on video – we see literal wooden angles encircling the quasi-astral cellular power-plant magically.


In this scene the crowd propose a toast to their own annihilation.


Close-ups dissected and analysed – viewers interpret the baffling crate, the copper footnote.


The bohemian said “I offer the camera my wrinkled sock.”


Film of Chinese people joylessly masturbating; tradition is the theme.


It’s simply that chemical corrosion of the gulf before the eye prevents traditional psychological expression.


Psychology has been removed, and the engirdling billboard is secondary, precisely, to the politics that things establish.


A fleshy swooping is repeated as a serial work task, overwhelming the free play of ideas.


The work allows us to experience how finance frames and prescribes the way the media bends grey tones into something menacing.


You’ll probably have to ignore the needles adorning the work corridor.


A soul number, completing the level scrape, brings us even closer to tradition.


The archive does not insist on insistences.


Two fierce works exploit textile people.


Three look at the concrete and lament the decline in the capacity of art to deal with the spiritual.


What if the interior edifices of your identity are a disaster?


Increasingly healing of the spirit is web-based.


An extant alphabet throbbing through the photography group spells its collapse.


You say you are inspired, yet you can’t organize a conference in the enchanted labyrinth!


The magic material has been left on the shelf. The sheikh mutters something about a breakdown, exits, and then the stage is empty.


Right at the bottom, below the backdrop, in front of the fragments, puddles reflect the constellations.