SELECTED INSTALLATIONS 1977-1981
1977 P.S. 1, MoMA, LIC, NY; 1978 MTL Galerie, Brussels, Belgium; Hal Bromm Gallery, NY; POOL, C.W. Post College, LI, NY; 1979 John Weber Gallery, NY; 1981 Kunstforum, Lenbachhaus Museum, Munich, Germany.
My installations combined signs with verbal labels to question conventional notions of surface/space. The arrow has been used to explore ambiguous and paradoxical aspects of direction, position, and placement. Arrows on floor planes defined as rising and (or) falling from various positions, use a "perspective slant" as reference. Direction of each arrow changes when perceived from specified points. An arrow pointing towards the viewer (descending) from one position, points away from the viewer (ascending) as he/she moves to an opposite position. Arrows defined on sloped planes incorporate "perspective slants" with physical slants.
This interplay, which collides with the viewer's expectations, is no more paradoxical than road signs with arrows pointing straight "up" to indicate straight ahead. When one reads road signs literally, the arrows assume a humorous character. Often, signs with arrows are placed at positions or angles on the road, so ambiguous to the driver that one cannot determine which of several directions to take. Arrow installations evolved from these experiences, using the indirect, or inherently ambiguous element that operates because the 2-dimensional sign is not identical with the direction it indicates in space.
My intent is not to establish alternate meanings but to expand perceptual boundaries. The cumulative works--including collages, photo/text works, artist books and installations--rather than each individual work, exemplify this attitude and exist as part of a larger ongoing process where multiple opportunities for playing with possibility arise.
EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD THERE IS TO KNOW IS KNOWN BY SOMEBODY BUT NOT BY THE SAME KNOWER
1980 P.S. 1, MoMA, LIC, NY; 1981 Walter Storms Galerie, Munich, Germany. Detail below of live fish in bowl and trick glass.
Experience is a process of shifting relations. It is impossible for anyone to know everything. Within this impossibility of anyone knowing everything, the question arises as to how much anyone who knows anything knows, which brings in the network of information that anyone who knows anything exchanges with anyone else, and how many others know any or all of the information exchanged between those who know anything.
Things are known without other things. Facts of consciousness contrast with physical facts. Word and image (or object) contrast physical reality (where objects can be concretely located) with the “indefinite mind place” where qualities , i. e., nearness, vastness exist. The “place” of secondary qualities shifts from one set of associations to another. Our finite fields of consciousness experience parts related variously in which conjunctions and disjunctions occur.
“Allen has a profound instinct for just the right amount of reticence needed to stimulate fresh vision and new understandings.”