An artist that is equally interested and intrigued by the context and concepts that allude ‘bones’ and the past is the artist Allan McCollum.
McCollum during the 1990s began investigating concepts surrounding ‘natural copy’ imitating dinosaur bones, a dog from Pompeii and dinosaur tracks found in the coal mines of central Utah, the centrality of natural copies lies with the imitation and repetition of the natural discrepancies themselves, the copying of the ancient and oldest of processes, that of fossilisation.
For both myself and i believe McCollum what is most intriguing is the concept of the perfect captured moment in time .
Above pictured is Allan McCollum’s ‘ lost objects 1991 – museum of art, Pittsburgh’
Here McCollum plays with the gallery context itself playing of on historical association of museum identity and obscuring how we would usually see a set of dinosaur bones portrayed and laid out. The added foundation of the museum creates the context and institutional framework through which the ‘fossils’ can install the community with a sense of historical and cultural identity, creating meta physical value.
knowing that the bones are not genuine artefacts do we as viewers then question the authenticity of the objects ? or do we simply celebrate and enjoy the phenomena of McCollum’s work, enjoy the meta physicality ?. personally i enjoy the phenomena of the installation itself. The sheer vastness and matter of the installation are striking whilst challenging at the same time regardless of knowing the bones are copies, ultimately if they were fossils wouldn’t they be copies themselves ? – due to the fact that they are not physical bone ?.
In terms of my work, McCollum has made me consider how i use the primitive to echo a value or channel my voice of experience, not just using bones because i would automatically associate them as ‘primitive’ but use the bones and its materiality to challenges the viewers perception of normal and material association, why do we hold meta physical value to these objects ?, and by this metaphysically how does the primitive retain an identity, and further how do i channel my ideas of identity crisis, experience and heritage through the primitive ? Why bones ?.