Mel Bochner: Language is Not Transparent, 1970
“Language is Not Transparent (1970), a text written out in chalk on a painted section of wall, and Bochner’s prepositional sculpture works from the same year are ambitious attempts to give visual form to Wittgensteinian logic. The difficulty with much of these works runs parallel to that of Wittgenstein’s statement that ‘It is difficult to know something and to act as if you did not know it.’ Bochner regularly asks the viewer to act as if they didn’t understand his logistic inquiries into objective truths. Much of his work comes across as pretentious and impenetrable when it is often obvious and simple. Take, for example, Axiom of Indifference (1973), where Bochner employs tape to square-off areas that contain pennies. Denotations written on the tape correspond to the location and proximity of the coins on the floor. ‘SOME ARE IN’, ‘SOME ARE OUT’, ‘ALL ARE OUT’, ‘ALL ARE IN’ further the practice of ‘reading’ visual language over ‘seeing’ visual language.” (Source - Michelle Grabner in Frieze Mag.)

Mel Bochner: Language is Not Transparent, 1970

Language is Not Transparent (1970), a text written out in chalk on a painted section of wall, and Bochner’s prepositional sculpture works from the same year are ambitious attempts to give visual form to Wittgensteinian logic. The difficulty with much of these works runs parallel to that of Wittgenstein’s statement that ‘It is difficult to know something and to act as if you did not know it.’ Bochner regularly asks the viewer to act as if they didn’t understand his logistic inquiries into objective truths. Much of his work comes across as pretentious and impenetrable when it is often obvious and simple. Take, for example, Axiom of Indifference (1973), where Bochner employs tape to square-off areas that contain pennies. Denotations written on the tape correspond to the location and proximity of the coins on the floor. ‘SOME ARE IN’, ‘SOME ARE OUT’, ‘ALL ARE OUT’, ‘ALL ARE IN’ further the practice of ‘reading’ visual language over ‘seeing’ visual language.” (Source - Michelle Grabner in Frieze Mag.)

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