Oppositional Frameworks 1978 - 2 photomontage panels




All three works constructed for the exhibition Artists Over Land at the Arnolfini Gallery in 1975 marked a critical shift in the landscape works - (The Field Workings) of the previous years. The three new pieces formed one installation work - there was a wall piece, a slide piece and a documentation piece.

The wall piece and the slide piece were made on site. All three sections stressed the function of time as indeed did the relationship between the three parts. The role of the spectator was given a central role in this work.

The notions of Field Workings, Procedures, Documentation etc, were forms of an innovation in which events became the structuring principle of Art. Art in this sense and in this moment, was uniquely related to experience, and to its context.



Dorset Field Working Paper 23 1975 Installation.
Artists Overland Exhibition Arnolfini Gallery 1975.
28 texts and 1 colour photograph mounted on the surface of the gallery wall.



Artists Overland Exhibition Arnolfini Gallery 1975.

From a statement of the time:

The Environment Acts Upon us in Direct Relation to our Responses to it.

"Texts arranged as the perimeter of a rectangle 15'X10', pasted directly on a wall of the Gallery measuring 25'X15'. This arrangement determined by nature of wall and Gallery space.
The presentation of the piece is observed as a whole within the Gallery space.
The presentation corresponds to the site of the Field Working - four sides of a rectangle - four sides of a field.
The Field Working procedure is represented as a spatial sequence of units of text.
The units of text are processual i.e. they describe a process and they are a process.

Sequence of Field Working/ Sequence of reading

(What has gone on)/(What is going on)

The sequence of reading symbolizes the experience of the Field Working - starting bottom right and moving to bottom left etc. (Though this is not a fixed reading of the piece). Observation is likely to begin anywhere followed by a random scanning of units - this providing the logical backcloth for the symbolization whilst retaining the sequential relationship of any unit to any other.

The processual nature of the piece allows a structuring in the observer's mental space - this being so since the sequence dissolves the alienating tendency of "contemplating states of affairs". The readings behave as echoes.

The work exists on three levels:
1. The actual experience. (The Wall Piece is a whole: It is a journey which returns to itself.
2. The recording and documenting. (The Slide Piece - the documentation of the experience of a place undergoing successive transformation).
3. The retrospective ordering and presentation.

(Memory is a highly creative though heavily coded form of experience)."

arnolfini poster

Review of the work:
"The viewer was initially invited to experience the work in the form of 28 texts placed on the wall. Because they were placed on the perimeter of a rectangle, viewers were prompted to embark on an imaginative journey, which eventually returned to itself. As they progressed through the sequences of observations expressed through the texts, they were enabled to transform the experience into their own reality. The next step was to allow them to verify their experience by providing them with the actual visual evidence of the journey. Two sets of slides were back-projected simultaneously, thus suggesting that experience and transformation must take place at the same time.

The third part of the piece represented a very important effort to finally slough off the Romanticism which clings to landscape in art. In the Documentation section the attempt was made to show that the experience of landscape could be used as a model for generalised human experience. By separating out the process of moving through the landscape into the different phases of Signals, Location, Context, Sign, Transformation and Resolution, the experience was effectively presented as a model of the objectification of experience.

Fieldwork text

Dorset Field Working Paper 23 1975
Text panel

fieldwork 1975

Dorset Field Working Paper 23 1975
Colour photographic panel

fieldwork text

Dorset Field Working Paper 23 1975
Text panel

Review continued:
In her book - A Critical Re-Evaluation of a Proposed Publication - published in 1978 by the Robert Self Gallery, Marie Yates makes a consideration of the dichotomy which we have imposed between nature and culture, and the existence of other dichotomies, most of which we usually accept without hesitation. Everyone inevitably thinks in terms of these classifications, to the extent that if we are informed that we are not integrated we assume that we must be alienated. Since they exist in such deep-rooted form, it was felt that people should be helped to recognise them, so that they effectively become transparent. In the book these dichotomies are set out and the reader is asked to consider them in relation to our attitude to landscape. The appropriation of nature has been politicised into the mystification of the relationships between people."

from - Fenella Crichton, "Marie Yates", Studio International 2 1978

publication 1978

A Critical Re-Evaluation of a Proposed Publication 1978. Artists Book
Robert Self Gallery

publication 2

A Critical Re-Evaluation of a Proposed Publication 1978. Artists Book
Robert Self Gallery.


Waterfall Working,Islawr-dref, North Wales.1975 (28 images and texts).Installation - Richard Saltoun Gallery 2018

Signals 1975-8