In English we say that a person, has a particular ‘outlook’. This means that they have an overall spirit or attitude that not only colors how they approach their life but how they present themselves to others. I do not know for certain, but I think the French term for this is ‘la vue’, or ‘point de vue’, or ‘ avoir à vue de pays’. It is important to distinguish having a ‘point of view’ from having an ‘opinion’. A point of view requires a relationship between the person and the outside world, whereas an opinion does not necessarily include this relation. An outlook begins as the measurement of oneself wthin the world one’s economic means, personality strenghts, weaknesses, emotions, and health with and against the encouragements, dangers, opportunities, limitations, social contracts and natural laws of the world. This relationship, this balancing act, is responsible for each person’s outlook, their idea of what the world has to offer them and what they can offer in return.
If an outlook begins with a measurement then it continues with the calculation of an exchange between oneself and society, a ‘contract’. Each of us face similar questions, similar opportunities and dilemmas. What will I add or subtract from the world ? On what scale and to what degree of permanence should I act ? Do I need others to help me or can I do it by myself ? How much time do I have ?
Thus, what began as a measurement ends with an act, a series of actions, a method. And while all artists can be said to have methods, to have an outlook, Vija Celmins, Zoe Leonard, Jorge Pardo and Joe Scanlan make their method an explicit subject of their work. The artists in this exhibition are not interested in exerting power and do not want to tempt fate. Rather, they want to fit into the cycles of other people and the world as discreetly and ethically as possible. Consequently, the length of time that their work evokes, and the viewer’s ‘use’ of what their work has to offer, frames our experience of it. Within this frame of experience, the sense of tone’s own earthly position and duration is pulled forth, measured, enhanced.