Seeing ScaleRichard Dunn’s Structuralismby Keith Broadfoot
Writing on the occasion of a retrospective of Richard Dunn’s work, Terence Maloon argued that ‘structuralism had an important bearing on virtually all of Richard Dunn’s mature works’, with ‘his modular, “crossed” formats’ being the most obvious manifestation of this. In this article I wish to reconsider this relation, withdrawing from a broad consideration of the framework of structuralism to focus on some of the quite particular ideas that Lacan proposed in response to structuralism. Beginning from a pivotal painting in the 1960s that developed out of Dunn’s experience of viewing the work of Barnett Newman, I wish to suggest a relation between the ongoing exploration of the thematic of scale in Dunn’s work and the idea of the symbolic that Lacan derives from structuralist thought. This relation, I argue, opens up a different way of understanding the art historical transition from Minimalism to Conceptual art.
Keith Broadfoot, Department of Art History & Film Studies, University of Sydney.