Store_Blp, week 1 (sketch), photo the artist

Store_Blp, week 2, photos: Silversalt Photography


Margaret Roberts, Store_Blp, 2022, extant moveable remnants of past installations and location, approx 15m x 3m, Articulate project space.

Store_Blp is a new site-specific installation made at Articulate to work out relationships site specific artworks could have with their (live) site while the artworks are dormant (uninstalled).

It has three main elements: the moveable material remnants of multiple site specific artworks (some stored on the gallery-floor near the blp in the first week); photographs showing them as originally installed (available to visitors using their phones to access website-links); and the site present firstly as the place of Articulate itself, and secondly as a floor drawing of a blp, a shape that is used by its inventor, artist Richard Artschwager, as a pointer to ‘here’ to help us (visitors) notice that that is where we are. The Store_Blp plan is that the three interact over the duration of the exhibition—starting with the floor drawing storing the remnants, the remnants marking out the blp and the photos showing how components were arranged in the past. Essays discussing the blp-shape and its use are available at the exhibition and attached below.

. . . . . .

Store_Blp came from wondering how to document site-specific artworks without undermining their intention to intervene in the modern culture’s devaluation of place, through the model or example they provide when they give the presence of their location an important role within their own construction.

At the same time, the dissolution of the materiality of all artwork into image—for use in print and screen—is almost inevitable, and for site-specific artwork, the ubiquity of the image easily slides the presence of place into its visual likeness as if they are the same thing.

Store_Blp approaches this conundrum by borrowing Richard Artschwager’s  punctuation-like shape that he called a blp and used as a sign pointing to the presence of ‘here’. Blps are lozenge shapes that Artschwager made and drew directly onto built surfaces from the 1960s onwards.  Store_Blp borrows one for a blp-shaped floor-space that both stores and is marked out by extant elements from my longer-term art practice, in which these extant elements are inserted directly into found locations to exhibit the physical presence of artworks’ locations as artworks’ contents.

The floor-blp thus resembles the storerooms for de-installed artworks commonly found in art galleries and museums. A storeroom for installation artworks would normally only store the moveable elements, as while their locations are also extant of course, they are not storable in the same way. Furthermore, they do not need to be storable because, to the extent that the installations engage primarily with the presence of place that is common to all places, locations are perennially available—with the qualification that they also have the particular qualities or details that particular installations use to engage with them.

In Store_Blp, the blp has a dual role in regard to location: firstly to stand in for the presence of locations in which the moveable extant elements engage in their live installation (regardless of the qualification above), and secondly to point to the presence of Store_Blp’s own location in the project space of Articulate.

Even though Store_blp’s intervention will still become images for print and screen, the hope is that in including Artschwager’s blp pointing to the once presence of place from within the photographed work, the ambiguity that Artschwager gave it will provide those images with a self-awareness of their role in the dissolution of place.

Store_Blp is open 11am - 5pm Wed-Sun 29 April - 15 May 2022 or by arrangement by texting 0425277462. Opening event: Sat 30 April 2-5pm. Artist’s talk: Sat 7 May 2-3pm. Articulate project space is at 497 Parramatta Road Leichhardt 2040 and Links to webpages showing how the components have been installed are given at the bottom of this page.

from Store_Blp roomsheet:

Store_Blp is the latest in 30 years of making site-specific artworks. I eventually realized my attraction to working with site specificity came from its advocacy for place through the role its artworks give to the presence of their own physical locations—making them models for how people can also value the places we live in. Actually it’s a model for the globalised Western culture in particular, as Indigenous cultures care for Country as a matter of course.

Blps do something similar to site-specificity because their inventor, artist Richard Artschwager discovered they help make us aware of the presence of the place that we share ‘here’ with the blp. Blps might also help with the documentation of site-specific art by supplementing photography with an ambiguous sign for the presence of the places they are images of. The next blp project is Wayout_Blp, planned for 2023 in Kandos, in the Central West of NSW. It invites residents of the Central West to lend an object they live with to lay out on the Wayout floor in a shape of a large blp to demonstrate their communal regard for ‘here’.
Margaret Roberts, April 2022



Diane Losche The Presence of Place—Margaret Roberts' Store_Blp, 2022

Caitlin Hespe In and out of place: what happens to site-specific art without its place? ADSR Zine 017.2.1 2022

This project is supported by the National Art School.

Links to photo and text records of site-specific works whose remnants Store_Blp includes:'tthink.html

(or click on last or next till you find images using Store_Blp remnants)