Definitely Superior Artist Run Centre
Regional Juried Show, Theme: Contact


installation by Linda Dell, Sept 8 to Oct 7, 2006

The day prior to the opening for this exhibition, the local newspaper ran a story
originating in Paris titled
Thousands of invaluable paintings still missing.
In it various issues regarding missing and stolen art were discussed.
It is estimated that over 150,000 important works of art are currently missing.

This short examination of the concept of this art was submitted
to the jury along with a sample bouquet and layout diagram.

The layout is 2 nails 60" above the floor,
a bouquet of red roses tied with a black satin ribbon,
and an identification label.

This work, titled Missing provides an opportunity to explore the notion of a conceptual absence and it's occupation of space within frames of time and preconception. One could reasonably define the word "missing" as a failure to make contact or identification with an item or concept. It is also possible to view "missing" as a direct contact or engagement with absence. Missing is a word which navigates language with varied grammatical functions and meanings.

Art is evidence. Our recognition of this is part of our human condition. When a valued work of art becomes a missing work of art, the perception of it shifts. Beyond the questions involved with a mysterious circumstance, this absence becomes a vehicle for contact with one's interior existence.

Ex nihilo, Latin for "out of nothing," is frequently used with theories of creation. Creation is often used as a substitute word for art. Creatio ex nihilo theory suggests God made the world from nothing, or, as Missing indicates, no thing. This moves into the arena of Thing Theory whereby an object becomes a thing when it stands apart from the backdrop of the world around it.

In 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. Scores of people formed very long queues for an opportunity to personally witness the empty space once occupied by the painting. The vacancy was evidence that there was a space intended for occupation by the painting.

A work of art is expected in a gallery setting. An artwork removed from a grouping will prompt speculation, and, in some cases, anxiety. The deliberate absence the thing provides an unfulfilled expectation followed by speculation over the intent of the message conveyed. This absence of art in a context where it is expected is a valid contribution to the narrative tradition of art.

The value of a work of art is often enhanced by the cache and publicity it garners during it's absence. The restoration of a missing work of art is cause for celebration. The evidence presented with Missing will be revived in other spaces from which works of art have been removed.

There are among us, people who have a deep regard for art. Particular fondness for a work of art which goes missing can lead to grief over the loss. This is the condition the bouquet of red roses tied with a black ribbon indicates. As a symbol for mourning, this bouquet will be changing throughout the time Missing is on exhibit. This changing symbol will further the narrative by reflecting the passage of time in its relation to our response to absence.



I enjoy the play of words and symbols. The word missing, as both an adjective and a verb, can be used in a number of ways. Red Roses symbolize love and passion, the black ribbon connotes grief, while the number thirteen is identified with misfortune. The two nails imply care is taken when I hang my art and I am identified by name on the label.
Those who associate with my name through my art will be aware of the choice to forgo traditional evidence in order to present Missing. My intent is to encourage discussion about the function of art in our culture and to increase the appreciation of art as evidence of thought.