Everybody in my little world knows and loves the condensation cube (Hans Haacke, 1963), it is an acrylic plexiglass biosphere of 30 cubic cm and holds about one centimeter of water. “The conditions are comparable to a living organism that reacts in a flexible manner to its surroundings. The image of condensation cannot be precisely predicted. It is changing freely, bound only by statistical limits. I like this freedom.”
It's power is immediate, it was to me and I have only seen the above pic, but why? It has nothing to do with art-world drivel that "the piece may be read as criticism against the closed system of the museum or gallery which attempts to control and contain." It also has nothing to do, as I read somewhere, with the 'fact' that it poses a hard 'question' about screens and surfaces; the Cube as a fivefold surface instead of one as in a painting. No, the power of the Cube is the no-frills directness with which it senses, shows and uses (the condition of ) the envrionment it is in. The simplicity of it can't be beaten, and even if the condensing only works in the controlled circumstances of a museum (??) it wouldn't matter. The Grass Cube (1967) and the Grass Grows (1969) are relevant today for their ecological approach, and when Haacke writes “I’m more interested in the growth of plants - growth as a phenomenon which is something that is outside the realm of forms, composition etc., and has to do with interaction of forces and interaction of energies and information,” he is talking the same language many artists are still using, but the Condensation Cube is not just relevant, it is essential. The Condensation Cube doens't show things, it 'knows' things. In a sense the 'condensation' is already saying too much. I wish the eskimo would exhibit it in an arctic open air artfair...
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