TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT January 1983

BARRY LE VA’S SCULPTURE: ELLIPSIS AND ELLIPSE

The murder novel has also a depressing way of minding its own business, solving its own problems and answering its own questions.

Raymond Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder

Like most mystery novels, Barry Le Va’s sculpture presents a superimposition of two interdependent sequences of time—an action performed in the past, and an investigation of that action gradually unfolding in the present to explain the past; a real event (a “crime,” a configuration in space) for which the motivation is not initially self-evident, and an analysis of that event, deducing and discovering its missing links. Le Va’s work is about more than meets the eye—about an absence. “Clue” is a very important word in Le Va’s vocabulary.

The reader of a mystery novel passively observes the narrator retracing the steps of the plot. The narrator is a surrogate for the writer, explaining the writer’s construction.

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 1983 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.