“7½-Ton Cube” (1990)
Charles Ray’s work is all about weight and size, what you think you are looking at is not what you are looking at. Balance. Simple but effective. what is the real. a cube an inch longer than it is wide we only know this because we are told it. The title proves a really important part of the work, for Ray it is not only the title but the dimensions as well. This has got me considering the title of my work more, and how it can become part of the piece. A key that opens up the work. Alluding to the materiality of the work or becoming an instruction on how to interact with the work.
Something I touched on in my dissertation when talking about David Hammons’ work:
Language become a key, perhaps the most important key to understand the work. Hammons makes use of language by creating one liners or plays on words that disrupt how we interoperate the objects, diverting us away from our own associations and narrowing us in on his own purpose. The title is key, especially in ‘Higher Goals’ (1986) (Fig.2). Upon first looking at the work, you see a ‘blinged’ up basketball net. However, when you are presented with the title, things begin to fall into place. You are diverted away from your initial ideas of what the sculpture represents and steered down his path. The oversized basketball nets, with the stand covered with intricately arranged bottles, illustrates Hammons’ commentary on black youths’ perceived obsession with creating monetary success through becoming sports stars, which is unlocked by the title ‘Higher Goals’. Although this commentary can be read through the objects, the title brings the work into focus again, locking in on Hammons’ opinions.