Reflection - Nomination : Choice : Decision : Intention / by Ally McGinn


I have written previously about the contextual shift triggered by Duchamps Readymades. That the act of nomination became the only requirement for art and the eventual consensus that anything could be art with an artist to claim it as such.


This shift brought the decisions made by the artist into focus. Artists make choices, and as the possibilities of art expanded they become limitless.

I am interested in the choices artists make, and the things that they leave behind through this process. If I am honest I am more interested in things that artists don't choose, as obviously the things they do choose become their own artworks.

Interestingly there are levels to this, some objects are tools, and would never be art. Some are preliminary objects or observations, those used in process but not deemed ‘final’. And some that are failures, always intended to be art but failing in some way.

In this way I can say that my interest in the question “is it art?” Or “what is art?” Is less about whether something can be art, because anything can, but more about the choices an artist has made that define something as not-art.

The intention of the artist can often be aligned with the choices made. Intention was a subject of my enquiry during part of my BA. My final piece embodied the artist's un-intention, among other things, however the focus of my work has shifted.

As with the other terms in this reflection, intention now forms part of the basis for the collection of materials, but shows little in the work.

There is a distance between intention and meaning, which made up a portion of my recent research, but it is not something I consider a reference within the work, but instead a expansion of my own knowledge and the development of my visual understanding.

The unintended, rejected and overlooked are not only objects but ideas and processes. There are actions and activities undertaken that are discarded once complete. A simple example would be the marks made on a wall when hanging a work, or the sounds made during process. Incidental things. The term incidental will be explored in another reflection but for now, these observations are more apparent within the work, although I'll admit this is likely only to myself.



The nomination of artworks is a fact of all artworks and it is a contextual reference in my work, but only in it's opposition to rejection.

The materials I collect, and observations I explore, are chosen for their rejection as objects or ideas.

It is not the intention that is interesting to me, but the unintended and incidental.

Therefore the four words in this group are only relevant through their relation to their rejection.

It is an anti-category.