Blog / Work of the Week: Wheel of Steel by Robin Rhode

Posted By J Caldwell



I spoke with Nasher Museum Exhibitions and Publications Manager Renee Cagnina during the installation of  The Cinematic Impulse.

JC: As principle organizer of this summer exhibition, what do you find is most challenging about translating your selections from the virtual world of documents, lists and floor plans to the physical space in Pavilion III?

RC: Placement is everything. Some works that we thought would work well together on one wall actually gave the entire space too much “weight” on one side…we’ve been rearranging several works to get a perfect balance.

JC: Let’s talk about Robin Rhode’s Wheel of Steel. If memory serves, the nine individual works (pictured) were arranged as a 3×3 when it was part of The Record, yet you’ve chosen to arrange them linerally. What prompted this decision and how does this work fit into the cinematic theme of your show?

RC: First off, it’s a serial photography series. The images, while they don’t move, tell a story as they progress; the three-dimensional record and hand interacting with the two-dimensional world of chalk record player on concrete are a mini-movie. When laid out side by side they harken to Eadweard Muybridge’s Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, perhaps better known as The Horse in Motion, from 1878. Horse is a  series of 24 photos, representing 3 seconds of time, that were taken at the animal’s full gallop. The individual images of the horse show motion like in Wheel of Steel, but they do not, on their own, move. 



JC: And what about these photographs, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Seascapes?

RC: Like Rhode’s, these are serial photographs. Sugimoto began taking them 1980s and, while his photographs are from different bodies of water, they all share the common bond that the image is divided in half by sea and horizon. On the initial floor plan we had them just underneath Wheel of Steel, but when we laid them out we thought that their seriality in such close proximity did not, per se, agree.




JC: Unlike Wheel of Steel and Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, there is hardly any motion in Seascapes. How then do these fit into The Cinematic Impulse as you see it?

RC: It is because of how the photos are taken. Sugimoto used a large format camera and some of the exposures were taken at night or at very early dawn and the shutter was open for about three hours. What we are seeing is a passing of a considerable amount of time as an individual moment.

The Cinematic Impulse runs until September 8, 2013.

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