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Between and Mortarboard

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Negative print I from "Six Negatives"

Accession Number

Negative print I from "Six Negatives"

Mel Ramsden and Ian Burn

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
photo-mechanical reproduction on paper

11 in. x 8 9/16 in. ( 28 cm x 21.7 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Joan Meisel

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Fall 2011
Ian Burn
Australia, 1938–1993
Mel Ramsden
England, b. 1944
Six Negatives
Photo-mechanical reproduction
Gift of Joan Meisel, 2002/2.118.1–2002/2.11.15
Ian Burn and Mel Ramsden were members of the loosely connected British collective Art & Language. The group, like the Conceptual Art movement of which it was a part, emerged in the late 1960s and emphasized the exploration of ideas over the creation of traditional art objects. The work produced by Art & Language was largely text-based and made frequent allusions to philosophy and linguistics. The emphasis on ideas rather than artists or objects led to the development of an aesthetic based on systems of administration. For Six Negatives, Burn and Ramsden wanted to eliminate the signs of their separate identities or individual hands and express a corporate, impersonal identity that would encourage the viewer to focus on the concepts presented. Using the organizational framework of Roget’s Thesaurus, they set out to create a six-part classification system for the examination of ideas. The resulting diagrams and text were photographically reproduced and are displayed in their negative form.
Art & Language expanded to include other international artists and produced numerous joint works as well as a journal of the same name before collapsing under the strain of infighting in 1979.

Physical Description
This is a black image with white lettering and white marked out areas. There are six vertical columns of words organized by Roman numerals and numbers. Two columns have their words marked out.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

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negatives (photographs)
printing techniques
text (layout feature)

2 Related Resources

CRC Classroom Resource: Art Books 
(Part of: CRC Classroom Resources)
C2 - Fairchild - Metaphysics (brainstorm)
(Part of: Curriculum/Collection)

& Author Notes

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