Charles Ray

Plank Piece I-II (1973)

About this artwork

Ray was part of a wave of artists during the 1970s who addressed sculpture as an activity rather than as an object. In the iconic two-part photographic work 'Plank Piece' the artist documents the use of his own body as the sculptural component. The static photograph belies the performative nature of the activity presented. Contrived through a complex balance between weight and gravity the artist suspended his body using only a plank of wood, creating a minimal, graphic image that is at once humorous and unsettling.

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  • title: Plank Piece I-II
  • accession number: AR00342
  • artist: Charles RayAmerican (born 1953)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • date created: 1973
  • measurements: Each: 109.00 x 76.10 x 5.00 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Charles Ray
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Charles Ray

Charles Ray

The American artist Charles Ray has worked with film, photography, sculpture and installations to explore the notion of representation and to fuse the surreal with reality. Born in Chicago, he studied at the University of Iowa before completing a Masters degree in 1979 at Rutgers University, New Jersey. His early work was heavily influenced by the work of Anthony Caro and other abstract sculptors. He then began to incorporate his own body in his work which led to parallels being drawn with the Body Art movement. More recently he has exploited the readymade alongside aspects of mass culture. In his work, Ray deliberately subverts traditional classification – “[I was] trying to make something that was so abstract it became real or so real it became abstract”.