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Murray MacDonald
From May 30th 1980 to June 21st 1980

"I would be interested in constructing an installation for the south gallery space at Optica. Such an installation would require the whole gallery space as it is necessary to have a large area in which to erect the series of columns, enclosures, and pathways.

The impetus for this undertaking comes from a recent visit to the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain. Walking through the interior of this mosque produced a heightened sensation of being in a specific place, relating to larges spaces, yet managing to be comfortable in that scale. Of course much medieval architecture seems to take into account the human scale, but this particular space seemed unique in the rhythmic placing of pillars, spaces, and projections.

I would like to construct a similar space, on much more modest terms, which would present some of that feeling but in a particular way which would help present and define the human presence (i.e. physical volume). The installation would involve construction of various sized columns placed at regular intervals which would reinforce a sort of open and closed space at either end of the gallery. Entering the room one would be forced (more or less) to approach the other side of the room via a pathway. On the return one would not necessarily feel obliged to come back the same way. This requires two constructions or enclosures at each end of the gallery. Materials would consist of wood, steel, column forms, and some concrete with, of course, consideration given to weight and size limitation.

Due to the amount of work involved in the preparation of the piece, should it be accepted, it would have to be presented late in the Spring as my 'free time' is somewhat short for this year. I would foresee no problems in having the piece finished within the next four of five months."
- Internal document (Optica) : project proposal, October 20th 1979

"In a text printed on the wall near the entrance, Murray MacDonald gives some clues about the prototype of his installation which took place last June at Optica. Reading it, we realize that he isn’t talking so much about a visual model – the specific look of the Mosque at Cordoba – but of his physical experience with a certain kind of space. He says that he wanted ‘to maintain that ‘forest of pillars’ sensation (on a modest scale) which would act as a transitional device between the whole space of the room and the actual space of the individual.’ So while there is no real visual resemblance to Cordoba (where the columns support a complex system of tiered arches), there are kinaesthetic references.

This particular sculptural/architectural cross-reference is effective because of the sculptural nature of the spatial conception at Cordoba (which it shares to some extent with the temples of Egypt and Greece). […]

What is the result of the conjunction of architecture and sculpture which MacDonald proposes in this installation? Basically, it is an attempt to transform the usual subject/object relationship that occurs in volume-enclosing architecture and in place-occupying sculpture, through the integration of the space of the work (and by extension, that of the building) with the space of the viewer (who becomes a participant). […] In its scale, its tactility, and its transparent openness, it facilitates an intensified awareness of being in time and space."
- Nemiroff, Diana, "Murray MacDonald, Installation", Parachute, no 20, Fall 1980, pp.49-50.

- Nemiroff, Diana, «Murray MacDonald, Installation», Parachute, no 20, automne 1980, pp.49-50.
- Nixon, Virginia, «Diane's Acrylics Display a Bouquet of Color», The Gazette, 21 juin 1980, p.106.
- Toupin, Gilles, «À la galerie Optica : De Cordoba à Montréal», La Presse, juin 1980.