Dreck (In Solemn Dub)
1 – 2. George Baldessin, Window and Factory Smoke, 1971, Etching on aluminium foil, 56 x 76 cm (image), Latrobe Regional Gallery Collection, purchased 1973.
3. Pictured left to right: (left) George Baldessin, Window and Factory Smoke, 1971, Etching on aluminium foil, 56 x 76 cm (image), Latrobe Regional Gallery Collection, purchased 1973. (right) George Baldessin, City Monuments, 1967, Etching and aquatint, 58 x 50 cm (image irreg), Campbell Hughston Collection, Latrobe Regional Gallery, gifted 1974.
TROTH & GEORGE BALDESSIN
In George Baldessin’s work Window and Factory Smoke, three chimney structures extend from the bottom of the frame – the window looking out to the sky clouded with deposits of industry. The vista is speckled with smog and debris, churning through the air. It is the remnants of used energy, omitted through mammoth exhaust pipes. These chimneys are like limbs or extremities, part of the anatomy of the factory.
The processes and techniques used in this work can also be thought of in relation to the subject matter. Indentations made into a copper plate – an industrial material – are filled with thick, viscous ink. This process adds another layer of imagery to the work, such as the grime and oils of machine engines, or the gritty soot that settles from the air, getting stuck in hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, Baldessin has printed the etching onto aluminium foil, mimicking the reflection of a window and the sheen of steel smokestacks.
Various elements in Dreck (In Solemn Dub) by Troth are reminiscent of the continuous internal rhythms of industry, such as the labour line or the clunks of parts moving in orderly time, forming the heartbeat of the factory. Alternating between a lower hooting sound and aerated puffs, a rhythm is established early in the piece. With the provided imagery of Baldessin’s work, this could be heard as machines set in motion and excess energy exhaled through chimneys. Overlaying this rhythm with clink and rattles could be descriptive of energy transferring from one component to another. Vocals of what might be an incantation are incomprehensible, as echoes augment words reverberating from one metal surface to another.
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