Since my student days I’ve been interested in making works which mark, in some way or another, the passage of time. In 1970 I made a drawing (Additive Composition) which dealt with this in a simple accumulative way – a grid of 160 squares in each of which I added more and more dabs of black paint – from one to a hundred-and-sixty. A bit later, in an exhibition in the space that was soon to become the new Chapter Arts Centre, I made a work with a similar process entitled, Symmetrical Exercise Quantitative Architecture (hopefully there was a touch of irony in this ponderous title). In a grid of string and masking tape piles of wood shavings were added in increasing numbers. Over time the eddies of air created by people walking through the space, and the wanderings of a dog, disturbed the regular order of the grid. In 1976 as part of A Day at the Hermitage (see Actions section) I cut notches in a stick and repeatedly counted out pebbles in a pile – one notch and one pebble for each day of my life. Every now and again I come back to this theme adding a few more pebbles to the heap.
Marking time also implies a musical dimension, modes of structuring sound, or in my case, visual elements in a drawing. Hence the following works, part of a series titled, Ragas. The term, raga, refers to various structural modes employed in classical Indian music – modes which are associated with different times of the day (evening ragas, morning ragas).