Structural Plays

Brian O’Doherty

In re-publishing the Structural Plays the primary aim was to gather them together in one place, a sort of textbook from which they could be enjoyed, read together, or used as a blueprint to re-create the performances. The original notations are included at the bottom of each. These, together with Brian’s notes on the plays, provide a clear account of how the plays might be performed today. Two of the plays, Sex, and Violence, were performed at the Metropolitan Museum NY in 2017, as part of the exhibition Delirious: Art at the limits of Reason, 1950 - 1980.

The eleven Structural Plays, or Grids, as O’Doherty sometimes referred to them, were devised over a period of about four years, from the late sixties to the early seventies, and took the form of drawings or worksheets, one for each play. The source for these was chess and the chessboard’s 8 by 8 grid. Each play represents a different theme and as O’Doherty notes, ‘each was carefully selected to present spoken language in all its grammatical glory and to illustrate some of life’s essential experiences’. They take from one to twelve minutes to perform.

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The Structural Plays was designed and printed at Stoney Road Press. The plays are archival pigment prints, printed on Awagami Inbe 125 gsm coated paper. End-papers are black Tiziano. Essays, foreword and colophon are printed on 175 gsm Somerset Book white. Binding is single sheet Singer sewn and linen bound by Pascal Flynn
at Antiquarian Bookcrafts, Dublin. The source material for the Stuctural plays was from photographs of the artist’s original drawings. Photography, Julia O’Donoghue.
The book measures 75 x 60cm when closed, and 75 x 120cm when open. The edition is 20.

The plays are archival pigment prints, printed on Awagami Inbe 125 gsm coated paper. End-papers are black Tiziano. Essays, foreword and colophon are printed on 175 gsm Somerset Book white. Binding is single sheet Singer sewn and linen bound by Pascal Flynn at Antiquarian Bookcrafts, Dublin. The source material for the Stuctural plays was from photographs of the artist’s original drawings.

The book measures 75 x 60cm when closed, and 75 x 120cm when open. The edition is 20.

Click on the image below to view the PDF
Structural Plays
Structural Plays
The source material for the Stuctural plays was from photographs of the artist’s original drawings.
All text and images © Stoney Road Press
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