January 11, 2008

Reflections on First World Contemporary Art

This is much belated. I’ve been having trouble with chronicling my life recently, for reasons I won’t discuss here. But it looks like cath up is coming at me. So here goes. This blog will not be only about Guatemala. I’ll also be catching up on stories of the past month, as they bubble up in my mind. Poof.

While I was home, I spent an afternoon at the Modern art Museum of Montreal. It was... odd. Modern art always does that to me. Three artists were presenting. A Brazilian whose art is basically... err.. huge pictures of representations made of epheremeal material. That's the best way I can put it. There was a Raft of the Medusa, in chocolate sauce. Weird.

But anyway, what he had to say about his work was this: "The object in the picture seemed to satisfy an eternal longing for its own sublimation. A body, freed from infinit materiality, meeting its own spirit." This is a note he made on a series called Individuals, basically 60 sculptures made of plasticine, though he recycled the material, so one had to be destroyed for the creation of the next one to be possible. So I guess, in his case, the final work of art was the photograph. That was the original. The things the human mind can come up with. Maybe I should start making strange, very odd things with paper clips and quit my day job. Or maybe not.

There was also a German fellow called Tomas Hirschhorn who exposed a... gods, I don't even know how to describe it. A giant set that I guess would qualify as a sculpture, except it took a whole room. The darn thing (I didn't like it, it was grisly, disturbing, depressing) was an allegory for globalization, I guess. I still took notes on it, at the time, wanting to discuss them with you - then, well, life got in the way. But here they are.

So... the thing is called Jumbo Spoons and Big Cake, and the "big cake" is our society of excessive consumption, while the "jumbo spoons" represent 12 twentieth-century utopias that have failed, in the artist's view. Examples include Fashion, Rosa Luxemburg, Degenerate Art, Rolex, the Chicago Bulls, the Moon, Nietzche, China, Venice. You know, I think in theory, I agree with him. But the presentation itself was... yuck.

Anyway, he did say something that I liked : "I realized that I had to make the choice to be an artist because only as an artist could I be totally responsible for what I did. The decision to be an artist is the decision to be free. Freedom is the condition of responsibility."

I guess I liked it because it resonated with me. I feel the need to be free. I'm slowly learning to accept to take this responsibility.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

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