Searching your place in art history. Insight and advice.
1. Where do ideas (for artwork) come from?
– Ryan Gander. Difficult Ideas and Unrealised Projects, 2021
A freely downloadable screensaver for a personal computer, displaying an idea a day for 365 days a year. The titles act as a starting point for an art project, as originally recorded by the artist in his notebook.
– Artur Beifuss & Francesco Trivini Bellini. Branding Terror. The Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations. Merrell, London-New York, 2013.
Branding Terror is a project for understanding the visual identities of terrorist organizations. This requires the attempt to study terrorism without condemning it. This is not to be viewed as displaying insensitivity to the victims of terrorist acts, nor as an acceptance of the harmful, destructive and blameworthy motives of terrorists and deeds.
– Femke Herregraven, Liquid Citizenship, 2015.
Liquid Citizenship is a site which gathers together international data on citizenship opportunities and exemptions, enabling you to explore the offers available for purchasing a national passport, or acquiring citizenship through other means, such as naturalisation, people smuggling or asylum seeking.
2. Are artists influenced by the art context?
George Kubler: The importance of the entrance in art history.
“Each man’s lifework is also a work in a series extending beyond him in either or both directions, depending upon his position in the track he occupies. To the usual coordinates fixing the individual’s position -his temperament and his training- there is also the moment of his entrance, this being the moment in the tradition -early, middle, or late- with which his biological opportunity coincides. Of course, one person can and does shift traditions, especially in the modern world, in order to find a better entrance. Without a good entrance, he is in danger of wasting his time as a copyist regardless of temperament and training (Page 6).
“Good” or “bad” entrances are more than matters of position in the sequence. They also depend upon the union of temperamental endowments with specific positions. Every position is keyed, as it were, to the action of a certain range of temperaments. When a specific temperament interlocks with a favorable position, the fortunate individual can extract from the situation a wealth of previously unimagined consequences. This achievement may be denied to other persons, as well as to the same person at a different time. Thus every birth can be imagined as set into play on two wheels of fortune, one governing the allotment of its temperament, and the other ruling its entrance into a sequence.
By this view, the great differences between artists are not so much those of talent as of entrance and position in sequence. (Page 7).”
George Kubler. The shape of things. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1962.
WHAT IS MAINSTREAM TODAY?
Grayson Perry: Contemporary -isms.
“But I was thinking about what the ism of today would be, if this twntieth-century parade of modernism was in some ways the age of manifestos, with many of these art movements figuratively nailing their manifesto to the door of the art gallery. Perhaps the twenty- first century is the age of pluralism. We haven’t said, ”It’s going to be all about dreams now” or “It’s all going to be about splodgy paint.”
And then there’s another ism that crops up a lot in the art world today, and that is globalism, because the art world now this is a series of art worlds all over the globe, lots of different countries, lots of emerging world scenes. Or of course one of the big, dominant, squatting, toad-like things over the whole world is commercialism. that’s a very powerful movement that’s going on. And then there’s always that good all favourite, that one that always has enormous power: nepotism. (Pages 103-104).”
Grayson Perry. Playing to the Gallery. Penguin Books, 2016.
PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE IN ART
Planned Obsolescence and the logic of the capitalism:
- Responds to the needs of production and renewal of the goods
- Based on novelty, innovation.
1945 >> 1990
>> BASED ON FORM
FROM 1990-2000 >> TODAY
> BASED ON CONTENT > BASED ON TOPICS
“THE DYNAMICS OF THE NEWS”
3. What does art to do with narrative theory?
STORY vs DISCOURSE
– WHAT / THE THING
– What it is about: events / characters / chronological line
– Story is understood as if it existed independently from the discourse
– HOW/ THE TELLING
– How is presented to us: media / order / fragment
– Discourse makes us understand the story as it were indendepent from the discourse
The story refers to What, to what the narrative is about: events, characters, timeline, etc.
The discourse looks at How, how events are presented: the medium, chronological order, the emphasis on one fact or another.
Transmedia contemporary audiovisual culture shows how ONE story can be told through MULTIPLE discourses (media, forms…).
Story and discourse interact as if the story were pre-existing and somehow independent of a particular discourse.
STORY <> DISCOURSE
FICTIONAL WORLD <> THE FACTUAL MATERIALIZATION: THE TEXT
PROJECT <> ARTWORK
– One materialization of the project (among many others)
4. What is the “new” art paradigm?
THE PARADIGM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
REFERENCE: Nathalie Heinich, Le paradigme de l’art contemporain. Structures d’une révolution artistique. Gallimard, Paris, 2014.
|How is art considered? (as…)||EXPRESSION||PRODUCTION|
|How we judge it (in terms of…)||SINGULARITY||BEAUTY|
|CLASSICAL ART:||Expression / Beauty|
|MODERN ART:||Expression / Singularity|
|CONTEMPORARY ART:||Production / Singularity|
DISPLACEMENT: FROM THE OBJECT (a painting, a sculpture…) TO THE PROJECT
FROM ONE TRADITIONAL MEDIA TO MANY TRADITIONAL AND NEW MEDIA
– Questioning the boundaries, expanding what can be considered art
– Dematerialization of the artwork
FROM AUTOGRAPHIC (HANDMADE) TO ALLOGRAPHIC (BASED ON INSTRUCTIONS) ART
(from Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols, 1968)
– The artist might not produce their art by his own hand
> manager or movie director
– Optionally, the discredit of craftsmanship
FROM SPACE TO TIME
– Visual arts > performing arts / cinema / literature
– The importance of context
> physical: installation / social-cultural: web of references
THE NEED OF A “STORY“
– Justification is as important as the artwork
– The explanation / the interpretation
> “user guide” (to give meaning/how to read, experience)
The artwork is not a single object any more:
It is a device -and a story- that provokes experiences / sensations
Artwork> DISCURSIVE DEVICE / / NARRATIVE APPARATUS
The artist as something else:
The artist as a journalist: Taryn Simon
The artist as a collector / archaeologist: Mark Dion
The artist as a detective: Sophie Calle
The artist as a historian: Fernando Sánchez Castillo
The artist as an (pseudo) scientific: Joan Fotcuberta
The artists as a designer of utopian projects: Manuel Saiz
The artist as an anthropologist: Stephen Willats
The artist phenomenologist: Julius Von Bismarck
5. How can I use all this?
– The glimpse (choosing a trendy discourse without being aware) might make you plagiarize unintentionally
– DON’T LET THE CONTEXT DRIVE YOUR DISCOURSE, SEARCH YOUR OWN STORY
AGAINST THE RISK OF UNINTENDED PLAGIARISM > BUILD YOUR “OWN STORY”
>>> BUILD YOUR STORY, THEN YOUR DISCOURSE
- SEARCH AND BUILD YOUR “OWN STORY”
- MAKE IT COHERENT
- THEN, IF YOUR STORY NEEDS ANYTHING, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF SOMEONE ELSE DID SOMETHING APPARENTLY SIMILAR BEFORE