[…] These two modalities of the work – the innocent, girlish heart and the cruel reality of twenty dead butterflies are however equally important, as they make up the two contrasting poles of the viewer’s experience. It is between the acts of just looking and looking more closely that the work unfolds itself, that it comes to life, albeit ‘life’ may seem a slightly odd word in this context. None-the-less it is in the very moment of realising that what first appeared to be decorative painted-on details are in fact real-life fragments. As ‘ready-mades’ in the Duchampian sense the butterflies are already-existent objects, which are brought into the framework of art. This through a deliberate cruel act, or less morally condemnatory, an ironic act that turns love into death.
Patronage and Politics
[…] To some this work-relationship has been too close, making some critics question who actually gets the ideas – the artist himself or Saatchi. And indeed, comparing with a modernist conception of the artist as the socially marginalised genus working in isolation, untouched by the capitalist logic of the market, Hirst diverges a great deal. His whole career, like most of the YBAs cannot be separated from neither Saatchi, nor the media, who, not to forget has played an almost equally substantial role in promoting and creating what has become a solid brand.
[…] Oursler reveals the dark side of our intuitive ability – our desire - to connect with simple cardboard pieces on a screen or sophisticated technological spectacles with his troubling characters often under the influence of various media. The complete identification of the mind with the medium, of the eye with the image, was powerfully illustrated by Oursler with an exhibition of large disembodied “eye balls” at Metro Pictures in 1996. Here, the eyes flickered rapidly in response to visual stimuli, such as movies, video games, and tv series, which could be seen only in the form of reflections on the surface of the eyes, almost as if they were imprints. There seemed to be no way for these eyeballs to unplug from the visual feed, no body left with which to flee, no higher mental level from which to edit the flow of information. There is a direct line from the immobile eye balls to the ethereal woman in Sferics who in a sense is caught within the medium.
Oursler seems to offer the opportunity for us to turn on, tune in, and finally log out. Interestingly, rather than breaking open the black box of new technology to expose its inner mechanisms (which would only reveal a level of technicality incomprehensible to us, and so alienate us even more) Oursler pulls us “back to reality” by means of what his characters say or do. Expressing a level of despair, aggression, or fear that makes us reluctant to keep watching with the same degree of absorption, his characters eventually create a distance allowing us to decipher the real message of the medium.
[...] Eliasson’s insistence on the role of the viewer poses a puzzling challenge to any attempt at an interpretation of his work. A typical interpretative strategy would aim at uncovering and revealing the source of the work, the artist’s idea, his reasons for constructing the work in a particular way, the development of his ideas through successive variations, its relation to the art historical context, socio-economic conditions, global warming or the war against terrorism. However, any such interpretation would be on the wrong track. It would be looking for the fulfilment of the interpretative task in an anterior cause that brings interpretation to a satisfactory close. The point at which such an interpretation would end is exactly where it should begin. At that moment the work is set in orbit, so to speak, encountering viewers on its path, and without these viewers it would be engulfed in an inscrutable darkness of insignificance.
To Eliasson, experience is a corporeal event: we perceive with our body. To look is to apply the body to the environment in time, because vision is not an isolated sensory apparatus, it forms part of the general way in which we go about doing things, finding our way about, becoming familiar with our surroundings. And this process is a temporal process. In a sense Eliasson’s work is an attempt to introduce this temporal process into the experience of the art-work.
[…] The basic elements in Andersen's work are found in the relationship between language, space and body. We do not encounter a direct translation of these concepts, nor is there a central point to be represented. It is obvious that Andersen relates to pictorial art at a conceptual level. He uses pictorial art to mediate between the figurative or simply concrete articulation on the one hand, and total silence on the other. It is the gradations between those two points which are emphasised in Andersen's work as a sculptor.
In It's All in the Eye of a Dreamer. Forbundne Kar (skulptur i et rum), he tries to inscribe the body in the sculpture by working outwards from a basic bodily structure which builds on horizontals and verticals and is linked to questions of weight, sight and direction. [ …] The work can be understood as a potential frame for body and sight in space, rather than as a representation of body and sight. It creates a different form of representation from the purely figurative.
[…] The functional principles found in It's All in the Eye of a Dreamer. Forbundne Kar (skulptur i et rum) can be defined as the partitioning of the block of marble, the dislocation of the pieces of marble, their being stacked on top of each other, and the inserting of wooden sticks. However, the fact that these principles are present does not imply that the work is a syntactically articulated construction. Indeed, Andersen tries to move his sculptures towards dissolution. They are on their way to dissolution. But they are always held back by the aesthetic language, their being bound to the body or the functional principles already mentioned.
[…] Imagination and the imaginative possibilities in our nature is the keynote in Viola’s work. It is deeply rooted in Viola’s view of the making of the image, and this paper tries to unveil some aspects of his vision. For Viola, video installation is body and mind – to define it briefly – where the mind is the image itself. Image becomes like thinking on the screen, like a thought, a sort of outward projection of the inner image, to which he grants exceeding power. Image is for Viola an open form, an experience in which one fills in one’s own vision, and where dreams and memories play a rucial role.
[…] Inclusion of anomalies is part of Merenmies' oeuvre. Anomalies are the result of an “open way of dealing” with matters. Good and evil do not come in packages of black and white. “For me ‘evil lives in the hideout of goodness’”, Merenmies states. She denounces “law”: there is no schematic method that makes all things simple. The themes of her recent works have been suffering and lack of compassion. The end result is a register of monsters. Inclusion of the horrible and the ugly, of the sublime and then the picturesque, puts her work in a position where its status is defined alongside works by painters like Fransico Goya, Otto Dix, and Georg Grosz. This position is certainly relevant, but in this essay the focus will be not so much on the monstrous in itself, what in aesthetics is a study of the grotesque, as on monsters and their relation to beginnings and intentions. As a problem of study, “monsters” are attractive, first of all because they can be immediately linked to Merenmies’ clumsy, spontaneous, innocence as well as to what one can only call her fascination with suffering.
[…] What You See Is What You Get?
Due to its simple narrative and disarming figuration, a painting like Blocked Door is a relatively accommodating work. The difficulty in Tal R's painting, however, is to specify and justify its strategy as a contemporary, painterly statement. In more general terms, certain central aspects of the conditions of modern painting, particularly since Greenberg, can be deduced from the pendulum swing between various aesthetic positions that can be perceived in individual works.
The negative critical reception which (European) neo-expressive painting met in the 1980s in socially and conceptually committed, intellectual circles, seriously questioned the postulated organic unity, authenticity and presence of this painterly position. The 'authentic' expressive gesture was no longer legitimate, but merely a regressive confirmation of conservative and socially repressive ideological dominance. Art was to be heterogeneous, open, contextual and conscious of exploring its own representational encoding of reality.
[…] When the existing vocabulary of genres, forms and media does not suffice, is it then meaningful to try - out of sheer bravado, as it were - to place Bock within them? It is precisely because Bock's art poses an interesting dilemma concerning genre, framework and categories that it may be fruitful to examine his art from within the discourse surrounding avant-garde art practice. Taking its point of departure in Bock's work Wühl um die Klumpen 2002-03, which ARKEN acquired after the artist's exhibition 'Klynken i knæk', mounted at the museum in the autumn of 2003, this article will address aspects of the problematic noted above.
Precisely because Bock draws attention to art history, criticism and theory as discourse, it is all the more interesting that critics and writers fail when they try to categorise his work within existing frames, terminology and paradigms. Jens Hoffmann, who has studied Bock's art on a number of occasions, puts it as follows:
'His work simply cannot be described or characterized using typical contemporary art terminology, since it exists outside traditional aesthetics and beyond concepts that are tied to a specific medium or artistic concern.'
[…] Elmgreen and Dragset seem to be asking what will happen when two apparently identical units are coupled: whether the product is dysfunctional or rather transcends what we define as functional within a given idea of normality. In the work Coupled (front to front), Elmgreen and Dragset detourn the familiar in order to include the viewer in the formation of new significations that question and enlarge established patterns of behaviour and conceptualisation.
By linking “the white cube” with meanings from other areas, such as the gay community, they create dislocations which render the fiction of the “neutrality” of art institutions more obvious and open up for a broader debate about established patters and norms. Elmgreen and Dragset do not try to inscribe directly into the institution that which it has excluded, but they do question the framework used for exclusion, thus paving the way for change. While the institutional criticism of the 1970s focused on the ideological and financial aspect and confronted the institution head-on, Elmgreen and Dragset use the institution as a space for a socially relevant discussion. Employing the readymade and minimalism as vehicle Elmgreen and Dragset introduce the question of gender into the institution thus perpetuating the institutional criticism of the neo-avant-garde.