(Continued from the previous post)
These thoughts were kicked off by Allard van Hoorn’s work at Gasworks, which had the idea of the urge to involve other groups of people outside the artworld, through the sending out of meaningful objects.
A lot of my concerns about art revolve around the problem (as I see it) with adding more and more things to the world. In some way I see this as unnecessary and wasteful of resources. So I get very sensitive if an artist is making objects, and I am more likely to be sympathetic to an artist that works in intangible ways (music/sound being a good example).
But my biggest problem is with artists who want to get beyond “the art system” by sending out objects into a mythical space outside of that system, where they think some alternative audience exists, some audience that somehow will take the work to another level which the art system is unable to do. I see this as questionable (I originally said “dishonest,” but maybe that’s too harsh), in the sense that these domains, these audiences ultimately are impossible to pin down to any real set of people, and indeed may well simply be the artists very own constructions. You expect/want the two worlds (you have created) to come together at some point. But the artwork constructed these worlds as part of of it’s reality, it forces them onto the world.
Can I better define what my problem is with putting objects into the world? I mean we’ve been doing it forever, it could almost be the norm for a certain type of artist? – they leave remains of their work for posterity, there is some justification to be got if they can prove they exist by the objects they leave behind.
And when the audience for this art becomes insufficient, they search for new audiences, deliberately or by random interactions. In some cases they will do this by creating an object that can be sent out into the rest of the world, can go beyond the world they think is somehow lacking. Are they hoping to bring more people into art, or to bring themselves out of art into some glorious stage divorced from the art world, because the art world is lacking somehow? The former would simply reinforce the problems the artist perceives, if there is a problem with the art world, does bringing more people into it make any difference? The latter would just deny the very structures which created the art in the first place, which seems a perverse action (but not necessarily a meaningless action).
Maybe I’m misunderstanding the attempt. Maybe it’s just a matter of injecting an element of unpredictability into a work rather than a pursuit of a new audience. After all, the person who picks up the object could just as easily be an artist as anyone else, there is no telling.
But there seems to be an urge to go beyond the structures we have already, they are lacking in some way. Is it that art has something to give to the world, but somehow lacks suitable means to engage with that world? Is art a structure good for production but not good for reception? Maybe this is what art is all about, pushing the boundaries, real or imagined?
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