Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Finishing off the Flesh Series

Found at Rebel:art among other (excellent) participants of the International Sticker Awards (to be announced on October 3) is this wonderful example of product sabotage, by Thomas Judisch. The sticker simply says "free sample". You can agree with the ideaology or not, but you have to admit it's ingenious to say the least.
This can also be a vengeance of the vegetarians after all the flesh-fuss that has been appearing on New Art.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Body of Flesh: Pinar Yolacan's portraits

Age is violence. It is violence as in: power, and it is violence as the inevitable overpowering.
The women on the pictures from the Perishables series (2004) by Pinar Yolacan wear this age in a way that brings about strong feelings. Disgust? Humiliation? But why? Why is wearing meat so shocking? We do get it - the meat is just a continuation of what we are, it is as sacred or as profane as we wish to see it. So why does it seem so intensly profane? Why is it revolting?
The women on the pictures don't seem embarrassed. To the contrary - they know who they are. And they know how deep is skin-deep. And possibly because of their incredibly stoic stance, we reach another point - of acceptance, of peace.

There is a wisdom in these wrinkles that seems unbearably right. And beyond the purity of light, may I add - there is also pain.

The exceptional thing is - this pain is distinguished. And if you think it's because the subjects were WASPs, see Pinar Yolacan's the Maria series (2007).

Here are women from the Bahia region in Brasil, which was colonized by the Portuguese. And here, the flesh changes its value: it is not about age any more, but rather, about distinction and pride, but also submission and humiliation, about the color of skin and the heaviness of the-object-that-thinks. Maria is the most common Portuguese name - and in Brasil nearly every woman has Maria as one of her names. It is also a reference to the Virgin Mary, a reference that here challenges our thinking about holiness. Look at this raw, dark flesh, and see the purity.

It seems to me Yolacan does not really have a statement that guides her work (interview with the artist here). Vanitas. Possibly. But I'd rather see her as a researcher - she investigates what the matter - the flesh - can tell her, where it can lead her. And this very intuitive, "non-rational" way of working is something I cherish. Because if you listen carefuly, your own sensitivity will embrace the matter in such a way that, once it is done, the work might speak the thousand words you never knew you had.

Friday, September 19, 2008

On blogging, the power of images and misbehaving

Here we are, now, entertain us.
In a comment to my last post, Matka wrote: Please, add a new piece soon! My internet explorer opens with your page and this work makes me seek [sick?] for a couple of hours.

Independent on whether this particular request should be executed or not, a serious issue creeps up behind: can we speak of a more or less bloggable material? Should we?
At first, there seems to be no doubt: a blog is personal by definition, right? The author decides what to put on it, and that's it?
Not quite.
1) Any reader of art blogs will notice blogs have formulas and tend to stick to them (this is not just the case of art blogs, obviously). So there is a topic, an approach, a way of writing and really, a "strategy". This can be a personal strategy, but it remains one.
2) In the case of art blogs, strong images work. That is, if you're looking for an audience, don't spend so much time writing: find attractive images. They can be shocking, but they have to be instantly rewarding for the spectator. And that's disgusting, dear Matka.
There's the rub: A blog is like a light version of a magazine. You drop by, take a glance, and in case of picture-filled blogs, if the image is not appealing, you move along. I see it in the stats, I know it (mea culpa) from autopsy. An art blog is, to a great extent, a mini-gallery. To a neophyte observer it might seem like people only take a glance and then leave. But after all, isn't it about those few that stay a while and dwelve deeper?

It's nice to be visited. And appreciated. And the more popular you are, the more, humm, popular you are.
The point is, it influences the choices you make. And all of a sudden, you know what sort of images work on the blog. And those are the ones you choose. Fast art consumption. It's nice, it's clean, we get it. Good, effective art.
Then the next step might be thinking about not offending Matka's tastes. And that's scary if you write a blog, (a personal page). But then, even if you don't go that far, the blog, the site, gains a life of its own. And thenyou start listening in on what it wants.

Come to think of it, it's not necessarily horrible. After all, it's also the wonderful feeling of an object coming to life, gaining an identity. Indeed, in the case of this blog this life has been continuing even during my absences. And that's a beautiful sight.
Yet it is still mine. Heheh...
And hopefuly, the lapse in Matka's text did make sense: beyond making her sick, the image also makes her seek for a couple of hours.
And in case it doesn't, here are a couple of replacement images. If anyone here can handle Japanese, please go here or here and let me know who is the artist, and what is going on, these sites seem creepy as hell...

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!

Oh, that this too, too solid flesh should melt

Not fit. (As if fit actually still meant fit for something). Too much body in the body. Too much flesh in the flesh. Too little shape. Too little containment. The form is amorphic. It isn't even interesting in its lack of shape.
Someone once told me he kept surprizing himself by how profoundly average he was.
What argument against it? Self-awareness? That's pitiful. I say, tie him up with a thin red line. Make him dance like a ham. Make him squeek, make him laugh. Now, cut the line.
And see how the marks fade away.
Ever so slowly.

The charming picture is by Alison Brady.



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