Monday 7 October 2019

Picture Post #49: Vision in a Suitcase

'Because things don’t appear to be the known thing; they aren’t what they seemed to be neither will they become what they might appear to become.' 

Posted by Tessa Den Uyl

Florence, 2019

The Venus by Botticelli, the David by Michelangelo, the Thinker by Rodin, names which resonate, and celebrate moments in our history which are now in the lap of technology. With new materials and with lasers, these images, and thus the names, are copied and cast into gadgets which we can grasp quickly and transport (even) in hand luggage.

These persons had a vision. In this light it just seems odd to exploit ready-mades for commerce that are not urinals, thinking of Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ and placing a non-art object in an art space.What happens in this shop window might be thought of as the reverse. The art (and its creator) are objects available to everyone. But nothing within these statues reminds us of a vision. They are vision-less, though apparently they remind us of something else.

Does this mean that, when we have merely heard about something, scraps of such something are enough to live through the original, with all its implications and compulsiveness, in which and for which the creation came into being?


Keith said...

‘[T]hese statues … are vision-less’. Yet, might there actually be a vision in these—at least of sorts? Might the ‘vision’ of the storefront tchotchke versions of ‘Venus’, ‘David’, and ‘Thinker’ be less about the creativity of ageless art and more about the simple, mundane, vanilla raking in of Euros from tourists’ pockets? Arguably a vision is met in both cases: the first (the original art), exalted across the generations; the second (the stamped-plastic figurines), ordinary but serving the immediate needs of seller and buyer alike. Sounds like the intersection of historical creative genius and modern-day free market to me.

Thomas O. Scarborough said...

This made me think of kitsch or (in Southern Africa) fong kong. However, note that 'fong kong' may be offensive. It is a (post) modern phenomenon. But why?

Tessa den Uyl said...

Thank you Keith. Still I do not see how a chewing-gum colored David might reflect historical genius.

docmartincohen said...

And yet the hierarchies of art should not be unchallengable. One of these statuettes might be considered art if it were, say, ten meters tall and in a grand exhibiton space. Indeed, I have seen qute a lot of work in the Bilbao Guggenheim that is really rather mechanical, formulistic, lacking in a 'message' - but we are happy to call it art.

Tessa den Uyl said...

Whether certain art is declared as art is due to critics, though when we put these statues above as if of similar charge, we stop to make distinctions. And if we start to do this, vision which can come along only by distinction, cannot be recognised any longer. This means we are moving towards a vision-less society in which duplicates provide a reminder of vision instead of enhancing it. You are making art into a souvenir. The gadget does not remember vision, it recalls individual experience (“remember when” ), and this is a galaxy away from the original piece. Vision is beyond time, souvenirs are past. Good marketing sees ahead. But here, IMHO, there is not even an idea. If these things sell, it is ignorance that buys. Fong kong, in that case, for certain person’s can be offensive indeed!

P.s. this is not about creating a hierarchy, or elevate art into heaven.

Post a Comment