February 23, 2009

Thomas Hirschhorn on Collage


To do collages is essential to me. I do two-dimensional Collages and three-dimensional Collages. Doing Collages means creating a New World with elements of the Existing World. Doing Collages is expressing the Agreement with the Existing World without approving it. This is Resistance.

Doing Collages is based on this Agreement and this Non-Approval. That is the reason why often Collages are not taken seriously. That is the Reason why making Collages is suspicious and why doing Collages is considered unprofessional. But those are precisely the arguments which demonstrate the Resistance of the medium Collages. Collages resist Facts, Collages resist information and Collages resist Documents. Collages create a Truth of their own.

Doing Collages still means working with explosive matter, doing Collages still has the ability to reach a Public – a Public which I call – the Non-Exclusive Audience and doing Collages still escapes control – escapes my own control first. Everybody has, once in his life, done a Collage. Everybody has, once in his life, the sensation that the world can be re-invented, that is so easy, that it really is possible – through a Collage. But then was told – immediately – it is too easy to do this, it is too simple and it is too evident.

This is exactly what I want to insist upon: I want to insist upon doing a simple, easy and evident work. I wanted to do a basic, rough, primitive work. I wanted to do crude Collages: Bring together what has nothing to do together; bring together – what only I think – can be brought together; bring together – what only I see – as together; bring together – what only I know – as together. I juxtapose them as a Headless Act. A Constitutive Act – done in Headlessness. I want to create the condition for an Understanding of the World – the World I am living in. I understand the World – as One World, as the One and Only World, as the One and Unique World – I am living in. I love to do Collages – and in doing it – I want to do a work which reaches Universality. Doing Collages is my tool.

- Thomas Hirschhorn, 2008


February 20, 2009

Roy Arden on Hans-Peter Feldmann


In 1975 Hans-Peter Feldmann sent envelopes, each containing a letter and twelve snapshots, to people with whom he was personally acquainted in the local art scene. The amateur-porn style, flash photos showed the artist engaged in a ménage a trois with two women in a deep-red brothel-like setting. The letter tells that while he wasn’t ashamed to perform such acts in private, their public display was another matter. Yet, he explains, there are much more shameful, “really sickening” things, being done in public, for which the majority feels no shame.

– Roy Arden


February 16, 2009

Two quotes from Terror and the Sublime in Art and Critical Theory


Spirit’s “true concern is the negation of reification.” That we make our world is the time-full “truth” that "untruth" most wishes to silence. Reification is that hardening of historically produced conditions into “second nature” – a totalizing ideological and material environment experienced as timeless and unchangeable. It is an enforced forgetting of the political “truth” that structural barbarism is not necessary, not an invariable. Collectively constructed, the given world system can be collectively changed. The practical problem of how to change it, at this point, requires radically rethinking the categories of revolutionary theory. But that the world can be changed – and that both the desire for change and the negative utopian images that provisionally orient that desire can be found within the failures and contradictions of the system itself – remains the core of “truth.” To keep this negative dialectic moving, to resist its arrest and regression, is the work and play of critical thought.

- Gene Ray, Terror and the Sublime in Art and Critical Theory

As Heraclitus long ago showed, however, there is no pure or simple repetition. Repeating old gestures in new contexts always produces a semantic yield that exceeds that of the original model.

- Gene Ray, Terror and the Sublime in Art and Critical Theory


February 11, 2009

Happiness with a full awareness of the tragedy of life


What I’m interest in is happiness with a full awareness of the tragedy of life, the potential tragedy that lurks around every corner and the tragedy that actually is life.

- Wolfgang Tillmans


February 10, 2009

A conversation between Lenin and Valeriu Marcu


A conversation between Lenin and the young Romanian poet Valeriu Marcu (in a cafe in Zurich, some time around 1917) in which Lenin attempts to convince the poet to 'accept his critique of pacifist opposition to the First World War':


Then Lenin said to me, 'Do you know the real meaning of this war?'

'What is it?' I asked.

'It is obvious,' he replied. 'One slaveholder, Germany, who own one hundred slaves, is fighting another slaveholder, England, who owns two hundred slaves, for a "fairer" distribution of the slaves.'

'How can you expect to foster hatred of this war,' I asked at this point, 'if you are not in principle against all wars? I thought that as a Bolshevik you were really a radical thinker and refused to make any compromise with the idea of war. But by recognizing the validity of some wars, you open the doors for every opportunity. Each group can find some justification of the particular war of which it approves. I see that we young people can only count on ourselves [...]'

Lenin listened attentively, his head bent towards me. He moved his chair closer to mine. He must have wondered whether to continue to talk to this boy or not. I, somewhat awkwardly, remained silent.

'Your determination to rely on yourselves,' Lenin finally replied, is very important. Every man must rely on himself. Yet he should also listen to what informed people have to say. I don't know how radical you are, or how radical I am. I am certainly not radical enough. One can never be radical enough; that is, one must always try to be as radical as reality itself".


February 5, 2009

Howard Becker Quote


Even when you don't want to do what is conventional, what you do want to do can best be described in the language that comes from "conventions".

- Howard Becker