Contents

Intelligence and Happiness?

A while ago, the Inquisition pondered the nature of intelligence, and whether a certain outlook or attendant mental abilities are guides to or from happiness. This has been obliquely in the news of late…


Buried by the Sea

Its odd. Most graveyards in Connemara appear to be near water, if not actually right on the coast. Why? West Galway, or Connemara, has a lot of unused space. Admittedly, much of the land Connemara is industrially and agriculturally useless, […]


Cycling Two Abreast

Cycling two abreast in Ireland is legal, a protected practice, and it is safer.


Indoors / Outdoors (Defuse)

A talk given by The Inquisition at Defuse, on Wednesday 7th November 2012, as part of Designweek in Dublin, Ireland


Nürnburg’s Extra Bombs

Nürnburg got ripped to shreds by Bomber Harris’ boys. By how much appears to be open to debate.


Law & Morality

The preface to HLA Hart’s publication of his 1961 lecture series on the meeting of law and morality is as prevalent today as it ever was.


Foy – The Bodiless Head

A bodiless head is revered as being Saint Foy, who died a cruel death.


Coffee Haters

There are people out there who pretend to like coffee. Coffee Haters – you have been warned.


False Flags 2

False flag, covert ops by Americans against Americans? Sounds crazy, and so it was deemed.


Plastic 55 Years Ago

55 years ago Roland Barthes considered the importance of plastic and what it meant, as a substance and a symbol.


Cesare Borgia’s Party

The Pope, his son and fifty prostitutes – Cesare Borgia’s party.


Marriage – A Potted History

Marriage is thought by many to be a fixed rite, one which is immovable and inflexible. The truth is that it has not always seemed so…


Blinking Morse

The world was shocked when a victim of torture started blinking morse. The story of a US aviator captured in Vietnam.


Synecdoche

Synecdoche is a powerful, expressive linguistic device


1991 VG

Earth has had a recent fly past by the mysterious alien probe, 1991 VG. And it’s coming back. We’re screwed. Maybe.


Horace De Vere Cole

Horace De Vere Cole was the major protagonist and originator of the Dreadnought Hoax. Who was he? What was the Hoax?


The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Contents Page
The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Semper Quarens - Always Looking

Art Negates Itself

A Parallel Image by Gebhard Sengmuller

A Parallel Image by Gebhard Sengmuller

The art world, like the real world, is in constant flux. Genres redefine themselves, whole areas are reinvented, meanings and readings shift. Art is constantly undoing itself. The modes and media are fluid and evolving.

For example, art fought its way out of galleries through the 60s and 70s in an attempt to reclaim itself from academia, the market and ownership in general. However, art is now finding its way back in to these galleries which allow the greatest expression and with the kickbacks that prominence in a market can bring. This market is the key – everyone wants buy the latest big thing. Except in price and exclusivity it is no different to the MP3 player market – who wants to buy an ipod from 2 years ago?

In the (paraphrased) words of Matthew Collings ‘nothing in art is new. It is about re-interpreting the past to be relevant to now’.

Detail of Hieronymous Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights and detail of the Chapman Brothers' Hell

Detail of Hieronymous Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights and detail of the Chapman Brothers' Hell

Max Raphael wrote that art’s aim was the “undoing of the world of things”. Marcuse refers to it as “the great refusal”. John Berger speaks that art is the bridge between what is given and what is desired.

In other words we already have art but by its nature art must always strive to be beyond the art that was. The problem is that we can’t invent a new art, it is always founded on concrete art history.

Detail of Pieter  Bruegel the Elder's Hunters in the Snow and Detail of an un-named piece by Francisco Infante-Arana

Detail of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's Hunters in the Snow and Detail of an un-named piece by Francisco Infante-Arana

Human history also interrupts the story of art causing it to lose and change its meanings. A triumphal imperial painting might now be seen as tasteless colonial suppression. In the two examples below we see cutting edge scientific progress, which now looks like schools’ science.

Detail of A Philosopher giving that Lecture on the Orrery by Wright of Derby and detail of The Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt

Detail of A Philosopher giving that Lecture on the Orrery by Wright of Derby and detail of The Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt

Millet’s peasants doing back-breaking labour in a seemingly endless field speak to us more of a predominantly rural past than of agricultural production.

Millet's Les Glaneuses

Millet's Les Glaneuses

Art and history conspire to make art become artifact almost as soon as it is seen, digested and assimilated. Every year, as soon as the Turner prize is announced the ones that didn’t win become footnotes in the history of the prize, not the vibrant pieces they were previously.

This process is also internalised – as we see a piece we digest it, consign it to memory and go on to look for further visual stimuli. But if we return to a piece. its familiarity is over-riding. It is a thing of the past.

Bibliography
About Looking, John Berger, Bloomsbury, 1980
Seven Days in the Art World, Sarah Thornton, Granta, 2008
Gebhard Sengmuller reinvigorates the silhouette
Image of Gebhard Sengmuller’s work used without permission. If the artist or any of his representative’s wish it to be taken down please contact the Inquisition.

This article was posted by on Monday, December 14th, 2009 at 04:28.
It is archived in Art, Culture, History, Museum and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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