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…
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, […]
A talk given by The Inquisition at Defuse, on Wednesday 7th November 2012, as part of Designweek in Dublin, Ireland
Nürnburg got ripped to shreds by Bomber Harris’ boys. By how much appears to be open to debate.
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.
There are people out there who pretend to like coffee. Coffee Haters – you have been warned.
False flag, covert ops by Americans against Americans? Sounds crazy, and so it was deemed.
55 years ago Roland Barthes considered the importance of plastic and what it meant, as a substance and a symbol.
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…
The world was shocked when a victim of torture started blinking morse. The story of a US aviator captured in Vietnam.
Earth has had a recent fly past by the mysterious alien probe, 1991 VG. And it’s coming back. We’re screwed. Maybe.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Ronan McDonnell on
Monday, December 14th, 2009 at
It is archived in Art, Culture, History, Museum and tagged Art, art history, art market, gallery, History, john berger, max raphael, modern, old, painting, Renaissance, sculpture.
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