Showing posts with label sonsbeek 2008. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sonsbeek 2008. Show all posts

Saturday, July 26, 2008

sonsbeek 2008 (2): procession and `grandeur'

to be fair, perhaps i should give some more background to my previous post. here you can read an interview with anna tilroe, the curator of sonsbeek 2008.

(her theme is `grandeur'...why do these things need a theme? call me negative, but i cannot help thinking that this is a combination of entertainmentlike advertisinglike promotion. let's all collectively do something arty about ... suggestions anyone? do i hear grandeur? fabulous, thanx a bundle.)

first her take on this procession business:

Tilroe: ‘The reason I called it a procession is that I wanted to get away from the idea of a spectacle - it's not a parade or a carnival. For me, a procession is something that demands a considerable effort. It really demands something of someone to take part in it. I've nothing against an event in itself, you could define an event as a break-through. The art is literally carried by various groups in society, which we've called bearer guilds. They display the art to the public: look, this is art, make of it what you like but we've engaged ourselves with it. The educational nature of this undertaking, the information they receive about the work of art and the encounter between the bearer guild and the artist are important here. The guilds have to know what they are carrying, what they are engaging with. So far there are several initiatives for bearer guilds, consisting for example of allotment gardeners, policemen, and cultural bureaucrats. '

sorry. it still doesn't make any sense to me at all. but anna tilroe also says some interesting things, i reproduce some questions and answers from the interview mentioned above:

Question: Alain Badiou argues that art is not without obligations, but a domain that generates new and important truths. There are, he says, four domains in which certain ‘truth procedures' occur: politics, love, science and art. For this reason, art has an educational and ethical task. You believe in this, too, but is it not a naive thought in today's neo-liberal economy, in which the world of art is largely determined by the art market?

Tilroe: ‘The international art world hangs together through mutual connections and these are not free of big commercial interests. The art world is completely sick, it is nothing but an art market. I'll just have to see how I can keep aloof from this. But what the market has to offer is not everything. I'm trying to resist this. I recognise its dominance, to be sure, but there's more. There are enough artists who succeed in keeping their distance from the art market.'


Question: To conclude, isn't it so that the wish to unite art and life remains an insatiable desire? In the Netherlands we're plagued by a real boom in social art projects, and didn't you also once say that artist themselves have almost nothing to contribute since what reigns is the curator's concept?

Tilroe: ‘I agree, but my exhibition is different. It's not art in the neighbourhood, it's a celebration of art. Works of art are special; I would only go so along to a certain extent with the idea that ‘art is life'. I can already anticipate the criticism: I'm making art into a fetish, objectifying it, making art something sacred. But I think you have to keep trying to rescue art from the flows of capital that it has now become part of, and from Richard Florida's notion of the Creative Industry. The work of art is being celebrated in Grandeur not because it is an expensive object, not because it is the plaything of the elite, not because it is something that has a sacred status. But because it represents the human imagination.'

so, at least i think i could have an interesting conversation with ms. tilroe (perhaps boring for her, me being so out of the loop of modern art worlds). there is hope yet in art for those who don't wish to join the general advertising/entertainment/capital flow.

Friday, July 25, 2008

example: sonsbeek 2008, the procession (advertising, the bane of modern art 4)

like multatuli, i do not have to go out and look for examples. if i stay at home and lock the doors, i still cannot escape them.

about 3/4 yr ago i was contacted by slak, an organization in the area arnhem/nijmegen that rents out subsidized studios to professional artists. slak announced that sonsbeek 2008, the 5-annual(?) open air sculpture exhibition in sonsbeek park arnhem, would be accompanied by a Procession...


well, because processions are becoming the fashion in modern art. there had been a procession in ... and also in ... and they had been a huge cultural and artistic success.

*but what the mahogany is the meaning of this `procession'?

well, to show that art is supported by the people, the procession will feature the exhibited sculptures carried by `guilds' through the streets of arnhem, before their placement in the park for exhibit. guilds of course, you uneducated artist, were what we had in medieval times, when processions were popular. And so it all makes sense, you see?

*but what do you need me for?

well, it would seem most appropriate if the artists of slak would form a guild, to carry one of the sculptures through arnhem. of course, a guild is more than just a labour gang. the guild will adopt their art work, meet its maker, and organize meetings around it, and take care of it in years to come, etc, you understand?

*ok, so let me get this straight. i'm a professional visual artist, but you are not interested in my work. instead you have some `star' visual artists, and to promote and advertise their work in a carnivalesque need me? oh, i see, that makes sense. but only if you think that art is entertainment. and then of course, satellite entertainers will enjoy their part (even if small) in the Grand Event. well...good luck...i hope...


let's see what the website has to say:

The Procession
Art carried by the people

It is unique that at Sonsbeek 2008 the inhabitants of a city carried works of art through the streets in a magnificent Procession. An event that states that art needs the support of many in order to acquire a real meaning in society. But the idea of the Procession is also a celebration, a festive way of presenting art as the symbol of human imagination.

On Sunday June 8, 2008 this Procession took place amidst the decor of the old innercity of Arnhem.


to me this is a perfect example of advertising winning out over art (at least what i call art). the advertising for art (that's what this procession nonsense is about) is surrounded with the same bla bla that art is surrounded with, and then pronounced art itself. the artistic success is measured in terms of advertising and entertainment terms. serious professional visual artists are even expected to join in for free, for the good cause of art i suppose (or because it will give them exposure...?).

let's all arty party...would you hold my sculpture there, then i can dosido around this painting...and take your brush and swing it wide, paint your partner side by side...

sonsbeek 2008, procession