Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Is it Art?

"Am I being a bit too cynical?", I puzzled to myself as I stared incredulously at the sculpture in front of me. The work of modern art insulting my gaze seemed comprehensively devoid of any merit whatsoever. And yet, I reflected, underapreciation of art has been an unhealthy characteristic of mankind for centuries. Perhaps if the rowdy regiments of The Holy Roman Emporer Charles V had taken a course in art history they might have been a little less eager to sack Rome in 1547. If the merciless hordes of Attila the Hun had held more of an interest in fine art and less of a facination with the contents of their trousers, the Dark Ages might well have been a little brighter. In view of this, one must always endevour to place the work of art within its proper context, to see things from the artists perspective and to shed ones stuffy traditional perspective. This proved decidedly difficult. The artist in question had apparently attempted to replicate Tracey Island from Thunderbirds, and yet its most commendable features such as the sliding swimming pool and the avenue of collapsing palm trees were conspiciously absent.
I decided to delve into the art gallery brochure to discover what the artist had intended; this is what I read.

'Sioban Hapaska's sculptures often hover between abstraction and hyper-real figuration. Her installation 'beach of the restless' presents all the clich├ęs of paradise. However, the glow of sunshine on a white sandy beach, palm trees and the sound of waves gently breaking on the shore construct an Eden that is not as it seems. Her simulation of a tropical island is a synthetic anti paradise. In the centre a fibreglass monstrosity with an LCD screen for a face stands sentinel over a glass cube filled with sand and coconuts. The coconuts gaze warily at the screen, which depicts their kin being violently smashed open on an endless production line of destruction, like victims of state terror.’

In the Baroque period, works of art were enormous oil paintings depicting epic encounters between armour plated Trojan warriors and scantily clad, swooning maidens; all with a sinister Turk lurking in the background for good measure.

ART

Now one can simply throw together a bunch of dirty socks, a used condom and a collection of empty Pritt-sticks and claim this sordid collection "challenges the flawed but alluring tabula rasa of modernism and creates an atmosphere of pathos". Art has ceased to be about the work itself and more about the waffle that accompanies it. Take this rubbish by way of illustration

'Marcus Coates’s work documents his attempts to connect with - or even become- an animal. In 'Finfolk' he emerges out of the freezing north sea in ill fitting Adidas sportswear and clip on shades, his idea of what a seal would be like if it were human'

Surely becoming a seal involves substantially more effort than this, living off a diet of raw fish for example or balancing a toy ball on the end of your whiskered nose. In any case it is highly unwise to imitate seals as you are liable to be clubbed to death by a group of passing Norwegians. In this country clubbing involves donning a shirt, consuming large quantities of alcohol and stumbling around a poorly lit cellar full of scantily clad women for the duration of the evening. In Norway clubbing means sauntering down to the rocks with your buddies and chewing tobacco while you mercilessly whack seals over the head with a sturdy wooden bat. As the HSBC advert says ‘Local knowledge is important’; although in my experience, the only local knowledge HSBC actually possesses is 'Indians callcentres will work for peanuts'.

I couldn’t help reflecting as I paced this dreadful collection of exhibits that the majority of these artists would have failed GCSE art have they submitted them as their final piece. I got an ill deserved B grade in art but I struggled throughout my short-lived artistic career due to a chronic lack of talent. For a while I enrolled in an after school activity group and for long hours at weekends I would sit in pottery class churning out clay sculptures which were then placed all over the family home by my dutiful parents as mantelpiece ornaments. For some reason it is commonly seen as one of the responsibilities of parenthood to highlight the achievements of ones offspring, no matter how dreadful. As I discovered when I was packed off to boarding school, this mantra only goes so far.

The one ‘work’ of mine I remember the best was a clay model I sculpted of the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. Inspired by the class nativity play, I spent a good couple of hours marking out the bricks and then arranging them into a miniature dwelling complete with a flat middle eastern roof, tiny windows and rustic doorway. When I proudly brought this home my father dubbed it ‘Saddam Hussein’s Mud Hut’ and it was quietly relegated from the Annex Bedroom mantelpiece to the electricity cupboard when I wasn’t looking. Every time I returned for the holidays I would find that another of my clay sculptures had been accidentally ‘destroyed’ by my parents. Some were dropped when mother was dusting, some disappeared without a trace during spring-cleaning; Saddam Hussein’s mud-hut finally met its maker when it was stepped on during a power cut.

As I was leaving the gallery with Katie I pointed to an electrical powerpoint on the wall and jokily asked “Is this an exhibit”. To my horror one of the exhibition staff thought I was being serious and interjected saying ‘No sir, I’m afraid that isn’t an exhibit, the installations are all clearly labelled’. I failed to take this in and stammered something as my face went an unhealthy shade of pink. Instead of cheerily informing her that I was joking I had succeeded in making myself look completely stupid. I had mocked modern art and modern art had wreaked a terrible vengeance.

8 comments:

oakleyses said...

tory burch outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, coach outlet store online, polo ralph lauren outlet, chanel handbags, true religion outlet, ray ban outlet, red bottom shoes, burberry outlet online, prada outlet, kate spade outlet online, nike free, polo ralph lauren, christian louboutin shoes, nike air max, christian louboutin outlet, coach outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, burberry outlet online, true religion, nike shoes, longchamp handbags, coach purses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, oakley vault, tiffany jewelry, louis vuitton outlet, nike air max, prada handbags, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, longchamp outlet, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet store, kate spade handbags, louis vuitton handbags, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, longchamp outlet online, michael kors outlet online

oakleyses said...

chaussure louboutin, ralph lauren pas cher, nike free pas cher, burberry pas cher, guess pas cher, ray ban pas cher, converse pas cher, barbour, true religion outlet, tn pas cher, air max pas cher, sac louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, vans pas cher, nike roshe, nike air max, abercrombie and fitch, air jordan, nike free, louis vuitton uk, scarpe hogan, michael kors uk, mulberry, true religion jeans, nike air force, sac vanessa bruno, oakley pas cher, air max, nike roshe run, new balance pas cher, longchamp, north face, ralph lauren, lacoste pas cher, nike air max, hollister, ray ban uk, hermes pas cher, hollister, lululemon, michael kors canada, timberland, sac michael kors, louis vuitton, north face pas cher

oakleyses said...

canada goose outlet, asics shoes, giuseppe zanotti, soccer jerseys, soccer shoes, birkin bag, uggs outlet, bottega veneta, wedding dresses, reebok shoes, north face jackets, mcm handbags, ugg boots, babyliss pro, marc jacobs outlet, vans outlet, lululemon outlet, mac cosmetics, canada goose, herve leger, nike trainers, north face outlet, roshe run, beats headphones, longchamp, instyler ionic styler, valentino shoes, ugg soldes, insanity workout, p90x workout, ugg, jimmy choo shoes, canada goose outlet, abercrombie and fitch, nike huarache, ferragamo shoes, nfl jerseys, ghd, new balance outlet, chi flat iron, rolex watches, celine handbags, mont blanc pens, ugg outlet, hollister, uggs on sale

oakleyses said...

moncler, canada goose, links of london uk, air max, hollister canada, uggs canada, oakley, canada goose pas cher, swarovski jewelry, lancel, parajumpers outlet, juicy couture outlet, toms outlet, canada goose, montre femme, ray ban, replica watches, moncler, canada goose uk, coach outlet, swarovski uk, gucci, supra shoes, louboutin, baseball bats, pandora uk, moncler outlet, converse, nike air max, vans, louis vuitton canada, ralph lauren, moncler, pandora charms, pandora jewelry, thomas sabo uk, ugg, iphone 6 case, canada goose outlet, karen millen, hollister clothing, timberland shoes, moncler, juicy couture outlet, hollister, wedding dress, moncler, moncler, converse shoes

oakleyses said...

louis vuitton, nike outlet, nike free run, nike air max, polo outlet, longchamp outlet, nike free, replica watches, nike roshe, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, uggs on sale, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, prada outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tory burch outlet, ugg boots, tiffany jewelry, sac longchamp pas cher, christian louboutin, tiffany and co, louis vuitton, replica watches, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin uk, polo ralph lauren outlet online, ugg boots, michael kors pas cher, louboutin pas cher, polo ralph lauren, longchamp pas cher, burberry pas cher, jordan shoes, gucci handbags, nike air max, air max, longchamp outlet, jordan pas cher, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses wholesale, kate spade outlet, christian louboutin outlet, christian louboutin shoes, oakley sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet, replica handbags, nike tn, nike free uk, coach purses, burberry outlet, michael kors, polo lacoste, nike blazer pas cher, nike air max, hollister pas cher, ray ban uk, guess pas cher, michael kors, true religion outlet, hogan outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike air max uk, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet, new balance, michael kors outlet online, uggs outlet, mulberry uk, nike air force, abercrombie and fitch uk, lululemon canada, north face uk, ray ban pas cher, burberry handbags, michael kors outlet online, kate spade, true religion outlet, ralph lauren uk, sac hermes, nike air max uk, vans pas cher, converse pas cher, hollister uk, nike roshe run uk, true religion jeans, north face, michael kors outlet, sac vanessa bruno, true religion outlet, oakley pas cher

oakleyses said...

new balance shoes, chi flat iron, nike trainers uk, vans outlet, ghd hair, ipad cases, iphone cases, mont blanc pens, bottega veneta, ferragamo shoes, mac cosmetics, herve leger, timberland boots, s6 case, wedding dresses, nike air max, iphone 6 cases, ralph lauren, soccer jerseys, valentino shoes, oakley, longchamp uk, baseball bats, soccer shoes, nike roshe run, babyliss, beats by dre, north face outlet, iphone 6s cases, nike huaraches, north face outlet, hermes belt, iphone 6s plus cases, celine handbags, lululemon, hollister clothing, mcm handbags, asics running shoes, nfl jerseys, abercrombie and fitch, insanity workout, jimmy choo outlet, iphone 5s cases, iphone 6 plus cases, hollister, instyler, giuseppe zanotti outlet, p90x workout, reebok outlet, louboutin

oakleyses said...

juicy couture outlet, juicy couture outlet, ugg, pandora jewelry, moncler, replica watches, moncler outlet, pandora uk, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, gucci, canada goose uk, swarovski crystal, converse, marc jacobs, canada goose outlet, moncler, supra shoes, ugg pas cher, hollister, swarovski, thomas sabo, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, louis vuitton, moncler uk, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, canada goose, canada goose, links of london, toms shoes, montre pas cher, pandora charms, doudoune moncler, moncler, barbour uk, louis vuitton, ugg uk, karen millen uk, moncler, ray ban, coach outlet, barbour, lancel, louis vuitton, hollister, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, wedding dresses, nike air max