Global art: Of catastrophes, redemptive gestures
"The Hindu" - link
Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Nov 24, 2002
um bom artigo encontrado entre leituras sobre o "global art circuit e a biennial culture"
alguns extractos apenas...
a central flaw of Documenta 11: the desire to reduce visual art-works to the condition of essayistic language
"Many Western critics assumed, somewhat naively, that the Nigerian-born, New York-based curator would act as an "ambassador of the periphery to the centre", a bearer of news from elsewhere. In sharp contrast, many of the `peripherals' whose envoy Enwezor was believed to be, saw in him an émigré, a diasporic figure adept at playing native informant and prospector on behalf of the First World, while actually pursuing his own agenda of dismantling the primacy of the art-work in favour of the political and cultural contexts of its production.
Enwezor is certainly a challenger of the Euro-American ascendancy that dominates the global art circuit — but he acts under the sign of a sophisticated disciplinary re-conceptualisation, not that of an uncomplicated Third-Worldist vision."
"Viewing Documenta 11 from my own location as a cultural theorist and independent curator based in India but active in trans-cultural projects, I found myself asking whether Enwezor's strategies of choice have not reduced the art-work to an information-machine: an archive, digest or index for the radicalisation of political experience. Surely the poetics of provocation operates on the basis of an invitation to the transitive, an aesthetic surplus which indicates that the imagination has been at work above and beyond the call of the annalist's duty?
The curatorial argument suggests that it is sufficient for an art-work to signal an issue or problem, even at the risk of leaving the concept disembodied, simulacral. The result is that many of the art-works are illustrative or referential: the didactic assembling of evidentiary material replaces the transformative possibilities of art, in the numerous projects built around notations from the war zone, lists of missing persons and destroyed places, troves of useful information, stochastic models of opinion concerning just governance, data bases for citizens. To regard such works as more than the demonstration or journalism they are, one must constantly place them within a context, mentally, and give them credit for bearing a sense of that context to Kassel.
The determination to be politically correct also throws up positions so solemnly correct that it is impossible to disagree with them. Having no ragged edge, no confrontational, opinionated stance to react to, we concur and pass on, or hurry ahead to escape death by tedium. Sometimes, the politically correct art-work becomes almost grotesque in its oversimplification, offensive in its caricature of a horrible reality —... .
This points us towards a central flaw of Documenta 11: the desire to reduce visual art-works to the condition of essayistic language. Such a reduction obliges us to accept the limitations of the discursive and the textual: a language cannot function without a context that activates its grammar and meanings. But the visual image can transcend its context; its grammar and meanings activate themselves independently of context, in the experiencing consciousness. While the playing-down of visuality and palpability, in favour of textuality and intent, has a crippling effect generally, ---
We find another fascinating interplay of visuality and textuality, record and fiction, politically subtle wit and imagistic beauty, in the work of the Atlas Group, an imaginary foundation established to research the turbulent history of Lebanon during the 1970s and 1980s, by the artist Walid Ra'ad. This history is rendered in fictions presented as historical accounts, in the deceptively truth-delivering languages of witness testimony and neutral reportage: tragedy, nostalgia and elegy, as well as satire and sly humour interweave in such works as an inventory of car-bomb attacks classified by car model and colour; an account of horse-racing bets laid by historians; and a series of video-filmed sunsets at the beach, supposedly by a surveillance camera but telling of unattainable homes, childhoods lost to war.
The contest between visuality and textuality incarnates the interplay between the political and the aesthetic, between justice and pleasure, truth and beauty. Despite the dominant tendency towards a restrictive language-biased model, several artists included in Documenta 11 foreground this interplay by synaesthetic means. Consider, for instance, the quirky idiosyncrasy combined with political shrewdness and optimism in `New Manhattan City 3021', the Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez's translation of New York into a future Orientalised cosmopolis. Against the metropolitan ascendancy of the West, the horror of brutalised subcultures and collapsing infrastructures, Kingelez sets up an architectural fantasia: it may resemble a child's construction set, highly coloured and made from diverse materials, but it is charged with a sophisticated, Utopian and counter-establishment spirit."
* O Atlas Group está a chegar à Culturgest
vi os seus trabalhos em "Under The Same Sky”, Die National Fotomuseum, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Born 1967 in Chbanieh, Lebanon
Walid Raad lives and works in New York and Beirut
He teaches Cultural and Visual Studies at the Cooper Union, New York
The Atlas Group is a project established in Beirut in 1999 to research and document the contemporary history of Lebanon. The Atlas Group locates, preserves, studies and produces audio, visual, literary and other documents that shed light on this history. The documents are preserved in The Atlas Group Archive which is located in Beirut and New York.
The archive is organized in three file categories: Type A (attributed to an identified individual); Type FD (found documents); Type AGP (attributed to The Atlas Group).