“Their art turns in on itself, becoming nothing more than coded language”, he said

“I went to Venice, and I came back worried. (…) many times over — too many times for comfort — I saw the same thing, a highly recognizable generic ­institutional style whose manifestations are by now extremely familiar. Neo-Structuralist film with overlapping geometric colors, photographs about photographs, projectors screening loops of grainy black-and-white archival footage, abstraction that’s supposed to be referencing other abstraction — it was all there, all straight out of the seventies, all dead in the ­water. It’s work stuck in a cul-de-sac of aesthetic regress, where everyone is deconstructing the same elements. There’s always conformity in art … Continue reading “Their art turns in on itself, becoming nothing more than coded language”, he said

“just because ‘they’ said”, she said

“For to do things or not to do them just because ‘they’ said one must or must not, or because ‘they’ would be pleased if one did or angry if one did not, even if ‘they’ seemed to be inside oneself, this was surely an evasion. It was an evasion of the responsibility of being a separate person who could not, without dishonesty, see permanently eye to eye with anyone else. Of course, such conformity was necessary at times, or social living would be impossible, but it was no solid rock on which to base one’s living, for it seemed … Continue reading “just because ‘they’ said”, she said

“we are, in a sense, always already dead”, she said

“While our mortality is inexorable – we are, in a sense, always already dead – we are also always already other to ourselves, and so our death is, in a sense, forever forestalled; (…) We may, for all intents and purposes, be already dead or, perhaps more accurately, caught in the endless feedback loop of eternal return that Derrida so eloquently describes. The photographic self-portrait is particularly revealing in terms of these profound questions. Due to its status as representation, it opens the photographed subject-as well as the viewing subject to otherness and so to an ongoing “life” in later … Continue reading “we are, in a sense, always already dead”, she said

“No man is an island, entire of itself”, he said

“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes … Continue reading “No man is an island, entire of itself”, he said

“art has no intrinsic value”, he said

(…) That is, aesthetic value is a sensuous appearance of social values. The work of art has no intrinsic value in itself; it indicates or produces by suggestion something which is thought to be desirable, and so from this desired thing it borrows value. (…) Art then is a symbol. Like all symbols it is subject to being debunked. But this is not a judgment against specific works of art for being mendacious in hiding other interests, as Schopenhauer condemns pornography for arousing men’s wills instead of quieting them as art should; it is a judgment against the sincerity of … Continue reading “art has no intrinsic value”, he said

“The photograph has to tell a story if it is to work as art.”, he said

“…as in prose, ‘form’ in photography is reluctant to become ‘content’, and works best when it just barely succeeds in converting its subject into art – that is, when it calls the least attention to itself and lets the almost ‘practical’ meaning of the subject come through. This is why there are so many pictures made with documentary intent among the masterpieces of photography. But they have become masterpieces by transcending the documentary and conveying something that affects one more than mere knowledge could. The purely descriptive or informative is almost as great a threat to the art in photography … Continue reading “The photograph has to tell a story if it is to work as art.”, he said

“fiction tends towards the real”, he said

“The two go together (document and fiction). The document tends towards the imaginary, the fiction tends towards the real. You could say that if you aim at a form of truth through fiction, then the real will become enigmatic precisely because it is obvious. Documentary photography offers an interesting possibility of achieving a poetic form. For me that is more than an interesting possibility, it’s what I’m aiming at. If an image is powerful enough, if it resists us, if, by its obscure coherence, part of it escapes our understanding, then it means that something has been won from reality.” … Continue reading “fiction tends towards the real”, he said

“in nature, you can’t make art”, she said

“The only thing we knew was that the best answer we could look for was in nature. So we went back to the desert and started traveling. The desert was a great place for us, because there was a minimum of information, an extremely violent environment, heat, and so on. You were confronted with yourself and your own life. Then we decided to go to the Aborigines to find answers in nature. We chose the Aborigines because the culture was absolutely nomadic, as we were. At that time, we lived in the car and just traveled around. We didn’t have … Continue reading “in nature, you can’t make art”, she said