11 June 2011


I was looking at some of the images floating out of the Biennale in Venice and I confess that I was easily seduced by some of them without even going to experience it firsthand, most notably the work of two artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla in the American Pavilion. Its a wonderful idea: that of an army tank, belly up on its back while a jogger runs on a treadmill powering the tracks and making a deafening noise. The joggers are rotated every 15 minutes and each wear a tee shirt announcing 'USA' so we get the point. A great idea in fact, brilliant with great humor and aesethic wit. 

So, why do I feel as is I've just consumed something? These conceptual works seem to be based upon an idea and are either fabricated by others or appropriated, in this case an army tank from Britain. I know it seems that I am missing the point but it brings me back to an idea which obsesses me somewhat: What place does the hand of the artist have in today's world?

One could say that there is a certain distrust, even suspicion by many conceptual artists concerning the human appendage commonly know as the hand. Why is that so? I remember being appalled to hear Anish Kapoor once say in a film that 'the hand is overrated in today's world of Art,... Handiwork by an artist is an outdated and romantic idea.'

So,...this appears to be a digital world, a place where Chopin and Picasso would do well to find a new line of work.

1 comment:

  1. This is the conundrum, but we will all return to the hand when the money runs out, the disaster happens, because all of this conceptual art is created by having enough money to be able to do it in the first place.

    In the small world, what could be more perfect than the artist's hand working with a pen, paintbrush or stick of charcoal? I am finding more and more young people who are excited by good old fashioned painting and I think it will all come back again .... I hope!