One should never say too much about one’s own work, or, as Henri Nouwen said “the word is the instrument of the present world and silence is the mystery of the future world.” Art is always somehow oriented towards a future in which it exists—either in physical persistence or as a desaturated remembrance. So it should fall to one who has not seen the inner workings, the riggings the makeshifts, the scaffoldings, the armatures and the artifice to apply words to a given piece, someone who knows less is more qualified to speak than the maker regarding the future life of a work.

Surely now it is nothing new to attempt to negate the future, to insert the word “eph*m*r*l” would be an immediate clearance sale on any kind of discussion we wish to have regarding things that disappear before they can be fully known (as much as that is a possibility). But what it is to intentionally obstruct remembrance? Even the most fleeting art wants to be remembered, if not mnemonically reconstructed from its ruins. It seems what no one wants is an art that totally effaces itself—many artists and critics pay lip service to destruction and trebled to auto-destruction, but the fact is, documentation of these acts is often as painstaking as the acts themselves. No one wants a completely humbled art, one that appears without ever announcing itself and disappears permanently without a trace.

Lucy Lippard popularized the notion of a dematerializing art object, a quality shared by many 60s conceptual artists. To me it has always seemed that dematerialization hit a target just left of what has actually been happening since then—the art object has not so much been dematerialized (for what is material?) as it has taken over every material, every fabric including time, space and social. It is an expansion of artwork beyond all definable boundaries, a proliferation of “pieces” with no disposal, no destruction (best-before date) and no possibility of silence. Rosalind Krauss’ concept of the expanded field approaches the same elephant from a different perspective, and to my thinking, is more accurate. Krauss: “Thus the field provides both for an expanded but finite set of related positions for a given artist to occupy and explore, and for an organization of work that is not dictated by the conditions of a particular medium. From the structure laid out above, it is obvious that the logic of the space of postmodernist practice is no longer organized around the definition of a given medium on the grounds of material, or, for that matter, the perception of material. It is organized instead through the universe of terms that are felt to be in opposition within a cultural situation.

But perhaps that's beside the point. We are living in an age of ethical austerity, where it is hard to know if affectations should be shunned or flaunted. Likewise, our (the artworker’s) moods swing between hiding and showing, concealing and revealing, creation and destruction, the engineer-esque and the painterly, understanding and unknowing. Unknowing, though, is different from ignorance, rather it is an alrightness with mystery, at peace with living on the other side of a thin line. The closest point to understanding is not knowing, but perfect mystery, where we are unhindered by ideas lower on Wittgenstein’s ladder. And so we demand...

More mystery, more layers, more veils upon veils, more clouds and more unknowing!

And one last blip on the screen!


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