Unreal Nature

March 14, 2016

The Sovereign and Indifferent Activity of All Visibility

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:55 am

… It is informed by the idea of a living culture bound to the transformation of energies and capable of infusing the organism of art with the magnetism of nature.

This is from Michael Heizer by Germano Celant (1997):

… [For Pop and Minimalist artists] The idea was … to put oneself in harmony with the world of concrete things, so that communication might not be subjected to the distortions of individuality, but would become one with the perpetual flow of objects, products, fetishes, and artifices. Art thus affirms itself as a magnetic intercommunication between artist and reality.

[line break added] Instead of enclosing itself inside a womb of solitary, mystical reflection, à la Arshile Gorky or Barnett Newman, it presents itself as mediator between spectator and image or thing, introducing an interpretative element of the object as sign and icon, volume and form. The loss of identity and psychological perspective gives way to an identification with the overall structure of social and popular signs, such as advertising and cartoons, photography and design, and to an interpretation of the formal and spatial codes that come into play in defining the primary elements that make up the universe and underlie all structures of communication and perception of volumes and environments.

The shift is from the direct representation of the internalized participation of the subject, with all its libidinal and mystical charges, to an exposing of the image produced and constructed by the subject, who is a consumer of figures and forms. While in Action Painting and Abstract Expressionism art tended to cancel itself out in the rational and irrational presence of the self, in order to become a disruptive force and poetic impulse, in Pop Art and Minimal Art it is transformed into the emblem of a force that pulls everything outside.

[line break added] Art turns its attention to effigies and simulacra, to all that repeats and reflects the movement of life as spectacle and phenomenon, pure and impure, redundant and reductive. The improvisation of strokes gives way to a preference for the framing, editing, the visualization and cadencing of images and forms, so as to produce a split between the visual experience of the individual “I” and the directions for the use and application of the objects and things autonomously presented as images of the collective “I.”

… they tended to inhabit the present. They accepted it and adapted themselves to the situation, passing through it without wanting to transcend or negate it. In this sense, their journey was open to every sort of contamination and ambiguity …

[ … ]

Heizer_NorthSouth_overhead
Michael Heizer, North, East, South, West, 1967 [not North, South, 1967, but similar to it]

… With North, South, 1967, Heizer’s art and contemporary art along with it, enters the sphere of pure process. It brings the creative act back into the formless cavity of primary energy that produce all forms, into the place where all archaic, ancient and modern cultures have always found and situated this energy. He returns to the primordial substratum of the world, to what has existed from time immemorial. Where the sovereign and indifferent activity of all visibility occurs.

… One no longer accepted the concept of a partial art, isolated from the world and from nature, from life and from death. The goal was a post-aestheticism capable of involving any and every kind of material and language.

Heizer’s emphasis is on the re-emergence of a material earth, and of its physical, environmental and territorial components. The action that inspires him, however, while having its roots in sacred Olmec and Inca ritual, remains the expression of a modern American perspective. It is informed by the idea of a living culture bound to the transformation of energies and capable of infusing the organism of art with the magnetism of nature.

… With its narrowness and cultural and artistic incestuousness, New York, a city of technological monoliths without magic or mystery, became intolerable to him. He asked himself whether it would be possible to extend its gigantism beyond its confines, and thereby to continue the dialogue between art and an environment other than the urban one. He found the answer to his question in the virgin earth, which offered untouched, raw material, and the possibility of serving as a medium of art.

To be continued.

-Julie

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