Unreal Nature

August 3, 2016

Substituting Irony for Credulity

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:46 am

Baltz himself is included within the irony and leaves things undecided …

This is from the essay ‘Park City — A Disposition of Irony’ by Hubertus von Amelunxen in the Park City volume of the multi-volume Lewis Baltz (2010):

… Using his camera, Baltz leafs through the maltreated blooms of a withered reality, pulling the house shells, already dilapidated at their origin, out of their desolate surroundings and exposing all urban construction to be civilizational decay. Only after many years, after repeated studies of his image sequences, did I realize that the explicit ambivalence of these images lies not in the photographs themselves, but in the space of their observation.

Park City, interior, 33

Lewis Baltz is also a photographer, but he is primarily and above all an artist whose attention is devoted to the undecided, which may appear unambiguous in the social and political consensus, but remains undecided in the human.

Baltz himself has written about the artist’s handling of photography: “… rather than manipulate a shared system of belief, he must acknowledge that all such systems are in ruins and that nothing is wholly believable. A contemporary myth would have to be a myth inverted, promoting skepticism rather than faith and substituting irony for credulity …”. And the contemporary myth has to reveal the conditions and mechanisms of its own critique.

Baltz himself is included within the irony and leaves things undecided, between true and false, without the moral gesture of having an eye to a better world.

… it is certainly no coincidence that Baltz has the book end with an image that is introduced on the left by a vertical black line and is then almost totally covered by a bright, almost white map on which there is a sketch of a section of Park City. The thumbtacks with colored heads stuck into the individual plots make this section of map look like the outline of an elephant; the color symbolism is explained on the left: “Blue – For Sale; Green – Under Construction; Yellow – Under Contract; Red – Closed”.

And can this irony replace the ironized reality with a better reality?

Park City, interior, 41

My most recent previous post on Baltz is here.




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