… ‘I’m doing something’ versus ‘what am I doing?’
This is from Liam Gillick’s chapter in Akademie X: Lessons in Art + Life (2015):
It is necessary to consider:
The gap between rhetoric and practice. Contradictions between behavior/appearance and practice. Mode of refusal. Levels of natural talent (can these factors be recognized and analyzed?). Incompatibility with the rest of the school/art context in general. Studio conditions. Continuity of form/practice media. The extent to which the artist appears incapable of anything other than what they do. The productivity level of the artist.
[line break added] The completion percentage. Levels of commodification of the practice. What is perceived as idiosyncratic and what is pan-culturally recognizable. Withholding of trajectory and veiling of the future path of the work. The extent to which not knowing is potentially an asset to the practice. The degree to which the artist self-consciously mines historical reference points.
… The doubled quality of aesthetic experience. A developed self-conscious relation to the mainstream formal context. Taste: on the edge? Fast/utterly tasteful? Outsiding (moving from in to out and back again). Constant self-consciousness in the social landscape. Painting as a highly artificial act. Expressive translation of the excessively known. Claiming of the postmodern dilemma as a starting point. False dilemmas. Insolent historicism versus the street.
… The specifics of the work are crucial despite non-profound starting point. Potential of refusal to control the space around the work. Things are always assumed to be the way the artist intended them even if the artist did not intend them to be understood that way. Lack of room for speculation in art provokes anxiety. The sense of shutting down meaning production. No recognition of intention within the work or attempt to draw you in or trick you but a constant pushing back to exteriority.
… Bypassing what it looks like in favor of what it is. Reactions feeding the very status/conditions of the work. Indexical responsibility of the artist. Responsibility is the choosing of things by the artist. Self-consciousness of transmission in neo-conceptual practice. The notion of a better way. Finding a ‘way that works.’ Studio as laboratory. Critique of the laboratory. Importance of the kind of place of work and the products of that specific place. Creation of scenarios where the work itself only just happens to exist. Unstable state of the work.
… The value will also be determined by people other than the artist anyway. Space of expectation as an artist’s territory. Being conscious of avoiding the processes of recent art history. Delay in recognition — art out of sync with perception. Time shifts in the moment of comprehension. Element of surprise for oneself and the viewer.
… Making meaning and description, thereby avoiding problems of representation. Creating a theory trap. The thing that appears to be the subject is not the focus or the heart of the work.
… ‘I’m doing something’ versus ‘what am I doing?’ Moral/ethical component of doing something from yourself in order to find out something. Process versus theory.
… Shift of focus rather than big moves, sense in which merely shifting focus is viewed as a paradigm shift in over-reaching analysis. The rift between an idea and how it gets displayed (rather than how it gets constructed). Work emerging from problems within the work alone (art as a feedback loop self-generator).
My previous post from this book is here.