Unreal Nature

March 19, 2018

Why Do You Think That You Are So Important?

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:37 am

… I try to avoid the personal specificities, because I think they become nostalgic and it is a kind of self-mythology …

This is from Gabriel Orozco interview (1997) found in Robert Storr: Interviews on Art edited by Francesca Pietropaolo (2017):

[ … ]

Robert Storr: How do you think about the business of taking found objects and displacing them culturally as well as placing them physically? The first step is Duchamp. The second one is about cultural perceptions and cultural politics. If you show the DS in France that is one thing, but if you showed it in Mexico what would it be?

Gabriel Orozco: Very different. The approach to the work and the perception of the people in Mexico will be very different. Maybe we’ll show the DS in a small town in Texas, or in Acapulco. The reading of the work not only has to do with the country, but also whether it is a big city or small city. I think that it is a car that is very universal, through movies. People who love cares love the DS.

La DS, 1993

[ … ]

RS: If I can take it that you reject the idea that art can be pure under any terms, and that one kind of purity is art that is purely aesthetic and has no social and political dimension, I wonder if you felt that old definitions of how to be political also needed to be examined?

GO: Yes, absolutely. One of the most important things to consider and to think about is the 1980s’ strategies in terms of politics and using the media, and dealing with the institution inside the institution, criticizing the media from inside the media. … How this worked and didn’t work. I think we are dealing with this now.

[line break added] One of the things that I’ve always tried to deal with is that artists engaged in those issues were always thinking of the public as something completely big and abstract, as if they thought “I have to get into the media to talk to these people.” So there you are, and then what? Do you have something to tell them? Who gives you the authority to say something, to go up on the podium and say something? Why do you think that you are so important? I hope that never happens to me.

[line break added] The problem is the perception of the public as something abstract and amorphous, which I think is common ground between the strategies in the early 1980s and in the early part of the century. This notion of the pubic as a mass, I think that is a little bit of a problem. At least I am trying to deal with it in a different way. It’s a matter of how you deal with the particular and the general. The private and the public.

So I try to avoid the personal specificities, because I think they become nostalgic and it is a kind of self-mythology, and then I try to avoid the media and the public and the masses, whatever. I don’t believe that it makes that much difference in the end. I’m trying to change the scale in terms of gesture. For me, the breath on the piano is as important as the DS and I think if they are both important, good or whatever, then they have the same power to transform. One is a big important historical car, more expensive to make, and the other is just breath on a piano. The two have the same power to change something. Does this make sense?

Breath on the Piano, 1991

My most recent previous post from Storr’s book is here.




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