Unreal Nature

March 25, 2019

It Wasn’t Just a Benign Presence

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:17 am

… it wasn’t just a benign presence, but that it had really strong reactions of both love and hate.

This is from a conversation between Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Ben Schouten and Nick Axel in issue #49 (2016) of the independent quarterly magazine, Volume:

[ … ]

Ben Schouten: The notion of failure of course has to do with value systems. You can only fail according to certain values; so if you don’t have values you can never fail. What value systems are at play in your work?

Matthew Plummer-Fernandez: The value system for my projects is the context in which it operates. So if it’s a project about art criticism, then that’s the value system. If it’s about generating sculptures, then it’s about good or bad sculpture.

[ … ]

BS: So you create something that you don’t know what the end results will be, kind of like when you paint, you have a painting, and you only know it’s done when you’re ready and you hang it.

MPF: Exactly. I mean I did that project almost as a reaction to being pulled into a more contemporary art world, where discourse was already in a gallery space, where everything was acceptable because it was art; it had a certain audience who was already sold on going to the gallery in the first place.

[line break added] But when you put work into some sort of community who isn’t expecting it, and it directly links to the work theat they’ve contributed, it opens up a lot of unknowns. I mean it did eventually evolve into very healthy conversation with people arguing for both sides of whether this is good or bad or whether it is art or not, but for the first two weeks it was very one-sided.

In the end it found the right allies. That’s one of the things I like the most about the project, that the social element was so extreme, that it wasn’t just a benign presence, but that it had really strong reactions of both love and hate. To get that you have to dare to push boundaries in both directions.

-Julie

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