“‘We are becoming aesthetically obese’
It’s no news that over the past years our visual consumption ten-folded. Instagram, Facebook, Artsy, Paddle 8, Frieze, Art Basel, etc … are all proof that legendary critic Jerry Saltz was probably right when he warned: ‘The traditional art gallery show is dying’ It is dying and quickly being replaced by art fairs and their online avatars.
The audience also seems to be getting ill, hoarding images and becoming aesthetically obese. The artwork, that decades ago might have inspired our entire youth, today would barely remain in our memory for a week. As technology has grown, our capacity to digest images initially followed; Nevertheless we finally seem to be getting to a point of saturation where our ability to be surprised or moved by a single artwork is decreasing. Like a plague over exposed to a vaccine; we are slowly becoming immune to visual arts.
The new super sized servings of information although seducing in many ways, have unfortunately not been accompanied by a superior quality of works (better capsulated for faster absorption). Consequently the saturation of visual information does not allow its audience the time to digest each work or understand its context. It is precisely in this lack of context where we find one of the key problems; the current work exhibited in fairs, blogs and phone screens was often originally created to be experienced in a gallery context. We should therefore not be surprised that those works that initially ‘worked’ in a pristine white box in front of a captive audience; now have trouble connecting de-contextualized in this new frenetic context.
Its interesting to stop a minute and remember that in 1913 Marcel Duchamp took a bicycle wheel out of its context transforming a consumer product into art. A hundred years later Art fairs and Web sites have inadvertently managed to take art out of its sacred context and transform it back into consumer products.
-Artists interested in continuing to pierce through the new fatty layers of our super sized audience should consider creating works while keeping in mind they will most probably be experienced in the context of the Art Fair or Web Page. This does not mean we should create superficial one liners designed to exist for a mili-second; Much on the contrary I believe we should attempt to create works that can offer a strong exciting exterior capable of capturing the attention of the viewer and hopefully luring them to a re-enforced multi layered work that can offer a multiplicity of readings and a stronger memorable experience.
-I have naturally not yet figured out how to do this… but I hope the practice of simple exercises of artworks that play with multiple meanings can help me gradually improve my practice and prepare for these new exciting times.
Sebastian Errazuriz 2013
114″ x 114″ x 24″
Industrial Fans, metal structure, neon lights and electric components.
Collective design fair commissioned NY based artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz to create one of his signature functional sculptures for the entry of the new fair. Sebastian created an interactive piece that received the visitors with his characteristic layering of humor, wit and thoughtfulness. The Blow-Me fan makes a reference to the always, escalating expectation of the collectors to find something that impresses them and ‘blows them away’. The 9 industrial fans literally produce this effect to all the visitors that stand in front of the piece and dare to press the switch button. The pink neon sign mocks the recurrent cliché of neon art that is lately so abundant in art fairs. The phrase ‘Blow Me’ holds sexual and flippant connotations with which the artist has fun reminding colleagues and collectors that although conscious of the pressures and politics of the game, he will ultimately do what he pleases.” meetsebastian.com