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Venice 2011 – a short comment

June 12th, 2011 by Charles Esche

Just back from Venice and the Biennale….the most interesting general tendency to me was retrospection and recuperation of the past. From Tintoretto in the International show to Monastyrski, Boltanski, Gotovac, Schlingensief and more it felt like revisiting our parents or grandparents. even works like the excellent Polish Pavilion by Yael Bartana were looking back and Mike Nelson reconstructed a previous work from Istanbul. Is this a sign of a culture in decay or a sign of something about to happen? Reminds me a bit of my early teens in the mid-seventies when the best music was always at least 10 years old and the best thing to do was repeat it. In 1976 we were desperate for something – and then punk happened. Any chance the same could happen in art today?

One Response to “Venice 2011 – a short comment”

  1. Heinrich Nicolaus Says:

    In 1976 Punk happened and in Berlin it let to ambiguous situations from Kippenberger on one side to Salome and Fetting on the other side, in London Vivian Westwood “gentrified” the Punk creativity, while in NY bands like television and Sonic Youth used it as a plattform in order to conquer new territories, in Japan Punk influenced the Manga artists – yes, it was a global phaenomena, that let to the “cross over” between fashion, art and music of the eightees.
    My generation belongs to the post-hippies and pre-punks, I grew up with Buckminster Fuller ideas and Allen Ginsburg poetry…the darkness of punk was like an injection of real reality while we still listened to the Beatles White Album reading Hermann Hesse.
    It woke us up, and suddenly the artists we where dealing with (like Broodthears, de Maria, Nauman ect) seemed so “academic”, mapping the studio or reading Mallarmé felt kind of obsolete and anachronistic after a concert of a serious Punk band, which was more powerfull and more true.

    I think today art has become a very ecclectic, chaotic and difficult field, mirroring absolute confusion. The only response I have on the question what could be strong enough to have a result that could be compared to Punk (not as movement but may be as result) will come out of the “underground” and not from the art fairs. I personally believe that artists like Paul Thek will become more relvant, artists that dealt with art and life in an extreme way, that lived their art,and today something like this cannnot happen anymore thanks to the great individual artist genious.
    It’s all about quality, and high quality cannot be achieved anymore by one single artist,it’s about teamwork, like in the big architecture firms. The wave will come from the believers, no more place for professional cynims in this wave, and no more fakes.


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