July 29, 2016

Summer Musing: Put Yourself In The Position-Art


On Sunday I had just an hour to check out the UdK Rundgang, which was a pity. It was also a pity that it was at 11am: it's no good to go to an art school in the morning. So I walked around a bit in the entrance hall where the master works were on display and I didn’t see anything, literally, it seemed to be all white or something, or just boring - I guess both. Then I got lost in the long labyrinth halls of the UdK looking for the Zipp class. Instead I came upon Ai Weiwei’s class that (no surprise) worked on the topic of refugees. Already its mise-en-scene was a cliché: a heavy black curtain at the entrance and inside it was all dark. I backed out immediately. I'd rather come upon the art work by Elias Johansson but I missed out on it. It's a good persiflage on Ai Weiwei’s refugee art and I had seen it the day before on the  Facebook page of artist Ming Wong. You remember Ai Weiwei's awful photograph in which he takes on the pose of the three-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body that washed up on a beach near Bodrum? In general, I have a dislike for this kind of “put yourself in the position” art.  And more specific, some clear words about social hypocrisy in art have been spoken by artist, activist and cultural critic Nine Yamamoto-Masson (I talked about her great blogs before), also on Facebook:

“Hey privileged artists: stop using marginalised people as art material for rich white people and plug your poverty porn as your "artwork" in commercial gallery shows & when applying for art funding. Do not go around barge in on already existing community/solidarity projects by communities you are not a part of and steal their projects from them and claim them as yours, and give interviews to art media and other saviours about what a great saviour you are, get off on your tears, and collect that sweet donation money you divest from people who do REAL and non-racist/non-queerphobic/non-classist/non-ableist solidarity and empowerment work.” 

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