....Research Topics and Speculation about Art and Public Space by Scottish Citizen and artist Matt Baker

Thursday, 3 June 2010

the other side of art’s mirror

If we simplistically chart the story of Art from.............

1.ritualised image making as part of a system of magic 
to 2. devotional image making in the sevice of organised religion 
to 3. private/politic commissions for memorial/decoration/education 
to 4.the Enlightenment ‘cult of the individual’ tasking the artist with illustrating this cult with reference to their own individuality (or genius)..........

.......then we are left with the awkward question of what (or who) is art for today?

This question takes two forms:

...from the ART perspective - where do you look next after focussing only on yourself?

....from the BODY POLITIC - what are the group identities and social purposes that art could/should service?

For Jaques Lacan, the fragmented body emerges in infancy when, for example, the infant sees his or her body in the mirror and recognizes the body to be somehow apart from oneself. That is to say, the synthesis that was once a wholeness becomes fragmented by coming to see the body as being decentered from the physical body

To generalise recklessly, it seems to me that-

Artists working within the gallery and artworld still believe that they only have to look hard enough in the mirror.

Artists making their work for the public sphere are placing their faith in a collective effort towards the future....a belief in Art as one means of asking the questions that humankind must face in order to live with itself on the other side of the mirror

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