Saturday, December 6, 2008

kitty kraus

This Berlin-based artist is doing a kind of Eliasson, making things happen mechanically (also an interest of my own). These installations aren't providing second hand experiences - in other words, illusions of what someone saw or imagined - but exist as immediately experienced reality. Its a sort of abstract painter's version of performance art perhaps, or installation - genres which obviously provide numerous precedents for the idea, but not quite the form these two artists' work is taking.

The upper picture shows the puddle left when a fluorescent light bulb (previously carefully frozen in a block of inky ice) has been activated in the gallery space, heating up the bulb and at some point exploding it.

The lower picture shows panes of glass constructed into light boxes with simple tape joins, and light escaping from it in a kind of perspective/hall of mirrors pattern. (Some of them have 500 watt bulbs in them that get too hot and also explode).

The wonderfully baroque puddle made itself, the light comes out from behind the glass to stupendous effect. It appears to be the ultimate "anti-aesthetic" decision, as far away from traditional art process as possible...but entirely linked in content. I like it.

I've just read a critique of Eliasson's work in Art Papers that seems to question his lack of ethical direction, real belief in anything, noting his lack of alignment with "social polemics" that, in contrast, accompanied many of those powerful art movements of the 20th Century. I thought we'd given up on the master plan for utopia...

My thoughts are that perhaps just setting out the possibility of something is enough. Let's get to the meaning slowly, individually. Maybe the fact that this art connects with the past but is achieved differently is message enough.