WORDS

Meaning within Contemporary Art

Viewing 'The Big Now' for Robot Koch and Robin Grubert . directed by Dejha Ti, Ania Catherine, and Nils Arend . performed by Jessica Emmanuel, Sarah Prinz, Stephanie Kim, Sandra Ruiz, and Blaire Nicole . director of photography by Luke Orlando

by Mike Nesbit

From Allan Kaprow and Some Observations on Contemporary Art … “Though individual points of view vary, I feel there has been a shift in general from a concern for the work of art as a thing to be possessed, i.e., a valuable object upon which highly specialized care has been lavished, to the work of art as a situation, an action, an environment or an event.  More often than not, the result is fragile, as though it had emerged spontaneously, composed of mixed “mediums” that usually do not belong to “art,” but to industry, the household, nature, the ash can and the hardware store.  Its shape is sprawling and irregular, sometimes made up of units that are infinitely rearrangeable, expandable and reducible to adjust to different areas, which gives the whole an ambiguous, fluid existence.  Added to this seeming lack of professional definition (and therefore respectability), is the rawness or immediacy of impulse present in the manner some of these artists use their materials, or, in other cases where the tough is more delicate, the indifference to the “beauty” of craftsman-like arrangement.  Not only have permanence and skill largely been given up in the literal finished product, but this implies philosophically greater preoccupation with the changeable as a raison d’etre.”

In our current context of language and its growing state of misinterpretation ... movement of the human body at its primitive element can distil even the most complex ideas.  Verbal language tends to be the immediate crutch for self-expression and although it’s seemingly the most apparent … it’s often quite misunderstood.  Depending on the platform for the expression of language via analogue or digital representation, the interpretation can quickly grow out of context.  This displacement of meaning within current culture can be attributed to the literalness or at “face-value” in which language is received.  At a period where sarcasm is dying, anything said or written is often flattened, recorded, and immediately left for the misrepresentation by others.  This growing diversity of difference within language comes with an increasing responsibility for the perception of that language within the context it’s given.  Art becomes a relevant platform for this current state of perception as it allows enough abstraction at “face-value” for the viewer to dispel any preconceived notions of what that language might mean.  To look at something for the first time … places any viewer in a vulnerable state requiring the disciplined attention to find meaning.   This type of participation is no easy task and asks a lot from the viewer.  However, within this cycle of language displacement it becomes more relevant than ever to provide attention to meaning at even the most readily known context. 

 

Untitled

 

bare hand unfocused ... reaching limits

crawling figure … piercing fingers

numbing cries and naked limbs

unheard

anxious tension … crumbling fist

eyes closed … lost in comfortless space

plasticity

deaf transparency … confronts written gestures

 

standing tall … figure emerged

insatiable itch with fingerless hands

trapped in white transparency

unsettled thoughts …. stand in isolation

intentional gestures

colorless landscape flattened … quiet undulation

to meander through a frozen garden

 

leaning figure

sleepless march

wishful terrors fall silent

landscape mediates a wondering umbrella

restlessness patiently waits

 

  bare hand unfocused ... reaching limits

bare hand unfocused ... reaching limits

  crawling figure … piercing fingers

crawling figure … piercing fingers

  anxious tension … crumbling fist

anxious tension … crumbling fist

  eyes closed … lost in comfortless space

eyes closed … lost in comfortless space

  standing tall … figure emerged

standing tall … figure emerged

  insatiable itch with fingerless hands

insatiable itch with fingerless hands

  unsettled thoughts …. stand in isolation

unsettled thoughts …. stand in isolation

  colorless landscape flattened … quiet undulation

colorless landscape flattened … quiet undulation

  to meander through a frozen garden

to meander through a frozen garden

 leaning figure

leaning figure

  sleepless march

sleepless march

  landscape mediates a wondering umbrella

landscape mediates a wondering umbrella