Friday, March 16, 2007

The Beat of a Different Drummer

Francis Alÿs’s Green Line performance is poetic politics and political poetry. On top of it, it’s a mesmerizing video experience. Alÿs walked through Israel with a leaking can of green paint, tracing a line across the country. Various dialogue and commentary on the historical significance and on the artistic act is heard as voice over.

The shows that have impressed me the most recently – Alÿs and Gordon Matta-Clark – are about symbolic acts in the public sphere. The emphasis is not on formal qualities – although they are there – but on large-scale undertakings that are essentially metaphorical, and perhaps socially effective. Art is taken out of the market, onto the street, into the moment. The work is unpredictable, and as a result, energetic.

The experience at both shows feels almost like study, although a visceral quality is there. But the digestion of the work is slow.

At this point, I feel like I’m too attached to my ego, to the object as proof of myself, to really pursue this direction. But, in my head, this is the direction I should go. And so should art.

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