Wednesday, May 23, 2007

two better than one

As a gesture of compassion for Lars van Trier’s depression, I watched The Five Obstructions last night, in which he challenges his mentor, Jorgen Leth, to make shorts, based on Leth’s own film, under extremely strict conditions. Trier’s aim seems to be to chisel through the perfection and gimmicks of Leth’s tactics to reach something flawed but human. At times the relationship is sadistic, but mostly it is portrayed as intensely passionate, intellectually rigorous and bluntly honest. I want it.

I’m a sucker for true artistic collaboration. There’s nothing more romantic in my head than two artists developing work together with equal concentration and with likeminded, preferably trascendental, goals. I think of Abramovic and Ulay, Gilbert and George, Guston’s correspondence with Ross Feld, Godard and the New Wave. But this kind of collaboration mostly seems to be a male game, for some reason. I’d gladly play. The thing is, I’m mostly in my studio alone, and the thought of working with anyone basically makes me want to weep.

All this is rooted of course in the conviction that art and artists do actually have profound possibilities. I don't mind thinking this, but I tend to keep it hush. I think it's not fashionable. Too modernist. Or perhaps it comes off as arrogant, as self-important, (European) intellectual. But, what else are you supposed to do with the bulk of your time?

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