Thursday, May 01, 2008

Gilding The Turd

Wim Delvoye (b. 1965): Post Po-Mo Punk

Caterpillar Scale Model, 2002

Cement Mixer, 2007

Cement Truck, 1999

Concrete Mixer, 1992

Kiss 3, 2000

Kiss 2, 2001

Garbage, 2000

Waited Till 9, 2000

Tatooed Pigs, 2006

Tatooed Pigs, 2006

Cloaca (Kunsthalle Vienna), 2001

Cloaca (The Power Plant, Toronto), 2004

Birdhouse #1, 1998

Marble Floor #111, 1999

Gas Canisters, 1998

Coke Canisters, 2002

Chapel, 2006

Chapel, 2006

Art has absolutely no existence as veracity, as truth.

In my day artists wanted to be outcasts, pariahs. Now they are all integrated into society.

I thought to discourage aesthetics . . . I threw the bottlerack and the urinal in their faces and now they admire them for their aesthetic beauty.

I don't believe in art. I believe in artists.

Aesthetic delectation is the danger to be avoided.

I've decided that art is a habit-forming drug. That's all it is, for the artist, for the collector, for anybody connected with it.

It's true, of course, humor is very important in my life, as you know. That's the only reason for living, in fact.

I was interested in ideas, not in visual products. I wanted to put painting again in the service of the mind.

The individual, man as a man, man as a brain, if you like, interests me more than what he makes, because I've noticed that most artists only repeat themselves.

All his decisions in the artistic execution of the work rest with pure intuition and cannot be translated into a self-analysis.

The life of an artist is like the life of a monk, a lewd monk if you like, very Rabelaisian. It is an ordination.

The creative act is not formed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.

It is the spectators who make the pictures.

I force myself to contradict myself, so as to avoid conforming to my own taste.

Art is an outlet toward regions which are not ruled by time and space.

The word 'art' interests me very much. If it comes from Sanskrit, as I've heard, it signifies 'making'.

Living is more a question of what one spends than what one makes.

Unless a picture shocks, it is nothing.

Marcel Duchamp

Yes, This Shit Is Art

Sometimes Pretty, Often Vacant

Replay I

Piero Manzoni (1933-1963): Taking the Odour Out of Ordure

Merda d'artista (Artist's Shit), 1961

Piero Manzoni was an Italian artist who died at the age of 29 in 1963. But before he went he got some excrement - his own - and put it in a tin can. 'Excellent!' he said, in Italian, 'I think I'll call it Merda d'artista!'

Manzoni's canned shit is well known now, or the idea of it is. It's an idea as powerful in the popular imagination as the idea of blank canvases. In fact the actual cans are not all that well known. There are many of them. Each one contains an amount of the artist's own shit. On the label it says 30 grams but of course no one can really tell. The labels are quite detailed and well designed, with the name of the work in three languages, plus the date, the artist's signature and the name of the collector who owns the individual can - all this is part of the look. PIERO MANZONI is printed on the label in light grey letters on a grey ground, with the name repeating so it makes a mantra of the artist's name, as well as a grey and yellow pattern.

When they were first sold they cost their weight in gold. Now they're worth much more. If one came on the market today it would cost about 30,000 pounds. So while a pile of them was shown in a vitrine in London's Serpentine Gallery recently, it was a pile of shit but it was nearly a million pound's worth. . .

Money, shit, art: the holy trinity. Manzoni took jokes to a higher plane than Duchamp, in that he elevated them to the spiritual plane which was somewhere Duchamp never really wanted to go. Manzoni transubstantiated the things of the earth into mystery things. His signature was his magic medium. With it he could turn balloons filled with his breath into saintly relics or make women into artworks. He signed them and issued them with a certificate so that they knew what class of living art work they were - temporary, permanent, intermittent and so on. Each state was symbolised by stamp of a different colour on the certificate - for example, a state of permanent art was symbolised by a red stamp. The women had no special duties as works of art but they did become prisoners of Manzoni, prisoners of his idea.

He wanted to make the world into a prisoner too, with a metal cube inscribed with the words 'Base of the world', which he exhibited upside down on the floor, making the earth into a sculpture, one that floated in infinite space.

From This Is Modern Art by Matthew Collings

Addendum VIII

Plastic Poo

Paul McCarthy (b. 1945) - Shit Pile, 2007