Sunday, 17 April 2011

metaphorically speaking

When I read that an artist such as Oscar Tuazon tries to avoid "all that stuff" when asked about metaphor my hunch is that they mean simile. Metaphor is not a controlled adjunct to the creative act, rather it occurs inspite of the artists desire to control every aspect of their work. The story called the Fugitive by Primo Levi beautifully illustrates how the poet can never retain control over a piece of inspiration. Increasingly I feel like artists are turning into town planners who are not generally employed for their ability to create something that adds up more than the Sum of its parts. We seem to adopt the model of Duchmpian forward thinker but just as I am sure Aristotle did not envisage himself as the godfather of compartmentalised ring-fencing I also suspect that Duchamp did not himself as the assassin of intuitive thought processes in art.
I like to imagine that in the future we will look back at this time as the era of The Art Cage and laugh softly at how rigidly we defined the valid arenas of creativity. If you really want to stretch the point the era began when Barnett Newman made it his ambition to make painting a valid career option. Or perhaps when frames were first put around pictures. Tuazon addresses the inability of the gallery to capture that which is important in an art-work and this is what I believe Duchamp endeavoured to address. All good but blueprints are available to be viewed in your local townhall.
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