APPLICATIONS: IMITATION OR REALITY?
Below you will find applications to the
art theory of Stefan Beyst
From way back, man has staged reality. That is already the case with non-human
nature: think of flowers in a vase or fruit in a bowl,
fishes in an
aquarium or animals in a zoo. Also man himself is put on display: from
the child that is presented to the community at birth, over the
beautiful women who exhibits herself
before the eyes of the
public, to the corpse that is laid out before its burial.Formerly, also rarities were
exhibited: think of Siamese twins, women with three breasts,
foetuses, and what have you. And, last but not least, remnants of all
kinds of human activity are often conserved as archaeological find, relic,
ruin or memorial. It is immediately evident, then,
that the array of aesthetic
experiences elicited by displayed reality is as broad as
that of imitated reality. But that should not induce
us to confuse imitated and displayed reality, and to declare the
latter art'. Quoted from 'Mimesis
Ever more examples will be added until there is a complete overview of
the most important forms of
that poses for art.
For examples of the auditory counterpart: see 'Found
Sound' (soon on this website).
and George Gormley Haacke
Habacuc Hirst Kounellis
Malstaf Mûhl Nitsch Orlan
Parsons Man Ray
1. OBJECTS (2. THE HUMAN BODY)
MARCEL DUCHAMP (1887-1968)
When speaking of displayed reality, immediately
works like Duchamp's 'Fontaine' and 'Bicycle
Wheel' come to our
because these are rather non- verbal statements about art, we dealt with
these objects in 'Statements about
A genuine readymade is Egouttoir/Bottle Rack (1914).
No doubt, we can lend it all kinds of symbolic interpretations - some
read phalluses in it, 'waiting for wet vagina's'... But that does not
transform the bottle rack into something else. The penises are there
only symbolically: in the interpreting mind, not for the contemplating
eye (or the representing mind, in which case we would be dealing with an
object that conjures up representations). But
also this bottle rack continues to be read as a statement, and that goes
also for 'Wooden Hat Rack' (1916) that hung on the ceiling of Duchamp's
workshop, as opposed to painting that hang on the wall.
And even when we just consider them to be displayed objects as such,
they are not works of art, but simply displayed objects, just like
flowers in a vase, which are art neither.....
MAN RAY (1890-1876)
That is why our survey should rather begin with Man Ray's 'L'énigme d'Isidore
Ducasse' (1920) - even when this is rather an example of negative
displaying: displaying through hiding.
Also this object is not an imitation, but just displayed reality - and a
rather suggestive one...
Other objects of Man Ray belong to the realm of
HANS HAACKE (°1936)
Also processes can be exhibited. Think of Hans Haacke who had a blue
sail moved by a ventilator in ''Blue Sail'
(1964-1965), or a white sphere on a stream of air in 'Sphere
in Oblique Air-Jet' (1967). Another series of works is created by
condensation on cooling elements: 'Condensation Cube' (1963), 'Condensation
Wall' (1963-1966). In works like 'Grass grows' (1969) and 'Bowery Seeds'
(1970), Hans Haacke had seeds grow in a heap of ground. In 'Chicks Hatching' (1969)
we see chicken hatching. In 'Beach Pollution' (1970) Haacke piles up
the waste found on a beach.
CHRISTO JAVACHEFF (°1935)
Christo began his career in 1958 as wrapper of objects under the
auguries of Pierre Restany and his 'Nouveau Réalisme'. We are dealing
here not with imitated objects, but with displayed reality.
Christo soon proceeds to works on a greater scale. In 1959, he wraps the
Australian Coast. He repeated this intervention with many a historic
building like the Pont Neuf (1985) and the Reichstag (1995). This is
equally displayed reality.
From 1973 onwards, the works of Christo tend to take the form of
landscape design (see: Art and Design).
DANIEL SPOERRI (*1930)
Daniel Spoerri was launched by Pierre Restany ('Nouveau Réalisme')
in the end of the fifties. He made furore by fixating the remnants of
breakfasts on a table (among others from the 'Restaurant Spoerri'
which he runned from 1968 to 1972 in Dusseldorf), and to hang them on
the walls like paintings
- which cannot but remind us of Manzoni, who exhibited the entire world
on his 'Socle du Monde' (see 'Manzoni').
We are dealing here with
displayed reality, like flowers in a vase. We can also read these
breakfast tables as relics from - banal rather than memorable - events.
In that case, they conjure up the representation of what preceded. The
real objects on the table are then integrated in a whole in which
reality and representation are combined, and are thereby transformed
into mimesis, just like the props on the scene of a theatre. The
breakfast table would then belong to the category of
objects that conjure
up representations. I prefer to consider them as
mere displayed reality, because the representations are not compulsory
and cannot but be very vague.
Soon, Spoerri proceeds to making more 'substantial' works: he had his
tables cast in bronze. They thereby are transformed in real mimesis. But
not in completed art: the question remains whether his scenes are worth
it to be eternalised in bronze...
Just like Spoerri, also Arman
has been launched by Pierre Restany ('Nouveau Réalisme'). He made furore
with his 'accumulations': identical objects piled up and exhibited. We are dealing here with mere displayed object,
like flowers in a vase, although the objects are arranged in a composition,
again like flowers in a vase. And that goes also for theaccumulations
were the objects themselves are transformed, like the split saxophones,
which thereby rather take the form of rudimentary design instead of 'found
When Arman casts the instruments in bronze, they become imitations.
But these are imitations on the same primitive level as a bunch of
imitated flowers in a cheap restaurant.
More obvious is the shift
to design, as when Arman uses his 'accumulated violins' as the legs of
a table, or when he combines the parts of a cello into a chair: see 'Art
Only in some
'Les Chromosomes' (1963)
are we dealing with - not all too convincing - mimesis.
IANNIS KOUNELLIS (°1936)
In the end of the sixties, Kounellis came to the fore with a series of
non-verbal statements about art. After
this initial series of non-verbal manifests, Kounellis
suits the action to the word. He proceeds to
working with real objects instead of paintings. Some of these objects
are displayed reality as
when he combines various objects into a new whole that is sometimes very
suggestive, like windows which are filled up with rocks, or an old
cupboard with coals. However 'speaking' these assemblages may be, they
are not works of art, but displayed reality like flowers in a vase or a corpse on a catafalque.
objects conjure up
representations in the mind. Other works,
finally, are genuine
mimesis, even when unusual media are used, as in his catafalques.
For an analyses of the evolution of his works: see 'Iannis
Kounellis: the metamorphoses of Apollo'
JAMES TURRELL (° 1943)
Became renown for his meanwhile 36 'Skypaces'. The most important
'skyspace' is the Roden Crater project in Flagstaff,
Arizona, where a natural cinder volcanic crater is turned into an
observatory for the viewing of celestial phenomena.
For the eclipse of the sun on August 11th, 1999, Turrell conceived
another 'perceptual space': 'The Elliptic
Ecliptic' built on a hillside facing St. Michael's Mount (England,
UK). Another "skyspace'
isLight Reign (2003). We are dealing her with architectural
devices for displaying reality, like a pedestal. Other works of James Turrell are variants of
For a more extensive analysis: see 'James
Turrell: a sculptor of light'
GUILLAUME BIJL (°1946, Antwerp, Belgium)
In the seventies, Guillaume Bijl began
to exhibit no longer single 'objets trouvés' like Marcel Duchamp,
but entire interiors like that of a class-room in 'Driving School Z'
(1979- 1989). Other installations include 'Lustrerie Media' (1984),
'Sculpture trouvée' (1987), 'Mon chalet' (1987), 'Miss Hamburg Wahl'
(1988), 'Wunderkammer-Installation' (Cabinet of curiosities, Documenta
Wax Museum) (1992), 'Bird Installation' (1992), 'TV Quiz Decor' (1993),
'Roman Street’ (1994)
'Horizon Systems'(1994), “Souvenirs of the 20th century”.(1999), 'Die
Geschichte der Erotik' (1999), 'Your Supermarket' (2002), 'Inter-phone
center' (2005), 'Archaeological Site'(2007)
Guillaume Bijl is not so much 'exploring the borders between art and
reality', he rather transgresses them. His installations are no
'surrealist sculptures' - no art-, but simply displayed reality, like
Arthur Danto's 'Gettysburgh National Battlefield Museum' or the 'Boyau
de la mort' at Diksmuide (Belgium),
Despite his 1982 declaration that 'All museums, cultural centres and art
galleries must be closed' and replaced with 'socially useful
institutions' ( 'The Art - Liquidation Project' , 1982)
Guillaume Bijl and his installations thrive well in the
ANDREAS SLOMINSKY (°1959)
Andreas Slominsky is renown for his 'Traps',
which are good examples of humoristic design. Other creations of Andreas
Slominsky are 'performances' like 'Heizen' (first version 1996) where
the vanes of a windmill are burned in a stove in a gallery. However, it
is not because the vanes and the stoves are displayed in a gallery, that
they are transformed into sculptures: we are dealing here with mere
displayed reality. And that goes also for the (metaphorical) performance
itself: it is real and does not evoke the action of some imaginary being.
Not sculpture, then, and even less theatre.
OLAFUR ELIASSON (°1967 Copenhagen)
Olafur Eliasson is often presented as a sculptor. In fact, most of his
works are spatial design (see
Eliasson). In other works, like the BMW racing car
encased in two tons of ice, on view in SFMOMA during 'Take your Time'
(2007-2008), we are dealing with 'displayed reality'.
GREGOR SCHNEIDER (°1969, Rheydt, Germany).
Since the age of 16 Gregor Schneider is working on ‘Totes Haus u r’
(Dead House u r, 1985–97), an ordinary terraced house in
Monchengladbach, Germany. The tiny entranceway can rotate 360 degrees,
so that the visitor can end up in one of several different spaces. The
rooms themselves are filled with 'sculptures' consisting of trash. The
whole project reminds of Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau in Hannover, although
there is no hint of horror there. Soon, Gregor Schneider proceeds to the
construction of other real spaces. 'Die Familie Schneider' ('The
Schneider Family') (2004), consists of mirror installations with twins
in a double-house. The 'Black Cube' (13 m X 13 m x 13m, quite like the
Kaaba in Mekka) was intended for 'Cube Venice' (2005), 'Cube Berlin'
(2006) and 'Das schwarze Quadrat, Hommage an Malewitsch', Hamburg
(2007). ‘Weisse Folter’ (White Torture, 2007) consits of uncannily
smooth and clean cells inspired by Camp 5 in Guantanamo Bay. 'Bondi
Beach, 21 beach cells' (2007) comprises 21 identical cells each
containing an air mattress, beach umbrella and garbage bag. In 'Süsser
Duft' 'sweet smell' (2008) the visitor has to walk alone through a
series of cold, pitch black rooms of decreasing size.
There is an air of crime and horror and torture in many works of Gregor
Schneider. It comes as no surprise than, that the artist plans the
ultimate performance piece: the exhibition of a real person dying with
the help of a Dusseldorf doctor. In case the Haus Lange Museum in
Krefeld is not interested, he will stage it in a studio located in his
hometown of Rheydt, Germany. The theme as such is not new in Gregor
Schneider's work. 'Hannelore Reuen Alte Hausschlampe' (1997), featured a
dead woman in an empty space, and the artist himself faked death as part
of an exhibition already in 2000¨. His move from fake - mimesis - to reality is
perhaps inspired by the success of Guillermo Vargas
Habacuc with his real dying dog in 2007. The theme as such is not
new in the museums either: For decades, Joel-Peter
Witkin has been staging dead bodies in his photographs. Photos,
however, are not real - mimesis. Judging from the photos of Joel-Peter
Witkin, and from some filmed performances of Paul
McCarthy, we soon can expect performances in which real living
bodies are mutilated under the guise of art - think of the gladiators in the Colosseum
in Rome some 2000 years ago, or of the public executions in the Middle
Just like with Guillaume Bijl, we are dealing here
with (the art of displaying) reality,
which is quite different from (the) art (of mimesis). Of course, the
'Cube' is not the real Kaaba, but the resemblance is
deceptive, and could as well be understood as a 'displacement' of
the real thing. In that sense, his works are akin to the photographed
reconstructions of reality of
See also: Mark Power:
The art of dying
2. THE HUMAN BODY (1. OBJECTS)
HERMANN NITSCH (° 1938)
From 1962 onwards,
Hermann Nitsch performs many 'Aktionen' ('happenings',
'performances') with blood, crucifixions and animal slaughter.
From 1971 onwards, he organises his 'Orgien Mysterien
Theater' in Schloss Prinzendorf in Austria. In 1998, Hermann
Nitsch staged his 100th performance.
Most of the performances of Hermann Nitsch survive in the attributes and
in relics, such as the canvasses smeared with blood. Like other relics,
these objects are no artworks, but
And that holds equally for Nitsch' performances themselves: since the
performers are not impersonating imaginary characters, they have
nothing to do with theatre, let alone with a 'Gesamtkunstwerk'.
For a more detailed analysis: see
OTTO MÜHL (°1925)
In the early sixties, Otto Mühl proceeded to the performance of
'Aktionen' in the wake of the New Yorker Happenings:' Die Blutorgel'
'Fest des psycho-physischen Naturalismus' (1963), 'Versumpfung einer
Venus' (1963) and 'Malaktionen' (1964 - 1966). In 1968, Mühl, Brus and
Oswald Wiener organised an Aktionsveranstaltung 'Kunst und Revolution'"
in the University of Vienna. Although they often survive in relics
(smeared canvas), these 'Akitionen' have nothing to do with painting,
let alone with theatre. We are dealing with the staging of all kinds of
Gradually, Mühl began to regard the 'Aktion' as a bourgeois art form. In
order to achieve the 'transition from art to life', he founded a
commune in Friedrichshof as a kind of anti-society in 1972: from mere
displayed reality to reality itself.
RUDOLF SCHWARZKOGLER (1940-1969)
Rudolf Schwarzkogler was introduced to the
Viennese Actionism by
Hermann Nitsch and
Otto Mühl. From 1965 onwards, he
began to participate in Herman Nitsch' Aktionen. In that same year, he
performed his first Aktion
'Hochzeit' (1965), for a handful of friends and the camera. Standing
before a table covered with a white tablecloth and accompanied by
Gregorian chants, Schwarzkogler performed a kind of private ritual with dead fish, a dead chicken, various
animal organs, eggs, colored liquids, a knife, and scissors. All of his
subsequent actions were performed exclusively for the camera. In Aktion 2 he posed with a sliced open fish covering his groin. In his 4. Aktion (1965), gauze-wrapped men are poked and prodded
with razor blade and electrical wires.
The prominence of self-mutilations in his 'Aktionen', gave birth
to the myth that he died as a consequence of an auto-castration in one
of his performances.
Most of his 'Aktionen' survive only in the form of films,
photographs or as relics. These relics are no sculptures, but
displayed reality. The films and
photographs are in the first place documents (instrumental mimesis),
unless they are judged as artworks in their own right. The performances
themselves are not theatre, but pure
displayed reality: Rudolf Schwarzkogler is not impersonating someone
GILBERT AND GEORGE
Gilbert Proesch (1943) and George Passmore (°1942) met
in 1967 while studying sculpture at Saint Martins College of Art and
They became famous with their 'Human Sculptures' or 'Living Sculptures'
like 'Underneath the Arches' (1970),
in which, often for hours at a time,
they posed like statues, often covered in gold metallic paint and
wearing matching business suits. Despite the reference to 'statues', we
dealing here with sculpture, but with
Just like many other performers and
land artists, Gilbert and George
soon stop performing and
filming ('Gorden makes us drunk', 'The World
of Gilbert and George’), photographing ('Photosculptures'),
photomontaging (Cosmological Pictures) and drawing
Only these documents belong to the realm of art (mimesis), in as far as
they are judged from a purely artistic point of view, and not as
documents of the performance, in which case they are pure instrumental mimesis.
CHRIS BURDEN (°1946)
Chris Burden is famed for his
personal danger. In 'Shoot' (1971)
shot him in the arm at his request
In 'Five Day Locker Piece'
(1971) he locked himself for five consecutive days in a locker.
In 'Disappearing' (1971) Burden
disappeared for three days without prior notice. In ''Bed piece'
(1972), the artist moved a single bed into an art gallery, took
off his clothes and got into bed for 22 days, speaking to no one. In 'Jaizu'
sat motionlessly in a director's chair for two days while visitors were
allowed to contemplate him. In 'Doorway to
Heaven' (1973) he
pushed two live electric wires into his chest. 'The wires crossed
and exploded, burning me but saving me from electrocution'. In 'Through
the Night Softly', (1973), Burden crawled through 50 feet of broken
glass which he saw as stars in the sky. In 'Transfixed' (1974) he was
nailed on his back over the rear section of a Volkswagen Bug that was
pushed out of a garage, the engine running at full speed for two minutes,
and then pushed back inside.
In 'Velvet Water'
submerged his face into a small sink full of water
and repeatedly tried to breathe it. On two monitors, the
audience could hear him
choking and gagging. In 'The Visitation' (1974), only one
person at a time
was allowed beyond in a dark
Burden was seated, introduced himself and talked casually with each
visitor.In ‘Sculpture in Three Parts’ (1974),
he exhibited himself
on a pedestal for 48 hours, until exhaustion. In
‘White Light/White Heat’ (1975), he spent 22 days alone and invisible to
the public on a high platform in a gallery, without
eating, speaking, or
All this is very daring, but, unless sward swallowers,
glass eaters, knife throwers and similar
performers are also to be considered heirs to Michelangelo, this has
nothing to do with sculpture, let alone with art. These performances are
just 'displayed reality'. As such,
they belong in the circus, not in the museum.
In the late seventies, Chris Burden's interest shifts to objects (see
Chris Burden design).
MARINA ABRAMOVIC (°1946 Belgrad)
Marina Abramovic describes herself as the ‘grandmother of performance
art’ – an elegant way of discarding the grandfathers. She began her
career as a performance artist with the series ‘Rhythm’. In Rhythm 10
(1973) she mutilates her fingers with a knife. In ‘Rhythm 5’ (1974)
she almost died from asphyxiation while lying within a curtain of
oxygen-devouring flames. Her most renown performance is Rhythm 2 (1974)
in which she agreed the spectators to do anything they wanted with any
of 72 objects around her - including knives, scissors, a needle, a whip
a loaded gun. In ‘Art Must Be Beautiful//Artist
Must Be Beautiful’, she
brushed her hair simultaneously with a metal brush and metal comb until
her face and hair were damaged. Self-mutilation - including carving a
star into her stomach with a razor blade -is also the theme of ‘Thomas’
lips’ (1975). In ‘Role Exchange’ (1975) she exchanged places for four
hours with an Amsterdam prostitute). Then came the series ‘Freeing’. In
Freeing the Voice' (1975) Marina Abramovic lay on the floor with her
head tilted back and screamed for three hours, stopping when she lost
her voice. In ‘Freeing the Memory’ (1976), she free-associated until no
more words came to her and in' Freeing the Body" (1976) she wrapped her
head in a black scarf and moved to a drumbeat for eight hours, stopping
when she collapse
In 1975 Abramovic met Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen), who became her partner in
performances like "Relation in Space" (1976) , ‘Breathing in, Breathing
out’ (1977), ‘Imponderabilia’ (1977) and ‘Rest energy’ (1980). In ‘The
Great Wall Walk’ (1988), Marina Abramovic and Ulay walked 2,000 km along
the Great Wall of China, starting at opposite ends and meeting in the
middle – which sealed their separation in real life.
In "Salles d'opération de l'âme" (2000), it is the spectators who have
to submit themselves to all kind of transgressive experiences.
In recent years, Marina Abramovic concentrates on re-performances of her
own work and of other performance artists like Vito Acconci, Valie
Export, Gina Pane, Joseph Beuys. She also made a
medley of her previous work in an film "Balkan
Baroque" (2000), directed by Pierre Coulebeuff.
The performances of Marina Abramovic are forms of displayed reality –
the masochistic counterparts of the good old striptease. This is not
art, let alone theatre: Marina Abramovic stages herself, not some
self-mutilating personage. It does not help that some of her
performances are symbolic, or meant as statements: the burning of a flag
in a demonstration is equally symbolic, but not art.
In the sixties,
Orlan enters the scene of performance art with her 'street actions'
(1964-1966) and with tableaux vivants after great nudes in the history
of art. In her 'Documentary Study: The Head of Medusa' she displayed her
sexual organs during her period, under magnifying glass. She became
famous with her performance "The Artist’s Kiss" ("Le baiser de l'artiste)
(1977). Most spectacular are her surgery-performances 'La Réincarnation
de Sainte Orlan' (1990-1993) in which the artist had her face
transformed after famous paintings and sculptures including Mona Lisa.
Orlan's performances have nothing to do with art, but everything with
displayed reality like flowers in a vase or a striptease. To be sure,
Orlan's versions of the striptease try to legitimate themselves through
posing as art. The innocent voyeuristic pleasures of her early
performances are increasingly replaced with more sadistic variants in
In April 2007 Adrian Parsons circumcised himself with a dull Swiss army
during a performance 'Shrapnel' for the exhibition entitled Supple, at
the Warehouse Gallery, Washington, DC.
GUILLERMO VARGAS HABACUC (Costa Rica)
Question of pushing the borders: Guillermo Vargas Habacuc had the
luminous idea of tying a street dog called 'Natividad' to the corner of
the wall and let it starve from hunger and thirst in the 'Galería Códice'
in Managua (2007). Talking of 'displayed reality'...
Gregor Schneider goeds even further: he wants to
exhibit a dying human....
ERWIN WURM (°1954)
Became renowned with his "One Minute Sculptures" (1997) and
his" Outdoor Sculptures" realised in different places (Appenzell,
Cahors, Taipeh, 1998-2000): various people enacting scenes in an
often estranging context, somewhat in the tradition of Gilbert and
George. In other works, it is the viewers who follow the handling
instruction of Erwin Wurm, like in 'Keep a cool head' (2003), where the
exhibition visitors are expected to stick their heads into a fridge. In
'Carrying Edelbert Köb (Be nice to your curator)' (2006) it is the
artist himself who carries the MUMOK’s director in his arms through the
exhibition. The scenes are photographically conserved.
Although we are
dealing here with mere 'displayed reality', Erwin Wurm regards himself
as a sculptor. Unjustifiably so. Only the photographs belong to the
realm of mimesis, in as far as they are judged from a purely artistic
point of view, and not as documents of the performance, in which case
they are pure instrumental mimesis.
SPENCER TUNICK (°1967)
From 1992 onwards, Spencer Tunick photographs increasing numbers of nude
people, initially in New York, but soon also in diverse urban settings
in the Americas, Europe and Australia. We are dealing here with a form
of 'mass streaking". Spencer Tunick calls his creations 'installations', or even
'body sculpture'. But that is merely a guise: Spencer Tunick's projects
have nothing to do with art, but everything with displayed reality -
bodies that are staged like those on the catwalk, even when, with
Spencer Tunick, they do not wear clothes, like those in the striptease
bar. Also the photographs of Spencer Tunick's masses do not transcend
the level of mere documents, and hence belong to the domain of mere
For an extensive analysis: see 'Spencer Tunick's
Body Sculptures: art and transgression'.
ANDREW BAINES (° 1963)
In 2006, the Australian painter
Andrew Baines set up a series of 'surreal human
sculptures' with people standing in the surf wearing business
suits in the manner of René Magritte, first at Tennyson
Beach (60 people), then at St. Kilda Beach (250 people), Manly
Beach (500 people), and North Cottesloe Beach (100 people):
According to Adrew Baines, 'it's a way oftaking the art to a newlevel
- off the canvas and into reality''. Indeed, despite the reference to René Magritte, it is obvious
that this has nothing to with sculpture - let alone with art, but
everything with displayed reality.
Only the photos or paintings of the event ar genuine works of art,
in so far as they are not merely documentary.
DAMIEN HURST (°1965)
In the nineties, Damien Hirst gained international attention
the exhibition of
dead animals in formaldehyde, among them a shark, and a sheep
Damien Hirst also exhibits drugs and a room-sized installation Pharmacy
(1992). In all
these cases, we are dealing with displayed reality ('objet exposé'), not
In 1996, Damien Hirst made 'Hymn', a magnified anatomical model of the
human body. An anatomical model is an
instrumental imitation that is imitated in its turn on a larger
scale and thereby loses its instrumental nature. Art hence....
LAWRENCE MALSTAF (°1972)
A first series of installations of
consists of displayed reality -
be more precise: displayed processes. In
'Rope' (1999) a computer makes a rope turn around a chair, until it
finally is thrown away.
In 'Fans' (2000), two ventilators, hanging
on a rope above a black surface of water, fight a duel:
And in 'Tollen' ('Spinning Tops' 2006),
manually starts up a number of spinning tops and has them interact with
Next to processes, Lawrence Malstaf
exhibits also himself.
In “Shrink” (1995)
he has himself vacuum-packed in plastic:
the 'anti-automates', nor Malfstaf
'Shrink' conjure up something other than themselves: no mimesis hence,
but displayed reality. This is not a special form of theatre: no event
or process is imitated, it is merely shown.
Other works of Lawrence Malstaf belong to
spatial design or are
about the world...
ANTHONY GORMLEY (°1950)
Most works of Anthony Gormley are genuine sculptures (see:
The abortive rebirth of the slaves).
In 2006, however, Anthony Gormley made an installation 'Blind Light' in
the Hayward Gallery
in London. It consists of a room-sized glass box filled with a dense
cloud of water vapour, lighted with neon lights. The visitor experiences
the emergence of the figures of other visitors through the mist. These
silhouettes, however impressive, are not thereby turned into sculptures.
We are dealing here with mere displayed reality.
EVARISTTI MARCO (°1963 Santiago, Chile),
Evaristti came to international attention in 2000 with 'Helena', an
installation with goldfish in electric blenders filled with water in
Denmark’s Trapholt Art Museum. Visitors could choose to turn on the
blenders and kill the fish. In January 2007, Evaristti held a dinner
party where the main course consisted of agnolotti pasta topped with a
meatball containing his own fat removed by liposuction from his body. In 2008, Gene Hathorn, a convict on death row in
Texas, has agreed to have his body transformed into fish food for
hundreds of goldfish in a huge aquarium, allegedly
“to raise awareness of the fact that there are people killed legally in
our Western civilisation”
In all these cases, we are not dealing with art, but with mere
displayed (or staged) reality. To be sure, the artist pretends to convey
a message, like in his other
statements. But in the case above, it is obvious that 'form' is more
important than 'content': the message is a mere pretext for a
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