Featuring “Simplicity” as an “Irrational Fear”
Featuring “Simplicity” as an “Irrational Fear” is an exploration of the concept of simplicity and its impact on the direction of contemporary art discourse. Simplicity, which one could argue is akin to accessibility, is so rarely available in this current climate of contemporary art and one finds that there's a tendency to intellectualise away anything that may be overly-accessible or easily understood in art.
Concepts are often times over-complicated in the circumlocutory pseudo-intellectual babble that creeps into discussions, perhaps out of some irrational fear that once it is all decoded, then nothing is left. As Raymond Havens stated in “Simplicity, a changing concept” (1953:3):
Simplicity, it would seem, is a simple matter... In the eighteenth century, critics, essayists, and poets were constantly referring to it as the supreme excellence in almost every field, the "open sesame" to every door, whether of conduct, thought, taste, or artistic production. "The best and truest ornament of most things in life," Swift called it, and Shaftesbury, "this beauty above all beauties." Lord Kames declared, "The best artists ... have in all ages been governed by a taste for simplicity," and Horace Walpole said, "Taste...cannot exist without Simplicity." Joseph Warton went even further, maintaining “SIMPLICITY is with justice esteemed a supreme excellence in all the performances of art."
Ironically, simplicity is not quite as one-dimensional as one may expect. It is engulfed in concentric skins that seemingly lead right back to complexity. Simplicity itself becomes a slippery subject with multiple personalities but nonetheless one that is tackled head on. Through this performance-based installation a multitude of characters discovered in the excavation of simplicity are addressed and re-interpreted to create a triangle of responses from three performance artists, Nathalie Bikoro, Donna Kukama and Nástio Mosquito. The physical absence of the three performance artists in the performance space creates a rift between time and space, thereby necessitating a creative clarity in a media as interaction-reliant as performance.
Monday, September 6, 2010
The beginning - a sketch
I have this current fixation with simplicity, since it is so rarely available in this current climate of contemporary art (at least in Cape Town). There's a tendency to intellectualise away anything that may be overly-accessible or easily understood in art. I find that at times, people over-complicate in order to exclude a certain public, perhaps out of some irrational fear that once it is all decoded, then nothing is left. Hope that makes sense. So, concept for the show is "Simplicity as an irrational fear", which I intend to expand into a larger show at a later stage.
I think as a start, the commonalities between the selected artists are that you all work in performance and video and also that you'll all be out of the country which makes it that much more difficult, but in a sense ties in to the concept. I like this because it relates to the idea of simplicity and sending a clear message. Something that even without your physical presence can stand on it's own.
I also have this silly thought: "The Humpty Dumpty theory". My interpretation being all the kings horses and all the kings men failed to put humpty together again... the idea of getting lost in your own theory and not being able to simply reconnect that which was once a simple united mass. Random I know.