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 NĂ¡stio 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

Your project for the exhibition sounds really interesting, challenging and intriguing and yes i would love to participate in it. Yes i think you are right in your ideas, I think people forget to just feel the artwork. actually thats why I tend to remain anonymous or i don't want to give an overload of meanings and concepts to people because i believe once they feel it, it is their own personal experience that belongs to them and they create what it is. i am glad you have brought this up because that's going to make me think for the whole day and i can see in my portfolio of work how i can harmonise with your ideas.

I think it's good if the artists had a conversation between each other somehow and even if our presences cannot be made there, you can maybe look at cheap easy live video streaming as a way of performance interaction between the people in the gallery and the artist.I had a OPERA online project a couple of years ago where i asked people to write me commands as they saw me live and i would respond to these commands and generate a live Opera with sound, video and objects all through website interactivity. The project was looking into the lenght of intensity and regarding the sciences of the panopticon gaze.

I think it is an exciting and strong project that asks for attention, challenge and experimentation, i really love to experimentation.

catch you soon,

Nathalie Bikoro

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