Anselm Kiefer’s materials

Before Christmas I went to see the Anselm Kiefer show at the Royal Academy. It was fantastic. It reminded me of how much I love seeing art.

I was wondering a little today about the reasons why I enjoyed the show so much, and why the content of it resonated with me as much as it did. Quite a lot of it is very nebulous really. It’s difficult to put your finger on what’s going on some of the time for the simple reason that it’s about things which are by nature hard to define.

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Benjamin and the aura

I’ve just read ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ by Walter Benjamin and won’t feel like I have done a Digital Arts MA at all if I don’t write a post about it. It says a lot of very interesting things, which have prescience today. I suppose that’s why people quote it all the time. I’m also experimentally putting a drawing on this post because lots of my posts are really long and have no pictures, which looks boring.

Cartoon drawing of Walter Benjamin

The transformation of the superstructure, which takes place far more slowly than that of the substructure, has taken more than half a century to manifest in all areas of culture the change in the conditions of production.” p212

In other words, when crazy technological advances happen, it takes a while for culture to catch up.

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Tony Oursler at the Lisson Gallery

Andy asked us all to go to see the Tony Oursler exhbition at the Lisson Gallery. I wasn’t that impressed by the show, but it did deal with a crucial thing regarding digital art, namely taking something that exists as digital bits on a disc and turning that into a real, viewable artwork in real space. Oursler does this by projecting looped film on to sculpted objects, like ears, or patchwork dolls.

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February 15th 2008

the horses for courses issue

I went to the Breaking the Rules exhibition at the British Library recently. I wasn’t that impressed by it, weirdly. I think it was largely to do with the curation, which didn’t grab me at all. The flow of the show didn’t draw me in to the avant garde project and seemed to be lacking in focus. But my ambivalence was perhaps also due in no small part to the fact that I’d seen a lot of what was there in books and on websites. Or at least I’d seen similar.

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