Art and destruction by Jennifer Walden

By Jennifer Walden

So much speak of and writing on artwork is set its dating to construction and creativity. This in fact takes a variety of varieties, yet finally the inventive act within the making of paintings works is a key factor. What occurs once we prepare paintings and destruction? This has been referenced in a few significant parts, corresponding to that of paintings and iconoclasm and auto-destructive paintings hobbies. much less obvious are debts of extra intimate, smaller scale 'destructive' interventions into the area of the made or exhibited artwork item, or extra singular and particularised ways to the illustration of mass destruction. This quantity addresses those lacunae through bringing jointly a few detailed and extremely varied parts for enquiry which, however, percentage a subject matter of destruction and percentage an emphasis upon the background of 20th and twenty-first century artwork making. students and makers have come jointly to provide money owed of artists whose making is pushed by way of the breaking of, or breaking down of, subject and medium as a part of the artistic materialisation of the belief, comparable to Richard Wentworth, Bourke de Vries, Cornelia Parker, to call a few of these artists represented right here, and, certainly in a single case, how our very makes an attempt to put in writing 'about' such practices are challenged by way of this making method. different views have engaged in severe examine of assorted harmful interventions in galleries. a few of these, even if as real staged activities in genuine time, or filmic representations of precarious gadgets, are understood as inventive acts in and of themselves. even as, an account integrated during this quantity of yes modern iconoclasts, defacing or differently effecting damaging makes an attempt upon canonised exhibited artwork works, displays upon those harmful interventionists as self-styled artists claiming so as to add to the importance of 'works' through acts of destruction. but different chapters offer a clean outlook upon specific and strange ways to the illustration of destruction, when it comes to the bigger scale and panorama of creative responses to mass destruction in occasions of conflict. This publication can be of curiosity to readers willing to come across the variety of nuance, complexity and ambiguity acceptable to the bringing jointly of paintings and destruction

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While some differences are apparent, as has been suggested in the examples above, these aesthetic differences in the treatment of material are not such that it is possible to identify two different styles of working with ceramics and destruction, one belonging to sculptors and the other to artists working in clay (who work with the material as a matter of course). Instead, the treatment of material reveals a point in which there is convergence between ceramics and sculpture to the point where the boundaries are not only unidentifiable, but also irrelevant to the interpretation of the individual work.

The values of civilized society seem at stake. It is this which makes news footage of museum looting in times of civil unrest and revolution seem particularly powerful, functioning almost metonymically for the breakdown of civilized society as a whole into anarchy. Destruction is, one might suggest, the ultimate museum taboo. Museums can cope with sex and death and politics, but not destruction. And that means, like any taboo worth its salt, the idea of destruction in the museum is massively potent.

This second part of the chapter will now consider how the act of destruction comes to mean something. This section 24 Chapter One positions destruction in art as an act of institutional and cultural critique (with particular reference to the boundaries of art). Here, in a development of the formal analysis that took place in the earlier part of this chapter, the act of destruction is understood as a sign that stands for something else. Alex Potts (2003) provides a framework for this approach when he writes that semiotic theory, ‘…has perhaps been most effective in giving a new twist to the formal analysis of visual style that has traditionally been such a central preoccupation of art history as a discipline.

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