..something in my experience was missing. This celebration of commodity, these pastiches of cultural objects, felt both superficial and slight.
Postmodernism and its rejection of the idea of the art work as an original and unique creation was well established by the time I arrived at art school in the 1980s. Games were and are still being played with the notion of artwork as a reproducible object, just like any other consumer durable. In an era of mass production, nothing is unique, so post-modern art parades 'its own superficiality and derivativeness'. * The notion of art as the authentic production of an individual imagination was and remains thoroughly marginalised.
Now I enjoy a bit of of knowing post-modern irony as much as the next woman. I loved encountering Kosolapov's Lenin, Jesus and Mickey Mouse at 'POST POP: EAST MEETS WEST at the Saatchi Gallery last week, appreciating its cultural and political satire, the references to classical and soviet era sculpture...etc. There was pleasure too in the deconstructed components of Bill Woodrow's Hoover, a pleasing elegance in their arrangement, their functionality and their age. Yet, for all this, something in my experience was missing. This celebration of commodity and pastiche's of cultural objects, felt both superficial and slight. Besides a fleeting enjoyment of their craftsmanship and wit, there is little lasting impact. My experience was, in best postmodernist style, disposable.
My problem is that I long for something more. Every time I read a book, watch a film, visit a gallery; I am looking for authentic experience. I want insight; I am even open to be changed. The trouble with clever, contemporary conceptual art (ifice) is that it rarely offers experiences, which mean anything in any depth. It seems to me that this must be because, after decades of rejection of the notion of art made from a unique original perspective, there is a fear of subjective expressions of experience. Imagination is taboo, concept and reason rule.
* Quotations from THE WAKE OF IMAGINATION Richard Kearney 1988