Monday, July 5, 2010

Artists at Work

The screening of the film about the artist Alain Kirilis's work on Saturday triggered multiple responses. Kirili is a French sculptor influenced by late ripples of Abstract Expressionism. The film, produced for TV, features "artistic process" as materialization of a thought process via expressive gesture of a making of a sculpture or a drawing, performed for the camera. Hans Namuth's film on Jackson Pollock, entitled "Artist at Work" (1951) comes to mind at once (more on it coming up on Shahar Marcus's page), since this filmed performance is largely responsible for many subsequent mystifications of the artistic process; while on the other hand this particular cinematic image of "action painting" as performance has been force-fed into the discourse on performance art.

The first response to the screening was a simultaneous action - a number of artists, inspired by Kirili's gestures, sneaked out to the nearby Sculpture Shed and proceeded to practice similar gestures on their own piece, which is the Oldsmobile being stripped down for the Crash Derby (see more on Eduardo Navarro's page), while the process was being ably filmed by Ishmael Randall Weeks in the role of Namuth.

After the screening, the entire group assembled at Ledig for a discussion. Among questions raised were by whom such representations of artistic process are made - the artist or producer, and for whom they are intended; another discussion topic focused on the contingencies of representation of the process, in a) process-based art and b) object-based art.

Discussion was followed by a dance performance embodying the previously discussed Untitled ideas.

From left: Deb Sokolow, Alain Kirili, and Matteo Fato, photo by Claudia Cannizzaro

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