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i know its hard to believe, but even more words about art came out of my brain just now, its like a rushing torrent of insight and i cant stop itMarch 4, 2010 by jbaij
Charles Broskoski is working on a very real interest in painterly abstraction and the legacy of this type of work.
However, he is not blind to the fact that in employing digitally automated “painterly” tools on a computer, he radically re-orients the launching-off point for a consideration of these works.
The negotiation of these tensions—abstraction and automation—is, one could say, where the work occurs.
In the current design of Broskoski’s personal website, the artist displays his most recent painting—in this case, a layering of long, wide, generally vertical “brushstrokes” in the airy style of the late de Kooning into the form of a primordial “ball”—a locus of energy, both budding and dying, aggressive and nervous, which calls to mind Philip Guston’s early abstractions (as well as a muddied take on the reds, greens, blues and blacks from Guston’s palette in these abstractions).
The bottom edges of this “ball” seem to “put the brakes on” in an act of inertia, curling in against a threat of pure formlessness.
And, at the top, the brushstrokes seem to be shooting upward (as in transcendence), but—in a reversal of the physics occurring at the bottom—suffer a smooshing down (as in gravity).
The result is a stormy mass of energy simultaneously expanding away from its self and contracting into its self.
It has a kick.
But—as a painting—it also lacks a kick.
First of all, the painting is created on a computer with a mouse and a suite of digital “effects” rather than paint and canvas.
This is just to say that, despite the work’s painting references, Broskoski is not moving his body around the computer as if it were “an arena in which to act.”
Rather, he’s staring into a screen, moving his wrist and fingers around a bit.
I suppose one could call this action, but it lacks the erotic, spiritual (not to mention macho) associations one conjures up in considerations of expressionist painting.
Additionally, Broskoski’s paint is not paint—it’s pixels.
And if it’s printed on paper, it’s still not paint—it’s ink “painted” automatically by a machine—a printer.
So, where does this leave one?
Is Broskoski either (a.) a “fake” painter trying to pass for “real,” or (b.) a smart ass?
Or is there is there something else going on here?
A clue may be found in the caption to the work (the title to the work?)—a sort of clock reading “7 days ago…”
“7 days ago…” refers to the amount of time past since Broskoski uploaded the painting to his site.
Yesterday it read “6 days ago…”
The day before “5 days ago…”
Tomorrow it will read “8 days ago…” or perhaps “1 week ago…”
And so on until Broskoski uploads another work, thus resetting the clock.
What this counter adds to the work is a whole new type of anxiety—and a whole new type of way to think of Broskoski’s paintings as possessing meaning.
Like Josh Smith, Broskoski and artists such as Harm van den Dorpel are re-examining the possibility of a certain sincerity in painterly expression, but doing so not in the individual painting (well, not primarily in the individual painting), but as a performance—in time.
The deeper kick of the work, the kick that makes one remember why they care about art, is in Broskoski’s on-going struggle with the possibility of meaningful creation in painting and in the computer and in painting on the computer.
As one returns to the site again and again and again and again, watching him upload new work, trying things out, performing his creation, one begins to see it.
It turns out that what the computer shows me is not space, but time; not the digital painting, but digital painting.
By: Jeff Baij
Showreel is a video by Harm van den Dorpel depicting his own “version” or accounting-for of a collaboratively performed potlatch of screen captures shared-in-dialogue between himself as well as a group of artist friends–Charles Broskoski, Constant Dullaart, Martijn Hendriks, Pascual Sisto, and Ola Vasiljeva.
Van den Dorpel’s version of these events consists of an edited (and chronologically preserved) string of images filtered through the automatic effects of an intensified Ken Burns slideshow tool, ultimately resulting in an idiosyncratic, multi-layered representation of the time in which the images were collected and shared in the first place.
Through the continuous application of three automated functions in the slideshow software:
(1.) A slow dissolve into and out of a palimpsest of three to four (or more) image layers composed entirely of imagery appropriated from digital image archives.
(2.) A slow lateral movement over the majority of these image layers in both varying directions as well as varying rates of speed.
(3.) A slow zoom both into as well as out of approximately half of these image layers.
the video (or the extract of the video available on-line anyway) shows its viewer a reel of collaboratively endured time as, on the one hand, ineffable–a continuous flux of image layers merging with memories of image layers merging with emerging image layers—and, on the other hand, because ineffable, un-re(e)(a)l—always already just outside of one’s grasp.
Van den Dorpel’s version shows me the way, beginning with what—to my mind anyway—reads as:
A transparent layer of vertical lines and an orange flame flicker moving to the bottom left corner of the yellow-tinted photo of a quaint bedroom layout.
This image layer collision might strike one as what has been called an “intellectual montage”—image layer A + image layer B=image layer C (the synthesis)—in which, in short, the representation of stability (the vertical lines, the photographic representation of a bedroom) is rendered as unstable (the flame flicker).
But, that’s “in short.”
“In time,” this intellectual montage is, as the flame itself suggests (in an act of short circuiting), already (a thing of the) past—a memory crystal fighting against previous memory crystals, emergent memory crystals, and the ever-present threat of future memory crystals.
As soon as one feels the zap of the intellectual montage, its power—it’s “truth”—is just as quickly zapped out of one’s mind by emergent image layers such as:
(1.) A computer keyboard inverted 90 degrees.
(2.) Interconnecting plastic tubes forming a storage unit set against a black void.
(3.) A plane of refracted light in swimming pool water set against a black void.
(4.) Two vertical white lines set against a black void intersected by both a white ring as well as a pattern of white lines and arcs resembling the shape of a dish rack.
(5.) Hans Holbein the Younger’s The Ambassadors anamorphically skewed in perspective in order to mimic the famous anamorphic skewing of the skull in the bottom of the painting’s own original composition.
And so on and so on and so on and so on until one catches on that their own picture of the work is itself ineffable–glimpsed and then buried in the flow of memory crystals and emergent memory crystals in its wake.
Van den Dorpel’s version shows me the way.
References to inverted computing equipment, interlocking structures floating in voids, refracted light on swimming pool ripples, and the skewing of The Ambassadors point to a picture of time and time’s pictures as maya.
By: Jeff Baij
50 50 by Oliver Laric is a version of the 50 Cent track In Da Club composed of 50 other versions of the same track—in this case, YouTube user videos in which a user (or users) performs a homemade karaoke performance of a pop song in front of a home video camera or webcam.
Laric cuts these versions together in such a way as to create a single, seamless performance of the track which has less to say about In Da Club and more to say about the fact that the world of images in 2007—the year the video was initially uploaded–is composed of versions of In Da Club as much as it is composed of the original track.
When one searches for a pop track on YouTube, more often than not one will find versions of the track produced by rank-and-file YouTube users as opposed to an “original” version.
And if one does find an “original” version of the track, it will still be versioned anyway through the video’s visual component—say a slide show of thematically relevant imagery or a static screen of text and graphic elements advertising whatever it is that the user sells.
This ecology of versions is what 50 50 shows me—confronts me with when I view it.
It is thus a work of—one could say—YouTube art or new media art as it turns on the question “what is YouTube?” or “what is new media?”
But is it a work of contemporary art?
Well, does it turn on the question “what is contemporary art?”
I’m not sure.
It could be exhibited as contemporary art, but the problem is that that’s all that it could be as contemporary art—“exhibited”–one more interesting thing.
The work doesn’t address contemporary art’s own issues and concerns; it doesn’t look contemporary art in the eye.
And to 50 50’s credit, it really shouldn’t.
The work works because it frames itself in the paradigm of the Web and contributes to the world of that paradigm, describing the Web to itself.
In this way it is not unlike 50 Cent himself who frames his work in the paradigm of pop music and contributes to the world of that paradigm, describing the sound of pop to itself.
However, the sculptural component of Laric’s work Versions—a series of variations not on a YouTube function, but on an art-historical reference—does—one could say—speak to contemporary art by describing the history of fine art’s own entanglement in the condition of versioning to its contemporary self.
By creating a series of identical casts from the molding of an art historical work—an icon from St. Martin’s cathedral in Utrecht which was damaged in a fit of iconoclasm during the Protestant Reformation—and altering only the pigmentation of each casting, Laric mutates one’s understanding of iconoclasm.
The art icon is no longer physically defaced in order to save it—as in the Reformation—it is spiritually defaced in order to save it—as in the version.
In the press release for an exhibition of Versions at the Seventeen Gallery in London, an anonymous author writes in regard to Laric’s sculptures:
After the conceptual event of iconoclasm, after the physical inscription of that event as damage on the very surface of these icons, the formal hierarchy between the original and its modification is fundamentally undermined. Instead there is equipoise; no single truth, no original; no derivative; just versions…
This is a statement about the world of art and its objects, describing art to its contemporary self.
Thus, Oliver Laric’s project encompasses both works made for the world of new media as well as works made for the world of contemporary art.
So, which is he–a new media artist or a contemporary artist?
Well, perhaps if one was forced to locate the beating heart of his project one could say that Laric’s art occurs in neither new media nor in contemporary art, but rather on his website– in his leaps from world to world, performing the role of the artist, describing time to itself.
By: Jeff Baij