Saturday, 3 October 2009
The categories of naive art, art brut , and insane or eccentric art,which shade into various and further categories of neo- primitive art- all these ways of categorizing and labelling art remains senseless:- that is , not only ultimately useless but also essentially unsensual, unconnected to body and desire.What really characterizes all these art forms? Not their marginality in relation to a mainstream of art/discourse...for heaven's sake, what mainstream?!What discourse?! If we were to say that theres a " post modernist " discourse currently going on , then the concept "margin" no longer holds any meaning. Post- post modernism, however,will not even admit rhe existence of any discource of any sort. Art has fallen silent. There are no more categories, much less maps of center and margin. We are free of all that shit , right?
Wrong.Because one category survives: Capital.Too-Late Capitalism. The spectacle, the Simulation, Babylon, whatever you want to call it. All art can be positioned or labelled in relation to this discourse.And it is precisely and only in relation to this " metaphysical " commodity-spectacle that outsider art can be seen as marginal.If this spectacle can be considered as a para-medium( in all its sinuous complexity), then outsider art must be called immediate.It does not pass thru the paramedium of the spectacle.It is meant only for the artist and the artist's immediate entourage( friends, family, neighbors, tribe); and it participates in a gift economy pf positive reciprocity.Only this non-category of immediatism can therefore approach an adequate understanding and defense of the bodily aspects of outsider art, its connection to the senses and to desire, and its avoidance or even ignorance of the mediation/alienation inherent in spectacular recuperation and reproduction.Mind you ,this has nothing to do with the content of any outsider genre, nor for that matter does it concern the form or the intention of the work, nor the navite or knowinness of trhe artist or recipents of the art.Its immediatism lies soley in its means of imaginal production.It communicates or is given from person to person, breast to breast as the sufis say, without passing thru the distotion-mehanism of the spectaculat paramedium.
When Yugoslavian or Haitian or NYC- graffito art was discovered and commodified,the results failed to satisfy on several points :-
1. In terms of the pseudo-discourse of the Art World , all so called "naivite" is doomed to remain quaint, even campey, and decidedly marginal- even when it commands high prices (for a year or two (.The forced entrance of ousider art into the commodity spectacle is a humiliation,
2.Recuperation as commodity engages the artist in negative reciprocity-i.e, where first the artist "received inspiration" as a free gift, and then made a donation directly to the people, who might or might not give back their understanding, or mystification, or a turkey and a keg of beer (positive reciprocity), the artist now first creates for money and recieves money, while any aspects of gift exchange recede int scondary levels of meaning and finally begin to fade (negative reciprocity). Finally we have tourist art, and the condescending amusement,and then the condescending boredom,of those who will no longer pay for the inauthentic.
3.Or else the Art World vampirizes the energy of the outsider, sucks everything out and then passes on the corpse to the advertising world or the world of popular entertainment. By this reproduction the art finally loses its aura and shrivels and dies. True, the utopian trace may remain, but in essennce the art has been betrayed.
The unfairness of such terms as insane or ne-primitive art lies in the fact that this art is not produced only by the mad or innocent,but by all those who evade yhe alienation of the paramedium. Its true appeal lies in the intense aura it acquires thru immediate imaginal prescence, not only in its visionary style or content, but most importantly by its mere present-ness (i.e it is "here" and it is a "gift").In this sense it is more, not less, noble than mainstream art of the post-modern era--which is precisely the art of an abscence rater than a prescence.
The ony fair way (or "beauty way,") as the Hopi say) to treat outsider art would seem to be to keep it secret, to refuse to define it-- to pass it on as a secret, person to person, breast to breast, rather than pass it through the paramedium ( slick journals,quarterlies,galleries, museums,coffee table books,MTV etc.).Or even better to become mad and innocent ourselves.For so Babylon will label us when we neither worship nor criticize it anymore, when we have forgotten it(but not forgiven it!), and remembered our own prophetic selves, our bodies, our "true will."
Posted by teifidancer at 10:31