你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛?

How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned?

There is a crucial distinction between art that addresses important subjects and important art. It can become difficult not to confuse the two. Art that engages with social injustice, human rights abuse, repressive regimes, environmental disaster, systematic prejudice and the myriad other vile ills of the current world can often wear its righteousness like a critical force field.

This distinction is an important one for Artes Mundi, a political art prize that rewards artists ‘tackling the biggest issues facing our world.’ How to avoid turning such a prize into a beauty contest for the best-intentioned? For one, we should check our innate desire to reward works that reinforce our own worldview.

Otobong Nkanga, Trevor Paglen, Apitchatpong Weerasethakul, Bouchra Khalili and Anna Boghiguian are all shortlisted for the eighth edition of this biennial award. Their works have been handsomely installed at the National Museum of Wales, where an overall winner of the GBP£40,000 pot will be announced on 24 January 2019.

How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛?

Anna Boghiguian, A meteor fell from the Sky, 2018, installation view, ‘Artes Mundi 8’, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Polly Thomas。

Boghiguian is the only artist to have engaged with Artes Mundi’s Cardiff location. Her new work A meteor fell from the Sky (2018) is a complicated and multifaceted installation that sets the mighty steel works at nearby Port Talbot within the context of a global industry and its deep history. Through books, drawings, cut outs in paper and steel, model meteorites and sheets of metal in various stages of refinement, Boghiguian evokes humankind’s relationship with iron. From our transition from an agrarian society, through the industrial revolution to the discovery of steel and the accelerated production of armaments, the relationship amounts to a kind of self-destructive worship. Within this context, groups of protesting workers from steel plants owned by the multinational Tata Group – in Port Talbot, Jamshedpur, and Kalinagar – are shown like shadow puppets, standing together against exploitation.

Set within rooms painted in the hot colours of metal working plants and hi-vis clothing, A meteor … carries its big ideas and redoubtable efforts of human production elegantly.

How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛?

Otobong Nkanga, Manifest of Strains, 2018, and Double Plot, 2018, installation view, ‘Artes Mundi, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Courtesy: the artist and Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam; Galerie In Situ – Fabienne Leclerc, Paris; and Mendes Wood DM, Brussels; photograph: Polly Thomas。

Boghiguian’s theme of global interconnectivity is echoed in new works by Otobong Nkanga. The tapestry Double Plot (2018) suggests energies from the living natural world – a headless figure and flowering tree – feeding through copper wires into a kind of universal mechanism flooding out into the Milky Way: a passage of energy from the particular to the universal, or perhaps vice versa. On the floor the tubular metal circle Manifest of Strains (2018) exhibits strains and energies: in one segment heat, another light, another emits electromagnetism that causes a rock to levitate, various kinds of corrosive substance eat their way through other parts of the metal, and shunting noises alert us to the final segment being submitted to extreme pressure.

It’s a neat evocation of global stresses – greed for resources, climatic warming, the heat of conflict, and poisoning of the atmosphere – and the fact that all are taking place within this same object simultaneously. I wonder how long the work will remain stable – the strains it is under are real.

Trevor Paglen recently won a MacArthur ‘genius’ Grant, has a massive show running at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and is about to launch the satellite-as-artwork Orbital Reflector into space. Is Artes Mundi high on his list of priorities? Paglen’s somewhat hands-off display, including works dating back to the earliest years of this decade, suggests possibly not, but it’s also true that his projects takes vast efforts and many years of planning.

How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛?

Trevor Paglen, (left to right:) PARCAE 2-1(A) in Monoceros (Naval Ocean Surveillance System; 1990-050A), 2013, c-type print, and PAN (Unknown; USA-207), 2010-11, c-type print, installation view, ‘Artes Mundi’, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Courtesy: the artist and Metro Pictures, New York; photograph: Polly Thomas。

For Artes Mundi, Paglen is represented by ten photographs, each the result of his ongoing surveillance of the surveillance system. Taken together they suggest new forms of image making at its outer limits. One series shows telescopic views into space focused on space debris and remote satellites looking back down at us. The other series features blurry photographs of unlisted US military bases, photographed from distances of up to 18 miles, due to security restrictions around the sites. We can make out personnel, hangars, parabolic antennae and in one, a Reaper drone being prepared. Hovering on the edge of formal abstraction, Paglen’s photographs expose the concrete realities and real-world evidence of concepts we too easily hold to be abstract: the systems connecting us, watching us, manipulating us and ultimately threatening us.

How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛?

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Invisibility, 2018, film installation, installation view, ‘Artes Mundi 8’, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Courtesy: the artist and Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London; photograph: Polly Thomas。

Filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Invisibility (2016) performs at a pace quite alien to the rapid telecommunication depicted by Paglen. That call to slowness is perhaps a political gesture in itself. Projected on twinned screens, Invisibility evokes shadow puppetry, showing the occupants of a room as fragmenting and sometimes multiplying silhouettes. The setting is simple: two figures in a room surrounded by trees, one sitting on a bed dressed with medical paraphernalia, including a drip, the other seated at a table beside a sewing machine. The camera moves as though we were within a magic lantern, watching the passage of the shadows against a wall as they slowly spin past. For all its beauty and masterful cinematography, the atmosphere is of sickly claustrophobia. Invisibility, the work suggests, is a form of camouflage: but to become a shadow hiding amongst shadows seems half a life, if that.

How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛?

Bouchra Khalili, Twenty-Two Hours, 2018, film still. Courtesy: the artist。

 

Of all the works, Bouchra Khalili’s Twenty-Two Hours (2018) broadcasts its political concerns the loudest. The kernel of Khalili’s film is a covert trip to America made by the French writer Jean Genet in support of the Black Panthers. In the US, Genet attended and spoke at rallies and other events, at times escorted by party captain Doug Miranda. At MIT 1,500 people turned up to hear Genet speak, in 1970 he published the book of essays Here and Now for Bobby Seale.

It’s a fascinating and perhaps largely forgotten historic episode: but as an artwork Twenty-Two Hours struggles to transcend its source materials. The story is unpicked for us by two young women who have evidently been directed to speak in blank, uninflected tones. They swipe through a slideshow on their iPhones, then question Doug Miranda in an equally mannered style. There’s material for an incredible documentary lurking in here, but – looking beyond the force field of righteousness for a moment – it’s being cramped by this mannered reimagining as an artwork.

‘Artes Mundi 8’, runs at the National Museum Cardiff until 24 February 2019.

Main image: Trevor Paglen, They Watch The Moon, 2010, c-type print. Courtesy: the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Hettie Judah

Hettie Judah is a writer based in London.


重要的艺术和重要的艺术之间有着至关重要的区别。很难不混淆这两者。涉及社会不公正、践踏人权、专制政权、环境灾难、系统偏见和当今世界无数其他邪恶弊病的艺术,往往会像关键力量领域一样佩戴其正义。这一区别对于政治艺术奖Artes Mundi来说很重要,该奖项奖励“处理我们世界面临的最大问题的艺术家”。如何避免将这样的奖项变成美容竞赛,以求达到最佳目的?一方面,我们应该检查我们天生的愿望来奖励那些加强我们自己世界观的作品。奥托邦·恩坎加、特雷弗·帕格伦、艾皮查庞·韦拉塞塔库尔、布赫拉·哈利利和安娜·博吉安都入围了本年度奖项的第八届。他们的作品被漂亮地安装在威尔士国家博物馆,在2019年1月24日,英国石油40000英镑罐子的总冠军将宣布。artes-mundi-anna-boghiguian-1.jpg How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛? Anna Boghiguian,一颗流星从天空, 2018、安装角度下跌,“阿特斯8’,威尔士国家博物馆,加的夫。礼貌:艺术家;摄影:Polly Thomas Boghiguian是与Artes Mundi的加的夫位置从事唯一的艺术家。她的新工作,一颗流星从天空坠落(2018)是一个复杂的、多方面的安装,集强大的钢铁厂附近的塔尔伯特港在全球范围内的行业背景和深刻的历史。通过书籍、图纸、纸和钢切口,在细化各个阶段模型陨石和金属板,boghiguian唤起人类的关系铁。我们从一个农业社会,通过工业革命对钢的发现和军备生产加速,关系相当于一种自我毁灭的崇拜。在这一背景下,抗议的工人从钢铁厂由跨国–塔塔集团在塔尔伯特港、Jamshedpur拥有的群体,和kalinagar–示喜欢皮影,站在一起反对剥削。在涂上金属加工厂和高可见服装热颜色的房间,一颗流星…有大的想法和可怕的努力,人类生产的优雅。artes-mundi-otobong-nkanga-2.jpg How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛? Otobong Nkanga,明显的菌株,2018,和 双重情节,2018,安装角度,Artes Mundi,威尔士国家博物馆,加的夫。礼貌:艺术家和管腔特拉沃画廊,阿姆斯特丹;原位–法比耶纳勒克莱尔画廊,巴黎;和门德斯木DM、布鲁塞尔;摄影:Polly Thomas Boghiguian主题的全球互联互通是回荡在Otobong Nkanga的新作品。织锦双重情节(2018)提出了能量从生活的自然世界–头图和开花的树–喂养通过铜导线为一种普遍的机制驱进入银河:从特殊到普遍的一段能量,或者正好相反SA。地板上的管状金属圈表现株(2018)菌株,具有能量:一段热,另一个,另一个发出电磁引起的岩石漂浮,各种腐蚀性物质,吃他们的方式通过金属的其他部分,分流的声音提醒我们最后一段被提交到极端的压力。这是一个整洁的召唤力–贪婪的全球资源,气候变暖,矛盾升温,而大气–中毒的事实,都是发生在这同一对象的同时。我不知道这项工作将持续多久,它所承受的压力是真实的。Trevor Paglen最近获得了麦克阿瑟“天才”授予的,有一个巨大的显示运行在华盛顿哥伦比亚特区的史密森学会,和即将发射的卫星轨道反射到太空的艺术品。阿特斯-芒迪在他的优先事项清单上排名靠前吗?Paglen的手从显示器,包括作品可以追溯到这个十年的最初几年,很可能是没有,但它也是真实的,他的项目需要大量的努力和多年的规划。artes-mundi-trevor-paglen-1.jpg How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛? Trevor Paglen(左至右)巴契2-1(一)在麒麟座(海军海洋监视系统;1990-050a),2013、C型打印,和潘(未知;usa-207),2010-11赛季,C型打印,安装角度,“阿特斯”,国家加的夫威尔士博物馆。礼貌:纽约艺术家和Metro Pictures画廊;摄影:波利托马斯阿特斯,Paglen是由十张照片的代表,他的每一个正在进行的监测系统的监测结果。他们共同提出了新的形式在其外部限制的图像制作。其中一个系列展示了太空望远镜的远景,重点是太空碎片和遥远的卫星。其他系列特征模糊的相片未上市的美国军事基地,从高达18英里的距离拍摄,由于安全限制在网站。我们可以制作人员、机库、抛物线天线,其中一个是收割无人机。徘徊在抽象的边缘,Paglen的照片揭露的具体实际和概念我们太容易认为是抽象的现实世界的证据:系统连接我们,看着我们,操纵我们最终威胁我们。artes-mundi-apichatpong-weerasethakul-2.jpg How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛?阿彼察邦·韦拉斯哈古,隐形,2018,膜的安装,安装角度,“阿特斯8’,威尔士国家博物馆,加的夫。礼貌:艺术家安东尼雷诺兹画廊,伦敦;摄影:波利托马斯导演阿彼察邦·韦拉斯哈古的隐形(2016)执行速度的快速通信由Paglen描绘的格格不入。这种缓慢的呼吁或许本身就是一种政治姿态。投射在双屏幕,隐蔽性唤起的皮影戏,表现出房间的居住者的分化,有时乘剪影。设置很简单:在一个房间里,被树环绕的两个数字,一个坐在床上穿着医疗用具,包括一滴水,其他坐在一张桌子旁边的缝纫机。相机移动,好像我们是在一个神奇的灯,看墙上的影子通道慢慢地旋转过去。尽管所有的美丽和精湛的电影,气氛是病态幽闭恐惧症。隐形的工作表明,是一种伪装:但要成为一个影子隐藏在阴影似乎是半个生命,如果。artes-mundi-bouchra-khalili-3.jpg How Do You Avoid Turning a Political Art Prize into a Beauty Contest for the Best-Intentioned? - 你如何避免把一个政治艺术奖变成一个最佳的选美比赛? Bouchra Khalili,二十二小时,2018,电影仍然。礼貌:所有作品的艺术家,Bouchra Khalili的二十二小时(2018)广播的政治问题最大。Khalili电影的核心是法国作家Jean Genet为支持黑豹而进行的美国秘密之旅。在美国,吉尼特在集会和其他活动中出席并发言,有时由队长Doug Miranda陪同。在麻省理工学院,有1500人出席了吉尼特的演讲,1970他在这里出版了一本散文集,现在为Bobby Seale出版。这是一个迷人的,或许很大程度上被遗忘了的历史事件:但是作为一个艺术品二十二小时 努力超越它的源材料。这个故事是由两位年轻女性为我们挑选的,她们显然是用空洞的、无变化的语调说话的。他们在iPhone上浏览幻灯片,然后以同样礼貌的方式质问Doug Miranda。有一个令人难以置信的纪录片潜伏在这里的材料,但–寻找超越正义的力场一会儿–是局促的礼貌作为一种艺术品的探讨。“阿特斯蒙迪8”,运行在加的夫国家博物馆,直到2019年2月24日。主要形象:Trevor Paglen,他们看月亮,2010,C型打印。礼貌:艺术家和Metro Pictures画廊,纽约赫蒂犹大赫蒂犹大是一个作家在伦敦。意见/阿特斯艺术&otobong恩坎加加的夫政治舆论赫蒂犹大特里沃Paglen apitchatpong导演安娜boghiguian Bouchra哈利利

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