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Re: <nettime> Re: madness and art
Paul Clay on 11 Mar 2001 19:56:18 -0000


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Re: <nettime> Re: madness and art


I know very little about this topic, but it strikes me that many people
who can be classified by some other aspect of their life can also be said
to be artists, yet these two things may bear little relationship to one
another. Leni Riefenstahl was an artist and also Nazi propagandist, yet we
do not expect her politics to indicate some quality which all artists
share.

The whole idea of using psychology and personality to understand artists
doesn't strike me as a particularly revealing avenue of study.

I think artists do operate by creating meanings outside the mundane in
some way. Conveying impressions which travel interstitially, between the
culturally defined catagories constituting a particular world view.
Whether it is as traditional craft practices in folk societies which are
done to alter perception through religion and the sacred, or contemporary
art in the pseudo-western global culture mix which creates unexpected
disjunctures in our usual thinking, in all cases the work brings
perceptions outside the boundaries of day to day existence.

I think it was James Turell who once said he thought that people had no
more control over the urban sprawl of structures in New York City than the
coral do of the Great Barrier Reef. We are part of larger processes, and
while analyzing our supposed inner psychoses to understand art is
flattering, both this and studying "mad" people who also happen to be
artists don't necessarily get us very far in the process of understanding
art and artists.

Its fascinating (and more than a little frightening) to see how much
meaning is being derived from a kind of 19th Century romantic -or even
Renaissance- notion of art, artists, and madness.




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