net_CALLBOY on Sat, 8 Mar 2003 04:39:53 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]



"THE_WHITE_WEBISTE by ubermorgen"
On the Iconoclasm of Modern Art


The crisis of representation began at the historical moment when 
painting lost-under the pressure of photography and the praise of its 
unprecedented, truthful representation-its interest in presenting 
reality and took instead-from paint to brush, from canvas to 
frame-the means of expressing representation as the subject of 
representation. With Van Gogh the color began no longer to be bound 
to the object. With his pure, absolute suprematist color painting, 
Malevich banished the object from the picture. At the same time the 
represented object vanished by being replaced through a real object: 
the ready-made of Marcel Duchamp. In 1921 Rodchenko painted three 
monochromes as the "last paintings" and in 2003 ubermorgen "painted" 
[coded] 2 monochromes online.


The self-dissolution of painting or any visual surface can be 
explained in three steps: first, by a shift of accent the color is 
analyzed as the medium of painting and becomes the main element, 
above form, i.e. in Impressionism and Expressionism. Second, color 
becomes independent, leaves behind the laws of local colors and 
receives its own absolute status, see, for example, Suprematism and 
monochromes. Third, paint is replaced by other materials, such as 
white by aluminum. Surface design without painted color allowed for 
the making of "unpainted" paintings, allowed mere surfaces of wood, 
metal, marble, or cardboard to hang or lean on the wall as paintings. 
In this dialectics of liberation, which consists of declaring 
progressively historical elements of easel painting independent (from 
color and canvas up to the frame) and making them absolute, not only 
were objects repressed from the abstract image but finally the 
picture itself became repressed and destroyed (empty canvases, empty 
frames), in the end leading to the departure from the picture.

The paint-less or monochrome easel painting could be-as was shown by 
artists from Lucio Fontana to Yves Klein-cut or drilled or torn, 
attacked by fire or acid. Finally only the empty frames of paintings 
or just the backs of paintings, were shown. Even the surface of the 
canvas could be replaced by the surface of the skin. Naked bodies 
covered with paint became the instruments for color application or 
became the canvas itself. Painting as the arena of action (Action 
Painting) became a bodily action on the canvas and finally a painting 
on the body, an action without canvas. Centered on the artist's body, 
even the products of this body [like feces] could find the social 
consensus to be accepted as an artwork.

>From the empty image to the empty gallery, from the white painting to 
the »white cube« (O'Doherty), we see the iconoclastic gesture of 
modern art. In this iconoclastic tradition we also see the 
substitution of painted images with texts. The material-bound, 
object-like paradigm was replaced by insight into the linguistic 
nature of all artistic expressions.

Yet by leaving the picture and the mediation, modern art has also 
produced a way out of the crisis of representation. Especially the 
Neo-Avantgarde after World War II and movements like Kinetics, 
Fluxus, Happening, Actionism, Body Art, Process Art, Land Art, Arte 
Povera, Concept Art,, corporate art and above all the 
development of Media Art-from Expanded Cinema to Virtual Reality, 
from closed circuit video installations to interactive computer 
installations-prepared social practices as open art forms, by making 
the pure spectator a participating and interacting user.

Thus began the farewell to the idea of modernism (T. J. Clark), that 
was determined by the iconoclastic gesture. These practices, in forms 
of intervention, interaction, institutional critique and 
contextualization took art beyond the White Cube, where questions of 
gender, race, class, power, colonialism had not been asked. With the 
end of the epoch of modern art, which announced the end of art, new 
practices beyond the crisis of representation began in the form of 
corporate representation [etoy, ubermorgen] or social networks and 
activists [].

>From mathematics to medicine, from computer-supported proof methods 
to computer tomography, we see a triumphant return of the image to 
the natural sciences. While modern art turned more and more into an 
iconoclastic strategy, in a critique of representation, we see the 
advent of an iconophilic science trusting the representative power of 
the image.

We live in a period where art, as the former monopolist of the 
representative image, has abandoned this representative obligation. 
Yet science, in contrast, fully embraces the options which technical 
machine-based images offer for the representation of reality. 
Therefore, it could be the case that mankind will find the images of 
science more necessary than the images of art. To be able to maintain 
its significance up against the sciences and their picture-producing 
procedures, art must look for a position beyond the crisis of 
representation and beyond the image wars straight into the blind 
spaces of the black and the white [ubermorgen/THE_WHITE_WEBSITE] and 
the non-existing twilight zone [ HTTP://WWW.HANSBERNHARD.COM ] in our 


  aa.mdk etoy.HANS, etoy.BRAINHARD, hans_extrem, e01

  HTTP://WWW.UBERMORGEN.COM      1999-2003
  HTTP://WWW.BERNHARDS.NET       2001-2003
  HTTP://WWW.ETOY.COM            1994-2003
  HTTP://WWW.ETOY.AG             1999-2003


  uberDISCLAIMER _acctggggtggggcctggaaagggtctctggggg

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: