artlog #1 the necessity
Today I am talking about the video installation ‘Manifesto’ by Julian Rosefeldt and Cate Blanchett at the Palais des Beaux–Arts a Paris. And I’m in search for the necessity to bring this work to us.
Is there a better place than Paris to see ‘Manifesto’ by Julian Rosefeldt? The city where you can sniff the air of melancholy and revel in its glorious past at every street corner?
As a mother of western concepts, actress Cate Blanchett transforms into a different character in each bright, beaming window. She makes eye contact with the visitor. You can feel an almost hysterical conviction in the statements of every character she represents. Every sentence, word and image is fraught with meaning.
When I enter this grid of electronic screens, I find myself thinking of the light at the Saint Denis Cathedral, here in Paris; the birthplace of gothic art.
The many stain-glass windows of Saint Denis immerse its visitors in a marvellous bath of colour and light, conveying them to a spiritual realm.
The light and colours strip away identity, gender, upbringing, creed, status.
What they bring out is your true self, your essence, your being, the god in you.
These pure dialogues with the 13 characters Cate Blanchett brings, pulsates down at all my personal concepts and convictions. About my views on the world and particularly art.
You enter this place to have a conversation with your core being.
It prunes my beliefs. Believes I used to have, believes I’ve always detested, believes I still believe in.
Manifesto is a dialogue about a dialogue. Why does this meta-dialogue make me feel comfortable, why is it so attractive? It speaks about concepts and convictions.
Paul van den Berg, the teacher who taught me French, used to lay stretched out on the school table like the mummy of Egyptian pharaoh Toetanchamon. For me, as a high-school student, it opened up a window to a new world.
The world of the pharaohs and what it meant to him. How amazed he was at its stories and its beauty. How tangible it all was to him.
I could smell and touch that world. It all seemed so vivid in his mind, so graphic in his words. I wanted to be part of that world, of that greatness and creation of beauty, that strife for the aesthetic. Just by the experience of his story.
In my mind, Paul’s passion and the shameless love for life that fired his stories made him grand. His dedication made me feel that I was part of cultural history at that very moment.
Manifesto triggers a similar response. It wipes clean the slate of my mind, making space for new ideas, new concepts, new history, new art.
At the same time, it bolsters my conviction that art is absolutely vital to our existence and our well-being.
Your stories enhance your work, your output, and connect to the tradition of art and creation.
It channels your audience into a discourse with your concepts and your imagination.
As an artist or a designer, you put heart and soul into the creation of exquisite and unique work.
But your art or design is not self-evident to the audience. You could help them to appreciate your work, appreciate the artistic tradition it is part of and – maybe, who knows – help them understand beauty.
People have different backgrounds, different ways of remembering impressions and events. In short, each has his or her particular view of the world. And you expect them to ‘get’ your stuff in an instant? Good luck to that.
More likely, your potential audience will not be able at first to fully understand what your work is about, what it is that you want to express. It does not understand the visual language, the aesthetics or themes. Your work is unique, thus many people need a bit of help in order to be able to connect to it.
Therefore, you open a conversation that could not have taken place otherwise.
What’s good to know is that 80% of people are visually set. Images and video material will help to make an impact.
So dare to be yourself and tell the stories in your personal and unique way.
If you do not explicate your work by using your insights and intentions it is likely that it will be misunderstood or, worse, neglected. There are many pitfalls on the road to recognition and success, don’t be one of them.
As I leave Julian Rosenfeldt’s space, this marvellous kaleidoscope of manifests and manifestations, I feel recharged. More than before I entered Manifesto, I am aware of who I am and why I create. Rosenfeldt’s Manifesto resonates in me when I step out onto the elegant boulevards of Paris.
There, I encounter men in dark military garb with machine guns across their armoured chests—at least 25 of them. They stop people with dark complexion.
As I look in horror, I try very hard to focus on my Manifesto impressions.
This is a reality check and I’m all the more convinced that we need fresh ideas. Now.
Art is the teacher. That’s my manifesto.
PS watch my artlog on the Art Core Business YouTube channel for a more relaxed mode.