by Paulo Kühl.
Text written for the project Art Book.
The selection of artists and works presented here, by Bruno Moreschi, brings some important issues to consider about the contemporary art production, especially the ones related to the legitimization of certain types of works and the recognition of their creators. We notice, within here, several issues persistent in contemporary world: nature transformations and their impact on life in the planet, the body and the corporeality, the gender relationships and sexuality, an archeological critic of art and its functions in society, the art materials and its means, an endless discomfort with the world and the difficulties in representing it all, among many others. That is, issues awaken the interest in a group of critics, curators, historians, and, of course, artists, who have been encountering more space in the institutes promoting art. The questioning, which seems to be a trademark of this production, is at the same time encouraged by the institutions, which seems to be contradictory at sometimes. On one side, we see with pleasure the constant exercise of a critic attitude; on the other, there is discomfort when we realized that this critic drive establishes itself into an acceptance that may be perceived as generalized, thus, loosing part of its strength. Another difficulty may also be the fact that we expect an international contemporary artist to navigate through great museums, galleries, exhibits, and in some cases that is mixed with the art market itself, pointing to one more contradiction.
Furthermore, as noted by the author himself, to elect a certain segment of art production, some will inevitably be included, others, excluded. By observing the set of the selected works, we notice an alignment of proposals with several contemporary art trends. That would lead us to thinking we could trade those artists here presented by other names, obtaining a very similar result to the one we find in other collections of the kind. This would almost display a depersonalized authorship that would be homogenously concretized in several works, spread out in all the various parts of the world. Echoing an ancient question from Foucault and Barthes, would we be looking at the death of the author and the birth of new relationships with the art creation world and its dissemination? It would be tempting to verify the Zeitgeist manifesting itself in 50 distinct agents, but this approach does not convince anymore. At the same time, we seem to be back to the cult of personality, of the individuality, the creator-artist, the genius representing his time, or, at least, simulations of a creation model.
Although we are at an impasse, this book presents the possibility for reflection. We could take on the pessimism of Michael Hardt and Toni Negri, and see no way out anymore, not even the possibility of one in and one out, for the imbricate relationships among art, artists, institutes and market. We do not have to have high hopes (maybe we cannot anymore) of a critical view in the hands of creative individuals. But, we can rely on the opportunity to exercise our critical faculties, with a lot of effort and, carefully going down the path suggested by Bruno Moreschi question about what is before us.
* Paulo Kühl is a lecturer professor at Instituto de Artes da Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp), Doctor in History by the University of São Paulo, with a postdoctoral degree by New York University. He translated into Portuguese and wrote the Foreword of the book Biographical Memoirs of Extraordinary Painters (Memórias Biográficas de Pintores Extraordinários), by William Beckford (Atelê Editorial).