“how cold is all history how lifeless all imagery, compared to that which the living nation writes, and the uncorrupted marble bears! how many pages of doubtful record might we not often spare for a few stones left on upon another! … there are but two strong conquerors of the forgetfulness of men, poetry and architecture…” – john ruskin, the lamp of memory

01/07/2011 § 4 Comments

jorge otero-pailos, the ethics of dust – doges palace, venice, italy (2009)

 

the ethics of dust is oddly captivating; odd in the sense that what you’re looking at is equivalent to examining a blackhead removal strip.  and who wouldn’t want to examine the results of their facial exfoliation [1]?  sometimes, i think we are less than a step removed from apes.  returning to matters at hand, jorge otero-pailos does an excellent job of cranking up the beauty of the object, giving the piece much more dignity than a blackhead removal strip.  but in the end, when you’ve removed the glitz and glam of the glowing shroud, you’ll find you’re looking at dirt, dust, and pollutants removed from the pores of a building with a latex compound.  its kind of stupid brilliant.  it runs in a similar vain to wolfgang laib’s pollen installations.  i wonder what someone with a severe pollen allergy feels about these installations.

 

jorge otero pailos – detail from the ethics of dust – alumix factory, bolzano, italy (2008)

wolfgang laib, pollen from noisetier - bordeaux, france (1986)

 

beyond the perverse beauty, there are a lot of interesting concepts that come up through this work – as jorge points out during an interview for art:21, his work is about making the invisible or the overlooked more visible.  a concept in line with last week’s post on the river watercolors of mario reis.  but jorge makes a point of getting political where as mario avoids the issue, wanting to celebrate the interaction of elements and the process of creation.

i remember wandering the streets of budapest a couple of years back and being surprised at the site of white building.  not because hungarians detest white, but because it reminds you that all the darker tinted buildings are covered in soot.  this soot comes from years of exhaust from cars, dust and grime from the decomposition of material, and soot from the coal furnaces of past generations.  though some hungarians still use coal burning furnaces.  jorge zeros in on this sort of pollution, celebrating its presence in our society.  which is a peculiar stance given the tremendous social and health issues associated with the era of industrialization in which most of this pollution was formed [2].  so this art work becomes a celebration of deterioration not only of the building but society.  maybe that’s too negative of a stance.

 

eva hesse, sans ii (1968)

 

his work is certainly thought provoking.  it engages some of the issues concerning the works of eva hesse, which are currently falling apart and in need of their own conservation.  in a report on eva hesse’s sans iii (not shown above, apologies), doug johns, sfmoma’s fabricator for the work, was cited as stating that her work concerns process.  in the case of sans iii, the deterioration of her work is a part of the process and ought to be celebrated despite the fact that future generations will not be able to enjoy the works in the same way we do.  in a way this is a selfish act which doesn’t fit today’s predominant sentiment of preserving artifacts and nature for future generations.  which brings up a question with regards to mr. otero-pailos’ work: does he plan on allowing the ethics of dust (which is also made of latex) to crumble, acknowledging the process of his work?

 

enjoy some fresh air

a young hare

 

 

notes

[1]    as evidence of the obsession with blackhead removal consult the 400+ videos currently on youtube concerning this matter.

[2]   the jungle by upton sinclair is one obvious piece of literature that comes to mind.

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§ 4 Responses to “how cold is all history how lifeless all imagery, compared to that which the living nation writes, and the uncorrupted marble bears! how many pages of doubtful record might we not often spare for a few stones left on upon another! … there are but two strong conquerors of the forgetfulness of men, poetry and architecture…” – john ruskin, the lamp of memory

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You are currently reading “how cold is all history how lifeless all imagery, compared to that which the living nation writes, and the uncorrupted marble bears! how many pages of doubtful record might we not often spare for a few stones left on upon another! … there are but two strong conquerors of the forgetfulness of men, poetry and architecture…” – john ruskin, the lamp of memory at a young hare.

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