12 Jan

Some lovely artbollockry by Zuzana Pacáková has come my way, promoting a solo exhibition in Slovakia of work by an artist called Viktor Frešo. Obviously we’ll give them some slack for writing in a language other than their own. Unfortunately most of that slack is immediately stretched taut again by Pacáková’s surgical mastery of that esoteric, malignant art: writing hundreds of words that are grammatically correct and yet mean absolutely nothing. Indeed, she (I’m pretty certain the writer is female, correct me if I’m wrong) writes like somebody born and bred in the land of Artbollocks…

“The Connection [NOTE: the exhibition’s name] interconnects different media, approaches and forms that seem to be mutually independent. They represent a kind of an absurd parallel to “3 in 1″ (CD, DVD, T-shirt and sticker as a bonus) musical production packages. The connection, however, is not definitive, as individual forms continue to develop and react in interconnection with intelligence, poetry and humour. This is a sort of Schwittersian accumulation of material and void that subsequently creates different spatial architectures – connections. Pure, at first sight simple, spontaneous and rough interventions – gestures (situate, bend down, put, attach, move, cut off) create plasticity of surfaces and visual poetry. Individual juxtapositions of objects redefine reality just to change it later.”

For a start, if you’re getting a CD, a DVD, a T-shirt and a sticker, then surely that’s four things, not three? Do packages like this even exist, anyway?

I’ve seen this oxymoronic “interconnects things that are independent” gambit before when the curator or writer has apparently just thrown up their hands in despair at gaining any kind of intellectual traction with the material in front of them. Translated into plain English it usually means something like: “This exhibition is a total dog’s dinner and I can’t see any meaningful connection between the different things that are in it. Seriously, I’ve got nothing.” Another false notion commonly put forth in artbollocks apologias for lazy work is that simply putting unrelated objects in physical proximity to each other is sufficient to elevate them to the realm of art.

“Schwittersian” is a brilliant made up non-word. I know people (artists especially) whose houses are totally Schwittersian in the sense that there’s a load of crap everywhere and random shit stuck to the walls, and they seem pathologically averse to tidying up. I’ve also seen lots of art exhibitions that were just a load of old junk, but neither of the aforementioned things necessarily amount to visual poetry. OCD, possibly. Incipient full-blown mental illness, occasionally. Sheer laziness, often. The prospect of a gallery show but they haven’t done enough work, frequently. But visual poetry? Rarely. And if it is visual poetry, we the audience will decide that for ourselves by looking at the work, not just because somebody tells us so.

Nor can a void “accumulate” since it is by definition an absence. How do “individual juxtapositions of objects redefine reality just to change it later”? I mean, how does that work? And what is the “it” in this sentence? Individual juxtapositions? Juxtapositions of objects? Reality?

I have no idea whether this exhibition is worth seeing and I probably never will unless I suddenly have urgent business in Košice, but letting somebody write about it in this way certainly does neither the artist nor their work any favours whatsoever.

My Schwittersian advice for Zuzana:

ÜrRrRrRr rriiiiting ting ting









    […] For the especially dense, though- the writers of this press release, this curator’s gloss and this artist’s statement, for example- I’ll try rephrasing it: art world language is designed to make artists sound […]


    […] I’m seeing two key ideas in the preceding paragraph, not three: “Apocalypse 2012″ and “urban planning”. That’s two. This is simply bad writing, the kind that bubbles up from lazy thinking like papier mache shit from a blocked toilet. If there was previously a third concept that got edited out, you need to go back and check it hasn’t left dangling thought processes or logical holes in your text. It’s basic craft and diligence that anybody writing in any kind of professional context should be vigilant about. (See also.) […]


    […] Read the rest of my original commentary on this text here: Artbollocksonate. […]

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