20 Sep

ArtBTheatreTitleIn this week’s dramatic reading of a ghastly artist statement, we meet another numpty who’s not a mere performance artist poncing around in an art gallery; she’s carrying out an “investigation” with the potential to shatter everything we thought we knew. In common with several other perps who are featured in this series, she also claims to be going beyond scientific constraints– NO, MR. WHITE! NO, SCIENCE! Not only that, but she’s also inventing a new language between performer and audience. And here I was thinking she was just another grandiloquent ignoramus who flipped through a back issue of New Scientist in the dentist’s waiting room one time. I’m starting to believe the main impetus for many contemporary artists isn’t talent, or having anything to say, or curiosity, or insight… it’s just that they were really traumatised and humiliated by science and English classes in school and they’ve never been able to get over it.

My original commentary on this text is here: £0=GTFO. Also some discussion of the artist asking for unpaid performers to investigate “the energetics of practice” with her at Anita Zabludowicz‘s Hameau de la reine for artists. That would be the same Anita Zabludowicz who has a massive yacht, spends most of her life jetting around the world, and can buy any art she wants to on a whim because she’s worth about £1,500 million.

Previous episodes: Investigation Pschogeography Haptic Noesis Oscillating.


  1. Jeff 20/09/2013 at 4:41 PM #

    Love the new language (I assume it’s a ‘private language’ too).

    No doubt you’ll have heard of the Sokal Affair:

    • Alistair 21/09/2013 at 10:42 AM #

      I have, and it’s never far from my mind when I read yet another tiresome artist statement or PR blurb that appropriates pseudo-scientific language. The thing I find saddest about the Sokal thing is that he was pissing into the wind because academia and academic writing are still riddled with pretention, buzzwords, egocentric grandstanding and insider flattery.

  2. erickuns 20/09/2013 at 6:30 PM #

    Massive! I just hope if her investigation and research are successful, and she actually manages to use the mechanism of a new language to fuse subatomic energy with the reified art object, that the gallery space and the bodies within it get contaminated with the non-ephemeral byproduct of auratic radiation. I mean “don’t get”.

    • Alistair 21/09/2013 at 11:00 AM #

      I agree, it does seem extremely dangerous to tinker on the subatomic level without the proper facilities. Places like Iran are frowned upon for this kind of thing. What if one of her unpaid performers undergoes nuclear fission and annihilates half of London? Somebody send the UN’s nuclear weapons inspectorate round to the Zabludowizc Collection. But perhaps we shouldn’t worry because she’s moving BEYOND a scientific constraint (into silliness and bullshit, but you can’t have everything) so presumably physics as we know them don’t apply to her.

      Now I think about it, though, isn’t she just describing the origin story of The Hulk and/or the plot of Watchmen?

  3. Alistair 04/10/2013 at 10:58 AM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

  4. anitachowdry 11/03/2014 at 7:10 PM #

    Dear Alistair Gentry,
    Have you see this ‘opportunity’ advertised in Artquest? It begs for your commentary – better still, you could apply and ‘explore’ …?

    • Alistair 11/03/2014 at 7:43 PM #

      That’s hilarious, especially since it’s my old pal and noted screensaver manufacturer Tacita Dean ( ) Yeah… this is not in any way a laboratory. Isn’t going to Italy at your own expense and then slobbing around doing nothing for three weeks what the less highfalutin among us would normally call “a holiday”? If anybody would be an expert on doing absolutely sweet FA and calling it work, it would be our Tacita. On the evidence of her art, artist statements and interviews I don’t doubt for a moment that Dean’s “level of brain idleness” is indeed “very rigorous”. And I definitely wouldn’t want to go on holiday with her.

      By the way, “Tacita” is both a genus of sea snails and the feminine version of the Latin tacitus, past participle of tacere, “be silent”. If only she would.

      Sadly I am disgustingly decrepit and on the artistic scrapheap according the lab coated geniuses behind this artists (sic) research laboratory, i.e. older than 35*, and therefore not allowed to apply for this SCIEEEEENNNNNCCCCE. Sad emoticon. As usual there appears to be no good reason to impose an age limit, other than kneejerk age discrimination and/or to maintain a tacit(a), egocentric and unequal power hierarchy upwards from “junior” artists to “important” people like Dean.

      * AHEM. “Tacita Dean was born in 1965…”

      • anitachowdry 12/03/2014 at 12:55 AM #

        Thanks for the entertaining comments! I had not realized it was Tacita Dean – Actually her work is not half bad – and certainly high-profile (said the envious impoverished artist!) Kinda hyper-post-modern-modernist-with-an-ironic-and-subversive-twist-challenging-the-viewer-to-rethink-the-concept-of-auratic-space-between-the-viewer-and-the-space-object sort of way. Maybe there is a compelling case for writing pompous Artbollocks?

      • Alistair 12/03/2014 at 10:52 AM #

        I don’t even hate her work, it just leaves me completely cold and I don’t see the point of it. Whatever, though… art being good or bad is mostly a matter of opinion. If you get something from it, good for you. A number of people who’ve dealt with her have told me they’d rather not do so again because she’s a pain in the arse, but luckily most gallery goers won’t ever encounter the artist herself except through her pretentious artists statements. The notion that you can get something from her work despite the writing about it emphasises my view that where art interpretation is concerned, if one can’t say anything intelligent then it’s preferable to say nothing at all. Obviously Dean doesn’t need to say anything about her own work, and doing so actually makes things worse.

        You’re absolutely right to observe that there’s a compelling case for writing artbollocks/international art English. It’s the only thing keeping many living contemporary artists afloat and seeming like they might be doing anything worthwhile. It certainly ain’t their talent, ideas, hard work or craft that sustains their reputations.



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