26 Sep

“And so, faced with demands of balance and social adaptation, I oppose the claimed neurosis and dysfunctional logic…”

The interest in Artbollocks Theatre has been so great– including the prospect of some live onstage thespianism later this year– that I’m making a special effort to collect more of the worst press releases and artist statements for future performances. Here are some recent acquisitions that have attracted my wrathful gaze like the angry lighthouse in the Lord of the Rings films. Meanwhile, there’ll be a new episode of Artbollocks Theatre tomorrow (27th September) at 12.30 GMT.


“The space of the white cube is normally used to display objects. What Senstad is showing us are different works that have the removal of the object as a theme. In Color Kinesthesia and Color Synthesthesia IV she shows us light perceived as color. Small technically [sic] modifications in the perception can alter even an empty space into a massively colored place.

In the same way she shows that a sculpture is a three-dimensional object, obviously, but that this object not only fills the space in the white cube. It also contains a space inside itself. By folding out the sculpture she questions the function of the sculpture as a solid and defining marker of a gallery space, a way of seeing sculptures that minimalism taught us in the 1960s.”

The space is inside the space that fills the space but doesn’t. Either that, or somebody bought a pack of coloured light bulbs at IKEA because they were on special offer. Silly Modernism, teaching us that sculptures are solid three dimensional objects. Ha ha, so wrong. The ambulance driver is here to take you back to the retirement home for your medication, Modernism.


»Museum Off Museum« is formulating questions as to the current meaning of artistic practice and how it understands itself, as to the form and function of exhibiting, the future of knowledge generation and cultural mediation. The interest additionally circumvents the processes of analysis and translation as well as an investigation of static forms of representation in times of mobile communication. Expanding the contexts of knowledge, the history of cultural identity, the materiality and cultural codes of collections as well as artefacts play a central role in this regard. The process of differentiating between works of art and historical documents, images and reproductions, exhibits and displays, installations, stages and filmic setting will be shifting within the exhibition. In this process, the exhibition reflects, on the one hand, the subjective potential of museums’ narratives and academic methods. On the other hand, the symbolic order of knowledge defined by museums is being questioned, fictionalised and expanded. Besides, the project focuses on the influence of artistic interventions within museums and on exhibition concepts in the present day.

Oh hello, it’s our old friends “investigation” and one hand/other hand, back yet again to add nothing whatsoever to our understanding of art. Of course the interest additionally circumvents the processes of analysis and translation and… wait, no. For a moment there I thought I’d had a stroke and lost my ability to process language, but it’s OK. This person is just writing long strings of grammatically correct but content-free gobbledygook.


And so, faced with demands of balance and social adaptation, I oppose the claimed neurosis and dysfunctional logic. Faced with assurance and confidence reflecting a market’s good health, I claim self-deprecating esthetics of destruction (after construction) and of grime. Faced with agreed sobriety offering comfortable esthetic, “prefabricated” and easy to digest points of reference, I build a complex, brutal and fragmented work. Faced with the truly dictatorial so-called maturity of a laborious majority, I oppose a childish thing made of neon colors that could have come out of an anarchist children daycare. Faced with the unique and reassuring reading of a play existing for and by itself, I create a dependence of the works on each other, multiplying points of view and signs…
Therefore, this exhibition was built on the exploration of the limits of individual freedoms, rejecting any principle of adaptation and conformity to elaborate the esthetic hypothesis of a thought free to shy away from itself, its goals and habits at any time. It rests on shifting foundations that support the changing architecture of identity whose perpetual movement, escape or avoidance constitute the ultimate resistance in the face of the burdening rigidity of the enslaving machine…

All you so-called mature individuals are TOTAL DICTATORIAL FASCISTS, OK? This artist REJECTS your adaptation and conformity, you SLAVE SHEEPLE. [Music cue: Rage Against the Machine, Killing in the Name.]


This next one’s an oldie but a baddie, from Frieze in 2007. It’s worth reviving because even the standfirst is a cracker:

Rachel Harrison’s installations and sculptures explore hierarchies of display and cultural value.

Really? Do tell me more in a needlessly lengthy, egocentric and repetitive format that’s more about you and how knowledgeable you supposedly are than it is about the artist or her work. Spoiler: the text completely fails to explain how or why Rachel Harrison’s installations and sculptures explore hierarchies of display and cultural value.

The first paragraph mentions Proust and his fucking madeleines, though, and Proust’s fucking madeleines are the first resort of far too many pretentious arseholes when they write their grandiose essays about nothing in particular. Perhaps frontloading with Proust is a way of compensating for the fact that the author was so ravenously attracted by the shiny shiny shiny random copy of Vogue she found– like some mindlessly vulgarian, ignoramus magpie– that she didn’t stop to consider it might be part of the artist’s work and thereby screwed up one of Harrison’s installations.

Really this article needs to be read to be (dis)believed. She blames “relational aesthetics” for her assumption that all copies of Vogue that anyone leaves lying around have been placed there solely for her benefit. No, I don’t know either. She seriously uses the word “ouevre”. She says something (I’m not sure what, maybe Vogue again) is “like an On Kawara take on Sylvie Fleury”. Anyone who even understands what the hell that could mean is very welcome to keep it to themselves because I don’t care. Somehow she also manages to arbitrarily drag in Lévi-Strauss, Yves Klein and Courbet. Gosh, you are clever. How on earth anybody could read an article by this woman and think it was publishable or that she should ever be commissioned again just blows my mind.


Finally, a press release for University of Westminster’s MA Photographic Studies degree show:

MAPS is a showcase of emerging talent breaking the boundaries of contemporary practice. The photographers that come together this year explore new horizons by articulating their unique and individual perspectives. MAPS demonstrates there is a current widening of photographic practice with an exhibition that comprises of various modes of display including traditional, conceptual and vernacular.

Course leader David Bate says: “This year’s show will be a brilliant mix of new works to herald a new future of photography. The works of these practitioners are bursting with skill, ideas and images that nobody has seen. Expect to be surprised, moved and affected”.

In your face, previous students. You were nothing. NOTHING. You broke no boundaries. You had no skill, no ideas, and everyone had already seen your images. Only this year’s degree show is heralding a new future of photography [Music cue: Handel, Messiah] with “various modes of display including traditional, conceptual and vernacular.” Sounds like David and these students need to get a hotel room for their private love-in, if they haven’t already, instead of having a public degree show. What’s a conceptual mode of display? “Imagine there’s a photo displayed here.” I suspect “vernacular” display of photographs just means pinning them to the wall instead of framing them. If nobody has seen the images, wouldn’t that make it really difficult for the artists to work on them? Has nobody seen them even after they’ve been hung in the gallery? Perhaps this is where the conceptual display comes in. Bonus points for inadvertent yet nearly 1:1 comparison with the parable of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

English lesson: You don’t say or write “comprises of”. “Comprises” alone is sufficient. While “affected” is technically correct, “effected” or another word entirely would probably have been a better choice because it doesn’t allow the other (and very tempting because it’s apposite) interpretation of “affected”, i.e. pretentious, mannered, superficial and attention-seeking.


  1. Alistair 04/10/2013 at 10:59 AM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.



    […] Some forthcoming victims: Artbollocks Panorama […]

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