From:Beijing 798 Biennale (China)
We are in a state of constant war with the language. L. W.
Black backgrounds are crucial in these paintings. They signify what is to be, or what is going to be expressed – the unknown, the mysterious. They create a space for the viewer - a mirror-like plane which reflects his/her version of events, with all its deformities; black background is the “empty” space, waiting to be filled with an image created – authored – by its viewer, by a ‘painting’ of her or his own. The sentence/statement in the center of the picture is just a guideline for the viewer’s creative activity. It is not supposed to be an order or imposing instruction: the viewer can use it or reject it.
These images have nothing to do with the art of painting. They are yet to become paintings. Their aim is to shift the art of painting (or all pictorial problems) to another level, pushing their viewers towards creating their own painting – towards becoming the author in a literal sense of the word, towards becoming the opposite of a passive bystander / consumer , one of those who daily overflow millions of galleries and museums around the world. Instead of introducing a “pictorial work” to the viewer, one that would limit his/her active involvement, I propose an interactive approach – one that requires personal commitment, and thus demands that the viewer takes responsibility for authorship of the resulting object. I surrender my “creative authority” for the sake of openness: the form of the final “painting” will be determined by factors that are completely independent of my will, skill, or professional judgment – which, by the way, is of absolutely no concern and no interest to me. Withdrawal is the only possible option here as the current system of evaluating and interpreting any work of art leaves no other options.
This is the ultimate solution for the problem of painting, executed in my own way, but also put in a broader context. Canvases bearing titles / captions such as “the end of painting”, “the final canvas”, “the last image” represent the final phase of the project; once it is completed, the art of painting will be completely stripped of any meaning. “Creating paintings for the people” is meaningless to me. Nowadays the only way to present a viable alternative to painting - albeit a temporary one – is to present one’s own - personal, private – version of things (the version of which its recipient / participant is ultimately an author) as the only true and correct one. This way – by putting the viewer in a creative relationship to the object he/she is looking at – I’m finally able to push the issue beyond the relationship between an artist and his/her work, outside the creative struggle that in an “undemocratic” way falsifies and distorts both the relationship the viewer builds with the work, and the work itself.
All works in this series (perhaps they should be considered building blocks for an installation) were created with traditional painting materials (canvas, paint, stretcher, etc.), in an effort to lend credibility to the project as it is perceived by those who are to become its “actual” authors. Their format (usually very large) is also very important: it is to refer to what the average viewer associates with the great masters; its function is to reassure the new “author”. I use ready-made stamps and I paint the backgrounds with a roller to minimize impact of any typically “pictorial” issues (such as composition, color, texture). The art of painting and any problems associated with it are and have always been of no interest to me. Everything has been left at the “viewer’s” discretion.
The resulting piece is more of a banner than a painting. This series consists of about 25-40 works; after they have been created and documented, they are removed from the easels and rolled up; thus is their creation brought to its completion. They can still be discussed or seen in the documentation - but their existence shifts towards the theoretical / conceptual.
Even if it is sanctioned by the institutional certification, no knowledge translates into a compelling or coherent narrative. There are means of narration that are no less reliable – though less favored – than those that are considered official and legitimate. These are the two varieties of skepticism, both of which are the reason for the collapse of the modern self-confidence.
Is there indeed a completely different way to describe things and tell stories? And if so, how do we choose between these competing modes of narrative? If there are so many of them for a single event – what choice has been made in our name and for our benefit?
The “truth” is just one of many possible versions of events; each interpretation has its antithesis, as reliable as the original argument.
According to Baudrillard’s vision of “the end of history”, the history transforms in our very eyes into a liquid mass of signs: no single course of history exist anymore. And since there is no relationship between events – the events themselves do not exist. “The end of history” does not mean that nothing happens; the problem is that whatever happens is irrelevant, or is filled with disorienting excess of meaning. When history can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways, there is no valid historic narrative left.
The process of interpretation gives us a great opportunity to validate or refute our views and opinions; it allows us to oscillate between knowledge and ignorance, between transparency and turbidity, between logic and inconsistency. Sometimes even this process can negate modernity and extend into the realm of complete freedom and intellectual abstraction.
Diversity of versions, not constancy of the most attractive ones, is the source of strength here.
If the end of history actually has happened today – it is the “ultimate”, “irreversible” “victory” of a social system which has proved its superiority over all other available options – not only these of the past but also over those that have not been conceived yet. There are no qualitative changes: what we get is simply more of the same.
Lyotard sees postmodernism as the end of an era of Great Narrations – of all these ideas (like the idea of Freedom and of Truth) which, until now, have fuelled the social history and the history of science. But in an era of multiple truths and of multiple emancipating aspirations, these ideas lose their validation, and now must become one of many components of an individual narrative, one expressing somebody’s private vision of truth or freedom.
Whatever in our reality is commonly regarded as fiction is really an alibi of sorts for the world that is losing its defining outlines. History’s role in it may be just that of a never-ending process in which still new social differences emerge – ones that in the big picture have no merit.
The paintings exist beyond “historical” time. In the name of history, history has to be erased. This will allow us once and for all put an end to dependence on historical and artistic entanglements.
Once their relationship with reality changes, the symbols enter a new phase of their existence.
All statements / words featured in these paintings always talk about wholeness, and therefore always sat the same thing; they are nothing more but a description of an object seen from different angles.
Every time a gap is discovered in the body of an “artwork”, someone is trying to cover it up with hay to ease their conscience; the only improvement, however, lies in the improving quality of hay.