The artist ate a banana - and this is so-so news. Not only because it at first glance seems completely uninteresting, but also because this news hides a significant layer of sad knowledge about contemporary art.
The story was this: last week, artist David Datuna came to one of the galleries participating in the world's largest annual art salon, Art Basel Miami, peeled a banana hanging from the wall and ate it. He called it the performance of The Hungry Artist.
The banana was glued to the wall because it was part of an installation called "Comedian" created by artist Maurizio Cattelan. This installation consisted of the banana itself and the mounting silver tape, with which the banana was glued to the wall.
This artwork was bought by a collector, having paid $ 120,000 for it. The work is considered non-transportable and should always be in the gallery, and the buyer simply receives a certificate that indicates the amount paid and confirmation that this banana is not just a fruit, but a work of art.
This wretched and gloomy circus reveals to us an abyss of meanings, but all of them are beyond the works of art that are discussed in the news.
Firstly, all this has already happened. In 1953, Robert Rauschenberg erased the drawing of Willem de Kooning and called it a work of art. Not an act of erasure, but a result.
In 2014, the artist Massimo Kaminero broke one of the vases on the installation of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. It should be said that Kaminero entered the history of art exclusively by this act, and not as an artist, but as a vandal. They recovered $ 1 million from him, and in fact there was something to pay for the damage.
Ai Weiwei himself, too, at a certain period of his career, in 1995, beat vases, moreover, the Han Dynasty - this is how he demonstrated the decline of national Chinese culture. But at least there is an interesting idea - to draw attention to natural destruction, having committed the act of destroying the intentional.
But the shares of current artists did not make any sense. And from here follows secondly.
Secondly, the art that is being talked about, presented, discussed, bought, cannot be the subject of reflection. The author of the banana on the wall (sorry, “Comedian”) Maurizio Cattelan himself could not explain what his work was. He only said that he had been creating this object for a whole year — he thought of making it from resin or casting from bronze. But then he decided: what is there to think? Banana - it is a banana, albeit a “Comedian”. What does it mean? Does not mean anything. This is a $ 120,000 banana. Let's eat and admire.
In general, the question “what does this mean?” Is considered offensive in contemporary art. And he is insulting to the one who asks this question: it seems to be such an outdated approach at the level of the school curriculum of the last century. It is assumed that art can be exclusively a subject of admiration, and the degree of this admiration should be inversely proportional to the efforts of the artist spent on the creation of the work.
The boy got up early to do nothing longer. A smaller artist created to be more admired.
And to be responsible for what you have done, to have at least some overwhelming idea behind your soul, to make sense, to write a manifesto - this is a fire. After all, there are still graduate students from the faculties of art history who will be happy to write dissertations, retroactively sum up the theoretical base even for a banana hanging on the wall, even for a banana that has already been eaten.
11 years ago I was lucky to talk about five minutes after some performance with the great artist Marina Abramovich. Since I understood that such a situation would never happen again, she was completely indifferent to who I was, which means I did not risk anything, I asked directly: “What does all this mean?” And I must admit, the universal mother of contemporary performance did not immediately send away from me, and calmly replied: “We are below zero, below the mark from which the meaning begins. We don’t even get closer to the meaning, we can afford to be outside it. ”
This sounds doubtful, but the artist, behind an impressive biography of creating intangible objects of art, can afford it.
It is a pity that the right to be meaningless was taken up by all those who not only did nothing, but are not going to do anything. I am an artist, I see so. Why, with such eyesight, do not you bring a spoon past your mouth and do not confuse a twenty-dollar bill with a steward?
There was such a joke about the party of nonsense.
“Do you really care?”
- Yes, we don’t care. Political program, social initiatives, opinion of voters. Nevermind.
- And money?
- No, what are you! Money is very important!
- How so?
- Yes, we nevermind.
Countless performance artists with installers say: “We are not obliged to explain anything to you here and even, in general, to show you. You pay us money, and we’ll see if we can hang a banana on the wall or better to eat it right away. ”
Anyway, the artist’s life itself is one continuous performance. This, for example, is postulated by the famous Peter Pavlensky, who had to go to jail for setting fire to the doors of a French bank. Staying in jail is a performance. Give new grants.
But if your life is a performance for the rich who are willing to pay you, then why is the life of ordinary people not a performance? And who will pay for it?
There are people who are always dissatisfied with some large government spending. Why did they build a military aircraft? Why did you make the road? Nobody drives on it anyway. Why did you have a summit? It would be better if they gave it to the poor!
But I never heard indignation, why some uncle, whose money is getting out of his ears, paid $ 120,000 for a banana. After all, too, could give to the poor!
When art is meaningless and irresponsible, it is immoral.
And I am convinced that someone is happy to concoct an article on the topic that even if art and meaning do not touch, then art and morality do not touch.
Do not touch, of course. But someday you have to pay for everything. And perhaps at that box office the eaten bananas will not be accepted.
The author’s point of view may not coincide with the position of the publisher.