FACADES AND FETISHES SERIES
V.O.M. = VAGUE OBJECT MOTIFS, RUBY
HAND-POLISHED, CAST POLYESTER RESIN
German art critic, theorist and philosopher Boris Groys begins his 2009 text, Comrades of Times, by defining “contemporary” which, after the failure of the Modernist projects, concerns the dilemma of position within contemporary art. Groy’s argument can be positioned as a post-modern critic even though he does not express this position in his treatise.
Groys situates three positions which hold relevance with me:
1) the idea of infinite repetition and immortality
2) modern reductionism and its effects on the surface of culture particularly art, and
3) film, an illusory media, and its indirect honor of what lies underneath modern machines of speed (blades, bombs, bullets.”1)
Immortality and infinite repetition is cited through Martin Heidegger (as something which is beyond transcendence and God), as well as Gilles Deleuze, who views it as highly artificial and unnatural. These arguments are similar to Jean Baudrillard’s successive phases of image within the concept of simulation, as well as the death-resurrection cycle of Marcel Proust vis-à-vis Camiel van Winkel, and his interest. Immortality and infinite repetition is an eternal predicament for the autonomous artist who is concerned with how their work will live on, and to solidify their desire for immortality.
“Thus, during the period of modernity the power of the present could be detected only indirectly, through the traces of reduction left on the body of art, more generally, on the body of culture.”2
Groys’ quote marked in my mind because he did not present an illustration or artwork as an example to illuminate his point. The concept is profound. Groys begins his text by citing the long- lived German writer Ernst Jünger who observed that:
“In order to move further down the narrow path of the present, modernity shed all that seemed too heavy, too loaded with meaning, mimesis, traditional criteria of mastery ... Modern reductionism is a strategy for surviving the difficult journey through the present.”3
1. Groys, Boris. Comrades of Times. e-flux journal #11, Dec. 2009. PDF. p. 8.
2. Ibid., p. 2.
3. Ibid., p. 2.