sábado, 8 de novembro de 2014

Pollock and Graham revisited

Simon Senn (splash page/ see the video here)

Simon Senn: angryness, calculated concepts


... the most artful and the least artistic thing in Bloomberg New Contemporaries, this year. Don’t wonder how it will all end. One doubts even Senn knows that—Mark Sheering, on criticismism.

Simon Senn, aka Just Let Go (2012), a so-called public utility and non-profit organization, designs angry performances. Sometimes they may look like politically oriented post-Pollock and post-Lacan catharsis sessions (see the video).

Installation view, World Museum, BNC 2014, Liverpool Biennial 2014

Before Do you need to let it go? session in Athens, which by the way is available anywhere in the world as a service on-demand, Goldsmith's MFA Swiss artist Simon Senn (his homepage) has directed other let it go your rage, phantasy or wildest dream performances like 18h15 (2012) and L' Hôtel des Sapins (2008). The resemblance of these artworks to a famous performance by Dan Graham, Body Press (1970-1972), are obvious (1).

Simon Senn
2012, performance, 720 pictures

As Senn put it:
“Three women and three men are naked and masked. They each have a number assigned. The action takes place in an abandonned building. Each protagonist holds a camera in his hands. Everyone of them must film the other persons without being seen by the other moving came ras. Four extra static cameras are filming the whole scene.

The ten resulting videos are precisely synchronised. The installation of the work is an interactive video in wich the spectator can navigate between the different viewpoints with a remote control.”
“Sixteen people surround two nude individuals. They are directed to take as much pictures of them as possible. The action goes on for five minutes. 720 pictures are taken. They are  arranged in a square of 24 time 30.”

Dan Graham
Body Press, 1970-1972

When we look at documentation snapshots of Pollock dripping floor paintings, and Graham's Body Press, on one hand, and work by Simon Senn, on the other, we easily see the formal and iconic similarities, but the conceptual drives are divergent. The use of bodies by Dan Graham and Jackson Pollock are mostly related to self-expression and presence on the art process itself. Simon Senn is playing with induced and conceptually manipulated self-projections as therapy, or as tentative approaches to sublimation tactics for anger induced by social implosion. Pollock and Graham are time-based and media centered artists. Senn is a post-media artist, more concerned with the social stress of late globalized capitalist environments.

  1. Dan Graham, Body Press, 1970-1972
    Film installation of two synchronized silent 16mm-film projections, color, 8'.

    Two filmmakers stand within a surrounding and completely mirrorized cylinder, body trunk stationary, hands holding and pressing a camera's back-end flush to, while slowly rotating it about, the surface cylin-der of their individual bodies. One rotation circumscribes the body's contour, spiralling slightly upward with the next turn. With successive rotations, the body surface areas are completely covered as a template by the back of the camera(s) until eye-level (view through camera's eyes) is reached; then a reverse mapping downward begins until the original starting point is reached. The rotations are at a correlated speed; when each camera is rotated to each body's rear it is then facing and film-ing the other where they are exchanged so the camera's ‹identity› ‹changes hands› and each performer is handling a new camera. The cameras are of different size and mass. In the process, the performers are to concentrate on the coexistent, simultaneous identity of both camera's describing them and their body. (The camera may/or may not be read as an extension of the body's identity.) Optically, the two cameras film the Image reflected on the mirror which is the same surface as the box (and lens) of the cam-era's five visible sides, the body of the performer, and (possibly) his eyes on the mirror (In projection what is seen by the spectator).
    The camera's angle of orientation/view of the area of the mirror's reflective image is determined by the placement of the cam-era on the body contour at a given moment. (The camera might be pressed against the ehest but such an upward angle shows head and eyes). To the spectator the camera's optical vantage is the skin. (An exception is when the performer's eyes are also seen reflected or the cameras are seen filming the other). The performer's musculature is 'seen' pressing into the surface of the body (pulling inside out). At the same time, kinesthetically, the handling of the camera can be 'felt', by the spectator, as surfacetension, as the hidden side of the camera presses and slides against the skin it cov-ers at a particular moment. The films are projected at the same time on two loop projectors, very large size on two opposite, but very close, room walls. A member of the audience (man or woman) might identify with one image or the other from the same camera or can identify with one body or the other, shifting their view each time to face the other screen when the cameras are exchanged.

    (Source: Dan Graham, Works 1965 - 2000 [on the occasion of the Exhibition Dan Graham Works 1965 - 2000, organized by the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto ; Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, January 13 through March 25, 2001 ... Kiasma - Museum of Contemporary Art / [ed.: Marianne Brouwer. Texts: Marianne Brouwer ...]. - Düsseldorf, 2001, p. 132.)

    About Dan Graham's work, please read my Dan Graham unpublished.

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