<ul><li>an inanimate object worshipped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit </li></ul><ul><li>a course of action to which one has an excessive and irrational commitment </li></ul><ul><li>a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc… Jean Luc Nancy </li></ul>Fetish
The Sublime The sublime: something of high moral or spiritual value, raised up, inspiring deep veneration or awe. Verb to sublime: to change directly from a solid to a vapour or gas without first melting Subliminal: resulting from processes of which the individual is unaware.
How Fetish relates to The Sublime The Contemporary Sublime: Sensibilities of Transcendence and Shock by Paul Crowther For Burke, Sublime is existential , we enjoy the sensory overload, the shock revives our sense of being alive. But for Kant, the Sublime is what is ‘beyond all comparison’ great. This can only be measured by our rational capacity . Baudrillard: boundaries between consciousness, its products and reality have been totally erased, thus producing the Hyperreal . Sensationalism is no more just a break from routine, it is a modern addiction . While novelties, outrage and scandal have been an important element in Modernism, in Postmodernism they are demanded almost as a matter of course. We need Hirst and Mapplethorpe to satisfy our cravings
Baudrillard: Simulation and Transaesthetics: Towards the Vanishing Point of Art (1987) Jean Baudrillard talks about the absolute object as one with no value and with indifferent quality, which avoids objective alienation by making itself more object than the object, giving it a fatal quality . The transcendence of exchange value and reckless speculation on art works is a parody of the market and he adds that we find ourselves in a realm that has nothing to do with value, only the fantasy of obsolute value, the ecstasy of value (sublime). Baudrillard states that art is profoundly seduction and that we are in the jungle of fetish objects and adds the fetish objects and adds the fetish object has no value in itself or rather it has so much value that it cannot be exchanged. The art object as fetish must work to de-construct its traditional aura in order to stand out in the pure obscenity of commodity.
… refers to the concept of aura in relation to certain works i.e. that there is a sense of awe and reverence felt by the viewer in the presence of certain works. … maintains that this aura doesn't originate from the work itself but from external factors, such as line of ownership restricted exhibition publicized authenticity cultural value For example Caravaggio's Taking of Christ , there is the history of this masterpiece and how it went missing in the late 18th century, turned up in 1990 in the canteen of the Jesuit head quarters in Dublin. However one could argue that leaving all this info aside when you walk into a room and see it, the object is impressive, Caravaggio and his use of light stands up today as dramatically as it did when it was painted.This has then been embellished with the provenence of the work. Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the age of M e chanical Reproduction (1935)
The development of the mechanical reproduction stepped up a gear with the advent of the internet. Despite the proliferation of images and the increased accessibility to all, the notion of the original art object maintains its power, i.e. the mechanical reproduction has heightened the aura of certain works, adding to their prominence in the collective mind's eye… Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the age of M e chanical Reproduction (1935)
<ul><li>* Iconology </li></ul><ul><li>* to be kissed </li></ul><ul><li>* We give life to pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Decoding meaning -v- Effect on us </li></ul>What do Pictures Want? - WJT Mitchell
The Weather Project Olafur Eliasson (2003) <ul><li>It is art that explores the philosophy of perception, and using minimal means to create transcendental effects , through architectural interventions at several removes from the marketplace. </li></ul><ul><li>'The Weather Project is self-consciously ersatz. It is designed so that you can wander behind the plane of the 'sun' and see the banks of suspended lights, look behind stage to see the wires and scaffolding of this t heatrical event. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite this revealing of the mechanism the work generates a sensation within the same chemical family as the sublime , and has generated an audience that is willing to become spaced out . </li></ul><ul><li>A direct line into the mystic . No matter how artificial and visible the means of production the work still seems to trigger essentialist reactions . </li></ul><ul><li>- Richard Grayson 2004 </li></ul>
Table Turning, 1981 Sigmar Polke <ul><li>Tischerücken (Table Turning, 1981) has been described as a breakthrough painting, although it actually exemplifies several kinds of literal and metaphorical breakthroughs. </li></ul><ul><li>The tables in this work are, of course, those used for a séance, and the white spills directly reminiscent of ectoplasm. Yet the séance table was also Karl Marx’s oft-cited metaphor for the strange machinations of commodity fetishism : for as soon as an ordinary wooden table ‘steps forth as a commodity, it is changed into something transcendent. It not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than “table-turning” ever was.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Polke – pointedly at a time when painting resurged as a particularly sought-after commodity – seemed to juggle these different levels of meaning at once, while making sure that none of them became too securely fixed. </li></ul>
MONA LISA (1519) Leonardo DaVinci An artwork with extreme power/presence, obviously, but why? Looking at why may explain further its Icon/Fetish status - Its transformation into a global cultural icon was essentially a historical accident: the fact that the painting came to France with Leonardo in 1516, rather than staying in Italy, and that it ended up in the Louvre as a result. The myth of the Mona Lisa was born out of 19th-century northern Europe's fascination with the Italian Renaissance in general, and Leonardo in particular. It was also, Sassoon says, intimately bound up with the morbid Romantic fantasy of the femme fatale: that idea of an ensnaring, exotic, decadent belle dame sans merci which so exercised the contemporary male imagination. Important French literary figures such as Theophile Gautier, Jules Michelet and the Goncourt brothers described her in rhapsodic, hyperbolic terms: "this sphinx of beauty who smiles so mysteriously "; her "divinely ironic" gaze intimates "unknown pleasures"; she 'seems to pose a yet unsolved riddle to the admiring centuries' "like a 16th-century courtesan", who wears "the smile full of night of the Gioconda."
2001 , Breakdown , an installation/event in which Michael Landy destroyed everything he owned: His possessions were catalogued, bagged up, placed on conveyer belts and destroyed . "To certain jury members, his former dealer Karsten Schubert reveals, "destroying other artists' works was completely unacceptable. It was an act of complete vandalism. Denying him a nomination was a way of putting this message across." [guardian newspaper] One of the last objects to be destroyed was his father's sheepskin coat. "The things I valued the most I left till last." [M L] The coat became a testament to his new value system as it circulated through those two weeks to its destruction.
For the Love of God (2007) Damien Hirst Hirst explores the fundamental themes of human existence – life, death, truth, love, immortality , the body, the relationship between the sacred and the profane , between reason and superstition, and art itself. ‘ The skull is out of this world, celestial almost’ writes the distinguished art historian Rudi Fuchs. ‘It proclaims victory over decay. At the same time’, Fuchs continues, ‘it represents death as something infinitely more relentless. Compared to the tearful sadness of a vanitas scene, the diamond skull is glory itself.' If we keep Ludwig Wittgenstein’s adagio in mind that an aesthetic form or style shows an ethical perspective on the world, then how should we judge the actions of individuals in general and creations of artists in particular? "I thought: 'What's the maximum I could do as a celebration against death?',"the artist said. "It is the ultimate victory over death. When you look at a skull, you think it represents the end, but when you see the end so beautiful, it gives you hope." - Hirst
Nina Canell Nina Canell was born 1979, Sweden, and lives and works in Dublin, and New York <ul><li>Her work seeks ways to address sculpture as a restless form with fleeting properties . Relating spatial and structural concerns to that elusive fabric which constitutes the melancholic nature of being, the work facilitates a place in which matter and non-matter hold hands through carefully balanced sculptural happenings. – Location One, /NY </li></ul><ul><li>While adaptors and cables inevitably serve to provide the electric currents which are integral to Canell’s forms and objects, the desire to trace these disappearing cables out towards the never-ending system of shifting energies, is an idea that is highly relevant to her work. </li></ul><ul><li>Canell’s phantasmal arrangements exist as testing grounds in which logic leaps to the poetic , allowing sculpture to become a fleeting and wandering form of being. Hers is a sensual landscape of spatial, sonic and social unity, where the remnants of the post-industrial aesthetic correspond to the organic effects choreographed by the artist as ephemeral compositions of everyday objects, smoke and electronic sounds. </li></ul>Accumulus (8152 Volt), 2008 Mixed media installation, dimensions variable
David McWilliams <ul><li>Irish journalist (Sunday Business Post), economist, broadcaster and documentary-maker with TV3 and RTE, as well as publishing two books, The Generation Game and The Pope’s Children . Nominated as one of the Young Economic Global Leaders 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Wealth of experience and broad knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2004, McWilliams wrote an article on his web blog titled The Middle-Class Myth of Affluence, article deals with “our cr aving for the fetish object ” . </li></ul><ul><li>David McWilliams is making such observations from an economic point of view, however, it does tie in with our desire/craving to have ob jects that we do not really need and raises questions about their ultimate value. Therefore, it would be interesting to hear his views when applying the above criteria to that of the ar t object </li></ul>
<ul><li>Our Proposed Format </li></ul><ul><li>A Panel Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>One-Hour Event </li></ul><ul><li>May also incorporate some type of ‘séance’ </li></ul><ul><li>Also to include a chairperson </li></ul><ul><li>Other possible speakers </li></ul><ul><li>Finola Jones, Artist: whose work has tackled fetish, iconology and objecthood </li></ul><ul><li>Sean Kissane, curator at IMMA, for an art expert’s view on the subject </li></ul>