The photo above is a closeup of a work in progress(150x100cm), inspired by Mozart’s Magic Flute , and the blockchain revolution taking the art world world by storm. More on that towards the end of this post.
Jasper John’s reluctance to explain his work is, in a way very smart, because anyway once outside of an artist’s studio, any work of art will acquire a life of its own! And will keep changing and acquiring different layers of meaning, sometimes even in the eyes of its own creator. Events, context, viewer’s interpretation, curator’s intentions etc will all contribute in continuously shaping the meaning of an artwork.
I experienced this with my work, but I had the confirmation one day when I was listening to Xavier Veilhan and then recently with “Stories of almost everyone,” the show at the Hammer museum and especially with Tino Sehgal’s amazing Guard performance . The guard stripping, removing layer after layer to finally reveal his true skin(he didn’t strip completely, at least not when I was there) is a metaphor for the process required to reach the core of a work of art. Peel off all layers added by catalogues, reviews, art critics, curators and you’ll finally arrive at the artist’s intentions …. The show leaves u confused, wondering: should an artist reveal or not the true meaning of a work? In a way it is tempting for the artist to just refrain from giving any explanation to his art, bearing in mind the risk of having it acquire a meaning he totally disapproves of. Isn’t that what happened to The Charging Bull? (click here for The touching story of the Charging Bull) The artist’s intention was to symbolize America’s strength and resilience after the crash, but somehow in people’s mind, it morphed into a symbol for greed and corruption, especially after its appropriation and portrayal on the occupy wall street poster. Later it became a symbol of oppression when ” Fearless Girl” was placed opposite the iconic Wall Street Charging Bull to mark International Women’s Day
I’ve been so much tempted to follow expert’s advise and stop explaining my work, to the point that one day, after having seen a bitcoin ad embedded in my WordPress blog, I panicked and immediately deleted it with no hesitation . My blog was in invisible mode for a couple of month I think…
But then later I changed my mind and decided I’m better off explaining my work and keeping my blog. I’d like to have control over the meaning of my work. That doesn’t prevent anyone from viewer, to curator, art critic, journalist etc… to look at it and have their imagination run wild and cast their own interpretations.
When I panicked seeing the bitcoin ad , it wasn’t because I was against bitcoin, on the contrary back then I was reading watching and listening everything related to blockchain . Blockchain is the future and I desperately needed to understand where we are heading and how to interact in that new ecosystem. I spent literally a couple of month trying to wrap my brains around blockchain and cryptocurrencies the subject was fascinating… it seems 99% of cryptocurrencies are scam , but some will survive and provide real solutions that will hopefully make the world a better place. My interest as an artist was mainly fueled by my curiosity and by how this would be applied to the art world …As my husband was and is still completely against the subject, and doesn’t even want to discuss it, I joined for a couple of weeks a Facebook group , something i’ve never done before, just to find some answers. I needed help in knowing how to safely and securely send all documents required for verification before buying my first bitcoin. I naively thought if I buy 1 bitcoin and few other alt coins, I would prove to myself that I am ready for the new crypto age…
I was really so excited about how the art world would be affected by this wonderful technology.I had grand plans, I thought, maybe by getting my feet wet, I’d eventually come up with a brilliant idea that would make the world a better ,or that would enable artists to have a more fulfilling life. Basically crypto for a good use !
But by the time I figured out how to do that, the price was up to the roof, not to mention that by then, some credit cards where being deactivated by banks as authorities were trying to control what was happening. So I finally opted to buy just $10 worth of bitcoin from an ATM , simply to put my curiosity at rest and guess what ? Commission was so high that I only got $3 worth of bitcoin!… The problem bitcoin claimed to solve is still there, huge fees! Even transaction time it seems was too slow, in some cases it required days for transaction to go through… like any new technolgy criminals are using it and abusing it. So far ripple is my favorite, banks are using it to make very quick transfers.
Bubble or not, blockchain will definitely change the world as we know it right now, it’s a huge social cultural revolution that will touch every sector, and cannot be ignored.
It is definitely taking the world by storm including the art world. Later I discovered artists didn’t need me to lead a more fulfilling life. So many art related blockchain startups were mushrooming left right and center…having in mind to remove the middle man, to prevent fraud, to create digital certificates of authenticity, art registries, to democratize art and make it more affordable, more accessible… which startup will win , which one will survive? Only time will tell… in the meantime, blockchain and crypto started naturally showing up in my work:)! of course how could it be otherwise after all the efforts I’ve done to get my first bitcoin?!(more on that in a future post)
I’m still not quite sure about the title of my work. Here are a few I Am considering: Tokenizing the past, To bitcoin or not to bitcoin , La Flute Enchantée in crypto mode…
Talking about crypto mode I ran across quite an interesting interpretation of Mozart’s Magic Flute on Los Angeles Philharmonic Association youtube Chanel. Notice I used the word Interpretation , for did Mozart really intend his opera to be a symbolic representation of a masonic initiation ceremony? Did he do it on purpose? We’ll never know unless he magically pops up from his grave!