Dienstag, 16. September 2014

Boris Groys – Art beyond Spectatorship


The contemporary art exhibitions include more and more documentations of the artistic performances, events, long term projects, other exhibitions and installations – alongside the traditional artworks. Later curatorial projects include the documentations of the previous curatorial projects as their elements. So we have here layer after later of documentations that make the stylistic analysis of the artwork more and more improbable. Contemporary art production coincides with its archiving. But all the archives are stylistically indefinite - even if the way of their presentation can be stylistically different in each particular case. Moreover, art documentation begins to look like a regular bureaucratic documentation – and its presentation increasingly looks like a regular power point presentation as it is usual in the contemporary bureaucratic meetings.

This homogenized and at the same time indefinite style of contemporary art has also to do with the emergence of the Internet as the main space in which contemporary art is presented. Indeed, I would suggest that the Internet transformed the art system in the same way in which photography and cinema transformed painting and sculpture. The same can be said about the museum – as the central institution of the traditional art system. The Internet made the museum’s function to represent the art history obsolete. Of course, one can argue that in the case of the Internet the spectators lose a direct access to the original artworks – and thus the aura of authenticity gets lost. And so museum visitors are invited to undertake a pilgrimage to art museums in search of the Holy Grail of originality and authenticity. But at this point one has to be reminded that according to Walter Benjamin who originally introduced the notion of aura, artworks lost their aura precisely through their museumification. The museum has already removed art objects from their original sites of inscription in the historical here and now. Thus for Benjamin, artworks that are exhibited in museums are already copies of themselves – devoid of their original aura of authenticity. In this sense the re-inscription of artworks into the context of an art museum precedes and prefigures their re-inscription in art-specialized websites. The Internet merely continues the process of the de-auratisation of art that was started by the art museums. Many cultural critics have therefore expected – and still expect – that public art museums will ultimately disappear being unable to compete economically with private collectors operating on the increasingly expensive art market and become substituted by much cheaper, more accessible, virtual, digitalized archives...

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