Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Exhibitions Diary, Part IV

Name: Hunger (Nälg) (Part of Money, Money, Money! project)
Made by: Anna Hints & Maria Rõhu
Material: miscellaneous
Place: Linna Galerii, Tallinn
Press release: Hunger appears when something is of lack. When we get that something, the hunger is pacified.

"The Mendicating Artist" photo(c)Roman Pototski

So, the main idea of the exhibition might be an influence of the social parameters/expectations/cliches on our life. Prosaic as it is. The most clear work was a photo of some girl's thin back with oh so prominent spinal bones: "I know you love me only if I am thin". The problem as old as time, at least the part with "you love me only if". At once I remember Alina Rudnitskaya video "Bitch Academy" and numerous women (and men) over the world with thoughts like "I'll do whatever you want, just love me". It is horrible indeed. There surely takes place some kind of attention deficit and handful of fixations, when people demand being loved for something in exchange, like they are trying to compensate lack of something by physical expression (whether it is food, money or anything). Going away from psychological aspect of modern anorexics and bulimics, I wonder if an artist demands for love of the public. All those exhibitions, performances, inner thoughts and outer critics are nothing but scream for attention. Who needs an unnoticed artist?

There was another work, a video "News of culture", where a woman was reading one culture newspaper named Sirp and during the video she rended off pieces of the paper and chewed them. I have not really understood the video, so here I use an interpretation my course mate has proposed: it was a metaphor for how people react to the cultural news nowadays. "Oh, what's that - lets try ~chewing sounds~ booorinig ~split out~ may be there is something else (repeat)". I just realized that my attitude to that video, except for the "boring" part I had "interesting, but no time/wish to think about it". Sad but true.

What I wanted to emphasize in particular is two works which gave me quite interesting food for thought.
The first one, "The Mendicating Artist", was just a chair on the pedestal with the basin at the bottom of it. The idea was that every artist can sit there for an hour and visitors would throw some money into the bowl for him. Smart and easy. There was also a list of the begging participants on the wall with their exhibition income. One interesting thing I noticed: Anna Hints had participated in that her project at least 8 times and earned about 65,5€; seems pretty big to me, considering estonian payment system and "poor artists who are not paid". There are lots of talks about Kultuurkapital which supports artist's creative works but not the artist himself. Those numerous talks contain debates about the artist being a professional as any other worker thereof he need regular payment, health insurance, pension fond etc. It is a right thing to argue about because really, we are even but some are more even than other. It's not fair, I say. However, Anna Hints came up with smart idea of making money. She hold a project, supported (read paid) by Kultuurkapital bill included. She has a gallery with free entrance to keep that project. She has an interactive part, fun for the visitors who must PAY whatever-much-they-want to have that fun.
The second work "Throw 10 cents and happiness will arrive" had the same idea. It was a light-cube about 0,7 m high with a gap on the top to throw coins in. I had watched inside and there was plenty of those coins indeed, take 30€ for a minimum. First of all, it reminds me chain letters like "copy 200 times of "War and peace" and happiness will come". Sad thing is that there are credulous people who make those copies as they were promised of luck or worse someone's death if they wouldn't do that. I just don't like to be deceived and manipulated in that way. But if it is a piece of art, could it be done? Like an artist/creator has right to fraud and manipulate gratia artis. Like any interpretation of any art work is a manipulation of your own ideas. Like God made one big joke while creating us...
Apart the ethics, there is another question: where the money will go? It is not quite my business since Anna Hints made her profit almost fairly, but still... Will at least she stop talking about how it is hard to make money as an Estonian artist? Because her exhibition is nothing but clever manipulative way of being inventive creator.

Such a sorrowful conclusion I got: an artist is a screwed-up person who gathers attention by twisting his thoughts inside out and thus manipulating everyone else.

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