2004/10/19

Modern art 43: ARTSENCE 018


Acryl018. The lacemaker.

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The slide-show of all the acrylics of my ARTSENSE serie has been installed, if interested click
show
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Lacemakers nowadays live in China, India or other countries paying less than half a dollar an hour. For sure, some housewifes in the Western world still practice lacemaking, but it's not to put bread on the table.

I spent on average 50 hours on each of my acrylic ARTSENSE serie and I feel some kind of sympathy for modern lacemakers. My situation is different for sure, I'm not obliged to sell out to eat this evening. But if I was in that kind of a situation, I'm not sure that I would even reach the level of wages that are given to MacDonald clercks.

Art is a dead-end economic proposition in rational capitalist societies. It was already the case in Van Gogh's time and it seems not having gotten better since, it seems that it even got worse with the absorption of absolutely everyone in the sphere of influence of the logic of capital. Van Gogh could survive in his time in Provence, there was always a subsistance farmer to give him a piece of bread, some cheese, a glass of red wine and who let him sleep on the hay in the barn. There was always a country doctor to accept to help him out. All that is gone now. There are no subsistance farmers anymore in any part of the Western world, they have been taken over by industrial agribusiness concerns and doctors are speeding from one customer to another if it is not the customer who has to speed to go to the doctor's office.

Nowhere in the Western world can one find a remaining open soul ready to share with a stranger. Accumulation of material possessions freed the genie of fear, fear to lose... I experienced the last years of subsistance farming in Belgium in the fifties. Farmers walking behind the horses pulling their ploughs had all the time in the world. When someone appeared in sight, they stopped the horses and went for a talk. I rediscovered an identical relationship with Chinese farmers in the nineties, they have all the time in the world, they observe what's going on around them, they like to chat and to share what is on the table. They joke and laugh, they seem a lot more happy than the people who have to pay monthy installments for what they have already consumed.

Our societies experience extreme difficulties at recognizing artworks. They are in search of merchandises that generate immediate financial returns. Nowadays, the nearest to a visual art work is an interior design merchandise that is known, accepted and integrated in the collective psyche. A Van Gogh print for example. One hundred and twenty years after his death critics, gallerists, curators and other art specialists eventually came to recognize what the guy brought to the visual art scene of his time but let us never forget that during his life he never could sell one painting. So today Van Gogh's colors, lines and vision is accepted and prints of his works can be seen everywhere. His original oils are out of price, they are worth a lot more than their weight in gold... What an incredible misery!

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