And then there is talk of Beauty. About the moment of capturing that special gaze. Clinging to the privilege of seeing it, beauty. Thus it isn't fetched from too far away. It is the woman, the bend of her neck, the youth, the rounding of her arm, the shadow of young maids blossoms and all other blossoms. There it is, we never left it. This would be the most private affair, if it werent so convenient for the world to present the joy of power over the gaze rather than presenting the perplexity of powerlessness in ones own conditions of living. Yes, this is what makes an artist, that he can sense it so autonomously, Beauty, even if everything is taken from him. But able to see beauty, for example here! in this broken glass. (And we want to see them so again, the broken glass, the woman, youth, as we could see them before they posed any problems, when they were still just there, beautiful.)
That it lies in the realm of the private would also be the reason why the illusion of beauty is treated as bourgeois and positioned as a term of combat against something called anti-art. Named Apollinic in this discription, it is mostly about sensory reception, as opposed to the inaccessibility of a, in that case, rather intellectual approach which, by the way, I would have been more apt to classify as Apollinic (I thought that the Dionysian was more that which consumed the available goods of the world). Although strangely enough it is the discursive by which the little secured term Beauty should be countered, this is nearly impossible without an accompanying discourse. After all, everyone's perception of beauty is negotiated more than he or she most likely would prefer by mom and dad, schooling, class, knowledge of the world, down to the manifold blunders of personal taste, possibilities of conceit and embarrassment - in the end the only way to get to know it, Beauty. If it were to be held as a category against prim discourse, it would have to be about something else, at least something that necessitated another term. So what is understood under the camouflage word Beauty in the feuilletons?
It seems there is meant one of these aformentioned innocent gazes that knows nothing and needs know nothing of the world it sees in order to see it. Additionally a materialism is conjured that does not speak, especially not without being spoken to, but rather lets itself be regarded. This definition of beauty is practiced from Toskana to Masai Mara by all those who allow themselves this gaze. Call it bourgeois as far as I'm concerned. What is strange is when art criticism and the constituency of the art field ascribes this gaze to art and claims that it constitutes art. The naive privilege of gaze, which as far as I am concerned owes itself to overwork, general sensory overload and simultaneous depravation, cannot be expected of someone whose lifetime is spent handling his own perception. When on the other hand Beauty is discussed in art, a truly cool and discursive field is suddenly entered that allows the discussion around conceptual art to be bathed in a sensually understandable light. Furthermore, there where it became more complicated there were so many places to go for help, critics, museum educationalists and other employees who would translate everything into simple language (by the way I still don't know if it was an intentional death blow or actually well-meaning). If, for example at the Berlin Biennial, the too quickly transparent under-complexity of some art works is criticized on the one hand and on the other hand challenged [requested] by the same to be further transparent under the misused "term of combat" Beauty, we find ourselves in complete and utter confusion. Far from releasing the viewer from responsibility, the term beauty really puts him on the spot. What was really meant was more standards, less methods, more formulas, more sign systems for the illiterate reader.
What was additionally meant is a clear deactivation of political content. As Walter Benjamin has said in his essay The Artwork in The Age of Technical Reproduction, such challenges are not about letting a political expression or perception express itself but about astheticizing the political.
|Starship Nummer 6, Seiten 120ff|