Discursive objects

Listening still to Boris Groys, whose ideas should by rights be central to this blog. He says:

“We see artworks as incarnating art. The famous distinction between art and non-art is generally understood as a distinction between objects inhabited and animated by art and those from which art is absent. This is how works of art become art’s idols, that is, analogously to religious images, which are also believed to be inhabited or animated by gods.”

Ouch. This quasi-animism is exactly what I have been arguing, for my own work in particular, although without Groys’s conscious and very comical turning of Christian theological categories. And yes this is the mechanism of the fetishization of commodities. Is that the last word on the subject? I don’t think so. Groys further observes that : “According to the tradition of modern art, an image must speak for itself…Theoretical and narrative discourse is a distraction, and must stop.” Clearly this is not the position of this blog.

Is there such a thing as an artwork that resists discourse, and yet is a discourse in itself? I think so. Things resist discourse, but of course resistance is futile. Artworks are more clever than other things, they know how to squirm away, leaving behind them the broken pieces of a meaning. I’m still pondering Gego, whose “Drawings without paper” perform their own contingent transformations through the endlessness of drawing, as the light arbitrarily takes a position.

Gego, Drawing without paper 83/11 1983

 

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