“My painting is not violent; it’s life that is violent.” Francis Bacon. From The Last Francis Bacon Interview.
In sculpting, when the act is carried out b the artist himself, the tools used to carve will direct and affect the aesthetic of the sculpture.
The artistic process, usually carried out in a private space such as the artists studio, is usually an individual one. While the processing of the artwork is a social endeavour, supported by critics and the art community, which are at the same time influenced and changed by it.
One source of art is the power of imagination, and this can be fuelled by violent imagination.
The above is almost an exact description of my personal creative thinking related to this study and the practice of sculpture. Within the artistic realm, imagined violence is not only free and safe to think about, but actually even possible to carry out on a block of stone. The temptation has entered the mind and first steps have already been taken (see the “shot stones”). The first experiments are tests to fine tune the actual act/performance which will inspire other ideas and actions (see the “acid” works and latest performances).
On the importance of masks during performances.
This is exactly what happens to the sculptor during the act of sculpting. The rhythm of the hammer and chisel blows resonates within the body and the mind transcends the physicality of the action entering into a euphoric state.
Both of body and mind. The sculpting act is the festival.
The artist’s studio takes over this function of a space secluded from the public real where anything immoral can take place between the artist and his artwork (the victim).
The museum, the art gallery, the biennials, the sculpture park.
The studio as a private space vs the art institutions as public spaces.
The public performance is not a mere spectacle but a rite of transformation that aims to involve the whole community (the public) to participate. To take part in the violent act as an initiation practice and to become as guilty as the artist in committing to the (creative/destructive) violence.
Resemble the carrying out of a previously meticulously prepared performance. The artist’s transformation happens during the performative act itself.
In the following description of the state of mind of the murderer moments before the violent act, the figure of the murderer can be substituted by that of the artist before a performance.
The artist often isolates himself before a mentally or physically demanding performance to enter the right state of mind that will enable him to finally commit the action previously thought out.
The acts that will be committed during the performance lose their horrific character as thy have been toon long into the artist’s head and now just need to be carried out.
The performance must start.
Ideas of crazy performances always occupy the mind of the artist, but they will find their liberatory value only by carrying them out.
Therefore, artists are often referred to as “weird”. They have found a state of mind, and their artistic practice happens in this realm, of freedom for which they are not ashamed and do not fear to be stigmatized as different.
The sculptor wielding hammer and chisel want to feel them strike on marble, see and feel bits of stone chipping off from the main block, hear their sound.
Performances are usually rationally well planned and calculated before they take place.
Performances are effective because are thoughtfully attached to a stream of conceptual ideas and a legacy of previous practices.
Typical of so many artistic performances.
Apply the use of wooden bars and iron clubs to “sculpt” a marble block.
As the sculptor does with his marble block. As opposed to the outsourcing artist that outsources the making of a sculpture to others.
See the “Shot Stones”.
On the importance of using masks (and uniforms for another reason) during performances.
Maybe make a series of stone masks?
In video recorded performances, either crop out the artist’s face or wear a mask.
Set a marble block on fire.
Relatable to the development of new technologies and the artist’s reaction to them. Either ignoring them or accepting their presence and dealing with the reality. I.e. Question one’s own new position.
As artists are free to do whatever they want within the artistic realm (on the condition that they don’t harm others?).
The idea of the scapegoat, foreigners, banished people as explained by René Girard.
On how violence is both maintenance and challenge of the status quo.
On the necessity of borders to safeguard against the loss of differences or degrees.
Again, the idea of the foreigner and being outside one’s own border.The selection of believes is aimed at finding/creating one’s own identity. This can be efficiently countered by applying the principle of small identity.
Or until it is agreed that they will leave at a specific point.
Strangers as a menace to the well being of the community. Bio-Politics.
Therefore, ambiguous un/national identities are feared and cast away even more then the foreigner whose origin is known. The real threat comes from the ‘virus’ that cannot be filed into a specific category.
According to R. Girard, only to free itself from a crisis and reach once again a previously broken peaceful state.
To take into account for a performance wherein a block of marble is carved to its total annihilation.
On another note, the occupation of empty territories is to be related to my idea of sculpture as an annoying occupier of a potentially empty space, an obstacle in one’s way.
Is the artist’s studio not the experimental laboratory, the torture chamber, where the artist can give free space to his destructive capacity? On an even further reflection, the marble block itself can be perceived as the intruder who needs to be annihilated or shaped to one’s own resemblance in order to be integrated as part of the community? It’s the scapegoat or the original victim who is substituted by another.
On the complete annihilation of a stone without documenting its existence.
To be reflected in the contemporary global market of stone. Marble is exported/imported (deported).
Again, the concept of the loss of differences as the cause for a crisis.
The sculptor has until now used hammer and chisel as his main tool, his “weapon”.
The public in a live performance can take over this function of encouraging, or even motivating, the performer.
Idea for a performance carried out in group.
The reason why iconoclastic practitioners usually do not destroy an artefact but leave it bearing the sign of their violence.
As is the creative sculptural act, which can be interpreted as performative as well: a violent, destructive operation to which a significance is attached.
Thus, if a purpose and a significance is attached to the violent action, this becomes accepted by the specific community that can follow the theoretic discourse behind the action. This is how contemporary art is accepted by the art world but often perceived as scandalous or useless by outsiders.
Addressing the need for a surrogate victim and its sacrifice.
On the problem of nationalism.
The same applies to injured bodies of sculptures. Their scars testify to the violence of men and time.
On the function of stone inscriptions. Indeed, usually meant a s a reminder of a historic fact or as a reiteration of site-specific laws.
Nowadays fulfilled by the intelligence provided by social media, cookies and search engines.
The reason why the challenge of the status quo is perceived as violent by the reigning force.