Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Times and Measures - An Introduction

Life is a chaotic mess. Whatever I believe to be true, mine will be the only system of its kind, because everyone has different standards, priorities and aspirations. Two black boys with different ideals to mine showed me a knife and I gave them what they asked for. For me, there is a universe to explore, for them, perhaps only the dark warren of the ghetto in which to run and hide, not that I should judge them, nor they me.

I want only to think about art, that which is not necessarily painting or installation, but that which makes my solar plexus glow in praise of God, whichever form it takes. I want to see, hear and feel beautiful things when I close my eyes, and by means of some technique, manifest them. If there is such a thing as art, it is to be found within the concepts, processes and finished works of artists, those who explore their original ideas, thereby imparting such knowledge as is free of trivia, prompting those at the initial stage of new thinking to act further.

I do not know whether I can call myself an artist or not – must I be a painter, draughtsman, sculptor, performance artist, filmmaker or photographer, to qualify as an artist? Must I have attended Slade, St. Martin’s, RCA, Goldsmiths or Chelsea? In conceptual art, a work is judged as such because an artist conceived it. If I include myself as an artist, where would it stop? Could anyone become an artist? Could any project manager or entrepreneur, who devises a plan and follows a process to completion, win the Turner Prize?

Roger Hiorns displayed a four-cylinder, sixteen-valve car engine at Frieze, probably from a long-since scrapped mid-range family car such as a Ford Sierra from the late 1980s. The government are encouraging people to scrap their old cars and buy brand new at a discount. That sixteen-valve engine has been immortalised as a symbol of memory, nostalgia, and an out-with-the-old attitude. There was no neon light shaft to make it look prettier, or set it within a multi-dimensional time frame. It was simply a banal, mass-produced product, displayed as art, but one that the artist deemed worthy to represent his idea.

Perhaps, unwittingly, I engineered my own mugging, to teach myself a lesson. In future, I want, consciously, to be in control.

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