“The * of Love” at Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna
Doug Ashford, Geta Br?tescu, Dexter Sinister, Polly Korbel
Before hyperlinks, we had the asterisk [*] to let us know when something we were reading had an aspect that was larger than could be expressed. Now*, with the Internet*, nearly every word* or thing* we might use* to convey* meaning* warrants* the qualification* of an asterisk*. This show proposes that the asterisk of art is Love*.
Artists love the process of bringing artworks into existence. Not only does making art fill our days with care, the inevitable imperfection of each outcome demands that we try again, challenging our devotion and questioning our motives. We never finish artworks so much as break up with them, leave them, and move on to the next. Art, like love, is a complex rhythm, a commitment that despises routine.
Spinoza said that love is the experience of joy in the name of something external to us, something that increases our power to act and think. We agree. But things that are external to us are also things that are beyond our control. Even in the best of circumstances, this lack of control can be an unexpected source of pain. Art helps us, but it also hurts us. Despite our years of experience, as artists working with art we can never be certain which actions will cause which effects in which contexts.
All we can really do, especially in times of crisis, is act with love. For Doug Ashford, it means applying a deeply felt sense of color and proportion to the aftermath of one of the most traumatic days of his life. For Geta Br?tescu it means vivifying our sense of empathy with stray fragments of paper and cloth. For Dexter Sinister it means working with the images and texts of others in a way that enhances both. For Polly Korbel it means trusting visitors to be careful with her body when given a hammer and some nails.
If neo-liberalism threatens to dominate our lives, it is not because it is capable of doing so but because we have narrowed our capacity for love. Love is larger than economics. The crisis of art, whether tomorrow or today, is the incommensurability of artists being expected to make artworks that express love in economic terms.
Curated by Joe Scanlan
until 31 October, 2015
“The * of Love” installation views at Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna, 2015