Guggenheim Gallery Presents, Life Transmissions: October 6-31, 2014
October 7, 2014
at Chapman University is pleased to present LIFE TRANSMISSIONS, starting Monday, October 6 – Friday, October, 31, 2014 (with an artist reception and catalog release on Sunday, November 2, 2014, 3-7 p.m.)
About The Exhibit:
The question of what is at the beginning of things – paralleling the metaphor of the chicken and the egg – is negotiated in this exhibition. Is it life that inspires our creative production, or is it precisely art and our creations that enable us to recognize and maneuver the world? The exhibition looks at interdependencies and correlations between these views, and presents a line up of positions that mine this interstice via indexical, mimetic, linguistic, and semiotic tactics.
An old ideal of art and its beauty is that of the perfect illusion. The legendary competition between the ancient Greek painters Zeuxis and Parrhasios illustrates this: Here Zeuxis’s skills with the brush create such a remarkable copy of reality that a flock of doves is trying to pick the painted grapes. Zeuxis however, inspecting his opponent’s work and attempting to remove the curtain that obstructs Parrhasios’s painting, finds out that the joke is on him, as the curtain is in fact part of the work, so masterfully executed that even the great Zeuxis does not recognize it as an illusion.
On the other hand of the spectrum is a view, which the age of enlightenment first introduced, that left a lasting mark on art ever since the project of modernity came into full swing: Art does not mimic the natural world. This view, once a liberation from old doctrines, proposed
l’art pour l’art
, the autonomous artwork, freed from the burden of illustration, narration and possibly all other relationality.
So far so good, but in a non-centrical art universe, neither one of these views can be said to dominate our ideas of what art is supposed to be and do. In view of a reality of life that itself has become abstracted, in which the list has replaced the picture, where can a distinction be made between a given, non-negotiable ‘reality’ and the realities we create? How close can art get to life before it disappears into the same?