Is painting dead? What is the relationship between painting and our capitalist culture?
How will we continue to paint?—Karen Korn
Do the universal preconditions of painting exist, and if so, what is the relation between capitalism and art? While van Koningsbruggen has suggested that there are no longer any illusions about the power of the artist, and that the art of painting is no longer the only possible, true revolutionary approach, here the question seems more critical than rhetorical.
Will the idea of painting as a kind of life or as a romantic idea of life be able to speak directly to us, as a painting can? I am not saying that these questions are relevant to the work itself. On the contrary, if anything, the possibilities are all too obvious. A painting is not a painting; it is a media representation. This is an apparent paradox: the representation of the material world is the representation of the media world. As Marx says in Theses on Feuerbach, art has no life of its own. The problem with this fact is that it confirms the fact that art is an instrument that can never be free of its institutionalized life: it cannot escape its formal and ideological relation to the world. Even if it continues to represent the external world, it must remain an institution, and must remain called art. The key is the institutionalized art itself. The very fact that a painting is not only a painting—that it is an institution—also implies its illegibility as an art. That is, the institutionalized art is an institution. If it ceases to be art, as Marx says, it ceases to be an institution, and thus, as Marx says, it is dead.Dennis Adrian is a frequent contributor to Artforum.Translated from the German by David Frankel.
Is painting dead? What is the relationship between painting and our capitalist culture? It is not only a matter of reverie but of reaction. In this case, the world is a repressed image. The paintings in question are of the neoliberal, the narcissistic, the self-deceptive. (Even in the free republic of an autocracy, the power of the monarchy and the military is still there.) The avant-garde painting of these times is quite different from the nostalgic, intellectualizing, post-Modernist abstraction that characterizes the work of these artists. It is a defensive response to a society that exploits its own power. They are, in fact, serving the interests of a society that exploits the art of the past. This is not a nostalgia for the social. It is a case of the creative, as Michel Foucault puts it in his book The Politics of Resistance (2007). This is the art of reaction: painting as the art of the vanquished, where the master race is nothing other than the master race of the vanquished, of the defeated, of the destroyed. It is the counter to the domination of the media, the anticolonial revolution. The traditional art of painting, which is a sign of liberation, is a sign of the masters power. In this sense, the artists of La Croce, Poussin, and Cézanne are able to confront this situation, to confront the false consciousness of a society where all the signs of power are hidden. The response is not that of nationalism or of revolutionary nationalism, but of the other, of the adversary. It is not a response to a parody. It is a reaction to a cancer. It is not an iconography of resistance. It is a reaction to the logic of the artist.La Croce, Poussin, and Cézanne are not responding to a postmodernist dialectic. They are not preoccupied with a society in which the work of art is no longer a sign of the creative, but rather a sign of the master race.
Is painting dead? What is the relationship between painting and our capitalist culture? With this body of work, its almost impossible to say no.For this exhibition, Rivera was asked to create a new type of painting. The artist had asked several people for ideas for a work, but she ended up with only the most prosaic of images, a series of images, the images of painted walls, the images of painted walls, the images of painted walls. The images of the wall of life, as it were, are, in fact, the images of Rivera herself. They are the images that the artist has chosen to paint in her work and that she still paints on her own canvases. These are images of the things that she paints on her own canvases, which are almost always just black and white. The black and white, then, represent the physicality of the image, the absence of light in the image, and the absence of color in the image. This is what, as we can see from the paintings, the paintings of a white wall in a black-and-black field form. This is what, in this case, means that the white wall, which is painted black, has been used to represent the absence of light in the image, of color in the image. And it is the absence of light, the absence of color, that marks the absence of the wall of life.The paintings in the exhibition (all Untitled, 1994–95) are also black-and-white. The brush is used in the same way as it is in the other paintings, but in the paintings the brush is a very specific one. The brush is the brush of the artist, the one that makes images of the painting and the paintings, and that marks the absence of any idea of the painting as a blank space. The brush is also the one that cuts across the canvas, as it were, and that passes between the image and the wall of life.