18 November 2008

There is an Interview with Philosopher Boris Groys here . . .

. . . at ArtInfo. Groys has published a recent book Art Power (MIT Press, 2008) that I've been tempted to buy a couple of times. But, like this interview, I find much of what he writes more or less incomprehensible. For example, consider this exchange from the interview:

AI ~ So you would say that design precedes art?

BG ~ Yes, historically, design precedes art.

AI ~ And then art arises to criticize or undo design?

BG ~ Art is first of all a part of design — it is a part of the design of the new life, the new society, the new aesthetic dream. But art is also capable of demonstrating the ambiguity of design. If we seek to build a new society, a new religion, even a new product, then we have a new vision. We have a perspective and a future. But in the moment, the future gets lost; what remains is art. If you look at Malevich or Russian constructivism or Bauhaus, their paintings and objects are all parts of wonderful projects of a better world; but at the same time they are only combinations of quadrangles and triangles. And that means that the project already failed, before being realized. Art is about success and failure at the same time. Design needs to be successful. But art — that is, 20th-century art, modern art — accepts failure. The main topic of modern art, and postmodern and contemporary art, is failure. It’s the impossibility of doing art, in fact, and art constantly demonstrates this impossibility, this failure of its own project. Art is the other side of design, the other side of utopia.

I simply have no idea what Groys is talking about. And that leads me to suspect that he doesn't either.

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