Friday, July 15, 2005

Art and me

Evidence dolls
Originally uploaded by amsterboy.
I've been a good culture user lately. In Paris I went to Centre Pompidou and last weekend I visited the Stedelijk Museum here in Amsterdam. Both are museums of contemporary art.

To be honest, I would often like to experience more than I do. I end up walking through the exhibitions rather fast. I guess that is allowed. I have decided not to go into this "I understand this, deeply" mode in museums. I am not sure if I am a stereotype of my generation because I have started to like video art more and more (see post from June 7). In the Populism exhibition of the Stedelijk I loved Sarah Morris' video piece on Los Angeles, which criticised the superficial nature of living in the city of the beautiful and succesful using means familiar from music videos. In Paris I really liked the simplicity of Anthony Dunne's and Fiona Raby's installation Evidence Dolls (in the picture) which commented on Sex and the City's supposed liberation of women. They had interviewed four active women about the men in their life. Raby and Dunne had painted dolls following the stories. The viewer was able to listen to the stories of the women. Simple, feminist and witty.

My main problem with both exhibitions was the symbols used by the artists. I found them often too easy. It was too simple to follow the line of thought. Two examples: in Pompidou's Africa Remix exhibition they had a video where a woman did bellydancing. She was dressed in the French flag and the music was Marseillaise. In the Populism exhibition they had a video documentary on Bush's Texas. These pieces of art said nothing new. For me a video recording of The Smiths fans singing karaoke was much more interesting.

p.s. Pompidou also had an exhibition of the works of a French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens. He did his best work in the 20s and 30s. I realised (once again) how my aesthetic view is clearly attached to this modernistic strive for simplicity, which is the dominating style in Nordic architecture. Fantastic exhibition, all and all.

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