Magpies in heat!

Geir Haraldseth

Efforts have been made to clean up artistic production by adopting analysis.
Art, pieces of a puzzle that could very well have a life of their own.
Like the smiley in that collage. Let me pull it out and look at it closer.
That snapshot. This logo. This font is usually associated with graffiti. That font is typical for ‘90s design.This artist usually invents new worlds based on the American gothic tradition. Let me pull the pieces, unravel the yarn. Divide and conquer.
Or not.
I can connect the dots and synthesize a whole.
Or not.
That is a choice. Not an obvious choice, but there are things to be considered before looking.
Referencing will always be the route you travel in art. Referencing is the name of the game. For all the players. Referencing as in appropriation. But not. Referencing as in dètournement. But not. Referencing as in post-production. But not.
I am playing the game. Excuse me.

Well, that is the easy way out.
One way of coping with a world saturated with images, illusions, detours and enchantment is to emulate them. Is that a move of empowerment? Is it a political gesture? Or is it a dance of death? Is it wrong? Is it right?
Referencing, paying attention to what is where and from where is a game we can play for a while, but seeing as copying, stealing and imitating is how I learnt how to draw, it no longer remains as an act of opposition. Appropriation is an act that has been given a lot of attention, but how important is it? Is it important at all? Private property is big deal, so I guess that’s why the referencing is a game we play with great conviction. Appropriation, the taking of property is serious business and potentially costly. Stealing is wrong, right? But we steal all the time. When walking around the street we are wearing someone else’s face, someone else’s posture, someone else’s walk. When we talk, we speak words stolen from another dialog, words from another world, another movie, another book. When we think, we think thoughts from another person, from some similar scenario. When I write these words I have picked them from another book and put them together with the thoughts from someone else and added something I don’t know.

I learnt how to draw from copying, I learnt how to act from copying. I assume this goes for most of the artists in this exhibition who seem to have no qualms about appropriating. If appropriation is what they do that is. Appropriating only exists as an art historical category to describe an action within art that deals with referencing as a conscious strategy. The artists in the exhibition are conscious. And they make, that’s for sure. They construct, that’s for sure and the construction becomes as clear as day in the way they work, in the worlds they construct.
Looking is the where we start, recognizing is the way we reference. I have no plans to reconstruct De Saussere’s course in linguistics. I referenced it though. That should be enough, right? Wrong?

The artists in the exhibition have acted. Some have set out to act, others have just ended up like this. Their obsessions shine through. The worlds they construct come true.
It is easy enough a task to reference their making. While writing these words, I’ve cut and I’ve pasted. The artists have cut and they have pasted. I have chosen words, a topic a theme, like the artists. We make something out of something. Is it a regurgitation or has our topics been chewed till there is nothing left of what was. The skin has been reduced to protein, the fat has been dissolved and serves a new purpose, the sugars have been used as fuel. And I have used biology in writing. Can I?
I can see your underwear.
The world is ripe for the picking and we are all magpies in heat.
Some of the artists in the exhibition are plundering for the sake of plundering, mixing for the sake of mixing. Others are making political statements. They are robbing the same world, but coming up with different answers. The answers, the art, might seem trivial. Some images are beautiful and glossy. Others are trippy and reference images with specific cultural meanings, barred for most of us. Mass media, media for the masses. Me and you. Critique it? Enjoy it? Or both?
Do you want to divide it into screens and canvases, drawings and paintings, sculptures and installations, 2D and 3D, manipulated and true?
You can draw a line in the sand and do it geographically. Europeans do it with more tit. Americans do it with more shine. Asians do it more technologically. Africans don’t do it at all. Oh, and did someone say Oceania?
Maybe we should leave it all in the arctic and forget all about it?
Maybe it’s interesting. Maybe it’s something to analyze and reflect upon.
I want you to look at this exhibition and think of the work, of the making of work and of the world we live in. That is more than enough.
I was supposed to write this so you don’t have to.
We’re still taken by form, colors and scale. We all want something to look at. Phantasmagoric or minimal. Here you go.
Take a look.
A look.