Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On the label and the scarecrow

I remember an argument from a couple years ago. It started from a more or less simple question: if a painting or other visual artwork incorporates letters and/or words as visual elements, ¿is it at least in part a literary work? I said yes and someone said no, but probably the right answer would be "what the fuck do I care".

Rótulo1 by Xul Solar

We can't get rid of categories, they're essential for thinking, but we can invent new categories to solve problems the old ones can't. We got used to think artistic doctrines as countries or provinces, delineated areas of land. So we believe the difference between Painting and Literature, for example, is a line on the ground, beyond which is Literature and behind wich is Painting. We want to solve new problems with old metaphors. We're thousands and thousands trying to build a state-of-the-art computer with centuries-old tools.
I want to think it otherwise, I don't know exactly how. Better yet: I want to start looking for what to think it with, what system or what metaphor. Today, a work of art is a piece of dough and to create it we must decide whether we put in the box of Music or the box of Poetry. Tomorrow it can be a meal, and Sculpture or Comics mere ingredients we put in the amounts we can. Or maybe the artwork will be a person standing on a road between, I don't know, Novel and Videogames, and we'll have to decide at which end of the road to stand, or right in the middle, or closer to one end than to the other, and how close.

Espantapájaros2 by Oliverio Girondo

Xul Solar painted and Oliverio Girondo wrote. But Xul Solar put words in his paintings and Girondo put images in his poems. But Xul Solar wrote with his images and Girondo drew with his words.

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