The Mental Museum

Archive for February 2009

Relational Aesthetics – Walead Beshty

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French curator Nicolas Bourriaud has coined the term Relational Aesthetics to catagorize the art coming from Europe beginning in the early 1990s. He has recently curated the Tate Triennial titled Altermodern at the Tate Britian. The movement of relational artwork can be understood as reaching out to the real world, the public, the people, the masses, the common man or the common ideal or the common adversaries. Art has always been used as a tool to coheres notions of religion or notions of state or policy or politics. Art has always been used to speak to the masses to emphasize some ideology, public or private. However, relational art seems to be the vehicle by which the public is reached with the hopes of making it (the public itself) self aware. It holds a mirror towards us, the masses, opening our eyes to ourselves as a whole. With this said, one could reference artwork such as Warhol. However, his aim was to offer an understanding of the masses, almost from an outsider, more pseudo elitist point of view; or perhaps true elitist, depending on the vantage point. Relational art seeks to integrate itselfs into the mass and become part of what it seeks to represent. The image above is an installation by British born artist Walead Beshty, which is currently on exhibit as part of Bourriad’s Altermodern. Several tinted glass boxes were mailed through Fedex to various locations around the world. They were all retrieved in the end in order to compare the damage incurred in relation to themselves. Accompained with the installation are large wall hung developed and color printed film that has traveled inside the various glass boxes. The film was exposed only by the light in the security cameras that the boxes passed through in transit. The entire piece is a perfect example of Nicolas Bourriaud’s idea of Relational Aesthetics.


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February 12, 2009 at 11:28 pm

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The Photographic Gun

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Born in 1830, √Čtienne-Jules Marey was a French scientist and chronophotographer. Chronophotography is the precursor to cinematography, a Victorian application of science and art; essentially the study of movement through still image. There are two processes of chronophotography, one being monography which is the continuous exposure to a subject and the other being strobophotography which is intermittent exposures to a subject. Probably the most renown chronophotographer is Eadweard Muybridge, an Englishman also born in 1830. Muybridge is best known for his sequential images of galloping horses and moving nude figures. However, it was √Čtienne-Jules Marey that was first to state that a galloping horse, for a brief moment, had all four hooves off the ground. It was Muybridge who carried out the photographic investigation and proved Marey right.


√Čtienne-Jules Marey was fascinated with flight and with animals and insects that could fly. In 1882, Marey created his photographic gun. It was an instrument capable of taking 12 consecutive frames per second at the pull of the trigger. Poetically it was beautiful because rather than terminating the object at which it points, Marey’s photographic gun would instead capture it forever.


Written by thementalmuseum

February 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm

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