26 Kasım 2007 Pazartesi

After the Bienal

On Art Market, an Advertisement and Probabilities

The discourse on globalization, which goes side by side with a unipolar world has been turned into a reality from a discourse, in a very short period of time. In international market, together with the concepts ‘hot money’, ‘internet’ and ‘information’, two basic concepts have appeared: mafia and art.

For the last 30 years, due to the international biennial events, art has been very much in the foreground. The so-called “contemporary art”, has become a symbol concept for the art market in the post-modern period. The new generation of the neo-liberal bourgeois with a good education, holding the administrative positions of the multi-national companies, have become the potential consumers/buyers of the contemporary art. Unlike their elders in their family who collected paintings or sculptures, the new generation of the elite families, have become the buyers of popular products exhibited in the biennials of the countries to which they go.

The superficial intellectual references, humorous political satires, pop symbols which do not interest the deep esthetical taste and multi-colorfulness present in many conceptual works exhibited in these events, have been appealing to the deficient psychological and personal development and the low intellectual level of this new generation bourgeois, which is stuck between the company hierarchy and multinational career opportunities into which they plunge once they finished their strict education.

While just one painting of Magritte, has psychological and intellectual relations with Foucault, Hegel or Sade, new generation contemporary artists ‘seem’ to refer to only some things. The concepts making up the topics of videos or installations which have international buyers with high prices have been in accordance with progressive liberal (!) theses of the globolist ideology which revealed in the best-sellers of popular neo-liberal theorists.

It is not hard to say that biennials have now turned into art hypermarkets where the new generation bourgeois consisting international buyers of art, can do shopping freely. A few radical works off market stuck in every biennial, have been sentenced into solitude within the glittering spectacle, like the solitude of the left within the crowd of people.

Within the glitter of the 10th International İstanbul Biennial, the following advertisement: “ we produce appropriate works to the needs of biennials”, published in the newspapers of 22 September, should be read as a notification of rejection made by restless souls who are not attracted by the appealing pressure of the market orgy. With his advertisement, the artist, Fatih Balcı, has gone beyond writing a critique on Biennial but he has realized a playful and a cautionary action. With his protest, Fatih Balcı underlines the death of the artist, i.e. the transformation of the artist into a producer of meta for the market. Of course, he has done it with the universal language of negation, i.e. black humor…

Today, for a very long time, the criticism of contemporary art prefers not to focus on the cultural logic of the multinational capitalism and the forms of spectacle at present. Against the uncontrolled dominance of the market spread like cancer, it can be seen an increase of nationalist responses instead of libertarian and anti-capitalist responses. They, of course cause responses which seem anti-globalist in the groups who are confined to domestic market in the field of art. But the responsibility taken under this process, requires a leftist sensation which will weave an alternative globalization in the field of art, linking the values of our homeland to the libertarian new wave in the world.

The artist who has turned into a worker in the international art arena, has now been transforming into a reality rather than disutopia. We do not need special regulations on censorship anymore, market has been founding its own tyranny in the most creative field, i.e. art. In the new police state of consumption, the artist has been turning into a ‘proll’, in Orwell’s terms, i.e. a work created by serial production. In the name of ‘saying no’, give a response to this advertisement, in opposition to the glitter of the Biennial which became a fair with a missing soul.

We should not think that this minor attempt is an individual notification against the huge art market. Let’s imagine of a scattered organization by including in this rainbow, street painters who set the streets free, as well as the dispossessed initiatives and individuals who produce for themselves. Let’s think also of minor voices to play part in the making process of an artistic position concerning today, bound with life, which does not lost its underground sensation and which carries in itself the radical acquisition coming from the avant-garde art.

Rafet Arslan
Translated into English by: Ayşe Özkan

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