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AN ATTITUDE TOWARDS ART

GUIA RIGVAVA

Contemporary art was a part of the cold war. Despite its autonomous nature art could never get rid of the role imposed on it by politics. It was always politics to provide art with functional modes and simply, the forms to exist in. Art has always been dependant on the level of the economic development of a society and the amount of material wealth obtained in a society. Art has been also always involved in the process of making the rich even richer and the poor even poorer.
In the second half of the XX century the world colonial system, built during the previous centuries by the military expansion ceded to the forms of economic expansion. The globalization of the main existential spheres of modern societies, contemporary formative mechanisms of the world market together with the total presence of the telecommunication systems has led the international affairs to the new forms of supremacy and dependency, where ones are in a position of monopoly holders over the production of meanings and others can do nothing, but respond to these meanings and try to find the ways of correspondence to them. Today, the economic status of a state is seen through the indices regarding the production of information most of which is produced in the countries of the First world. Art is a part of this production and is a prerogative of the First world. The rest of the world can only react to the supplies of the new truths and try to guess what really is - an enlightenment or a survival.
Meanwhile, the information colonialism is served by a rainbow of politics. Each flag, each country, all existing communities, and every society is given a segment of information representation. All of it is taking place within the global market. No meanings are constructed outside the market. And it's not about just buying and selling. It is about careful preparation of possible deals - a process of forming a market of all-embracing scale.

Let's take football economy for example: there is a huge football industry existing with an immense market around it. Consequently, each country has its own football team, though some of them do not have even regular internal championships being held. National teams of these countries are composed of the football players, who live and play abroad, mostly in the European clubs. But they are worshipped and honoured at home. So, commercial goods like Nintendo 64 computer game, with a qualification phase of the FIFA world championship with teams of Albania, Estonia, Azerbaidzhan or Yemen are to be sold in these countries.
The situation with art is slightly different. Both, institutional forms of the contemporary art as well as its functional structures, in the forms they existed until now, were formed during the Cold war and were, in a way, a part of this war. Now, when there is a winner and a loser, all discussions concerning human rights, freedom, and the contemporary art are receding: the problem now is a different one. The problem now is the border between the First world and the rest of the world - the border which is supported and served by the total control, since this border is least a geographical one. An Argentinean artist, contrary to Diego Maradonna has to stay in Argentina. And a Russian one - in Russia. Then the mechanism is the same everywhere: each cat, which is cute enough to represent the Contemporary art of the country, where they hardly suspect anything like that existing at all, gets her tasty Wiskas without any delay.

In Russia an image of an artist went through various steps in its evolution - after a time of dominance of a hermit of a mystically ordinary, but at the same time of an absolutely superman poetic nature (resembling Master from the Bulgakov's "Master and Margarita"), there came times of another "simple man", who has an inmost dream - to be included into a real written history. This image later was ousted by a hero, who wants to be famous globally and immediately. But, whatsoever, this is to be faced in the end - is a market reality. There is nothing existing there, outside the market. Market eagerly accepts everything which is appropriate for dealing and lets things make sense. "Everything makes sense expressed in dollars and cents" (Roger Waters). The market is able to level everything: the Wimbledon tournament and an opera production in La Scala theatre are in the first place shows - market constructions and only after that - an opera and a tennis game. Certainly, it is possible to imagine a catastrophic perspective: together with Russia Saddam Hussein manages to realise a monopoly over the energy resources of the planet. And then, in fifty years all cars in the streets will have non-European names: instead of "Mercedes" and "Citroen" they may have arab-russian names, and it may happen so, that art will be flourishing in the East, not in the West anymore. But such a perspective is not attractive at all and the shift of the First world from ones into the hands of the others will not be for the better.

The division between the worlds should be overcome. And art can provide not a few means for contributing to this process - a process of overcoming the constantly erected and fortified border between the First world and the rest of the world.
Wherever one works, whatever one does, whatever art one is practising, one either is contributing to the process of overcoming this border or is driven by a filthy desire of serving its forceful presence.

© 1998 - Guia Rigvava / Moscow Art Magazine N°22





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