26 March 2009

Quote of the day, yay!

"[Art] has to be affirming even if it's negative."

- David Elliott, curator of the 17th Biennale of Sydney, 2010.


For the sake of clarity, I will paraphrase and contextualise this as 'art has to be life-affirming even if its subject is negative, i.e. angry, pessimistic, ugly.' For me, 'life-affirming' must be read (here and everywhere!) very broadly. I intend it in the sense (and I will venture Elliot did, too) that it reminds us we are alive, that we have blood pumping in our veins; therefore, in the case of art, that it makes us feel.

The above quote was from a lecture Elliott gave this evening titled In Praise of Impurity: Universal Values versus Geo-Aesthetics in Contemporary Art, which I was lucky enough to attend. I know little about Elliott aside from having read his essay 'Art and Trousers' recently, but I was utterly impressed and encouraged by his outlook on contemporary art and the world at large.

Some other (abridged) Elliott-gems include: "only bad art can be bought", "Marxism and Capitalism are religions", "art is experiential" and "the capacity for art is universal".

It is so refreshing to hear someone speak in these terms! I have a feeling next year's Biennale of Sydney will be worth keeping an eye on.

For more information on David Elliott and the BoS, visit: biennaleofsydney.com.au


Bharti Kher's The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own (2006), which was raised in the lecture.

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