19 June 2012

draw on the withdrawn

“The hardest question for me to answer was the one on methodology,” Christov-Bakargiev admitted. “In my experience, the best artists don’t really know or understand what they are doing. I tried to think about my relationship with artists as a kind of displaced Eros, about finding a place that is a fruitful contradiction and creates some kind of intensity.” As for what documenta is for, she is passionate. “documenta has from the beginning been an optimistic repositioning of art as a form of transnational connectivity,” she said. “I acknowledge the Cold War issues that were there in documenta in the 1950s and 1960s, but it’s not enough to just say ‘we’re free.’ It has to be more important than that—through art, we can construct an alternative world.” She added, “big temporary exhibitions like documenta may be obsolete from certain points of view, but I think it can offer a moment when art can function as a transitional object of sorts. With all the fear and trauma of our times, we need transitional objects—Donald Winnicott, influenced by Melanie Klein, describes them as things that help us when the mother’s breast is withdrawn—and I think that’s a good description of one of the roles contemporary art can play.”
What is necessary? “That’s a bad question,” she said. “The real question is: ‘what is to be done?’”

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