Heidegger realised that at some point in time we’re bound to be confronted with anxiety (Angst). Anxiety is that rare and subtle mood when the self first distinguishes itself from the world and becomes self-aware. In anxiety, nothing really makes sense anymore. The world turns into something remote and strange. Ordinary objects look strange, everyday activities pointless, and common sense objectives outlandish. A toilet is no longer just a toilet, but rather some kind of alien and uncanny object with a peculiar ominous presence. One could just hang a toilet in a gallery and call it fucking art, and really, that would be okay.
I Don’t Understand Modern Art
2015-ongoing (printed in 2018)
32 ChromaLuxe transfers on aluminium sheet
Each 20.32cm x 25.4cm
Edition of 6 + 2 AP
“I don’t understand modern art. How is re-tweeting Tweets art?”
I Don’t Understand Modern Art originated in 2015 as a Twitter feed that re-tweets posts featuring the phrase ‘I don’t understand modern art’ —all the Tweets are published here. The aim is to engage with the cultural space and aesthetics of Twitter; and to examine Tweets as a subject, material, and tool of artistic production. Basically, to make art out of Tweets. The Tweets intrigue me because, on the one hand, they are honest and real, but on the other hand, they are indicative of outdated thinking about art. The criteria and boundaries of art have been challenged by a great lineage of artists over the last two hundred years; however, it’s this provocation that makes contemporary art seem so alienating. The work is—hopefully—a humorous attempt to showcase that art encompasses a broad spectrum of traditional and experimental media; and it doesn’t matter if it is understood or not, its purpose is to elicit a response. Art itself is a response to the world—an attempt to capture an aspect of life as experienced by us—and is a catalyst for an ongoing open discussion and inquiry about the world. I hope to show that it’s okay to hate an artwork, but it shouldn’t be dismissed because it doesn’t adhere to preconceived notions of what art is, or ought to be. It is interesting to ask, ‘what is art?’ However, I think it’s more amusing to ask, ‘is it interesting?’ Besides, it is fun turning Tweets that reject contemporary art into an artwork that celebrates unrestricted creative experimentation. Viewed like this, the work—although created intuitively—can be understood as a response to the dismissive and apathetic ‘I don’t understand modern art’ assertion often given to contemporary artworks that don’t resemble art created by the Old Masters.