Given the nature of difference-in-itself, or what we have referred to as theoretical difference, it would be an error to say that it appears in some works and not others. It would also be an error to think that difference was the only thing a work had to offer. However, with some caution and a little licence, we can show that some works invite a differential interpretation more than others. Such works will generally have a double aspect like the ’duck-rabbit’ and other picture puzzles though this won’t always be visual, it may be conceptual. Allegories and simulacra are also suggestive of difference.
Choose one of the works below and explore its possible interpretations in terms of difference. Think carefully about its potential and research the work before you begin.
“Ce n’est pas une image juste, c’est juste une image.” – Jean-Luc Godard
Godard’s expression relates to his film Le Vent d’Est (1970), as a simple phrase of difference in visual perception and meaning. Translated into english with similar meaning: This is not a right image, image just (right, correct), it is just an image. Quite in context of Deleuze, it affirms the image in itself. It quite relates to Asher’s work for Claire Copley Gallery (1974). The ‘image’ of the gallery, that can be either experienced from inside, from outside, as a photo, as a context, or ‘just’ an image.
I was wondering why the images published – also in Asher’s own writings – do not show the audience. As I find the audience’s perception on- and in-site an integral part of understanding possible interpretations. Thus, I took the freedom to appropriate the photo and overlay it with ‘gallery visitors’ (Fig. 1), manipulate in Photoshop.
ref: [online images] at: http://www.contemporaryartstavanger.no/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/untitled1364674881138.jpg and http://www.sitegallery.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/gallery-visitor-2.jpg – Accessed on 20 Oct 2017)
Based on my initial brainstorming, outline of reading, I started to phrase my essay working thesis as:
The Paradox of Difference – Artworks and Institutions
From my research on Michael Asher’s body of work around in the 1970s, some thoughts on Claire Copley Gallery (1974) as well on Art history (Minimal Art leading towards Conceptual Art and Institutional Critique) I can see that one could consider various fields of difference.
As a result of my research, I made a visual map of key elements related to Asher’s work (Fig. 2)
But the question is how all of this relates to ‘Difference in Itself’ or ‘Difference as subordinate to identity’ as mentioned in the course material (p. 104).
And is Asher’s work showing a double aspect like the ’duck-rabbit’? Or is his work rather a representation and a ‘complaint against the norms of language, images, and social and political structures’ as Olkowski stated (Olkowski, 1999:2). But I tend more towards the double aspect, as looked at in my previous post. The reception of artwork as object or field of experience, the artist as producer or mediator, the individual as slave or master in Hegelian notion.
I feel I am coming closer to my line of reasoning and pulling now all strings together. Further below in this post are the key difference mapped alongside the potential of the discourse that lead towards my conclusion.
What kind and degree of DIFFERENCE can be discerned?
- The Artist
- The Audience
- The Space
- The Gallery context
- Difference in perception (spatial, contextual, social, site specificity)
- Difference in art as work (role of artist, objectification, temporality)
- Difference in itself versus representational frameworks (inside-outside)
- Difference as master/slave dialectic (artist – gallery – audience)
- Difference in discourse (institution, commodification, commercialisation, marginalisation)
What might be the potential?
To know the taste of the pear you have to change the pear by eating it. – Mao
“defend the very institution that the institutionalization of the avant-garde’s “self-criticism” had created the potential for: an institution of critique” – A. Fraser
“a continually renewed struggle over the definition of cultural meaning, … the development of new strategies to counteract and develop resistance against the tendency of ideological apparatus of the cultural industry to occupy and to control all practices and all spaces of representation” – B. Buchloh
- Asher, M. (1983) Writings 1973-83 on works 1969-1979. (15). Edited by Buchloh, B. H. D. [online]. Available from: http://topiel.info/files/asher.pdf (Accessed on 26 Sep 2017).
- Cottington, D. (2005) Modern art: A Very Short Introduction, Very Short Introductions. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.
- Fraser, A. (2005) ‘From the Critique of Institutions to an Institution of Critique’, in: ArtForum. [online]. 44(1), pp. 278–83278-83283,83332,83210, Available from: https://search.proquest.com/docview/214337031?accountid=14178 (Accessed on 14 Oct 2017).
- Hass, A. W. (2011) ‘Artist Bound: The Enslavement of Art to the Hegelian Other ‘, in: Literature and Theology. [online]. 25(4), pp. 379-392, Available from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23927102 (Accessed on 25 Sep 2017).
- O’Doherty, B. (1999) Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space. University of California Press [pdf]. Available from: https://monoskop.org/images/8/8e/ODoherty_Brian_Inside_the_White_Cube_The_Ideology_of_the_Gallery_Space.pdf (Accessed on 12 Oct 2017).
- Olkowski, D. (1999) Gilles Deleuze and the Ruin of Representation. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press.
- Rees, A. L. and Borzello, F. (1988) The New Art History. Humanities Press International, Inc. .