swatch: md.lhooq, 2015
“I was poking fun at myself most of all.” Marcel Duchamp
No doubt when doodling the postcard L.H.O.O.Q. Duchamp was also poking fun at the Art Establishment of his time. In the process he became sucked into the world of that Establishment under the heading ‘He who Disobeyed’. Now his postcard is one established image among many, many others.
My postcard also conforms to established rules – it’s an image, it’s framed, it hangs on a wall, people look at it in an art environment. Where’s the disobeying here, if any?
Today our art world is largely self-referential. We learn the skills, the tricks of past and present artists and we deploy them in a way that we hope looks knowledgeable and engaging. We hope that our particular mix will be fresh looking, new and gain attention.
My image in this exhibition takes this premise and works it back. It uses an image which references and tries to make a statement about another image which itself is held up as a great masterpiece.
My hope was that this work would begin to collapse under its own self-referential weight, would lose meaning and gain meaning and lose it again. Or almost! It works within the rules but is small and difficult. It could appear both thoughtful and vacuous, even perhaps, infuriatingly dull.
The making of this work involved choosing and playing around with a variety of rectangles and squares. Of course there was a mind behind these choices and much chuckling that such simplicity could become so complex in thought. This inner laughter felt like positive resistance, like an act of disobedience.
The question though is this – does the work, in its own way, disobey?
Ever spent the hours stock still, looking, listening, and waiting for the call to action.
That was my work today.